How to be happy when you are miserable. Plant Japanese poppies with cornflowers and mignonette, and bed out the petunias among the sweet peas so that they shall scent each other. See the sweet peas coming up. Drink very good tea out of a thin Worcester cup of a colour between apricot and pink...
Once again our early summer weather has regressed to early spring and we are shivering by the fire while chilly wet winds buffet the house and garden. This is the fourth year running that this has happened, but I am hopeful that this time it will be shortlived and we will not suffer yet another cold and rainy summer, but instead the sun will come out and warm our bones again.
I have kept my promise to myself to spend more time in the garden, and it is looking lush and green and beautiful. May is its best time, with lilac, cherry, hawthorn and viburnum blossom, ferns uncurling from the leafy soil and scented bluebells scattered all over our wooded patch. I have spent lots of time weeding and prettifying and planting lovely new things, but the wonder for me is always in the rustle of the trees, the dappled shade on the ivy, the quiet semi-wild corners. I agree utterly with Monty Don's wife Sarah who is supposed to have said that the most beautiful garden in the world is an English hedgerow.
Having said that, we did make some time to visit one of my favourite gardens last weekend, Gresgarth Hall in lovely lovely Lancashire, and I have speckled this post with some of the photos I took. There is always a wonderful plant sale of unusual hardy perennials, and proper afternoon tea and cakes served by church ladies in the mill yard.
Proper tea and gardens: as Rumer Godden knew, these are the truly sustaining things. As you will see if you have a look at my listography, tea features a LOT. Although I haven't had a lot of time or energy for blogging recently, I have mostly been keeping up with my daily lists, which has been a very positive and life-affirming exercise as well as being extremely healing, eye-opening and instructive.
Family life remains full and busy, but in my quiet moments I am dreaming of unbleached linen, red thread, cross stitch, symbols, shapes and meaningful empty space. Hopefully it won't be long before I can show you.