Friday, 1 July 2016

Sowing and Stitching

People keep looking at me funny when I tell them with great enthusiasm that seeds really are tiny miracles-but it's true! When I send a half a teaspoon full of little seeds in an envelope down the road or hundreds of miles away, I know without doubt, that I am sending a seed-bomb of extraordinary miracle power. Given a little care, luck, time & some earth & a little moisture, invariably that minuscule capsule holding the true pattern & identity of a pansy, forget-me-not, mignonette, love-in-the-mist or a zillion other possibilities will activate it's little life force & soon unfurl & replicate identically to it's parents; no matter how far from home it roams. Well, of course there are always, rogues, renegades & exceptions, but miracles all, non-the-less!
Through this year I have sent seeds all around the country- to gardeners in big cities, small towns, on farms; to those who are just beginner gardeners & those with fine gardens-all with a little dream or intention of growing beauty & fabulousness. Last week I was startled to find that I was to send three lots of seeds to this delightful Admiral Gardens in the Chatham Islands.
I recently bought some vintage Sanderson oilcloth from a lovely lady called Barbara. I was thrilled to find this card tucked in at the top of parcel & when I turned it over I realised that Barbara Anderson was the artist. Isn't it delightful.
Spring Garden Tour

Chelsea- Sanderson oil cloth
That same week I found two parcels in the letter box on the Monday.
One was from my dear friend Betty (Wood Fairy) England!
I restrained myself & rushed inside to carefully open & savour the envelope...filled with kind messages & bluebell seeds from Glover's Wood.
It is such a remarkable thing that we could then google & instantly see, precisely, where Glover's Wood, Charlwood is. And as it turns out-it is but a stone's throw from East Grinstead & the house where Rob's father grew up. In our search we noticed this picture of a charming stile in Grover's Wood.
We had been talking about making a stile so we could more easily & less precariously hop through to our nice neighbour's next door.
It would go just here. 
It's a nice little spot around here in the winter time when the plum tree has lost it's leaves.
It could be just the right place to use these old window frames (there's another one somewhere!) that we saw at a garage sale just down the road last weekend. The safest way to get them home was to rush back with the two trolleys & ( also precariously) wheel one each home again.
They're a bit rumpty & pretty fragile but they'll have another life with us yet. This old green glass is very special. & very old.
I have found that life & gardens can both be sown by seed.
We get to choose every single day just what we will sow, pay attention to & water & what we will not.
Fostering community is a good-to-sow-thing - a few weeks ago I spotted an add in our "Neighbourly"  group for a trailer load of wood chip mulch that some "neighbours" wanted to give away instead of taking it to the dump. I happened to be the first to phone & with in half an hour the mulch had been delivered & I had sent Ben on his way with many thanks & mandarins for his children.
My newly acquired "old" wheelbarrow that I found at the Restore Shop (they build houses for people who can't afford one through Habitat for Humanity) happy to help distribute the mulch all around the garden. 
A great time to get areas like this tidied up for the winter.
The other parcel that arrived that Monday came from a lovely Trade Me customer who I had sent two Country Homes magazines to and in return I received a hand written letter, cool stamps, Cath Kidston & a gardening magazine- how delightful was that! And since then, some lovely book recommendations too, as Sandi is an avid reader.
The morning sun was still low when I sat at the writing desk here & paused to think of all the things I was grateful for, when I looked down to see the rainbows scattered around in front of me...
shining richly on the fairies dancing in a spring meadow.
Aren't they adorable.
I love this time of year when bulbs & plants have to push their way through soil 
 to reach forth & flower
 & share their heavenly scent at front doors & the such-like.
Life is about sowing & dreaming & stitching, but also cutting out.
Nina (6) & I had the loveliest time cutting these out together last weekend. 
It feels so good to know that I have them all prepared ahead now.
The handmade life is a worthy life, a life of richness & lasting satisfaction.
 I wouldn't want to live it any other way.
I read a poetic article the other day & as I did, I thought- yes, yes that's it!

This extract came from a short article entitled The Handmade Life

...we are taught to respect the slow, attentive piecing together of the life we yearn for. 
Stitch by stitch we apprentice the craft.
We work in tandem with mystery, feeling it’s rhythms awaken in our bone-memory.
And we realise the patience it takes to make a life materialise.
There are no shortcuts, & it can’t be done cheaply, or en masse. 
The work is small, the work is slow & all we can do is stay with it.

As Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, “The shortcut, the easy way, always falls apart. 
Then one returns to the handmade life.
One has to pick it up painfully, & piece it back together. 
Holding the overall pattern in one’s mind, but working patiently, piece by piece."

May your hands be blessed. 
May they know the magic they make.
 May everything they touch, touch them in return.
May your exquisite efforts soon show their shape. 

And that is indeed my wish for you dear friends & readers.
Thank you for popping in to see me.

We hold more in our own hands & hearts than we understand.
Planting seeds- a song to live by.

Video from KarmaTube


  1. Hello Catherine,

    You are so lucky to be able to send seeds across New Zealand, we have strict quarantine conditions here in West Australia. Love that glass in the old window frame you bought. Even if it is Winter there is still lots going on in your garden, enjoy. Our neighbour had a tree chopped down last year and he gave us the mulch.

    Have a lovely weekend.
    Happy days.

  2. I am so glad the seeds have pleased you so much! I hope you won't mind if I say the woods are called Glovers Wood (my terrible handwriting!) but are indeed in Charlwood and there's a bit about them on Wikepedia too. Your seed packets are so pretty - why can't all seed packets be like that! I liked the Blessing at the end of your quote, it's worth framing. Bettyx

  3. Your seed packs ARE gorgeous! YOU are gorgeous! Sending heaps of love your way, good GK.

  4. A beautiful post that I finally find time to sit & read & absorb. That vintage sanderson oilcloth very nearly made my heart stop !!! I did not know there was such a thing ... how beautiful. So lovely to get unexpected parcels in the post .. that was lovely of Betty to send the seeds across the oceans so far away. What wonderful mulch - I am envious as mine has sunk so low now it all needs topping up again. Wonderful window frames too my dear girl ... what a treasure. I think I will copy out your verse at the end as I love it so much. You have prompted me to go out & check my hyacinth bulb pots that are still tucked under a bush ... have a wonderful week dear girl, rather chilly start this morning again. Much love & friendship to you x0x0x0x

  5. I so enjoyed reading your post Catherine. Wonderful parcels with generous gift giving.Loved your seed packets. Think I will go and look at your "seed inventory" and perhaps order some seeds especially as I know they are going to be a cottage garden, vintage style all the way from you. Have a good week and always look forward to reading your blog posts.

  6. What a lovely post! I enjoyed it. I am signed up for your emails now. I came from pinterest to see your post about your trailer!


So lovely of you to leave a comment. Thank you!! ♥

Related Posts with Thumbnails