Blooming garden!

Another week speeding past!  I hope you’ve had a good one!  No trips on trains for me this week, although I have been out and about in the car quite a bit – sadly, no knitting on the move for me this week, though, as I’ve been driving!

One of my out-and-about trips was to meet up with one of my oldest friends (oldest as in I’ve known her a long time, not that she’s ancient!) and we always end up talking gardens; we took our gardening qualifications at the same time many years ago and both set up our own businesses at a similar time so we have a close gardening connection as well as having been close friends for many years.  This particular visit saw us both be-moaning the fact that our gardens are not as beautifully kept these days as we would like and making plans to do something about it.

I’ve come home full of inspiration and good intentions, and found these dahlias flowering in the textured pot that I bought specially to foil the snails.  Hooray, it looks like it’s worked!  I haven’t grown dahlias for years and I am so happy to see these.  It looks like there are some smaller ones coming through at the bottom so it’ll be interesting to see if anything comes of those too.

I tried for years to grow teasels and they refused to germinate until one year, they popped up in the vegetable garden (just where I didn’t want them) and I couldn’t bring myself to pull them up.  Now, I have teasels everywhere (including all the places that I still don’t want them) and these particular specimens are surviving in a bucket outside the door.  Why a bucket?  Well, when I pulled them up from my raised bed, I knew that they wouldn’t be very happy being transplanted and they were the only ones I could see in the garden at the time so I put them in a bucket to make sure they didn’t dry out.  Of course, they’re now huge and spiky and there’s no way I can plant them anywhere so I’m letting them live out their summer in the bucket because the bees love the pink flowers.

There’s a very loud buzzing from our shed whenever I open the door so the bumble bee nest must still be inhabited; I’ve got no problem with them being there over the summer but should probably speak to the man at the farm shop who keeps bees as I think they may need to move on at some point or I’ll never be able to go in there again if their nest keeps getting bigger!  I don’t know very much about bees and their nest or hives but I don’t want to hurt them so I think that getting some advice would be a wise plan!

There’s good news about the raised bed that the Something had been visiting: the Something appears to have moved on and my sweet peas are coming out.  What is it about the scent of sweet peas?  It transports me straight back to the gardening show that was held in my village every year and was as fiercely contested as any show on a bigger scale.  I can clearly remember the sweet peas carefully arranged by colour and size in special showing vases and rows and rows of huge showy chrysanthemum heads and the brightest of dahlias with their winner certificates proudly displayed next to them.  I always used to enter a miniature garden into the children’s section (I was a child at the time, I didn’t cheat! 😀); I wasn’t interested enough in growing show-worthy flowers at that age and I don’t think that my Dad would have wanted me to take over his vegetable garden with sweet peas either!

The gardening show stopped being held many years ago; lack of interest, perhaps, or lack of volunteers to organise it – lack of gardeners, even – and I know that many shows in many villages will have stopped over the years for similar and different reasons, but I do think it’s a bit sad.  It’s probably because I’m getting older, but I do find myself being nostalgic for things that I remember but my girls will never experience – like the gardening shows.  That’s not to say that I want to bring back everything from my younger days – I’m very happy being able to search for things on the internet instead of having to go to the library for a book, for example, and there’s plenty about the 1970s, 80s and even early 90s that I wouldn’t wish on anyone – but there were good things that have gone too, that would be difficult to reinstate because of the way we live our lives now.  It’s just how it is, isn’t it?

These have brightened my day, however.  Pea pods.  Oh, I LOVE eating peas straight from pea pods – so much so that I would get banned from helping to shell the peas that my Dad grew because just as many (if not more) would find their way into my mouth rather than the pan!  I say that they’re for eating and it doesn’t matter if you don’t cook them first …

And having stirred myself up with happy garden moments, I’ve been ready to tackle the jungle in the flower borders.  This was a concerted half-hour effort which just goes to show that it doesn’t always take as long as you think it’s going to, to get something done.  It still looks quite a mess but the borders have been overgrown for longer than I intend to tell you and they’ll take a while to recover.  I just need to clear them out and then that can be the next part of my plan!

I saw some wildflowers in the garden recently …

Source: June Middlehurst

Winwick Mum Wildflower socks in June’s garden!  These look so pretty, like they’re meant to be there!

It’s been amazing to see projects in Winwick Mum yarn popping up all over social media and I did intend to save all the photos for one big blog post – but I can’t wait!  And there are so many photos now; I am doing my best to share them when I see them on Instagram and I’ll show you more on the blog too, but there are just too many for me to keep up with for just one post.  (Nope, not complaining at all 😀)  Thank you to everyone who’s bought the yarn, knitted it and shared your photos – I am LOVING seeing them!

I like that the projects aren’t all my sock designs too – Barbara’s Hidden Gem socks are shorties, ideal for the summer.  (If you want to make a pair of these, you can use the Sockalong pattern but work a shorter rib, a couple of rounds of plain knit and then start the heel flap.)

Source: Barbara Harding

Gráinne’s cable socks feature a short row heel which works very nicely with the Seascape yarn (and I do love a cable!)

Source: Gráinne Doyle

and what about this stunner knitted with Brightside?  Wow, I think this looks amazing!

Source: Instagram @moonwm

The pattern is the Pincha shawl (free on Knitty – I told you they had some fabulous patterns!) and I think it looks stunning in the bright colours which work so well with the feathered design.  Just gorgeous!

All these project photos have been used with permission.

There have been pairs of socks arriving for the Yarndale Sock Line already, which is some speedy knitting!

Thank you very much if you’ve sent me socks, or you’re knitting socks (I’ve been tagged into lots of sock progress posts and that’s very exciting!); they will be very much appreciated and I’ll be adding photos of the ones that have arrived already to the Pinterest board for this year’s Sock Line later today.

I’m knitting my Yarndale Sock Line socks in Wildflower and as promised, they’re going to be a TAAT (two at a time) tutorial and I am getting on with it.  Progress is a little further than this …

so hopefully it won’t be too long before I can put the tutorial up on the blog for you.  In the meantime, it’s absolutely fine to knit socks one at a time!

I’ve also been super-organised and finally got round to putting my needles into some kind of order.  I’ve been planning to do this for far too long, and the final straw came when I knew that I had spare needles to start another pair of socks but couldn’t remember which project bag I’d left them in.  How frustrating – especially as I couldn’t remember where I had tidied the project bag I had last seen them in away to either!  Anyway, the problem is now solved as I have this nifty storage solution … ta dah!

All made by me (well, not the wooden box, I have to draw the line somewhere) and only taking an hour or so of my time.  Want to make one for yourself?  I will be posting all about it very soon!

Now, however, it’s time for a brew and piece of shortbread.  Lynn has sent me one 😀.

Thank you, Lynn, you’ve made my day! xx

Have a lovely rest of the week, I’ll be back soon to tell you more about my organised knitting needles!

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9 Responses

  1. happy hooker says:

    So glad I'm not the only one whose garden is rampaging faster than I can tidy it. It does feel good though, when a patch is cleared of "over-enthusiastic" plants and you discover others struggling through. I can almost hear them saying, "Thank goodness – sunlight at last!" Good on you for sorting your needles. My knitting needles are (mostly) just loose in a box, but I did crochet a case for my hooks. Maybe one day I'll make a proper case for needles – Oh, that mythical "one-day"! Have a great weekend. xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Oh, I'm at the point now when I'm seriously thinking about taking the hedge trimmers to everything as it's getting beyond a joke! I know this isn't the right time of year for hard pruning, but sometimes drastic is the only answer! 🙂 xx

  2. Caroline says:

    Lovely post Christine. You bought back memories of Somerset back in the 1980's with your talk of closely contested flower and veg competitions. We lived in a small village and each week the various villages around each held their shows. My dad by coincidence shared the same name as a green fingered cousin of his. The cousin won many competitions, sometimes several classes in a week. Quite a few times people congratulated dad on "his" wins! Dad had many wonderful skills….gardening was never one of them!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Oh that's very funny, I'm sure your Dad thought that was hilarious! When you watch TV programmes now about flower and veg shows, they often portray the gardeners as strangely obsessed with huge onions or perfectly straight leeks and carrots grown in drain pipes, but it was (and still is) a real thing! 🙂 xx

  3. Lynn says:

    Hi Christine, I'm pleased the socks arrived safely. I'm glad you like the stitch markers, they were made by the extremely talented Cheryl of Chapel View Crafts. I love her work.
    Thank you for organising the Sockline, it's a a wonderful thing.
    P.s. Gorgeous dahlias!!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Those are super-cute stitch markers, thank you so much for those and for the money towards the sock postage, I really appreciate you thinking of me. The only thing is that I've been thinking that I need to start a new pair of socks so that I can use them and I really do need to finish the ones on my needles! 🙂 xx

  4. Anonymous says:

    It's lovely to see your garden, it's inspiring me to tackle mine which is much worse than yours, whoops. Your bumblebees won't be a problem past the autumn as they set up a new nest every year and it is only the queen's who hibernate over winter. Best wishes JennyFibreCraft from Instagram

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Oh that's really helpful to know, thank you Jenny. I won't worry too much about the bees then, and the queen is very welcome to hibernate in the shed – presumably she'll go and look for a new nesting site in the spring? I'm actually quite thrilled to know that I've been able to "look after" the bees in the smallest way (ie, providing the shelter but keeping well out of the way!) and it's been lovely to see so many of them in the garden 🙂 xx

  5. Julie says:

    We have a Horticultural and Craft Show at our community centre, its been going for many years. DH and I were on the committee for a long time but unfortunately had to retire from it. No one has come along to take our place which is a shame as the younger generation don't seem keen on volunteering around here.

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