Monday, 21 September 2015

In A Vase On Monday ~ "Sunshine On A Rainy Day"

It looked as if there might not be a vase on a Monday today as it poured down most of the morning, whilst an essential shopping trip reared its ugly head in the afternoon. There was just time though earlier this evening before cooking our evening meal to snip my very first ever chrysanthemum. I've never grown them before - I'm not sure why, but they are hopefully going to provide some welcome autumn colour. I bought a set of plug plants from Sarah Raven earlier in the year, which contained two plants of five varieties. This is 'Orange Allouise' which is certainly providing a ray of warmth and sunshine today. There are doubts in my mind as to whether all the plants are going to flower as there are still no signs of flower buds on some but I've been telling myself that they've got perhaps until November to party. I'm off to make a welcome brew now, before sitting down to some vase gazing and gawping, thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling in The Garden'.

Monday, 14 September 2015

In A Vase On Monday ~ The Chicken Or The Egg?

In this instance the chicken came along first well before the egg. The chicken was liberated from a local charity shop sometime in the previous century and usually guards the entrance to the greenhouse. I suppose that strictly speaking he's a cockerel and also that I should treat him more kindly than I do. He remains outside all year round so he must get rather chilly at times and his feathers are getting quite thin in places.

The egg 'vase' only arrived this year. I can't take credit for the idea, which I came across somewhere when I was surfing the web on one of those serendipitous journeys that come from out of nowhere. I decided there and then to have a go. Several soft boiled eggs and toasted soldiers breakfasts followed, before I had an eggshell that was intact enough to find a home for this project. I think that I may be cheating a little this week as my 'vase' does have a teaspoon or so of compost in it and it is planted. I'm not sure what Cathy will have to say on the matter.

Put together in late spring and sitting outside since, both the vase and eggshell now show signs of being exposed to the elements. I'm not sure what will happen overwinter but will find out. However I suppose that this could happily live indoors just as well as outdoors. I have plans to make more as well as one or two ideas for seasonal variations, especially for Easter time, in the pipeline.

Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her idea of getting each week off to such an eggcellent start and providing us with the means of sharing our vases.

Friday, 11 September 2015

September Musing

"The sun that shines through the mauve, check - patterned petals of the autumn crocuses on the front lawn ripens our tomatoes. This is the pride of our year. To have grown a row of tomato plants in the open, one with forty -eight fruit tumbling heavily down on it, and the rest with nearly as many! They are beautiful in their dripping clusters, with their musty acrid smell. It will be a race now between the September sun ripening them and the autumn frosts smiting them. Already I take off those fruits that have turned a dull yellow, that they may redden in the sheltered sun in our windows. It's so difficult to find the dividing line in one's garden between utility and beauty. If things are eatable they are supposed to be only useful, if they are flowers they must be needs be merely decorative. But our tomatoes are lovelier than most flowers and and if we only have to tell the truth we must say that we only grow vegetable marrows and scarlet runners for the beauty of their blooms. To eat they are dull, but to look at they are disturbingly lovely. On the other hand beautiful though sunflowers are, I doubt if we should always aim at having them in our garden if it were not to provide, with their ripened seeds, an autumn delicacy for the tits".

~ an extract from 'Four Hedges' by Clare Leighton.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Tree Following With Lucy ~ September 2015.

Hopes of a bumper pear crop this year have long since disappeared! The last bulletin on my chosen tree for Tree Following With Lucy was back in June, when the tale was related of drastic June drop and the arrival of the disfiguring pear midge. We were away in July hence no update and I'm not sure sure what happened to August's post. Now in September the sorry saga has continued. The remaining grand total of all of six pears seem to have hung in a state of suspended animation all summer. The fruits are just not swelling and it's not as if it's been a dry summer in these parts. Not only that but to add insult to injury the leaves of the tree have now been afflicted by pear rust. Not wanting to hurt my tree's feelings further I decided that the tree paparazzi would steer clear of it this month. Instead the above photo is of its neighbour rescued from a bargain bin and planted only a few feet away. It has been affected by pear rust as well but not as badly - you can see the orange marks on the leaves. I need to remove these leaves as a matter of urgency. However on the plus side the fruit is expanding and there are more than six - well nine of them to be precise. Thanks as always to Lucy over at 'Loose and Leafy', who provides us with the opportunity to peek at trees of all shapes and sizes each month. Thoughts of putting my tree up for adoption are flitting through my mind - any takers?

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.