Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do

Journal

Peak Yellow - seasonal musings

spring time yellowI once worked with a woman who hated yellow.

Pathologically hated it. She couldn't bear seeing the colour - in books or paintings, clothes or flowers. She would physically cringe back.

I never understood that - for yellow is the colour of Spring, the days getting longer, things beginning to grow.

Yellow is the colour of the turn of the year when life begins again. It is the sharp promise before we tumble into the froth of late spring.

gorse loch lonond

The gorse is the first yellow - stumpy, spiky, punching its colour on the low slopes of the hills - it is an orange, yellow, almost neon in the sun. It speckles the verges all winter but explodes into abundance in April.

You can eat the flowers - and indeed they are so tightly clustered on the branches that they seem to be proffered to the travellers along the West Highland Way.

gorse loch lonond

Yesterday, walking on the hills above Loch Lomond, I saw that the primroses are coming out to add their paler yellow. They grow in big papery clumps around the rivers that hurtle down the slopes, huddled near the water they seem to like being splashed - adventurous bees buzz round them dodging the water.

pussy willow Loch lomond

I don't grow many yellow things in the main garden - they scream too much into the foreground for me - but I do love to encourage yellow in the margins.

airstream in orchardMy main garden is bounded with high beech and hornbeam hedges and then there are wide gaps between this enclosure and the fields, woods and streams that surround us.

In the orchard that links the drive and the workshop I have planted lots of daffodils and they are gradually spreading out under the plum trees. Some are bright, small, bright jewels of flowers, others pale ghosts.

airstream in orchard

In the autumn, inspired by some I saw at Perch Hill, I plan to scatter the yellow species tulip Tulips sylvestris amongst them. Perhaps I will add in some fritillaria meleagris, with as many of the yellowy white sports as I can afford.

Down in the damp meadow - an area of ground that land slipped into swamp a few years ago - there is another yellow.

The area is too wet to walk on and is becoming a natural haven - the heron swoops over to look for frogs, the newts remain undisturbed. I do not know what else goes on there but the barn owl sweeps over each evening.

In May the whole site will be carpeted in king cups - a perfect sheet of gold that I can see from above.

That will be the last of the yellow - the wild flowers will change their hues to pinks and purples and white and we move into another season.

I love this move of natural colours from season to season - a subliminal rhythm, a feeling of just right. This morning I saw a new bird on the bird table - from where I was it looked as bright as a budgie, a clear, bright yellow - exotic amongst the sparrows and blue tits. A yellow hammer. Perfect for the scene and season.

Spring_Walk_in_Scotland

Comments: 2 (Add)

Elaine Scott on April 27 2018 at 12:32

I love spring yellows! I agree totally!
I also love when the blue starts to appear in May with the bluebells. Lovely post. x

Snapdragon Jane on April 27 2018 at 12:42

Thank you Elaine - I too am looking forward to the bluebells.
I was thinking that this really should be a regular thing looking at the way the dominant colours change through the year x

Snapdragon social

The packing bench in the studio.⁠⠀
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Sometimes I turn around and things just look so pretty together.⁠⠀
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Labelling pale pink socks with the plant they were dyed with and the date they went into the dye pot.⁠⠀
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The perfect almond glue for sticking paper, jute string for tying things up.⁠⠀
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Amazingly I didn't even have to tidy up to take a photo - though it is quite a tight crop and the background is a blur.⁠⠀
For the past year the bedroom windowsill has been neglected. It has had stones and bones and the blue speckled pot of bird food, but no flowers.⁠⠀
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I couldn't really work out why.⁠⠀
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Then, as soon as I got the urge to line up my vases again,I realised what the problem had been. ⁠⠀
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In March last year - as I was shielding and Euan is a front line worker - I moved to the spare room. ⁠⠀
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I was very, very bad at it - despite the room being very nice - and huffed and moped and felt I was being punished. I eventually slunk back to my own bed after two months. ⁠⠀
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The deal was that if Euan thought it was a risk he would phone from work and I would move my things back to the spare bedroom.⁠⠀
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I kept expecting - despite all the precautions, the scrubs, the showering - that I might have to go back. ⁠⠀
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Last week I had my second jab, the numbers look good, and, though Scotland is behind England in opening up, I can see the country beginning to relax. ⁠⠀
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It felt safer, I went and found a jug for the cherry blossom.
I began doing freehand embroidery when my daughters were tiny - a deliberate wiggle and flourish when hemming seemed preferable to my wobbly attempts at keeping the needle straight.⁠⠀
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Then, when I began to sew commercially to have some income in the winter months, it seems like the perfect technique.⁠⠀
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Getting the chance to exhibit at the Country Living Fair in 2005 got me speeded up and it certainly felt like my thousands of hours were put in then.⁠⠀
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Today I start teaching an e-course to Studio Club members which will hopefully enable them to begin drawing with they sewing machines.⁠⠀
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The module that will arrive with them today is all about machines and materials - with the message that the simpler the machine the better.⠀
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It gave me a chance to tidy my sewing desk.
Today is the last day to sign up as a member of the Studio Club.⁠⠀
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So if you are ready for more connection and creativity in your life . . . .⁠⠀
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If you could do with a bit of calm and gentle joyfulness . . . . ⁠⠀
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If you want to find out more about the living things around you . . . to slow down . . . to feel more 'at home' . . .⁠⠀
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Then head over to my website snapdragonlife.com to find out more.⁠⠀
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There is a 'Pay what you can' option -  it is always the most difficult to get people to sign up for, and yet I know if would be perfect for so many.
It has been a joy this week to see the bantam hens all out enjoying their freedom.⁠⠀
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It is the one point in the year when we have an abundance of eggs - they are late starters and then hide them all as soon as the weather warms up.⁠⠀
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I have been spending time sitting watching them peck around the orchard - feathers ruffled by the wind, heads down eyes trained for tasty morsels.⁠⠀
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I decided to make a hen embroidery the last part of the 'freehand machine embroidery' e-course that starts on Tuesday. ⁠⠀
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The aim is to break downtime the processor freehand embroidery into very simple steps - with a different exercise each week, building skills and confidence until you can draw with a sewing machine by week 5.⁠⠀
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The course is included in the Studio Club membership - if you want to take it live, week by week, you have 24 hours to join up.  Details on snapdragonlife.com
This week I have been drawn to white and bright and light.⁠⠀
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In the flowers I picked for the Studio Window.⁠⠀
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In the cool white Scottish linen I've been embroidering.⁠⠀
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It's a clean feeling, a throwing off - probably because I've been stuck with a dragging, draining fatigue for a few weeks.⁠⠀
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It's that wondrous clarity that you get when you realise that you can open your eyes wide again.
If I could persuade people of two things they would be . . .⁠⠀
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1. to seek alternatives for domestic cut flowers until their local field flowers are blooming (which is almost now here in Scotland ).⁠⠀
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and . . . ⁠⠀
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2. to pay attention to the daily changes where you live.⁠⠀
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These are snippets of hawthorn and hornbeam hedge arranged in test tubes - but they could also be in bottles or small vases and they could be any kind of deciduous tree or shrub. ⁠⠀
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Every day they emerge a little more, every hour they catch the light in a different way.  All week they have made me smile.⁠⠀
Last year I dumped a load of finished tulips from pots into a metal box, intending to plant them out in the garden.⁠⠀
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I completely forgot and all summer the box looked as through it was just a heap of used compost.⁠⠀
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Most days I walked past it - always intending to take it to the compost heap - until last month it began to sprout.⁠⠀
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This is some of the 'free' (if rather mangled) tulips from the box.⁠⠀
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I have replanted them into the old terracotta pots and propped up the wayward stems with bits of hedge.⁠⠀
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Then - I promise - I shall plant them out properly when the finish flowering this time.
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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.

 

Learn more about why here

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