Sunday, 16 May 2021

Cake and Flowers

It's all go here. I feel like we continue to hurtle through the year with all the weather being thrown at us at the same time, dodging showers, wrapping up against cold winds and being grateful for the occasional glimpse of the sun.

In between the hustle and bustle of everyday life (which seems to have reached new levels of busy lately) we celebrated Angus's twelfth birthday.

The cake was a team effort, baked by me and decorated by Bella. We had pancakes for breakfast and family popped in after school with presents and cards. His favourite present was pair of binoculars which we took up to the top of Portsdown Hill where the views over Portsmouth and surrounding harbour are good.

It was a wet day and there weren't many birds to look at (apart from seagulls and crows) so we watched the boats coming in and out of the harbour instead.

Peony seasons is upon us and I'm remembering how much I adore them, what pleasure they bring.

Over the course of a week, these went from bright, tight balls of hot pink to a faded apricot, and opened up into the most fabulous blowsy shape that looked like something from an oil painting.

I'm gardening whenever the weather allows it, nipping out for an hour here or there after work or at the weekend. The garden is lush and the borders are full but lacking in colour. Apart from some tulips in a trough, all my spring flowers have gone over but the summer tones haven't quite arrived yet. It feels later this year, no doubt because we've had such a cold spring. 

There is colour waiting in the background though - my New Dawn climbing rose has grown a lot since I planted it last summer and I'm optimistic for lots of flowers this year. 

There are also rhododendron bushes on the cusp of blooming, as well as Bowles Mauve perennial wallflowers. alliums and bluebells, giving an unintentional purple theme to the border. Waiting in the wings are foxgloves, hollyhocks and poppies, plus large, deep tubs filled with sweet peas. 

I also have a cold frame bursting with cosmos, zinnias (although they aren't looking too good since I repotted them), sunflowers and dahlias. No thoughts to a gardening "scheme", or colours, or shapes, or a particular look - just my usual enthusiasm over knowledge and enjoying the process. A good reminder that I garden for myself, not others, and that gardening always brings such a feeling of peace and satisfaction.

Last summer my dad built us this brilliant bird table. John has been keeping it well stocked with meal worms and suet all through the winter and spring, and watching our visitors has been one of life's simple pleasures. We regularly see blackbirds, robins, thrushes, blue tits and great tits and the occasional goldfinch. The magpies, although much bigger, are clever enough to squeeze in for a snack. The pigeons, although just as big, are not, and sit on the roof, knowing the food is nearby, but whenever they try to reach for the food they slide off. It amuses us.

I am still plugging away at my patchwork quilt and crochet top in the evenings, and working on my A Stitch A Day sampler at the weekends. Seven stitches on a Saturday might be a more accurate title. Another reminder of how we are racing through this year. 

I attempted some visible mending last weekend, when my favourite jeans ripped right across the back under the bum.

I patched them on the inside with a piece of denim from a pair of jeans Bella had outgrown, stitched around the hole to prevent further fraying then reinforced the whole area with straight stitch in embroidery thread in a vertical pattern.  I like the way it turned out, and since they've just gone on the knee, too, I guess I have some more sewing to do.

It's been raining on and off all day and now it's stopped it's time to take the dog out and get some fresh air and exercise. Wishing you all a good week. 


  1. I love the way you mended your jeans!

  2. Peonies are my favourite and I managed to squeeze four plants into my small garden. There are tight buds at the moment so I am hoping for a good display if the weather ever warms up enough for them to swell and open. The sampler is coming along well it must be quite relaxing to do on a weekend. My Zinnias did well last year - it was the first time I have grown them and they are lovely - but I was late sowing the seed this year - just hoping they will catch up.

  3. PS - Happy Birthday Angus - what a great cake you made.

  4. Pigeons are lovely. I would put food out specially for them, they are beautiful deserving and hungry birds too, bless them.

  5. Happy belated birthday to Angus. Bella did a great job decorating his cake! I love peonies but have not had luck growing them. Have a great week!

  6. Peonies are wonderful, aren't they! They look glorious in some of the gardens I often walk past here in the neighbourhood.
    Like yours, our weather has been all in one day, almost every day. The cold spring means most things are somewhat later than last year, when we had nothing but sun for months on end.
    Good idea to mend your favourite jeans that way!
    And I can't believe how grown up Angus looks in that picture. Twelve already!

  7. Everything in the garden looks beautiful, this continuous rain might be annoying for us but our gardens are reaping the rewards. I love peonies but they won't grow for me (heavy clay soil). Your visible mending is great - I think its fun and something to be proud of when we have a garment that is cherished and not discarded.

  8. Oh my, that jeans turned out fabulous. Congratz on Magnus, 12. Wow, time goes so fast. Yay, the weather. Talk of the day, eh. You finished the granny square blanket! Looks so rustic on your bed. Peonies, I've got an ancient peony tree. It flowers magnificient, the rain and hail did damage them though. Problem with peonies and Kiko Shidare trees, they bloom when the weather is usually wild. Oh well. We know in which part of the world we live, do we XD

  9. Looks like your garden work is paying off! I have lots of weeding to do and try to get out everyday for an hour - any longer and my back lets me know! Happy Birthday to Angus - they grow up too quickly!

  10. I adore Angus, can't believe he is 12 now ! I used to love his obsession with All Things Badger. He looks so mature now. Any lingering badger love tucked away or has it all gone to a charity shop ?


  11. Gosh that cake, it looks amazing!!

    I love the jeans repair, mine have just gone in the same place but they were so worn all over they've ended up in the fabric recycling instead.

  12. Beautiful post, esp the peonies and the boro mended jeans.

    Your son is a gem, and so grown up now. I love it that he takes an old-fashioned interest in birds and boats and such.

    Pigeons are I believe, ground feeders; it would be kind to put some seeds on the ground for them. They are hungry esp in early spring.

  13. Zinnias aren't that keen on having their roots disturbed, but nothing is growing much right now, just too cold. CN x

  14. Loving your jeans. My patchwork/embroidered ones I started repairing during March 2020 are becoming a work of art. It is going at the bottom of the zip now and I can't think how to make a repair that doesn't draw peoples eye to my fly!


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