Hi everyone

How are you all? Well, I hope and having a few outings and visits from family and friends? We are still being very cautious. I actually went into a supermarket for something I forgot to get via my online delivery but I’m not going to make a habit of that.  I was pleased, though, to see everyone wearing a mask.

Last week, and throughout this week, we have been going for a very short trip in the car to Lewes to water the plants in my daughter’s garden while they’re away for a fortnight’s holiday staying with my son-in-law’s parents who live by the sea in West Sussex.

This is part of their front garden which now has several large pots with tomatoes, peas and sunflowers. This is south facing so this area gets really hot.

We are going to their place every other day but, oh my word, when we arrive the pots are rather dry with the plants drooping and looking a bit miserable. They should, really, be watered every day.

We aren’t watering any of the plants in the back garden as roots should be encouraged to go deep.

I love their garden as it’s not over gardened and is natural and a bit wild. They hold very strong beliefs in not using any weedkillers or any chemicals on their garden and aim to protect nature and the environment as far as they can to the extent that they don’t cut the grass all that much.  In fact if you faced their front garden with your back to the house the slope up to the street, instead of being manicured for ‘curb appeal’, is just grass waving in the breeze left untouched for a year at a time. This attracts butterflies during the day and moths at night and they’ve seen the count of those increase exponentially. I applaud their stance – good for them.

I was more of gardener that liked do a lot of ‘gardening’ albeit that I aimed for the managed bed of flowers that looked like it was natural but wasn’t. And here below is my last garden where I think I really achieved that look of managed wildness.

Here below is the garden at an earlier stage.

You probably think, oh wow, she must miss all that.  Well, no, because unfortunately I went through a garden desensitising experience.  The story is we had a much loved dog.

This is Cassie, a Blue Merle cross mutt who was just lovely.  And we had a cat.

This is Soda, who we got with a sister we called Whisky, who sadly met her end on a busy road in a previous house we owned. This was so sad because Whisky and Soda were inseparable and would sleep entwined together – you couldn’t distinguish which paw belonged to which cat! But amazingly, soon after Whisky’s death Soda and Cassie slept on the same sofa cuddled up together.

But long story and short, much beloved pets pass on, so no dog and cat. And that, people, is when cats from elsewhere came to crap. Yup, you can’t unsay it, that’s what happened. And I did everything, you name a cure for that, I did it, but those b….ed cats never took the slightest notice. For two long years, every day I was out there picking it up, and then think about what happens if you go away for two weeks…… It really put me off that beautiful garden and I didn’t want to go in it any more. So, it’s quite enough now to have a balcony and my walks by the sea.

At the beginning of this week, a reminder came up in my phone diary that we were going on a cruise on Friday. Are we heck! It was cancelled months ago and I’m not even thinking of booking another until I know there is a vaccine and a successful one at that. I was OK and didn’t feel too down or sad about this, but oh boy, when this unpleasantness is all over am I going to have fun booking holidays – lots of them!

Meanwhile here are two dresses I might take with me. These are the dresses that I bought at Outfit@Emmaus so am pleased to say they cost nothing much.

The first is a dress that is much shorter than I usually wear and, if I’m going to wear it I’ll put some fake tan on my legs as they don’t often see the light of day and are rather pale!

I tried to accessorise the dress with a necklace but it took away the focus on that neat sweetheart neckline, which is rather nice.  Rather pleased with this dress, especially as it cost all of £6.

And here’s my £5 dress. Actually, I think it’s not a cruise dress but one I shall wear around and about in the hot weather.

In fact, I shall definitely wear the dress over the next few days as it’s going to be warm for the UK, reaching 32C (89.6F) in parts of the country. Here in Brighton one of my weather apps is forecasting 30C – that’s a scorcher for us and like most Brits we will complain about the heat a lot, although I bet you the beach will be packed and simply heaving with people. I do hope there are no ramifications from that. This month I shall make sure I see one or two friends (in gardens with no other people) before restrictions are tightened again.

That’s all for now. Have a great week 🙂

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper


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31 thoughts on “A tale of gardens and gardening plus the two dresses from Emmaus

  • 4th August 2020 at 9:07 am

    You have beautiful shapely legs!

    • 5th August 2020 at 7:14 am

      Pamela, thank you so much! Take care 🙂

  • 4th August 2020 at 12:29 pm

    Lovely dresses!

    • 5th August 2020 at 4:41 am

      Hello Penny, you have found two lovely dresses . The first one is so pretty with its sweetheart neckline . The other one must be so cool and comfy for warmer days. I saw your beach on our news and couldn’t believe how many people were there , no safe distancing for sure.
      Your former garden looks lovely but I fully understand your lack of desire to continue gardening , it is hard work and always constant.
      I too hope to travel again one day but like you not until there is a vaccine. Take care and continue to enjoy your safe socialising.

      • 5th August 2020 at 7:33 am

        Hi Jill, Yes, the beach situation is crazy, but of course, it is like that most years during the summer. Where we live (quite a bit further on from the centre of Brighton) the beach is just OK with regard to self-distancing, but there’s no shade so I wouldn’t go on it in the heat even in non-covid year. Best time to go is early evening.

        Yes, my former garden was lovely. I did like creating shade with trees. And travel and cruises!! How I yearn for them. One day! You take care too 🙂

    • 5th August 2020 at 7:15 am

      They are! Especially like the one that’s flowery and shorter 🙂

  • 4th August 2020 at 1:59 pm

    The two lovely dresses are very becoming to you, showing how vibrant and attractive you are.

    • 5th August 2020 at 7:16 am

      What a nice thing to say, Sharon, thank you!

  • 4th August 2020 at 2:10 pm

    Those dresses are great on you. I have dug out the cruise clothes to see if they will work for the rest of the summer, as I am not going out to stores and do not need any more clothes for now. Those were gorgeous pets, and yes they do keep the rif raf out. I can understand your frustration with the mess the unwanteds make and your choice of a beautiful balcony works well for you.
    For the first time in 5 months, I had a friend for a distanced visit last week in the garden. I set up a wash basin and soap and sanitizer and it was so good. Almost normal. We chatted for a couple hours and had a little photo shoot with our chairs one in front of the other to make it look like we were side by side and alternated who was in the front or back. Such fun. Still not ready to socialize any more than that. Stay well Penny and enjoy your walks.

    • 5th August 2020 at 7:25 am

      Yes, like you I have some cruise clothes I shall wear in August. And re: the pets. We were both cat people but my husband had never had a dog while I had a dog through my childhood. Anyway when we lived in a rural area the time was right for a dog and we got Cassie, who was so loved that when she passed on we just felt no, we won’t get another, no dog could replace her. It was a shame the other cats came in to that beautiful garden, but hey ho, it made it easier to move on!

      Again like you we are doing some very cautious safe visiting and nothing more than that. And although I try to live in the now, I do occasionally think, quick let’s get this year over and bring on the vaccine next year! You stay safe and well too, Diane 🙂

  • 4th August 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Love the dresses Penny, Especially the first one, although if it was mine, I’d be wearing aa black or red tulle skirt underneath it, as I hate my legs, even with a tan!
    I too, am nervous about going out and about, although our Covid numbers here in Toronto are really low, I don’t think I’ll feel comfortable until a viable vaccine is readily available. I have downloaded the Covid Alert app. which I think is brilliant, it will alert me if I have been anywhere there is a confirmed Covid case. I know so many people who are nervous about downloading it, as they think, they are being “spied on” but it really doesn’t bother me, “they” can spy on me all they like, my life is an open book.
    Love the pictures of your garden, I love gardening, but my knees don’t, so when life is somewhat back to normal we are going to downsize, so as I have lots of free time now, I’m going to start getting rid of stuff.
    Enjoy your week of hot weather. If you could direct some of England’s cooler weather over here I would be grateful!😀

    • 5th August 2020 at 7:42 am

      Actually you’ve given me the idea that the short dress could have a red tulle petticoat under it – will look out for one!

      You are lucky to live in Canada which unlike ours is a country that seems to have had the pandemic well under control. The app sounds excellent and exactly what one needs. Like you I am cautious to the extreme but the nervousness is based on rationality as that virus is still out there, then again we are much safer outdoors so, as long as we can meet people outside, I think we’ll be fine.

      The hot weather cometh Friday and Saturday – not looking forward to it! We are such wimps with our ‘hot’ weather! Take care 🙂

  • 4th August 2020 at 2:38 pm

    i am obsessed with gardening! and i know exactly what look you were trying to achieve with your garden! i would also love to create that naturally looking garden that i plant oh so carefully…and we also have a cat and dog and they co-habitate nicely…
    lovely dresses!

    • 5th August 2020 at 7:44 am

      Thanks Eva. Yes, isn’t it nice to see a cat and dog living well together! And that garden was special. Thanks also re: the dresses, I think the short one is the winner though, can’t wait for an occasion to wear it xxx

  • 5th August 2020 at 9:57 am

    Morning Penny. The black dress is great – as was your garden. I wonder how many people are on garden duty – we’re watering/mowing for our daughter. I love having a nice garden but don’t anticipate having one when we next move. I don’t want to spend my time on it these days – just gentle pottering.

    We’ve had friends to tea in the garden and two meals at restaurants (sitting outside), but I’m not rushing to ‘break free’. I’ve been to Sainsbury’s a few times for an elderly friend and don’t feel at all comfortable there. However, last week we ventured to B & Q and were most impressed with their safety precautions.

    All the best, Mary

    • 6th August 2020 at 11:29 am

      Yes, it’s been really nice going to my daughter’s regularly. I shall miss it. Kind of gave more structure to the week and was great to be somewhere different. Still getting my food delivered but have decided that the little deli and the local butcher will get my custom!

      All the very best to you too, Mary

  • 5th August 2020 at 10:13 am

    That looks like a great garden! We don’t use any enviremental bad things. Also because of all the animals in our garden. Those dresses are very nice, especially the black floral one. It must be strange now in Brighton isn’t it. A lot quiter I guess. Or maybe it’s a delight for those who live there! As soon as we get a green light we are going!

    • 6th August 2020 at 11:36 am

      The dress is actually a very dark navy which is a colour that normally doesn’t suit me but because of the big floral pattern I can get away with it.

      Brighton is very busy and over the three hot days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) the beach will be totally heaving. I have the C-19 app, which is all about nationwide research conducted by a university and putting in your daily symptoms even if well. It also has daily estimated nationwide cases and cases in the Brighton area are up, but people don’t self-distance and the pubs are full. You will be able to see Brighton once again, but be very wary and careful about when. Lots of love xxxxxx

  • 5th August 2020 at 1:36 pm

    The 2 dresses are very becoming on you! That is too bad about those cats doing that in your garden, it sure was beautiful! We had a nice time on our vacation to the mountains and now August will be busy with school starting up again.

    • 6th August 2020 at 11:38 am

      So pleased you had a good vacation. Good luck with the schools going back. There’s a lot of debate here about whether it will be safe. Challenging times – take care x

  • 5th August 2020 at 3:01 pm

    That floral red black and white dress is stunning! You look very trim Penny. I love the story of Cassie and Soda sleeping together. Less appealing is what happened afterwards. Because we still have Molly the cat, no other cats come into the garden. But she’s quite old and now doesn’t stray beyond the garden, so I have her deposits to deal with, but I don’t mind because I love her and anyway I prefer it outside than in a tray indoors!

    I love the naturalistic style of planting. My garden style is a bit like yours was, but this summer it’s been too wild and overgrown, so we had to have some serious pruning and a tree removed yesterday. Now I’m feeling it’s more like a blank slate to start afresh in the spring.

    • 6th August 2020 at 11:41 am

      That dress is actually a very dark navy, but I seem to be OK with the colour because of the big floral pattern. Yes, it’s a keeper!

      My dog and cats were so lovely, but we’ve moved on from owning pets. As much as I loved them it does make it easier to go away and have trips up to London – and gosh what are those????? Like most of us, as in everyone, I will so enjoy life when this is over! Take care 🙂

  • 5th August 2020 at 3:44 pm

    So here I am in the first week of my two week quarantine after vacation. I had stocked up my fridge in preparation and then yesterday there was a 12 hour power failure. hoping all that food did not spoil. at around 2 am power finally came back on. I really like both dresses, the first one reminds me of a dress I purchased this Spring. A floral print with short sleeves. I had hoped to wear it for a number of occasions but of course they did not happen. here’s hoping there will be times in the future when I can wear it. the longer dress of yours is the perfect thing to wear in the hot weather any place, cruise or no cruise. loving the photos of the gardens, past and present. I am finding my present situation suits me. a small patch of shady yard in front of my home and a sunny patio in back. since the front is so shady it is hard to find plants with color to make the yard stand out. this year I went back to Impatiens after years where there was apparently a blight on these plants but this year I tried again and they have flourished. next year I will perhaps plant even more in different shades. the back is currently red geraniums and several varieties of herbs. I say that I use the herbs in cooking, but sometimes this is more aspirational than actual. Bye for now, Darby

    • 6th August 2020 at 11:45 am

      That garden was I think the best I had, and it wasn’t big, but there was such a lovely atmosphere with the trees and the shade.

      And interesting you have to go into quarantine after a visit to Virginia. I expect that more areas will go back into lockdown and that will happen here.

      I love hearing about your life and your shady yard and sunny patio! Take care 🙂

  • 6th August 2020 at 9:16 am

    I like the dresses Penny, especially the shape of the black one, although I would have had a necklace. I wear dresses almost exclusively now & I’m not ‘saving for best’ either.
    Lovely pics of your garden. Ours is rather boring but it’s Him Indoor’s domain. We do have some huge white lillies out at the moment.
    Watched a programme yesterday with the Van Tullekan twins about Covid which was very sobering. It has left me feeling quite low today, but I will recover my equilibrium. We’ve started seeing friends outside again & singing in gardens although that wasn’t very satisfying. Exciting trip to the hospital to get a blood test today!

    • 6th August 2020 at 11:48 am

      I tried a necklace and thought it was a bit busy but I know what you mean, I shall look for the right one.

      I shall watch that programme tonight, didn’t watch last night as we don’t watch the television after 9.0pm, we watch a lot on iPlayer. And I expect I shall need to watch something like Miriam Margolyes in Australia afterwards to cheer us up, but they are good broadcasters those twins, so we will watch.

  • 6th August 2020 at 12:12 pm

    I love your daughter’s garden, your previous garden and your latest purchases but what I love the most is Cassie, the Blue Merle Cross. Well, I would, wouldn’t I?!

    • 8th August 2020 at 7:30 am

      There’s quite a funny story about how we acquired Cassie from a rescue centre. We asked for a Labrador and refused to look at any others, well this time it was a situation with Cassie being rejected by a family because the other dog refused to take to her, and Cassie to this dog, and yes she was definitely a Labrador! We arrived at this person’s house and there she was – not a Labrador! But we couldn’t resist her beautiful eyes. and of course, her amazing coat. She was always lovely but a bit nervy with other dogs, which was apparently because she wasn’t socialised with other dogs. And if I have any advice make sure your lovely new pup gets used to being with other dogs. But I bet you know that anyway. All the very best 🙂

  • 7th August 2020 at 11:48 pm

    Your former garden – I love it. It was exactly how I love flowers to be. Good on your daughter with her eco-stance regarding her garden.

    • 8th August 2020 at 7:32 am

      It was a lovely garden and I had many happy years there working on the ‘wildness’ but in an urban area you really need your own cat and dog to regulate the space. When we did not replace our beloved cat and dog, the ‘awfulness’ began. It did make it easier to leave though. Swings and roundabouts 🙂

  • 8th August 2020 at 5:47 pm

    What lovely photos Penny, your garden is very sweet. I’ve been working on mine, but it is mainly grass with some pots. Jacqui x

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