Monday, December 16, 2013

A Bit Blue But Mostly In The Pink

One of the best parts about a weekend when there is a good market on is getting back to Shoestring Cottage and unwrapping all the many and varied treasures such an expedition produces.  Usually there is a quiet time of sighing, stroking and exclaiming over the wondrous bargains the market can turn up.  This weekend I was doing just that when it occurred to me that there was a definite blue cast to my purchases.  Last weekend I bought the strange little vessels with forget me nots on them which might have been the start of it all.

This weekend I found a heavenly silk paisley “Peerless” lounging robe for Mr Shoestring, complete with its original tie (often they are missing) and these lovely details on the pockets. 

I was unsure as to how he would receive this gift and slightly alarmed when he accepted it with enthusiasm and declared, “Great, I can become a lounge lizard!”  I am hoping this doesn’t mean he intends to retire from home improvements at Shoestring Cottage, rest on his laurels and take up cigar smoking, whisky drinking and generally become a bit of a wastrel.  I shall have to keep a close eye on developments there.  It has been my experience that too much leisure is bad for a man, Mr Shoestring being no exception.  

The next blue treasure was this art deco looking bracelet (no doubt encrusted with real sapphires and seed pearls!) which will be perfect to wear at next February’s deco.

I will have to make sure I have a suitable ensemble to set off the bracelet, I know I have some perfect navy crocheted gloves and some suitable shoes stashed away somewhere.  I had better get out one of the blue “frocks” and add some decofications to it, maybe a collar, sleeve trims and pockets to set it off nicely.  The Dancing Queen is usually very lady like and proper in her deco costumery, and is sure to be impressed.  
Perhaps the best thing of all was this matching set of blue rose earrings and brooch. 

I have long been wanting to start a collection of this of Denton china jewellery, I read that the ladies who originally made them can recognize their own work and each one must have slightly different ways of putting the flowers together.  A blue rose would not be my first choice (blue roses seem wrong somehow, like red delphiniums, and I have never thought a blue rose was a good thing to try to breed) but it is hard to find them in good condition, usually there is some damage to the petals.  Also there is the matter of cost, and these ones were very cheap.  Screw on earrings are a bit of a pesky nuisance but Mr Shoestring can convert these ones into pierced earrings for me (when he is not sitting around smoking cigars and drinking whiskey, wearing his blue silk robe and possibly wearing a fez). 

Even one of the plants I got from the stallholders at the market was blue, despite the fact that I was trying to stick to my resolve to get more white plants for the white corner in the garden.  This pretty little campanula with its wiry stems will hopefully be a good doer (like most campanula) and fill a vacant spot. 

Not all was blue though, the other good find was this little pink souvenir from the South Seas Exhibition of 1889.  

I had an idea that the exhibition took place in Dunedin and a little reading confirmed this to be the case.  I was charmed to discover that at the South Seas Exhibition they recreated the Eiffel tower, only in wood.  Surely only in New Zealand could such an undertaking take place.  On the very year when the Eiffel tower was created for the World’s Fair, and was the talk of the world, showing off the way iron could be used structurally in ways previously undreamt of, only would we erect a similar structure using homely old wood.  It is surprising to think that the iconic Eiffel tower originally caused howls of outrage from the artistic community, who believed it to be “useless and monstrous”.  The Otis elevator company used the wooden “Eiffel” tower at the South Seas Exhibition to show off the wildly modern and revolutionary elevators they were hoping to promote in New Zealand

In the garden there was a lot of pink going on as well, in fact lately the recent additions seem to have had a bit of a pink theme.  My mum gave me some big bromeliads which she was casting off as they were too prickly to weed around. 

She has been waging a war against snails of late and giving me reports as to their dwindling numbers each morning after she completes snail patrol.  She originally reported culling more than 100 in the mornings and eventually there were only three, then on one wonderful day none at all!  Imagine my horror to discover great numbers of them all clustered within the protective leaves of the bromeliads, some of them engaged in unspeakable acts.  For one moment with the paranoia of gardeners around the world,  I wondered whether my mum had given up on destroying her snails and decided to simply export them to my garden, but that would be too harsh. 
 Apple blossom pink geranium flowers
 More brash and larger geranium flowers (also pink)
 Pink begonias
 Pink foliage on the heucheras
 Pink "polka dot" plant leaves

Pink bromeliad flowers

This (pink) hollyhock is a stately specimen I grew from seed. 

The only fly in the ointment is the fact that they are terribly susceptible to rust and according to gardening lore each rust affected leaf must be destroyed (or the spores will live in the ground and proliferate), so each weekend I remove more and more leaves until there is left a somewhat grotesque looking towering stem with blossoms but hardly any foliage.  The best hollyhocks I ever grew were a kind called “powder puff” and they were the most beautiful soft apricot shade, the petals looking like crushed crepe paper.  I might have another try with them but for now I found some old seed lying around which is supposed to be a “black” hollyhock, and so will use that up first.  Imagine black hollyhocks amongst the white garden, very effective and striking. 

But enough of these diversions, the white garden will eventually triumph over pink and blue pretenders - once I can overcome this temptation to flirt with all the more vibrant shades on offer.