The Sweet Smell of Garden Roses

photo

{a rosebud from the Finca garden…

…you can find more like this on the DF Instagram page, if you’re as obsessed with photographs as me!}

The roses are in full bloom and are seemingly doing very well this year.

I tried specifically to train them last summer to produce horizontal stems – as this method produces the most flowers the following year.  I have also been keeping the aphids at bay using the old favourite of:

1 x sprayer filled with water

2 drops of olive oil

2 drops of fairy liquid

…and so far so good.  Whether I can still have a flowering rose at Christmas time (yes, it is still my mission), remains to be seen.

Have a great week!

Add a Pop of Colour with Crochet

crochet mat collage

The Finca is decorated in a limited palette of greys and whites, and although this is the look that I love, I do find myself hankering after a pop of definite colour in every room.

I am also currently right in the middle of my obsession with crochet! Although a skill that I severely struggled with as a child and subsequently hated, I now find that with the right teacher and easy projects to start off with, it is a very addictive hobby!

So, as crochet is the perfect craft to bring colour into your home, I decided to use cup coaster patterns, make them up in a range of colours and use them as pot stands for the variety of plants and terrariums that have taken up residence.

If you fancy embellishing your cacti with bold stripes, I can highly recommend this lady, who not only taught me how to crochet in her fab crochet classroom, but also has online courses available.

Hope you have a fantastic rest of the week! I’m off to grab my hook!

Happy 3rd Birthday!

happy birthday air plant

The Dorset Finca blog is 3 years old!

I can’t believe how much has happened during this time, it seems like only the other week when I was writing my first post.  Recently, life at the Finca has been evolving and we are busily creating stylish houseplant arrangements and terrariums to go into homes, shops and offices, providing hassle-free plant joy!

There is also a new website being developed, to showcase some of the things on offer.  The blog is such an important part of The Dorset Finca and will continue to be an outlet for all the musings that usually materialise on here!

A massive thank you for all the support and blog-love over the last 3 years… it means a lot…

…but I’ll stop gushing now and will just mention that there will be a giveaway to celebrate the new website, within the next few weeks and of course, I’ll post the link on here, so you can drop by and share your thoughts!

Quick Catch-Up

airplant terrarium in situ

{One of the Dorset Finca terrariums with architectural air plant, sitting in its new home}

I had the best of intentions to be prompt with my posts last week, but time ran away with me.

It’s been a bit terrarium-tastic at the Finca over the last few days (actually, Lithop and herb-tastic too)…

…but I have got something lovely to show you (and it will make you giggle). However, I’m waiting for the rain to stop before trying to take a good picture.

So I’m afraid, for today, I’m going to have to leave you with this cute little guy above.  I had fun taking pictures of him with Instagram (yes, I have just re-discovered it, and yes, I am obsessed – you know me so well)!

Find me here:  http://instagram.com/thedorsetfinca if you want to keep up-to-date with my other plant-based pics.

Have a lovely day!

Celebrate Easter With An Easy DIY Bee House

Bee House

Happy Easter!

To celebrate the warm springtime weather we’ve been having… I had a go at making some new bee houses.

These little hole-filled boxes provide safe sites for lots of insects, especially solitary bee species, who love to lay their eggs in the pre-drilled tunnels.

Using some spare wood, I drilled holes using a 7mm drill bit to about 6 cm in depth. I fixed a small bracket to the back, so that they could be securely hung outside.

In order that they looked extra smart, I painted the sides and a border in Farrow & Ball’s Pigeon. I took care not to get paint anywhere near the holes, as although this paint is very low in fumes and nasty bits, I didn’t want to take any chances.

As soon as I start to see little leafy/muddy stoppers in the end of the holes, I’ll know that the bees have started laying their eggs.

If you want to know more about these bees and their habits, have a read here…

The Garden Smallholder – Mason Bees

Inspiration Green – Insect Hotels

Relaxation by the Water

floating forget-me-not

{forget-me-not flower floating amongst the Lemna}

I have been pondering a section of the garden that is in need of a bit of a re-design.

In order to create a plan, I had to consider what I really value in this part of the garden…

…and yes, I want clever seating, storage ideas, mixtures of flooring…

…but the most important thing is water.

I have to have water featured somewhere.

There is nothing more relaxing (for me) than seeing light that has bounced off the surface of the pond, being reflected on the leaves of the surrounding plants. I adore searching for new plants and animals that have seemingly come from nowhere and made this patch of water their home. I am mesmerised by the dangling roots of the duckweed that thrives, just from sitting on the surface.

water boatman

{graceful water boatman}

So, whether it be a rill, a large bird bath or a koi pond… I’m not yet sure, but I am certain that I will only be able to create that ‘happy place’ in the garden with water nearby.

Lithops – From Seedlings To Stones

Lithop seedlings

{baby lithops – 3 months old}

Lithops (or Living Stones) are the most mesmerising plants ever…

…and boy do they fly out of the Finca fast?!

Adapted to mimic stones in their native South Africa, these plants have very few requirements.  All they need is bright, indirect light, free-draining soil and the odd water now and again (by odd, I really mean not very often, at all).

There are many varieties and come in different colours, shapes and sizes. They produce at least one new leaf pair a year and usually a beautiful daisy-like flower in the Autumn.

lithops

{adult lithops}

One thing is for sure, these plants are certainly not boring…!

A Promise of Plums

promise of plums

The year before last, the plum tree got a severe haircut.

I mean… like a No.2 all over…

…which meant that it spent most of 2013 in a state of shock.

Just before you start clamouring at me, I must defend myself.  The poor plum was in an awful state and had long been growing in the wrong direction, leading to poor quality plums, which were all growing right at the top of the tree and nowhere else!

However, this year’s blossom is looking incredible…

…and we all know what blossom equals:

PLUMS!

So I am hoping that the tree has forgiven me and that we are in for a bountiful plum harvest later on in the year.

I promise I’ll save you some plum jam.