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"Pure style is my way of life... a blueprint for living in the 21st Century"
April garden
29 April 2019

Tap tapping at the key board has a feel of the siesta hour, window blind not pulled completely shut allowing a sliver of sunlight to burst through the darkened inte rior. The mind wanders up here but then flying is mind bending, the turbine hum reality of being 12,500 metres somewhere over Iran, looking down on countries of puffy meringue clouds. 500 km per hour for almost a day, en route to Melbourne via a two hour stopover in Kuala Lumpur. A second visit to check out the down under life of my almost Melburnian son.

My travels are all happening at once it seems. Arriving late home last night from Easter in Olhao (feasts of grilled fish and chocolate eggs) I was up at dawn to re-pack and see what had been going on in the garden: an explosion of blossom and pink tulips and everything infused with spring fever. Have the slugs decimated the young sweet peas in my absence? Yes, they’ve had a damn good try but most seedlings are pushing on upwards, in little spurts of green curling around the hazel peasticks. There are instructions (daughters are minding the fort) for the tops to be pinched out from time to time to encourage stronger growth and more flowering.

Too much in a rush to get to Heathrow on time to identity all the tulips, apart from the obvious raspberry ripple markings of Rems Favourite. I know that I planted 80 Violet Beauty, 50 Bleu Amiable , 50 Jackpot and 50 Blue Heron. As I’ve explained before. I don’t lift the oldtimer tulips- partly laziness but also because those that do come up again are a bonus, like fluttery eldery aunts to the generation of bright young things planted the previous autumn,

Expectation versus reality is the downfall of over optimistic gardeners (most of us) and it is what can make one want to give up when an event such as cherished box hedging is annihilated by box blight almost overnight. Yes, it happened to mine last summer. So I have been guarded in my anticipation for the apple tree buds. But there was no frost or fierce storm. The apple tree has burst forth in a vsion of Van Gogh’s French orchards in spring , a delicate fluff of petals in white and pink. Looks like we’re going to get a big crop of apples this year – cautiously ’maybe’ of course.

Most lawns have been silenced by the regime of a lawnmover says Alys Fowler in the Guardian and reflects on Margaret Renkl who recently made the case for neglecting lawns in the New York Times. The scientific thinking is that scorched by weed and moss killers lawns are drained of their bio diversity.

I mow some of the grass , but don’t use chemicals, and keep it rough around the apple tree, a little bit of wildflower meadow, already with spring dandelions, bluebells, and forget me knots and food for bees and other insects


So goodbye fresh buds and petals, it’s been all too fleeting, and hello to the falling leaves of an Australian autumn….






Tags: springgarden, tulips, blossom, pink, ecogarden, londonreatreat, countryinthecity, simplegarden, outdoors,


More of my pink passions
03 May 2015

Last week while I was feeling the breeze in  Barbados  and reconnecting with  long lost Bajan Cumberbatches  (an extraordinary story of which I will write later ) the garden was busily bursting forth in an explosion of tulip colours.  On the plane home, I was yearning for the Bajan sea colours which are of unspeakable beauty: gazing from the verandah each day at a glassy expanse of  dark blues  on the horizon,  then ultramarine, and in the shallows, luminous turquoise flecked with white froth.  But  after  battling  against the  early morning commuter flow at Clapham Junction and dragging  my  wheelie bag up  and down the hill,  my mood  lifted as soon as I saw the floral  beauty by my very own back door .

NB  I planted the bulbs randomly and so not quite sure what is what, but know that that the varieties include: Lilac Perfection, Violet beauty, Fringed fancy frills,  Lily flowering China Pink, Triumph ( the white and beetroot coloured ones) and blue parrot tulips, from Dejager
Crocus and Rose Cottage .

Tags: spring, tulips, garden, simple, pink,


Tip toe through the tulips
17 April 2015


The week in December that I spent almost double  pushing  several hundred tulips and alliums far into the ground to prevent squirrel digging was all so worth it.  Each morning, coffee in hand, I`m outside inspecting the day`s new blooms.  The tulips are first , and I can almost see them growing as vivid pink and raspberry rippled flower cups unfold in the sun on smooth lime green elegant stems .
















Tags: spring, tulips, garden, purecolour, alliums,


Tiip toe through the tulips
13 May 2013


Took these pictures a week ago, and didn`t want to leave it too long before I uploaded to show you all how exuberant  the tulip show has been this year. The combination of cold and rain this winter seems to have encouraged particularly lush grown in all areas of the spring garden: the bluebells are bluer and the forget -me- nots  more  luminous and  pale blue porcelain-like than ever.





I had  moments of heart in mouth when a shoot came and the child models used the tulip patch as a football pitch. Only lost three specimens  (see salvaged Match Point tulip example above) but it`s an  aspects of house hiring  that brings out the rant in me. 





  There`s the excitement of the apple tree coming into blossom at least a month late, but oh so worth it for the froth of white and pink petals which may be  a harbinger of plump golden apples if frost stays away. 







Writing now from Olhao where the final whitewashing, brushing up and dusting down of the house is in progress. Really pleased with a junk bench  stained in glum brown varnish  that after  sanding and painting white  reveals its  good looks. That`s the fun of  tracking down old junk  of trying to visualise its potential. Heading home tomorrow  and hoping that  weeds and snails have not taken over.




Tags: spring, tulips, flowerpower, pink, colour


Chive pesto and first tulips
24 April 2013

The Japanese arrive as  the cherry blossom froths in next door`s garden.  It`s a shoot for   Mrs Magazine    Japan`s oldest womens` publication.  I am Mrs Pure Style cooking with herbs from the garden and sharing my recipe tips with the enviably porcelain smooth face of Mrs Magazine, actress and singer,  Miki  Imai.
Some things are  lost in translation, but  east and west  over tea and  lavender shortbread have a mutual feeling for the simple and beautiful.  Photographer  Okemi Kurosaka neat and  efficient as her glossy black fringe snaps until the shadows are long and we have picked  the bones clean from very English spring lamb cutlets with rosemary and garlic.





  Chive pesto also goes down well on my Japanese date: chop a handful of chives  and process  in the hand whizzer  with pine nuts, garlic,  olive oil,  grated Parmesan , salt and pepper.




Getting orders for the borders!!! and Press, too... Here`s the latest thumbs up from Living Etc  who also feature  them on the Editor`s  front page  of ` Inspiration`





Loading up Richard`s  van for delivery to Olhao. I have my first holiday  tenants soon, and want them to enjoy crisp  sheets and soft pillows, floaty cotton  awnings, and lanterns.  Seems mad to to be sending mats, chairs, folding beer tables  two thousand miles south when you think  items as prosaic as these might  be found locally. They can... and they can`t if you`re picky, like me and get get stuck  on wanting  what feels/looks right  not what is  simply available.  Fussy yes, but  would you want stacking plastic loungers  at Pure Style Portugal? .





Not so much flat calm, but rippling : wavy black and white  linen/cotton for another take on the stripe theme





Together with   the  unfurling of the garden`s first tulip, I receive  green fingered excitement  from  the forthcoming Chelsea Fringe  alternative garden festival.  Masses of events: sign me up for  a walk on London`soldest nature trail at the Horniman museum and the drawing and sketching classes on Hampstead Heath.





Lunch break. A gorgeous painterly arrangement of salads and salmon by location caterer,  Laurence  Mash has just landed on my desk. The crew downstairs is enjoying the tastiest and most  visually appealing  shoot grub that has appeared in my kitchen for a very long time.

Tags: spring, homecooking, tulips. Japan. location shoots


 
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