I haven't been near Shoestring Cottage for the past few weeks, having been struck down by a horrible ailment and needing to stay on my sick bed to try to recover. So it was doubly good to be back there this weekend and to find that the garden and in fact the whole place had survived remarkably well without me there to oversee things - almost a bit of a slap in the face, really! It was feeling as if spring might be on its way and in the garden the bees were working furiously, with their pollen bags full to bursting on their legs. They were so intent on what they were doing that they were almost oblivious to my presence and seemed unconcerned about my close proximity.
Even the old berries on the melia tree looked beautiful silhouetted against the blue sky and the magnolias and michelias are full to bursting with buds. I'm sure that in the next few days the blossoms will be bursting from the buds and we will be in for a beautiful show.
Seedling primulas have been coming up in the cracks in the paths and everything feels as though it's going to be putting on a bumper show for the spring season.
The first year I was at Shoestring Cottage I planted a borage plant, wanting to reap the benefits they were supposed to provide, but it grew so enormous that it took over the entire front garden and suffocated all the other seedlings and plants nearby so I eventually had to take it out. I was rather concerned to notice this weekend that it has come back again, whether from a seed or a piece of root left in place I'm not sure, but it looked so fluffily full of promise with its first flower buds forming that I have given it the benefit of the doubt and left it there ... for now. But once it begins again on its campaign for world domination we will have a difference of opinion, I know.
As I've been so badly under the weather I allowed myself a weekend off the blue swallows quilt and took out my old favourite, the Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses. This is a lot more of a complicated undertaking than it first appears, as I tend to work in a frenzy of enthusiasm and excitement, cutting up numerous patches which then all somehow become jumbled up together and entangled, so that when you need four, or eight, or twelve pieces all identical you can only ever find three, five or seven of them. I spread them all out over the floor and tried to impose some order out of chaos. Mr and Mrs Peaceable Kingdom probably thought I spent a serene weekend just happily sitting by the fire when they called around, but this is only because I had advance warning of their planned arrival and scooped up all the half way matched up pieces, tossed them into a bag and put them out of sight. Mission half accomplished and I feel sure I will be much more easily able to lay my hands on the pieces I need now that they are at least put into ziplock plastic bags with some kind of colour code imposed on them, and some are even pinned together.
It will be great fun deciding what colour to use for the piecing squares but that's a long way off yet, no need to start thinking about that for quite some time, possibly years.
After putting some flowers from the garden in a makeshift container for the bathroom I realised I have the makings of yet another collection coming on.
I found the Valium Roche pot in a second hand shop somewhere and liked it for its rich colours of lettering and decoration. It's sitting with a blue eye wash thingy and a little medicine measurer from an old pharmacy, also a couple of Victorian shaving mugs in pretty blue shades. Kind of a pharmaceutical theme under way perhaps? Something to think about, anyway. Possibly something to avoid also!