You won't be surprised to read, I'm sure, that I'd always rather knit than garden. Yarn beats earth under the finger nails every time. But would I rather knit than be in the garden? Well, no. Luckily the two can often be combined. To sit in the garden, any garden, and knit the afternoon away is bliss. Throw in a little light reading, a cuppa or two and a slice of cake ... I'll be in paradise!*
Stuck indoors with my knitting on a rainy afternoon I read about gardens. Gardens, not gardening. Garden history and the histories of particular gardens, gardeners' memoirs and the biographies of gardeners. Perennial favourites are read again and again. Four Hedgesby Claire Leighton, The Morville Hoursby Katherine Swift, and Derek Jarman's Garden... the reason so many of my knitting projects are photographed atop a book is simple, if the one is to hand then so is the other. And looking at the yarn I've bought for my second bash at Color Affection I guess my reading matter can subliminally affect my colour choices!
I'm knitting the same shallower shawl I was bested by before, but with a thicker yarn for a denser fabric, DROPS Alpaca ... I adore this yarn!
We really don't have much of a garden here. A paved courtyard with a few pebbled bits, a scattering of mature shrubs at the margins - mostly jasmines and ivies - and terracotta pots and iron-work hanging baskets planted with herbs and flowers - basil, mint and marjoram, lavender, violas and violently orange geums - that's us. But it's south facing, a proper sun trap, quite lovely in summer. And it's shaggy, because as Derek Jarman says, "If a garden isn't shaggy, forget it". Of course our little plot isn't a patch on Jarman's Dungeness shingle spectacular, that's all driftwood and beachcombed metal marvels, sea kale and santolina, poppies, vipers bugloss and valerian, and it speaks to something deep within my soul.
When you dream of the perfect garden what do you see? Red brick garden walls or an open aspect? Tangled or tidy? And how about your own garden?** Large or small, town or country, neat or not? I'd love to know.
Just a quick note about the Bryn Tanat Knitter's and Crocheter's Retreat next March. I'll be emailing everyone who expressed an interest more details very soon, but the good news, if you missed this the first time around, is that there may still be a place or two available. I have far more people saying 'maybe' than we could accommodate, but not quite enough folk who know for sure that they're free to come. Just follow the link for more information, or email me.
* Paradise, from the ancient Persian, 'a green place' or garden!
** Did you see Emma of Silver Pebble fame's garden in the July edition of Country Living? What a riotous joy! I already coveted her workshop and now I kinda want her garden too!