An Irish Secret Garden

The flowers I use in creating my eco resin jewellery are all found and collected in my local surroundings; in the wildflower meadows in my local park and countryside, the wind swept mountain sides or in hidden walled gardens of the great Irish houses, long since departed of their extravagantly opulent owners. I also pick and press many of the flowers from my own garden, which is bursting with billowy blooms during these long balmy summer days. 

I've always had a passion for flowers and gardening, instilled in me from my mom and my granny. When we were young, we'd visit my grannies home every weekend and explore the magical world of the back garden, which then appeared to be an endless vista of sweetly fragranced roses, in particular the buttery yellow 'Arthur Bells'. Their deeply scented perfume is stored forever in my memory banks. I learned a lot from my granny, who seemed to have an infinite wealth of knowledge on flowers and gardening tips. Her garden was her second home and she had proudly created a miniature secret world blooming with colour that was a visual and olfactory treat for any visitor who ventured in. 

Our little back garden is a small testament to her, her wisdom and love for nature. Every summer it comes alive with a riot of colour and sweet aromas that buoyantly bounce upon the warm summer air. Here is a selection of photos I took recently of some of the varieties of flowers growing at the moment; including cornflowers, statuesque 'Earth Song' roses, fuchsia, pansies, hydrangea, lobelia, wallflowers, clematis, dianthus, daisies, poppies to name a few. There's also some unusual discoveries; namely a cheeky little kitty called 'Socks' who calls our back garden her home! I think she chose a pretty nice place, don't you think?! 

Beautiful cascades of Earth Song pink roses

Here's Socks and her beloved scratching post ie. a once lovely wooden planter!

Billie inside my studio admiring the garden from a distance in her own grumpy way ;)

From the garden to the press....

Here's the 'Bee bowl' I had mentioned on my Instagram page. I have mine placed in amongst the cornflowers, as it's a hub of activity for bees and wasps during the summer. Bees get tired after a long day collecting nectar. They can visit up to 5,000 flowers per day, so no wonder they feel exhausted! If you notice a bee on the ground that appears lifeless just make up a solution of two tablespoons of sugar to one tablespoon of water. Gently place a blob next to the bee but make sure you don't drown him! The bee will happily suck up the solution and then 'bee' on his way to continue his duties. You can also leave a shallow dish filled with the solution in your garden like this one and place next to a crop of flowers. Fill the dish with marbles so the bees can rest on them while they drink, a little safety tip to help the bee! 

The cornflowers I planted during the spring are all out in full force! There's also some lovely pansies dotted about, showcasing their little smiling faces :) 

And how about this wellington boot?! My mom created this novel way of re-using old wellies, and filled it with some variegated geraniums. A quirky colourful addition to the garden!

Every garden needs a little gnome to watch over it, and ours is no exception, so meet Gerald the Gnome!, also here's a selection of flowers picked fresh from the garden ready for pressing, don't they look good enough to eat?!

A few of the species of flowers that are in bloom right now in the garden. I always love to look up each and every flower I discover in my wildflower and plant guides, which is never too far from my reach. I've labeled each one here to create a small reference guide, so you may also be able to identify some of these in your own garden :)

Hope you all enjoyed a wander through the Lost Forest secret garden and it brought a little bit of colourful cheer to your day!

– Gillian x