Monday, 24 August 2015

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Spice Up Your Life'


The last task before leaving the allotment this afternoon was a pleasant one of picking some flowers for 'In A Vase On Monday'. It more than made up for all the vigorous weeding that had been going on earlier on. In this week's vase are the following trio :




  • Crocosmia - I've no idea on the variety as I inherited a clump of these when I took over the plot. They make a welcome splash of colour each summer and are not as vigorous as croscosmia 'Lucifer' which grows in the garden. They are on the now on the wane but still clinging on to some colour.
  • The emminently fluffy dianthus 'Green Trick'. I bought three plug plants of this earlier in the summer from Sarah Raven. One faded away but I've been delighted with the other two which have produced plenty of flowers. They are planted near dahlia' Arabian Night', the sultry dark red antirrhinum 'Black Prince' and nasturtium 'Blue Bepe', which will be a combination that I might well repeat next year.
  • Tagetes patula 'Cinnibar' which I've grown from seed. This variety was obtained by Christopher Lloyd in the gardens of Great Dixter. Apparently he selected seeds from taller plants to end up with this beauty which flowers from July to October. It will definitely be on next year's seed list. Unfortunately the molluscs also found them attractive and ate all my seedlings bar one which lived to tell the tale! I'm so pleased that it did.
The vase has appeared before. It contained seasonal pickle in a former life. A decision was made to relove it.

With thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who is our gracious hostess today.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day ~ On The Decking


Blog posts here seem to have been few and far between of late. One of the reasons for this is that we've been making the most of our new caravan. Our internet access is not reliable there so I've yet to attempt a blog post from the southern reaches of the Lake District.

Our much anticipated outside decking was finally installed earlier this summer and is now complete with table and chairs. The summer however so far has not proved conducive to al fresco dining. We've only managed it twice so far and had to dash in quickly on the first occasion when rain arrived between courses. Next summer can only be better and we yet may be blessed with a gentle balmy autumn. 

With sitting outside in mind I've been planting up one or two permanent containers. We have gone for leafy loveliness rather than for flowers. The caravan is situated at the edge of woodland so it's more on the shady side rather than full blown sunshine. As it name suggests the Lake District gets copious amounts of rain, so hopefully we should not have to worry unduly about watering in our absence.

So far two big containers have been planted - one with an acer palmatum 'Atropurpureum' which we will have to trim as and when necessary. We bought this from the small but excellent garden centre in Grange-over-Sands, which is just four miles or so down the road from the caravan. On reflection I think that a green leaved acer may have made more or an impact but the deed has been done. 

The other container has been planted as you can see above although I still have to apply a top dressing. No doubt some re-jigging will be taking place before long. The first inhabitant is an unknown heuchera bought at our garden club plant sale back in May. I was attracted to it by its colour. There was a label but I've come to the conclusion that the seller probably invented the name, as I've been unable to find any mention of it in books or on the world wide web.



Keeping it company are plants that I already had at home. The fern is athyrium filix-femina 'Dre's Dagger', which was in a pot but suffered from me forgetting to water it regularly in dry spells. It was somewhat frazzled earlier this summer but has perked up considerably since moving house. Sadly it's deciduous.


The largest plant of the trio which may well eventually dominate the container is the evergreen nandina domestica 'Obsessed'. New growth in spring is a fiery red which slowly morphs into green over the season. It has the bonus of small white flowers in midsummer but my plant has not produced any this year.

So there are the big containers up to now but there will be smaller ones too. A hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' is waiting for a permanent pot. I've also walked round the site to have a nose to see what other plants are doing well in containers. I noted a number of flourishing hostas which much to my surprise have not suffered from the ravages of slugs and snails. So with this in mind I was tempted yesterday by hosta 'Catherine' spotted at the Southport Flower Show on the impressive 'Sue Proctor Plants' stand.


I have to confess that apart from the above photo the others were taken a couple of weeks or so ago but I'm sure that the hostess of 'Garden Bloggers Foliage Day', Christina over at "Creating my own garden in the Hesperides" will be gracious enough to permit this slight digression. 

Monday, 17 August 2015

In A Vase On Monday ~ "Anyone For An After Eight?"


A slightly late vase on a Monday from me this week - not quite after eight but almost. This week's pickings are definitely verging on the rushed plonk it in end of the spectrum, having returned home this afternoon after a weekend away. So in my vase this week are :

  • The yellow flower heads of bronze fennel. I must take the time here to explain that the mega cluster of snails browsing on fennel which featured on a recent Wordless Wednesday postwere not resident either in my garden or at the allotment plot. Thank goodness! As Annette from 'Annette's Garden' rightly guessed I photographed them on holiday in France. I have seen similar clusters on other holidays in France but have also came across snails gathered in such numbers on the Northumberland coast.
  • The pale mauve flowers of clematis jouiniana x 'Praecox,' which can either be grown as ground cover or as a climber. 
  • The soft and fluffies are from a new to me this year grass - Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose' which is rapidly becoming a favourite.
  • Aster amellus 'King George'. I know that some asters have undergone name changes of late so forgive me if this is one of them. I'm feeling somewhat frazzled after a packed liked a tin of sardines noisy train journey so the old grey matter is not feeling up to the necessary research. 
  • Dahlia 'Twyning After Eight', with its white flowers and deliciously dark foliage. I must remember to have a go at taking some cuttings from this next year. The tuber has been going for several years now but I lost its companion last year.



The last two occupants have short stems so hence the vase is on the small size. It's one that I've had for sometime so its origins are somewhat misty but was probably bought in a charity shop. 



Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who so kindly provides a weekly platform for us to showcase our vases. It's much appreciated.

Monday, 10 August 2015

In A Vase On Monday ~ Almost But Not Quite


Sweet peas picked from the allotment are the sole occupants of this week's vase. Sown towards the end of March they've just come into their own in the last two or three weeks. The varieties were chosen mainly for their scent rather than colour. Having said that I was still aiming for a variety of contrasting but complimentary colours. I feel that I've almost succeeded but not quite.


The first sowings met with disaster as they were sown uncovered in the greenhouse and provided a mice sized meal or two or maybe there was more than one hungry mouse. A second sowing ensued but two of the eight varieties failed completely to materialise. One of these was the deep burgundy maroon of 'Beaujolais', whilst the other was 'Eclipse,' which was an unknown factor but still much anticipated.



So there were six varieties left in the mix. 'Matucana','Erewhon' had both featured in last year's sweet peas and once again lived up to expectations. The newbies all delivered in different degrees. Bright pink 'Gwendoline' makes for the most study plants out of the lot, bearing the longest and straightest of stems. 'Mollie Rilstone' has proved to be a most subtle but oh so attractive cream flushed with pink edges, whilst 'Hi Scent' also known as 'High Scent' has more than lived up to its name.


So plans for next year include having another go at autumn sowing as well as perhaps a slightly earlier spring sowing. The six star performers have all got automatic season tickets. Their ranks will be added to by 'Beaujolais' or a similar colour, by the highly scented cream of 'Cathy' as well as 'Turquoise Lagoon', which is the one that got away in the seed box this time round. I may include another deeper pink but the jury is still out on this. Any recommendations if I do?



My prop is the short but delightful true story 'A Bunch Of Sweet Peas' by Henry Donald. It tells the tale of one of the competitors in the 1911 'Daily Mail' sweet pea competition. My plain glass vase is a cheap and cheerful from Wilkos.

What will everyone else have in their vases this week I wonder. I will be having a peek later via 'Rambling In The Garden'. With many thanks to Cathy for enabling us to share our vases of floral loveliness on Mondays.


Monday, 27 July 2015

In A Vase On Monday ~ "My Cup Runneth Over".


The weather gods thwarted plans for today's vase so instead of sweet peas from the allotment so it's been a case of looking closer to hand. The 'vase' is one of several old or some might say vintage floral china cups and saucers I've collected over the years. Cup and saucer do not match in this instance but rather compliment each other.


The occupants are :
  • Rose 'Blush Noisette' - this rose can be grown as a shrub or as a small climber. It dates back to about 1814 and is subtly but deliciously scented. It has a had a first flush of flowers but it's now throwing out a second wave.
  • Thyme - I'm not sure which one but in the garden for a good few years now. At this time of year it's decorated with small purple flowers which attract the pollinators. It's easy to propagate by division.
  • The clematis is without a label but if my memory serves me well the odds are that it's clematis 'Blekitny Aniol', also known as 'Blue Angel'.
  • Linaria purpurea 'Canon Went' - a perennial which is most easy to grow and which unlike it's purple sibling does not seed itself about prolifically.
  • Achillea ptarmica 'The Pearl' - with it's dainty buttons of double white flowers is a plant that I had many moons ago but lost. It's a hardy perennial which flowers throughout the summer. I've looked for it on and off over the years but have never come across it until last Friday, when I came across a plant which was of course snapped up at once. It was a most happy conclusion to a delightful afternoon spent in the company of none other but Cathy of 'Rambling In The Garden' fame, today's hostess and her husband 'The Golfer' as well as himself. As always it was a pleasure to meet another blogger and as as you can imagine we found plenty to talk about. I think that you would like this plant Cathy, so when it's big enough a division will make its way in your direction.

It's decidedly cool as well as now raining here so time to put the kettle on when I've posted this and then to wander to see what's in everyone else's vases this week. 

Monday, 20 July 2015

In A Vase On Monday ~ Sugar & Spice.


It's back to base for this week's vase which is a mixture of allotment meets garden. Absence from home has seen everything fast forward, so there were lots of surprises on our return from a beautiful and tranquil French beach, where our camper van has been resident for a short time. This week's vase ingredients are :

  • Alchemilla mollis or lady's mantle which despite its prolific self seeding habits I would not be without.
  • A few sprigs of golden oregano which grows on the plot.
  • Antirrhinum 'Black Prince' - grown from seed and planted both on the plot and in the garden. This was obviously camera shy but one stem is visible on the right hand side of the photo. This has most attractive dark foliage and I'm hoping that it might overwinter.
  • Helenium 'Sahin's Early Flowerer' - I like the way that each flower of this plant is slightly different in both pattern and colour. A division plant was kindly given to me year's ago when I admired it in the garden of a cottage that we stayed in when visiting the Malvern Show.
  • Allium sphaerocephalon this is a really reliable easy going bulb which flowers after the larger alliums are done and dusted. Its only drawback is that any seedlings can be mistaken for grass when they first come through the soil. 
  • Dahlia - I think that this is 'Arabian Night' but the label has gone west. It came through the winter at the allotment but came home to be potted up and receive some tender loving care before returning back to the allotment for the summer. It has really bulked out this year. 
  • Dianthus 'Green Trick' which is fabulously frothy. I fell for this when I saw it in Sarah Raven's catalogue and after being initially disappointed when they sold out I was delighted to get an email to tell me that it was back in stock. I ordered three plug plants which I've planted at the allotment. They are just beginning to come good now and the plan is to try and overwinter some cuttings. I don't think it can be grown from seed but would be pleased to find out that it could.

My vase this week is an old golden syrup tin hence the reference to sugar in the title. It normally houses a houseplant which is currently in intensive care. The spice is a reference to the flower colours and there are also spices round the base of the tin, remnants of a winter potpourri which are about to be jettisoned. Finally a stem of humulus lupulus aureus also known as golden hop has wrapped itself round the tin.

Thanks to Cathy from 'Rambling In The Garden' for offering us a platform to share our vases on a Monday. Such a cheerful and colourful start to the week!