Thank you so much for all of your book signing suggestions. Each time I got an email through I felt like I was getting a plane ticket to somewhere that was a complete surprise. I loved hearing about your bookstores, both big and small, and it made realise how much we still treasure the experience of browsing for a book in the days of Kindles and online readers. The suggestions for signings were from international readers also and I am certain that I’ll be getting to meet a lot of you soon.
How’s it all going today where you are?
It’s good here, a really lovely day weather wise, and I was outside early. Do you remember when I started working on my Room Outside?
Well this is where I’m up to.
As you can see we’ve built a pergola. It was designed by me and put up by my dad, my brother and my brother in law whist Robert was in hospital. It was a hot Friday and we were all out in the garden having a Witness ‘Barn Raising’ day (one of the best films/scenes in film history in my opinion). Robert joined in the fun from SKYPE for some of it but I think he found it hard watching when he’d rather have been doing.
I photographed all the stages of this build and you may find that by following them you are able to build a pergola in your garden should you so wish. They are fantastic for adding structure to a garden with the space to do so but also for adding shade and a place to just ‘be’ should you opt to grow climbers up and over them.
I have three vigorous clematis planted around three of the posts and I’m looking forward to seeing some shade created in the years to come.
Anyway, I’m going to go through the pictures and check the process with my Dad and I shall post the instructions soon. Don’t worry about the fact that before we know it it’ll be September and then before long the Summer will be over. My thoughts are that by planning your garden in it’s downtime not only is it cooler to work in but having spent a lot of time outside over the past few months you’ll know exactly what you want from the space next year.
These trellises came from the arches that I had in the Paddock of my old garden and they are a real case of make do and mend. The arches themselves didn’t travel well and couldn’t be used in that original way again. But the pieces were still usable and with some brackets and plants pots to hold them steady they make great corners for this area and are perfect for stringing lights from. They can be decorated to within and inch of their lives should the need take me and, again, they add a certain structure.
I’m pretty pleased with the dahlias this year. They are, by far, the most value for money in this years garden. As a cut flower dahlias are utterly brilliant and if you plant enough you can have the vases in your home full constantly.
I’ve also noticed that the Verbena is creating that hedge effect I was after, and very nice it is too. A true cottage garden flower, this variety evokes many feelings in me as I see it swaying when the wind hits it. I’ve never grown it from seed but if you buy a plant from the garden centre (now is a good time) you’ll find it seeds itself down a great deal giving you many plants from one as the years go on. Just be careful where you plant it.
Here it is surrounding the daybed that I take outside each Summer.
As the Verbena, the Cosmos and the Dahlias all took off so well when you sit or lay on this daybed you are literally surrounded by flowers all peeking over the top and smooshing their faces in to yours. This is fine but there is such a thing as personal space and my border plants are not getting the memos.
Regardless, it’s a lovely place to sit when the opportunity arises.
Sorry, I’m showing off now. Just SO proud of those Dahlias. Especially as I really did plant them too close together. But the lack of gaps between them has given me a density to the area surrounding my Room Outside and it’s one I’ll most probably follow next year too.
This is how the space looks as you walk from the house in to the Room Outside. You have to walk underneath and through the new pergola to step on to the terrace and up to the table. The space really comes to life when it is lit in the evening and this whole design is based on a beautiful restaurant that Robert and I eat at in West Hollywood. The restaurant was voted number one in patio dining by Zagat and we’ve not forgotten how beautiful it felt to eat there.
Of course this area will take many summers to evolve and grow before it resembles the picture I have in my head. But we’ve started, we’ve made progress. Now we watch it bloom and blossom under the weight of many evenings spent in conversation and celebration under the night sky.
I love you and thank you so much for reading. Next time I’ll be back with something from the garden and a treat for you!
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