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Sunday in the Garden

The study with patio door open to the garden

What a glorious weekend it has been, with wall-to-wall sunshine.  I have just popped into the study and shortly I will return, with a cup of tea, to the summerhouse where husband and I have been watching the England v. Panama match which England won convincingly, 6-1.  I think they conceded the one goal out of sympathy to a rather rough-and-ready Panamanian team, better at wrestling the England team members to the ground rather than playing football.

Our little grandson has been over to see us, too, and that is always a pleasure.  He asked if he could have a treasure hunt in the garden, and so I’ve suggested that I organize this for next weekend – not only would this give me time to organize it, but also it would be something for him to look forward to.

I told him that I used to do treasure hunts for his daddy and uncle when they were little.  I said his daddy was once a little boy just as he is, and he said, “Was Daddy annoying when he was little?” and I said, “Yes, and your Uncle, too!”   I asked what kind of  treasure he could like? and he said “chocolate and money!”  So this week I will be seeking out small items of chocolate and other little toys (and perhaps a book, as he loves to read) to put around the garden, along with 20p pieces, treasure indeed!  (And if it is raining, I’ve said it will make no difference, there will still be a treasure hunt, but indoors.)

I was up early, around 5.30am. I love the early hours of the day in summer; there is a unique freshness to the day at that early hour.  Eventually, after reading comments on my latest post, and responding, I made breakfast which we had in the garden. Fruit, followed this morning by a cooked breakfast of bacon, tomatoes with basil, and shitake mushrooms, and toast and marmalade.  Husband collected the paper from our local shop, so we had that to read, what a lovely way to start the day.

I brought the roses from the sitting room to the garden as we were spending much of the day out of doors.

Later, while husband was busy in the garage on one of his projects, I had coffee in the garden (he had his coffee in the garage – he didn’t go without!) and had a look at the paper …

After which I did a pile of ironing, all the sheets (for we’re using sheets and a light wool cellular blanket for the summer) and pillow cases and I have just a few items to finish off shortly.  Then it was time to prepare lunch and I wanted to have that all done and dusted, as they say, before the beginning of the England football match at 1 pm.

Lunch was a simple affair, much like yesterday’s only we had ham and salami instead of a prawn salad, but I served it with a tomato salad and new potatoes. The tomatoes I used today were tiny plum tomatoes, which I sliced in half lengthways, to which I added chopped spring onions, chopped cucumber (skin removed and seeds removed), salad cress, and chopped chives, plus vinaigrette dressing.

There is something really  relaxing about a day spent in the garden even if in the shade of the tree or in the summerhouse.  And if we wish to see something on TV, say Royal Ascot (I watched some of that last week) or Wimbledon, which starts shortly or, best of all, The Open (the British golf championship), the summerhouse is truly the ideal place to see it, as you are out of doors and yet not totally out of doors, if that makes sense?

On the photo at the top of this post you will see my desk in the study, and a jug filled with sweet Williams. These are from our garden and yet neither husband nor I can remember planting them, and yet there were two definite clumps of them and so we must have planted them last autumn!  We cut them for the house as we needed to re-work that particular border and I knew that they would be ‘over’ in about a week’s time, and so I’m enjoying their scent and colour here in the study, as I sit writing this.

Outside, the mint is growing well in a couple of pots (I’ve never been successful in growing it in the ground, so this is obviously the way forward for herbs from now on.)

And the pelargoniums are looking good, also in pots (this is one of a pair on either side of the back door.)

I read on a blog earlier today that the writer of the blog isn’t keen on seeing books, on blogs or Instagram, ‘posed’ with flowers.

I could be accused of such ‘posing’; I often show books alongside flowers, but I never feel the need actually to ‘pose’ them, i.e. spending time searching for suitable flowers because I always have flowers in the house, and if not flowers, then leaves from the garden, and usually the books that I photograph often arrive at much the same time as a new bunch of flowers or my magazines.

Apart from their obvious actual merit as reading material, I don’t think there is anything wrong with using books as attractive objects in their own right and, as such, putting them alongside other attractive things which, together, are visually pleasing.

The  interior designer/architect, the late David Hicks, coined the term “tablescapes” for this kind of thing.  In one way or another, we all put things together in a way which is pleasing to us, whether books, ornaments, even how we line up the tins in the larder, clothes in our wardrobes, or hang our towels in the bathroom.

Therefore, I make no excuses for placing books alongside  flowers if I think together they will make a pleasing photograph.  Sometimes I photograph just the cover of the book and show that without any other objects. Often the genre of book will dictate how it is photographed and also, much depends on how I want to photograph the book on any given day.

And now it’s time for a cup of tea.

Until next time.


About Margaret Powling

Margaret Powling
Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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  1. An amazing and thrilling win by the England team,topped off by Lewis Hamilton winning the French Grand Prix. We’ve just got back from our allotments and are enjoying an alcoholic drink in ththe garden,beer for my husband and elderflower liqueur with sparkling water for myself. The sun sets in the front garden making the back garden an enjoyable place to sit in th evening after a very hot day.I think the weather is continuing for this week,so I expect you will be spending more days in your lovely garden,enjoy.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, I didn’t know that Lewis won the French grand prix! But the England match was wonderful, we loved it. Oh, those drinks sound delicious – especially the elderflower liqueur! Not had that, I’ve had elderflower cordial in a drink, we keep that in the fridge all the time, but not the liqueur. Yes, we have been in the garden today, but mainly in the summerhouse where we have not been hot, just nicely warm, watching the football, and then we’d move a few paces to the table for our meals. It’s been really lovely not to have to do anything in particular but I have, between this various stretches of inactivity, cleared a huge pile of ironing. And I mean HUGE.

  2. What a lovely idea to do a treasure hunt for your grandson Margaret and keeps up the tradition, I bet you will have just as much fun finding the small gifts and choccies as he will hunting for them.
    We have also spent most of the day in the garden, that is apart from the football at lunchtime. I had a piece of beef brisket that I wanted to cook but rather than have the oven going for several hours on such a warm day I popped it into the slow cooker mid morning and by early evening it was ready, very tender and so tasty served with new pots and green beans. There is enough for leftovers, cold meat and salad for an easy lunch tomorrow.
    I’m also enjoying a liqueur with ice but it’s an Amaretto flavoured one for me and my beloved is kindly sharing some of the chocolates he received for Fathers Day last week.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Not only will I be searching for things for a treasure hunt, Elaine, but his mummy has asked if I will see if I can find some cress seeds for him when I go shopping as he wants to grow cress – whether this is for himself at home, or a project for school, I’m not sure, but I will pop to the garden centre and get some.
      Do you know, I’ve tried to cook brisket on several occasions, long slow cooking, but it’s never been nice. I wish I knew the secret, or perhaps it’s just a taste I don’t like. I had a slow cooker but I dispensed with it (it went to the charity shop) because everything that came out of it, regardless of the recipe, tasted the same, and not very nice at that. I’m sure others, yourself included, manage much better with them!
      Oh, another lovely liqueur, amoretto! I love that, but best of all I love Cointreau.

  3. Dear Margaret, I enjoy your blog so much. Glad you are back up and running. Can’t think of anything better than books and flowers together…well besides the lovely tables you set with such delicious looking food. You take beautiful pictures and your blog is a pleasure to visit. We are having a gorgeous summer day here in St. Cloud Minnesota , the wind has picked up, the sun is brilliant and a pleasant low 80’s. I have a deck and patio but you make me wish for a summerhouse HA My gardens are just starting, clematis beginning to bloom , peonies on their last hurrah. I put in a lot of annuals which are looking good. (winters being so harsh it is so disappointing when we lose perennials) My rhubard is crazy, have been sharing with friends. But with winters being so harsh, I am thankful for what survived. Look forward to your next message.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you so much for your lovely comments, Linda, and I’m really glad you like my blog and that you also like my photos. I enjoy taking photos and these days, with a digital camera, it’s so easy. Gone are the days when I had to work out the depth of field, the shutter speed, the size of aperture, etc. Sometimes while you were working all that out, the moment had passed, and you missed what might’ve been a good shot! Now the camera, to a certain extent, does it all for you. But you still have to have an ‘eye’, you have to be able to compose what is a reasonable ‘picture’, just as an artist composes a painting.
      I’m afraid I didn’t look at the thermometer on the summerhouse wall today, but it’s been what I call pleasantly warm without being baking hot, around the early 20sC about 70+F. How lovely to have rhubarb, I tried to grow that but failed.

  4. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    The treasure hunt sounds great fun. I hope the weather is fine as I’m sure it’s more fun outside. It’s been too warm here to sit out and it is still so at almost 9pm. The air is perfectly still, not a flutter of a leaf. I wonder how I shall sleep!
    The cerise and white pelargoniums are so pretty.
    Enjoy your books. I am currently planning holiday reading material. I like to make sure I have lots.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      When our lads were a little older than Harrison is now, I did a treasure hunt a bit differently. For Harrison it will just be things hidden in the garden. For our lads, I put a sentence cut up into letters and hid the letters around the house. Once they’d found all the letters they have to work out the sentence (it was a very simple sentence, such as In The Fridge or On the Bookcase) and there they would find the ‘treasure’. It took quite a while for me to organize and about ten mintutes for them to do it, but they still remember the fun they had.
      I am sure you will have lots of books to take on holiday (or on a Kindle.)

      • Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

        Sounds great fun and has given me an idea for a blog post!

        Only one book on Kindle, Margaret (as it was on offer for 99p against £5.99 in paperback) but the others will most definitely be paper books.
        I find the Kindle app on my ipad is useful when flying and, as it doubles as my camera, it’means I always have something to read. However, I don’t really enjoy the experience of reading on it.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          I’m delighted that one of my posts has given you an idea for a blog post of your own, Eloise! I’ll be interested to see what that is.
          I don’t have any modern gadgets, no smart phone (a very old mobile, almost ten years old now, so no Apps etc, which are forever being mentioned on TV prog, as in “on the BBC App”), no laptop, no iPad, no iPod or anything at all, just my computer. I know Kindles are popular, and they have their uses (such as on flights) but I’m heartened to hear that books are making something of a comeback. It’s the total book experience that I don’t think anyone could get on a Kindle … the feel of the book, the look of the book, even the smell of the book, new or old. I’m sure you can’t get the smell of a book from a Kindle, ha ha!

  5. Glad that the technology is sorted out.

    We spent the morning out at a fundraiser for the SPCA. Tired dogs and people.

    I’m in the middle of a thunder shower as I type this. Had to haul the washing in and toss it in the drier.

    So there goes my plan for an afternoon in the garden.

    I saw that post about books and flowers and thought, oh just jog on if you don’t like them.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      SPCA? Not sure what that it, Linda. Obviously a charity of some kind.
      Oh, what a shame you had to dash out to bring washing in. I have done a large pile of ironing today, as well as sitting watching football.
      Thank you for your support re books and flowers!

      • Same as your RSPCA. Our dogs were turned in or found as strays and unclaimed. The SPCA cares for them until a home is found. The Collie was taken by a Kennel club reforming group and that’s how he joined the family. My daughter in law adopted the Pomeranian directly from them.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          Of course, Linda, Society for the Protection of Animals, silly me. I thought it looked familiar but of course, didn’t have the Royal bit. Your Collie and the Pomeranian have really fallen on their paws, have they not? They are now in loving homes.

  6. I love the jug, or cup? where you’ve put Sweet Williams. I like looking at your flowers and plants and never have felt that you were “posing” them. I agree with WonderCollie – just jog on if you don’t like something. I am often amazed how people make controlling remarks about other people’s lives, whether it’s on the internet or in daily life.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Ratnamurti. Yes, that’s a tall jug in which I’ve put the sweet Williams, yet another of the many things left to me by my late other (she had a house filled with antiques and collectables and I still have many boxes of items which I’m too sentimental to part with but which I’ve nowhere for them to ‘go’. And so I change things around every so often, get something fresh out and put something away.) So glad you like seeing flowers and books together. I don’t pose photos, this is how things are in our home.
      Mind you, I had my comeuppance, as they say, yesterday. I put some nice cushions out on the steamer chairs (yes they are old cushions, but nice ones). The new lounger cushions – those pale green ones – are nice but we need a little ‘extra’ cushioning at our backs, and so I put two cushions on the chairs and a pigeon tished on one of them, so I had to remove that cover and put it in the wash and then we found that the inner pads were leaking feathers, so feathers flew all over the garden, as if there had been a fight between a bird and a cat! (Tished is a made-up word, of course! I think the meaning is in the sentence!)

  7. What a lovely Sunday. We’ve got to make the most of this good weather whilst it’s here, we never know how long it’s going to last, hopefully another couple of weeks as we’ll be holidaying in Cornwall soon. The treasure hunt sounds like a fun idea, children love that sort of thing. Sweet Williams are biennial flowers so you could have planted them the year before last.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, it was a lovely Sunday, Jo; indeed, a lovely weekend altogether. Yes, we certainly do have to make the most of this lovely weather. I’ve not done any housekeeping apart from essentials like keeping the loo and basin clean, changing the towels and bedding and keeping the kitchen clean. Dusting and vacuuming and tidying can wait until duller days descend on us. Oh, you will love having a couple of weeks I Cornwall, but of course, I would say that Devon is even better! And yes, we might well have planted the sweet Williams the year before, I do understand that they are biennials, but we have no recollection of ever planting them, but obviously we did.

  8. I have really enjoyed this post and each of the comments.
    I agree with the sentiment of just jog on if you don’t like it ! It’s great and I might use it in my daily life as/when the opportunity arises 🙂 As for posing items, well I love your photographs and writing, so please keep doing all of the posing, placing, coordinating, tablescaping, etc to your hearts desire. You have a band of loyal fans here, Margaret 🙂
    Your day spent together and enjoying your surrounds, sounds blissful. Best wishes from Australia where it’s cold (well, cold for us) and dark here on a lovely winter’s evening xx

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      That’s lovely, Lara, that you like seeing my photos and reading my writing, and thank you for saying I have a band of loyal fans – I now have much to live up to!
      I’m sorry it’s now cold (as you say, cold for you!) in Australia. Our temperature was around 20C in the shade yesterday, but in London it was around 29C, much too hot for us. We benefit by living by the sea, we get sea breezes here (and occasional sea mist.)
      I am writing this at almost 11am on Tuesday morning – you will no doubt be I bed now and it will be approaching Wednesday – and it looks like being anther gloriously sunny day. Hurrah!

  9. Oh no – I love the cooler weather !! And as I said, it’s not really cold here – not by your standards, anyway. Our winter days rarely go below 16 deg C 🙂 The early mornings and evenings are brisk but I enjoy it. I figure I can always put on a scarf, jacket or pair of snugly socks when I’m feeling cold but when it’s hot and humid, well there’s very little you can do. I love getting into bed when it’s cooler as it’s just so cozy and snuggly.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, I would imagine that you would love the cooler weather, Lara, as you have it very hot in Australia. Here, it’s unusual for us for the temperature to reach the high 20s, let alone 30C. Today, there is a gentle breeze, it’s just about right for us, warm and sunny but not hot. Perfect. A rare day indeed in the British Isles. Yes, in the autumn and winter, when it’s cooler, bed can be very cozy and snuggly.

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