I will start with the usual reminder of who we are, for new visitors.
The team consists of Dominique Nancy of 3C Style in Canada, Lisa Lawrence of Lismore Paper in the USA, and myself in the UK. We work closely each month to bring you three intertwined posts with a common theme. We are all three very creative people who met via our WP blogs. We have a shared ethos and a close friendship. Our motto – ‘An ocean apart but we share the same heart’ describes us perfectly. The five hour time difference means I spend my morning commute catching up with their conversations during the night, and waiting for them to wake up so I can join in!
Make sure you visit Dominique and Lisa via the links above, to see the whole of the post.
This month was marked by our first team Skype call (after a false start a few weeks ago when Lisa’s cables were damaged by a delivery truck after only a few minutes). We talked for over 3 hours. These two ladies bring such joy to my life and I love them dearly.
I think we all benefited from taking a break in July. We will continue with the same format as before but will reduce the number of items in each post. This will give us more time to create good content and to work on our shop and other joint ventures.
I will return with my own posts shortly too.
Aloe vera has been cultivated for centuries and has a number of uses in cosmetics and personal care products.
Originally native to the Arabian peninsula, the widespread cultivation has rendered finding genuinely wild populations virtually impossible. Photos of apparently wild plants show them clinging to sunbaked cliff faces, presumably out of reach of grazing goats.
Horticulturally it makes an attractive potted succulent houseplant in temperate areas and may be grown outoors in warmer and drier parts of the world. It is not tolerant of frost or excessive water.
The bulk of the other Aloe species are found in South Africa. They are all succulent to some degree but are quite variable in form and size. The ‘Grass Aloes’ have long narrow leaves and some, from higher altitudes, are relatively cold hardy. The tree Aloe or ‘Quiver Tree’ from the arid Northern Cape is the largest and forms a tree. All aloes have tubular flowers, often red or orange, and are pollinated by birds – with a very few insect-pollinated exceptions.
Aloe Emerald City: When preparing my own plant of Aloe vera for photographs I discovered that the gel inside the leaves is crystal clear and it gave me an idea for an arty photograph. This image was created by cutting a leaf into segments, placing each segment over a hole in black card with a torch beneath, and with my very dark dressing gown as a makeshift background. I set the camera up on a tripod with a remote shutter release, then turned out the lights and switched on the torch to make the aloe segments glow from beneath. A number of photos were taken and we selected the best one for use in the collage. It was Lisa that pointed out the resemblance to the Emerald City from Wizard of Oz
Common Lavender, Lavandula angustiolia (formerly officinalis), is a much-loved plant. It has myriad uses for its oil and fragrance and makes a fantastic garden plant for insect-friendly gardens.
An aromatic shrub, native to the mediterranean, it is grown on a huge scale for its oil and fields in flower are spectacular (and magnets for Instagrammers this year apparently). I visited a Lavender farm near Montreal with Dominique in June but it was too early for flowers. She returned recently for these photos and I took pictures of plants in my own garden, as well as creating this drawing:
The plant on top of a wall at the front of my house is now nearly 2m across and 15 years old – because it has perfect drainage, sunshine and dry alkaline soil.
These are pretty much the ideal conditions for Lavender, which can be short lived if not happy. Cold, snowy winters can do a lot of damage so living in a mild coastal area helps too. This plant has a halo of bumblebees around it when in flower.
The one in the more sheltered rear garden appeals more to butterflies such as this Painted Lady.
I confess – I do not like roses much. My garden contains a single specimen bought from Woolworths when we got our first home in 1986 and which moved here with us in 2004.
Anyway, you (mad) rose fanatics out there may wish to know the names of the ones in the top collage. I took these photos at assorted garden centres. By far the best place for them 😉
Whilst I appreciate their scent, the flowers on their rather ungainly plants do nothing for me otherwise. My two partners in WFNC were somewhat amused by this, judging by our team Skype call on Saturday. With this next collage Dominique has done her best to persuade me to at least appreciate the subtle shades of their flowers and, from this perspective at least, I can see her point:
If you go over to Lisa’s blog you will find more information (and different varieties) from someone who appreciates roses!