Saturday, 30 May 2009

Queen of white..

After all that colour of the last few posts, I have a longing for pale soothing white.
And the queen of white is stylist, Atlanta Bartlett. The brilliant Decor8 who can do no wrong showed me the light( or should I say white)with this post and I have been hypnotised for the last few hours.

and...breathe...and ...relax....

Wonderful cake stand usage here.. great idea for wedding tables or dinner tables or windows.

She also runs a location company called Beach Studios. This house has me and the shoe all of a tizz as it's similar to our Victorian terraced mansion,the style covers huge swathes of South London.

And this hallway is so elegant with the wood panelling doors.

There are books too for more inspiration.

How could you be anything but serene and calm living here?

My own little study is a work of white in progress,bits still need doing.
It is a wonderful room of peace as it looks out over the park. It was the room that most needed a transformation when we moved in and now it's perfect for watching the world outside your window-which is mainly birds and dog walkers!

We painted it in Farrow and Ball only because it was a small room! I think it was called twine. I do love their colours and the names are fabulous- things like mouse's breath or elephant's back, ok, maybe I made those up but they're very similar!
Looking at this last picture- I think I would quite like a paint called Honeybunch's Ear...!

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Lady of the Sweetpeas ...and how I met the Titchmarsh!

So at the end of the best week of flowers, they ring the bell for the 'grand sell-off' and then all hands to the fore as everything is either sold or given away. The civilized crowd suddenly turns into a mass of sharp elbows shoving, and fear glazed eyes! Queues snake around each stand,with ladies in frilly skirts and straw hats eyeing their chosen plants like Clint Eastwood under a desert sun.. It's rather like that scene in Finding Nemo with the seagulls all crying 'mine, mine,mine'.

Doesn't this lady look delightful? I was trying to take a picture of her for ages.

The Shoe and I were rather laid back about the whole thing. I,of course wanted to come back with some reminder but as we were yet to 'design' our garden, we thought it best just to see what found us. We headed back to the pavillion where the garden nurseries have their stands just to see what was up for offers and then 15 minutes before the bell was rung,I finally found the sweetpea stand.

Now these flowers are my most favourite of all flowers in the world and that's saying something. The lemony,lavanderie,vanilla scent reminds me of summer childhood holidays,and all the best things and make me happy beyond words. For our wedding ceremony we lined the aisle with jars of sweetpeas to scent me down the aisle! Anyway... you get the idea!

There we were,15 minutes to go,in front if the rainbow-hued display and we ask if we can buy any. 'We give them away as they won't last much longer' came the reply! BRILLO!
Say no more, I took up position behind the rope along with a few other sweetpea fans and then ding ding ding, all hands on deck and I was soon rewarded with the biggest arrangement I'd ever seen of beautiful mixed Spencer sweetpeas. Heaven! And I did feel triumphant as they were the most scented and in best condition. They were greatly coveted.

I was getting many admiring glances and smiles of approval as we made our way through the crowds. We even picked up an everlasting sweetpea plant that was going very cheap. We staggered out into the sunshine,what a sight, especially as it made my love looked like he had a lovely green hat.

And suddenly I heard the Shoe shout back at me 'Titchmarsh!' And there just in front of us was the T-man doing a live filming of people with their plants. I edged my way forward trying to get noticed with my sweetpeas saying 'pick me,pick me' under my breath and then through the crowd surrounding El Titchio, I spotted the producer man pointing at me, was he really pointing??..yes he was- pointing... at me! and then next thing I know, a very orange Alan is shoving a microphone in my face and sniffing my sweetpeas...!! Ooo moment of excitement!
I blithered something and then he was gone on to the next flower fanatic with their prized goods.
We rushed home laden with sweetpeas and foxgloves, not the easiest thing to manouvre on trains and later that night we watched the television show at my wonderful Granny's house,full of the tales of the day,telling her what it was like in real life and so came the scenes of the big sell off and what d'ya know? There, almost hidden beneath my armful of purple and pink flowers was me looking very happy!! We screamed with laughter, I couldnt believe it, out of all the people they must have filmed.. Fame at last! Well my 5 seconds worth anyways! It was the icing on the most delicious cake and one of the happiest days I'd had for a long time.

Here is the link to the show on BBC iplayer for uk readers. It's only available till saturday so get it while you can! Scroll through to about 53 minutes and there you'll see little ol'me and my blink and you miss it tv appearance!

( For those you unaware of the tv presenter Lord Marsh of Titch,his name is usually preceded by the words 'housewife's favourite'.Typically English, to some he's warm, gentle,friendly- to others inoffensive,dull and bland but the best word is probably 'nice' and he's well on his way to becoming a very British institution, a bastion of niceness as much of cups of tea and perfectly striped green lawns. Every year, he presents a week of programmes from the Chelsea show... he does know his gardens!)

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Courtyard and Urban Gardens.

The courtyard gardens; small spaces but were so inspiring for us to see how you can create beautiful lush gardens with not much room!

The Kitchen garden, how handy to be able to reach up and pluck your salad from the wall as you prepare lunch.
Like to see that sold in ikea!

Strawberries growing in colanders

The Entente Cordiale garden
A wonderful jardin francaise, eating croissants in front of geranium filled window boxes. All the colours were red,white and blue!

Each garden was more and more breathtaking as I elbowed my way through the crowds.
This one was so calming and elegant,just white and green plants,peonies,rambling roses,foxgloves,allium,silver birch trees, contrasting against the red bricks. Simple and perfect.
I do love a walled garden.

Even a blackbird stopped by to admire it!

A garden for a potter. Again wonderfully wild and naturalistc, alliums echoed the shape of the pots.

This was my favourite, 'the alchemist's garden'. The styling was fantastic, you could just picture a mystical alchemsist concocting potions and polstices amongst the plants and books. Even a beehive!

All the plants and herbs were those that would be used in alchemy. Fennel,digitalis,woad.

The urban gardens were a bit more light hearted. Who needs a moat if your front garden looks like this?

And this was the famous plasticine garden, I could hardly get near it for the crowds.

And the Biker garden. With a real life Ace of Spades!!

Songs for the one you love..

Sometimes you hear a song and it's like a little slice of perfection.
The words seem to capture what must ring through so many hearts when thinking of their love. And the melody,gentle and summery, perfect for a wedding ceremony,
or just waltzing round the kitchen in your pyjamas.
I can't stop singing it!

If the stars were mine
I'd give them all to you
I'd pluck them down right from the sky
and leave it only blue
I would never let the sun forget to shine upon your face
so when others would have rain clouds you'd have only sunny days
If the stars were mine
I'd tell you what I'd do
I'd put the stars right in a jar and give 'em all to you

If the birds were mine
I'd tell them when to sing
I'd make them sing a sonnet when your telephone would ring
I would put them there inside the square, whenever you went out
so there'd always be sweet music whenever you would walk about
If the birds were mine
I'd tell you what I'd do
I'd teach the birds such lovely words and make 'em sing for you
I'd teach the birds such lovely words and make 'em sing for you

If the world was mine
I'd paint it gold and green
I'd make the oceans orange for a brilliant color scheme
I would color all the mountains, make the sky forever blue
So the world would be a painting and I'd live inside with you
If the world was mine
I'd tell you what I'd do
I'd wrap the world in ribbons and then give it all to you
I'd teach the birds such lovely words and make 'em sing for you
I'd put those stars right in a jar...and..........
give them you......

Monday, 25 May 2009

The Show gardens

There are three types of gardens at Chelsea Flower Show. The show gardens,urban gardens and the courtyard gardens. The Show gardens are the largest and had the widest range of styles from the most modern,structured and dramatic to romantic cottage style.

These were my favourites:

The Wetland garden that was inspired by the bogs of East Anglia, with undulating wood sculpture and a shimmery mermaid(that's what I decided she was!) and lots of swampy type plants.

The Future Nature garden. A garden for a city, so inventive, it's aim was conserving water, surviving drought or floods, providing habitat for wildlife and planting that looked after itself.

It had storm water basins, wild flower meadow,butterfly mounds and the vertical garden tower which somehow absorbed the water from below.

The other side was full of recycled material like egg boxes,broken pots,newspaper,twigs to insects and birds to live in or make nests with.
Clever huh? A hotel for wildlife.

I think this was my favourite, a real oasis beneath maple trees and foxgloves towering high. There were quotes from Keats and Tennyson carved into the wall. Somewhere you could sit and ponder the hours away.

The Tennyson quote was from 'The Oak'
' Live thy life,Young and old,Like yon oak,Bright in Spring, Living gold.'

This garden was called The Key and was ceated by The Eden Project with the help of homeless projects and prisoners. It was amazing- loads going on,all in a rustic shades of rust,bronze and green. Everywhere you looked there were vegetables mixed in with flowers, the keyhole arch was covered with courgette plants.

And the paths were scattered with keys!

With a vegetable garden worthy of Beatrix Potter illustration, where was Peter Rabbit though?
The wall of tomato plants was a fab idea.

Another garden were water was a central theme. Here it showed how important gardens were to prevent flooding. Water poured down the roof and was collected in a channel that ran through local Yorkshire stone.

The colours were glorious with very naturalistic planting,foxgloves,ferns,flax, cowslips. Wouldn't it be wonderful to live in that cottage.

This was the garden that won best in show.
The spectrum of silvers and purple was beautiful.

And I adore these inky purpley black irises.

This was called 'echoes of Japan in an English garden'. Although the Shoe overheard someone say it was like a village pond filled with rubbish! Charming..
It glimmered with glass sculptures

You can see more of the show gardens here.