Garden January 2018

I’ve been doing some thinking about my blogging and have decided to make a few changes. I enjoy blogging – both writing mine (which has become a lot easier since moving to WordPress) and reading other people’s, but my time is much more limited these days, so I’m usually behind with reading blogs (having dramatically pruned the list I do read) and I rarely comment now. I ended up so behind with Garden at the Beginning of the Month posts that there didn’t seem much point doing it, but I like taking pictures of my garden through the year, so have decided to carry on and blog as and when. Ironically, this is likely to mean more  pictures of winter gardening than the rest of the year, as the rest of the year I actually have to find time to fit the gardening in…

There are just a few pics I quickly took in the garden during January. The first snowdrops are beginning to appear amidst the raspberry canes.

My original plan of having something flowering in every month of the year has paid off – this is Sarcococca Confusa (Christmas bush) which has these funny little white flowers and a lovely scent, as well as berries for the birds to eat. I have planted this and the Daphne near our front garden wall, so you get a lovely waft of scent as you walk past on the pavement. I frequently stop with the pushchair when I’m on my way in or out and admire them!

Here are more flowers and another lovely scent on the Daphne Mezereum. Daphne is toxic which is why we planted it in the front garden, on the grounds that LO wouldn’t be there on her own so wouldn’t be trying to eat this plant. She is actually pretty good already at not eating plants.

Here’s one of the Hellebore I grew from seed before I had LO. These are tucked away in a corner so hard to see, but they like the shade down there and so do much better in this part of the garden. And the insects will be able to find them, which is the important thing.

And, finally, a winter-flowering pansy. I chose all yellow for the containers, and white for the hanging baskets last year, and am now thinking I’d rather they were brighter, stronger colours, such as red, as they all look a bit insipid.

What’s flowering in your garden in January? It is fairly mild here, we’ve had barely any snow.


Knitting round up 2017

2017 turned into a bit of a strange year for knitting. I was trying to knit from stash whilst spending most of my money on childcare. The stash knitting went well, although my stash in/out totals for the year ended up the wrong way round as I was given yarn as presents (how dare they!!)

My last stash bust project of the year was another Beyond Puerperium, 6-12 month size for a friend’s baby. This used up the leftovers of my Rowan Amy Butler organic Aran wool/CottonRowan Amy Butler organic Aran wool/Cotton. I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn, originally purchased half price in the John Lewis sale when I worked in central London in 2011. Sadly the yarn is now discontinued. The recipient’s Mum isn’t a knitter but was very pleased with it!

Other projects completed this year include two rainbow jumpers for LO, one of which is pictured, using West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley DK. The pattern for both was Conscious. These have already had a lot of wear, as they are easy to get on and off (there are buttons at the shoulder) and the yarn is machine washable.


I also did a Beyond Puerperium in the two year size for LO, using Ella Rae Cozy Soft Prints, which again has been really useful and is a nice soft machine washable yarn.


The third Conscious I knitted was for my niece, who turned out to have a wool allergy (hence why LO ended up with both of the rainbow jumpers!). For this one I used Louisa Harding Noema, which was quite nice to knit with (I don’t normally really enjoy knitting with cotton) and has a slight sparkle to it, which my niece apparently loves!

I’ve also knitted a few dolls’ clothes. This is a dress knitted for my Goddaughter’s doll using up the leftovers from the Beyond Perperium

My stash knitting totals have also been affected by a couple of other projects. The week before Christmas I decided LO’s doll would like a hat, so knitted one out of some oddments of DK that someone had passed onto me but which hadn’t been recorded in my stash.


A close friend died in September, and, before she died, I promised her that I’d finish off a couple of knitting projects she hadn’t had time to finish – which turned out to be two pairs of socks for her Dad, who has size 11 feet! So, I haven’t added this yarn to stash, but it has meant a lot of my knitting time has been taken up with knitting these. She was using the Winwick Mum contrast cuff, heel and toe pattern, and the yarn is WYS signature 4ply, in the kingfisher colourway plus contrast.

So, stash in and out in 2017:

In 7256.3 metres

Out 4588.4 metres

so I acquired 2667.9 metres more than I used in 2017. However, 2660 metres of that was gifted to me, leaving only 7.9 metres over! It is safe to say that, had I been doing all of my own knitting, I’d have used up more than I acquired.

Happy New Year 2018!

Well, it’s been a while since I last posted. Work has been busy, as has life at home with a toddler and there never seems to be time to get on top of things. Plus I’ve acquired some more blogs to read, which means even less time for blogging myself!

I was lucky enough to receive some lovely knitting related presents this year. The first from a friend was a knitting bag with sheep on!

The second, from my brother’s family, nearly matches up my hobby with my career – knitting and rare books/manuscripts! I’m really looking forward to having a closer look at this when I get some time – I don’t go back to work until Wednesday but nursery reopens for LO tomorrow.

Then I had some Jamie and Smith 2ply jumper weight from OH and LO. This is to make Bluebells by Kate Davies. Can’t wait to get started on this, although I have various projects to get finished first… More in another post!

Finally, my BIL gave me two balls of Rico Pompon yarn, which I haven’t used before but looks interesting. I will probably make something for LO with it.

Our New Year was fairly quiet. We stopped staying up until midnight several years ago as we couldn’t see the point, especially once we had a baby and prioritising sleep becomes very important! Today we had a day out to a garden centre with a soft play to burn off some energy (LO, not us!) and lunch out, before returning home for her nap time.

How was your New Year?

Garden at the beginning of September 2017

The garden is beginning to look a bit autumnal, probably because of the sunflower drooping on the lawn! 

First nineteen apples of this year’s harvest. These are Red Windsor from the half standard tree.

The Japanese Anenome is still flowering, although it’s getting harder to keep on top of the dead heading! That’s another sunflower drooping into it – we had storms, it made the sunflowers droop.

The red Pyracantha is always the first to get berries, followed by the orange and with the yellow a long way behind.

The non-Chelsea chopped sedum is beginning to flower.

Last few Alstroemeria flowers.


What signs of Autumn are there in your garden? 

More stash

The stash diet had another wobbly in July. Not only did I end up buying the four balls of Noema to make a non-wool Conscious, which I hadn’t planned to do originally… but I also discovered some lovely yarn at Swansea Bay Yarns when I was visiting my niece and nephews. It wasn’t my longest visit ever to a yarn shop, but with two toddlers in tow we had to be pretty quick browsing. I chose three balls of Ella Rae Cozy Soft Prints in this gorgeous colourway to make a Beyond Puerperium for LO.

That makes my stash in total for July 1064 metres (oops), giving a total of 4696.4 metres acquired so far this year (double oops). Another Conscious jumper knitted in July used a total of 299.6 metres, totalling 3250.7 metres for the year so far. So, I’ve knitted 1445.6 metres less than I’ve bought so far! I didn’t get any projects finished during August so nothing new to add to the knitted up totals, although at least I didn’t buy any more stash either…



Garden at the beginning of August 2017

August has whizzed past, mainly because I was doing extra days at work so haven’t had as much time available as I do normally. Nearly the end of August, but here are a few pics I took at the beginning of the month!

LO loves picking raspberries. She is worse than the birds for stripping the plants bare.

This is one of LO’s sunflowers. It turns out that this toddler activity is very popular at both toddler groups and nursery, so we have several sunflowers to show for it. This one was the first to flower. The nursery one turned out to be five plants as she had clearly sown a handful of seeds rather than just one!

The Gladioli I got from a magazine freebie a few years ago keep coming back. The first year I planted them at fortnightly intervals to keep the flowers coming for an extended period, and they seem to have kept on doing that?! Certainly we have some that are already past their best, and others that haven’t flowered yet. I must remember to send off for this year’s freebie – allium bulbs!

The Japanese Anenome has got huge this year, and seems to have started flowering earlier than usual. It likes to spread so I often have to dig wandering new bits up from places I don’t want them. It has expanded beautifully to fill this border in though, which means you can’t see the earth, and no need to weed!

One of my containers full of flowers. This was the bargain basket bedding plant selection!

A pile of rhubarb harvested at the beginning of the month. We have been rather overwhelmed with rhubarb this year, I think the combination of wet weather and warmth has spurred it on. I ended up taking loads of it to church to give away!

This cheeky little viola popped up in a container with a rose in. I didn’t plant it there…


That’s all for now. Wonder how long it will take me to do the September post, due tomorrow?!