The Meadow (aka 'the garden')...


We've had a pretty busy year so far in the garden, and beyond... lots of planting, growing, tending and fighting plenty of rain damage! One thing we haven't tended much is the grass! We decided to let the back garden go to wild meadow this year, and I have to say, we love it. The neighbours, less-so, but then, it is suburbia! Our chickens and dogs also have a field day, and it's turned up the most fantastic perks such as heaps of wild flowers which function incredibly well as cut flowers, amazing grasses & foliages, less hay-fever attacks while I cut it, and it's rather gorgeous to stare out at, too...

The bees and other pollinators seem to love it as well. We have a huge patch of Spotted Palmate Orchis at the back of the garden, under the trees, and I'm just in love with it... honey bees are equally obsessed, and quite a few stems of it make it in to my garden style posies most weeks! It's so beautiful. I have a sketch of it coming soon!

We also have an enormous spread of this gorgeous pink flowering Spirea Douglasii, which has pretty much taken over our left hand side of the garden boundary. But again, when it looks this good and lasts as well in the vase as this does, I'm not complaining!

This all really goes to show that there is beauty everywhere you look - that weeds are only weeds if you don't want them, and that sometimes nature is the very best design. I love these wild additions just as much as my prized David Austin roses, dahlias or poppies, and it's these little touches and additions to an arrangement that really get my imagination fired up! Have a little look in an untended corner of you garden, or in a wild suburban space. What can you find to take home and pop in a vase?!


Ballyrobert Gardens...

At the May-Day weekend, there, we headed to the beautiful Ballyrobert Gardens for the first time! I had followed them on facebook for a good while, but just hadn't gotten around to nipping up - but nothing like a flurry of incredible weather to make you feel like heading out and appreciating some floral beauty (not that I ever need much encouragement!)...

We spent a lovely few hours walking around the incredible gardens the family at Ballyrobert have designed and cultivated over the years. They also have a nursery selling a fantastic selection of plants, bred especially for the Northern Irish climate and soils... very much looking forward to diving in to that next Spring when we are planning our plant buy! 

We started off in the Poly-tunnels, and there was so much growing and ready to go wild with all the amazing warm weather we've been having... I was really taken with the pink Campanula (above) with their beautiful pink-paint-splattered patterning. 

There were lots of beautiful Lupins (a bloom I love!) and the flowering chives were so pretty and wild, it was great to see the honey bees out in full force, too ... I really fell for the gorgeous Candelabra Primula (below),  and there were so many beautiful colours and shades to look at. I love their cheery, hopeful little forms!

The variety of plants they have at Ballyrobert is incredible... and the planting design is both beautifully coherent - pulling the same plants and varieties through the gardens as you wind through them, punctuating your walk and making everything feel a part of the whole - and surprising, in parts, too! I loved stumbling across an amazing patch of wild cow parsley after some manicured areas, then finding a wonderful 'selfie' hedge (you would think it was made just for this purpose!) or an incredible Rhododendron bush or Azalea adding a splash of colour and perfectly framing a view for you. Just gorgeous.

I really did take an obscene number of photos, and have certainly gotten a lot of lovely material for my daily petal illustrations... I'll leave you with a few more, and thoroughly encourage anyone who is nearby to make a trip to this beautiful Garden & Nursery. There is a tea-room, too (though we didn't have any this time) so you can make a day of it!