Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Easter at Tillypronie...

And the sun shone for most of the time, aside from an afternoon of soft rain. On Sunday morning there was an Easter egg hunt in the rockery; then chocolate cake for tea after a walk across the moor, and a box of Pierre Herme macaroons, in all the shades of spring. So heartening to see a cherished garden blooming, even after the deep frosts of another hard winter, and has sedum ever looked more chic, alongside the scarlet ruffles of rhododendron? There is still a little snow clinging to the northern peaks of Morven, but green shoots are emerging on the heather-clad hills, and swifts have returned to the skies.
Now back home in north London, where something wicked has been nibbling at my lilies, but the honeysuckle is flourishing, and the roses are beginning to bud.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

The wisteria is blooming...

And it has the most beautiful scent. Is it always the way, or is this spring more blessed with blossom than others?
In between admiring the wisteria and my bed of tulips -- the latter have survived the squirrels for the first year ever -- I'm watering the pots on the patio, watching the poppy seeds emerge, and the green shoots of lilies and agapanthus.
Wishing everybody a very happy Easter. I'm going to read Sybille Bedford ('A Legacy'), and eat a great deal of chocolate.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Cherry blossom, flower-pot bread, and more good things from the farmer's market

The magnolia petals have almost gone, but there is more blossom unfurling in the front garden, on the cherry tree that reaches up to the sky. This weekend I've been weeding -- rooting out the bindweed before it chokes the roses -- although all the other self-seeded plants in my beds are allowed to stay (forget-me-nots, bluebells, and red valerian for the butterflies), as are the sprinkling of daisies and buttercups in the lawn.
No need to venture much further than the garden on a sunny Sunday, except to the Farmer's Market up the road at Alexandra Palace, where there were fiery red chilis, delicious Polish cakes and brownies (the best I've had for years; so good I've searched for the source online, and discovered them here, at the Cakehole Kitchen), and bread baked in flower-pots from the Honest Carrot stall. The farmer's market also yielded sausages, which I'm cooking for dinner with onion gravy, mashed potatoes, and plenty of peas. Heaven...

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Mercury retrograde, and Mercury found...

Is it just me, in a mercurial state of mind, or can we blame the stars for mishaps and other troublesome irritations this week? (And last week, come to that). I seem to remember reading that Ted Hughes wouldn't allow any of his books to be published when Mercury was retrograde. Richard Dawkins would disapprove, of course, but perhaps there is some small measure of comfort to be had in blaming the movement of the skies for current vexations. Either that, or chaos rules eternal...
In the interests of scientific balance (so please, no need for angry anti-astrology diatribes), have just been reading about NASA's astonishing explorations of Mercury; just think of the Messenger spacecraft, traveling for six and a half years alone through the solar system... And the NASA photographs are awe-inspiring... a dark, dense, battered planet, cracked and covered in craters.
Since then, I've popped outside into the garden, checking on my tiny spring seeds, and listening to the blackbird. Mercury-gazing has made me suddenly glad to be earth-bound.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

It's a beautiful day...

... and the garden is blooming. I love the splash of lime green from the euphorbias (or is it euphorbium?), in the bed beneath the gloriously creamy magnolia.
Thinking of Elspeth, and remembering all the beautiful flowers she cherished in the spring. Maybe it's the memory of Elspeth that has also sent me in search of Emily Dickinson again; elusive, as always...

Absent Place—an April Day—
Daffodils a-blow
Homesick curiosity
To the Souls that snow—

Drift may block within it
Deeper than without—
Daffodil delight but
Him it duplicate—