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Where we are - Loch Lomond National Park

Loch Lomond National Park

More and more people have been asking me exactly where Snapdragon Online is based so I thought that I would write a short post about the beautiful area of Scotland that we call home.

Snapdragon is right at the eastern edge of the Loch Lomond National Park - the small low hill opposite our gate is the terminal moraine of the Ice Age loch and the boundary of the park runs along our front hedge.

We are about 10 minutes drive from the eastern bank of Loch Lomond where this photo was taken.

Loch Lomond is in Central Scotland - slightly north of Glasgow. It takes us about half an hour to reach the cities of Glasgow and Stirling and about an hour through to Edinburgh.

It is an area of distant hills and green fields, the gateway to the wilder Highlands.

The West Highland Way - a long distance route for walkers - passes the end of our road.

At this time of year the heather is out and the lower parts of the mountains that surround us turn deep vibrant purple.

It rains a lot (hence the green fields).

Snapdragon itself is based in a field behind my home - there is a silver airstream and a wooden workshop perched in wild pasture above a bluebell wood.

We don't cultivate most of this space but are leaving it to become wild - the grass thatch is full of shrews that bring barn owls swooping for prey in the evenings and herons glide through searching for food every morning ...

When we moved here, 13 years ago, the garden was very tidy, close cropped, manicured and there was very little wildlife so we have concentrated on bringing living things back, planting fruiting trees, hedges and leaving well alone.

So far it is working and the whole plot hums with activity from birds and insects.

It is much less maintenance too, useful in what is a ridiculously large space to manage ourselves in the time we have available.

One area that we have planted up is the spoil heap which was created when we built the workshop.

This had a lot of old farm waste in it - quarry spoil, poor soil from other building projects, fence wire and rubble - so we planted it as a perennial meadow, an experiment to see what garden plants would survive.

The area is now thriving - a shaggy delight of a garden with tough cultivars like peonies and astrantia growing through self seeded wild flowers. Many of the photos that I share on instagram and Facebook are of this patch.

It terrifies and confuses people who appreciate a tidy garden but I love it.

This part of the country with its amazing light and shadows, its peacefulness and wild things is my inspiration. If you don't know it already, I would put it on your 'to visit' list.

We don't have a shop here, but if you want to come and visit the workshop (NOT IN DECEMBER) email Jane@snapdragononline.co.uk and we shall put the kettle on.

Comments: 2 (Add)

Jeannine Hilton-Tull on September 20 2017 at 18:38

What a beautiful description of your home and land. Your description reminds me of places here in the Pacific Northwest. Our weather isn't as severe as the east coast of the US but we have areas of wild forests and lakes. In fact I live a few blocks from beautiful Lake Whatcom. The community that I live in Bellingham is very conscious of preserving our lake, forest and water. I am lucky to live here.
Jane, your wild gardens sound delightful. What a great way to beautify the land. My mother's family are from Scotland. We are from the Bruce and Cameron family.
Happy Fall to you and all at Snapdragon.

Anney Tom on September 21 2017 at 13:23

Thanks so much for telling us about your location...boy what a stunning place...I love Scotland..have had many holidays there,particularly on the west coast...and Ilse of Skye which I'm in love with...😊

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Engagement, connection, community, regeneration, celebration, magical, possibility.⁠⠀
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Words matter.  Words matter so much. ⁠⠀
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Yesterday I walked around a new local community garden that I am to be involved in.  I walked the site with Lauren @herbal_homestead (who looks after @katgoldin ‘s market garden at the Gartur Farm School) who is the permaculture consultant for the project.⁠⠀
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The words at the top of this post were the words that were tumbling about as we walked along the stream that edges the plot and discussed the contours and what the potential is for this new space.⁠⠀
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I have missed those words a lot.⁠⠀
Elderberry vinegar, a brilliant natural immunity booster and treatment for sore throats, is steeping in my cupboard at the moment - the colour is so vibrant it is obvious that it MUST be good for you.⁠⠀
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It is one of the things you learn to make in the Simple Herbal Apothecary course in the Studio Club. ⁠⠀
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It is really funny how having a Pay What You Can option for membership has made me feel that I can talk about what you get in the Studio Club without feeling all 'exclusive' (I hate that word because, when you think about it, it actually means that some people are excluded and that we are fine with that).⁠⠀
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The Pay What You Can option has been really popular - second only to the Full Membership - which makes me very happy. ⁠⠀
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I've had a lot of emails from people who had been looking at joining the Studio Club for a while but couldn't justify the cost - because unemployment or illness or caring for others restricts their budget - but who have now been able to join.  So if that sounds like you the details are all on the front page of the website - snapdragonlife.com.⁠⠀
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Time.⁠⠀
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Yesterday I asked a question about luxury and the thing that came up again and again in answers was 'time'.⁠⠀
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Time to just be.  Time to do things for ourselves. Time to be creative or read. Time to focus.⁠⠀
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It made me think - that if we see time is our greatest luxury, why do we squander it so?  I know I do.  I scroll.  I dither. I catch myself almost deliberately doing nonsensical things that waste time to the point that it completely disappears.⁠⠀
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Give me an unexpectedly free evening and my natural tendency is to waste half of it deciding what I want to do MOST.⁠⠀
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(This is why I created the Plan your Dream Life workbook for myself - just so that I would have a list of things that I knew I had chosen to do when time appears - if you don't have this workbook already you can get it by signing up to my newsletter list Snapdragonlife.com.)⁠⠀
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What is your idea of luxury?⁠⠀
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I stumbled across a discussion about luxury on a post the other day. It was about whether you could crave luxury in your life if you were also set in “overthrowing the capitalist systems our world is based on”.⠀
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In some ways it was hilarious, and shows what a muddle we get into, but It really made me think about what I count as luxuries in my life  They certainly aren’t what the commenters on the original post defined as luxury - the fancy sports car, the designer brand names, expensive toiletries. ⁠⠀
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Rather, my idea of luxuries are things I want in my everyday life.  Proper coffee, clean sheets for the weekend, tomatoes still warm from the sun - perhaps most importantly, the luxury of time to do nothing more than stare upwards through bright leaves . . .⁠⠀
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What about you?⁠ what are your luxuries?⠀
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Messy edges.⁠⠀
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Pretty much everything in the House Garden and Studio Meadow will stand until Spring now.⁠ I will leave it alone. ⠀
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For in my head I'm not really growing teasels, I'm growing gold finches. 
Yesterday, as I headed down through the meadow to light the studio stove, were dozens feeeling atop the teasel heads.
It is the time of the year to embrace the beauty in decay.⁠⠀
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To look at the soil regenerating.⁠⠀
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The appreciate the beauty of a good compost heap -even when it is composting the cosmos that you had hoped would bloom for a couple of more weeks.
Yesterday the doors of the Studio Club opened up to new members again. ⠀
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If you want to engage more with the natural world, live a more seasonal life, learn how to grow things, make things and also hear good news about inspirational people making a positive difference to the world - then this is the Club for you! ⠀
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There are now three ways of becoming a member - a Full Membership which includes physical products, a Digital Membership and a Pay What You Can Membership. You can find out more about them by clicking though my profile or at Snapdragonlife.com. ⠀
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In less than 24 hours over half the Full Memberships sold out - so if you are thinking of signing up for one of those then I would do it sooner than later. ⠀
Nettles and docks and tansy and meadowsweet. ⁠⠀
Heather and willow and onion skins.⁠⠀
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The journey through plant colours this year is coming to fruition.  Out of frame is a striped jumper on my needles.⁠⠀
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I am hoping to have enough yarn to make something for a newly arrived baby - all the energy of the Scottish hills in something to wear.
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About Snapdragon Life

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

 

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