Umbels

image of a cow parsley flower
The umbel is a most pleasing blossom structure. Described as a flower consisting of many stalks which emanate from a single point rather like umbrella ribs. From the humble cow parsley (pictured above) to the delightful elderflower, the Hertfordshire hedgerows are currently awash with umbels. Floating cloud like on long stalks, creamy white in a sea of green. Beautiful.

Spring Clean

Spring greens for spring cleaning
I have found myself with a strong desire for spring cleaning this week, I love when this feeling arrives, it means the winter is truly over. So in the last week of glorious sunshine I have washed all my winter woollies, overhauled and tidied my loft studio (its warm enough to go up there again) and started juicing and eating foraged greens from my garden. My world is cleansed inside and out. Very pleasing.

10 Signs of Spring

Evidence of Spring - magnolia in bloom and Michaela French's compost pile
A list of evidence suggesting that spring is truly and finally in the air in Hertfordshire, I feel much cause for celebration:

1. The magnolia tree across the road is in full bloom
2. I have dug the compost pile and spread its bounty over our vegetable beds
3. The plum tree is blooming after a somewhat brutal winter pruning.
4. The daffodils are everywhere.
5. Our peony has bravely shot up two new, very bold shoots.
6. Our pond is alive is with the annual frog breeding extravaganza.
7. My hair and fingernails are growing fast.
8. I wore shorts and a singlet in the garden all day on Friday.
9. The sun is shinning and the air is warm(ish).
10. It is 6.15pm and it is still broad daylight outside.

Sprung

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At last it seems the spring might really be here. We have our first iris blooming and the sun is shining warmly, we even ate our lunch in the garden this afternoon. To me it feels like it has been a long long winter and this brightness is surely welcome. It feels like its time to get a haircut, start planting and begin being a sociable creature once more. Here’s to a beautiful season.

Snowy Wonderland

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I love the snow, it is beautiful, exciting and endlessly surprising. Today it fell nearly all day leaving our little town covered in soft snowy drifts. So much trouble is reported in the news but I am enjoying the beauty of it, rather like the icing on the cake.  We get to have it all.

Sunday


What a perfect Sunday it has been, friends came for lunch, we roasted vegetables, stuffed pumpkins, and slow cooked leeks with cream and seeded mustard. For dessert I baked yet another upside-down cake with pears from our tree. Delightful. After lunch there was sewing and a garden tour in the autumn sunshine. I am looking forward to another busy week of lecturing.

Grey Old Day

Its a grey old day today, a day for snuggling in cashmere, drinking cups of tea and baking pear upside-down cake for a good friend’s birthday tea. Its been drizzling all day, the garden will be very happy. On the weekend we worked on installing our new (old) fire. its a little French multi-fuel enamel tower. I am looking forward to sitting by it in the evenings, it will be beautifully warm when it’s working.