Down on the farm

14 Jul

We’re off on hols this week; staying on a farm where we plan to ride horses and tractors and collect our own eggs from the chickens every morning.

Perhaps we might even spot a pig as glorious as this one…

Vintage pig image | Wolves in London

Glorious pig found at Old Book Illustrations

I intended, of course, to schedule lots of blog posts in advance so you wouldn’t even notice my absence.

I failed, of course.

So have a wonderful week, everyone, and I’ll be back in seven days or so.

(Depending on how long it takes to do all the post-holiday washing.)

5 ideas from Hampton Court flower show

12 Jul

Last Wednesday I spent a gorgeous sunny day wandering round Hampton Court flower show.

Forgotten Folly summer garden at Hampton Court show | Wolves in London

The Forgotten folly summer garden. One of my favourites from the show

It was an English summer personified: the drowsy song of bees in the air, the sun beating down with occasional white clouds drifting across the blue skies, endless (endless!) stalls selling Pimms and rather a lot of people dressed in striped blazers and Panama hats.

I managed to spot a glimpse of Carol Klein, Joe Swift and Mary Berry, which added to the excitement of course, but I also got lots of inspiration from the gardens and stalls around the show.

I am planning to redesign and replant my own little patch of green this autumn and I came away with lots of ideas I’d love to translate back to my own space.

Here are five pieces of inspiration I took away from the show, in the hope they might also inspire you!

1. Use native planting to attract insects

Macmillan legacy garden and Hampton Court show | Wolves in London

Wonderful naturalistic planting of native flowers

As far as I’m concerned, this is preaching to the converted. Who wouldn’t want lots of colourful butterflies and buzzing bees in their garden, helping pollinate all the fruit and veg?

Lots and lots of gardens featured naturalistic planting and wildflowers, but the Macmillan legacy garden, above and below, was definitely my favourite.

Macmillan legacy garden at Hampton Court show | Wolves in London

I’m pretty sure I need a rusty metal cow in my garden too…

The plants chosen were all native to Somerset (where Douglas Macmillan grew up) and included verbena, alchemilla, ammi majus, anemones, campanula, grasses, foxgloves, geraniums, hostas, sedum and thyme. In short, loads of my very favourite plants!

2. You can still pack a punch with small borders

It’s easy to walk around a show like Hampton Court and think, “sure, this all looks lovely, but I just don’t have space in my own garden to do anything like this…”

Al Fresco summer garden | Wolves in London

Small bed + loads of plants = lovely

The Al Fresco summer garden, though, provided great inspiration for planting in small beds. The majority of the garden was hard landscaping, with a central dining table, covered by a pergola, and built in barbecue.

The area was surrounded by a number of raised beds, of fairly small dimensions, but full of gorgeous flowers, more than making their mark despite the small space they were confined in. Definitely one to provide encouragement to all those who, like me, only have a small space for planting…

3. Use your garden for what you love

Before I started my horticulture and design course last year, I had rather set ideas about what a garden should be.

Surely every garden needed a lawn, a patio, some borders and so on?

Of course, this is complete nonsense. Your garden should contain only the elements you want and will use.

No interest in a lawn but lots of time entertaining outside? Don’t bother including one, just create an amazing dining space like the Al Fresco garden above.

Allitex greenhouse at Hampton Court show | Wolves in London

Sigh, dribble, drool. How I want one of these beauties in my garden

Obsessed with growing tender plants? Forget everything else and just have a greenhouse then! This one from Allitex is surely the greenhouse dream and I loved the way it had been surrounded by flower beds.

Not a show garden, of course, just a display by the company, but I lusted after it nonetheless.

(Perhaps one day I will be able to afford one to replace the beast…)

4. Simplicity is key

I am something of a magpie when it comes to my garden. I want to include every single lovely plant I have ever seen somewhere within its four fences…

Allium stall at Hampton Court show | Wolves in London

Stunning. Just stunning. Love me an allium

But this display on an allium nursery’s stand reminded me of the importance of paring it back with plant choices and with colours. Less range of plants, but growing in profusion, is definitely more in design terms…

Sure, I don’t want to restrict myself to just alliums in my garden, but this was a great reminder of just how striking simplicity can be.

5. Plant up in everything you can…

…but don’t forget a cohesive style

Zinc planters at Hampton Court | Wolves in London

These amazing buckets only cost £25. But I couldn’t carry one home, with the baby in a sling, and the guy said he only sold at shows. Sob, sob. Next year…

I adored this stall which sold lots of zinc planters and buckets and milk urns and a million other wonderful things.

My garden currently has everything planted in the beds, with a few scattered pots here and there.

But planting up all sorts of unusual objects can have a wonderful effect. These zinc buckets, for example, would look fabulous planted as a herb garden.

Remember to match the planters to the style of your garden, however, to ensure you achieve cohesion of ideas. These would look great in a cottage style garden, as would terracotta pots.

A contemporary urban garden might suit aluminium or concrete pots better. Don’t be tempted to mix too many different materials together or the overall look can become a little bitty…

So, plenty of inspiration for me as I start to plan the next phase of my ever-evolving garden. And I’m booking myself a ticket to next year’s show as soon as I can!

Related articles:

  • You can see more photos of all the gardens over on the RHS website: RHS Hampton Court flower show
  • Of course, but of course, I have Pinterest boards for these sorts of things too. If you love a beautiful garden as much as I do, follow my Dream garden plans board for lots of stunning designs. And my board Plants, plants, plants started as a place to save plants we were learning about in my horticulture course and has evolved into a place to save details of every plant I come across that I love. You can see a preview of both below, just click on the photos to go to the full board…

Vintage gardening books

10 Jul

You know me by now, right?

Lover of plants, books and all things vintage.

So you’ll understand why I just had to share some photos of my latest haul with you. A haul of… wait for it… vintage. gardening. books. I know!

Book stack and sweet peas

Sweet peas and books. Heaven

On our recent visit to Wisley, I couldn’t resist the lure of a second hand plant books stall and came away with some real beauties.

All for the grand price of £2.50.

The first is my favourite, this unassuming little green book:

Gardener's Chapbook | Wolves in London

What’s inside this little book?

It’s called The Gardener’s Chapbook…

The Gardener's Chapbook

Could an inside cover look any more appealing?

“What’s a chapbook?” I hear you cry.

And I can reply, “I haven’t got a bloody clue.” There’s nothing within the pages that explains its bizarre title (the woman on the stall who, I assume, is something of an expert in gardening books also said she’d never come across the expression before…)

It’s not, as you might imagine, a book of gardening for chaps (“First, twirl your moustache, second prune the apple tree” etc etc) but contains an anthology of gardening prose and verse, followed by a few recipes and a few rather delightful black and white illustrations like this one:

 

Gardener's Chapbook | Wolves in London

Everyone needs a few garden proverbs in their lives

The Book of Wild Flowers is another absolute winner in my eyes. I am a complete sucker for illustrations of plants and I am massively into “native planting” at the moment too (hard though it is to define what’s genuinely native) so these illustrations of British wildflowers are wonderful to me.

 

Illustrations of wild flowers | Wolves in London

A gorgeous fritillary on this page…

Wild flowers illustrations

…and a perennial sweet pea here

Finally, this one smacks of another era of vintage.

Trees and shrubs

Those colours are, erm, appealing…

Such a very bold front cover! Published in 1979, this little book is one year younger than me. And for the grand sum of 50p, I now have a guide to help me with the tree identification I’ve pledged to carry out this summer (you can read more about that here: A love of trees).

I’m tempted to set myself the challenge to recognise everything within its covers by the time the year is out…

So, what do you think? £2.50 well spent?

Wonderful Wisley

5 Jul

Last Sunday, we strapped the sprogs into their car seats, cracked the windows open to let in some warm summer breezes and set off along the A3 heading for RHS Wisley.

Sun behind trees | Wolves in London

Trees, sunshine, what more could you want?

I wasn’t sure how enjoyable the rest of the Wolves in London clan were going to find the excursion; all of them so far too young /not-into-gardening to think that a thrilling day involves me wandering round examining flower beds and sharing fascinating snippets of information about Latin horticultural names or the biology of a plant’s roots. (More fool them…)

Tree trunk | Wolves in London

“Now gather round, family, and let me share some fascinating facts about this stately tree…”

Actually, I was delighted at how family friendly Wisley was. There were only a few areas where I had to try and explain “Keep off the grass” signs to the sproglet.  There was a soft play area and a children’s playground. But, it says a lot about how much fun we had everywhere else, that we didn’t have time to visit either of them.

An arts and crafts fair was taking place that weekend (I know, double heaven for me: gardening and crafts!)

Lots of stalls were set up around the grounds with makers selling their wares and offering lessons in everything from pot-throwing to brooch making.

Had I been alone, I would have definitely tried my hand at these plant prints. I only had a very quick look, but I think they must be made with inkodye, something I have been dying (geddit?!) to try out for a while now. The effect is really striking:

Blue ink flowers | Wolves in London

My guess is that these have been made by placing a leaf over some fabric covered in light sensitive dye

The sproglet was particularly impressed with a collection of wire sculptures of animals, like this hare:

Wire hare | Wolves in London

Pretty realistic, no?

And, naturally, I couldn’t resist getting a photo of this wolf sculpture. (A friendly wolf! I’ve written before about how they’re pretty hard to find…)

Wolf sculpture | Wolves in London

Awww, a soft cuddly wolf

There were also various performances going on during the day. This lady, in the glasshouses, was billed as an “aerial artiste”…

Aerial artiste | Wolves in London

Not a job for those with vertigo

But, most fun was had just wandering through the impressive grounds themselves, which are full of quirky architecture and sculptures.

RHS Wisley | Wolves in London

I loved these huge bulrush sculptures by the lakes

The sproglet dashed off in glee the minute he saw the pagoda:

Pagoda at Wisley | Wolves in London

You can’t beat a good pagoda…

But his attention was held for even longer by a rather impressive insect hotel.

(Side note: I think these look stunning, but any I have come across seem rather devoid of insects. Anyone have something similar in their own garden?)

Bug hotel at Wisley | Wolves in London

I have a sneaky suspicion a few bits of wood might have been removed at this point…

Rather intriguingly, my friend Annie (of Nimble Fingers and Steady Eyebrows) tweeted me just as I was leaving and said that there was a statue of her somewhere in the grounds. Sadly, I didn’t see it, but I did enjoy this couple sitting and soaking up the view:

Statue at Wisley | Wolves in London

“Weather’s nice today, dear…” “Yes, isn’t it, dear.”

And the glasshouses, of course, were mind-blowingly awesome:

Glasshouses at Wisley | Wolves in London

Now I only I could replace my old greenhouse with one of these!

We spent a lot of time wandering round inside and, of course, I took a few hundreds of photos of plants. This is the (highly) edited selection…

Pink flower | Wolves in LondonOrchid | Wolves in LondonLeaves | Wolves in LondonWhite orchid | Wolves in LondonYellow flower | Wolves in London

Rather foolishly, I was so busy being snap happy that I forgot to write down the names of any of these plants and I’m not really familiar with exotic flowers like this so I no longer have a clue what’s in the photos.

But no matter, for I’m saving the best til last. My very favourite part of the gardens was the more naturalist drift planting, just outside the back of the glasshouses. This is the look I aspire to in my own (much, much, much) smaller flower beds.

Drift planting at Wisley | Wolves in London

The sun was in when I took this photo, which is a bit of shame…

Red flower | Wolves in London

So cheery!

White flowers | Wolves in London

I think this was a type of Lavatera

Red flowers at Wisley | Wolves in London

Anyone know what this is? There were so many lovely red flowers here it *almost* persuaded me to plant some in my own garden…

And I was very excited to see lots and lots of Mexican fleabane (Erigeron karvinskianus) growing out of walls and steps all over the place. I just bought some for my own garden and have planted the little plugs over the stone wall that divides one of my flower beds from the lawn. The first little daisy-like flower appeared yesterday, to my immense delight:

Erigeron karvinskianus | Wolves in London

One day I hope mine will look as prolific as this

Aaaaand, that’s the end! Lots of photos, but still only showing a mere fraction of what’s there. I shall be returning soon, no doubt.

I also purchased some rather glorious second hand gardening books, but this post is already heejusly long so I’ll show you them another time…

The hubby is off work for five weeks now between jobs, so we’ve got plenty of time for exploring. Anywhere else we should go?

{Joining in with Manneskjur and How does your garden grow? If only this were my garden!)

Garden moodboard: July

2 Jul

I had a bit of a conundrum with my garden moodboard this month.

On Saturday morning, I was standing in the middle of the garden, secateurs in hand, ready to snip snip snip away at lots of nice flowers to photograph them – as is my wont every month.

But as I looked round my 15x60ft patch of earth, I couldn’t really see any flowers to spare.

July garden moodboard | Wolves in London

From the garden this month

I know that anyone who professes to be even a little bit of a gardener shouldn’t admit that they don’t have many flowers in June. But such is the sorry case chez Wolves in London at the moment. Lots of things seemed to flower early this year, but the usual mid-Summer plants are still yet to open up…

The ones I photographed in situ recently aren’t abundant enough for me to want to cut them down. And the ones I have in abundance, I have photographed in moodboards so many times I couldn’t imagine anything new to do with them.

“Yes, yes, luv,” I imagined you saying as you looked at my pics, “we know you’ve got loads of verbena. Stop showing us your bloody verbena.”

And, indeed, I would have no defence for your criticism, for I showed you the verbena last month, and in May, and in July last year. And you know, there are only so many ways you can photograph verbena. (Admittedly, I have only ever selected one: against a white background…)

July garden moodboard | Wolves in London

Sage, rosemary, mint and some apples…

I decided that this month I’d probably have to give the moodboard a miss and since I had the secateurs in my hand, I’d go and do a bit of gentle pruning on the plum and apple trees and thin the fruits a bit at the same time.

Even if you hadn’t already seen the photos, you could tell where this is going, couldn’t you?!

I looked down at the pile of cuttings and thought to myself, a-ha! This month, I’ll photograph the prunings and maybe a few herbs that I was bringing in for lunch. A kitchen garden moodboard, if you will.

So this month I bring you a few of the small apples that I culled so their brothers could grow bigger, the plums that have caterpillars inside and some extremely unhealthy looking leaves. (Plus some sage, rosemary and mint.)

Unripe plum | Wolves in London

A sorry looking plum

The plums are seriously abundant so I’ve been removing as many as I can in the hope the ones left on the trees will grow bigger and juicier. Last year lots got a fungal disease and rotted on the tree and most of the ones we removed had caterpillars inside. Not a huge success! This year I am trying to look after them better…

 

Apple | Wolves in London

Already bruised…

Unripe apple | Wolves in London

Rosy but culled nonetheless

Apple | Wolves in London

Yet another damaged apple

We’ve got three different types of apple tree.  On a visit to Wisley on Sunday (more on that later this week), I tried to get them to identify the cultivars for me, but apparently they need the fruit specialist to do it in the Autumn once the fruits are fully grown. We shall return then, and I will finally know what’s growing in my garden…

Apple branch | Wolves in London

The RHS expert couldn’t even identify it from all this branch, leaves and fruit!

And perhaps I shall ask them what on earth if wrong with these poor leaves too…

(My guess is: caterpillars chewing on them (which I don’t really mind — it leads to lovely butterflies at least) and perhaps a disease or some sun scorching on the brown bits. At any rate, not terribly healthy.)

Unhealthy leaf | Wolves in London

Yikes, not looking good…

The rosemary, at least, seems to thrive on my regime of intentional neglect:

Rosemary | Wolves in London

Long since eaten…

Next month, I promise you some flowers. I spotted a few sweet pea buds this morning and the gorgeous nigella is almost ready to show its face…

Blog hop

30 Jun

Last week, the lovely Laura of Circle Pine Trees invited me to join in with a blog hop. Everyone taking part answers three questions about creativity and then nominates two of their favourite bloggers to do the same. Follow on down the trail and find some wonderful new blogs…

You can see Laura’s answers from last week over on her blog — her thoughts on writing particularly struck a chord with me. (And if you’ve not visited before, stay and take a look at some of her stunning photos and wonderfully evocative tales of her life in the country.)

So, if you’ve headed back here again, on to me…

1/ What have been the doings/makings/scribblings at your desk/making table in the last week?

I’ve been hit by a real creative renaissance recently, re-emerging, bleary-eyed from a year of constant lethargy (pregnancy being the number one culprit for that) and, suddenly filled with boundless reserves of energy, have been trying to cram a million and one different things into the short spaces of time I get when both children nap simultaneously.

This week, I’ve been feverishly working away on plans I have for an Etsy shop I hope to open soon. I’ve been making some babygrows with vintage images on them, ready to send off to a few friends as product testers to get their thoughts…

Making vintage babygros | Wolves in London

Images all ready to iron on to the front

I’ve been trialling crockery decals, trying to make my sister a (very, very belated) wedding present. So belated, in fact, it’s already too late for their one year anniversary.

 

Homemade wedding plate | Wolves in London

Need to iron out a few things with this (not literally) and then a full tutorial will follow…

I’ve been gathering thinned apples and plums from the garden for my July shot of my monthly garden moodboards.

 

Apples and plums | Wolves in London

A rather sweet little basket!

 

And I’ve been making cherry vodka and photographing it for a future blog post…

 

Homemade cherry vodka | Wolves in London

So pink! So delicious!

2/ Where are you currently finding your inspiration?

Every day I take a wander through the ever-lovely Peckham Rye Park, pootling around its green open spaces and smelling all the flowers in the Sexby Garden, before taking the toddler off to the playground. I find endless inspiration here – both in the stunning plants which I photograph extremely (possibly too) frequently as you can see in my instagram feed – but also in having a bit of time to myself to think as I push the pram along the paths.

Peckham Rye Park | Wolves in London

Peckham Rye Park: a great place for a ponder

This is the time of day when I have most of my ideas. So I’m normally pondering what to do for my next craft project, what to write for the next blog post, what other products I want to stock in the new shop, what paint colours I want for the walls in the (newly-renovated) house, oh and the usual major life plan decisions, “what should I be doing in five years time.” Responses to the latter I update frequently and with endless enthusiasm. They almost always involve living on a farm and keeping alpacas.

3/ How important is being creative to you & how do you blend this with your work/life/family balance?

Ha! With an nine-week-old and a toddler, I don’t think I have much life balance right now, the large majority of my day being taken up with their demands sweet requests. The rest with a pressing need to fall asleep.

But, generally speaking, creativity is pretty important. I’m lucky enough that I have always worked in a creative job, somewhat falling into a career of journalism and then communications – though now, since having the toddler a few years ago, I’m a stay at home Mum.

Poppy | Wolves in London

A picture of a poppy. No particular reason, just breaking up all the text a bit…

When I had to write every single day for a living, I used to long for a bit of time off, when I didn’t feel the words flowing or just simply wasn’t in the mood to write something. I used to make up excuses to go and do some filing, or empty my desk drawers, or analyse website statistics, make another cup of tea, and so on. Anything to procrastinate on starting to actually write the damn article I was supposed to be writing.

Now, of course, any writing or crafting I do is purely for myself and I now find myself putting off the boring but essential things like running the dishwasher, filling the washing machine, erm even sometimes taking a shower, in order to write a blog post, take some photos, knit a few more rows on a baby jumper or embark on whatever new project I have in hand.

In all honesty, I never feel I have the balance right between work (not doing any right now at all. Feel rather guilty about that), family (am I giving them enough attention? Am I giving them too much attention? Will they grow up weird and socially maladjusted because they’ve not been at a nursery?) and creativity (I wish I had more time to spend on making things. Oh god, I’ve been spending too much time making things and the children will grow up maladjusted… etc etc. repeat ad nauseam).

On a rare day everything goes well: the children are delightful in the way I imagined children would always be before actually having any; both take a nap at the same time and I manage to finish some innovative, exciting craft project to exactly the high standard I had in my mind; the hubby comes home early and bathes the sproglet, while I write a witty and informative blog post about said craft project and quickly snap a few perfectly-lit, wonderfully-styled, immaculately-framed photos to accompany the post.

On those days, I feel as if I’ve got the balance just right…

Aaaaand, that’s the end of my (rather long) answers! So to pass the baton on to two more bloggers. Head over to their blogs next week, Monday July 7th, to see their answers, but in the meantime do go and have a browse right now!

I discovered Gemma Garner as we both link up at How does your garden grow, a weekly linky from Mammasaurus (now Manneskjur). It was perhaps inevitable that I would love Gemma’s blog: not only does she share my love for photographing flowers, but also for crafting and outdoors adventures. Gemma’s gardening photos, in particular, always inspire me to head off and grow / buy a few more plants for my own little patch as hers look so wonderful.

Sarah at Look what I made has a seemingly unending ability to craft / cook / create unique projects. One of my favourites ever was this amazing bird terrarium. Her blog is interesting, informative and always amusing. Plus, she’s based in Vienna, which seems terribly glamorous to me, here in the drizzly UK.

So, Laura, many thanks for asking me to take part. And Gemma and Sarah, I can’t wait to see your answers next week!

Finding vintage images

26 Jun

Finding vintage images: a guide to 5 handy sources | Wolves in London

If you’ve visited me here at Wolves in London before (hello! if you haven’t, nice to meet you!) you’ll know I am a huge fan of beautiful old illustrations.

There is something so wonderfully evocative about a good vintage image. Perhaps it’s the delicate detail of some drawings that transports you back to a world of explorers and inventors and the collector’s drawer. Perhaps it’s the romance of a perfectly depicted rose. Or perhaps I’m just a sucker for good old fashioned nostalgia, which pictures like these have in abundance.

At any rate, I use vintage images all the time. From everything such as making my own wrapping paper or soap packaging, to weird lobster jewellery and even our wedding invitations and wedding favours.

(I have plans in the pipeline to open an Etsy shop soon, selling babygrows and T-shirts with some of my favourite images on the front. Watch this space to see if I can get off my arse and do it…)

In the meantime, it occurred to me that it might be useful to share some of the websites I use to find all those wonderful vintage pictures in the first place.

Here, then, are my five favourite blogs and websites that catalogue hundreds of copyright free vintage images:

1. The Graphics Fairy

Vintage pears

Vintage pears found on the Graphics Fairy site

If I’m looking for a new image, the Graphics Fairy blog is inevitably the first place I visit.

Completely eclectic, the website is packed with a phenomenal range of images in loads of different styles of loads of different subjects. You can run a search to find images of specific things, but it’s much more fun to just lose yourself for hours browsing the different categories.

All images are copyright free and fine to use both for your own use or to sell commercially…

Especially good for:

Everything! This really is my number one site. Great for black and white images as well as colour. There’s also a host of reader’s projects (my lobster necklace was once featured here) as well as hints, tips and DIYs if you’re looking for inspiration with what to do with all this fabulous imagery.

 Projects I’ve made:

DIY advent calendar

Vintage images advent calendar

Most of my projects use Graphics Fairy images somewhere or other. My vintage advent calendar was made entirely with images I’d found here.

2. Vintage Printable

Ladybirds from Vintage Printable

Ladybirds from Vintage Printable

I’ve got to say, I always find Vintage Printable a little frustrating to navigate, but persevere for it is definitely worth it for some of the wonderfully weird things you can find. I especially love the illustrations of collections, like the ladybirds above. This is definitely a site for browsing and wondering what amazing thing you’ll stumble across, rather than one for carrying out specific searches.

Especially good for:

Plates from books, colour images and unusual things you wouldn’t find elsewhere.

Projects I’ve made:

Homemade hat wrapping paper

Not a great photo, but I still think this wrapping paper is better than loads you can buy…

The hat print is one of my favourite images I’ve ever come across, which I used as an envelope liner for my homeprinted book plates and again for my home printed wrapping paper.

3. Clip Art Etc

Boarfish illustration

The boarfish! From Clip Art Etc

Looking for some weird and wonderful old-fashioned black and white images of animals or fish? Look no further! I scour this site — set up as an educational resource for the university of South Florida — on a regular basis. The images are available copyright free and you can use them for any personal projects without charge. If you want to use them for anything commercial, you can pay a one off fee that allows you to reproduce the image as many times as you like and in any way you like…

They also run the equally wonderful Maps Etc, which has hundreds of historic maps.

Especially good for:

Clip Art, obviously. All line-drawn black and white illustrations. The animals and plants sections are my favourite, but there are some great quirky scientific images as well.

Projects I’ve made:

Homeprinted babygrow

Modelled by the sproglet in his younger days

I love the carrot illustration that I used in the babygrow I made the sproglet.

4. Botanicus

Orange botanical vintage image

Oranges from Botanicus

Botanicus is a new one for me, and I am yet to fully explore everything inside the site. Another one that is pretty difficult to navigate, but the website contains complete editions of lots of antique botanical books, including the plates — which is where you find the wonderful images.

To find your way around, you need to select the book you want (choosing by title or author) and then take a look on the left hand side in the box called “pages” — click on ones that say “plate” or “illustration.”  A good starting place is Koehler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen, the book that contains this orange illustration above.

It’s also slightly complicated to figure out how to download the images. On the right hand side of the image is a box full of arrows, to help you scroll around and zoom the image. Click on the one that looks like this: ↓ and then right click on the image to save.

It’s a bit of a faff, yes, but it is worth it for some of the illustrations, which are truly stunning.

Especially good for:

Er, botanicals!

Projects I’ve made:

None, so far, but once I’ve explored the site a bit more, I have a feeling you’ll be seeing a lot more vintage botanical prints from here in future projects.

I also think these would all look wonderful printed and framed for the wall, so once we’ve finally decorated the house I plan on festooning the walls with some of these images.

5. Old Book Illustrations

Oh I truly love this site! Old Book Illustrations is nowhere near as extensive as the others, containing only a few categories with a few choice images in each one. But the images themselves are, without fail, stunning and stunningly quirky. And, as you might have noticed, I love me a bit of quirk.

The site says that all images are copyright free and can be used for personal or commercial purposes.

Especially good for:

Black and white images. Once again, the animals and plants categories are my favourites. The French subtitles to the images make them especially appealing to me…

Projects I’ve made:

Screen print acetate

F is for fish

The smelt (a fish, doncha know) that I used in my F is for Fish screen printing attempts last year was from Old Book Illustrations. I loved it so much, I used it again on some of my Spoonflower fabric.

And that’s it! My five favourite sites. I hope it helps if you’re on the search for an old graphic anytime soon.

And if you think there are some amazing ones that I’ve missed off, please do drop me a note in the comments. I always love to add to the list…

Related articles:

  • I pin all my favourite images over on my Free Graphics board on Pinterest, so if you can’t be bothered to trawl all these sites yourself, just follow me over there for my pick of the bunch!

Silent Sunday

22 Jun

Silent Sunday | Wolves in London

Joining in: Silent Sunday

 

The garden in June

20 Jun

I know, I know, I’ve been a bit garden-tastic over the past few weeks, what with all my chat about greenhouses and sheds and so on. I am working on some more craft-related posts at the moment too, you may be relieved to hear, but I couldn’t resist joining in once more this week with Mammasaurus’s How does your garden grow?

The sporadically glorious weather of June, combined with some bloody awful rainy weather, has been good to my garden.

I’ve been pottering about in the greenhouse with my seedlings at any rare gardening opportunities I have, leaving everything else to pretty much get on with it. And get on with it, it has.

Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' | Wolves in London

Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’

The plants I bought a few weeks ago are all now planted into their final positions. I couldn’t find a good spot for the wallflower, so I have it in a pot on the table on the patio, where it just keeps growing taller and taller and producing more and more flowers. I’ve been really pleased with this plant (it’s the cultivar ‘Bowles Mauve’) and I definitely want to try and get some cuttings next spring to make a little thicket of them in a bed somewhere.

In the bed closest to the house, I sowed lots of hardy annuals earlier in the year. I think it was cornflowers, nigella and poppies. I then, rather foolishly, paid them little attention and let some weeds outcompete them, so I have a tiny little patch of seedlings coming up and lots of other bare patches of soil where I only pulled the weeds out once they had got really big. Luckily, the other side of the bed is also awash with a rather nice heuchera, a honeysuckle and lashings of campanula. So I shall just focus my attention on the right hand side.

Campanula | Wolves in London

Campanula and honeysuckle leaves

 

Heuchera | Wolves in London

A little spike of heuchera flowers about to burst open

In my main bed, the pin cushion flower has settled in happily. In bud I think it’s just as impressive when in flower.

Scabious | Wolves in London

Quite amazing, isn’t it?

Next to it, the erigeron is also attractive flowering and just beforehand.

Erigeron | Wolves in London

Waiting to open…

Erigeron | Wolves in London

Boom!

And a little further down some nicotiana, bought from the same garden shop trip a few weeks back, are stunning. The flowers are really gorgeous, but they’re on spindly stems, so I think in future I need to grow them through some ground cover to make them look a bit more attractive.

Nicotiana | Wolves in London

Delicate star-shaped nicotiana

Next to them, this alstroemeria is another legacy from the previous residents. It’s very happy here and grows well every year but, though I like it as a cut flower, I have to confess I find it a little garish in the beds. I’m undecided about what to do — try and move it elsewhere, perhaps a spot on its own somewhere where it can be the star of the show, rather than competing with lots of my (predominantly blue, purple and white) flowers? Get rid of it altogether, which seems a shame? Or perhaps I should just cut every single stem as soon as the flowers appear and bring them all inside for vases?! Okay, last option a little foolish, but, hmmm, I really need to think about it a little more…

Alstroemeria | Wolves in London

So very, very red!

On the other side, by the pond, I have no idea what this lovely white plant is, but I love it. (Of course I love it. It’s white!)

White pond flower | Wolves in London

Can anyone identify this?

And opposite, an old and very woody lavender looks pretty leggy most of the year but, oh, it’s worth it for this glorious sight (and smell) in the summer months…

Lavender bush | Wolves in London

Every garden needs some lavender, in my opinion…

Past this point, back towards the greenhouse, it all starts to go downhill rapidly into a vast jungle of weeds. Some are brambles, so at least we’ll have blackberries later in the year, but lots just need to be hacked back and dug up. Something I never quite find time for. I decided earlier this year to leave some unidentified plants that looked a bit like geraniums. They’ve taken over in a massive way and I think they are a sort of geranium weed. The plants are nearly as tall as me, the flowers quite tiny in proportion, but, at least, very pretty.

Geranium | Wolves in London

Yes, the flowers are nice, but they’re pretty hard to spot in the gigantic plant

The hubby is off work for four weeks in July, so I’m hoping to use the opportunity to spend lots and lots of time in the garden then, sorting it all out. And after that, I promise, I’ll show you some photos of the whole thing. (Disclaimer: photos only appearing if I can actually make the overall garden look nice.)

 

I want this so badly

17 Jun

Before accepting that I must keep my old tumbledown greenhouse in the garden, for the time being at least, I spent a long time searching online for a greenhouse slash garden shed slash potting house.

It seemed such a straightforward idea to me. One little building that housed plants, tools, and all that junk that accumulates over the years and is banished from the house proper.

I searched and searched and searched and found nothing really suitable. Certainly nothing affordable.

But just now, a mere few days after telling you how I was reconciled to the beast at the end of the garden, and how I planned to make it look all lovely and appealing, on a little stroll down the Pinterest rabbit hole I stumbled across it. My dream garden outbuilding. Part potting shed, part greenhouse, part tool shed. And all, every single last bit of it, utterly beautiful.

Take a look.

Potting shed slash greenhouse

© Nitty Gritty Dirt Man

Screw the big, ugly greenhouse. I can’t begin to tell you how desperately badly I want this one, nay need this at the end of my garden.

It’s homemade, by someone who clearly has some superb DIY skills, and the plans and all sorts of useful information for how it was built are over at Nitty Gritty Dirt Man.

(There are also loads and loads of other wonderful gardening articles too, with hugely appealing names such as Ten reasons I love elephant’s ears. If you’ve any interest in gardening, you could while away a good amount of time here, as I just have…)

But back to the glorious shed. Any ideas on how I can persuade my husband to give up every bit of spare time he has to learn the requisite skills and then build this for me? As a birthday present perhaps? That would give him a whole three months to essentially retrain as a builder and get it in situ. Sounds fairly reasonable to me…

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