Wednesday 30 January 2008


Beautiful roses to cheer a cold, blustery day. I may have to make an early dash for home if the white stuff begins to fall here in Sheffield, if I'm going to have a hope of making it back over the hills tonight. (Yippeee!)
A bargain ebay buy, these tiny cigarette cards are a series of old fashioned roses and I could happily have every one in my garden, if only I had the space.

I'm not completely sure where they will find a home but I think they may appear in the corners of a few mirrors or picture frames, perhaps on a shelf, even on the bookcase. But I'll have to be subtle though because Woody has a pathological hatred of roses, mostly the planted kind - I must be careful. I think it comes from too much pruning as a teenage Saturday gardener.
He even wants to put a stop to any in the garden but as he doesn't have a single green finger he can whistle! I think I can hide some in amongst the perennials and a climber over the garden shed should be ok, anything but those standards in the middle of a bed in the lawn that were my grandad's pride and joy.
I can't wait to get into our new garden and start sorting. At the moment it's very square, very bare and very brown. Everything is in straight lines and really bland so this book has given me lots of ideas and inspiration. I think the author used to be the gardening columnist for Country Living, fancy me liking this book so much!

What a dream, a border like this! My plot is rather small though so the ideas need to be radically scaled down. I'm pretty much a novice but I've made some plans and lots of lists (I love a list) of what I'd like to see flowering each month and as soon as the nurseries begin to fill up, my teeny monthly treat fund with disappear into their tills rather than ebay!

Cow parsely is my favourite wild flower and this pink version will definitely be squeezed in

Of course I could get ahead and plant some seeds but there is something you must know- I am rubbish with seeds. Much compost is bought, many packets perused, mulled over and savoured. Beautiful packets, brightly coloured and full of summer promise are neatly packed into my special tin and even arranged in date order for planting. Even the boys join in with the sowing and watering and wondering what will appear..... and then I forget about them until a couple of weeks later when someone knocks a tray of very dry and dusty compost into the kitchen sink and shouts "uggh what's this!"

I know - useless! You wouldn't believe how often I've done it so no more.

(Readers of this blog may have realised by now that I'm the sort of person who loves thinking of new things to do but might not really be the best at finishing them! I'm determined to have some finished projects to share in the near future though - I promise!)

(This is top of my wish list - an oriental poppy called Patty's Plum)

Fortunately mum is a bit of a plantswoman with overflowing borders that often need thinning out so lots of plants are on their way in the spring. At the old place we planted a bed together that flowered from May to October with just a bit of deadheading and watering required. It was completely glorious and I'm hoping I can do the same at No 25. This is what I'm aiming for so we'll see!

Thanks ever so much for all the brilliant advice and hints about embroidery and especially the link to Primrose Design which has the most brilliant online photos of how to do stitches (thanks FK - fantastic!) You're all so kind and the encourgement means the world to me, (husbands I find don't really appreciate embroidery after a long, hard day.) I'm sorry if I haven't managed to write back to everyone individually but hope you'll take this thank you as your own, from me, from the heart.

While I'm waiting for the vintage embroidery transfers to arrive I've been having a little practice on an old sheet. French knots (which I now know are what the little bobbly stitches are called - how embarrassing!) didn't prove too difficult and I've managed to do lazy daisy stitches to make flowers (going to be very useful!). It turns out that my bargain embroidery silks are too fine, even using all the threads they're too narrow for the look I like. I want something a bit woolly and chunkier. Oooooh - I feel a shopping trip coming on....


tess said...

oh summmer gardens and roses, how lovely, it's blowing a gale here, no sign of the snow yet though, hope you have a lovely cosy weekend.

Ragged Roses said...

Hi Steph!
Hope you got home before the snow. Lovely rose cards, I think you'll have to plant some roses secretly and tell Woody they were there all the time! That looks like a great book and it is a beautiful border. Hope you have a good weekend
PS I am hopeless at growing things from seed, I tend to just open packet on bed and leave to grow. surprising Love in a Mist likes it this way! We've got a Patty's plum and she's beautiful

gayle said...

I love roses too but the blasted greenfly almost put me off! Veg for me this year mainly but think one rose will need to go in the other garden in Donegal. Glad the embroidery is coming together too. Hope you have a nice weekend. If you want to email me at any stage (see link on my blog)I can contact you outside the blog. Take care, Gayle/Retrorose.

cd&m said...

Your embroidery transfers look lovely and your bound to have fun stitching your own pillow cases. And what fun to have a garden to make over, your lucky that your Mother is a keen gardener it will save you a fortune in plants.

French Knots said...

It's great planning the borders at this time of year and it makes the summer seem closer.
Hope you got home before the snow!

mollycupcakes said...

What a gorgeous book. The flowers are just lovely. I like the cow parsley, cool name.
Have a great weekend, lets hope the sunshines for us all and none of that white stuff lol

Catherine x

Rubyred said...

Love the rose cards.I love climbing roses.Hope you have a lovely time with your stitching.

Pretty Practicals said...

Hi, what a great find the little cards are, they're lovely pictures of roses. Our garden is a wilderness of brown and black messiness at the mo, but by mid summer it is full of roses and wildflowers (my husband calls them weeds, but I have a different take on the subject!).
For planting inspiration, I have a look at Christopher Lloyd's books, all with beautiful photographs of his garden (& he's a really witty writer too!).
Have fun with the sewing.

dragonfly said...

Those borders are fabulous. I always have high hopes for my one border, but I've yet to get it right. If you like cow parsley, try some Ammi Majus seeds (from Sarah Raven), they're easy and gorgeous.

pinkgreen said...

I love those rose cards - they will look great in a frame. We have been out fitting a new fence today and there are signs of bulbs popping up all over the place. I love cottage garden borders, and I am also planning a cutting garden at the allotment this year so the books are coming out for me too to get inspiration!
Thanks for nominating me for the blogging award by the way - I haven't managed to catch up with it all yet!
Cathy XX

Cowboys and Custard Mercantile said...

Hello Steph
It is lovely to hear of your passion for plants and being creative in the garden.
My father's favourite was Patty's Plum and he gave me some seeds which I intend to plant in my garden this year..
I love the chock full garden and mine is a long way off from being my ideal garden but it is so much fun and so satisfying watching a garden evolve. It sounds as though you have a fairly blank canvas which is really exciting... enjoy planning your plot and making plant lists.. won't be long till you see the fruits of your labour blossom!

Vintage to Victorian said...

Hi Steph

I'm looking forward to watching your garden grow! I love all oriental poppies, but Patty's Plum in particular.

Another good embroidery website is There is a stitch dictionary and all sorts of other lovely information and pictures. Have fun.

Sue x