Monday, 27 June 2016

In A Vase On Monday ~ Feeling Blue


The intended main stars for this week's vase played up. Firstly the dahlias wouldn't oblige, with just one open flower of 'Snowflake' and one almost open flower but name forgotten dahlia at the allotment. It was interesting to watch the race with the newly planted in a pot 'Snowflake' getting there first. The allotment dahlia has come through the winter in the ground and is going to be a sizeable plant this year. Still one dahlia does not a vase make so I was most pleased to see three flowers of anemone coronaria 'Mr Fokker'. However in my haste I cut one stem too short and beheaded the other two flowers. The air was blue never mind my vase. 

So in this week's vase are cornflowers 'Blue Ball' and 'Black Ball" and sweet peas from the allotment.  In need of a high vis vest a couple of sprigs of vetch, which I picked from a patch growing just outside the allotment on my way out this afternoon. If you screw your eyes hard enough you can just about see them. Finally from the garden some foliage in the shape of lonicera 'Baggesen's Gold' and a trio of the tantalising geum 'Totally Tangerine'.

The vase is yet another new acquisition from a trip into Chester last week for a hair cut. I have to pass a charity shop from the front window of which two vases waved at me. I think that this one is possibly a milk jug. 

With a special thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting 'In A Vase On Monday'.

Monday, 20 June 2016

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Sumer Is Icummen In'


Leaping into this week's summer solstice vase is a mish-mash of pickings from both allotment and garden. Firstly from the allotment there are a few sweet peas which were sown in two batches in the spring. These pickings are from the 1st March sowings. The dull wet weather of the last week or so hasn't prompted many more flowers so I've not been able to pick enough to fill a vase yet. Still a few with their scent are more than welcome. Cornflower 'Blue Ball' has now joined its flowering black flowered sibling. What you can't see in the photo is that many of the stems are wavy. I've not grown cornflowers for years and can't remember if this is the norm. Finally from the allotment the first flowers of anemone coronaria 'The Bride' which is every bit as charming to me as 'Sylphide' though obviously more subtle in colouring.

Cathy from 'Words and Herbs' commented on my post last week wondering when anemones coronaria normally flower in the UK. As they are new to my planting experiences I've done some research. In her most comprehensive tome 'Bulb' Anna Pavord writes that "They flower about three months after sowing so if you start them in March you will have flowers in June and July; a June planting provides a September show. Plant in September or October for a traditional display in early spring". Now there's food for thought. I'm sure I had some left overs and although June is well advanced it's worth a go.

Joining the allotment brigade are some astrantia the identity of which has long since vanished in the mists of time. This is an astrantia that seeds about a fair bit and that makes me sneeze. It has the aroma of a left too long to linger damp face cloth. Other than that it's most attractive. The vase is residing in the hall so it's anti-social effects will be minimised.


Rosa 'The Fairy' seems to be flowering very early this year so I've tucked a little spray in. Lagurus ovatus also known as 'Bunny's Tail Grass' were sown in March and are now a picture of fluffiness. The name says it all. Finally some linaria purpurea otherwise known as purple toadflax. Yes this seeds everywhere but is still a delight. 

As it is a celebratory vase out came one of the new ones. We saw this in a shop window in Grange-Over-Sands, Cumbria earlier this month. My eyes were drawn to it immediately and an instant decision was made to make a purchase. I hurtled to the shop door only to find that it was shut! It turned out to be a shop that's only opens for a couple of days a week and later in the week at that. A note in the window suggested that if you wanted to purchase an item that you could knock on the front door round the corner but my knock wasn't answered. At this point I was thinking that it was not meant to be as I was returning home the next day. Fortunately himself was staying in the area for another couple of days and was able to return to the shop on the morning it was officially open. The vase was still there and came home with him. There are no clues to its origin on the base.

It's a BIG thank you as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting and nurturing the 'In A Vase On Monday' meme so admirably. A quick peek reveals that her vase this week is a lovely tribute to her blogging friends. I wonder what other participants will include in their vases this week. As always I will have pen and paper to hand when I visit later. Meanwhile I'm off to have a rootle for those leftover anemone corms. Surely the unseasonal rain must stop some time today so that outdoors play can be resumed. Sumer is Iccumen In!

Monday, 13 June 2016

In A Vase On Monday ~ Shocking Pink


A visit to the allotment this weekend yielded treasures including the first flowerings of sweet peas, anemones and cornflowers. There were not enough sweet peas to cut for a vase but I was able to pick a couple of anemone coronaria 'Sylphide' and a couple of cornflower 'Black Ball' blooms for today's vase.

It is thanks to Sarah over at 'Homeslip' that I planted corms of 'Sylphide' earlier this spring. I had been smitten since seeing them on her blog. I'm not sure why I have never planted anemone coronaria before and feel that I've been missing out out for years. Working out which way to plant the somewhat wrinkled claw shaped corms was most intriguing. I started them off in pots on the heated sand bench in the greenhouse sometime in March. They were then hardened off before being planting out in a raised bed at the allotment where I grow sweet peas and other flowers. That planting out took place about three weeks ago yet the flowers took me by surprise. They seemed to just suddenly appear out of nowhere. In another raised bed anemone coronaria 'The Bride' is showing colour and hopefully the blue 'Mr Fokker' will follow soon. I'm delighted with 'Sylphide' so many thanks for the introduction Sarah.

The cornflowers were sown on 17th March with 'Black Ball' opening ahead of 'Blue Ball' although the latter are showing colour. Also in the vase are some stems of briza maxima which were foraged from the allotment site. They grow in profusion in front of the community hut. I've sown and planted some at home too but they are not as advanced. I'm not sure whether this is a wise move seeing how prolifically they self seed ..... time will tell.

Joining the allotment pickings are a single stem of rosa' Burgundy Ice', some astrantia 'Gill Richardson' and astrantia 'Hadspen Blood'. 'Gill Richardson' is my favourite deep red astrantia producing large and sturdy flowers.


Also in the vase some fluffy pink persicaria bistorta 'Superba', which left just enough room to slip in stems of the shrub physocarpus opulifolius, variety uncertain but probably 'Diablo'. The plan is to fish the latter out later to try and strike cuttings.

I was also delighted to come home with the first strawberries of the season but they didn't last long enough to be included in any photos.


Although I have acquired a record three new 'vases' in the last week, I'm using an old favourite given to me by my mother after a cupboard clearing session. The new additions came about from a visit to Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria. They include what must be a candidate for the world's heaviest empty teapot. No doubt you will meet them all soon.

I see that our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' is feeling rosy today. Do pay her a visit.

Monday, 6 June 2016

In A Vase On Monday ~ Sweet Days and Roses


The contents of today's vase were picked quickly on what is a very hot afternoon and shade was hard to locate in order for a photo to be taken. Following a few day's absence from home I returned on Friday to be surprised by many openings in the garden including the first roses. The roses you can see above are from the condemned 'New Dawn' which I threatened with the chop last summer. For some reason I did not act on my words and 'New Dawn' has rewarded me by looking more prolific than she has done for some years. Tucked in the vase with her are some sprays of elderflower. This shrub conveniently leans towards the edge of the garden, from the other side of the stream, where it conveniently grows. Its flowers glow as the light fades on summer evenings. I was tempted to add some pink tinged astrantia into the mix but there was no room.


The 'vase' comes from my small collection of flowery china and is intended as a milk jug. This crockery has been purchased over the years from a number of charity shops. The exact details of where it came from have long since vanished from memory.

Lending its name to the post title a book which hits the right note for browsing on a day such as this is 'Sweet Days and Roses : An Anthology of Garden Writing', edited by Leslie Geddes- Brown. It's a well illustrated mix of both prose and poetry. This book is no longer in print but second hand copies can be tracked down. Now all that's need to complete the scene is a long refreshing cool drink. Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who is the enabling force behind 'In A Vase On Monday'.  Vase hopping here I come.

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.