Summer Daze

It has been a funny one today; lashing rain this morning, strong rose-blowing-over wind by lunchtime and now I'm sitting here writing with the doors and windows open to warm sunshine and a soft breeze. I'm undecided as to whether this is the beginning of the Indian summer we all hope for, sauntering through September to delight us all, or just summer's final blaze before we wake up tomorrow to turning leaves and mist rolling in over our heads. I've noticed a slight chill in the evening at dusk and a touch of that smokey, bonfire smell in the air as I water the garden. A telling sign of what is to come.

I always find the transition between the seasons a touch confusing; a little like those few days in between Christmas and New Year where you have no idea of the day, time or how many times you have watched The Vicar of Dibley re-runs that week. Am I supposed to be dressed by now? Can I suggest another plate of stollen with this cup of tea? No one really knows what they are doing, and it passes each year in a glorious haze with no rules or plans to be adhered to. I feel a similar at the moment, as I am not yet ready to wave goodbye to the watercolour hues of summer but ready to adopt touches the richer palette of the coming season. I believed my roses in the garden to be bedding down for the colder months, but woke yesterday to find five blowsy heads in apricots and blush nodding in the wind. I plan to mix these with those moodier colours synonymous with autumn; jewel ruby reds & dark merlot, deep aubergines and brave mustards to see us from summer into the autumn. It is impossible not to be led the seasons in this floral world, and seasonality is something incredibly important to the Verity & Thyme name. I've noticed paperwhites filtering into the market in the past week which I found mildly upsetting, but I have no intention of using these spring blooms until the frosts of winter fade; it just wouldn't feel right. Being able to use British grown flowers and foliage has made my heart sing this summer, nothing can compare to the movement and variations in colour and shape that they bring to an arrangement and I know there is no going back for Verity & Thyme now.

As some of you may have noticed, I have been trying to exercise my film photography (lack of) skills recently, something I have thoroughly enjoyed and hope to do more of. In the manic hours of wedding prep and set up I have found it hard to find the time to stop and take photos and so have decided to use my camera to document a seasonal diary, or a glimpse at behind the scenes when I have the chance. There are also plans in motion for a collection of custom hand dyed silk ribbons available to Verity & Thyme brides from 2017 to adorn bouquets and buttonholes, but more to come on that soon.

For now, I leave with a few select photos from the last few months that haven't quite made the cut before now, but that I wanted to share before I lose them to the new season. Some of my favourites are from the beautiful gardens of Arley Hall, wrapping around the grand house built in 1832. The elegant greenhouse in the kitchen garden and the tiny tea cottage are particularly delightful, and I spent a heavenly summer morning exploring the grounds to the hum of bees.

Autumn has a feeling of calm, encouraging us to adopt a slower pace of life. It has none of the harshness of winter and none of the frantic busyness of summer. It is a time for lighting candles at dusk, gathering around kitchen tables for a roast with your loved ones and breathing in the cool air on a sun drenched Sunday walk. On the first blustery day, you will be sure to find me in the kitchen over a bubbling pot of vanilla rice pudding, relishing the warmth and comfort autumnal puddings can bring. I head for my favourite cook/author Sophie Dahl when I need a little seasonal inspiration in the kitchen, and her opening line from 'The Delicious Miss Dahl' sums it up perfectly...

"We begin in the autumn because that's when everything changed. Autumn is a season I love more that any other; for its smoky sense of purpose and half-lit mornings, its bonfires, baked potatoes, nostalgia, chestnuts and Catherine wheels."