Snapdragon Life helps you rekindle your creativity, reconnect to the natural world & create a slower, more intentional, more joyful way of life.

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Making the cutting garden part 1

making a cutting gardenFrom 2001 until 2008 I sold cut flowers commercially.

I grew them in my garden and sold them at the garden gate, at farmers markets and to brides. I did a little mail order and had a flower delivery round.

It was a ridiculous business to have in Scotland - the frost free period is brief, the days are short at the beginning of the season, there is a lot of rain. When I did have flowers people were on holiday. Crops were ruined by hailstones in July, 4000 tulips were eaten by deer one night.

I became fed up with gardening.

So I stopped, and all that time I had spent gardening, went into designing and making textiles and building the business that is now Snapdragon.

We grassed over one part of the old flower beds and planted an orchard of plum trees where the straight rows of the old allium beds appear every year.

The rest was just abandoned, growing weedier and weedier, attempting to turn itself into a tussocky wood. Only the beech and hornbeam hedges were maintained - a beautiful birdsong filled background to chaos.

By 2016 the weeds were shoulder height and, as it is the main view from the house, we decided to start again and make a beautiful domestic garden. The weeds were cut down, any surviving plants moved to the perennial meadow slope and half the space covered with black landscaping fabric which will stay there until 2020.

I am making the other half into a cutting garden, my very favourite type of garden, lush and wild and clashing. Abundant.

This month we started the project properly - the raised beds have been put in and we have begun to half fill them with well rotted manure and extra top soil as there are too many stones in this part of the garden to dig down.

There are 2 large squarish beds and in the middle the path is covered with a rusty tunnel made from reinforcing bars and panels.

This will have sweet peas climbing it.

At midsummer I shall set an offcut of wood across the raised beds and sit inside the tunnel with my coffee in a haze of perfume.

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This week’s Friday film is about a trip to London, a tour of the Chelsea Physic garden and filling my home with flowers when I got home. 
If you are interested you know where to find it 🎥
These snowdrops are temporarily holidaying in a cup on my bedroom windowsill - looking out at their rather battered friends outside. 
I’m planning a new part of the garden at the moment and these will be part of a spreading about of the spring bulbs.

There is a point when the sun slants in and all the dried seed heads which have decorated the house over winter suddenly look dusty and dull.
I have a visceral need to be surrounded by things that are growing and green.
There is a video over on YouTube about planting up winter aconites and spring bulbs - I have these on my desk at the moment and every now and again there is a wonderful waft of scent reaches me.
For Studio Clubbers there is now a whole module on planting up bulbs indoors in the Fire and Frost course.  What varieties are best, where to get them, how to treat them and answers to a whole load of questions.
When my daughters were tiny I made their clothes - bright colourwork jumpers, patchwork dungarees, layer upon layer of pattern. 
Then - ridiculously early it seemed to me - they wanted to choose their own outfits and quickly favoured whatever was fashionable, only available from mainstream shops and my needles were no longer needed. 
I’m now delighted that two decades on I’m back in action. This is the start of a mend - on my eldest daughter's denim jumpsuit.  The under arm seam was ripped so I'm transforming it with linen flowers.
You can see more of it in last week's Studio Vlog on YouTube . . 
I love the idea that the mending will make the jumpsuit into something completely different. That it is as bright and clashing as her toddler clothes. 
I’ve also been asked for mittens . . .
Today’s Friday letter is all about two steps I took last year which really helped with feelings of being overwhelmed. 
Today’s Friday film is about a walk by Loch Lomond and just sitting and taking it all in and how that helps manage symptoms of my autoimmune disease. 
If you want to know more about either (or both) you can find the details up in my link.

I’ve been in London for a couple of days - to see @thenotgodcomplex perform at The Vaults - now heading back North to see @marychapincarpenter and @karinepolwart at Celtic Connections. 💚
This photo is from last year - we are still a week or two away from full blooms.
But yesterday, lying on my front in the sodden grass and filming snowdrops, the soundtrack was birds in the birch tree above me.
I still have no water in the Studio. 

On Thursday when I walked up to the kitchen to make a coffee, the sun was streaming into the kitchen.
I can't properly express how happy that makes me. 
Beauty in the every day. 
Obviously I'm well past tidying up for photos.
I wonder if it is just when the light is least that I notice it most.  The shadow of birch leaves on our bed as I passed to top up the bird feeders.
Loch Lomond is high at the moment - the beaches gone, the stepping stones to cross burns under water. 
Sitting, well wrapped up, leaning against a tree on the top path - listening to the waves and watching a cormorant dive - it felt like the sea.


About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I help bring the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

Find out more about The Studio Club