Stitched Garden Fever ran rife through our garden and orchard in 1992.
The sampler designed and stitched to celebrate a special birthday (and not from a kit!)

Little did I know when I designed and stitched a sampler to celebrate my daughter’s 21st birthday that I would be blogging about it over twenty years later. Garden stitching fever hit me simultaneously in the late 1990s with a passion for plants and their origins. A passion that has never left me, of researching gardens and garden history as seen through the eyes of artists and embroiderers. I was prompted to develop our garden into a series of garden rooms – at the same time as expanding our mini-orchard. My garden stitching fever was a labour of love in more ways than one –  I stitched in between bouts of gardening; and what I stitched was no kit, but designed on graph paper in the same way as each little garden area has been designed and transformed. The two ran hand in hand.

Fruit Trees to Plant Now

Garden Stitching Fever went wild in the orchard
Photographic images from my orchard were interpreted in stitch on the Sampler

Now is the time for a final planting of bare-rooted fruit trees; whether in orchard or other parts of your plot. Take a look at what is still available on the Dobies website: apples, pears, plums, cherries and a whole lot more, some distinctly exotic but suited to this country nonetheless.

Soft Fruit Edible Enchantment

Garden Stitching Fever strawberry sampler
Sampler strawberry plant, with small blue butterfly

Don’t forget soft fruit – strawberries are always popular and can be served in so many ways – fresh, with sponge cake or meringue, or made into jam to accompany freshly baked scones. My garden stitching fever knew no bounds in the sampler – the strawberry border took over! Soft fruit is particularly suitable for small gardens and Dobies offer a huge range. Think currants, loganberries, gooseberries and raspberries for a start.

Into the Vegetable Plot

Garden Stitching Fever even extended to vegetables and herbs
New raised beds – and herbs – featured in the celebration sampler

Then there’s the vegetable garden to attend to, with the whole of the Summer ahead of us to sow and grow (and eat!). Take advantage of intercropping (a quick catch-crop of, say salads, between rows of late-producing squash. The catch crop will have been eaten by the time the squash plants need the extra space. Allow for successional planting – a short row of radish every month so that they are not all ready to harvest at once, though in some seasons they catch up with you and you have a glut. Can you identify my garden stitching fever vegetables?

A Double Garden Stitching Fever Love-Affair

Garden Stitching Fever now takes a different form
Paper napkin fused to a piece of old map becomes part of a machine-stitched treasure booklet.

Garden Stitching Fever has been a two-fold love affair all my life, not just on occasions when there is something to celebrate. I can no longer hand-stitch for hours on end as I did when creating the sampler in 1992. But I’m still using the garden as a springboard for creativity. Nowadays, I keep mixed-media sketchbooks (including pressed flowers and leaves). I use berries to stain paper and fabric. And I create paper and textile booklets – follow my creative adventures on my personal Journaling Blog. And if you don’t already do so, keep a gardening journal; it could be the start of a creative garden stitching fever love-affair of your own.

Stop Press!

Having fun at The Edible Garden Show
You have to start somewhere …..

Don’t forget ‘The Edible Garden Show’ this weekend (28th-30th March) at Alexander Palace. And if you are visiting on Friday 28th March, you may be in for a surprise. For The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall are to tour the exhibition and also meet young people who have been taking part in a national schools’ initiative to design a ‘dream edible garden’. (We wrote briefly about the Show in the Dobies January e-newsletter).

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