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

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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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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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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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