Posted by: christinelaennec | July 21, 2015

Lots on the go!

Somehow it’s been ten days since I last posted.  Life has been full with one thing and another.  My internet life has been slowed down by computer problems, which are largely sorted now (knock on wood!).  I have several batches of photos from excursions to show you, but haven’t had time to sort them and put them into posts.  I will do, though.

Thank you all for your kind wishes about the Dafter.  She is feeling a bit less rubbish these days, which we are all so grateful for.  I’ve been taking her to appointments, and out to fun activities.  Some room-tidying and cleaning has also been accomplished over the last week.  The garden has given us armfuls of beautiful scented roses:

Roses from the garden!  Mid-July 2015.

Roses from the garden! (and a wet penny) Mid-July 2015.

I have managed to tackle a few of those paperwork jobs that must be done but require a bit of courage.  And I have begun assembling my New Leaf Cardigan, which I began at Christmastime in 2012!  This too has necessitated calm resolve.  It’s not the first time I’ve made a steeked cardigan (I’ve made at least three).  But it’s the most complex I’ve ever attempted.


Steeking… (and jigsaw puzzling)

Making the cut... one of them anyway.

Making the cut… one of them anyway.

Fingers crossed it will eventually turn into a jacket and not a pillow or something like that!  Do any of you knitters have suggestions for how to keep the hem from flaring out so much?  I have blocked the main body already.

The weather has continued mostly cool and rainy.  Sometimes very, very rainy – there were appalling flash floods in Perthshire a few days ago.  My little rain gauge shows we have had nearly 6″ of rain since the first of the month.

Just in the past few days, the garden has been much more green than colourful.  Not only is it quite bedraggled in the rain and the wind – lots of snapped stems – but it’s another in-between time.  The roses have finished their first flush of blossoms, with another set on the way.  Two kinds of poppies, and the nigella, are set to bloom but not yet in flower.  The Japanese anemone and buddleia are also poised to bloom.

Rose, Japanese anemone, miniature buddleia.  21 July 2015.

Fun to come:  rose, Japanese anemone, miniature buddleia. 21 July 2015.

I am really pleased with the cerinthe, which I sowed directly in the ground:

Starting at the back:  poppies coming up in between the branches of the rosebush; astrantia; Aberdeenshire poppies; cerinthe / honeywort. 21 July 2015.

Starting near the back:  Aberdeenshire poppies; astrantia; cerinthe / honeywort (purply flowers on grey-green leaves). 21 July 2015.

The bees are still very busy in the garden.  They particularly love the foxgloves, which have reached that rather comical stage of having flowers only on the tops of their spires:

By the pond:  foxgloves coming to an end of their blossoming time; crocosmia; James Galway climbing rose.  21 July 2015.

By the pond: foxgloves coming to an end of their blossoming time; crocosmia; James Galway climbing rose, a daisy plant whose name I can’t remember.  21 July 2015.

I spent a very happy morning doing some music filing for the choirs that I belong to.  I love having that little job.  Unlike so much in life, it is possible to Sort Things Out rather easily!

We have also been preparing for a very special visitor, who arrived safely this morning.  My dear friend Gay will be with us for a month.  I’ve known her since we were 10 and regular readers will remember that she was a lifesaver when I had to deal with the aftermath of my father’s death this past November.  The Dafter adores her, and she is the easiest houseguest ever.  I’m sure we will have some more adventures that I can share with you.

I haven’t forgotten my project to follow the year with Katharine Stewart.  On the 20th of July she wrote a beautiful description of an evening walk in a friend’s garden.  “We reflect on the amazing balance nature has perfected.  The frog, the ladybird, the bee, so many creatures are benefactors in a garden, working away quietly, minding their own business…

Strawberries always do well hereabouts.  Some years ago a Cornishman grew them by the acre, along with raspberries and daffodils.  He has gone but the daffodils survive, to cheer every spring.  We wander past the Himalayan poppies, the Peruvian lilies, yellow loosestrife and blue geranium, which I recognise as old friends from my border, to a path of bark chippings, edged by the most glorious massed deep pink dianthus. …

I gaze into the ravine.  The water foams white as it falls into smooth dark pools.  The giant oaks overhang it with mystery.  Druids must have been here.  Today otters travel up this way to the hill-loch, fox and pine marten have their territories mapped. …  It’s a garden after my own heart, full of sap and vigour, a haven for wild plants as well as wild creatures, with hidden corners and sudden, unexpected flowerings of shrubs and trees – lilac, bird cherry, rowan…  I walk home slowly, breathing in the cool, dusk air.  A few late swallows are flying high, forecasting another bright day.” (90-91)

The swifts (not swallows, a friend told me) were a common summer sight and sound in Aberdeen, but I’m not sure I’ve seen them here.  It has been such a terribly wet summer, perhaps their numbers, as with other birds, are down.  But I am very grateful for the silent workers in our city garden.

I hope you are all having a good week!



  1. So good to hear from you! Glad you are having your friend over to visit. I hope you have a wonderful time. Your garden is absolutely gorgeous and those roses are just perfect. I hope you all have a good summer.

  2. J2Scotland, took the letters right out of my laptop keyboard, Christine 🙂 I will just add that I greatly admire your fabulous knitting…and how brave you are to cut it! Our temps are down to the 70’sF this week. We are stunned, but enjoying it and wish you would send a bit of your rain here, please. xx

  3. Nice to see you back again, I was sure you must be away on a trip somewhere. I’m glad your friend made it, lets hope she gets to see some nice weather while she’s here, Scotland is so pretty in the sun! Your garden is looking good, mine is looking overgrown and bedraggled. The rain has just been too much and I think my garden is as desperate for some prolonged sunshine as I am. Your knitting is amazing, how do you manage to do such intricate knitting, my hat is off to you! Glad the Dafter is managing to enjoy ‘summer’, lets hope she continues to get better. Enjoy your friends visit. xx

  4. It’s so nice to hear that the Dafter is doing better. Your roses are so lovely as is rest of your flower garden. I’m sure you will have a wonderful time with your dear friend. The sweater you are steeking is so beautiful; imagine all the long hours you spent creating such a lovely design. But, it looks very complicated too. I’m excited to see how it looks when it’s completed. It’s a beautiful design you have chosen. We received some much needed rain these past few days and the overcast sky is a blessing. My best to you and give my regards to your dear family. Pat xx

  5. Good to hear from you and of you again. Enjoy your guest and your garden looks wonderful.

  6. I love cerinthe. I bought seeds a few years ago. The flowers are beautiful, and they come back for several years.

  7. Merci, Christine pour ce long article. Je suis heureuse de savoir que votre fille va un peu mieux et j’espère qu’il en sera ainsi et en mieux durant les jours prochains. Vos roses et votre tricot sont magnifiques quelles couleurs ! J’ai un pull qui attend son “steeking” depuis… des années. Le premier coup de ciseaux doit être difficile à donner… Passez un très bon mois avec votre amie. J’espère que vous pourrez bénéficier de quelques jours de soleil. Ici après un mois et demi de très grosses chaleurs (35° C et au-dessus) nous revenons à quelquechose de plus doux et c’est bien agréable. Je vous adresse toutes mes amitiés.

  8. Those roses are glorious and that cardigan looks amazing to me, although not being a knitter I have no appreciation of the problems you’re facing. There was a bit of torrential rain here yesterday and I was thinking of the poor souls in Alyth. The last thing they’ll be wanting is more rain. A good stretch of warm sunshine would be wonderful.

  9. The roses are beautiful and so is the cardigan. I’ve seen it on Ravelry and have no doubt is will be a cardigan. 🙂 Your knitting is just beautiful and so is the garden. We’ve have lots of rain here too, and my garden is in need of a good weeding. So good to hear the Dafter is doing better.
    Have a good week, and enjoy your time with your visiting friend. ♥

  10. The cardigan is beautiful. About the hem flaring out too much – I wonder if threading very fine elastic through would help – on the inside where it won’t show? I hadn’t heard the word steek before, but I realise I’ve done something similar, when my daughter decided a jumper I had knitted would work better as a cardigan. It was more successful than I had expected, and made me a bit braver about cutting things.

  11. Thank you very much for all your kind comments, everyone. I sure wish we could send some rain to those of you who are parched! Flora, I think threading elastic, or elastic thread, through is the best idea. Worth a try anyway.

  12. I’m catching up on blogs too!!! My time is so focused on school during the week. I can’t get over your roses!!!! They are just amazing in their shades and colors — almost the same color just different shades. Our climate is not that great for roses, sadly. But I have a bunch of gorgeous zinnias. 🙂 Your cardigan is just gorgeous!!! Keep up the good work. Can’t wait to see the end result! Very excited that the Dafter has gone back to school and hope that she will be able to re-coop some energy this weekend. Andrew started this week and has had a good week but two days slept into 11am or so…..not quite the schedule he ought to be having. Well, I must get off of blogs and start planning out next week!!!!

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