Summer has been somewhat disappointing this year. In true British fashion, the heatwave arrived early in May and June - stayed for a few weeks - and then quickly disappeared. Throughout August, my 'summer' wardrobe has therefore consisted of wellington boots, hoodies and fleeces, as well as winter coats and bed socks. Luckily, I have had the pleasure of spending August in the Cotswolds where - come rain or shine - beauty can always be found. Preparations are currently underway for our second National Garden Scheme open garden event of the year, and I thought that before I post about the charity event, I could write about the more natural landscapes and wildflowers of the local area.
Although there isn't quite as much to see out walking as you might find in a public or private garden, the hunt for unexpected inhabitants can be just as interesting. As well as commonly known scotch thistles and bramble bushes, poppies can often be found lurking among wheat fields, and carpets of yellow rattle create respite for weary walkers tired of long grasses. In the alkali soil of the Cotswolds, Beech trees and Hawthorns grow quite happily, and along with elderberries, these species provide pollen and nectar for bees throughout the Summer, and berries for birds in the Autumn.
With the inevitability that the colder months will soon be upon us, the colour of the fields will quickly fade, so grasp the chance to go walking while it's still warm enough to stop and admire. I go walking for the same reason I go running: good exercise, fresh air - and most importantly - time to yourself to calm down, cheer up or motivate yourself (whatever negative energy you're carrying can be left along the footpaths). As long as you have a good pair of shoes, a sense of adventure and a decent pub to visit at the end of it, walking off the beaten track is a sure way to escape the trials and tribulations of every day life, even if only for a couple of hours.
Whichford Pottery is a family-run business in Warwickshire that makes and sells traditional flowerpots for both home and garden. My Mum has been a loyal customer for years - buying their products at a number of different gardening centres and stores - but had never actually visited their workshop, garden and cafe - which are all on site to explore at their company base in Whichford. When she mentioned to me that we should go and visit, I underestimated the scale of their site, which almost reminds me of walking onto the kind of family festival campsites that I used to go to as a child.
After we'd had lunch, we went into the gardens and pottery workshop to check out their designs. These consisted of an Alice in Wonderland range, a Shakespeare range and many more eccentric designs inspired by the potters and their experiences - one example being a 'Sicilian lemon' pot inspired by the designer's recent holiday in Italy. Some of favourites included the miniature bee planters and elephant pots, which fit beautifully with the aesthetic of their gardens.
Welcome to a three part series titeld: Changes. Like many other young people around the country, I have recently finished my degree. Although most people have already graduated, I don't have my ceremony until December. I will, however be graduating in December with Distinction in a Masters in Music and Composition from the Royal Northern College of Music. For as long as I can remember, my whole life has revolved around music in one way or another. However, my hobby for gardening and photography has only just begun, almost as an antidote to a full-time schedule of music and composition. Now that I've finished my degree, I've moved out of Manchester and back home to the Cotswolds for the summer. Anyone who has ever had to move house will understand the huge amount of stress and exhaustion that it causes, and will sympathise with my lack of blogging as of late!
Most Brits seem to have some kind of opinion about country living one way or another, and there are so many misconceptions about life outside the city. Yes, there are lots of farmers... and dogs... and cows. There is also an incredible choice of high quality restaurants and pubs (local ales being the specialty). Moreover, there are things to do in the country that simply aren't available in the big cities. At certain times of the year, the local village run a village cinema, where you pay £5 only for your ticket and a glass of wine. The sense of community here struck me at first as very strange (being a Londoner: suspicious of everyone) - but out in the sticks - people are genuinely happy to talk to you and invite you over for a drink, food or even just a bit of gossip. Fortunately for me, this means getting to photograph other local gardens, which are often absolutely stunning.
Manchester is a vibrant city full of colourful people, and I will miss it greatly. Although many young people my age would wince at the thought of living in what they might consider to be the middle of nowhere, the vast amount of wildlife and plants on offer are an undeniable luxury. To be honest, most people my age would wince at the thought of writing about gardening, so I'm probably not the typical twenty-three year old anyway!
Hi there, my name is Nevada and I'm a twenty-five year old music teacher. The Little Green blog centres around wildlife, gardening and lifestyle photography. All photos are my own and represent the portfolio of an amateur photographer!