Life in Wales

Had to do a bit of a detour on the last leg of our journey here as the main road was completely flooded. So glad though that we managed to find an alternative route via a tiny track over the hills, as this part of Wales truly is God's own country when the sun shines. The weather changes often, sometimes from hour to hour, torrential rain one moment and the next there's a rainbow, bathing the valley in sunshine and bringing everything in the garden to life in fabulous technicolour.

It's amazing how a couple of hours with a strimmer can work wonders, bringing everything into focus again. When we arrived the grass was knee-high in a sea of green - ok this can be quite attractive, but not desirable if you've spent ten years cultivating colourful perennials.
Had to run for cover when the rain came sheeting down the valley
Had a lovely evening with friends yesterday to celebrate P's birthday.  Had thought we might brave the midges, try and fight them off by smoking them out with the chimonea and start off outside on the terrace. Sod's law though, just after we started to get things out, the heavens opened and we were rained off.
Practising with my new ipad
Apple and blackcurrant birthday cake
It's just one of the best things being outside in the summer, watching the sun roll down the hills opposite, until it drops off the end and eventually disappears into the sea in the west. Also the garden is usually in full bloom in June, when the trees are festooned with rambling roses and the beds packed with perennials. However, with all the cold wet weather, everything's behind and the roses are only just coming into bud.

The little stream that runs beneath the barn and feeds the natural pond further down the hill is like a gushing torrent - was going to say raging but that would be a little too much hyperbole even for me - but you can guess what I mean. The pond has burst its banks and it's hard to get close now as all around is truly a bog. The gunnera though is very happy with her feet in deep puddles and is growing at a rate of knots. Had to cut off a leaf that was at least five feet across and blocking the path a couple of days ago.

The bog garden is a favourite place with the irises, gunnera, hostas, rodgersias, astilbes, willows and dogwoods, all good doers who don't demand a lot, but put on a spectacular show every year.

I also adore the hidden highlights in the garden that you need to look for, like the succulents in the top of the dry stone wall, which lift my spirits every time I walk past. The rain seems to have put most things about three weeks behind, all except for the fig on the terrace, which unusually has a full cargo of plump(ish) fruit this year.

The cats love it here and my only regret is that Django still can't be let out to enjoy it. Arlo is doing his best to make inroads into the rodent population, catching a rabbit yesterday and so many little voles, shrews and mice we practically need a graveyard for the bits he doesn't eat.

Django sulks around, wanly looking out the window, poor thing just doesn't understand that his leg has to heal completely before he can resume his life as Arlo's partner in crime. Sadly his lampshade collar prevents him from grooming, so last night just before bedtime he decided that he'd do some compulsory grooming of P's hair, which is a similar colour to his own. We nearly fell off the sofa laughing, he just wouldn't leave P alone - maybe it was his way of saying happy birthday?

Today I'm being good, the garden calls but I've resisted and have been choosing yarns for the second half of my next book, hard life I know :)

So I'll end with a few pics I took yesterday of some fave plants. The red border is looking good with big stands of Euphorbia Fireglow, red hot pokers and golden oats...
Euphorbia Fireglow
...I love poppies and this common and garden red one always makes me stop and look...
...I've never noticed the starry shape of this hosta bud before - strangely more interesting than the fully open bloom.

But my absolute fave at this time of year is the fabulous foxglove, just glorious the way it seeds around and comes up in the weirdest of places - I haven't the heart to pull any of them up.

Would love to hear what's blooming in your garden at this time of year. And don't forget, if you haven't already and would like to win a copy of Susan Crawford's new book Coronation Knits, just leave a comment on the blog tour post - I'm really enjoying reading all your comments about your fave design eras.


  1. Roses! Lots of roses are blooming. Red ones and yellow, my favourite are the coral ones against the garage wall. Perenial geranium, tiger lilys soon, spirea shrubbery and the black lace. My garden is small and urban, very lush with tall trees in the alley behind.

    1. I love the coral ones too, old fashioned with oodles of gorgeous scent - I wish I knew how to bottle it!

  2. No roses for moi, unfortunately - the resident deer population has learned that they are tasteeeeeeee :( But I have iris, red hot pokers garbooo, daisies, spanish lavender and lots of sedges, flaxes, grasses etc which above named 4-legged neighbours leave alone :) :) and like you, our Pacific NW cool spring has left us weeks behind 'normal' again. (and hoping to win Susan's new book - wish, wish, wish!!!)

    1. Is the spanish lavender what we call ceanothus? If it is it's just coming into bloom here in Wales too. What's garbooo? :)

  3. I live on Vancouver Island and my rhodos have just finished blooming. They were gorgeous this year. I did a little road trip yesterday, down Island, and the medians and sides of the highway were loaded with blue lupins, daisies, dandelions and Scotch broom - absolutely beautiful. Right now the clematis, columbines, lady's mantle and mock orange are in bloom. Roses are budding and the stargazer lilies are about to bloom as well.

    1. I've never been to Vancouver but whenever I've visited the Pacific NW I'm struck by how similar to Wales the vegetation is. Your island highway sounds gorgeous.


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