I can scarcely believe I haven't got on to the blog for a month, I guess it's been busy! So, in the last month, there was a wedding in Kent in the most amazing church ever with a whole set of Marc Chagall windows, and a wedding in Worcestershire in another stunning church now owned by the Church Preservation/Conservation body and not available for ordinary services so the couple had to get a special license from the Archbish of Canterbury in order to get married there. Lydia desperately wanted beech leaves in the arrangements, her bouquet and her hair, and two weeks ago there just weren't any around, the trees had not burst into leaf. So I drove west until I came across the first beech tree that was on the point of opening... all was well. She was the first bride I have ever done flowers for who requested a headdress including guinea fowl feathers!
Meanwhile, things are finally moving in the gardens here and another week will see sweet rocket, astrantia, centaurea, campanula, a very few cornflowers and maybe even the first peonies along with the end of the tulips and the already abundant tiarella, solomon's seal, lily of the valley - which have moved very happily and seem to love it here, hurrah - and shrubby offerings. And Rosa Banksia Lutea is about to bloom, there are literally thousands of buds. Akebia is so vigorous it has climbed right up the house and on to the gutters towards the chimneys, and I need to chop back clematis armandii and passionflower that have literally strangled the wisteria which is hanging on by a thread and flowering already.
I finally got all the perennials that I moved into the ground, or at least heeled in where there simply isn't space. I've lost some roses that were bare root too long when the frosts were very bad a month or so back, so have put about half the others rather too closely planted into one bed by the main lawn and others at the top of the old veg garden and in pots, (I haven't been able to cultivate the area I wanted to use in the field as it was too wet for too long) but otherwise I think all is well although some things will obviously be checked.
But what I am really loving at the moment are the wildflowers. Even in the orchard there are runs of bluebells - especially under the magnolia which is now fading and pear blossom taking over behind with apple blossoms about to burst. The field is a sea of lady's smock among a huge array of grasses, the wild garden is about to be turned completely blue with a huge swathe of bluebells, following beautiful circles of wood anemones around the trees and abundant primroses. And I saw my first orchid there yesterday. When I also saw the most wonderful ancient collection of wildflowers I have seen in many a year when I went for a long walk circling back through a holloway a mile or two distant - there were spurges, wild parsleys and lovage, primroses, ladys smock, bluebells, whitebells, orchids, wild garlic, marigolds, celandines, stitchwort, campions..... When I was a child I could name so very many flowers and grasses growing in the wild, at school there was a competition each year and we were allowed to pick and bring back anything we could name. One year I named 91 separate flowers and grasses. Now I am hard put to get a couple of dozen which is shameful and I am determining to improve again.
There is now a new entrance/car parking area, very necessary, I've turned the old single garage into a useful workshop, and the builders have left the house. Sanding, filling and painting will have to wait a while. It's been all go!