It’s been a windy and cold in Manchester this week. There’s still some summer flowers hanging on, but mostly it’s full-on autumn colours reds, orange and yellow. I’ve not been out in the garden to do any jobs as the weather has been foul. Planting tulips in pots in the porch have been my main focus this week. Also, I’ve been busy crafting felt poppies for my Remembrance Day Poppy Door Wreath.
There are many poppies too – as there should be at this time of year. There are some stunning installations near Churches and memorials, in parks and in railway stations. Our WI sent poppies to one of our sister groups out in a small village in Lancashire who was making felt and wool poppy wreaths for their war memorial – I made 16 felt poppies.
This is one of two standard viburnum trees that came as a wedding gift to us last year; they were in full bloom for our wedding in September 2017. Since then – they’ve flowered at very random times – I think the very cold weather in March and boiling heat in June/July has confused the plants. They’ve been re-potted so I hope they survive the winter OK.
I don’t know the variety, as M and S didn’t admit it. I’ll take some bud photos next time it’s sunny to help me identify it – no scent though.
Do my gardening pals have any ideas what variety it might be?
“Calming the mind is yoga. Not just standing on the head.” Swami Satchidananda
This week, despite the heat in Manchester, I’ve done quite a bit of gardening in the evenings, when most of our North facing garden is in the shade. I notice my mood is better if I’ve spent time outdoors, especially pottering around and watering the plants. I’ve rationalised my plants into bigger pots, pushed together so that I can water everything I need to and bigger pots retain the moisture. It’s also the first summer I’ve watered shrubs in the garden. It takes me about half an hour to water the pots (with a watering can and water from the water butts). We have had so little rain here – and the temperatures have been in the high 20s for a couple of months. Also, I’ve put succulents, sedums and drought tolerant plants in my hanging baskets. Gardening helps me be mindful – as does yoga.
7 August 2018 – posy of sweetpeas, lavender and dianthus – with The Book of You and a Be present yoga print
How yoga helps my mind, body and spirit
I’ve been practising yoga, on and off, for about 12 years, starting completely by accident. A friend of mine had a pal who was learning to be an Iyengar yoga teacher so needed people to practise with. It was right next to work, straight after work so it seemed a good thing to do. It changed my life.
When I was younger I had poor spacial awareness and was always tripping over, which lead to some hilarious incidents including my Steve (my former partner) pulling me out of a peat bog as I’d sunk up to my knees and was slowly falling face forward into the bog. Another time I went flying, just as a busload of tourists came round the corner in very rural Ireland. I was always collecting bruises from bumping into things.
It’s a long time ago, but the first things I noticed doing yoga was that it helped me stretch (especially my hamstrings), helped calm my brain as I was concentrating on breathing and the position of my limbs. I learnt to do corpse pose (Shavasana) not ‘banana’ pose as my first Yoga teacher Jacky named it. Yoga isn’t a quick fix – it took me about 6 weeks to see the real benefit. I carried on with Jacky’s classes and then John Aplin for years until my work pattern changed.
This week I’ve been watching a lot of tennis (and drinking Pimms). It’s definitely part of my summer schedule to watch Wimbledon, I’ve watched it since I was a child. My Mum loves watching tennis, so I caught the bug from her. We went to Wimbledon in 1977 when I was 11 – Centre Court tickets. We saw Billy Jean King and Martina, Ile Nastase, a very young John McEnroe. we had a brilliant day. I’d love to go again, need to remember to apply for the ballot 🙂 A friend told me she won ballot tickets for the Ladies Final in 2009, when Serena beat Venus, so it’s worth a go.
Dianthus and Lavender In My Vase on a Monday
So for today’s vase, I thought I’d do a Wimbledon theme. There’s always plenty of flowers and plants around the Wimbledon site – and it all looks lovely from what you can see in on the TV/ I picked some dianthus (commonly known as pinks), some purple perennial wallflower (which is still flowering!), white pelargonium and a different lavender from last week. These colours sum up summer for me – pinks, reds, purples and whites. My strawberries are over so I couldn’t include them 🙁 The plants aren’t looking very happy in the heat even though they’re in the shade.
Hot hot hot in our garden
It is very dry in our garden, as we’ve only had significant rain one evening last week and once in June. The temperature has been in mid-20s for a couple months now – with no cloud cover. Our houses in the UK aren’t designed for this level of sustained heat. I have the curtains shut at the front of the house and I am grateful for once for a north-facing back garden. I’d been gardening in the shade when I can too. I’m using the watering can every day- the water butts are full again from last weeks rain so that helps.
The huge moorland fires at Winter Hill, by Bolton and Dovestones, by Oldham are only a few miles from me – the smell of smoke hung across the city centre for a few days two weeks ago. The firefighters are still dampening down the peat, many footpaths and a few roads are closed. Grim.
The flowers are displayed in a small jug with roses on, that I bought at Bodnant Garden, a National Trust property, where My Chap and I got engaged in June 2016. We have picnics often so one of my small hampers is a prop too. I’ve written before about Bodnant, and the jug has appeared before, too:
I don’t have any dainty teacups to put in this shot, as I only have chunky big mugs for tea but I’m sure you get the idea with the mini jug, and the sign is a nod to the scoring in tennis and the small picnic hamper.
Do have a look at Cathy’s post in Rambling in the Garden – she has zinnias this week which I’ve never attempted to grow. Maybe next year.
The History of Pimms
I love Pimms – I drink it all year round, usually in pint glasses without fruit just mint and Ice. Drinking pints of Pimms is my Dad’s fault as he couldn’t be bothered to go back into the kitchen to pour more Pimms when we were sat out enjoying the sunshine in the back garden. I like the Blackberry and Elderflower Pimms too – it tastes like alcoholic Ribena. Yoda likes Pimms too 😉 For those that don’t know Pimms was invented in 1823 by James Pimm who owned oyster bars in the City of London. It’s a gin-based drink and even now the herbs and spices used are a secret recipe. He went on to invent a number of Cups based on different spirits including No. 6 Cup (vodka), No 3 Cup (based on Brandy) now available as Winter Pimms. I drink Winter Pimms too and that’s lovely as a hot drink on a cold, wintery evening. All the other Cups are phased out at the moment 🙁
Here are some of my favourite Pimm’s recipes in addition to Pimms and lemonade. My dad used to put borage in our Pimms but mint is fine too.
Pimms and ginger ale
1 part Pimms and 3 parts ginger ale over ice
My Chap particularly likes this one with a quality ginger beer.
375ml Pimm’s No.1 Cup
1litre sparkling lemonade, chilled
200ml cranberry juice
1 sliced lemon as garnish
Mint leaves as garnish
Redcurrants or fresh berries, as the garnish
You can see that Yoda has aged a few years in these pictures too…
Do you have any favourite summer drinks? We love gin and tonic too. My Chap has a collection of gins. What do you have planned for the week?
Everything is going to work out just fine. Probably – Anonymous
If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’d notice I like quotes nearly as much as I like taking photos, especially of flowers. One of the reasons, I take photos is to keep a record of things, what’s flowered when, whether it’s early or late, beautiful gardens and views, as well as nature in its widest sense. It helps me remember good times, and also reminds me where things are – literally like the bulbs, but also so I don’t have to remember things in my overloaded brain!
This week’s In A Vase on Monday old favourites which have good memories for us, including the vase and something new – the sign 🙂
A standard size Cerise pink dianthus and some pink and white dwarf dianthus.
lilac violas – these were part of our wedding centre pieces.
Fuchsia – this is a hardy one which grows outside our kitchen window – it was in a Vase last week.
The vase is recycled purple glass bought at the Eden Centre in Cornwall. It has appeared before, usually, with sweetpeas. Most recently was July 2016 (blissful), when I wrote about our engagement 🙂
The sign was given to me by a great friend. It also appeared in our wedding centre pieces. You ALL know how much I like being in the garden 🙂
Cathy, who hosts the meme over at Rambling in the Garden, has some stunning orange and white amaryllis this week. I’ve never grown Amaryllis. The idea of IAVOM is to pick, and display, flowers and plants from your garden or locality each Monday. The diversity of vases from across the world is staggering. It’s wonderful to see the Spring across the world in Australia and New Zealand. Just what I need on a freezing cold but sunny day in Manchester.
29 November 2017 – In a Vase on Monday purple vase with dwarf lilac violas, pink dianthus and hardy fuchsia
I take photographs of all sorts of other things too, receipts, recipes, books to read, useful websites, notes I’ve made, etc. I find it easier to have visual records and use journals and lists. I use Trello for electronic lists (I’ll write about that another time) and I’ve got a simple electronic diary shared with My Chap.
Writing things down, taking photos and also help with my planning, wellbeing and making memories, as well as self-care. I’ve tried out bullet journals but it doesn’t work for me; I think it’s the pressure to complete things every day.
So I thought I write about my daily planning and what journals/books I use. They definitely helps me with #365daysofselfare
My daily planning tools – journals, diaries and lists
Calm – CalmtheMind, Changetheworldby Michael Acton Smith
This is a lovely book – it explains mindfulness and meditation in a very straightforward, simple way and gives you ideas for activities in Nature, with Children, Food, Friends, etc. It has quotes and poems too. It’s a pretty book which is why I’m reluctant to write in it 😉
I’ve had it a couple of years, and I dip in and out, using it to inspire activities or self-care depending on what I’m doing. Often, I use the gratitude, highlights and what’s mademefeelcalmtoday? How and note these down in my It’s going to be OK journal.
I don’t use the app associated with Calm; mainly because I’ve never got around to downloading it 🙁 I’m using the Headspace app at the moment, guided meditations on YouTube, and in particular, guided body scans. These connect well with my yoga practice too.
29 November 2017 – Calm Journal, Weekly Planner and It’s Gonna be Okay journal
Stigu Journal – a rest and zest handbook
I’vewrittenaboutStigubefore (including last week) and I’m just starting to fill in my 2018 Stigu. It’s a mixture of a diary and a journal/notebook. Each month has a theme – Reflect is November’s theme. The left page is for notes and suggestions for activities.
This week’s suggestion resonated with me – a puddle reflecting only what’s above it, for example, clouds, and keeping no ‘memory’ of what’s passed. Stigu asks us to imagine what our minds would be like if we could practise this?
Weekly Planner – from Sainsburys!
It has days of the week, notes and to do list. This is where all the detailed, mind dump, boring lists like the shopping! reminders for bills, clothes for yoga, etc are recorded.
It’s Gonna be Okay – An inner truth journal
Asthephotosshow, thishasaquoteononeside, date, WhatI‘mhanginghopeontoday? the prevailingoutlookfortheday. I use this as a reminder of how my days gone, a narrative, notes – what’s gone well what hasn’t. The odd rant too. It’s very much my secret, private thoughts. It has a quote for every day and sometimes I just flick through it looking at the quotes.
29 November 2017 – It’s Gonna be OK journal inside layout
My Stigu journal and It‘sgoingtobeOKjournal also helps me record my symptoms too. I don’t really use paper symptom or habit trackers – pressure to fill in boxes (or not fill them in!). They’re a prompt to monitor my arthritis symptoms in a health app. I was part of a citizen scientist project, in 2017, called Cloudy with a Chance of Pain, whichmonitoredthe impact of the weather on arthritis and pain symptoms. The full results should be out next year.
So for my #365daysofselfcare today, I went for a walk around Monton. It was freezing, but sunny skies and I wandered around taking photos. I’m very grateful to live where I do, close to woods and a canal, yet only six miles to the centre of Manchester.
My self care plans this week include walking more and more gardening – #OneHourOutside and #bekind too
Do you use journals or diaries? Do you use them for self-care or recording gratitude / positive events? Let me know in the comments or any suggestions you have
A change of work is the best rest. Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four (1888) – 2nd Sherlock Holmes novel
The more regular readers of this blog will have noticed that MOST of my flowers vases contain purple, pinks, lilac and white flowers with red appearing now and again. So perhaps people might think that’s the only colour scheme in our garden – it’s not. I walked round looking for flowers to pick, it was a very overcast day here in Manchester, a couple of different yellow flowers popped out from the gloom.
Definitely time for a change! So this week’s In a Vase on Monday, in a milk bottle vase, has many yellow flowers and a bit of red too.
In a Vase on Monday – Coreopsis – sunfire, red dianthus, Achillea, sweetpea – 26 September 2016
It looks so cheery, even though it’s feeling very Autumnal:
Coreopsis – sunfire – I really liked their raged edge.
Red dianthus –these flowers have appeared in ‘In a Vase on Monday’ before:
Achillea – it comes in many colours and sizes. This one starts as yellow and fades to pink/yellow. It only grows about 18 inches high. I don’t know its name as it was a gift. Its common name is yarrow and it’s appeared in a vase before.
White sweetpea – this is the very last flower from the plant at the end of the garden.
Yellow is associated with happiness and joy especially for flower bouquets it represents new beginnings – so that seems appropriate too – since I’m about to enter a new decade.
Coreopsis – sunfire, red dianthus, Achillea, sweetpea – 26 September 2016
Do have a look at Cathy’s flowers over on ‘Rambling in the Garden’ – she has one vase with very architectural pink Nerine which look stunning. She has another vase which has dahlias, zinnia and Persicaria amplexicaulis as well as foliage from oca – It’s a New Zealand yam – I’d never heard of this before.