Thursday, 17 July 2014

Helmsley Walled Garden - A Very Special Place

This week we have been house and cat-sitting for friends in Pickering. If you have followed my blog then you know this is one of my favourite places. I have lots of photos to share but wanted to show today's first.

It has been a glorious sunny day and we went to Helmsley to visit the Walled Garden. A place we have been to several times but often thought it needed an extra bit of tlc. It is about 3 years since we last went, what a difference! I knew they had a new Head Gardener and it shows.

Would you like to visit too? Of course you would. Lets go into the garden

There is such a variety of plants so sit back and enjoy the view

(Look at those wonderful old brick walls!)

That is Helmsley Castle in the background.

Love this seat made out of an old haymaker.

This will be a deep red sunflower when it opens, these yellow ones were at their peak

The simplest flowers can be the prettiest, on the other hand Crososmia Lucifer dazzles

As does this Potentilla "Gibson's Scarlet"

Now these are "shout out" pink

More to dazzle

Also there are wonderful vegetable gardens

The plants in the greenhouse/conservatory were pristine

Mainly Coleus and Begonias

Not a single leaf was damaged 

Just wonderful

Everywhere you looked

Just such a wonderful place

One for friends in the USA - the American Pillar Rose.

Finally one I don't recognise at all, a bit like a black bulrush. Anyone know it's name?

One of the very best things about Helmsley Walled Garden is that it has a Horticultural Therapy programme.

Their web site states

"Social and Therapeutic Horticulture (shortened to Horticultural Therapy or simply STH) is the process of using gardening to facilitate individuals development at vulnerable stages in their lives, which includes those with physical disabilities, learning difficulties, mental health problems, social isolation and long term unemployed.

Through carefully structured programmes we aim to:

  • Provide the work experience, skills and practical qualifications that can lead to permanent employment.
  • Bring individuals who are alienated – for whatever reason – back into a caring and sustaining community.
  • Help rehabilitate individuals by building confidence and social skills.
  • Restore strength, self-confidence and mobility after illness, trauma or accident.
  • Provide a peaceful, restorative haven for those recovering from illness and for those whose illness is terminal "
It is a "nor for profit charity" so, if you are in the area join the other 10,000 people who visit annually. You will not be disappointed, it is a very special place.

Carol xx

Sunday, 13 July 2014


I'm sure everyone has seen the beautiful Mandala designs and, as I have, been tempted to make some.

A particular favourite is the Starflower Mandala by Zelna Olivier.

It doesn't look very big here but it really is substantial and has made a lovely mat for a bedside table.

Another favourite was designed by Wink (the pattern was in Simply Crochet Issue7).

One of the most prolific Mandala pattern designers is Camilla who designed this beauty.

You can find her lovely designs on her blog

Be warned Mandalas are addictive and if you want to see more and join in a Mandalong then pop over to see the lovely Hannapat

At the moment I am in one of my favourite places, Pickering, North Yorkshire. I am cat and house-sitting for friends. It is rather lovely to have furry cuddles as we had to have our Rosie put to sleep earlier in the year. We've missed her so very much.

Dearest Rosie, see you at Rainbow Bridge.

Have you heard of Yorkshire Lavender? No, it isn't a type of Lavender but a place not far from Pickering. I love how there are notices saying "please touch the plants"!  Some good advice too

Aren't I clever? Look at that collage! No, the only clever thing I did was to download an app called Instacollage2. Here's another using the same app

The wonderful Yorkshire Wolds. The other day we went to an Exhibition at the studio of wildlife artist, Robert E. Fuller. A man I greatly admire because, not only is he a wonderful painter and photographer but a wildlife conservationist. He is making a real difference to protecting and helping, in particular, the owls around where he lives.

One of my companions for the day, beautiful Freya.

I'll try not to have such a long break in transmission next time.

Carol xx

Friday, 7 February 2014

A glorious day in Yorkshire

Beautiful day today.

Just look at the beautiful blue sky. The Eucalyptus is shedding but I understand you shouldn't pull the bark so I am leaving it to drop.

Hellebores are enjoying the warmth.

Just hope the snowdrops don't go over too quickly. 

I read about this magazine a few days ago a so I made sure I found a copy. Only released today and I didn't see many copies.

There are some interesting articles.

Some exercises

and plenty of adverts.  I think there will be 9 issues and I shall certainly be looking out for them.

Did you watch the final of the Great Interior Design Challenge? Thoroughly enjoyed it. My favourite, Sarah Moore, was the well deserved winner. Hope they do more series.

One rather large rabbit enjoying sun and grass.

Hope you enjoy a lovely weekend.

Carol xx

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Looking for the Good Things Day 20

One thing that has been in constant in my life is music.

I was brought up in a home where there was always music whether from singing round the piano or from the 78's spinning on the “Radiogram” turntable. My parents were never “stick-in-the-muds” as far as music was concerned, they embraced new music and soon, alongside Mario Lanza and David Whitfield, could be heard Elvis and Roy Orbison.

I still have most of my parents 78's and also my 45's and LP's.

I have been lucky enough to attend many live shows - The Beatles, The Stones, Joan Baez, Billy Fury and many more stars of the 60's. As I have mentioned before I later I became a big fan of Runrig and saw them several times.  

Sadly, for me, they are not the same since Donnie left. I went to the farewell concerts at Stirling Castle.

My latest live "gig" was last month to see the wonderful Andre Rieu and his orchestra. 

(If the above links aren't showing just search You Tube for - Runrig Donnie Munro Every River Stirling Castle or Runrig Transmitting Live and also Andre Rieu for lots of options)

After the Andre Rieu concert the night was finished off with a trip to a local pub to see a live rock band! That is my musical taste - I love music.

Carol xx

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Looking for the Good Things Day 19

Lovely day out with a best friend today, obviously had to look my best.........

No, I didn't go out like this! I'd just washed it and then I let loose with the hairdrier. 

Another orchid/flower photo for you

We've had lots more rain so I'm getting my flower fix indoors.

Carol xx

Monday, 27 January 2014

Looking for the Good Things Day 18

I really thought I had lost my crafting mojo but then it suddenly rushed back. I made the needlecase, most of the  little rabbit, I've done quite a bit of my Snowdrop Fairy cross stitch and I made ..............

a Granny cover for my tissues! You can find patterns on Ravelry.

Yesterday I took part in the RSPB "Big Garden Birdwatch" weekend. You have to record the birds that visit your garden in a one hour period on either Saturday or Sunday.

I was so happy when these little chaps turned up so I could include them. They are Long-Tailed Tits. I counted at least 12 (they flit about so make it very difficult to count them!) They were on all the feeders and in and out of the bushes.

On this feeder there was originally five, then three

Then two

 Then one

 who suddenly realisesd all the rest had gone and flew off to join them.

I have a few houseplants in bloom at the moment. Doesn't this orchid look lovely?

Smiling at the flowers again!

Carol xx

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Looking for the Good Things Day 17

Do you think there could possibly be any rain left in the sky over the UK? No, me neither but down it comes.  Oh what a grey day!

Over on Instagram I was recently "tagged" to show "what's in my kit".  I chose to reveal my crochet kit.

I bought the crochet roll from Etsy but it isn't quite right, the top bit doesn't come down far enough over the top of the hooks so they slide out, I need to do something about that! My favourite and most comfortable hooks are the Clover ones, I use the 4 mm one the most (it was a 'perfect' gift from a friend not long after I started crocheting). I keep my smallest needlecase with my crochet items, I cross-stitched it from a free magazine kit. There is an owl for checking your hook/needle size.  A strawberry pincushion, sandfilled to keep pins and needles sharp.. A favourite pin tin (I have a few!). A new tape measure and my stork scissors.

Perhaps you would like to share on your blog "what is in your kit" too?

Despite the dreadful weather the birds are still turning up for their food.  I thought our Goldfinches had deserted us, we were down to just "Solo Joe", as I called him, but he must have been chatting to friends and told them about this great eatery and now we are getting up to six at a time.

They make such a mess though, I think they eat a third of the Niger seeds and drop two thirds! Good job we love them.

Yesterday I said I was off to do some more sewing so what did I make? A bunny.

Well I've half made one.  Used an old felted jumper and it is working out quite well.  If you would like the pattern then visit the lovely Sarah Moore's website . You can find the instructions on her blog together with the template. As Sarah pointed out to me "don't forget to sew down the side of the body or it will end up looking like a boxer!".

The "Great Interior Design Challenge" continues this week so we will get to see more of Sarah's design work.

I don't believe it................. the sun is coming out!

Carol xx