dear diary :: garden progressing nicely, knitting not so…

I have been hoping for rain all week – not the statement most of us would want to hear, but secretly I have because I had plans here at the cottage for wet weather.  One of them was to do more knitting. 

I boldly decided to alter the back of the pattern of the little dress – probably not the wisest of moves given my novice ‘under’ novice status.   I realised when casting on for the back of the dress that it does not open completely it only opens to the little contrast coloured ‘ribbon’ band.  This means it would be harder to get on and off in my mind with no ‘give’ room and I am already beginning to doubt if the size I chose to do will fit.  I decided on the slightly smaller size because the pattern on the model looked quite baggy and this is maybe why because the opening is not the full length of the bodice.

So, in my wisdom, I thought it would be better to knit a separate left and right back and have a small slit in the adjoining skirt which, if you remember, is fabric.

To do this means I need to do some pretty neat edges along the opening edges and my edges are not great. Normally, it doesn’t matter too much as they are part of an inside seam and not on show but I knew there are ways are making them look neater so back to You Tube and from what I can tell slipping the first stitch pearl wise does the job.   So I will begin the back again and see if that produces something more passable.  It is either that or little Sweetie walks backwards everywhere when she wears it so no-one sees the mess I make.

My other reason for desiring a wet day was to do more sketching.  I bought a new set of pencils and a small watercolour pad in W.H.Smith’s ½ price sale and there is an abundance of lovely autumn seed heads on every verge to draw at the moment and I have been collecting little bunches from the garden which are now hanging up in the shed to dry.

While the sun shines though it is gardening again though I must say we have been out nearly every day and I wonder if we have actually made any difference.  Slowly though it is taking shape once again after the sorry neglect of the Covid year.

DH put up a windbreak behind the young Braeburn apple tree – we had to cut a wider border to accomodate the stakes and as usual this led to a bit more weeding and sorting in this corner.

Meanwhile I tackled the tangled mess under the holly tree in our ‘ Beyond the Pond’ border as I call it as it is just beyond the pond on the left. This border is part of the woodland walk in the lower wood so can be quite shady in the summer. The large leaved Rogersia is an excellent plant for the shade as is the decorative Osmunda Regalis fern. In the front of the border is an Azalea surrounded by a spreading geranium planted as ground cover to keep the weeds down and of course the Tellima that self seeds everywhere.

We had temporarily moved the large stones here from the Trellis Border that were no longer needed and I wanted to move them into place to enclose the border up to the Holly tree. We will then be extending the grass up to the line of the stones and this will also keep the planting contained and out of the path of the strimmer.

The pond too has been put to bed. DH put the ‘spider’ pond cover and netting in place to catch the leaves from the Sycamore tree nearby. Everything now is beginning to die back and when we return in a few weeks time it will all be one soggy leafy mess in this part of the garden – meanwhile the weeds will still be on the rampage.

I do love this time of year for cooking and the magazines are full of plum crumbles and all my favourite fruits and the root vegetables make wonderful roast meals and stews. We have already begun changing our menus to suit the seasonal vegetables available. Celery is plentiful in the shops so DH made celery soup and threw in the end of some broccoli we had in the fridge. I made one of my easy one pan autumn meals Chickpeas and brown rice – a seasonal favourite when the weather starts to change and I also made a curry which we will have with brown rice and mango chutney one night and then fill some of those crisp corn Taco shells the next (I know a strange mix of cuisine but they are quite delicious), and I found you can microwave them (I did buy a microwave for the caravan in case the calor gas ever runs out) which will save heating up the gas oven to some incredible costly temperature to cook them for only 3 minutes.

We will be venturing home soon so I am savouring the last of our days here – there is going to be some hot weather on the horizon I am told so no doubt all the weeds will spring into action once again and after a few days our cottage garden will look like we have never been here.

Since writing this we have had rain today. I skipped on the knitting though as we will be leaving soon for home and I decided the caravan needed a good fettle before we go, even under the caravan seating. I thought there was little stored under there until I lifted the seats and found a few things I had totally forgotten about like the electric kettle in case the gas fails, some spare cutlery and cups and a host of large plastic containers. I decided to put everything together under one of the seats and make a list as at the moment it is definitely a case of out of sight out of mind.

Before we go home I will snip off a few hydrangea heads to dry at home, shake the Bramley apple tree to get the last of the apples down and collect some shells to take back for the grandchildren. I am so looking forward to those tomatoes at home now.

If the heatwave that is predicted arrives I hope you all enjoy more time to go out and about or in the garden before the weather changes once again.

Back soon x

12 Replies to “dear diary :: garden progressing nicely, knitting not so…”

  1. Very green and lush! I can’t understand why weeds grow so quickly and cover such large areas with ease. If they didn’t spread so we could tolerate them.

    A cardigan could always cover any accidental design flaws of the back of dress. Lol.


    1. The weeds grow all winter here at the cottage as it can be quite mild. It will be covered again in seedlings by the time we return in a few weeks. Not so at home we are high up near the moors it is colder and we don’t really suffer from weeds much there so they don’t have chance to set seed and spread.


        1. Don’t have many of those! Sometimes a few midges on a windless day. Midges can be bad in Scotland though especially near water and in May and September. You get thick clouds of them up here in the wrong place. We had to stop gardening a couple of times for the midges coming out to play on an afternoon.!


  2. Whenever we go away I always have ‘wet weather’ activities to keep me occupied if we are confined to barracks … I invariably end up taking them back home untouched … but I like knowing that I have plenty to do if we can’t get out. We are away at the moment and I have brought some embroidery but haven’t really looked at it much … I haven’t even looked at my book either … in spite of plenty of rain 😃


  3. You have done wonders with the cottage garden and I’m sure the hard work will pay off down the road. Good luck with your knitting venture. I tried to knit socks this year but they were a dismal failure!


    1. Reading the pattern is the hardest for me as a beginner. Trying to understand what they are meaning and they don’t explain how to do a neater edge / decrease / picking up so you need an explanatory book as well.


  4. Safe travels back home. As for knitting, I have the same issue with patterns. Used to blame it on being left-handed, but think I just have problems deciphering certain aspects. Had one pattern that completely flummoxed me and I gave up on it. Later. I read there was a mistake in the pattern. Felt a bit better after that. 🙂

    Hope to see you in a couple of weeks. Fingers crossed.


    1. I have a pattern that I think must be wrong (not the present one) but one with a little Picot edging. I tried it 3 times myself and could not understand what they wanted so I took it to a shop that does workshops and the sales lady is an expert knitter. She showed me what the pattern instructions meant which I thought at the time was what I had been doing. I followed her instructions to the letter but still came out with the same result which was too many stitches left after all the decreases. I had to abandon it in the end. The one I am doing now is easier to understand but I have to apply my own ‘fancy’ bits to make it neater. Perhaps patterns should do an alternative instruction for knitting the neck, armole edges and openings.
      Back home now, long journey and very tired today.


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