Saturday, 28 May 2022

More May Musing - On Buttercups

" I remember once walking out hand in hand with a boy I knew, and it was summer, and suddenly before us was a field of gold. Gold as far as you could see. We knew we’d be rich forever. We filled our pockets and our hair. We were rolled in gold. We ran through the field laughing and our legs and feet were coated in yellow dust, so that we were like golden statues or golden gods ...  It was only a field of buttercups, but we were young.’

- Jeanette Winterson


Monday, 23 May 2022

IAVOM ~ More Darling Buds


Well it's that time to bring out this vase for the annual outing. Apart from this vase being on the small side it also has a very small neck. I think that it may well become one of those items that I will continue to wonder what tempted me to but it other than the words 'Darling Buds Of May'. Anyway here it is stuffed to the gunnels with some of my favourite May buds :

  • Aquilegia - this is one of the self seeders from the original 'Hensol Harebell' seeds from The Cottage Garden Society that I sowed many moons ago. Some good news on the aquilegia front is that Carrie Thomas of Touchwood Plants is back in the business of selling aquilegia seeds again. I'm most sorely tempted. 
  • Geranium phaeum - again a self seeder and perhaps not as pure white as it appears in this photo. These are such easy going  and obliging perennials
  • A trio of stems from millium effusum 'Aureum' also known as 'Bowles Golden Grass. Again a self seeder which prefers some shade as the foliage can scorch
  • Finally astrantia - variety obscured by the mist of time and many lost labels along the way. The astrantias are only just getting going here so I'm looking forward to others in different hues opening very soon too.
Thanks as always to Cathy who is firmly rooted over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her excellent hosting. It is a relatively cool but dry day here just right for some gentle pottering about and to discover what is happening out there. I hope that that you are also able to get outside to play in the dirt too. 

Monday, 16 May 2022

IAVOM ~ It's A First!


This week's vase just had to include :

  • The first ever ranunculus that I have ever managed to get to flowering stage! I have had a few attempts at growing ranunculus in the past but have never managed to get them this far. The fact that they were a named variety 'Champagne' and cost more than what I have paid for ranunculus in the past may well have something to do with it. I planted the corms in February in a tray under cover. I resisted the temptation to give the tray some bottom heat on the sand bench and watched eagerly for signs of growth. Sure enough I eventually saw signs of shooting and six of the ten corms I planted took off. They were eventually transferred to individual pots but I lost one when they were still quite small. There are more blooms to follow - not in copious quantities but they will all be treasured especially the couple that look as if they will be a coral/salmon colour when open. I haven't cracked ranunculus growing yet but will definitely be planting some claws in the autumn and hoping for sturdier plants which will produce even greater a quantity of flowers next spring,

  • Thalictrum - 'Black Stockings' I think and perennial . I planted this in 'The Lockdown Border' in 2020 and it has now really clumped up well and has several flowering stems this spring. The photo makes it look more pink than it is in the flesh. The dark stems are most attractive too,
  • Some flowers from geum 'Totally Tangerine - three of these were planted in the 'Lockdown Border' in 2021 with varying degrees of growth. The one that has been in flower since  late March seems to be on steroids and hasn't stopped flowering since. I must start to deadhead them soon.
  • A couple of sprinklings of the grass 'Briza Maxima' which has conveniently and so far considerately self seeded about here and there.
  • Lastly some of the deliciously scented biennial hesperis matronalis also known as 'Dame's Rocket'. I always think that the scent is more pronounced on a warm evening.  These were sown last June or July. 

Thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for encouraging us to share our Monday vases. I wonder what spring sparklers are in other folk's vases this week.

Saturday, 7 May 2022

May Musing

" The growth is a remarkable thing during these weeks between spring and summer. If you could hear it, there would be a tangible hum, made from a million buds breaking and stems flexing. The tide of green sweeps up and over bare earth, cloaking it as fast as the leaves fill out above us. Blink and you miss the soft marbling on the new leaves of the Epimedium and the dusty bloom of the overlaying the ruby young growth on the 'Molly the Witch'. Blink again and the first of the peonies will be open - primrose cups filled with bees.

The flurry of spring perennials starts the summer garden. One layer takes over from the next, replacing and adding like an increasingly complex textile".

From 'Natural Selection' by Dan Pearson.

If you enjoy Dan's writing and have not come across it yet he produces an excellent online gardening, growing, cooking and making magazine most Saturdays over at 'Dig Delve' together with his partner Huw Morgan. You can also subscribe to have it sent to your inbox.

May is such a beautiful month and although my favourite of the month I've noticed a distinct lack of May musing on my blog. I hope to return with another snippet or two as this magical time of year unfolds.

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Garden Diary ~ An April Catch Up

An extremely dry April looks as if she is going to exit on a last minute downpour in this part of the world which will be more than welcome with farmers and gardeners. We have had a very settled month with much in the way of sunshine but some cold nights when the fleece has come out to protect the more tender greenhouse occupants at night.

April has seen more seed sowing activity - another tray of cut and come again salad, thunbergia alata, aka Blacked Eyed Susan, Swan River daisies, nasturtiums, sunflowers 'Claret' and 'ProCut Plum', anethum graveolens 'Mariska' also known as florists' dill, moluccella laevis aka Bells of Ireland, a second sowing of cosmos 'Apricotta' and scabious 'Fata Morgana', courgette 'Atena Polka', beetroot and chard. There has been much in the way of pricking out and some hardening off of hardy annuals has taken place. March sown sweet peas are now more than ready to get into the ground. The first couple of bags have been planted with 'Charlotte' potatoes with another bag at the ready to plant.

The February planted ranunculus have flowers which is most exciting but some of the foliage is looking rather miserable so it's a case of wondering what will happen. I have never had any joy with growing these so I do so hope that these plants will turn the corner and I will be able to cut some flowers for a vase. 

 The potted snowdrops all made their way back outside at the beginning of the month to make room for seed sowing and other greenhouse activities. Dahlia tubers have been planted including some new to me varieties and are presently in pots still undercover.

It was a month of no plant purchases until we visited a local garden centre yesterday when it was warm enough to sit out in the sunshine and enjoy some lunch. Leaping into the basket gallantly wielded by himself went three lemon verbena plants, hyssop, apple mint, a tray of violas and a substantial plant of deliciously scented nemesia 'Wisley Vanilla'. 

Giving me particular pleasure this month has been the blossom on pear, apple, crabapple and amelanchier - so pretty and the display from the three pots of tulips. The most impressive has been the pot of single planting of 'Ballerina'. Two pots of mixed planting of 'Ballerina', 'Havran' and 'Purple Dream' have not convinced me especially the 'Purple Dream' which is either taller than the other two varieties or has not grown to full height in some cases and is on the pink shade of purple to my eyes. I shall tweak the combination next year.

Some of my stalwart spring flowers have been in fine fettle this month - especially brunnera, 'Solomon's Seal' and geranium phaeums. As the month departs and we enter my favourite month of the year alliums are on the point of bursting, aquilegias are slowly opening and elderflowers have just started to show. Exciting times!

Monday, 25 April 2022

IAVOM ~ 'Blue Monday'


Today's vase is part yesterday's weeding activities - a collection of just bluebells which we inherited with the garden, some bulbs more suitably sited than others.  As far as I can these are native English bluebells as opposed to Spanish bluebells, the difference between which is described here. These would have been deadheaded sooner than later to prevent them spreading further into an area which is already host to the thug that is lamium galeobdolon 'Variegatum' aka the yellow archangel. The common name seems most inappropriate as this plant is far from angelic in behaviour. The variegated leaves are visible in the above photo but none of the yellow flowers.  I have mentioned before now that I innocently looked out for this plant and welcomed it with open arms before I knew of its tendency to run everywhere. I've come to the conclusion that I will never be rid.

The vase is a recent purchase from eBay - a James Keiller & Son Ltd. marmalade jar. Keillers was established in 1797 and made a number of different flavoured marmalades until it ceased to be in 1992. The descendants of the Keiller family include the gardening writer and broadcaster Monty Don amongst their numbers.

"Enter the wood with care, my love
Lest you are pulled down by the hue,
Lost in the depths, drowned in blue"

With thanks as ever to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her steadfast hosting. Do take a peek in what is other vases this week. 

Monday, 18 April 2022

IAVOM ~ "Wearing White For Easter Tide"


Well not just white but shades of cream, green and even some red too. In this week's vase are :

  • Lunaria variegata alba - this variety of the biennial honesty obligingly self seeds so I now have a perpetual colony. The foliage is attractive too with the variegation varying slightly from plant to plant. I can't remember cutting the flowers for a vase before and somehow don't think they will have much staying power. Later in the year I will be cutting the stems down when the seeds have set and using them for seasonal decoration. I will have seeds to spare if anyone would like some.
  • A couple of stems of cornus which missed the chop out when I was pruning the shrub.
  • Narcissus 'Thalia' - possibly my favourite narcissus and one that is still going when most of its more diminutive siblings are fading.
  • The last occupant in my vase this week are stems of the tactile pussy willow catkins - none to be purloined in the immediately vicinity so I have to confess that these were bought especially for Easter.
The vase came from my mother but other than that I have no idea of its history. The little tin came supplied with little Easter eggs. The illustrations are by Arthur Parkinson who is developing a reputation as a florist, gardener and author and is is currently working on a book on keeping chickens which he has done since a young age.

My post title comes from  A.E. Housman's 'A Shropshire Lad' which includes these lines : 

" Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Easter tide"

As always a special thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who enables us to share our vases each and every Monday. I hope that you have all been enjoying the long weekend and that you have some beautiful gentle spring weather and delicious chocolates too.

Monday, 11 April 2022

IAOM ~'I Will Survive'

We had a reminder on Saturday that winter still had a sting in its tail when there was a sudden and most dramatic hailstorm.  I was inside and cosy at home at the time and wondered what the loud clattering noise was, before realising that  himself had left our bedroom window wide open so I was being treated to the additional sound effects of hail bouncing on a wooden floor. Whether that is winter's final fling remains to be seen but yesterday and today have been noticeably warmer and there is a strong pull towards the garden. In my vase this week are :
  • Tulip -   this is the only one one in the pot that has flowered so time to jettison all the bulbs. As to variety I know not what. Before the bulbs depart I thought that it only fitting to include the only survivor in this week's vase. 
  • Lunaria annua - this has arrived by itself and I'm delighted to make its acquaintance. It's in an out of the way part of the garden used as a gathering place for pots of bulbs after they have flowered. I'm hoping very much that will gently self-seed.
  •  A stem of amelanchier - variety unknown. This has made rather spindly growth but is slowly bulking out after a few years. I'm hoping to find room to tuck in another specimen somewhere . The colour of the spring foliage is exquisite. I just wish that it flowered over a longer spell but that of course is being greedy. 
  • Some hellebore flowers which have now reached the stage where you can see the seed pods forming. The colours are fading but they are still attractive. 

The hearts vase is an Emma Bridgewater creation which was purchased through eBay some time ago. I realised that it hadn't come out of the cupboard for a while so thought that it deserved an outing.

Thanks as always to Cathy whose blog can be found over at 'Rambling In The Garden'. Cathy most kindly enables us to share our vases throughout the year each and every Monday. Do visit and see what treasures are sparkling in vases created by fellow bloggers this week.