Tuesday, 30 June 2015


I seem to be posting about flowers and plants a lot at the moment. I'm sure it's because the garden is abundant and overflowing at this time of year, and there's so much to see and enjoy. Every day after work I go out into the garden and am thrilled to see that new blooms have opened overnight. This week the weather has been very hot indeed and the garden is looking a bit dusty and tired in places. B said to me the other day when we had a barbeque in the back garden "it looks like it needs a haircut out here", and she's right. Everything is starting to look quite overgrown. This was our front garden one evening two weeks ago, full of roses, peonies and geraniums. All around the garden now there are wonderful flowers vying with each other for attention.

Delicate, blowsy poppies with inky-dark centres. I love to watch their buds burst open, their silky petals unfolding like new butterfly wings.

Paper-thin geraniums, crinkly and finely-veined. They bloom in profusion and come back a few weeks after they've been cut back.

Sweet, old-fashioned dianthus looking as if they've been cut out with pinking shears, hence their other name of pinks. With a wonderfully deep spicy clove-like smell they look good at the front of the border in full sun.

Tall, graceful irises in shades of yellow and blue, fascinating in their tri-fold structure, their long strap-like leaves a cool blue-green.

Fabulous, showy peonies in deep pink, voluptuous and multi-petalled. 

Shades of purple - rich, velvety clematis ...

tiny star-like campanulas growing in our front wall ...


intricately-constructed passion-flowers, amazing in their complexity ...

strongly-scented lavender, redolent of Elizabethan linen and pastel-coloured soap ...

tall spires of purple bells, each one with a spotty bee-path leading to the pollen. In folklore the bells are where fairy folk live.

Silvery astrantia, a little firework making modest explosions in the flower bed.

Now for the pinks - bright pink snapdragons, ready to 'snap' when pinched ...

pink and purple fuchsias, suspended like exotic flamenco dancers ...

large magenta clematis saucers scattered boldly down a fence.

Into the hot end of the spectrum now, with oranges and yellows in eye-scorching colours. A golden frilly-petalled geum ...

striped bi-coloured bidens, fiery and star-like ...

soft, pale yellow nasturtiums with their lily-pad leaves and red centres.

In corners of the garden there are bursts of colour. Here's a bright collection of flowers which please me greatly, despite the fact that it's all a bit overgrown. One evening late last week we had a prickly visitor here - a small hedgehog crunching snails.

At this time of year I love to bring the garden indoors, gathering lime green alchemilla, and sprays of sugary pink 'Mortimer Sackler' and deep red 'Guinea' rose, and putting them together in a vase on the windowsill. Such floral abundance is worth enjoying in these long, hot days and daily watering is a pleasure on cool evenings or early mornings. How I love it!

Saturday, 27 June 2015


Last weekend it was Father's Day and P decided that he'd like us to go for a stroll and a cup of tea in Frome, a town not too far away which is one of our favourite places to shop and pootle around in. We haven't been for a while and the afternoon was warm and sunny, so it was perfect for a bit of leisurely wandering.
Frome (pronounced froom) is a pretty Somerset town on the river Frome founded by the Romans, then the Saxons and mentioned in the Domesday Book. It has a rich history and has a high concentration of listed buildings, originally based around the wool and cloth industry. Most of its terraced cottages are weavers' cottages and are three stories high with the top floor originally a work space housing the weavers' looms. After falling a little into decline in recent years it has been rejuvenated and is now a thriving centre for arts and culture with a distinctly bohemian flavour, with an annual festival as well as regular artisan markets and vintage fairs. 
We headed to St Catherine's Hill, a cobbled, steeply winding street which runs up and out of the centre and is the artisan quarter of Frome.

It's full of little independent shops of the vintage, craft, recycled and antiques variety, and is a fascinating place to while away an hour or so. Most of these shops are only open from Wednesday to Saturday, so as we were there on a Sunday they were closed, which is probably a good thing from my purse's point of view. As we wandered down I took photos of the shop fronts which we passed. There are reflections on some of them as it was such a sunny day it was hard to find angles to take my photos from. 
Are you ready for a wander? Right, off we go ...

Here's my favourite yarn shop. The owners are very imaginative with their window displays and are always friendly and helpful.

Their window displays are usually seasonally-themed and I love to look at the crocheted blankets and knitted bunting and tea cosies.

This is a pretty shop full of lovely homewares and woolly sheep.

Next is my favourite bead shop.

I loved these colourful baskets in the window of another shop.

There are some gorgeous vintage clothes shops too.

As we walked down the hill, views of winding alleys and high pavements appeared around corners.

Here's a gorgeous sewing shop which sells the most wonderfully colourful collection of fabrics and pretty trimmings.

And now a shop selling soaps and toiletries made with herbs and natural ingredients. When it's open the scent wafting down the hill is very fragrant.

It was quite quiet on the hill with not many people around, which made photography much easier.

Some of the shops are quite quirky with some interesting objects like this old sign.

The vintage clothes shops are very appealing with pretty floral dresses in the windows.

Another quirky and creative little shop.

And this one which is an artists' collective - the felt masks were amazing.

Finally a lovely homewares shop which I've bought presents from many times, as well as things for our home.

After our stroll up and down the hill it was time for a coffee and a cake here, at one of our favourite cafes. There is a little courtyard garden at the back which was full on this sunny day, so we headed for the new 'next door' section where we all enjoyed a cake and hot drink.

It's a delicious-smelling vegetarian cafe which is also a wholefood shop. We have always enjoyed a snack here, and definitely approved of the new extension to the cafe. One day I'll show you the garden with its herbs, pots, water feature and quince tree. Here's the cosy interior.

Back at the bottom of the hill, it was time to head for home. I hope you enjoyed our little wander around this very old and pretty little town. Next time we visit I'll show you around a bit more x