Woodland wandering

Woodland light

Sacred light in the woodland

“I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair…

– J.R.R. Tolkien

Last Sunday was a glorious day. Mum, Rich and I took ourselves out for an amble amongst the crisp autumn leaves, exploring our local Wildlife Trust site. The ancient woodland area is like a little secret, tucked away on a sandy ridge with unexpected heather heaths and dense gorse mixed with birch, beech and chestnut trees. It feels like taking a step back in time when we visit, like stepping into an alternative world that sits quietly next to our busy, modern and noisy one.

Woodland in autumn

It was lunchtime when we took our walk and the sun was already sinking in the sky. But the effect was startling and beautiful, as the ‘sacred light’ shone through the tangled boughs and rusty autumn leaves. Squirrels were still burying acorns below the rows of lime trees, which looked stoic and majestic in all their autumn glory.

Lime trees in autumn

These kinds of days are amongst my favourite sorts of days, along with the first truly warm days of spring. I just love experiencing the different seasons that we’re so fortunate to have here in England. Soon we’ll be enveloped in winter, when the garden goes to sleep and hours of daylight are even more precious.

For me, a wander in nature, when it’s at its most magnificent, is just the best kind of food for the soul.

A carpet of autumn leaves

Love your shed: From shabby to chic

Ronseal Willow paint

My mum is an inspiration – she’s very, very resourceful and always had a knack of turning something potentially throwaway or neglected into something new and useful.

When we were replacing our falling down shed, Mum saw an opportunity. Rather than letting us just send the whole lot off to the Tidy Tip, she got my Dad to saw off the good third or so of the shed and create a “new” bijou version for her smaller garden. What was a 6′ x 4′ rotting mess became a rustic new shed complete with reused window and a new roof.

The recycled shed

The recycled ‘bijous’ shed

So when Ronseal got in touch about us trying out some of their Weatherproof Wood Paint, I immediately thought of my Mum’s little shed. When the package arrived, complete with a large tin of Willow paint, a small tin of Ash colour (as well as a host of goodies including bunting, a tin “I Garden Therefore I Am” mug and a planter), I knew we could help bring the little shabby shed to life with a lick of colour.

But you know… work, life and weather have a tendency to get in the way. When the weather was good, I was working. When I had a few days off, it drizzled. It’s been a job on my To Do List for a very, very long time.

Finally this weekend, I actually had some time off when the sun was out and the sky was gloriously blue. So we turned up with paintbrushes in hand and set about making a start on Mum’s shed.

Brushing down the shed

Brushing down the shed

First, I brushed down the shed to get rid of cobwebs and little monsters. We have a bit of a Buddhist take on nature; do no harm. So all creepy crawlies were moved on to pastures new.

Opening the tin of Ronseal

The tin needed a good shake and then it was time to get painting… finally! The colour is really lovely – it’s serene but bright and reflects a lot of light back out into the space, really helping to lift what could easily become a gloomy space under the boughs of the neighbours’ gargantuan goat willow tree.

Painting shed willow

First coat starts to go on

The Ronseal paint is also really easy to apply, nice and thick, and under the balmy late Autumn sun, it also dried very quickly. Ultimately we only had time to do two coats on the front of the shed, and will be back to finish the job, and add a flash of white across the gable to offset the green roof. But so far, so good.

two coats of Ronseal Willow paint

Two coats down and looking great! Now we just need another sunny day to finish the job…

I think it’s looking great already and really lifts that corner of the garden. Once the trellis goes back up and the pots are out the front, it really will be a case of from shabby to chic. Mum is pleased, so that’s good too!

So now we just need another non-damp day in November to get it finished and get that bunting up before winter really sets in! Watch this space…

Tulip planting for spring

Planting tulip bulbs in Autumn

It was an unseasonably warm afternoon today, so I took the opportunity to scurry amongst the golden and red scattering leaves and do a little tulip bulb planting for spring.

I felt like a little squirrel, burying my acorns. I’ll never remember where I’ve planted each tulip, but I’m really quite looking forward to the surprise of spring colour.

I’ve opted for pinks, whites tinged with pink, purple and also some blazing oranges to go in amongst the yellow irises.

Fingers crossed for a stunning display next year.