In a Vase on Monday: abundant

It is the beginning of the time of plenty in the garden, when there is a choice of material to cut for Monday vases. For much of the year it’s a case of cutting whatever is flowering but now I can wander about, deciding what might work and which flowers to cut. It takes a little longer but it’s a happy position to be in. I’ve gone for what’s flowering in abundance today: chives, salvia, erigeron and cerinthe. I cut the first sweet peas (the scent!), which must be cut as soon as they flower so that more flowers follow on (it’s the law), and a glorious, glowing red snapdragon (the others are still in bud). Joining them are a few stems of nigella in bud. I love every stage of nigella: the frondy seedlings, the tight flower buds, the blue flowers and the architectural seed heads. Expect to see more in the coming weeks 🙂

In a Vase on Monday is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden and I thoroughly recommend visiting her blog to see what she’s showcasing this week, plus all the other IAVOM-ers from around the world.

In other news… I’ve had my head stuck in books for the last 10 days or so, with no time for blogging (reading or writing) or much else. One of the books I’ve been working on is a gorgeous food book called Lagom; the Swedish art of eating harmoniously which will be published in October. One of my grandmother’s favourite sayings was ‘A little of what you fancy does you good’ and I’ve always followed that mantra, trying to stick to the ‘little’ part! This book is all about eating well, enjoying good food in harmony with the seasons, and eating healthily without denying yourself the pleasures of a good cinnamon bun. There’s a good deal of fika in there, but there are also vegetables. Anyway, if you’re keen on expanding your knowledge of Swedish food, other than the stereotypical meatballs and herrings, look out for it in the autumn. (There’s a particularly good recipe for morning rolls which I made yesterday. Yum.)

One more thing. I made this basket! A friend who runs willow-weaving workshops had a spare place on Saturday, so I went along. Under her expert tuition, I made an actual basket. It’s a bit rustic but it’s my first attempt and I still find it amazing that my hands made it. The whole process was fascinating and quite extraordinary – I learnt new terms like ‘slath’, ‘slype’ and ‘waling’, I used a metal bodkin dipped in tallow to separate the weave, I used a sharp knife to slype the rods. It was fantastic – that sense of total absorption and learning a new skill. You have to be quite gutsy and determined with weaving some of the thicker rods and my hands were rather sore at the end of the day but it was totally worth the effort. Have you ever woven with willow? Maybe you’re a dab hand. I’d love to know.

We’re off to the Chelsea Flower Show on Friday and I am beyond excited as we missed it last year. The weather is forecast to be hot and sunny, and I am trying not to eat biscuits so that I can fit into a summer dress. I will be taking my camera and I will report back (not on whether I managed to fit into a dress but on the show!). Have a super week. Toodle pip.