Saturday morning didn't look like the best day to be trudging round a garden. Heavy skies and a brisk wind for starters, but we've toughened up these days and we piled on our waterproofs and headed off to Inverewe garden in Poolewe, which is a 10 mile jaunt up the road through some of the most spectacular scenery in the UK if not Western Europe. I'm not over-egging it, it still takes our breath away every time we drive the Gairloch to Poolewe road.
The heavens opened as arrived and we braced ourselves as we trudged through the walled garden. As everyone else huddled in the gift shop we had the whole garden to ourselves as the sky cleared revealing a sparkling jewel of a garden. It's a combination of factors that make this place special. Not only the latitude and aspect, but the incredible foresight of the founder Osgood Mackenzie who built the garden up from a windswept rocky outcrop. The planting is lush and diverse but still wild enough to not feel too showy. Now I will want to go again and again, to experience the changing seasons and planting which have combined to create a magical place.
Spring is arriving in subtle ways here in the North West of Scotland. Unlike the heady burst of a Somerset Spring where the sap seems to visibly rise through the branches and bulbs, there is a steely caution to the daffodils that have braved the March winds by the Lochan outside our window. I have a new found respect for the Pampas grasses which have survived the brutal winter gales and are just starting to sprout new green growth.
The surest signal of the shifting season was the toad activity for two nights leading up to the Equinox. I let the dog out for his evening sniffs and he yelped with curiosity and delight at the writhing scene. Hundreds of the little croakers!
Recently I've been pouring lots of energy into updated product lines and ideas. I think it's the sea air! Finally I have the first range of new wallet clutches to share. I have used these sweet metal clasps before as a standard wallet but I wanted a slightly different shape and style so I flipped them to the base of the bag so it opens like an envelope clutch. Inside there is a slip pocket and a zip compartment. Zips! I conquered my irrational fear of the little blighters.
Rivets hold the compartments together and there are eyelets at the top so a wristlet or chain handle can be added.
Oystercatcher wallet clutch, £42 at RedRubyRose.com
There are 18 designs, a mixture of existing prints and some new ones too.