How To Bring Spring In

How To Bring Spring In

How to bring spring in

After a long winter, the sight of spring bulbs, buds on the trees and the smell of hyacinths in the kitchen will make anyone smile! When the Christmas Decorations are put away and the house feels a little bare, it’s a perfect time to learn how to bring spring in.

Spring floral displays

Whether you have flowers to pick at home or you buy from the store, the beauty of spring flowers is a must for your home. Spring bulb arrangements are the one time where you can really enjoy a mix and match of both colour and types of flower and it still looks stylish! Keep the container simple and let the flowers speak for themselves. Hyacinths add that amazing smell filling the house with sweet scents for days.

How to Bring Spring In with a spring floral display in jug

How to fix drooping bulb displays

One problem I often find with indoor bulbs, is that as the greenery grows it has a tendency to droop and look – well a little messy! A great way of overcoming this issue is to create a twig nest around the bulbs as they grow. The twig nest keeps the bulbs upright as well as adding an informal spring like touch and interest. I’ve foraged our hedgerows and garden for pretty twigs that have a good number of horizontal branches. Beech or willow work particularly well, and twigs with forming buds or catkins make a pretty addition.

Hyacinths in cream container with twig nest

Pretty blossom

There’s not much prettier in spring than blossom. Frothy and delicate – blossoms can appear from early spring right through to early summer. Pick a branch or two for a simple and classic display.  Enjoy just a twig or two to put in a tiny jar on your work desk. Make sure to make you stop and appreciate the beauty of spring at your next coffee break.

Pretty spring blossom

Beautiful bulbs

On a springtime visit back to Colorado, I fell in love with this eye-catching tulip bulb display in my good friend Teresa’s beautiful home. 11 tulip bulbs, simply planted in a cylindrical glass vase, their roots creating an interesting base.  With each day that we stayed, the bulbs opened up with a stunning effect. Reuse the vase again next year for another display or use at other times of year with a simple candle.

Indoor tulip bulb display

Prepare for the season

Each year in early December I spend a few hours in the greenhouse preparing for spring. It’s a satisfying time, preparing for the months of January and February when the Christmas decorations are down and all we want is spring to be here. I plant various containers with narcissus, hyacinth or muscari bulbs. Part of the fun is to be creative about the vessels to plant the bulbs in. I’ve experimented with jugs, mugs, metal containers or simple terracotta pots.

Bulbs and twig nest in blue jug

Prepare for next Spring

When spring is in full force, it’s a great time (and a good excuse) to take a mindful stroll around your garden space. I like to notice the bulbs that have come and gone, and take photos and an inventory of how many colours and varieties were in my spring showing and if there were plenty to pick to ‘Bring Spring In’. Add a diary note for November or December of what you’d like to buy and where you’d like to plant them. Don’t forget to set aside some time to do some planting in the weeks ahead. Your future spring will thank you! 

Small daffodils in a border
Autumn flower arrangement ideas

Autumn flower arrangement ideas

Autumn flower arrangement ideas

The September and October garden and cutting patch is still full of beautiful flowers to cut and use in arrangements and displays at home. Choose from dahlias, roses, lilac and chrysanthemums as well as the start of autumnal greenery and berries. I love cut flowers because they bring me closer to nature and I find myself appreciating the seasons more. From growing and picking, to arranging and displaying – flowers and greenery bring us all so much pleasure. They are a perfect natural design touch to enhance any home! I love to enjoy flowers on the corner of my desk, or our bedside table as much as I do displayed more traditionally on a dining table. So let’s get outside, enjoy the cut flower picking and get inspired for some autumn flower arrangement ideas! 

 

Pick seasonally

There are often one or two stems of flowers still available to pick from some of my favourite plants or shrubs in September and October.  This pretty and simple display of dahlias, red sunflowers and calendula looks so pretty in a china jug in a corner of the kitchen.

Kitchen jug flowers
Autumn flower arrangement ideas - jug of flowers

Consider the container

I love to have a little rummage around the kitchen, dining room or storage areas for unusual flower containers.  There are so many creative options instead of a traditional vase.  I like a pretty tin can, jugs, mugs even a teapot or small watering can.  This small milk jug is a perfect container for this collection of autumnal shaded sunflowers, chrysanthemums and berries.  

Focal flowers

Where we live, we never quite know when the first frost is going to arrive and the cutting patch flowers might be lost overnight – until then, I try to protect what I can and make the most of each flower day! The huge cafe au lait dahlias are simply stunning.  They are shown off at their best in this traditional metal cream vase with some accent from a variety of peach hued dahlias.

Cafe au lait dahlias
Autumn flower arrangement ideas - cream dahlias

Simplicity

Flower arranging at home doesn’t need to be complicated or involve an armful of flowers.  Simplicity is often truly stunning.  These three cream dahlias look so elegant standing proud in a tall vintage French enamel jug. However, you might prefer popping a few final stems of lavender cut short, in an egg cup on your desk!

The colours of autumn

Nothing says September and October more than autumnal coloured flowers.  A happy mix of sunflowers, dahlias and chrysanthemums looks perfect in this terracotta coffee pot.  Try adding a few grapevine leaves and some hedgerow greenery to add some interest and a little fall flair!

Autumn flower arrangement ideas in coffee pot
Autumn flower arrangement ideas - seasonal seeds

Simply seeds

I love the architecture of seed pods and heads!  They are also one of the most inexpensive and long-lasting ways to fill a vase. Displaying your finds in an autumnal coloured vase, mug or even a teapot will add to the cozy feel. 

Garden jobs for September and October

My friend Jo is a professional gardener and my go-to for any garden advice.  Here are her top gardening jobs for the next few months:

  • Keep de-heading roses for maximum energy to the roots.  Or, leave a few rosehips for winter interest.  Make sure to remove any black spot-infected leaves from the plant or ground and don’t compost them because otherwise the fungus will spread.
  • Tomato plants – removing as many leaves as possible will encourage the remaining fruit to ripen.
  • Pick any leftover beans that might be too old for eating and remove the beans from the pods to dry and use in stews and casseroles.
  • Mow the grass, but lift the height of the blade to enable the grass to get full energy back into the roots.
  • Begin planning and buying spring flower bulbs.
  • Spend time picking the remaining apples and raspberries and remember to prune the raspberry canes to the appropriate level for your variety type.
  • Keep tidying perennials by removing damaged stems and deheading – leave some seed heads for the birds and for winter interest.
  • Use a potting shed or greenhouse to start off perennials for next year as this will produce bigger and stronger plants for next year.
  • Continue to dehead dahlia’s until the frosts start.

Looking for more autumnal inspiration?  Here’s a link to my post Simple home decorating for fall.’ 

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Simple home decorating for fall

Simple home decorating for fall

Simple home decorating for fall

Our wonderful five years living in Colorado made me fall in love with fall! What’s not to love about the mountains, aspen trees changing colour, pumpkin patches, blue skies and crisp sunny days! So it’s time to bring all that nature has to offer outside, into our homes and embrace the warm colours, smells and cozy feel.  Luckily for us, there are so many simple home decorating ideas for fall. From doorstep displays, seasonal smells in candles and handwashes, to adding touches of autumnal colour in every corner of our home.   Keep is simple, understated and natural and you’ll find yourself loving this season best of all…

Set the fall entrance

A few twigs of berries, a handful of crab apples or a warm-coloured pot of chrysanthemums.  Put a few of these on a small display table, either side of the front door or on your porch and you are already inviting fall through the door.

simple home decorating for fall - outdoor
Fall flowers

Fall flowers

Fill a trug with those end of season flowers. Pick burnt orange, dark red and sage green colours as well as berried branches and hedgerow pickings and bring them in to enjoy putting some seasonal displays together.

Not just flowers

A handful of dark red windfall crab apples make a perfect seasonal decoration in a simple glass bowl. You could try store bought red apples in a tall cylindrical vase as another option.

Simple home decor for fall - crab apples
simple home decorating for fall in the bathroom

Fall, all over

Don’t just stop at the entranceway or hallway table. Why not bring fall right inside and spice up the bathroom, guest bath, or even your kitchen sink? Swap out your hand wash for one with pumpkin spice scents and change your kitchen cloths and hand towels for ones in seasonal colours.

Clever books

Change up your living spaces cost-effectively by changing up or bringing in some seasonally coloured books. This lovely collection of books in orange and green tones, adds a subtle autumnal feel.  Add a fall candle and you’ve got a perfect combination. No appropriately coloured books? If you have kids, do they have any you can borrow? If not it’s a great opportunity to look around the thrift or charity store.

Simple home decorating for fall - Autumn decor with books
Seasonal seeds

Seasonal seeds

Let’s make the most of the seasonal seeds in the garden, hedgerows or on our walks.  The soft muted browns and greens of the seed pods mixed with their effortless architecture make for pretty displays.  Pop some seed pods in a ceramic or metal tumbler or jug to decorate a side table, footstool or your work area. 

Autumn flowers
outdoor berries
Autumn candles
Easter Ideas For Your Home

Easter Ideas For Your Home

Easter Ideas For Your Home

The styles of Easter decoration and celebration might have changed over the years – but the reason is wonderfully the same. Easter is the most important festival on the Christian calendar which is a lovely reason to celebrate in our homes. We might not have time to blow eggs, hard boil them or dye them anymore. However, I have plenty of simple and stylish ideas for your Easter home.

Egg cups

Pretty egg cups can be so decorative and useful too with a little imagination. Fill them with pretty narcissus as a sweet breakfast table decoration.  You could also mix and match the colour of the egg cups with seasonal flowers.  These look lovely as a centrepeice on the dining table or added to your desk for a pop of colour!

Narcissus in egg cup
Easter ideas for your home

Branch decorations

As Easter approaches, trees start to burst with greenery and blossom.  Hunt out some pretty branches of pussy willow from which you can hang simple wooden Easter decorations as a doorstop display.  Faux branches are also easy to find in homeware or craft shops. You could also pick a few twigs of blossom to arrange simply in a vase as a little nod to Spring.

Easter decorations for your home
Pretty blossom

Bring the outside in

It’s magical to see primroses and primulas pop up in the lawn, hedgerows and flower beds.  Why not make a fun indoor display for the breakfast table by buying or bringing from outside a plant to pot up in a floral teacup?  It’s super fun and it can be replanted outside once the blooms die down.

Teacup with primroses

We’re going on an egg hunt

You are never too old for an egg hunt!  Whether you are the hider or the seeker – an Easter Sunday egg hunt is always fun.  The custom of the Easter egg hunt comes from Germany in the late 16th century.  Many suggest that the protestant reformer Martin Luther organised egg hunts for his congregation with men hiding the eggs for women and children to find.  It’s a modern link to the story of the resurrection, in which the empty tomb was discovered by women.  

Easter egg hunt

Easter treats

A family favourite that is super quick and simple to make are chocolate crisp nests. Easy to make with children, or quick to whip up to enjoy when friends or family come over.

Easter ideas for your home

How to make chocolate nests:

Melt 2 tablespoons of golden syrup or runny honey, 50g of butter and 100g plain or milk chocolate together over a low heat or in the microwave.  Stir in 100g of cornflakes or rice crispy type cereal.  Mix well and then divide and spoon into 12 paper cake cases placed in a bun tin.  Top with some chocolate mini eggs and place in the fridge to set.  They will keep in an airtight container for 2 – 3 days – but I doubt they will last that long!

Chocolate nest ingredients

Keepable decorations

It’s a great idea to add some seasonal and keepable decorations to your collections.  I love these pretty pastel wooden eggs as they can be brought out and used in so many ways.  Then after Easter I can pop them back in the box and store in the attic with other seasonal decor items. Pretty eggs look great on a kitchen island, tucked in amongst Easter cards or added to a hallway display. 

Easter eggs in glass bowl - Easter ideas for your home
Easter eggs and cards

Easter scents and towels

I’m a big fan of changing out soaps and hand towels to ring the seasonal changes. Pastel colours and florals are perfect as an Easter swap out.

Easter ideas for your home with pretty handsoap and flowers

Small and delicious

It’s oh so tempting to over indulge when the chocolate eggs are in the shops, in our kitchen or stare out from the refridgerator.  This year I decided to go with a simplified yet satisfying approach of choosing our favourite types of chocolate eggs in mini form. They look great next to a small Easter daffodil display. They are ready on our sitting room footstool when temptation strikes – delicious but in healthier small portions!

Chocolate eggs

So many ways to embrace and enjoy Easter in your home this year!

Get ready for summer

Get ready for summer

Get ready for summer

I love Summer – the weather, the long days, an abundant garden and more opportunity for days out and evening BBQ’s. As summer approaches I can’t wait to get ahead to maximise every drop of fun the season offers. Here are some of my favourite ways to get set for summer and to make sure I’m ready to make the moments count!

Get ready for summer with sunglasses and flip flops

Summer bunting

Bunting is one of the cheapest, easiest and prettiest ways to get ready for summer. It’s pefect strung around the patio, deck or balcony. I am a complete novice when it comes to sewing, but I had great success with our summer bunting this year! Choose several fabrics that blend in your preferred colour scheme – I went pink, green and a little tropical!. Cut your desired size of bunting triangle as a cardboard template. Then use a pencil to mark triangles on the fabric and cut out with pinking shears. Using the shears is a timesaver because you don’t have to edge the bunting material by sewing. Then simply sew a line of ribbon in a coordinating colour along the top of the bunting triangles.

Summer Bunting

Put the washing out on the line

Something about clothes dried outside brings the scent of summer into your wardrobe. String up a washing line or rotary (if it’s allowed where you live). With rising energy costs, line drying helps save money too. One problem I’ve had was wet grass and damp collecting on my washing basket when I set it down to put out or bring in washing. So this year, I repurposed a small metal table as my washing line basket table. Voila, no more messy basket and no more bending down to the washing! Invest in a pretty peg basket so that even hanging the washing out brings you joy! Check old pegs for signs of rust which is practically impossible to get out of clothing. And remember whites love the summer sun as it’s a natural bleaching agent!

Get ready for summer with pegs and washing line

Set the stage 

You can never have too many outdoor lights! They set a beautiful atmosphere and gently light an outdoor seating or dining area encouraging you to stay out longer. There are some inexpensive and energy saving options around. Try the popular solar festival style lights which give plenty of light and are a good option for most sized spaces.

Festival lighting

Container for outdoor cushions and blankets

Keeping outdoor cushions at the ready is a great way to encourage more comfortable time outside. We love our large plastic container that sits near the patio and keeps everything neatly stored and protected from showers. It’s perfect for storing all our outdoor dining seat cushions, a few throw cushions for the outdoor sofa and even a couple of blankets for chilly nights. 

Get ready for summer with a container for outdoor cushions and blankets

Ready steady picnic

To make picnics even easier – get Picnic Ready. Dig out your hamper, basket, or a pretty container. Fill with a blanket, your picnic cutlery, plates and napkins. If you have it all ready to go in your hallway or boot-room, you will be much more likely to have more impromptu picnics! You can change up any weekday or weekend lunch by making it into a picnic!

Picnic hamper

Why not surprise your family or partner by taking your regular lunch outside on a sunny day making the most of the season.

I also love my little wicker dining basket. It’s just big enough for cutlery, napkins and glasses and ready to go for a speedy breakfast, lunch or dinner al fresco.  Almost any foods can be used for a picnic. Cut up some veggies ready to have with hummus or dips. Cook a quiche and cut into wedges ready to pack up. Make a fruit salad and serve into individual portions ready to go. Oven bake some chicken thighs or breasts, cool and cut into slices to add to any picnic. Try my jerk seasoning recipe as a tasty marinade for the chicken – find the recipe here Homemade jerk seasoning

Evening campfires

One of the most fun summertime activities is a campfire or firepit night. Make a cozy firepit area with seating, cushions and rugs around a central fire area. Use a traditional tripod cooking set for some authentic outdoor meals or use it at the end of the night for toasting marshmallows.

Camp fire pit dinner

Summer flowers and grasses

There’s so much to choose from at this time of year in the garden and in the hedgerows, lanes and fields – so why not bring some of the beauty inside. Simple grasses look wonderfully stylish or enjoy the simplicity of frothy hedgerow cow parsley in a simple cream jug. Then there are seasonal spectaculars! I love to treat myself to a bunch of billowy peonies in a tall cylindrical vase as they are such a showstopper on my kitchen island.

Summer grasses
Peonies
Get ready for summer with cow parsley in cream jug
lilac and lavender in jug

Cooling summer waters

 

Summer activities in the garden can make for thirsty work so try having some summer flavoured waters on hand. Fill a big glass container and refresh every couple of days – then just pour over glasses filled with ice. Change up the seasonal flavourings and enjoy experimenting to find your family favourites.

Here are some ideas:

Orange, lemon and lemon balm – Rosemary and Lime – Strawberry and Basil.

Cooling summer waters to get ready for summer
Homegrown cut flowers arrangements

Homegrown cut flowers arrangements

Homegrown cut flower arrangements

There is so much joy in going outside to pick flowers for beautiful  homegrown cut flower arrangements. Whether you have a cutting patch, a flower bed, a few pots of flowers or only what’s available on a countryside walk – there are so many ways to use flowers to brighten up your home.

Homegrown cut flower arrangements

Pick seasonally

It’s helpful to look at what you have in season growing in the garden or on your hedgerow walks. This allows you to make the most of varieties while they are at their best.  Team more traditional flowers with vegetation, grasses, twigs and other greenery to add textures, softness and additional colour.

Homegrown cut flower arrangements autumn trug of flowers (

Consider a colour theme, location and container

Think about the colours of flowers you have available and choose a container to complement both the flowers and the location you have in mind for the arrangement. This teacup was the perfect vessel for some short stemmed roses and dahlias. It also makes a pretty and unusual design feature on our footstool where I like to sit and ponder my To Do List.

Flowers in teacup

Be creative with your flower container!

This tiny milk jug is a perfect sweet pea vase and is a lovely surprise in the bathroom! You could use tin cans, jugs, teacups, egg cups, watering cans, mugs, water or milk bottles as well as traditional vases.

Sweetpeas in milk jug

Cut to keep outside

It’s lovely to cut flowers to keep outside as well as inside. Maybe it’s for your outdoor dining table or a small table next to a chair. This pretty water jug makes a simple vase for some summer flowers to brighten the patio.

Homegrown cut flower arrangements

Consider the greenery

Think about what greenery you have available to use. Maybe it’s something from the hedge, leaves from one of your flowerbed plants or a hedgerow invader like ivy.

Homegrown cut flower arrangements - Green leaves on fabric

Other tips for homegrown cut flower arrangements:

  • Think balance over symmetry – for example if you don’t have two of the same flower head, do you have two of a similar size or shape to add balance?
  • Remove any leaves that may end up below the water level to prevent the water from going bad.
  • Fill your vase only half full with water and use flower food if you have some. I like to save unused flower food sachets from flowers that I buy or am given.
  • Consider height – as a rule of thumb, the height of the tallest flowers will be 1.5 times the height of the container.
  • Save the flowers when the stems break…and display the flowers in a teacup or even an egg cup!
  • Choose a vase or container that fits your home decor or the theme you’d like to see – for example an autumnal coloured jug for a September display.

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