Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Gardens of Delargo Towers - June

What a miserable Summer so far - but it is June, whether it feels like it or not, and the roses are out here at Delargo Towers.

As are the long awaited and beleaguered delphiniums:

The hollyhocks and lupins we sowed last year never made it through. The Canterbury Bells have been well worth the wait, though, and have put on a stunning show - despite the weather doing everything it could to batter them down:

Campanula medium

Centaurea is going over now; just a few left for the bees to enjoy:

After a slow start the boxes and tubs are well away now:

Regal pelargonium and cuttings from last year's Zonal pelargoniums.

One of pride and joys -  Lilium regale at the start of the month:

Jasmine through the pear tree:

Lilium regale again, this time halfway through the month. It was just starting to flower by the very end of it, so we will be kicking off the July post with it in full splendour:

More cuttings and the new fuchsias - Winston Churchill, Eva Boerg and Paula Jane. I still didn't manage to get the specialist fuchsia nursery in Essex this year but managed to pick up these cheaply from a stall in Chiswick:

Honeysuckle which I think is Lonicera Halliana:

It's going to be a bumper crop for the pear this year methinks!

We will hardly be self-sufficient in fruit and veg but it's a bit of fun to grow some.

This years tomato is Gardeners' Delight. We lost the first truss to the cold weather in the spring but have two healthy ones now. We also have branched out into growing soft fruit; well one strawberry plant. It is an old variety called Cambridge Favourite:

Last month we were hit by a plague of aphids. This month saw the arrival of a mass of Ladybird larvae. They were everywhere - loads of them, and now there is not a single aphid left! It has been truly amazing and fascinating to watch:

They have done their job and are now starting to turn into proper ladybirds.

The forecast for July is no better than June, but there is a lot to look forward to and the Lilies will brighten up even a dull day...



Friday, 8 June 2012

Royal Bling and The Diamond Queen.

We have just enjoyed a week-end of the most fabulous celebrations and events to honour the Queens sixtieth year on the throne. We have been celebrating here at 'Delargo Towers' too.

Now then me dears I have said in previous posts that I should start blogging on fabulous jewellery, so who and what better to start with than Her Maj and her little collection?

We start, as did the Jubilee week-end with Epsom and Queen Mary's Russian Brooch, a three strand pearl necklace (of which she has three) and the Devon Earrings. The earrings must be a firm favourite with the Queen, as she wore them all weekend. These pearl button earrings each have a small diamond on top; they were presented to Queen Mary in 1893 on behalf of the "Ladies of Devonshire".

The Russian Brooch itself has a large square cut diamond and cabochon-cut sapphire set into scroll frame.
The brooch was given to Princess May of Teck by  her sister, the Empress Feodorovna of Russia as a wedding present in 1893 and she in turn she left it to the Queen in 1953.

Moving on to the Thames Pageant with the same pearl necklace and the Devon Earrings; we were treated to a different brooch. This time a diamond brooch in the shape of an eight-point star with a large central diamond:

There are 41 large and further 24 smaller diamonds in the brooch, weighting a total of approximately 40 carats in a collet setting. It dates from the late Victorian era and was left to the Queen by Lady Jardine in 1981:

Bringing up the rear was the Duchess of Cornwall..
She chose a beautiful diamond choker on four strands of pearls. This is a rarely seen piece but she also wore it during the recent Diamond Jubilee Tour of Scandinavia in March:

The Duchess of Cambridge, who doesn’t usually wear any jewellery at all, put on a beautiful
delicate brooch made of two silver dolphins – a gift from the Royal Navy submariners:

 Diamond Jubilee Service, Carriage Procession, Balcony Appearance and Granny's Chips

Camilla wore the same diamond choker on four strands of pearls...

...while the Duchess of Cambridge wore “diamond and pearl” earrings which she had last worn back in July 2011, when she attended her wedding dress display with the Queen. Despite looking every bit regal and authentic, the earrings are actually cultivated pearl and zirconium diamond which retailed at £48 (they are now sold out).

The Queen saved the very best jewel for the very last - and so it was the famous Cullinan III and IV brooch, also known as “Granny’s Chips”, which made its appearance. Considered the most valuable of the Queen's jewels, the diamonds are simply set in almost invisible platinum claws:

The pear-drop Cullinan 3 weighs 94.4 carats, and the square-cut Cullinan 4 is 63.3 carats.

It was a fab week-end despite the weather and a chance to gawp at some fab sparklers!

I must thank Maria Doulton for her on line magazine "The Jewellery Editor" click here to have a look.

The Cullinan Diamond

There is just enough space left to have a quick look at The Cullinan Diamond itself along with the other cut Cullinans 1 to 9:

[above is a replica]

The Cullinan Diamond, mined in 1905 in South Africa, is the largest rough diamond ever found in the world.  It weighed an incredible 3,106.75 carats and measured 4 inches by 2.5 inches; a total of 1,055.8 carats were cut from the gem...

Cullinan 1 - 530.20 carats:

Cullinan 2 - 317.40 carats:

 [Numbers 3 and 4 are pictured further up in the blog]

Cullinan 5 - 18.50 carats:

Cullinan 6 - 11.50 carats and Cullinan 8 - 6.80 carats:

Cullinan 7 - marquise-cut 8.8 carats (on the necklace):

Cullinan 9 - 4.39 carats:

It would have been nice if Her Maj could have given all of them a bit of a dusting over the week end!