Category Archives: From Sewing Room To Potting Shed

The Demise of a Ladder

Friday 11 March.

Today has been a truly beautiful day, sunshine all the way. So this had to be the start of the big garden tidy. After a winter of extremely wet conditions we can finally get to work.

A sad site greeted us, my favorite Auricula ladder had all but died. Luckily I had removed the pots during the winter to save them from cracking with frost. The ladder however had taken a turn for the worse. I know it wasn’t going to last long being outside in all weathers but it was still sad all the same.This ladder was given to me by my lovely son in law, a rescue from a University skip.

The legs had crumbled and some of the steps had started to come away from the side supports, so there was only one thing for it. The legs have been shortened and is now wired to the fence down the garden where Clematis Alba Luxurians and two roses will keep it company. But… I now need another wooden ladder to replace it !!! I do have another being used for Auricula that was Mr Malc’s grandfather’s but it is too big for this space.

auricula ladder

This is the last time you will see this ladder full of Auricula. Although, this picture is now going to be published in a book about Auricula by Barnhaven Primroses in the very near future. Saved for posterity …

15 March

As for the big tidy up this was started on Sunday, the garden waste bins are full the borders are looking better. All ready for feeding and mulching…that can wait for another day.IMG_4226



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It’s Official

Yes it’s official we are now in the Yellow Book, opening with the National Gardens Scheme. We will be opening for one day in May, along with two other gardens in the area. We will also carry on opening with our local trail in June.



I have to say I feel quite privileged to be asked to be in the Book , as we are a small garden with wonky paths and not a great deal of wheelchair access. Having said that I do try to involve anyone who is disabled by bringing pieces of various plants to them to smell or admire and I really love to talk plants with my visitors. It’s a passion that I love to share.

On a different note I’ve been sewing again. You may remember back in January last year I made a hessian book, it was in the post ‘Is It Another Bag’. I have at last started to fill it.

A picture inspired by the frosts that we have had lately , some spring gems and Primula veris Gold Laced. Hopefully I will have some more colourful pictures soon.

I’ve spent a lovely morning in the garden today clipping back and tidying, things are really on the move now and it will soon be time to pot up plants to sell. I have a windowsill full of seedlings in my workroom and the propagators are working overtime , these are all my new seeds so watch this space for some new and exciting arrivals . This is the best time of the year……If the sun is shinning where you are, I hope you are able to get out and enjoy it what ever you do.  Sue




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First Post

I can’t believe that January has all but gone and this is my first post of the year. With the garden thoroughly soaked and virtually impossible to walk on there won’t be any proper gardening posts for a while. But my short forays to feed the birds has given me lots of opportunity to take pictures of the early emerging flowers. Hellebore and the Iris Reticulata seem to have been my stalwarts so far.

As with many of us, this winter has been quite unusual, mostly for the unprecedented amount of rain that the UK has had to put up with. Strong winds have removed lots of dead bits from my trees so doing the job for me, warm weather is keeping me on my toes where the greenhouse is concerned and I have had to spray for fungus and mould several times in order to help the Auricula and Pelargonium survive, so far so good.

Soon I will be getting the heated propagators out. I do seem to have an inordinate amount of seed packets this year. Well variety is the spice of life, so I’ve heard. So apart from all the exotics that I am going to try to grow this year, I’ve opted for an unusual colour for sweetpeas, orange, ‘Henry Eckford’ named after a Scots horticulturist and a famous breeder of sweetpeas. Looking in the greenhouse today and the seed, which I only sown 10 days ago, is up and showing little noses.

What are you going to sow this year ? Anything unusual ? ….can’t wait to see the outcome……



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And ‘Sew to Bed’

The garden is now 90% put to bed for the winter, just the last remaining few bulbs to plant this weekend weather permitting.

A review of the year starts me going off on tangents thinking about next season. Things that have done well and quite a lot that have now been pottered up for sale or binned. Pottered up for sale doesn’t mean that I am selling someone a rubbish plant, just something that doesn’t fit into the scheme of things. I often grow things that I have bought or have been given only to find that the colour is wrong and cannot be placed anywhere else or it might outgrow it’s allotted space. These would always be labelled as such.

So , what has done well this year ? Well my spring highlight was my blue poppy flowering for the first time and as we speak the plant is still looking green and fresh.


All the Roscoea have done really well and a couple have only just stopped flowering.



Another first for me this year Gladiolus papilio ‘Ruby’, bought two seasons ago and has given me four spikes of flower.


Verbascum ‘The Bride’, grown from seed this year and producing large self supporting spires of the most beautiful flowers, even now in mid November they are still flowering well.


And a stalwart of my autumn garden, Chrysanthemum ‘Jessie Cooper’ the only chrysant’ I grow but boy is it a beauty. Decease free, long lasting in a vase, still flowering now.


Saxifraga fortunei, really worth the wait to see all this mass of frothy white stars.


Whereas the roses were pretty poor this year, the Auricula have done very well along with iris and day lilies. The spring bulbs looked great but with the usual problem of Spanish bluebells which increase faster than I can cope with, weedkiller will be my last resort. The Autumn colour has been phenomenal this year with all of the Sorbus colouring up and producing berries, lots of the climbing roses bearing hips. My Ginkgo and twisted willow are now the only trees that are still to fully colour up. So as the last leaves drop the big sweep up starts, the seed catalogues are already filled in, seeds chosen and plants ordered from Nurseries. My workroom beckons, all this inspiration from trips out and things I’ve seen fire up the juices, so watch this space……


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Cooling Down and Hotting Up.

As the garden starts to cool down, taking on it’s stunningly beautiful autumn colours, my workroom starts to hot up. Filled with inspiration and enthusiasm I now feel the need to make, make, make.


But first possibly a final look at the garden before it goes to sleep. My neighbours beautiful Copper Beech looking at it’s best, won’t be long before the whole lot falls then I’ll be out there raking leaves. The only problem with these is that they take far too long to break down into leaf mulch.


I have a habit of not throwing anything away even bits of wood. These tend to be placed around the pond as hiding places for newts and other small creatures. These lovely bits of wood then often produce fungi which to me are as beautiful as the flowers around.


Some years I may see none at all but this year seems to be a good one.


A general view of the bottom garden, this is where we removed the g/daughters playhouse from. You would never have thought it had ever been there. Lots of autumn colour in this area asters, cyclamen,phlox and a couple of grasses. In the background the rusty leaves of viburnum opulus.


The ever welcome flowers of saxifraga fortunei. Flowering really late in the season and looking so delicate you would think that the cooler nights would kill it off.


And still we have roses. This one being Rosa Macmillan Nurse a very pure white flowering right up till the frosts. Papaver rupifragum still flowering it’s socks off. Behind is a pink hydrangea now turned a lovely dusky deeper shade.

So as a taster from the sewing room. A piece of fabric bought possibly last year from Best Fabrics Castle Donnington, just enough for an autumn inspired bag. Thinking about the softer colours this barrel type bag has two side pockets and an internal one, I was going to use some pale leather on it but working on the hoof I change my designs throughout my making up process and decided against it.


Bag handles made. Fabric not leather.


Internals done, bag base stiffening in place.


As a fastener for the sides I had two studs left over from when I made my leather weekend bag last year. Finishing off the sides nicely.


All labelled up…..


…and ready to go.


Still have a few jobs to do in the garden, several bags of tulips to go in, plants to move and the whole garden to mulch for the winter then it’s time to start making all those things I’ve been planning. Bring it on…… Sue


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