Monthly Archives: May 2017

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Roll Up, Roll Up, Rocking Dog Huddle Tonight!

Haberdashery,Rocking Dog

Haberdashery

Yes it’s Rocking Dogs May creative huddle this evening 7-9pm. Bring along curtains to hem, buttons to sew, knitting, a crochet project or simply turn up for gentle nurturing chat. There’ll be coffee and cake, it’s Chocolate & Sweet Chestnut Turinois tonight. Perhaps i’ll even get to sew, i’m looking forward to using some of the vintage fabrics I bought at the recent Vintage & Handmade Jumble Sale. I particularly love the 50’s fish print towel, it would make a funky beach bag.

The house smells of caramelised sugar, with large batches of meringues heading into the oven. Rocking Dog is making a hundred large snowy white meringues for a fabulous wedding meringue pile up. They will be “glued” together with a summer fruit mascarpone cream. The tower will then be adorned with fairy lights and garden flowers. Look out for Rocking Dog’s blog next week for images of the sugary edifice.

I would love to see you at the huddle this evening. As ever donations go into the tea pot with a generous proportion going to Fine Cell Work teaching and supporting prison inmates to sew and embroider.

New Fabric Stash,Rocking Dog

New Fabric Stash

Fifties Fish,Rocking Dog

Fifties Fish

Eggs For Meringues,Rocking Dog

Eggs For Meringues

Come For Coffee,Rocking Dog

Come For Coffee

Rocking Dog Loved Her Time At Chelsea

Mexican Heat,Rocking Dog

Mexican Heat

Rocking Dog made a welcome return to the Chelsea Flower Show last week. Alas last year she had to give the show a miss as it  somewhat inconveniently clashed with the boys wedding! Can it really be a year ago that I cooked three courses for 120 guests, sewed table runners, cutlery pockets, and ran up a tent? Happy 1st wedding anniversary Alex & Kylie.

An early start saw me hurtling across London last Thursday to try and beat the crowds. London was bathed in glorious sunshine and I was soon enjoying planty loveliness. There were many fewer show gardens this year, and I can only imagine that the cost and time required to pull off one of these botanical and architectural masterpieces is colossal.

The show garden which won best in show was a somewhat controversial choice and I witnessed many mutterings of show goers feeling that Chris Beardshaw had been robbed! Inspired by an abandoned Maltese quarry the winning garden was dramatic. The massive stones in its makeup had been quarried, cut and transported from Malta. The planting was wild, scrubby and Mediterranean. I was intrigued by the garden and was glad that I revisited it in the heat of the midday sun. The smell of the wild fennel and other sun parched herbs was intoxicating.

The highlight of my day was introducing myself to garden designer Sarah Raven in the Radio 2 Feel Good Garden (Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden). Daughter Sorrel had previously worked for Sarah at Perch Hill and on events at Sissinghurst. How lovely to be invited to drink a cup of refreshing Lapsang Souchong in Sarah’s corrugated tin roofed bothy. A few photographs taken within the exquisite bee buzzing garden and then it was time to move on. Thank you Sarah it was SO lovely to finally meet you and I so wanted your delicious garden beamed up and plopped down in the Kennels’ weedy outback!

Some of my favourite gardens weren’t the big budget show gardens but the more intimate artisan and fresh gardens. “City Living” with its massive orange Anglepoise lamps and “Beneath a Mexican Sky” enjoyed being showcased in brilliant sunshine. Not a great admirer of Acers or Maples I however loved Japanese Gosho No Niwa’s “No Wall, No War” artisan garden. It contained the most exquisite naturalistic waterfall and verdigris metal framed glass house. The house had been transported from Japan and apparently it had been nerve-wracking for the designer. There was no back up plan if the large glass panes had been broken in transit.

In the Pavilion there were iris’s, cacti, orchids, daffodils, ferns, plants for sun and plants for shade. I really loved the way the humble spud was exhibited by Morrice & Ann Innes Potatoes. More colourful and definitely more scented was the David Austin Rose stand. It was a truly beautiful spectacle and how lovely to spot Cerys Matthews under the blooming bowers.

The trends I perceived at this years Chelsea – Lupins are back in fashion, the colour purple, foxgloves, grasses, copper, caring for wildlife within the garden. Many of the gardens sported quite shaggy (should I say weedy) borders. Again I was aware of mutterings about planting not being neat. When I came home I rather loved my herbaceous borders infilled with ground elder, couch grass, bellvine and the like. I am SO totally on trend! I can down tools this summer and sit back in a deck chair with a long G&T and a good book !

Much love and hope you have had a lovely bank holiday weekend.

Love Rocking Dog x

There is a Rocking Dog Creative Huddle this Wednesday 31st May 7-9pm. All welcome. Homemade cake, drinks, chat and maybe the odd bit of sewing/knitting! Donations into the teapot with proportion heading to Fine Cell Work, teaching & supporting prison inmates to sew and embroider.

Best In Show,Rocking Dog

Best In Show

Feel Good Garden-Colour, Rocking Dog

Feel Good Garden-Colour

Tin Shed Tea,Rocking Dog

Tin Shed Tea

Breaking Ground Garden,Rocking Dog

Breaking Ground Garden

Japanese Magic,Rocking Dog

Japanese Magic

5 Star Bug Hotel, Rocking Dog

5 Star Bug Hotel

The Humble Spud,Rocking Dog

The Humble Spud

City Living,Rocking Dog

City Living

Cerys & Blooms,Rocking Dog

Cerys & Blooms

Copper Loveliness,Rocking Dog

Copper Loveliness

Copper Planting,Rocking Dog

Copper Planting

Copper Couch,Rocking Dog

Copper Couch

Coming Out From The Cold

The Warmth & The Rain,Rocking Dog

The Warmth & The Rain

I realise I have been quiet. Words have not come easily and reading words has not come easily. The brain fug is beginning to clear and cheer, I need to get back into the saddle!

I have not been idle. There was a little baby in the house for a little while. My role as Biddy (as in old) was enjoyable and even keeping Sorrel company in the depth of the night was a privilege. That’s not to say I don’t now feel as if I have been run over by a steam train! He really is such a sweet little fellow and we are going to have such great fun in coming years.

More parenting is currently going on in the Victorian gas lamp in our back garden. The blue tits have returned, having built a nest in the lamp post. Every twenty or thirty seconds mum and dad bring back grubs and caterpillars for their hungry brood. They remove waste from the nest and diligently look out for predators. Frankly it is exhausting watching them. Until the chicks fledge I cannot get on and garden … drat, oh it’s such a good excuse!

The warmth and the rain have made the rambling roses simply explode. I can say that the dark sinister conifers that they replaced have been missed not one little bit. Honeysuckle, forget-me nots, penstemons, ¬†iris’s, comfrey, borage….. everything is burgeoning. With the garden in full summer throttle it was wonderful to awake to a doorstep gift, a David Austin “Vanessa Bell” Rose. Full of buds, it promises wonderfully creamy voluptuous scented blooms. Thank you lovely Robsons!

The meadow behind the house is ablaze with buttercups, clover, moon daisies, bluebells, vetch, cow parsley, dandelions, may blossom and grasses. I never tire of the meadows beauty and look forward to seeing the swallows dart & swoop over the expanse of verdant vegetation. Soon the mad cows will be put out to pasture and sadly the meadow will be off limits until the autumnal nights start drawing in.

Still on a plant theme I trot off to the Chelsea Flower Show next week which i’m wildly looking forward to. Maybe this year will be the year I finally set my mind and body to creating a garden with less weeds and more order!

There has been sewing, and cooking, baking, spring cleaning, volunteering and decluttering. There has been Real Live Rocking Dog to walk, travels to London, and wedding plotting & planning. There have been forays into Bath and down to the harbour, an afternoon tea and lots of hugs to give.

Thank you to all those of you who have said they have missed my blog, I hope i’ll slowly and carefully start writing again.

Special birthday wishes today for Sorrel, I hope you manage a glass of bubbly in between the demands of a hungry little nestling! To all, have a wonderful weekend whatever joys it brings.

Love from Rocking Dog x

PS. Date for the Huddlers diary -Wednesday 31st May (7-9pm) for the next Rocking Dog Creative Huddle. New Huddlers welcome. Donations into the teapot with a generous proportion going to Fine Cell Work, supporting prison inmates to skilfully sew and embroider.

Parenthood,Rocking Dog

Parenthood

Wildflower Meadow,Rocking Dog

Wildflower Meadow

Walk With Mr Dog,Rocking Dog

Walk With Mr Dog

Asparagus Season,Rocking Dog

Asparagus Season

Rhubarb Season,Rocking Dog

Rhubarb Season

Always Cake Season!,Rocking Dog

Always Cake Season!

Heading To Chelsea,Rocking Dog

Heading To Chelsea

Good Year For The Roses,Rocking Dog

Good Year For The Roses

Spring Cleaning, Rocking Dog

Spring Cleaning