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Archive for the ‘Cottage Life’ Category

Floral Friday

White Clover Flowers

My “no mow” lawn now hosts dozens of clover flowers. Apparently all parts of this plant are edible. The dried leaves and flowers are slightly sweet and give a faint vanilla-like flavour to baking, plus the flowers make a delicious tea. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked as a substitute for spinach. I haven’t tried it, have you?

The shamrock is the symbol of Ireland, and all shamrocks are clovers, but not all clovers are shamrocks. Clovers are in the Trifolium family and the word Trifolium means having three leaves. A clover can’t be a shamrock if it has four leaves. Having four leaves is a genetic mutation of a three-leaf clover. Basically a shamrock is a three-leaf clover symbol of Ireland and a four-leaf clover is a symbol of good luck. I haven’t seen the latter in my garden, but I keep looking.

The Clover I remember from my childhood was the sister of Katy in the What Katy Did series by Susan Coolidge. The only other time I’ve come across the name is in the 1968 song Crimson and Clover.

Four leaves means there is one over
not a shamrock but a clover

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Floral Friday

This is the best time of year for flowers in the garden. The roses are rioting, and this bright dianthus is flaunting itself by the front steps.

It’s called Angel of Desire and was planted five years ago.

Flamboyant Angel of Desire
Def’nitely has both verve and fire

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Floral Friday

These lovely little flowers were given to me last year by a friend. She didn’t know what they were, and it wasn’t until they flowered this month that I was able to take a photo. I posted this on the CHS Hort Talk Facebook page and two people promptly identified them for me.

They are Sisyrinchium Devon Skies, sometimes called Blue-eyed Grass, and a member of the iris family. I’ve several times had useful information from the CHS page, and it is a great resource. I’m hoping these plants will spread and flower every year. Do you have them in your garden?

Although so far their growth is sparse
I’m hoping for more Blue-eyed Grass.

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Our cottage has been repainted outside. We chose to have the same colour scheme again, because I love it and it makes the cottage stand out.

I can thoroughly recommend Stone Brothers Painting Contractors. Their price was good and their work careful and thorough. The project took seven working days, sometimes with two men, sometimes with just one. New health and safety regulations meant scaffolding was required, which wasn’t the case last time we were painted.

Preparation for Painting

Ziggy was very interested in all the activity, and appreciated their leaving drop-cloths in various spots for his comfort.

Ziggy on dropcloth

I’ve since washed the windows, and am relieved to know I won’t need to wash down the walls this year as I have in previous summers. It’s great to have it all done and to have the building looking good.

Painting complete – note how quickly the roses have bloomed

We now have a refurbished nest
with painters who were just the best

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Floral Friday

Petunias make a lovely splash of colour above the table on the patio where we’ve been having all our meals on these recent hot days.

The hanging basket was a present from a friend several years ago. Each year the birds scavenge pieces of the fibre liner for their nests, and next year I will have to replace it again. I planted the cascading blue petunias just two months ago and they are all set to flower through the summer, provided I keep them watered.

An item in yesterday’s “Press” made several suggestions about creating an outdoor room. One of these said: Installing adequate UV shade is one of the most important outdoor investments you can make. Umbrellas and shade sails were recommended, but we have found the ideal is to plant a deciduous tree for shade in summer. Our patio is a much-loved outdoor room, and we enjoy the avian company there.

These flowers a deeper shade of blue
are set to last the summer through

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For the first time this summer we ate all our meals outside yesterday. At 7pm it was still 25° with no wind.

Dinner outside

Beltane is tomorrow (equivalent to May Day in the northern hemisphere). This is the height of the flowering time and the earth is bursting with new growth. Every day new flowers are opening, especially roses. While we were sitting on the patio we observed our local blackbird couple preparing the nest in the Banksia which they’ve used for the past two years. Like us, they must be enjoying the increasing warmth of the sun. I just wonder how long it will be before the heat is unpleasant. We are relieved to not have to meet paid work commitments these days.

With summer surely on its way
and climate crisis here to stay

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Graffiti Gone

A vandal painted graffiti on our fence which was annoying. It was white paint and I wondered whether it might get washed off with rain. However a few days later someone added to it with yellow paint. In early August I decided this was too much and asked the CCC Graffiti Programme to have it removed. It’s important this be done so more graffiti ‘artists’ are not attracted to the same spot.

Graffiti on fence

Several weeks later I happened to be talking to someone from the Graffiti Programme and mentioned our graffiti was still waiting. She checked up and found that the particular job had been completed, but at the wrong address! It was then re-scheduled, and early this morning a friendly Citycare worker came and painted it out.

Graffiti being painted over

We are pleased to now have a clean fence. Because I’d seen the van arrive and gone out to talk to the worker I was out of routine, and forgot to do my daily exercises before breakfast. Missing one day won’t hurt especially as I’m now off to a weekly exercise class.

Because she has removed graffiti
our fence now looks all clean and neaty

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Floral Friday

Dwarf irises

My dwarf irises are flowering again. These are a native of Turkey and the Caucasian Mountains, and are drought tolerant. Mine were a gift many years ago from Mary. She has now moved to the North Island, and I always think of her when these irises appear.

Their colour adds to the display
along the cottage front pathway


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A Dog Fashion Show is planned for The Colombo tomorrow. It’s claimed to be the first of its kind in Aotearoa, and today the mall was decorated with posters showing the kind of fashions that may be expected.

The Colombo welcomes dogs. We met one, but its owner said it wasn’t going to be in tomorrow’s show.

For lunch we enjoyed dumplings with pork and coriander.

When we got home I planted four cherry tomato plants. I know it’s early, but I’d bought these at PIKO a couple of weeks ago and they had grown tall on the kitchen window sill. They are now securely planted, watered, and covered with mesh domes, so should be okay, provided we don’t have any more unseasonal snow.

We won’t be at Dog Fashion Show
but I imagine lots will go

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Floral Friday

When I open my bedroom curtains each morning I am enchanted by the sight of this beautiful cherry blossom.

I took the photo on Tuesday, because I thought the snow forecast for Wednesday might harm the blossom, but the polar blast didn’t make any difference.

‘Twas not diminished by the snow
now, pollinators – have a go!

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