dear diary :: cherishing the last of the lazy days

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Goodness me, I don’t know about you but if I have to have one more conversation on the topic of the virus I think I will go mad! No matter who I phone or chat to the conversation always ends up, unintentionally of course, back to the virus – how we are doing, what we are doing, comparing notes and our understanding of the rules…..our lives are now defined by something we cannot even see and it is exhausting going over and over the same discussions.

I will say here in this post that we are all still well, still being cautious and ‘alert’ and that is enough on the subject I shall say no more!

So on to some much more mundane things – during the hot dry spell I had a tidy up in the shed – it always amazes me how much I manage to store in there and how many of the items I use most of the time. It certainly earns its keep. To free up a bit more space inside the shed some of the garden things that won’t hurt to be in the weather outdoors have now been reallocated to new places.

There is a space behind our shed out of sight where we store the bins, both wheelie and composting and the bags of potting compost, empty plantpots, and a stack of white plastic patio chairs for when we have garden parties. The fence between us and our neighbour provides a good vertical storage area as DH hammered in some nails to hang the wire netting cones and the riddle.

It is the same fence to which DH fixed the bracket for my hanging basket in the garden. I am well pleased, especially since the nasturtiums are now flowering at the same time as the foxgloves.

I do like a few strong clashing colours and they brighten up this corner of the garden as you can see in the longer view below.

We had a couple of very pleasant, lazy days sitting in the cool shade of the garden and sketching whilst it was far too hot to do anything else. It has been too long since I had my paintbox out and I am quite rusty. Foxgloves are the trickiest flowers to capture even after many attempts, but they were the only flowers near enough to the seat in the shade to sketch – I will persevere.

Something new is appearing in the garden daily now. The rose that I dug up and moved, because it always suffered from brown spot and never did much where it was, is now in a pot on the patio and is blooming. It has recovered well from it’s heavy prune – I felt I had been a bit brutal at the time but it has thrived with healthy green leaves and is in bud – it looks more like it did when I first bought it many years ago.

The petals of the peony above will have fallen now, swept away by the force of the winds last night. Such extremes of weather we are experiencing at the moment – one minute I am rushing around watering like mad and the next staking and protecting – but there is only so much you can do and then you have to leave the rest to chance.

The tall spires of the sidalcea in the sunny border are almost ready to bloom when we have the next bout of sunshine and will look like a mass of pale pink marshmallow.

For some reason the zinnias that I sowed indoors in April have not taken off yet, they have been quite reluctant to grow at any pace and may well miss the season altogether at this rate.

Whilst the cistus (rock rose) has been tremendous this year with so many continuous flowers appearing each day.

I have waited patiently for these little orange beauties to grow and open – Californian poppies – free Sarah Raven seeds with the May issue of Gardener’s World. I have not been disappointed, the colour is stunning.

Then there is the courgette plant which must like this position so much it has grown to giant proportions and producing flowers that are a full 10″ wide. I am not sure I will be decorating my salads with these – rather using them as the salad bowl maybe!

As we come out of our hibernation I know I will be sorry to leave this slow and leisurely time behind but we have duties to fulfil – a drive up to North Yorkshire to visit to my mum today – just for the afternoon, but it will give my sister a little time off – she must be quite exhausted doing all the caring. We will be travelling light but with a basket laden with all my mum’s favourite foods; a homemade quiche to have for lunch with salad and a few new Jersey Royals, a fresh cream chocolate sponge cake for afters and half a dozen small tins of creamed mushrooms to have on toast for her tea and a further half dozen tins of whole plum tomatoes, items I can get in my local Sainsbury’s that are unavailable where she is and will stock up her store cupboard for a few weeks.

Scotland is opening up too for travel from 3rd July so we will be making plans to go up to the cottage and stay in the caravan on site sometime soon – and I will get to see my beloved garden (or perhaps jungle) at long last. I feel a lot of hard work coming on.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend whatever you may or may not be doing. Stay safe. xx

44 thoughts on “dear diary :: cherishing the last of the lazy days

  1. Your garden is looking very lush and the drawings are lovely, except for missing seeing family I’ve enjoyed this quiet time to reflect and rejuvenate,it’s definitely made me reevaluate life.


  2. Your painting is wonderful, you have captured everything beautifully.

    I hear you on the not wanting to re-emerge into the world, I am quite happy to be living in this slow way.

    I am still waiting for my nasturtiums to flower, I hope they look as wonderful as yours. Those courgette flowers are crazy big, I hope the courgettes are not that wide too.


  3. Your garden is so lovely. I’d love to wander and look at your blooms in real life. My iPhone camera lens has died, so I can’t share my gardening adventures. Looking forward to seeing what’s up and growing in your garden in Scotland.


  4. How lovely! Your garden looks so vibrant. Clashing colours are no bad thing – just think of Great Dixter! What’s the secret of your courgettes? Mine are very slow to pull away. I planted in manure, and am giving them copious water. Haven’t fed them yet, so perhaps that’s the issue – any tips?
    I’ve just been reading back through your posts I missed and came across your yoga with Adrienne mention. I tried her yoga videos – my daughter loves them and does them daily – but found I didn’t get on at all well with them. Some of the poses made me feel ill, and I felt less relaxed and supple after doing them than before! I’m a pretty fit and active person, so it isn’t lack of fitness that’s the issue. Then I came across an article comparing yoga and Pilates. Seems some people are well adapted to one more than the other. Yoga has a lot of static poses and stretches, whereas our bodies are meant to be in movement, and that’s where Pilates suits some people better. It has a lot of smaller movements and is quite fluid, which gives a good workout while feeling calmer – at least for me. It’s really strengthened areas of my body which were neglected and has changed my shape for the better over the 2 years I’ve been doing it. So just to say that you might be a yoga person, but that if you don’t get on with it (and I have given myself 2 bad muscle injuries doing yoga in the past), do think of Pilates. Jessica Valant Pilates online is really good – there are beginners videos and videos for different parts of the bodies as well as knee strengthening ones.


    1. I too am wondering what the secret is behind this courgette plant as the other two are in the same compost and manure but in smaller tubs and are quite spindly in comparison. I planted the giant one outside early in May and put a bell cloche over it, so it has been outside for longer and therefore has had a longer growing time outside. If that is the secret I will plant them all out early next year under cloches.
      The exercises I do most of are the Feldenkrais Somatics – see Posture Queen – they are very gentle but work out stiff joints and muscles so well and then I can do Yoga or Pilates afterwards. Will look at Jessica Valant though – thanks for that.


    1. We have done far more work in the Yorkshire garden at home this year than we normally would as the Scottish garden takes all our energy normally but is very special to us as it is a much wilder natural garden where the wildflowers / weeds never look out of place as they would in our garden here at home.


  5. Your garden is beautiful and a little treasure trove of different things to see. I love the watercolours, especially the pot of parsley. I’ve been dabbling myself this week and while I produce nothing that could really be classed as artistic, it feels very therapeutic to hold a paintbrush and get some colour onto paper.

    I bet your Mum is really looking forward to seeing you after so long and the basket of goodies sounds delicious. We will be visiting Sienna tomorrow as it’s her 4th birthday. And next weekend our caravan site opens so at some point we will be travelling there again which I’m really looking forward to. Not that weekend though as I imagine the roads will be horrendous so we’ll wait a few days.

    I think we’re all ‘virused out’ aren’t we. There are some things I will miss about LD as strange as that sounds, but it will be good to get some semblance of normality back in our lives. xx


  6. Your photos, garden and paintings demonstrate such creativity. Lovely to look at. Hope the trip to Mum goes well. Safe journey.


  7. Your painting is beautiful, Vivien. I would love to be able to create such lovely artwork.
    The gardens have been very thankful for the recent rains and yours looks lush and verdant, and I can’t get over the size of those courgette flowers. Wow!
    I hope you enjoy your visit with your mum today. I expect she will be so happy to see you again. X


  8. Your watercolours are amazing. I think the artistic streak passed me by, my Dad and my son were and are both excellent at sketching and drawing anything they saw.

    I too am looking forward to getting back to my Van, but at the same time dreading that first view of my little patch of garden. I bet I am going to need to take a scythe to it before the lawnmower can come out.

    Little bits of extra freedom are good aren’t they but I agree the constant talking about things and discussing the differences between areas of the UK exhausting.


  9. Your garden looks beautiful and that courgette plant is magnificent! It’s obviously ecstatic where it is, haha. I know what you mean about the weather and garden care, I don’t know whether I’m coming or going! Your paintings are lovely, you are very talented. I hope your trip to see your Mum went well today and that you’re able to get to Scotland soon. I’m with you, though, I’m not in a huge rush to be busy again, notwithstanding family commitments 🙂


    1. We have rain and yet more harsh winds today – the plants are almost horizontal – I will need to stake much more if this is an indication of future weather patterns of blazing hot followed by lashing rain and forceful wind.x


  10. Your garden is so pretty. I am intrigued by the clematis growing in the pot. I had a beautiful one that grew on the mailbox post for years in my last house. I do miss it. Now with much less garden space I am thinking maybe I could try this idea. Surely there is a spot for another pot.
    The size of that courgette blossom is amazing. I do hope you will keep us posted when the blossom turns to veggie.
    Your watercolor paintings are lovely. You are a very talented lady.
    I can imagine your mum will be delighted with your visit. How nice it will be for you to all be together.


    1. The clematis is very compact and has an abundance of flowers, so I am well pleased with it. I bought a very cheap one from Morrisons a few years ago and it has never been anything more than spindly and very few flowers as if it just can’t be bothered – but there again maybe it does not like the position so perhaps a move is in order at the end of the season.


  11. Your drawings are beautiful and so is your garden. It is exciting that you will get chance to visit your Scottish garden again. I wish you well with getting that in order and look forward to some photographs of it.


    1. If it is any consolation the other nastrutiums in a tall terracotta pot on the patio are all leaves and no flowers from seeds sown at the same time from the same packet. They obviously prefer being squashed into a tiny basket. Last year I put some directly into the ground and only three of them grew but were spindly.


  12. Lovely to have you joining ‘Through the Garden Gate’, maybe you can do one from your Scottish garden one month Love what you have done with the back of the shed and all your beautiful flowers. I am envious of your Californian poppies I sowed some too but no sign of mine!


    1. It will most likely be a before and after with the Scottish garden – I cannot imagine what it will look like by now – I am almost too scared to go – I know what hard work it is going to be to turn it around.


  13. Such gorgeous blooms for June in your garden. I love your paintings, something I must try myself. Enjoy the last day of June. Looking forward to seeing your garden in July.


  14. Hello. Your garden is coming along so nicely. My zinnias haven’t taken off as well as I had hoped for either. We’ve had a lot of rain this spring/summer so maybe that is the problem. So hard to believe that tomorrow is July 1st. This year is really ticking along, isn’t it? I hope you enjoy your upcoming trip to Scotland. My husband and I plan to visit there someday. It’s been on our list for years now. Your drawings are just lovely by the way!


    1. Scotland is lovely – our cottage is only in what they call the lowlands so not as rugged as the highlands further North. As our area of Yorkshire is very populated it is lovely to escape up there – we feel we can breathe again.


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