Trawling through last April's blog posts in search of something in particular, I couldn't help but notice just how green and advanced the garden was this time last year. A steady string of bright sunny days combined with the novelty of only working two days a week guaranteed that a lot of our time was spent out there and that it was thriving like never before.
The balmy temperatures prompted the wearing of a bevy of short-sleeved frocks and tops, more often than not without the need of layering a cardi on top.
But what hit me the most was the general air of positivity exuding from my posts. How blissfully unaware we were of the fact that we would still be living with the virus and its consequences more than a year later!
As far as I can remember, I hadn't worn this chocolate brown polka dot patterned Diolen dress with its solid white collar in years, so that Sunday's outing was long overdue.
I always seem to gravitate towards sky blue when it comes to accessorizing it, this time adding a charity shopped King Louie cardigan and beaded necklace, while the opaques I wore were a darker, turquoise-y shade of blue. My brooch, with its mottled red and white centre stone, was a flea market find, while both the rosewood flower corsage and peachy plastic ring were old retail buys.
A stroll through the garden to inspect its progress revealed that it was doing very well indeed.
The newly planted perennials in the Clematis border seem to be rubbing along just fine with its older neighbours. As for the eponymous Clematis at the back, both are showing signs of life, although the white flowered one on the left appears to be a lot more enthusiastic than it lavender sister on the right. Strangely enough, the latter was the one which flowered profusely last year, while the white one remained completely flowerless.
April returned to her usual fickle self on Monday. The day had gone off to a bright, sunny start, when all of a sudden, about mid-morning, I noticed the dark foreboding sky enveloping the cathedral's tower.
Minutes later the corner of Antwerp I can spy on from my office window was treated to an almost horizontal onslaught of sleety snow. Then, in the blink of an eye, the sun reappeared as if nothing had happened, leaving a trail of prism-like raindrops on the windows.
I WhatsApp'd a photo of Antwerp's weather conditions to Jos, who sent me the below photo in return. Apparently, back at home, the sun had tempted him outside to tackle a job which was long overdue and couldn't be postponed for much longer.
The bundle of branches is part of the remains of the Lilac tree which had been dominating our garden for many years. It had a magnificent winter-flowering Clematis armandii growing through it, but both of them had sadly died over the previous Winter, the Lilac finally succumbing as a result of all the weight it had been carrying over the years.
Tackling its dead wood had been one of Jos's first jobs last Spring, spurring along our garden's new lease of life. However, as we'd either been too late for April's garden waste collection - if there even was one during Lockdown 1 - we'd stacked up the wood in the area next to our garden bench, taking up a good chunk of valuable garden space, as you can seen in the below collage.
We did, however, make a feature of it by leading the infamous climbing Nasturtium into its direction, at one point covering it almost completely.
As Antwerp's wintry showers had reached Dove Cottage by now, Jos had to abandon his project. There wasn't any time left for procrastination though, as Spring's final garden waste collection would be on Friday!
Fortunately, the next day, Tuesday, was a dry and sunny day, albeit still a bit too chilly for the time of year at barely above 10°C.
Thoroughly fed up with my long-sleeved frocks, I'd caught a peek of this short-sleeved one while making a start with my wardrobe changeover during the weekend.
Green-based and sprinkled with tiny dots in a multitude of colours, its fabric's weight was heavy enough to cope with the none too Springlike temperature, especially with a pink, yellow, green and grey long-sleeved top layered underneath. The dress itself holds bittersweet memories as I found it at Think Twice during a day trip to Bruges on Jos's birthday in September 2019.
In the above photo, I am standing in the now cleared area where the remains of the Lilac tree had been. It did take quite a bit of back-breaking effort, but look at all that space we've created. In a tiny garden like ours, every inch definitely counts. We've also cleared a lot of the rampant ivy, creating even more space on the other side of the low wall visible in the photo on the top right.
The blouse's companion for the day was this pink skirt patterned with yellow, blue and emerald green flowers. The blue in the skirt was represented by a cardigan in a similar shade. And yes, I am wearing nylons (brr, a bit too chilly!) and opted yet again for my green wedge-heeled ankle boots.
Further accessories were yellow and green hued bangles and one of my stretchy chevron patterned belts.
By the time we made it to the garden centre, the sun had disappeared and rain seemed imminent.
Nevertheless, we braved the inclement weather by browsing their outside tables of perennials, again taking advantage of their ongoing buy 5 get one free promotion.
We bought two varieties of Sedum, Geum chiloense ‘Mrs. Bradshaw’, Geranium phaeum, Geranium ‘Tiny Monster' and Polemonium caeruleum or Jacob's Ladder. Not included in the promotion was Clematis jouiniana ‘Mrs. Robert Brydon’, which is a herbaceous Clematis rather than a climber.
After lunch, I reluctantly donned gardening apron and gloves for a stint of gardening in spite of the uninviting greyness of the afternoon. I'd hardly made it outside when the sun joined me.
I decided to make a start with sowing the Nasturtium seeds, using a plastic tray with individual pots I discovered at the back of the potting shed. It has a transparent lid to shield the contents from frost.
That done, I weeded a small area at the front of the garden, where Lily-of-the-Valley and Alliums happily share space. There, I sprinkled some of the California Poppy seeds, sieved a layer of compost over them and gave them my blessing!
A return of the clouds and a painful finger - more about that in a later post - drove me inside again, leaving the rest of the endless but enjoyable gardening tasks for another day.
And with that, I bid you goodbye for now. As always, do stay safe, sane and fabulous out there!
Those are two varieties of geranium I'm unfamiliar with-it will be exciting to see how they grow. Supposedly they keep flies away, but I've never found that to be true.ReplyDelete
The ruffle on your green blouse is incredible. Hard to imagine adding a bow tie to it, especially as the brooch looks so good instead. It will be nice to finally leave the cold weather behind-at least for a bit.
So glad Bess is finally feeling at home and comfortable enough for petting.
Geranium phaeum is a bit unusual. We planted it year ago, then it disappeared and popped up somewhere else entirely. I hadn't seen them at the garden centre in years, so I couldn't resist buying another one. It's got the most gorgeous dusky purple flowers! xxxDelete
Lovely to hear that Bess is purring and asking for cuddles!. Obviously, she feels happy at home!ReplyDelete
And also lovely to see you looking fabulous in your outfits!. I've also thought that last year we were still confined at home but didn't feel as frustrated as I feel nowadays (probably too tired!).
Lovely chocolate Brown and blue colour combo, it's such an elegant ensemble!. Love a polka dot dress!. But my favourite is the colourful polka dots dress with the striped top and mustard accessories, it's such a delightfully matchy outfit. Matchy shoes rock!
The ruffled blouse is a magnificent piece, and the addition of the brooch makes a difference, love it!, looking really springlike!
Lovely to see your garden and all the beautiful flowers you're growing!, looking forward to see them blooming!
Thank you Monica! I can't believe how she has changed in the time she's been with us. I think we're all a bit tired and frustrated by now. At times, I can hardly remember what normal was like ... xxxDelete
You are always so busy in your garden! How admireable. I don't like to do anything in the garden then to enjoy it! Ha ha, Gerben things it's very therapeutic. Love the green blouse, I love those dramatic ruffles.I once had a green dress in the same color with a cardigan in the same shade of blue! Love that combination. Enjoy your weekend!ReplyDelete
Gerben is right: gardening is very therapeutic. I couldn't believe my luck when I spotted the ruffled blouse in a charity shop. That's quite a gorgeous shade of green, isn't it? xxxDelete
bess is so sweet looking out of her cave <3ReplyDelete
cleaning that garden corner from the dead wood made up for a lot of space..... which you need for all this new plants! :-D
the green blouse is so cool - green, volants, and an optinal bow - whats more to wish!!
maybe a bit of warmth.... we have frost in the forecast. brrrr.
Thank you Beate! I know, the green blouse! But the optional bow really was too much of a good thing. I do hope your frost is a thing of the past by now! xxxDelete
Oh bess is sooo cute!ReplyDelete
Great you have a new corner for your wonderful plants. I love how you style your dresses with cardigans and accessoires. Love this dress with candy colour striped shirt.😁
I wish you a wonderful weekend! with a very huge hug Tina
Thank you Tina! I know, she is such a cute little thing! We love her to bits! xxxDelete
Can you imagine how we would have reacted this time last year, if we'd been told, "You'll still be in lockdown in a year"? There would have been mass panic/depression/riots, I'm sure, even more than what we're experiencing now. What a bizarre thing to live through, but we'll get there!ReplyDelete
Loving all your outfits here. Brown and baby blue is amazing together; love the yellow accents in the middle outfit, and that green ruffled blouse with the floral skirt? *chef's kiss*
Aw, look at Bess! She is becoming a very lovey little girl. I am happy that she's settling in with you both and is actively seeking you both out to cuddle (I'm guessing Jos feeds her? that would be why she might favour him!).
Have a good weekend, my dear Ann! Stay safe!
I simply can't imagine how we would have reacted ... I'm quite glad we weren't/aren't able to look into the future. Thank you for the chef's kiss for the ruffled blouse. What were the odds of finding this, and in that amazing shade of green too? xxxDelete
I love the green dress with the mustard accessories and cardigan! :) It's so sad you're still in lockdown after so long but I really hope that things improve for you all with the vaccine! Life is back to normal here - although we have had 2 3 day lockdowns when the virus has got out of quarantine (we have a lot of returned travellers bringing it with them from overseas, and sometimes it spreads from them to the poor unvaccinated doctors as vaccination isn't something we are doing well). But otherwise life is better so things will get better soon for you and you'll be back to normal again! :)ReplyDelete
So cute that Bess has come of of her shell and loves pats too!
Hope that you are having a nice weekend! It's a long weekend here :)
Away From The Blue
Thank you Mica! I'm glad to hear things are back to normal where you are. I can't wait for it to happen here too. Those poor doctors, though! It's so sad that they haven't had their vaccinations yet ... xxxDelete
I'm so loving hearing how Bess is progressing with each blog post. You and Jos are the cat whisperers. She looks like a different cat these days, so calm and happy!ReplyDelete
Those plants look wonderful. Geraniums grow like weeds in our garden but I did buy the "Tiny Monster" last year as I liked the name!
As always I love all your outfits but theres something about the one with the mustard cardi, you look brilliant.
I'm off to demolish a shed, wish me luck! xxx
You're right, she does look - and act - like a very different cat from that scared little scrap we brought home from the shelter. I love Geraniums and we have quite a few different varieties in our tiny garden. Hopefully 'Tiny Monster' lives up to its name! xxxDelete
Ann..I read your posts with great pleasure !! My eyes rest on your deliciously colored outfits ... Yes !! Beautiful colors that you can underline with delightful accessories ... And your garden ... wonderful plants waiting for spring! Thanks for sharing these great photos !! A big hug to all of you...CarmelaReplyDelete
Thank you so much for this wonderful comment, Carmela. I'm really pleased my posts give you pleasure! xxxDelete
It’s funny you should say that about the air of positivity this time last year, when I read my diary from 2020 it’s like that and now 2021 some days I don’t even write in it.ReplyDelete
Hurrah for sweet Bess and well done you two for giving her a loving home. My Auntie Gladys and my nana were both geranium fans and brilliant growers of them. I think of them both when I smell the leaves.
Keep on keeping us cheerful Ann with all your super outfits.
Lots of love from us two xxx
I often have to force myself to write my journal, even if it's just a summing up of what I've done with my days. If nothing else, this has proved to be a useful blogging tool! xxxDelete
I'm so glad to hear Bess is now clamouring for fuss. That's great! :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for your comment, Nikki. Clamouring is exactly the right word :-) xxxDelete
It seems it's best that we don't know the future, don't you think? :) Even though your blog always is bright and beautiful, I also noticed that there is just extra something was going on here on your blog during the last year - even more inspiration and joy!ReplyDelete
I love your colorful outfits, and especially the third one with a green blouse - sooooo tender, Spring at its best! Bess is such a beauty, and I think she might have common ancestors with our cats - they are so similarly built (thought different colors).
Lots of love, my dear!
It definitely is, Natalia! And I'm so glad to hear you've been enjoying my post over the last year. In spite of everything that's been going on, I've been trying to keep it as joyful and lighthearted as possible, and it's good to hear that it is being appreciated. xxxDelete
You and Jos have really won Bess' heart Ann, it's so lovely to see her progress with you.ReplyDelete
Your garden is looking spectacular, I love the cottage garden feel of it. I've planted boxes and tubs of lettuces and radishes and I'm covering them with bubble wrap each night as it's so frosty. We've had sunny days bug no rain and we're really starting to need it.
I particularly love your green and mustard outfit, the colours are perfect together and it's very eye catching.
Hope you're having a good weekend. xxx
Thank you Sally! I've always had a soft spot for cottage gardens, so that's a great compliment. We've had some rainy days in the meantime, which were appreciated by our garden. xxxDelete
Your garden looks beautiful! The emerald green blouse and the pink skirt combo is love!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much Lovely xxxDelete
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Greetings from Indonesia.
Thank you xxxDelete
Our weather has been all over the place as well..ReplyDelete
You look bright and fabulous as always. Love the way you added the broach to the neckline.
Thank you Hena! The brooch trick is one I often use! xxxDelete
I am so happy for you that Bess wants physical contact and is expressing her contentment with loud purrs. I loved her Snooze Bay; I think I'd like one for myself!ReplyDelete
Lovely outfits as always. I particularly liked the greenish dress with the fab mustard accessories; such beautiful co ordination. The green ruffled blouse and pink skirt combo was pretty fab, too, and I think chocolate and turquoise are made for each other.
You are so right about making use of every bit of space in a tiny garden. Where you've cleared the lilacs looks like a pretty good expanse to fill with the blooms you got at the garden centre. I bet that area will look wonderful when it's planted up.
Thank you Vronni! We fell head over heels for that Snooze Bay, hoping against hope that she would make use of it. Much to our surprise, she does, and yes, I would definitely want one for myself too! xxxDelete
The polka dot dress is so beautiful. I also like the mini dot pattern dress you wore with orange accessories. Wonderful matching orange opaques, belt, cardi and necklace. Plus, I just love the outfit with the green ruffled blouse so much.ReplyDelete
Your garden looks great! You're using the space so well.
Thank you Ivana! Isn't that green ruffled blouse something else? As for our garden, we like to think we're using the space well, but still we often cram far too much into the available space! xxxDelete
Thoroughly adore the chipper energy and beautiful colour palette of your first ensemble here. It has such a great blend of mid-century, 70s, and contemporary elements going on.ReplyDelete
I love pairing brown and sky blue (ditto for teal) together as well. They're a sweet, fantastic duo that seems all the more at home during the second half of spring, as blue skies (hopefully!) return once more.
Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life
Thank you so much for another lovely comment and compliment, Autumn! xxxDelete