Monday, 30 May 2016

In A Vase On Monday ~ Gifted

Himself absolutely refuses to take to the highways and byways on Bank Holiday Mondays. This goes back to the time when we were both working and set off on a Bank Holiday jaunt into Derbyshire to a plant fair. Going was fine but our return journey met with a huge traffic jam which resulted in an overheated engine. That was that in no uncertain terms, so since then my Bank Holiday outings have been strictly confined to trips to the allotment, which is where I spent a good part of today.

Having recently admired a vibrant splash of colour on my allotment neighbour's red geum I was delighted to be given a trio of these plants this morning. Two of the plants have remained at the allotment but the largest came home with me. To help the plant overcome the shock of being lifted, I decided to cut the flowers off. The geums came without a name but I suspect that they are geum 'Mrs J. Bradshaw', a hardy perennial which comes true from seed. The surplus flowers went into an old glass yoghurt pot and will probably stay outside to decorate the table. In other geum news I've finally got my paws on geum 'Totally Tangerine' after being smitten with it from glimpses on television, magazines and blogs. It's a plant that eluded me for ages and I was so pleased to come across it at local garden centre last weekend. It's joined my other geum the lovely 'Mai Tai' which I hope to feature in a future vase.

Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' and her regular weekly open invitation to share our vases on a Monday.

Monday, 23 May 2016

In A Vase On Monday ~ Spot The Snail

It's a scented vase this week composed of lily of the valley and some foliage in the shape of bronze fennel. The lily of the valley were a gift from my parent's garden. They started off as half a dozen or so 'pips' and have now spread the distance underneath our living room window. Flowering seems to vary from year to year and the plants that are furthest away from the wall are not as productive. It was difficult to do justice to my props, namely a Wills cigarette card depicting the flower and my little bronze coloured snail which normally lives indoors. The cigarette card is one of a set of fifty' Garden Flowers' cards. The snail came to me from my mother as does its companion an even smaller glass snail. 

Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who is the inspiration behind in 'A Vase On Monday'.

Monday, 9 May 2016

In A Vase On Monday ~ In Safe Hands

For You
Please forgive this week's 'vase' - himself's hands have been pressed into action to cup the tulips, which would not oblige and sit nicely in a vase. The fact that the stems were of varying lengths probably had something to do with it. Some of my planting was rather late, resulting in some short and stumpy stems, so that the heads were only just above the rim of the vase I had in mind. I must plant earlier this year and yes get a new vase or two. The planned vase was also missing one component, namely tulip 'Apricot Beauty' which went over in the heat of the weekend.

So in my pop up 'vase' are tulips 'Graceland' - white with a faint edge of pink, the fabulous frothy and frilly white' Mount Tacoma', 'Malaika' also known as 'Bruine Wimpel' and the double 'La Belle Epoque'. I've not grown either 'La Belle Epoque' or 'Graceland' before and the jury is still out. The former has not lived up to my expectations after reading the catalogue bumph. The colouring has varied quite considerably and not all the flowers have turned out to be double. Maybe though I should try it again as I remember being disappointed with 'Malaika' when I first grew them but this year I've been most smitten. Has anybody else grown 'La Belle Epoque'? If so I would be interested to hear your verdict.

Tulips 'Malaika', 'Graceland' & 'Mount Tacoma'
Long term readers of this blog may recall that I really dislike tulip foliage. I get round this by growing them in florist's buckets. I'm lucky enough to have the room to shove them out of sight once the flowers are done and dusted. The buckets are purchased from the local Morrisons's supermarket which sells them in bundles. Each bundle contains at least 8 buckets but quite often more, all for the grand total of 99 pence. The plastic can be a bit brittle when it comes to drilling holes in the bottom but with careful handling they're ok. The buckets also come in most handy at the allotment.

Tulips 'Malaika', 'Graceland','Mount Tacoma' & 'La Belle Epoque'
On the subject of tulips if you've not already come across garden designer and Chelsea gold medalist Dan Pearson's new online magazine 'Dig Delve' do have a peek. The magazine is about "gardens, landscape, growing and making". You can find a recent most informative article about Dan's experience of growing tulips here. He has the space to try out a number of varieties. After reading it I surprised myself by adding some yellow tulips to my wish list for this year's bulb order.

Over at 'Rambling In The Garden', I see that our hostess Cathy has been foraging this week to produce a vase full of wild flowers, set against a backdrop of the seashore. Looking forward to catching up with other Monday vases later on in the day.

Monday, 2 May 2016

In A Vase On Monday ~ Bluebells & Ballerinas

As with most Bank Holidays there's been the usual blip of rain and wind but it brightened up enough this afternoon to permit some flower picking. This week's contribution to 'In A Vase On Monday' involved a stroll up the lane which leads to the main road. Growing along one side of the sloping bank are cow parsley and bluebells. The latter were already growing when we moved here and their characteristics seem to match those of the English bluebell. The bluebells have been evident for a while now but the cow parsley is only just beginning to open. In another week or so there will be some fabulous frothiness and much sneezing whenever I walk past.

Coming back into the garden I picked some late planted, therefore late flowering narcissus 'Tête-à-Tête', three stems of the scented 'Ballerina' tulip and some sprigs of geranium phaeum. The vase is an old favourite given to me by mother some years ago. As usual my flowers were unceremoniously plonked in the vase though I did faff around with them a bit when the vase came in.

Well I'm off now to sow some seeds in the greenhouse but look forward to some vase visiting later on tonight. Thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden', who gives us the opportunity to share vases from far and wide on Monday. It's a most gentle and civilised way to start the week.

Monday, 25 April 2016

In A Vase On Monday ~ Two's Company

The weather gods seem to have got in for Mondays at the moment - once again it dawned wet and it became increasingly windy as the morning progressed. Still despite the elements not one but two vases have been filled inspired by Cathy's 'In A Vase On Monday'.

The first vase is made up of just tulips - namely 'Couleur Cardinal',(thanks Christina for confirming their id), 'Malaika' also known as 'Bruine Wimpel' and 'Apricot Beauty'. The latter is new to me and I was pleased to read that she is scented although I've not detected any scent as yet. Mind you this could just be my nose. I like the way the way the flowers of this morph from an initial pale apricot colour to a soft pink. I'm also rather smitten by the feathering on the 'Bruine Wimpel' flowers which you can see  more closely in the photo below. I would have liked another trio of flowers in this vase to bulk the contents out but my plans didn't work out as explained below.

The second is a vaseful of yellow and green. I initially put three flowers of the tulip 'Spring Green' in the first vase but the colour jarred with the other occupants. So I sought out some different companions for them. Along with the tulips are a few sprigs of millium effusum aureum (aka Bowles Golden Grass), some narcissus 'Minnow', a flower of mathiasella bupleuroides 'Green Dream' and some flowers of lamium galeobdolon variegatum. I bought the latter many years ago enchanted by Margery Fish's description of foliage and flower but have been trying my best to eradicate it ever since. You can read why I fell for it here. I have now come to the conclusion that it has got the better of me so was quite happy to snip some stems off to go in a vase - tee hee!

The vases are my recent lurking in the study finds which are now enjoying a new lease of life after years of holding pens, pencils, brushes etc. Sadly there are no more potential vases in there. With a special thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' and wishing her all the very best with her imminent wedding posies and buttonholes. You will do a grand job lass.

Monday, 18 April 2016

In A Vase On Monday ~ Blowing In The Wind

Today's 'In A Vase On A Monday' started with the very first tulip that I could bring myself to cut. Others opened a few days ago but I didn't want to snip them to bring indoors. They are planted in a large container which is situated directly opposite the kitchen window and the flowers lift my spirits when I'm at the sink on domestic goddess duties. I was quite happy to behead the tulips in the vase though as they will be in for the chop soon. Of three varieties planted in a galvanised washing tub it's the only variety that's in flower this year. I'm not sure what it is but it may be 'Couleur Cardinal'. I also picked two other tulips from the same source which are just showing colour.

The tulips's companions are narcissus 'Thalia' and a couple of lunaria that I grew from seed last year. The first is the purple leaved 'Chedworth' which is a biennial. The second is the perhaps misleadingly named lunaria annua 'Corfu Blue', which is apparently a short lived perennial. You can see it in the above photo. In the flesh the flowers have an almost luminescent quality about them. I'll be more than happy if it is perennial albeit short lived.

Also in the vase are three sprigs of euphorbia. I've always shied clear of growing euphorbias because I suffer from skin allergies. However this one grew all by itself in the garden. Gloves were worn when snipping. I don't think that it was happy though as it flopped almost immediately. Maybe it will be perk up later.

Today has seen mainly cloudy skies accompanied by gusty winds so taking a photo was challenging. Too dark indoors but outside the vase toppled over on its side, so the arrangement in the photo you see was not the intended effect. I just wanted to capture the vase before it could go flying again. The vase is the second vase that I unearthed in the study a few weeks ago. It has been used for years to store pens and pencils. I think that it may have been a charity shop find but have no clues to inform me other than 85p written on it's underneath. 

With thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for the inspiration which is much appreciated.

Friday, 1 April 2016

EOMV March 2016 - Warm Fuzzies

March began with great excitement when we caught sight of a bird in our bird box, which you can see to the side of 'Is it Bill or Is It Ben?' It was only almost five years to the day since himself set up the box complete with camera. We have in theory been able to watch live streams from Bird TV in our living room since instalment but it has never been high up the ratings until now. After a couple of years of emptiness himself moved the box. The beginnings of a nest were constructed the following spring but then something must have gone amiss as it was abandoned. So when we saw the first appearance of what looked like a leaf, followed by more nesting material and then a glimpse of bird's legs you can imagine the euphoria. However it looks as if this was the first and only glimpse of Mama Bird that we will glimpse. What was a reasonably clear picture has disintegrated into a fuzzy morass. We think that the nesting material has been pushed up right against the camera thus blocking the picture. We can hear sounds including though so we know that the box is occupied. There are no babies as yet but when they hatch we will certainly hear them tweet although we will not see any open wide beaks.

March continued with some gentle gardening activities including dividing and seed sowing. The heated sand bench in the greenhouse has gone into operation. A batch of sweet peas went in on the first of the month and then a second on Easter Day. Other sowings include achillea ptarmica 'The Pearl', aquilegia 'Miss M.I. Huish', snapdragons, cornflowers, grasses, scabious, orlaya visigna, limonium suworowii, amaranthus caudatus and cobaea scandens. The only vegetable seed sown to date are 'Onward' peas sown on St. Patrick's Day but there will be a flurry of activity in this department once we are well and truly into April. Some dahlia tubers have gone into pots but there is still a pile waiting for me to plant up. I have some concerns about the quality of the dahlia tubers I received but only time will tell. I've made a mental note though to order early this year rather than leave it to last minute.

The greenhouse is still quite full with pots of special snowdrops which need shifting out into the outer world. I've put the bigger pots out and will probably move the smaller ones out next week. They are in crates so can be shifted back under cover if any really cold weather is predicted.

March ended with a sunshine, big bumblebees afloat, a delivery of two new special snowdrops, chestnut leaves unfurling and the flowers of geranium phaeum sneaking up on me. You can catch up with other versions of March over at 'The Patient Gardener's Weblog'. Many thanks for hosting each month Helen. Now it's back to Bird TV for me and the rustling and chirping soundtrack.

Monday, 28 March 2016

In A Vase On Monday ~ Here Comes The Sun

Today's 'In A Vase On Monday' almost took off into the stratosphere whilst still in the construction stage. Although we've  fortunately been spared the excesses of storm 'Katie' it was a rather damp and blustery start to the day. 

A quick trip to check on whether there had been any new germinations in the greenhouse since yesterday was followed by a garden reccie. This revealed that some daffodils were looking rather sad and bedraggled so I made the decision to snip.

Looking most sorry for herself was the ethereal 'Thalia', which I think is my all time favourite despite her floppy tendencies. Other vase occupants that I can put a name to are 'WP Milner', 'Elka', 'Topolino' and 'Téte-à-Téte'. 'Sailboat' and 'Minnow' refused to join the party as they are only just unfurling.

I'm fairly sure that the vase has not appeared before. It usually sits in the study where it's home to my too long neglected paint brushes. It was a birthday present from a friend many moons ago. The sun motif is repeated so you see it whichever way you look at the vase. A companion holds pens and pencils and will no doubt feature as a flower vase in the not too distant future. 

A special thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who is the inspiration behind 'In A Vase On Monday'. It finally looks as if it is brightening up out there so I'm off out to potter. I'm looking forward to catching up with spring concoctions in vases both large and small when the sun goes down.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The Gardener's Cupboard

Although seed sowing and potting up has now started in earnest we are making the most of the last few long winter evenings indulging in the seasonal pleasure that jigsaws can provide. I would like to say that we always work in harmony but it's not always the case. Right hander versus left hander, different sorting techniques and my preference for having specific areas to complete can sometimes result in minor childish outbursts. However jigsaw evenings usually are most relaxing and companiable. Our latest finished opus was the 'The Gardener's Cupboard'. This is one of a series of puzzles designed by the author and illustrator Colin Thompson. His puzzles are whimsical, full of intricate detail and fiendishly difficult but all great fun. Although each is unique they feature signature cameos which are a pleasure to rediscover. This would be a perfect present for any gardening or even non gardening friend who enjoys the challenge of assembling a jigsaw. My only gripe was that there were no snowdrops in the picture! 

We are now on to what will probably be the last jigsaw for some time. It's a floral extravaganza to say the least. More information to come at future date when we've finally put all the jigsaw paraphernalia to bed. Are there any more jigsaw lovers out there?