Sunday, 9 November 2014

Sweet As, Sweet Betsy & all the Little Fairy Hats

Hello there, how lovely to see you!
After a long & strange three months things are beginning to settle here, just a little.
We have resolved layers of irritation & oddity concerning the factory over the wall, but I have still been left with my "annoying noise", albeit in a more subdued form. At least it doesn't terrify me anymore nor keep me awake night after's just well....annoying!!
It seems astonishing that we are hurtling towards Christmas at such speed.
While it's still November I am focussed on the power & the beauty of our full-on spring time. So much to master & appreciate in the gardens; so much asparagus to be eaten!
I really wish that some things wouldn't run away as they do. I would love to have foxgloves in my garden all year round & lily of the valley & lilac.
So many fairy hats on one foxglove stem!
 And they come in the prettiest of colours.
Isn't this the sweetest little cottage (I spied it in Havelock North last week) It has a perfect little cottage garden growing all around it.
 I can never make up my mind which foxgloves I love the I just plant as many as I possibly can.
The secret, I find, is to discover the exact spot that a particular plant really wants to grow.
 Sometimes it's quite surprising who is happy where. That's why I call mine a fairly accidental garden. Through the years...a campanula accidentally just loved to grow right here.
 Now these are very fancy fairy wear.
This larkspur just accidentally sowed itself in the midst of the herbs in the big half wine barrel under the washing line. There's none to be seen actually growing in the garden.
 This daisy is growing in a tiny pot but has also rooted in to the ground & just loves this particular spot. It has been here for years now & flowers & flowers.
This flowering cherry tree is called "Perfection"...
and is indeed a perfect spring canopy for Lucy.
The scent of some of these old roses is just divine.
 They don't last long once picked but it's certainly worth the trouble.
 I have just discovered that the little pink flower at the very front is called Sweet Betsy. Isn't that such a sweet name. It's also called false valerian or centranthus. No wonder it needed a nick name too!
 I have no idea where I came across this pale pink version but I adore it. I think it is probably the most useful annual that I have in my garden. It gently self sows, is easily removed if it turns up in the wrong spot, isn't too bossy or fussy & flowers for months & months...oh & the colour is so sweet. Lovely for tussie mussies.
Down at the bottom of our garden is a block wall. Most necessary to block out you know who! We live on the flat & because of the wall the drainage isn't that great, so...
  we ended up creating a kind of river bed. A place for the water to run off & soak away in it's own time with out drowning everyone down there...the bottom of the garden, the worms & all that.
We went & collected another boot load of stones last week, shuffled everything around & gave them a wash down.
A wee while ago I found this doll's house sitting in the window of the St Vinny's op shop. When you see things in their window that you like you have to rush in & put your name down in a little book & then you can come back & buy it in a week or two if you're first on the list. Usually I'm too late...but not this time!
 It even came with quite a bit of furniture.
 I found the little cats at the Napier market a week or so ago.
 There's all kinds of funny little bits & pieces in it now.
 It was so much fun when Nina & Luca got to come & play one day in the holidays. They were very good & decided on three rooms each.
 I've been meaning to tell you about this wee book that I ordered from The Book Depository a few months ago. Maureen (the author) says that she started telling little stories to her daughter to help her to have peaceful sleep. She says" I started with very simple ideas, like giving her an imaginary companion so that she would feel protected & never alone. I told Eleanor that from the time we are born we each have a protector who watches over us & who loves us. I gave this guardian angel really golden wings to wrap around Eleanor so that she would always feel secure.
At such a young age children need the reassurance of always being cared for, as the night & the dark can be very scary...."
There are 22 various scenarios/visualisations that can be read to children to help relax them at bedtime, strengthen their imagination, develop concentration, awaken creativity & learn to quiet themselves.
The story The Fairies begins like this "In your garden the sky is deep indigo blue with huge ballooning white clouds floating by & a yellow ball for the sun, it is lovely & peaceful. You can see before you a pathway that is winding in & out of the trees. I want you to walk down that path until you come to a small clearing-if you look very, very carefully you can see the fairies. they have been waiting very patiently for you...."
Christmas at Bethlehem is also very sweet. The books are only $14 which I thought very reasonable.
I kept this one. And then I sent for another....for you know who.
When I was little we used to listen to the wireless & there was a little programme for children called Listen With Mother. It was hosted by Kate Harcourt. She's quite an identity here in New Zealand. Funny she is, years later in this clever little movie. I thought you might enjoy it too.

Lovely to catch up with you.
 Thanks so much for visiting me here at An Angel in the Garden.
Sweet dreams.
Much love Catherine x0x0x


  1. its lovely to see such sparkling life in a garden as i look out of the window on to the brown winters day

  2. How funny that film was - I just loved it! and of course it is just so true - beauty is there to be found on your own doorstep if you only look! I love your garden - I like the rocky end for things that lurk in the mud too - we have a whole garden of mud as the heavy rain floods off the woods into our lawn and onwards - we might need sandbags this year as we are now getting so much rain in the uk - so a rocky river bottom type garden might be the way to go for me too! very few plants flower in mine as it's shady too - I would love to have foxgloves in abundance - maybe I will try a few. Betty x

  3. Your garden is so beautiful. I want to walk through it & see every little corner.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your garden with me, what a treat!! So much life and colour, so many interesting things to look at. I wish I still had my dolls house, yours is lovely. Thank you also for the Sweet AS video, it was a cracker!

  5. Catherine, your garden is gorgeous! I am always so sad to see my Foxgloves come to an end. Really would love more of them, but they rarely come back here. Still they are among my favorites! I love the Sweet Betsy. Wondering if it would grow in my zone 5? The doll house is just precious and I love the little kitties. Easy to see that the kiddos loved it as well. There's nothing quite as wonderful as reading a story to a child.

  6. Hello Catherine, so much loveliness in this post, your garden is looking just SO beautiful. Spring really is a lovely time of year & we appreciate it so much after the winter. I too am enjoying my foxgloves, I never thought of them as fairy hats, but yes, how perfect. I think your river pebble area will work out just fine. I really like the look of a few river pebbles anyway & they may take care of your drainage problem. I feel like having a play in your new dolls house - look at that little wee ironing board & iron :-) Makes me smile, when I was young I dreamt of having a dolls house one day. Perhaps when I am lucky enough to have some granchildren :-) Have a lovely week my friend x0x0x

  7. What an incredible garden! My Dad is the most impressive gardener I have ever known, as now as he is aging, I am pressing him to teach me and share his know how. It saddens me that I have not taken the time to really learn before now.

  8. Your garden is looking very pretty. I love foxgloves, well I love all flowers I think, the more the better and in every colour possible. The dolls house is excellent, hours of fun to be had there.

  9. Hello dear GK! I love that little film! The granny saying, "Sweet as!" is so cute!
    Oh, you're having such lovely flower weather! Fairy hats! Perfect! I love photos of Lucy, sitting there looking so cozy! Take care, friend! Sending heaps of love your way!


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