Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Purpling Of The Garden - and Everything Else Also

I'm sure I must have mentioned before that once upon a time the plan was to have a serene and restful garden at the back of Shoestring Cottage. One with lots of white flowering plants with heavenly scents which would perfume the entire garden, especially on summer evenings when fortunate visitors and inhabitants alike could sit and enjoy the atmosphere, inhaling the heady scents and watching as the darkness advanced and white blossoms glowed as though illuminated.  Well, that was the plan but for some reason things haven't turned out that way at all.  Mind you, I do know that white gardens aren't universally admired (I once knew a man who said they looked to him as though the place was festooned with pieces of toilet paper, which I thought very uncharitable though imaginative of him), so maybe the best approach from here on in is to just let the garden grow anything which does well. (Apart from weeds of course, standards must be maintained as the Duchess of Ringloes reminds me.) I was initially disappointed as the Japanese anemones (or wind flowers as they are also called, such a pretty name and it is meant to signify the fact that they only bloom when the wind is blowing) which were in the garden when we moved in, and which I fervently hoped would be white, all turned out to be pink.  Though I should just be grateful as this is the first year they have actually deigned to put forth more than a few insignificant flowers, and I'm crediting the improvement to the liberal applications of coffee grounds and compost to the garden.

I can't quite decide when the purpling started.  I think it began with an innocuous purple bugle; it's always more interesting to have the less ordinary version of a ground cover and from there we moved on to tradescantia (also a more interesting variant, or so it seemed at the time),

 and then I had plant envy and had to have a purple taro like my mum's.  The plant had come out of its pot and split into pieces, so at planting time I dotted them around the garden and every piece seems to have survived, contributing to the purpleness.

It continued with coleus adding yet more purple - this is only one of the many purple types we have at present.

and the spotty polka dot plantscontributing also to the general all round purpleness of everything. 

A sage which had been described to me as being a "soft pink" by an enthusiastic market vendor turned out to be a lurid shade more on the purple side of the pink spectrum

and these impatiens which were in a punnet marked "white" definitely are a pinkish purple also.  And a very strident and assertive colour, not at a soothing shade. 

Turning my attention indoors in an effort to escape the purple storm in the garden I noted the streptocarpus which were in flower were also pinky purplish.  Here are the last few blooms, thankfully they are shutting up shop now for the autumn and we won't see any more blossoms for a while.  

Inside I have been working away on a reverse applique skirt (I see now that there is still the purple theme going on here) for winter.  This has been great fun to do, and very simple also.  I traced the outline of the swallows onto the merino fabric and placed (purple) silk behind the tracings, then sewed around the outline so as to hold the silk in place.  Chain stitch was added to cover the original machine stitching.  I put half a dozen swallows around the bottom of the skirt, some swooping down and some flying level or soaring upwards.  The results were very pleasing but it was a bit of a challenge to actually take the scissors to the knit fabric and cut away the top layer to reveal the silk beneath and I couldn't bring myself to do it for a week or so.  So far so good, and no signs of unraveling of the knit fabric around the edges.  

Also for winter I finished decorating an old boiled wool jacket (gaaaargh, a red tending more to the blue side of the colour wheel) which now has feather stitch around the edges and bottom of the sleeves, appliqued cotton fabric held in place with straight stitches and buttonhole stitch and gorgeous floral ceramic buttons.

A piece of ecru hand made lace appliqued onto the back also.  

The buttons reminded me of the art deco glass buttons I bought a while back and I was sorely tempted to abandon work on the jacket and play with them instead

They are so colourful and luscious looking!  And not a purple one among them either.

But another one of the garden sculptures was awaiting installation and after the disaster last weekend where one broke as it was being put into place this one needed to be installed and stop cluttering up the place.  There are half a dozen of them now and this one is probably the most fragile with the long slender component at the top.  

There are a few bits and pieces left over and they might be good hanging in the trees but that project will have to wait a while because the next woolen jacket is awaiting embellishing - and it's green!  Not a touch of the pink or purple about it, I feel some restful acorn leaves and browny yellowish orange shades might be in order as an antidote to the overwhelming purpliness of recent days.