Thank heavens for daffodils.
Mon 10 Mar 2014
Sat 1 Mar 2014
St David’s day normally brings masses of daffodils but this year only the miniature ones in pots are flowering. The big ones dotted around the garden are still tightly closed although they don’t take long to open in the warmth of the kitchen.
Elsewhere the garden is suffering. The ground is sodden, too wet to work on and the lack of a greenhouse means no protection for anything tender. ( The greenhouse is being re-built. Slowly. That’s another post)! But it’s the evergreen shrubs and trees that are so heartbreaking. The gales have burnt the leaves to shreds and some are unrecognisable.
This arbutus was doing so well
and who knows if this young camellia will survive?
Believe it or not, this is a holly bush.
The few leaves that remain on the eucalyptus are dessicated to shreds.
But it’s spring, nearly, so things will improve. In the meantime, there’s something very special about these little iris
and struggling in a waterlogged bed of rotting plants and weeds, this forget-me-not is not giving up.
Happy St David’s Day to everyone.
Sun 23 Feb 2014
T and I are still missing California and I frequently find myself gazing into the middle distance, lost in memories or wondering if and when we can return. The must do next visit list keeps growing so it’s not if but when!
Can’t decide what the best best bit was so here’s a selection!
Driving along clear, straight roads – the place is so BIG!
Early morning start in the remarkable Barbara
to the even more remarkable Joshua Tree National Park. As they say over there, awesome.
The Getty Centre, one to do again, next time in sunshine!
The house opposite B & J’s apartment, one of many crazy, colourful houses
and inside B & J’s bright and beautiful apartment!
A monarch butterfly and if you’ve read Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour, you’ll know what this is
The famous deserted motel in the desert (and Barbara)!
And a beach full of elephant seals.
I could go on, and on, but I shan’t. It’s a great place and we had the best hosts. Thank you B & J. We’ll be back!
Thu 20 Feb 2014
It was quite a trip, our visit to Los Angeles. The city itself is a vast sprawling place; Sunset Boulevard, Downtown, Hollywood Boulevard, none are as romantic as they sound, but the residential areas, the surrounding towns and desert and the beaches and skies of southern California are every bit as extraordinary as you could imagine. Here’s a taster – there’ll be lots more!!
This was the first picture I took, sunset over Los Angeles. It was the best!
Sat 25 Jan 2014
I’ve been stamping! Well, I’ve been doing other things as well but the stamping was the most fun!
Back in November I discovered the wonderful Jenny at Bloomfield and Rolfe and asked her to design a new image for Cattapilla Designs. She came up with a winner. Those of you who follow my Facebook page might have already seen it. I launched it at Craft London, a new trade fair at Earl’s Court last week then at Showcase Ireland this week. The response was brilliant. An added bonus is that I don’t have to pay enormous printing costs for thousands of cards. I just have to stamp when I need more, covering hotel dressing tables in cards ready for the next day!
Thank you Jenny
Now I have to work out how to change the Cattapilla Designs website header to include the new image and then I might ask Jenny to design something for this blog.
Tue 24 Dec 2013
Sat 7 Dec 2013
Thu 21 Nov 2013
Midleton, so named because it is halfway between the seaside town of Youghal (pronounced Yawl) and Cork city, has a typical Irish high street running straight through and is the home of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey distillery and many fine restaurants.
It is also not far from Shanagarry and Ballymaloe House, family seat of the Allen dynasty and the Ballymaloe empire – hotel, restaurant, cookery school, shop, cafe, the Grain Store and Big Shed. And it’s where we spent last weekend at the Craft & Design Festival. Cattapilla Designs and over 100 other designer makers plied our wares to a remarkably unresponsive public. There were a lot of 3 P’s – pick up, put down, piss off – but we’re a hardy lot, us Cork crafters and despite a disappointing show, we had fun. I was between Annabel Langrish’s lovely animal prints and Helen O’Leary’s hand knitted tea cosies.
I had to have this, it’s just so silly and fun, but it might be kept for best!
And we all laughed at the - ‘Are they for sale? ‘ ‘Where do you get them from?’ ’You want to put velcro on those bags!’ and of course the ever popular ‘That’s a good idea,’ nudge to friend, ‘you could do that!’
Back to Midleton where we stayed at the monstrous concrete building at the end of town that is the Midleton Park Hotel.
But like book covers, hotel facades are often deceptive and we had a vast, quiet room where we could kick off the shoes, have a large drink or two and forget about the long day. And there’s a swimming pool in the basement so no excuse for not exercising!
And then food. For some reason Midleton has had a good reputation for food for many years and it’s well deserved. We only had three nights to sample the delights and boy, did we eat well. Sage has two dining rooms. The ’smart’ one was full so we ate in the Greenroom where we had Irish tapas. The chef promises that all the food served has been grown or produced within a 12 mile radius and the quality and freshness of the goat’s cheese, chicken, pickles and paté shows what a difference this ethos makes. We got a table in the restaurant another night and I had the most delicious slow cooked beef – what we used to call a pot roast!
Then to the Farmgate. Whenever we go to Cork city we try and eat at the Farmgate Café in the English Market and now we were in Midleton we had the opportunity to eat at the original. Again the place is divided into two and we ate in what is the shop / cafe but the menu was the same as in the restaurant. A lovely cosy room and surrounded by cakes and bread and with a plate of pheasant in front of me. Perfect. I now understand why this town has such a reputation. Excellent locally produced food, one good restaurant which breeds more, and quality that just gets better. Not sure if I’ll be doing the Ballymaloe Craft & Design Show again but I’ll certainly be back to Midleton for a comfy bed and more great food.
Thu 7 Nov 2013
Cattapilla Designs is going on the road.
We will be in Cork city this weekend
In east Cork the following weekend
Sun 3 Nov 2013
It’s that time of year again already; it’s dark by 6pm, wind and rain batter us and the draft proofing curtains are back over the ancient ill fitting kitchen doors. But there was an afternoon of warm sunshine the other day and I got the tulips in.
Last year I grew tulips in pots but they didn’t work well – too wet, too cold, too dry, too windy, who knows but they were disappointing. So they’re in a bed again this year and instead of mixing up all the varieties and hoping for the best which is what I normally do, this time I carefully marked out the spacing and kept them separate. So next spring I’m looking forward to blocks of whites and yellows and purples and reds. Ah yes, and green! The spinach is just getting into it’s stride so I couldn’t pull it up.
And T has replaced all the timber around the beds so it’s all looking much tidier.
Elsewhere the garden has suddenly gone into winter mode. Most leaves are off the trees though a few roses are struggling on. It’s been such a brilliant year for the garden that I think everything deserves a well earned rest. The only disappointments - after the tulips – were the sweet peas, planted out too soon in that freezing late spring they never recovered, and the blue hydrangeas. I have a bed of 12 in front of the greenhouse and normally they flower profusely but not this year. Think I’ll give them a treat and collect some seaweed. And Nerines. I’m sure I planted at least 12 in the new bed but this is all I have to show. Shame, they’re so pretty.
The new annuals bed was magnificent. The cosmos wet on and on and the Verbena bonariensis was a revelation – can’t believe I didn’t take any photos. I’ve left the dying plants in situ in the hope that they seed themselves. Next year I think I’m going for blues and whites with pops of orange or scarlet. There’s no point in gentle, subtle colour here – the competition with the view means that strong bright colour is essential. Seed catalogues have already begun to arrive so I’m looking forward to planning next summer’s plants while the wind and rain hammer outside!