The magical oxalis plant

I've come to the conclusion that the oxalis is a little bit magic. A couple of weeks ago I tracked down an Oxalis Triangularis at the very lovely Botany on Chatsworth Road. I've had my eye out for one ever since the other half and I spotted one in a nearby shop where it was not for sale. Also known as the purple shamrock, false shamrock or love plant, this delicate bulb flutters its butterfly leaves open as daylight comes and closes them again in the evening. With three dark purple leaves to each stem and soft pinkish white flowers, it's proving to be a striking addition to our living room. Oxalis triangularis

I've found myself visiting it every day to say hello, and watch as it wakes in the morning and goes to sleep in the evening. Weirdly, I never thought I'd find myself falling in love with an oxalis. Growing up in warmer climes, I would help my grandparents weed in their vast rose garden from a very young age (they lived next door). One of the first weeds I learnt the name of, was undoubtedly the oxalis due to its nature to spread like wide fire because of its ever-multiplying bulbs. I would sift soil to dispose of the tiny bulbs, all to earn a few coins pocket-money. I'm not sure my grandma would be impressed that I now find myself besotted with an oxalis  but I do think she'd be very happy that a) I have very green thumbs and b) it's confined indoors to a terracotta pot. I'm not sure what the variety of oxalis was that I used to weed was, but I'm pretty certain it wasn't as pretty or fluttery as this guy.

I'm not an expert but here are a few care tips I've picked up:

  • Water well then let the top few cms of soil dry right out before watering again
  • They like a well lit spot but not necessarily bright sunlight
  • This variety works well indoors as a house plant
  • It's poisonous to pets but apparently tastes pretty bad so they'd be a fool to taste too much
  • The bulbs will multiply so you can propagate by splitting the clump and repotting
  • If you forget to water it or it's too cold, it'll die right back above ground and put all its energy into the bulbs to survive
  • If you neglect it badly, it will go into dormancy and die right back. But you should be able to bring it back to life pretty quickly, if you give it a good watering.

x C

Deep in the bluebell wood

Bluebells, you take my breath away with your spectacular spring show. A scene like this is the stuff of fairy tales. Did you know you can find your nearest bluebell walk online? We're off to Wales this Bank Holiday weekend to visit the other half's family and I'm hoping they can be persuaded to go bluebell hunting with me. It's coming towards the end of bluebell season but I've heard they're late this year so fingers crossed we'll find some.

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These photos were taken in 2011 by Luke in the woods at Aberglasney. It's truly quite spectacular and well worth a visit.

Peony season

Don't you love Peony season? One thing that this dreadful weather can't take away from Summer for us. Image

I picked up this glorious bunch at Columbia Road flower market on Sunday for just £10. They are looking rather splendid in this lovely jug my sister found in charity shop on her last visit to London. (It was too big and heavy to fit in the suitcase to go back to New Zealand.)

It's all been a bit quiet on the blog lately. I have so much to blog about, but barely any time to write it. Let's just say my approach to blogging is sporadic at best.

I hope to be spending more time listening to records and writing in this peaceful corner soon.

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x Charlotte

Antique hunting in Wales

For me Easter always used to be about how much chocolate I could cram into my mouth, a trip to the beach (it's still nice in NZ generally) and, later on, how much extra partying I squeeze into a four-day weekend. These days I only feel the need to consume a small amount of chocolate and as for the partying, well I can take or leave it. I must be getting old. Let's just not mention the beach again. This Easter I spent in Wales for the second year in row, staying with Mr Ukulele's family. They live just outside of Swansea in some village I can't pronounce. (No matter how hard I try I don't think I'll ever get it right.) And again like last year, they were only too happy to take us off on some day trips exploring gorgeous south and west Wales. First stop was two antiques shops in Llandeilo, a town in Carmarthenshire. I would've liked to walk away with half the stuff there. A massive range of old china, pictures, furniture and just about every old thing I could ever desire all. Unfortunately, there was just no way I would've been able bring it back with me on the train to London.

I'm still on the hunt for a perfect traditional blue platter. Unfortunately these were more antique shop prices than junk shop prices.

There was a grand selection of traditional Welsh blankets for sale. I'm still regretting not buying one as they were more reasonably priced than any you see in London.

Immediately next door to the antique shops (actually they are more like antique warehouses than shops) is the sweetest little garden centre. Again, I was tempted but sadly I couldn't see it being easy to drag plants back on the train.

All the spring flowers were putting on their best show. The tulips.

The grape hyacinths.

And especially the fritillaria. I've been besotted with this bulb ever since I saw photos of its little purple checked flowers in a book when I was just a wee girl. They don't grow in the Southern Hemisphere so I'm still quite fascinated by them. How are they checked? Just how? I did plant some bulbs last Autumn but sadly they don't seem to have come up unlike the rest of my Spring flowers.

I left the buying up to Mr Ukulele's mum, who came away with plants and a very sweet pressed glass cake stand.

I really wished we'd driven to Wales so I could have packed up a car with loads of plants and treasures from the antique stores. Maybe next Easter...

Blossom

Spring in London is so beautiful. It always reminds me why I'm still living here when I've just about had enough of the seemingly endless months of depressing grey winter. Along comes Spring and the trees burst into blossom and yellow daffodils carpet the parks. Here are a few photos I snapped on my walk to work recently.

Wilton Way Blossom outside Violet Cakes.

Blossom snow.

There is a massive pink cherry tree that is putting on a spectacular display around the corner from my home that I haven't managed to snap yet as I never seem to have my camera when I go past. Hopefully, I'll manage to capture it before it has all fallen.