Here we are, after what felt like the longest January and flash-by Feb, I hope you've had a pleasant start to the new year. I thought it'd be a while before I could introduce grassy vibrancy back on the blog, what with winter and icy cold walks being the norm. Yet, it's a chance to share my birthday from earlier last year in May. I hoped to share it closer to the time...yet procrastination got the better of me. It was my 28th in fact. Do I feel my years? Not so much. You're as old as you feel though, right? Quote me on that in about 20 years when the #LeafLadies movement (the politically correct term - no Crazy Plant Lady here) is in full force. Sounds like the dream to be honest.
We visited Calke Abbey in Derbyshire, surrounded by greenery. There's an undeniable happiness it brings and reminds me that summer isn't too far away, especially when I look out of my window right now to see a blizzard. No exaggeration. I'm considering this get-up for the next trudge into town. Even so, there is something mesmerizing about watching the snow. Wooden branches in the distance lay like an inviting outdoor installation. A quick hike up the marshy hill led me to find a giant dino-lizard snapping at my heels. No time to stop...
Venturing in, we found hand-crafted sculptures in wood and wrought-iron lining the garden square. The horsie heads in particular were eye-catching, with curved panels of wood carefully pieced together. I'm hoping to create a dimensional illustration in my garden this year. Small shards of wood forming multiple figures. Handsaw and sandpaper at the ready. This summer, it's be nice to create larger planters to house all the floral trees, such as the magnolia and cherry blossom. This way, there'll be space for roots to spread out and branches to flower. We stopped for carrot cake and tea, surrounded by specks of colour. The more sedate lifestyle has kicked in...and quite frankly, I love it.
Walking through, I admired the various blooms whilst trying to decide which one to purchase. Creamy white petals took centre stage, with their long draping stems. I didn't catch their name although if I had to guess, I'd say a variety of gladioli? Three years ago, I planted peacock orchids, which have similar elegant flower heads. Their bulbs also multiply naturally, so I found many beautiful clusters popping up unexpectedly. Not to mention the stunning fragrance they release. If you're going to plant any flowers for their scent, make it this variety. Here's hoping the tuberoses I planted come to bloom this year, as they're also known for their aroma. The garden critters need to take a back seat and resist eating them.
We were looking forward to exploring the stately manor which the grounds hold, yet we missed the last tour time. I guess it's an excuse to come and visit another time with family -alike our day in Newark. Many a stable to see here, alas no horsies this time around. Ivy crept up the walls, reminding me of how it enthusiastically made it's way up tree trunks two Januaries ago, That particular day is a little more fitting in matching the current chill in the air (I'll be staying here and thinking warm thoughts).
A field of delicate Queen Anne's lace looked as though it had been carefully meshed together. Something I want to do more of this year is hand-stitch. I recently purchased a stash of seed beads to sew onto paper. If I'm treating myself, it's usually to art goodies and such - it's for my craft, so justifiable, of course. It starts with 'Oh, I need some light green beads. May as well get them in dark green too seeing as I'm here... can't hold out on the turquoise andd checkout'. As pretty as they look in the beadtrove, a mini goal of mine is to get them threaded onto a surface. Also, It must've been my first time seeing black petunias, so they had to make small feature. Fielding and covering many a floral base here.
When toadstools make an appearance, a pixie moment is inevitable. You should see the outtakes of trying to hop aboard - it's a lot higher than it looks. We'll save those for another day (nope). I chose the dianthus in a pastel shade of orange as my birthday plant. I have a variety of this flower in shades of pink and they've grown back year after year. They happen to be more commonly known as 'pinks' too, irrespective of colour. Hopefully this one will continue to re-bloom annually in the garden, reminding me of this point in my life.
The dresses I usually wear tend to be of a flared style. yet I was happy to wear this floral number that my mum actually sewed for for me. The love of sewing is indeed something that's passed down. The apple gladly doesn't fall far and all. I paired it with some tassel loafers, I do like fringe-like detailing, be it on a shoe or paper. Spotting this nettle mass reminded me of the perils of pricking plants, alike rosehip thorns - a price I was willing to pay for creating art that day.
Our first encounter when we came upon the vast grounds, was with plentiful sheep. They dotted along the landscape and we were welcomed with a chorus of bleating. Maybe they were singing Happy Birthday. Casual sauntering and days basking in the shade, like little lamb here have got to be the best. I'm having a hard time believing that May is rolling around again, so very soon. Winding roads twisted in the hilly distance, asking to be explored...
Various stones were embedded in the patchwork wall, with different textures and colours working together. It was reminiscent of a collection of minaudierès and totes. Speaking of stone bags, Barbara Segal is an artist whose work takes heavy shopping bags to a whole new level. She deftly carves handbags from precious stones, such as marble and onyx. Each design is sculpted to the nearest mm measurement of the original bag, The attention to detail and bands of colour are astounding. It'd be a Herculean feat walking around with these creations - probably best to admire from a table top on this occasion.
Fields of gold. Sting wasn't joking when he said 'you'll remember me' - he was clearly singing from the perspective of the yellow-petalled fleurs. We were initially going to call it a day, before we decided to set out on one last stroll around the grounds. The sunshine piercing through was a dream. Taking those extra steps showed that it's the only way to find out where the path leads. If the bright buttercup field we discovered is anything to go by, I'm going to go ahead and believe it's somewhere beautifully surreal.