Japanese tsunami

March 11th, 2011 by Ali

Along with many others today, I have watched the horrifying news of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami unfold. Reminding us of the power of nature that, try as we might, we will never be in control of.

A blogger that I follow has family near the area worst hit by the tsunami. My prayers are with the Japanese people, and especially her family.

Ali xox

Dream plant list – 1. Trees

March 5th, 2011 by Ali

Last week I wrote about Grevillea johnsonii, and it gave me an idea – what plants would I have in my dream garden?

This being a dream garden there would be no problems with climate, aspect or soil conditions, and of course the garden would be limitless in size.

Once I started thinking about my dream plants, I soon realised I would need to divide them up into groups. So here’s my first group.


The first three are warm climate trees and usually need some protection to cope in the UK although Albizia manages ok here.

Grevillea johnsonii – lovely delicate fern like foliage and beautiful green and pink flowers, reminicent of honeysuckle.

Bouganvillea – Always reminds me of holidays in Greece


Albizia julibrissin rosea



Liriodendron tulipifera – the tulip tree. Splendid and huge! it can be kept in a pot to keep it’s size down to normal garden size as opposed to park size but then it won’t flower which is it’s real beauty.


Laburnum – or rather an arched avenue of, underplanted with alliums. Perfect.


Acer palmatum ‘Sango  Kaku’. Japanese acers have beautiful autumn foliage and I love the red edged leaves. The stems are red too.

Cercidiphyllum japonicum –  Scented like burnt sugar in the autumn.

Betula albosinensis – the one with the peeling bark in different shades of pink.

Aesculus hippocastanum – For conkers in the autumn, and the lovely foxglove like flowers in early summer.

Sorbus hupehensis – Fern like foliage, with pink berries in the summer and then wonderful red autumn colour.

So, I’ll be needing a garden the size of a park to fit that lot in – maybe a rambling country estate somewhere…!

Ali xox


Photo credits: 1-4  Sweet Musings, 5 Unknown, 6 Wikimedia.org


March 3rd, 2011 by Ali

Sorry everyone, I’ve gone and spoilt it. It is very ‘nippy’ today.

After merely mentioning last week that spring was ‘most definitely on it’s way’ we have been plunged back into the depths of winter.  Perhaps it is still on it’s way in Wisley, but it certainly is not here!

Sorry!  And please come back spring.

Ali xox


Early spring at Wisley

February 25th, 2011 by Ali

It’s the spring half term holiday for us this week, so small girl and I have been visiting Grandma.  My Mum lives a shortish drive from the RHS garden at Wisley, and as there were activities for small girl, we paid a visit.

Spring is most definitely on it’s way at Wisley, and their Snowdrops were out, as were Irises and Hellebores, and also this superb display of naturalised Crocuses.


I particularly liked Crocus vernus ‘Pickwick’, and It’s delicate purple stripes. It’s on my list for next years’ bulbs.


Whilst in the glasshouse, I saw this lovely shrub, Grevillea johnsonii. It’s a native of Australia and needs to spend winter in a conservatory here, which I don’t have, so it will have to join the many others on my dream plant list…


I love the contrasting pinks and lime green of the flowers against the soft glaucous foliage.

Ali xox

Selvedge spring fair

February 25th, 2011 by Ali

The lovely people at Selvedge are having a Spring Fair in London, with lots of lovely and talented exhibitors selling beautiful crafts and supplies. The event is sponsored by Amy Butler so no doubt, her bright designs will be in abundance.


Ali xox

Calypso Spring 2011

February 3rd, 2011 by Ali

Calypso Spring 2011 – Lovely.

Ali xox

Orla Kiely for Citroen

February 3rd, 2011 by Ali


The wonderful and very talented Orla Kiely has teamed up with Citroen cars and produced this…

Is’nt it the most wonderful car… ever? And the inside gets even better.


Now, if only I had a spare £16,000…


Ali xox

Fantasy house

January 30th, 2011 by Ali

I love my home, but that doesn’t stop me daydreaming about a fantasy house somewhere…

That looks something like this…

One with with Orla Kiely stairs in the hallway…

A roaring fire and bookshelves in the living room…

I love this painting in the living room…

And with a bright, eclectic dining room…

A spot for reading in the sun room…

An unfitted kitchen with the extravagance of a chandelier…

And a proper walk-in larder.

Upstairs now to a bedroom with linen, lace and a canopy.

And the bathroom with twin sinks and a roll top bath.

Of course, the lovely thing about fantasy houses is that you can change  them whenever you like!

Ali xox

Image credits: Living etc, This is Glamourous, Design*Sponge,

A gentle reminder

January 26th, 2011 by Ali

The Snowdrop – a simple and most welcome pleasure on a dull winter’s day.

During the bleakest,  most depressing depths of winter the gentle little snowdrop blooms, reassuring and reminding us of the promise of spring, when the fashion show of the more showy bulbs will launch into full swing.

Perhaps that is why the gentle Snowdrop blooms now, when we can fully appreciate it’s beauty rather than later when it would be ignored amongst the supermodel bulbs.

Ali xox

Kitchen Dreams

January 23rd, 2011 by Ali

If we ever spend a considerable amount of money on our house, this is what I’d love to do. A wrap around glass extension – Ben & Marina Fogle’s ( He is known for featuring on ‘Castaway’ in 2000 and for Atlantic rowing with Olympic rower James Cracknell ) Kitchen is fab-u-lous! I love how the space is light filled and still has a comfortable, relaxed feel to it. I’m also rather keen on exposed brickwork in the kitchen too…  And range cookers… *sigh*

If you would like to see more of this lovely home, it is featured in this month’s issue of Living etc.

Ali xox