Slightly off-piste from my usual reviews, but I want to share a link to a website that I’ve just tried and liked. Orchard Cards is an online shop that specialises in cards, ribbon and wrapping paper, with lots of wildlife, countryside and garden themes on offer. If you are anything like me, when an event takes you by surprise you will find yourself scrabbling through a drawer, or dashing off to the shops looking for a suitable card. It would be especially useful if you live nowhere near a decent card shop. I thoroughly enjoyed making my selection which arrived in the twinkling of an eye once I’d placed my order. I’ve now got myself a stash of appropriately floral (what else would friends expect) cards, some very pretty auricula wrapping paper and a reel of rather classy brown organza ribbon. Bring on the birthdays!
Most gardeners are acutely aware of the turning of the seasons. Winter may be marked by the spicy fragrance of witch hazel, the emergence of daffodils are a welcome sight in Spring and the first taste of a homegrown tomato in summer is a joy. One of the things I look forward to come Autumn is the harvesting of the eye-catching gourd.
I usually plant these in April and watch with great interest over following months to see the unusual bounty take shape. You never quite know what you might get, some bright and warty, others smooth in rich shades of orange. When the rest of the garden is starting to lose the summer splendour gourds offer a welcome injection of colour and interest. What’s more once the plant has started to shrivel the gourds can be picked (I tend to leave a reasonable length of stem on each) and brought into the house for ornamentation.
Whether out in the garden or arranged in a bowl in the centre of a table the weird and wonderful shapes and colours are always admired. There’s no real skill required to display gourds, literally pour them into a bowl and leave. Unlike fresh flowers they last months and when you’re ready for a change you will likely find that the witch hazel is out.