Monday, 17 July 2017
It's vases in the plural this week. The first vases were picked slightly prematurely on Friday afternoon and went to other homes. Our allotment association took part in a local annual fun day on Saturday. We have been kindly invited to have a stall there for several years now. We took plants, flowers, fruit, veggies, jam and chutney to sell. All our profits go towards the cost of insuring our composting toilet on the allotment site. Friday saw me at the allotment picking sweet peas and dahlias. I picked over a hundred stems of sweet peas some of which stayed at home but there was enough to make up four bunches for the sales table. A couple of bunches were the first very sale of the day. They were bought by two young lads who had an earnest debate beforehand as to which was their favourite colour of sweet pea flower. It was the highlight of the afternoon for me! Young gardeners in the making.
Back to the allotment this morning to do more watering, weeding and picking before it got too hot. Look what was waiting for me .... yet more sweet peas!
Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for encouraging bloggers to share vases full of sunshine and flowers every Monday. Do call in to see her latest vase and to follow links to other vases from far and wide.
Saturday, 15 July 2017
Just one bloom from me today in the shape of a rose which is new to the garden this year. Back in the depths of January a birthday present arrived for me from my dear sister. She had purchased my gift from a company which sells roses that are specially named by the customer. So it came with a certificate bearing the name 'Luisa's Daughter,' in memory of my Mum who died in December last year. It arrived complete with a certificate, a photo of the flower together with planting and cultivation instructions. It opened its first flowers last weekend when I was away. I had been looking at the emerging buds willing it to open before I left but it teased me and wouldn't oblige. Still it was a delight to come home to and joy of joys as well as looking most pretty it is noticeably scented. As you can see it's also being appreciated by passing garden visitors.
Thanks as always to Carol over at May Dreams Gardens for hosting. I wonder what plants will be tempting me to add them to the wish list for future July blooms.
Monday, 3 July 2017
Today's 'In A Vase On Monday' has been put together late in the day as I've been out in Liverpool with my lovely niece. She has been a student in Manchester for the last four years and got her final results last week - a first class honours degree! We are all so proud of her especially as there as been one or two family illnesses during this time, which must have been both distracting and upsetting for her. Still she managed to get her head down and work really hard to obtaining such an excellent result. It was a pleasure to treat her to lunch today and listen to her plans for the future. She is most lively and excellent company, has a wicked sense of humour but is caring and gentle too. Himself stayed at home but we will be raising a glass to a special young lady later.
In my vase this week are :
- buddleja davidii (which originated as a cutting from my parent's garden)
- some alchemilla mollis
- a solitary stem of penstemon 'Sour Grapes
- the lilac daisy type flowers of kalimeris incisa 'Charlotte'
- the larger yellow daisy type flowers of anthemis tinctoria 'E. C. Buxton'
- a couple of stems of the curious mathiasella bupleuroides 'Green Dream', which looks exotic and tender but has proved most definitely otherwise.
Oh and I have new vase! With time to wait before our respective trains home we took a wonder round 'The Bluecoat Chambers' where the above jug caught my attention. My niece didn't persuade me to refrain.
Thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for encouraging us to share our vases each and every Monday.
Saturday, 1 July 2017
" We have our first dish of peas. The aisles of pea plants grow tall and the green walls are full of bulging pods ...... Compared with the gathering of strawberries, pea picking is is intricate, but undramatic. There is no sudden grow of crimson , no soft warmth of fruit. It is a world of shapes, pea being undistinguishable from leaf only by virtue of its bulk and form. We pick by feeling rather than by sight. The pea plant is a gentle green, deep and soft against the pale colour of the lettuces that shelter from the sun in the shade of the pea rows. Our baskets full of hard, rattling pods, we pick lettuces for salad. It is good to feed oneself from one's own earth"
Words from 'Four Hedges A Gardener's Chronicle' by Clare Leighton.
Illustration by Sara Midda from "In and Out Of The Garden".
Monday, 26 June 2017
"Here are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight:
With wings of gentle flush o'er delicate white
And taper fingers catching at all things
To bind them all about with tiny rings"
~ John Keats, 1795-1821
This year's sweet peas were spread over two sowings both in rootrainers in a cold greenhouse. The first batch was sown on 14th February and the second at the beginning of March (unable to find label with exact date but will update this post when and if I do). The plants raised from the February sowing have turned out to be the stronger although the germination rate was less than fifty per cent. I have since read an article which recommends not watering any early sowings of sweet peas until they have germinated and must remember that for next year. I think that some of those early sowing seeds rotted away. I've never sown sweet peas in February before so have nothing to compare against. The March sowings all germinated but the plants are not as vigorous.
Once hardened off the plants were planted on wigwams at the allotment with two plants to each bamboo cane. They all got a dollop of manure and some chopped up comfrey leaves when planting. I must start to feed them soon. This year's varieties include 'Matucana', 'Midnight', 'Gwendoline', 'Ewewhon', 'Eclipse', Mollie Rilestone (not in this vase), 'Noel Sutton' and 'Ballerina Blue'.
Thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for encouraging us to share our vases each Monday. I had the pleasure of seeing Cathy's magical garden last week and came away wishing that I could take it away with me. Looking forward to seeing what is in everyone else's vases today.
Monday, 12 June 2017
This week's 'In A Vase On Monday' just had to feature my new vase, bought recently at a well known supermarket for the princely sum of £3.00. The flowers within were all picked at the allotment this afternoon and are :
- Leucanthemum vulgare or ox-eye daisy growing at the back of the community greenhouse. It is also known as the moon daisy which I think is most apt as the flowers seem to be gently glowing.
- Briza maxima - growing at the front of the community hut. This self seeds in the same spot every year which is most considerate of it.
- Buddleja globosa which I've just found out is also known as the Chilean orange ball tree. These were snipped from a shrub growing near the allotment perimeter fencing. I wish that I had clocked the shrub a week or two ago as the flowers are going over but it's a part of the site that I rarely walk past. I wonder if this self seeds like buddleja davidii. A search for tiny offspring didn't produce any sightings. I will now be keeping my eyes peeled.
- Finally from my own plot a few sprigs of helichrysum italicum also known as the curry plant. Just stroke the leaves and you know how it got its common name. As somebody who pulls a face at the mere mention of curry I'm not sure why I grow it other than I'm partial to its silvery foliage. The flower is a soft yellow when in bud, before opening to reveal brighter in your face yellow, which again makes me wonder what possessed me to plant it in the first instance. Anyway I've become fond of it over the years so I daresay it's not going anywhere.
Thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who inspires to share our pickings in a vase each Monday.
Sunday, 4 June 2017
Over at Veg Plotting and as part of the Chelsea Fringe event, the lovely Michelle has extended an invitation to share a photo of our gardens or allotment plots this weekend. I've spent most of my spare time at the allotment over the last couple of days, not only working on my plot but also supporting a plant sale which was held this afternoon. Funds were raised for the allotment association, delicious cake (too much) was eaten, growing hints were shared, plans were made to exchange pears and other fruits for jars of jam but above all there was a chance to meet new faces and strengthen community spirit. Do pop over to Veg Plotting or to Twitter to peek over garden fences and allotment plots from far and wide.
Friday, 2 June 2017
Tennis elbow, driver's arm, writer's cramp, housemaid's knee .... is there such a condition as watering can neck? If not can I make a plea for it to be included in dictionaries across the land forthwith. The early part of May passed in a blur of pain, which was located at the top of my spine spreading out to my shoulders. I was unable to think of anything that could have caused it other than the increased lugging of full watering cans. Himself kindly applied foul smelling liniment to the affected parts but it was slow to abate. Needless to say gardening and other activities suffered.
The splendid trio of watering cans in the above photo are not mine but were spotted in the garden of a cottage in Bishop's Castle, Shropshire where we spent a most enjoyable weekend in the middle of the month. Another highlight of the month was a visit to Trentham Gardens, Staffordshire in the company of a good friend, where we were held spellbound by dandelion and fairy sculptures as well as a memorable display of tulips. A return visit is on the cards later this year.
Meanwhile whilst the neck pained the garden did its own thing so May was filled with the loveliness that is chestnut candles, lily-of-the valley, cow parsley, bluebells, honesty, sweet rocket, aquilegias, Solomon's Seal, alliums, tulips and geranium phaeum in various hues and shades. I hobbled in and out of the greenhouse just about keeping in top of the watering and was pleased that I've not grown as much from seed as in some previous years. For the second year running I've not sown tomato seeds but obtained them as small plants from Simpson's Seeds. Both the quality and variety choice is excellent and I'm not left with surplus plants to care for and rehome.
There's been much in the way of weeding, planting and constructing bunny deterrents at the allotment and not much in the way of eating produce. However by the end of the month there were encouraging signs that we will be picking soft fruit soon including raspberries, strawberries and goosegogs. The apple crop looks as if it will be good, shallots and potatoes are doing well so far, French beans have been planted and this weekend will see courgettes and pumpkins move from home where they have been hardening off, to being hopefully planted in their permanent positions. The non-edibles such as sweet peas are just starting to show colour which is a sure sign that summer is knocking at the door. May is without a doubt my favourite month of the year so I'm always slightly sad to see the back of it but still looking forward to the delights of June.
Monday, 29 May 2017
Today's opportunity to pick flowers and take photographs for 'In A Vase On Monday' was a race against time. Once again the weather gods have decided on rain to celebrate a bank holiday with rain. They were considerate enough to throw a dry interlude in this afternoon, although there is the promise of more wet stuff on the cards before the day is done.
In this week's vase are :
- Sprays from an inherited honeysuckle which was picked and bought home yesterday from the allotment.
- Astrantia which are now at their peak. There are two varieties in the vase, names long forgotten.
- Some wispiness in the shape of flowers from a grass that I think is some sort of sedge.
- Fading out now but still retaining a paler shade of their true colour are the pink flowers from what I think is viburnum plicatum 'Pink Beauty'. I really should have cut some of these last Monday. A big confession and a source of hang my head in shame, is that I bought the viburnum home some years ago and plonked it down at the side of the side of the cold frame whilst I decided where to plant it. Well procrastination got the better of me. It is still there, taller than me and rooted firmly into the ground. I think that an attempt to move it now might well prove fatal. I'm planning to take some cuttings this year and if they strike the progency will be allocated a more deserving spot.
Thanks as always to our hostess the lovely Cathy who is coming up with roses today over at 'Rambling In The Garden'. I'm wondering what will be starring in other vases today as spring is now well as summer is slowly nudging spring out of the way.