Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do


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.


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

When I was at University it was the time of the Poll Tax, an unpopular tax made even more unpopular by being implemented in Scotland a year before the rest of the UK - 'Thatcher's guinea pigs'.⁠⠀
It was a time of demonstration and violence with 50,000 marching in Glasgow, 1 million Scots refusing to pay. ⁠⠀
It was a time Sheriff's Officers and poind sales of possessions. ⁠⠀
Coalition student groups were formed - Socialist and Feminist and Anarchist and so on - there were big meetings in the Union, debates about a name and a logo and a manifesto. I remember lots of young, middle class, white men talked at length.  I remember that very, very little got done - a bus was organised to take students to Glasgow for the protests. ⁠⠀
In the meantime, up the hill from the campus, three women (I thought of them as old at the time but I'm sure they were the age I am now) simply stood outside the auctions and asked nobody to attend.  They stood by the front doors, they explained their reasons, they prevailed.  They possibly looked randomly menacing in that way middle aged women can.⁠⠀
People calmly bought back their possessions for 50p and their debts were squared. Action, meaningful results, a recognition that the personal is political - all while the student groups still debated their slogans.⁠⠀
I've been thinking about those women a lot recently. If they were the age I think they were, they will be queuing up for their vaccines this month.
In my happy place.⁠⠀
In the winter months The Studio is the centre of my working life. ⁠⠀
This was yesterday.  Trimming pieces of vintage velvet fabric for the Studio Club shop; alpaca socks drying in the dispatch room behind me (we now have size 8-10 in stock too); a roll @scottishlinen seconds to experiment with hogging the cutting table.⁠⠀
Bright and light and inspiring.
Starting the week with a photo from last year (simply because I lost a lot of this weekend to fatigue, so didn't take a new photo.)⁠⠀
Budgie, my beautiful and psychotic cat, with a windowsill of white amaryllis. ⁠⠀
Worth a second outing.
The proposed airstream conversion is in for planning permission approval at the moment, so that we change change its use from (neglected) artist's workshop into beautiful holiday accommodation.⁠⠀
In my vision for this we get to use the paid holidaymaking element to subsidise some artist's residencies - painters, writers, musicians, makers coming here to soak up the landscape and be inspired.⁠⠀
At the moment though I'm still at the stage of answering environmental health questions about quite how loud I am in my Studio and how we will light the path to the compost loo.
Yesterday my elder daughter, who lives in London, messaged me to say that our local DPD driver Slav was being given an award by for his outstanding service. 

It was because of the hundreds of messages that they had been sent commenting on his helpfulness, incredible good cheer, and parcel based problem solving.⁠⠀

Slav has been an important part of my lockdown life here. ⁠⠀
When roads look like this, good delivery drivers are a vital (and hopefully appreciated) part of life.⁠⠀
As my younger daughter chimed in “Go Slav!
This photo is from last week - but I see through the gloom that it has snowed overnight .⁠⠀
This part of the garden is outside our bedroom, the beech hedge borders the road, it used to be a drive when our bedroom was a garage.⁠⠀
Now it has a birch tree (symbolic for me of my miscarried babies, as I had to leave their actual birch trees behind when we moved here) surrounded by lots of box grown from small plants and cuttings.⁠⠀
We buried Jasmine, my scruffy miniature schnauzer, here in the summer, so in some ways it is becoming a garden for sitting on the bench and remembering and watching the birds.  I shall ask my ever generous  friend Nadja for some snowdrops to plant in the grass.⁠⠀
In my mind, eventually, the box balls will become like the ones on the front of @arnemaynardgardendesign book Garden Design Details - but this year they remain unclipped. ⁠⠀
I suspect box blight in the back garden and @jekkamcvicar points out that unclipped box does not get blight.⁠⠀
I love old gates - particularly old gates that stand in the middle of old unused spaces, leading to nowhere, keeping nothing in.⁠⠀
A memory of another time.
Last year - while I was dyeing socks out on my Studio deck, I was also dyeing wool yarn. ⁠⠀
Wool dyed with docks and nettle, gorse and meadowsweet, onions and plum bark all from the garden and lane.⁠⠀
Over the winter I gathered the wool skeins together - all the soft bright colours - and knitted myself an oversized stripy jumper. ⁠⠀
@rhiannonconnelly described it as wearing 'a hug from my garden' and I think she was spot on. ⁠⠀
The pattern is the 'After the Rain' sweater by @heidikdesigns but with random stripes as I wasn't sure how much of each colour I had. #aftertherainsweater

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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