Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Fairy Toothbrush and The Secret Garden

Our provence, is known as "The Fruit Bowl".
It's not surprising that we have annual "Blossom Parades" & orchards galore.
We also have a profusion of flowering cherry blossom trees in Hawke's bay..
If you'd like to please press play to listen to music from The Secret Garden while you're here.

And it's the time of the apple, pear, peach, plum, nectarine & cherry blossom...& so much more!
The glory of the flower that fruits & those that just delight the senses.
 The purple cascade of the wisteria can be seen dripping over fences & verandas... 
 It's such a nice time to travel around the Bay a little; tootle about & revel in the green & the fresh & the vibrantly extravagantly floral.
 On Saturday we headed out to Bay View, near the coast, to a relatively new Antiques, Collectables & Craft Market. It's held the first Saturday of every month from 10-2pm. My lovely friend Wendy & her sister Debbie have the sweetest stall there.
Wendy has been a volunteer at the Hospice Shop for years now & presently does the most amazing job of the weekly window down at "Connections". Her talent & innovation remind me very much of the delightful Julie & her Threadbare Cottage...such clever, clever, lovely women...all! 
 While we were out that way we went a little further up the line to buy a huge box of Navel oranges for just $20 & to pop in to the little caravan park at Eskdale to see if it would be a suitable place to take Lucy. The river there is very gentle & soft;
 all the land was meadow-like & fresh with spring promise..
 The banks of the river were carpeted with this pretty blue periwinkle.
Really we should all be growing this hardy creeper, otherwise what hope have we of keeping fairies in our garden's, since it is in the very heart of this simple azure flower that you you find the fairy toothbrush?
 At the market I found a Royal Albert "Blossomtime" trio for $20.
It was right about now, that I had a sweet epiphany. Suddenly, I know what I need to do: start a Glory Box for little Nina. I'd love to have your input on this...did you have a Glory Box? Do you know anything about their origins? And what should go in it do you think? Nina is only 3 so I've got a while, yet already we share the same taste; from my experience if you love pretty & gentle & lovely early on, you love it forever.
 I feel quite certain that this picture is a screen capture of the "Secret Garden". When I saw it I could remember going to see the movie like it was yesterday. (I know that I have mentioned this before but round it comes again..just can't be helped!) I'd never heard of the book, but I knew that I just had to see the movie. Rob & David & I all went together, almost 20 years ago. Poor little David was only 5 at the time. I had no idea it would be so grim & sombre in the beginning!
But when spring came & the garden began to open up & burst with colour & joy I cried & cried as my soul engaged with a new, fragile hope, for the very first time in my life.
It was around that time that I had become a "Garden Fairy".

These amazing blooms came home with me this week. Aren't they so rich & wildly beautiful!
This spring has a Secret Garden feel to it.
 I think that this has to be the most beautiful tulip I have ever seen. (And I'll have you know a wonderful man chose the bulbs!)

I adore my Dogwood..
 and the cherry blossom "Perfection" beginning to flower over Lucy (she wasn't here last year), for the very first time.
 Anna Rose Whitney, tucked in to a shady spot,
  has finally settled in happily just outside my kitchen window.
 Last week I noticed an exceedingly rare listing on Trade Me, a vintage Sanderson fabric that I have only ever seen once before, on: Niki's English blog, Nostalgia at the Stone House.
 I am very grateful to have been able to buy it..a Buy-now & a decent price.

 It is imperfect, it has some holes & small patches of mildew..won't have to feel guilty for cutting in to it now.
Rob needed to drop off keys in Napier on Tuesday so I took a little ride with him. I saw this darling little Mrs Tiggy-winkle cane washing basket in the auction. I left an absentee bid on it & never thought to hear from them again, but I got a phone call the next day to say that I had won it!
 Which was jolly perfect timing as David had just moved in to a little place on his own & has well.. absolutely nothing! And since I have ceremonially gifted the other two one of my vintage washing baskets, it seems, it had now come his time too. Guess what turned up on our doorstep next morning? David & a basket full of dirty washing..doesn't have a washing machine yet! He was very nice about it all, though I have to admit & at that point, not many clean clothes left, probably only what he was standing in!
 So this week there'll be more scrubbing, sweeping, trimming, feeding, repotting, painting &
LOTS of admiring the loveliness, moment by moment...

 Perhaps even a tiny tea party for two..perfect!
Although, I do wish that you could all come!
Have a lovely week.
Thank you so much for coming to see me.


  1. Catherine, your yard and gardens are just beautiful. I especially love that shot of Lucy tucked in among the cherry blossoms. Such a treat to see all your flowers in full bloom as we are preparing our gardens for the winter months ahead. Thank you for sharing such loveliness!

    1. Hello Beth,
      Thank you so much for your kind & lovely comments.
      I am so grateful to have a garden..I can’t imagine not being able to grow flowers, so it’s lovely to be able to share them even a small way.
      I rather like this double season reflection thing where we are able to see the progress of things from the other hemisphere.
      It has a nice effect of helping me to be mindful of each season, as it passes so soon in to another.
      I hope that you are having a lovely autumn.
      Many thanks for visiting.
      Much love Catherine x

  2. I love those washing baskets! Come to think of it, I think I have one at school that a friend has borrowed. I may have to go retrieve it soon.
    The fabric you found is lovely. What will you use it for?
    Nina is a blessed child.

  3. When I read a post like this from you I want to come see your garden so much! I'd love to have tea with you in your special place.

    It's uncanny to me how much we like the same things. I have many of the same flowers you do. Love the new tulips by the way. I can't grow them well here because we have so many deer & they eat them before they have a chance to bloom. We have lots of white dogwood but no pink ones. Our very hot dry summers are so hard on them & I've never been able to get them to grow.

    I love all the beautiful glass at the craft market.

    I have the exact same laundry basket as you pictured, though mine is not vintage & I also had a teapot like yours. I passed it on to a friend when I really had to choose to let go of some of mine. The fabric you bought looks the same as some my mom had when I was a little girl. She made spring Easter dresses for my sisters & me out of it.

    I had to look up what a glory box is. Here we call it a hope chest. I suggest making some things yourself for it. What treasures that would be! Wouldn't it be fun if you could make a quilt or afghan & let Little Nina make a few stitches in them to 'help' you. I hope you'll share with us what you decide to do.

    My comment has become a letter but I do so love reading your posts.

    1. Dear Jenny,
      I am so glad to have these sweet conversations with you!
      Even the intention of tea together is a joyful thought.
      In many ways my garden is an accidental one..some things grew & some did not!
      I planted a beautiful white weeping dogwood once but it died that first winter. I was so disappointed.
      We too have very hot dry summers which is quite a challenge for many things.

      How amazing to have had little dresses made out of such glorious fabric...did you love wearing them (not all little girls do, of course)
      It’s interesting how there are so many parallels in the cultures but often different the hope chest & glory box!
      Thank you for your suggestions as to what to put in it.
      A large tin of old buttons would be fun to collect.
      Much love & hugs
      Catherine x0x0x

  4. I really enjoyed your post today Catherine - your tulips are spectacular, like fairy petticoats with their raggedy edges and I had never seen a fairy toothbrush before! Your rare find fabric and wash basket were lucky buys. Betty x

    1. Hello Betty, I thought of you today when I noticed that there were early elderflowers out down the street..not long since you made your elderberry cordial. I have been meaning to ask you about how you go about making it & quite how you use yours..I'd love to know if you have a minute sometime.
      Yes those tulips are just like fairy petticoats indeed. I wonder if you have periwinkle in your woods? It's fairly universal I's the only place I know to find a fairy toothbrush ; )
      I am very much enjoying my new/old washing is nice & compact & has a friendly shape.
      Thank you so much for popping in once again.
      Much love Catherine x0x0x

  5. What a gorgeous post Catherine filled with beauty. Your photos are just SO gorgeous.
    Anne xx

  6. Hello Catherine.

    Your first photo interested me, upon looking at the table I saw some brown glass dishes. My Mum has/had some desert bowls in much the same design.
    Love that tea cup you purchased, I can just imagine how lovely the tea is to drink from that, definitely a cup that needs to be used. Enjoy your time in the garden this week.

    Happy days.

  7. Forgot to say I had to smile at what happened with the laundry basket. You have to love them don't you.

    1. Hello Bev,
      Isn’t funny we spot things that are familiar from the past..I have come to quite like the old amber glass.
      It is especially nice with tea lights in the dishes..seems to bring the colour to life.
      Do you remember what you might have served in hers?
      It’s so easy to grab a mug for tea drinking isn’t it, but as often as we can we take the time to pop some pretty cups & saucers on a tray & take a pot of tea out to Lucy.
      So much nicer & doesn’t really take any longer to prepare.
      Glad that you can relate to the washing basket ; )
      Have a lovely week.
      Much love Catherine x0x0x

  8. Hello Catherine ... gosh I have a crink from peering so closely at the screen to soak in all your beautiful pictures. Spring has certainly come to life in your garden - the colours are just stunning. I would love to come join you at the little table for a tea party.
    Your vintage washing basket is lovely - I did laugh at David coming home with his washing ,,, my boys did the same ... they took a while to realise that when they left home, the washing fairy didnt come with them!!!!
    Your Sanderson is just beautiful - an unusual colour/pattern mix. Will you try soaking it in Napisan to get the mildew out + sunshine helps I find??
    Hope you have a lovely week - I am going to listen to your music video again. OH & your friends stall ... how lovely is that?? Just gorgeous vintage bits & pieces ... have picked out a few bits myself!!!! :-)
    much love my friend, Julie x0x

    1. Oh you are such a day we'll have a little tea party together, for sure!
      Actually David's been pretty good since leaving home it was just the fact that he's now in a bedsit on his own & it's rather highlighted the deficits in his a washing machine!
      I found him a $5 pot at the Salys now he can return the one I lent him : )
      Yes I have soaked my Sanderson in Napisan but mildew is a real pest..I did squeeze a little lemon juice on to the mildew patches while it was hanging in the sunshine & it has definitely reduced them quite a bit. It actually completely removed some stains form some white linen a while back..marks that the soak hadn't budged.
      I am so glad that Wendy & Debbie are running their little stall..I couldn't be bothered packing up all that stuff over & over again myself, especially when much of it's breakable.
      I'm glad you like the music.
      Goodness I've had to light the fire again tonight!
      Happy hugs & love
      Catherine x0x0x

  9. Dearest Catherine

    I've been doing a little gardening (shouldn't be, you'll know why if you read my post)!!!
    It's sooo hot outside today so I've retreated indoors, made a cup of tea to revive myself - and got one left in the pot in the pot for you too – and I’m reading your new blog post!
    As I read, it feels like you've popped in and sat down in the armchair beside me and we're having a good old chin wag!!!
    I turned on 'The Secret Garden' CD (gorgeous) and I'm admiring all the beauty in your life this week.
    Oh yes I must look for the blue periwinkle fairy plant - I remember pulling out the tiny fairy toothbrush as a child too - sooo special.
    Another exquisite piece of floral Sanderson - it's found a good home where it will be loved and appreciated dear Catherine.

    Anna Rose Whitney - is that the name of the divine pink Rhodo? I've put it in my garden book already to source for next year - does it grow very big?
    I love Dogwoods too and yours is particularly lovely.

    I've just been down to the Hospice shop(on my way to the garden shop) thinking I might find a nice old children's fairy story or a pretty tea cup and saucer but not a whisker today!

    Wishing you a very happy week in the bay surrounded by your beautiful garden and of course dear Lucy and Rob!
    Love to you all
    Shane xox

  10. We have periwinkle growing in our garden, but it won’t flower again until next year in the UK. When it does I will go and search out those fairy toothbrushes! All your spring flowers look wonderful, but that tulip is something else! Your garden is more gorgeous than gorgeous (is that even possible?)
    I am so enjoying listening to the music as I type this, thank you for sharing it and all the other wonderful things. Barbara xx
    PS the story of the washing basket and the washing made me smile.

  11. Hello!!
    Beautiful pictures.
    What a gorgeous post !!Adorables tulipan.
    Happy days!!


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