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Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Another day

And just like that, it's March!

Meteorologically, Spring has sprung (on 1 March), but the equinox isn't until the 19th and, to be honest, it doesn't look all that much different out of the window than it did on 29 February when it was still Winter.  Same grey skies, same threat of rain, same old, same old.

It does makes us very grateful for the brief sight of the sun, doesn't it?  And also those early signs of Spring around the garden.

There's a path down the side of our house with a border that has taken a long time to become established, but finally is a Spring border with splashes of colour amongst the greenery.  Hellebores,  snowdrops, ivy, ferns ... the ivy can be a bit of a nuisance and needs firm attention to stop it taking over, but I love it all.

Image shows hellebore flowers to the left and purple crocus to the right amongst green leaves

Oh, those crocuses!  We didn't have crocuses for such a long time because the bulbs are a tasty dish to field mice but at last we've got them appearing in all their vibrant purpleness.  Is that a word?  It really should be! 


Image shows purple crocus flowers emerging amongst green leaves

Image shows white snowdrop flower in the foreground to the left with purple crocus flowers slightly out of focus to the right

The Hellebores are all over the garden in shades from white to purple.  I've never pulled them up, quite happy to let them grow where they want to.  I can be quite a lazy gardener in that respect; on the whole I like plants to self-seed around the garden where they will and am always happy to see where they might end up.

Image shows pink and white Hellebore flowers against a fence

More vibrant purpleness!  These are Primula denticulata or drumstick primula, which flower on tall stalks.  I'm very good at buying plants and then leaving them in the pots to dry out instead of planting them out straight away, and these were in danger of ending up with the same fate.  Luckily, I remembered to put them in the ground and they seem to be very happy!

Image shows purple flowers of two plants next to each other

I don't try to keep Hyacinth bulbs from one year to the next if I've had them flowering indoors.  I just put them out in the garden to see what they do, and these two have been coming back every Spring for quite some time now.

Image shows two blue Hyacinth flower spikes getting ready to bloom

Snowdrops!  Oh, these are the absolute joy of my Spring garden.  There are masses of them, spreading up through all of my overgrown borders to remind me that Nature does what she wants to do despite my neglect and good intentions.

Image shows snowdrops in the foreground and receding into the distance

There are so many colours once you start looking.  It's so easy to look out of the window at the bare branches and forlorn dog-harrowed grass (seriously, how does he manage to make such a mess of it when he seems to spend all his time sleeping by the Aga?!) and think that there's nothing out there worth looking at.  The good thing about needing photos for my blog post is that I have to go out and look for them, looking up and looking down, really taking my time to search out those signs of life.  And they are there.

Yellow Forsythia ...

Image shows yellow flowers against a grey sky

new red leaves on the Photinia "Red Robin" ...

Image shows bright red new leaves against a background of older green leaves

Aqueligia leaves unfurling softly in the undergrowth ...

Image shows green curled leaves emerging from the undergrowth

the fuzziness of Papaver orientale leaves as they too emerge from their Winter sleep ...

Image shows green furry leaves of Papaver orientale

Magnolia stellata flower buds still in their velvet casings ...

Image shows furry casing of a Magnolia flower to the left and in focus, with the rest of the plant to the right and slightly out of focus

Arum maculatum (Lords and Ladies, Arum lily) - oh, I've tried very hard to encourage this plant to leave my garden but it's not having any of it.  I find something very creepy about the tall spikes of poisonous red berries that appear in the Autumn and whilst I have to agree that the Spring leaves are very lovely, I would be happy not to have it the garden at all.  Perhaps I need to try harder with my "encouraging", but then again, perhaps the answer is just not to go near it if I can help it.  We inherited a couple of plants in this garden that are not keen to leave, and having lived here for nearly seventeen years now, perhaps I need to realise that they are here and that's that!

Image shows green leaves with an intricate white pattern on them

I still haven't put my seed order in and I really must take a look through my seed box to see what I've got; every year I tell you that I'm going to get the garden sorted and then it rains all Summer and I don't feel any further on than I did.  This year, though ... this year I really want to try and get my poor overgrown borders sorted out, and I need to sit down and make myself a plan for getting that done.  I'll tell you now so that you can hold me to it!

I feel so much better for having been out in the garden, for taking my deep breaths of fresh air and for my impromptu treasure hunt in the borders!  Thanks for coming with me!

Indoors, there has been knitting occurring.  Of course.  And it's been socks.  Of course.  I mentioned the other week that I had some things going on that I couldn't show you just yet and I still have, but I can tell you that I've been playing with some new patterns and trying them out using this yarn - Blueberry Bon Bon on the left and golden yellow Butterscotch on the right.  Oh, I did think about using a different yarn to WYS Signature just for a change, but the truth of it is that I love this yarn and I didn't want to.  It copes with me practising stitches, ripping out, starting again, trialling swatches in the round and flat; it just lets me get on with it all and when I'm ready to start, it still knits up as well as if it had just come out of the ball and hadn't been messed about with for the last week and a half.  It makes me happy, this yarn.  

Image shows two balls of WYS Signature 4ply yarn on a white background.  To the left is Blueberry Bon Bon and to the right is Butterscotch (yellow)

There was more happy yarn yesterday when this skein of HeartSpun eco yarn landed on the door mat.  It was created as a Kickstarter campaign by Helen of WoollyChic who wanted to create a no-nylon yarn in a blend that isn't currently available to knitters and crocheters.  It's made from 70% Bluefaced Leicester wool and 30% Tencel, which is a fibre created from renewable wood pulp grown in certified sustainable forests in Europe and South Africa which replaces the nylon.  Tencel is 100% biodegradable and requires less energy and water than fibres such as bamboo, cotton and viscose.  Sounds interesting?  I thought so!  As you'll know, I'm always interested in no-nylon yarns so I signed up to the campaign and once it had been spun and dyed, my yarn arrived in the post.  So far, my first impressions are excellent - the yarn is soft, smooth, just the right shade of purple and I'm looking forward to trying it out for socks!

Image shows a skein of purple yarn lying on a white background with a postcard of a sheep knitting under a tree

I am, you will be pleased to know, going to wait until I've finished one of my other pairs before casting on though.  I've got quite enough going on without another WIP on the needles just now (and actually, I think there are WIPs on all my needles!).  This is the first sock of the Stylecraft pair that I've been working on (the Windowsill Sock is still waiting for it's heel so I'll quietly leave it where it is in case it starts getting antsy with me 😀) and I've cast on sock number two so that I've got some easy knitting to carry around with me.  I do like a nice stripey sock on the go!

Image shows a finished stripy sock on a sock blocker lying on a wooden table

As a very tenuous link to needles, and hooks, I'm going to be at my local yarn shop, Black Sheep Wools this Saturday (7 March 2020) with my very good friends Emma Varnam and Lucy of Attic24 with our blankets, socks and crocheted toys.  Do come and say hello, bring your questions and your projects for us to admire - we'll be around from 10am to 4pm - it'll be lovely to see you!

Image shows three women in a yarn shop.  Emma Varnam on the left wears a red crochet granny square cardigan and jeans, Lucy of Attic24 in the middle wears a blue and white tunic in a diamond pattern with a mustard cardigan and Christine Perry on the right wears a denim dress and a multi-coloured scarf
Source: Black Sheep Wools


Black Sheep Wools, Glaziers Lane, Culcheth, WA3 4AQ   
Telephone: 01925 764231 



4 comments:

  1. The HeartSpun yarn looks interesting, and I love the colour. As I get older, I'm drawn to purple - like the poem! Signs of Spring popping up, just need a bit of dry and warmth to go with them. Itching to get to work in the garden, but I'm definitely a fair weather gardener! xx

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  2. I always enjoy seeing what you are knitting. :) The yarns look wonderful!

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  3. Lovely to see the pictures from your garden to brighten up the dreary days we've been having lately.
    I do love the scarf you are wearing in the photo - what is is knitted in and where can I get the pattern?
    I'm busy with socks for my daughter's birthday this month and a jumper for my grandson's birthday next month.
    We live in Somerset but stopped at Black Sheep Wools on our way home from the Lake District last autumn - I bought some wool to knit my husband a jumper but haven't had time to start it yet so will have to do that after the birthday knits.

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    1. It sounds like you've got plenty lined up on your needles!

      The scarf/shawl I'm wearing is called Couthie, it's a free pattern here on the blog if you look at my patterns page, and it's knitted in a skein of Cuddlebums hand-dyed yarn that I bought many years ago :)

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