the importance of tea

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...

Rumer Godden


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.

18 comments:

Tabiboo said...

I'm hoping too this early Spring weather is very short lived - here's keeping my fingers crossed too.

Nina x

Dan said...

Beautiful gardens! I love those mosaics too!
The sun is shining here in North Wales this weekend, but the wild is just enough to continue to make it chilly!
Hopefully it won't be long before you are reaching for the needle and creating!
Loved the Rumer Godden quote!
Dan
-x-

Gilly said...

What a beautiful Hall! I was particularly enamoured of the Butterfly!

I can personally substantiate how beautiful Sue's garden is! We sat in a sunny spot having tea there on Saturday, and I was full of admiration for the planting, the trees and the general wonder of it all!

acornmoon said...

Oh, I want a butterfly mosaic in my garden!

We really do need a bit of sun this summer, we have had more than our fair share of rain recently.

Chrissie said...

Love the Rumer Godden snippet, and, of couse, your photos. Looking forward to seeing the linen and red, in due course.

elizabethm said...

Like your quote very much and love the garden in May. Our outside is far more congenial than our inside just now, as I blogged. And the hedgerows are just beginning to overflow.

Hollace said...

What was the butterfly mosaic? Is it in the garden? It looks like it's in frosty ground or ice crystals...

Pam said...

Tea and tulips. Works every single time for me. I look forward to the red thread and linen.
P xx

Frances said...

Hello to you, Sue.

Your weather report reminds me of the forewards, backwards directions our spring has taken. Right now it seems just right! Roses are in bloom in front of a brownstone house down the street from me. Lots of recent rain has brought heavy fresh green leaves to every tree.

Sneezing abounds from the humans enjoying all this beauty.

I love what you wrote about dreaming of linen, etc. Would love to have a cup of tea in that gorgeous garden of yours, or have been able to take a tour of the garden with the interesting mosaics ... those mosaics are a bit like embroidery in stone?

Best wishes. xo

Claire said...

Hey Sue, lovely post and photos.
That butterfly mosaic is brilliant. I wonder if butterflies will feature in your cross stitch?
Red thread and unbleached linen, I bet your fingers are itching to get started.

kate fern said...

wonderful mermaids tail, do you have a picture of the whole thing??

Lovely post and beautiful photos, hope the weather improves and you get lots of peaceful moments in the garden.

A Time to Dance said...

what lovely pictures, I am enjoying them whilest drinking earl grey. Tea and coffee are wonderful , tea so comforting and coffee dark and exotic...hope you are well...glad you are enjoying your garden.

Cottage Garden said...

Things are slowly but surely warming up here after a very chilly beginning to the month.

Lovely poetic and meaningful post as ever Sue and of course wonderful images. Time spent in your garden must be a delight and is clearly paying off - it looks a gorgeous spot!

Can I ask you Sue - is that your planter in the first photo? If so where can I get one just like it ...!!

Jeanne
x

Sue said...

Thanks everyone for your comments - it's good to know you're still there even though I've been absent! All the photos were taken at Gresgarth Hall although I'd love to say it's my own garden!

Lucille said...

I like that Rumer Godden quote. Where is it from? I have just read Two under an Indian Sun which she wrote with her sister but i don't think it was in there.

rossichka said...

Lovely photos from lovely places! The black tulips are such a miracle! Spring is my favourite season because nature is blooming, twinkling,sparking, bursting in all possible colours. I'm sure your garden is beautiful and I suppose it's exciting to plant flowers and take care of them during the seasons. All my "apartment" flowers grow in pots, but they are still beautiful!
It's nice that you're searching for the positive things in your daily round! Last night I tried to do the same and I was quite surprised to find out what a nice day I had had....
Dear Sue, I have an award for you. Please, check it out in my blog these days!...

Kitsch and Curious Elaine said...

Nice to catch up with you again. I find myself identifying with you, as so often happens.

I've been trying to write lists of the positive things in my day, although I don't manage it every day. Tea and crochet and nature are my recipe for feeling better too.

The sunshine helps, and we had a lovely day today. i hope you did too.

Masha said...

I love that quote on tea... :)