Tag Archives: lavender

hollyhock, vines, bulbs, Abbeywood and lavender – Six on Saturday – 6 Oct 2018

Our small garden is enjoying the Autumn sunshine – the fuchsias are looking stunning, as are the salvias. It’s been windy in Manchester this week, but the temperature has been over 20degrees for most of the week – unusual.  It’s the jet stream apparently.  I’m noticing the light fading earlier though…we have stunning sunsets but the clocks change in two weeks…

I’m out and about this weekend with lots of activities planned so I’ve only written a quick overview for my Six on Saturday.

As usual, I’m joining in with The Propagator (Six on Saturday – 6 10 2018) and the gardening bloggers from around the world for Six on Saturday – six photos from around the garden – can be anything.   Find The Propagator on Twitter (@cavershamjj) on the hashtag on Twitter too – #sixonsaturday

1. Hollyhock – very early

hollyhock purple flower

hollyhock purple

This plant arrived from the last hour sell off at Tatton Park flower show in Jul. I can’t find the name tag though – it’s been happily growing but I was a bit surprised to see the flower as it’s a year early.

2. Cherry Tree – can’t decide

cherry blossom red leaves 6 10 2018

I was intrigued that a third of this tree’s leaves were still green. This tree has stunning blossom in the Spring. I must remember to photograph it. It grows at the end of my street – and lifts my mood every time I go past the blossom -there are some lovely cherry trees around our neighbourhood.

3. Virginia Creeper – still changing

virginia creeper red 6 10 2018

The side fence by my neighbour’s drive – blown away! But the remaining stalks are bright reds and yellows.

virginia creeper 6 10 2018 side fence

It’s been rather windy this weekend, so many of the leaves are swirling around the streets. Here’s a recap of how the leaves changed from bright green to red in just over a month. You can see a recap here:

4. Tulip and daffodil bulbs – forward planning

Forward planning for Spring, it’s part of the annual cycle of the garden – but it’s a part a particularly love.

tulips and daffodils in plastic bags in a cardboard box

tulips and daffodils in a box ready for planting

Go big – or go home when it comes to bulbs. We’ve got a small garden but I pack the Spring bulbs into pots, as well as any spare ground I can find. I’m going to do a cutting bed at the bottom of the garden, so let us see what that come out like in the Spring.

The selection above is about a quarter of what I’ve ordered/bought. I’ve got a bag of purple, pink and cream tulips somewhere in the house.  Some daffodils and crocuses have been planted already, but more will be going in over the next few weeks…

So much of gardening is looking to the future isn’t it?

5. Abbeywood Estate our wedding venue – looking back 😉

Abbeywood Cheshire red virginia creeper covering

Abbeywood Cheshire red Virginia Creeper covering the house October 2018

We were over near our wedding venue – Abbeywood, Cheshire  so nipped in for a cake and walk.  It was looking particularly lovely despite the gloomy weather.

6. Abbeywood Estate Glasshouse

Glasshouse white conservatory with Lavender border

Glasshouse Abbeywood

The weather was glorious for our wedding in September 2017, so we got married in the garden. We had our afternoon tea in the glasshouse – completely ringed by lavender and a beautiful garden – it was the perfect place. The roses are having a late flourish too.  I wrote about our wedding, flowers, my dress, lavender and love 🙂

Just like last year when we got married, the lavender is still looking good at Abbeywood – the cakes are just as good as ever. Do visit if you’re nearby.

Thank you for all you good wishes

Some of the lavenders in our front garden is still looking (and smelling) lovely, others not so much, so I’ve harvested the last of the flowers… The smell of lavender brings back such happy memories too… not just of our wedding day.

Thank you very much for all our first anniversary good wishes🙂

We are looking forward to many more adventures, as we go into our 2nd year of marriage 🙂 oh and more plans, plants and time in the Garden.


Carpe Diem

Love Bec xxx xxx

wedding bouquet purple flowers inc lavender, lilac roses, sea holly

wedding flowers lavender, paper anniversary – In a Vase on Monday 1 October 2018

This week I’ve been thinking of the past…it’s was our first wedding anniversary last week.   My favourite flower is lavender, we got married in late September when it’s in its full glory – we grew lavender plants for all the table decorations, it was in my bouquet, mentioned in quotes.  It was both a decoration and as a colour in our bunting.   The smell of lavender brings back so many happy memories, not just of our wedding day.  Our wedding was purple, floral and fabulous.

So for my In a Vase on Monday – I went to pick lavender from our garden as I did a year ago, I picked eucalyptus to represent my wonderful Australian family.   it’s from a huge tree at the end of our street.   The vase is one I glazed a couple of weeks ago – it’s raku glaze.  I don’t usually photograph the vases in detail but I thought you’d all like to see the shimmery glaze.

I learnt the technique at Create in Bolton – I wrote about making a clay daisy flower for the garden last week for my In a Vase on Monday.

lavender euchalyptus blue raku vase quote

lavender and eucalyptus in a blue raku vase I glazed







The thing with raku glazing is you don’t quite know how it will come out.  It’s an interesting process, there are fire, alchemy and sawdust involved 🙂  I’ll write about this in more detail another time, after our next raku firing session.

raku pottery vase – shades of blue, green, copper, white.

As usual, I’m joining in with Cathy from Rambling in the Garden for In a Vase on Monday. Do have a look at what she’s and the gardening bloggers from around the world have picked for their vases this week

Quote from the song – you and me by you + me

The quote in the frame is my ‘paper anniversary’ gift to my awesome husband; it’s from a special song we played at our ceremony:

You and me were always with each other
Before we knew the others was ever there
You and me we belong together
Just like a breath needs the air
I told you if you called I would come runnin’
Across the highs the lows and the in between…

‘you and me’ written and sung by you + me

Do have a look at the YouTube video it’s beautiful You and Me – You + Me

Liz from Echo Design made the quote frame for me for my ‘paper’ 1st wedding anniversary present for my wonderful husband.

Our wedding – flower and love filled

It was our paper anniversary last week.  I realised I hadn’t really written very much about wedding last year on a gloriously sunny day in September – it was very ‘full-on’ for most of 2017 and this year too.   I wasn’t very well last year, high arthritis pain levels, so it took a great deal of energy to organise our wedding even though it was a team effort.

We got married in the garden, had an afternoon tea, two wedding cakes, and a hog roast. There was music til late – love, laughter and happiness celebrating with our family and friends from near and far.  My wonderful Brother was in my thoughts as he always is. He’s in everyone’s heart and always will be.   My awesome sister in law and my brilliant nieces were crucial to our wedding day – it was just brilliant that they were there to celebrate with us.

irregular choice purple floral candy whistle shoes and purple, lavender, rose wedding bouquet

irregular choice purple floral candy whistle shoes and purple, lavender, rose wedding bouquet

Our wedding flowers

The flowers in my wedding bouquet have very special meanings for us – I’ll write about that another time – we picked the flowers with our florist – she said grooms hardly ever come to meet her – and she says it’s a shame. I’ll write another time how to work with a florist to choose a bouquet and flowers for your special occasion.   There’s eucalyptus, the lilac rose is the same colour as ones in my wonderful sister in laws garden in Australia – and lavender there’s always lavender 🙂

groom in a grey suit with wife in purple flower wedding dress walking on the grass in a garden

with my husband at Abbeywood Estate Cheshire, September 2017 – Photo by Sara Porter Photography

My wedding dress and headpiece were made for me by the awesome Rachel and Charlotte at Legend Bridal in Great Harwood Lancashire.  They are truly wonderful people and interpreted just what I wanted – a ‘posh, party dress I could wear again’ to perfection – and I felt like a Queen 🙂 I hope to write more about the process of working with them soon.

me sitting on bench in my purple floral wedding dress

We got married at Abbeywood Estate in Cheshire

I could write so much about my wonderful husband but I’ll just say ‘I love him mind, body and spirit’ and the day he burst into my life, things changed for the better, forever.


Reflecting on everything that’s happened this year and last, I’m reminded;

Life isn’t a dress rehearsal, twirl the dress, wear the shoes, eat cake, drink gin, go adventures with those you love’

This is why I write ‘Carpe Diem’ to signoff my posts.


Do you have a favourite flower? I know that’s a tricky one for my gardening readers – especially as your favourite isn’t even a flower you can even grow in your own garden 😉 

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xxx xxx


wedding bouquet - lavender (from our garden), antique lilac rose, aster, freesias

Wedding, glorious reds, roses, lavender and love – Six on Saturday – 29 September

This weekend, some of the plants in the garden are fading away and some are reaching their full glory.  We’ve had sunny, warm weather in Manchester (20C degrees) – though it’s been windy.   I’ve been happily reflecting on the year that’s gone by.   It’s our first wedding anniversary this weekend, so we’re away.

I’m joining up with the Propagator and his band of gardeners from around the world for Six on Saturday (though I wrote and photographed this post on Friday – I hope the scheduling works = oops it didn’t). Here’s his latest post for 29 September 2018,

It’s very simple – take photos of six things around your garden or locality and write about them – it can be anything from plants, to new projects, disasters or wild successes.  I’ll be catching up with all the posts next week

1. Arbour on the decking

Wooden arbour seat with pitched roof

Arbour with Salvia Armisted

This is the new Arbour finished – we used some of our garden centre wedding vouchers 🙂 We’re thinking about painting it to match the fence.  What do you think?

2. Hydrangea

Hydrangea panticularta white flower head fading to pink

Hydrangea fading to pink – limelight

I took a photo of this last week – it was pure white. six on Saturday – Hydrangea Panticularta – 22 September 2018

3. Saliva with Yoda

yoda and red salvia

yoda and red salvia

As you can see, they’re in front of the arbour at the bottom of the garden.  The salvia came from B&Q so the label was less than helpful – Red. It’s about 18 high at the moment and is enjoying the late September sunshine.

Yoda arrived in the garden about six years ago – he moves around but has been at the bottom of the garden all year.  I love yoda and he’s appeared many times on the blog – #yoda. I’ve loved Star Wars since I saw it aged 11 in 1976, so it’s been mentioned a few times too – Star Wars

4. Sunset? Rose

orange rose with thorns

orange rose with thorns

This beautiful rose was one of the few flowers in my front garden when I bought the house nine years ago.  Its bud is a deep orange, opening and then fading to a faded red, orange and yellow – like watching a sunset. It has a fairly strong rose scent so I think it’s an older style rose. It usually flowers in two bursts in June/July and September but depending on weird weather conditions it’s flowered in November and January (in different years!)

This rose has appeared in vases often:

Fellow gardeners – any idea what its name might be?

 5. Virginia Creeper – red!

virginia creeper red on wall

virginia creeper on our neighbour’s wall – 29th September 2018

a fence covered in red virginia creeper leaves

red virginia creeper

It’s been sunny and warm here in Manchester this week – and as you can see the neighbour’s Virginia Creeper is looking stunning. Two weeks ago it was was green

6. Our first wedding anniversary 🙂

I hope you don’t mind that these pictures are from a year ago, but my wedding bouquet had lavender flowers we’d grown in our garden.  All the flowers from my wedding bouquet had special meanings for us but I’ll write about that another time.  Lavender is my favourite flower and My Chap loves it too.    We have about 15 lavender bushes around the front garden – it loves the full sun and rubbly conditions.

wedding bouquet - lavender (from our garden), antique lilac rose, aster, freesias

my wedding bouquet – lavender (from our garden), antique lilac rose, aster, freesias, sea holly, eucalyptus

The lavender bushes in our garden have looked just as stunning as they did this time last year.  Every time I walk past lavender or smell the scent it reminds me of the BEST DAY.

me in purple wedding dress with husband jumping with backs to camera Abbeywood garden Cheshire

At Abbeywood Estate, Cheshire – 28 9 2017 – My Chap jumping for joy – Photo by Sara Porter Photography – our awesome wedding photographer 

We had a flower, love, laughter and music filled wedding – I wore a dress in my favourite colour purple, covered in flowers.  We got married in a beautiful garden on a glorious September afternoon with our family and friends from near and far – We had an afternoon tea, two wedding cakes and dancing til very late. When you get married at our age you do exactly what you want 😉

Here’s some lyrics from a special song at our wedding –

You and me were always with each other
Before we knew the others was ever there
You and me we belong together
Just like a breath needs the air
I told you if you called I would come runnin’
Across the highs the lows and the in between…

you and me written and sung by you + me

YouTube video You and Me – You + Me

We love each other mind, body and spirit – we always will.  He’s my last and greatest love – my rock.  He thinks I’m pretty awesome too 🙂


What happy memories do flowers or plants remind you of?
Do you know who sings ‘you and me’? 

Have a lovely weekend – and fingers crossed my blog scheduling works 😉

Carpe Diem

love Bec 🙂


Blue vase with pink white sweetpeas - be present poster

In a Vase on Monday: be present with yoga

“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.

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In a Vase on Monday – in the pink with Pimms (and tennis)

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.

Cranberry Pimms 

  • 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

yoda collage with pimms

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?

Carpe Diem

love Bec xxx xxx