Italian Minstrel

Italian Minstrel

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Stunning flower design needlepoints, almost better than the real thing!

19th C needlepoint and beadwork piece
This is the most delicious piece of work, the colours are riotous, and the beadwork on the Lily trumpet gives an almost 3-dimensional feel, especially with the deep black background, so typical of the Victorian era.

Then there is the royal red background of this beadwork piece below, adding a touch of class. 
Victorian beadwork on needlepoint
You could be forgiven for thinking that the flowers so beautifully worked by such skilled needlewomen look almost better than the real thing, but then... the bee knows that nature has the edge!
Acanthus flower with bee
And so does the humble hover-fly.

Exotic phormium flower attracting the interest of a hover-fly

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Bee Banquets and Blackcurrants

Now the weather has settled down and we have warmth once more, the bees have come out in force. We have several bee banquets going on at our house. There is the Lincolnshire lime tree banquet. This is held in the many Lime trees which surround our farmhouse, and it sounds like the nearby race-track at Cadwell Park. The bees adore lime flowers, the humming is just phenomenal, and they are definitely drunk - they fall down on the ground before staggering off in a very haphazard way! Then there is the Lavender path party also going on; probably these are a different class of bees, bumbling away and socialising nicely with the various discreet butterflies that are also attending this non-stop event. I tried to photograph the bees but they were far too busy finding the next delicious flowerhead that I could only capture the butterfly which had the good manners to stay for her photograph...
Butterfly and Bee Banquet

The other thing that is happening in the garden is the ripening of all sorts of delicious produce. I have got some fab French Rond de Nice courgettes which can be halved and stuffed with onions, breadcrumbs and fresh tomatoes, topped with cheese and breadcrumbs, then baked in the oven for 40 minutes and make a complete meal. Then there are the blackcurrants which are just dripping off the branches. I have just made syrup, very like the French have (it is a cordial really) and it tastes so fruity, and not too much of blackcurrants, which is just as well because I don't like them at all! Same with blackcurrant jelly (instead of jam) - it too is just fruity and delicious, so a better choice for those who find blackcurrants too strong.

Blackcurrants ready for the picking
Rond de Nice Courgette
Whilst thinking about recipes, there is another one which I enjoy at this time of the year; that is lavender scented peaches - it tastes divine and well worth trying. Just ensure that you infuse about 5 or 6 lavender flowerheads in the syrup in which you have poached 6 fresh peaches. It turns the liquid a beautiful rose purple colour and scents it in the most appealing way.

There is a bit of a lull in my garden after the lavender because I so love the Spring and early Summer that my garden is full to the brim with a large collection of old roses, sweet rocket, campanulas and species geranium, and I have never really got the hang of what comes next! However I do have a gorgeous black hollyhock that is just about to flower - that will be worth the wait!

Having chatted away about my garden I realise that I intended to talk a bit about the textiles I have recently acquired, which I will do, but maybe next post...