Good morning, friends, how are you? It’s Friday, so you know what that means– another Good Things Gathered post awaits!
This one is coming to you a bit late, as I am writing it Friday morning as the sun comes up. Springtime has awoken here where I live, and with it all the bloomy trees that require allergy medicine and it’s knocked me for a loop a bit! But I wanted to share with you a few Good Things today, and I hope you enjoy them!
- Down to Earth by Monty Don is a book I’ve got very much at hand right now, as it’s full of great gardening wisdom and inspiration. In the introduction of his book Monty shares “Every garden is a work in progress and is complete as our lives are today. It changes. Always. It can always get better. It often gets worse. Be part of the change. Be flexible.” Many of of us know Monty Don from the UK television show “Gardener’s World.” If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend it. It’s soothing and inspiring and takes you through the gardening year– from what chores need to be done in the garden to visits to wonderful gardens around the UK. If you’re in the US, you can stream it via BritBox, and new episodes are added on Fridays.
2. Helen Allingham’s England is a book that recently came to me in the mail as I’d ordered it used off of Thriftbooks. I am really pleased with it, as it not only showcases her artwork, but is also a pretty thorough biography of the artist who did so much of her work in the late Victorian period. Helen Allingham was an English watercolor artist whose life story is somewhat like an English version of a Louisa May Alcott novel. She was born in 1848, the first of 7 children of a country doctor and a mother who came from a very artistic family. After her father’s death in her early teens, Helen is taken under the wing of an artist aunt and sent to school to learn to make art, mostly so that she can earn money to take care of her widowed mother and younger siblings. With her talent and work ethic, Helen– then Helen Paterson- finds herself creating a modestly successful career as a painter and also an illustrator for the popular magazines of the era. Later she meets her husband, the Irish poet William Allingham, who is very supportive of her career. With him, she takes an interest in preserving the vanishing English countryside, and creates a massive amount of artwork showing the beauty of English cottage life. Her cottage paintings were massively popular in her lifetime and continue to be. They have become something of a historical record now, as her work depicts English cottages that have completely vanished, or show existing cottages before they were modernized. If you enjoy English art or cottage art, I highly suggest the book. Her life story is also very interesting.
3. I’ve also been making entries in my Garden Journal, which I have as a booklet and as a PDF download in my etsy shop. The journal begins with spring, so now is the time to start a fresh one! My goal with the journal is that after a year of taking notes, I’ll be able to have a pretty detailed picture of how my garden grew to refer back to in the future. Like Monty Don says in his book, a garden is an ever changing things, and is different from one year to the next. It’s always nice to have something to look back on when wondering when something bloomed, something was planted, what worked and what didn’t.
4. I’m also drinking a lot of tea (still! And forever?) these days and enjoying early spring blossoms planted inside or bought in bouquets. The hyacinths have bloomed out and and are now falling over under their own weight on the dining room table. Soon I’ll plant them outside and let them die back further on their own so they will bloom again next year. I’m also loving simpler daffodil bouquets that I’m finding at the grocery store these days. I had never realized that they had such a fresh, lovely scent.
Well, these are the good things I have gathered for you today! I hope you enjoy them! And I hope you are well. The next post will come when we’ve crossed the threshold into April, can you believe it? Onward we go, thoroughly into spring.
Take Joy!~ H
And for a treat– here’s a promo for Garden’s World to watch and see if it’s something you might enjoy! This video is from a couple of years ago, and is pre-Covid, but the show has managed to grow and adapt and go on, even while the country is under lockdown– which is impressive! Here’s the clip- enjoy!