I have often felt resentful lately at the amount of time I have needed to spend in front of the laptop when the weather has been so beautiful, especially over half term and last weekend. It won't always be like this, I know, it is just necessary at the moment, but that doesn't make it any easier. However, thank goodness for cameras and my need to take one hundred photos of a flower when one would suffice, because it reminds me that we did get outside and see beautiful houses and gardens and spend time with family and friends.
We spent a lovely, if cloudy, day at Mottisfont House and Gardens with my parents over half term, drinking in their stunning walled gardens and roses.
Even though our favourite parts of the house were closed (the servant quarters upstairs) due to Covid, it was wonderful to be back at Mottisfont and walk along well-trodden paths by the river and through the gardens. We had coffee and cake, lunch outside, and rose ice cream, inspired by their rose collection. It was really nice. Best of all, Bella and Angus agreed to have a photo taken with me. My mum took a lot, and there wasn't one with all of us looking at the camera, but I still like it.
My lovely mum also treated me to this beautiful bunch of locally grown flowers which are just stunning and such a change to the usual supermarket flowers I buy.
The kids and I also had a glorious day out at Parham House and Gardens in West Sussex with my friend Abigail and her girls. It was a perfect half way point between her house and mine, and my first visit. It's small, but that is why it's so lovely. It feels more intimate than some of the bigger places locally and, although the house was closed, the gardens are stunning.
Nothing is too perfect and there's a beautiful mixture of formal and wild.
My favourtie part by far was the glasshouses and their collection of geraniums
While the kids probably wouldn't list National Trust properties and walled gardens among their number one past times, they were happy to be out in the sunshine and so long as there were plenty of ice creams purchased, it was all good.
Our little garden is bursting with life lately. Angus is watering it every night for me and doing a good job so far, although I do have to check that he's remembered to turn off the outside tap....
Thank you for your advice re ash for slugs and snails - my parents had some leftover and I have sprinkled it liberally around all my sunflowers, cornflowers, dahlias and cosmos. So far, so good.
The rhododendron is still looking fabulous, attracting so many bees and just generally being a big, blowsy, lilac show off, dropping petals absolutely everywhere.
The ground in the corner of the garden, where the trampoline used to be, is in the process of being prepared and leveled ready for a new shed. It was delivered today, and took John and I an hour after work this evening to carry it round from the drive to the back garden, piece by piece. We are hoping to start assembling it this weekend and I can't wait to say goodbye to our current shed - honestly, I don't know how it's still standing.
Gardens aside, life is so busy right now. We are all good but I really want to get through the next few hectic weeks at work before I can start thinking about winding down for the summer holiday. I have just finished crocheting a granny square cotton top and I love it, I will show you soon. I am also working on my Stitch a Day sampler and English Paper Piecing patchwork quilt here and there. I don't seem to have much energy or enthusiasm for cooking at the moment - it's either too hot, or I'm too tired - but we are enjoying so much of the fresh fruit and vegetables which are in season at the moment, especially the strawberries.
I hope you are all well and, if you're in the south east, staying cool in this hot weather. It's the kind of weather that would be perfect it you were on holiday but is a bit much when have to go anywhere or do anything.