Monday, 19 November 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Taking Flight

Oh I couldn't resist snipping my last sweet pea flowers of the year for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday'. There were only two stems but they are just as precious as the big bunches that I was able to pick earlier this year. I think that this is the latest that I have ever had sweet peas in flower. Slipping into the vase with them is a couple of stems of an annual white scabious, a perennial lilac scabious and a spray of 'Blush Noisette' roses still in bud. The sweet peas and the white scabious travelled back from the allotment with me on Saturday afternoon. There was also a pleasant take a gasp of disbelief moment at the allotment in the shape of one anemone coronaria 'Sylphide' in full flower. Is this late or this early? I was and still am totally confused. It looked as if it had been open for a few days. As I was walking home to clock up the steps on the Fitbit I decided it best not to risk it coming to an unseemly end as I walked so left it to shine at the allotment. There were also raspberries at the allotment - the autumn fruiting 'Polka' variety. Needless to say these didn't come home with me but provided a most pleasant nibble whilst I worked.

Thanks as always to Cathy over 'At Rambling In The Garden' who is the garden fairy inviting us to enjoy a sprinkle of magic every week.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

(Not) In A Vase On Monday ~ A High Five

Well it's Tuesday to be precise but my plans to join in the celebrations of the fifth anniversary of the unique meme that is 'In A Vase on Monday' were thwarted. Not wanting to miss out on this auspicious occasion I'm posting a little late.

Our hostess Cathy's challenge to think outside the box and not use a vase as such this week was a challenge - much head scratching later I looked to the left when I was sitting at the computer one evening. Eureka! One of the items sitting on the bookshelf is an old wooden pencil box. The contents were removed, some green tissue paper provided a lining and it was good to go. It was a bit of a squash though for everything to fit inside so I have laid everything with more space to spare as you can see in the photo below.

      Inside my not in a vase are :
  • A 2018 vintage conker picked up from the lane that leads up from our house to the main road. There are a couple of chestnut trees in the vicinity.
  • Sycamore keys - oh they look so innocent but are a bane come spring when they seem to germinate anywhere and everywhere.
  • An empty garden snail shell which will probably be deployed sooner or later as a cane topper.
  • Some lunaria annua or honesty seedcases - emptied of their seeds. A sizeable stem remains in readiness for the festive season and seeds have been saved for future sowing.
  • French bean seeds from a crop at the allotment.
  • A stem of bleached grass and some seashells from a vase on Monday put together back in July 2015 when we were on holiday by the sea. The vase or yoghurt glass in this case also reside near the pencil case. Apart from the odd emptying and cleaning of the glass the contents look almost as fresh as they did back then.
  • My little ornamental snail previously my mother's which has appeared before in a Monday vase.
  •  A stem of calendula 'Pink Surprise' - which although most pretty seems most inappropriately named in that I fail to detect any trace of pink on the petals. Maybe wrongly suppled seed?
  •  A few berries from malus x robusta 'Red Sentinel'. The tree is still clinging on to the majority of the berries but a few are now hitting the decks.
  • Finally a lapis lazuli gemstone which is a stone of friendship. I have become interested in gemstones since coming across them through Cathy who has featured some beautiful stones as props accompanying her vases over the years. I now have a small collection of them. To me 'In A Vase On Monday' encapsulates the very spirit of friendship.  A big thanks and a high five to to you Cathy 'At Rambling In The Garden'not only for your friendship but also for all the pleasure and knowledge gained through pouring over both your vases and other blogger's vases over the last five years.

Monday, 29 October 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Just In The Nick Of Time

Yesterday's weather forecast suggested that it might be an opportune moment to do some dahlia snipping. If not the cruel jaws of hard frost might inflict some damage. Sure enough today's inspection revealed ugly blackened dahlia foliage and had I left it I think that the flower would have also looked somewhat forlorn. I'm not sure which variety of dahlia it is. It has been in a pot at home and sadly has only just got going in the flowering stakes, unlike the dahlias planted at the allotment which have flowered from mid summer onwards. Along with the dahlia are a couple of sprigs of a hardy fuchsia, which may possibly be 'Hawkshead'. It was grown from a cutting from a roadside planting taken years ago. The final occupant of my milk bottle vase is arum italicum, the emerging foliage of which took me by surprise a few days ago. There is a patch of snowdrops planted in front of it but no signs of emerging snouts as yet. Not long to wait though - I am all of a quiver with anticipation at the very thought!

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for being such an excellent hostess. 

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Monday, 22 October 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Swansong

My allotment is in a glorious state of topsy-turviness at the moment as it lurches to the close of play. I enjoyed several hours pottering about there on a balmy Saturday afternoon. Wigwams where sweet peas and beans climbed up have collapsed in on themselves and my edible crops have by and large stuttered to an end. I was still able to nibble on autumn fruiting 'Polka' raspberries and spotted a butternut squash that had escaped the radar on my previous visit. My next door plot neighbour grew them and when the foliage escaped over the dividing fence, kindly said that any squashes that grew on my side were mine to pick. In amongst all the disarray the dahlias are still shining like beacons so a bunch came home with me supplemented by one or two other companions. So my offering for 'In A Vase On Monday' includes :
  • Dahlia 'Henriette' which was new to me this year and has turned out to be a real star.  To my surprise a small indeed puny looking tuber produced a huge plant which has produced flowers all summer long. I have made a note to stake it early next year as it definitely needs support.
  • A large single soft orange single dahlia. This is a 'Bishop's Child' seedling and must be three or four years old. It has the added bonus of dark foliage. 
  • The white flowering dahlia 'Twynings After Eight' which is an old favourite again bearing dark foliage. 
  • A couple of chive flowers. Chives always have a second flush of flowers but this year's blooms are particularly floriferous. You may know that the flowers are edible although they are too peppery for my taste buds.
  • Some emerging flower heads of bronze fennel which seeds itself about the allotment but never to the extent of being a nuisance.
  • White scabious grown from seed of allegedly mixed coloured doubles which all turned out to be white. Oh well there's always next year and a different seed company .....

Our current run of mild autumn weather looks as if it will be halted in its tracks this coming weekend so I will pick more dahlias before the first frost does its damage. All the dahlias at the allotment are in raised beds so I cover them with mulch and risk leaving them in the ground over winter. Fingers crossed!

The little swan brooch you can see in the photo was made for me by my father when I was a child. Dad spent several months in hospital and learnt some new skills when he was convalescing including making costume jewellery. Sadly it has lost some stones over the many intervening years since and I must see if I can get it repaired or perhaps have a go myself.

I see that our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' is celebrating this week with a trio of firsts in her vase. Thanks as always for entertaining us Cathy and for providing the platform to share our vases. I look forward to seeing what other vases from far and wide are showing off this October Monday.

Monday, 15 October 2018

GBBD/IAVOM ~ Foxy Lady

It's a case of two for the price of one today celebrating both Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and In A Vase On Monday.

One of my plant purchases at the Southport Flower Show in August this year was tiarella 'Emerald Ellie' bred by Vicky and Richard Fox of 'Plantagogo'. This Cheshire based nursery is fairly local to me and holds the only National Collections of heuchera, heucherella and tiarella. The nursery exhibits at all the major flower shows, has earned a host of well deserved gold medals and sells very happy and healthy plants.

I was initially drawn to the plant by its striking foliage but when I found out that it bears white flowers I was even more excited. I was anticipating that it wouldn't flower until spring but then in September noticed what looked like emerging flower bearing stalks. Closer examination of the plant label told me that the plant flowers both in spring and autumn! As it is still a new plant to me I'm not sure whether it will still be in flower quite so late every year but I'm really appreciating these frothy white little spires right now. I picked a trio of flowering stems to put in a vase so that I can gaze upon them at close quarters.

With many thanks to both hostesses Carol over at May Dreams Gardens and Cathy from 'Rambling In The Garden' , for enabling us to share our blooms.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Ticket To Rye

Travelling back on Saturday from a most relaxing week's holiday in Rye on the south-east coast, we caught sight of glorious blue skies and sunshine through our train window. It was a most beautiful autumn day but any thoughts of spending Sunday pottering about outside were soon dispelled on waking. It was a decidedly cool and blustery day peppered with rain although there was an opportunity to run round and pick some flowers for today's 'In A Vase On Monday'. It was touch and go whether to risk taking a photo outside in case the vase toppled over but my mission was accomplished safely. Nothing like living dangerously.

In today's vase are :

  • Rose 'Blush Noisette' - now enjoying a second flush of colour.
  • Sprigs of purple and pink linaria. The pink variety 'Canon Went' is so much more considerate than its purple sibling when it comes to seeding itself about.
  • Persicaria 'Blackfield'.
  • A scabious - variety unknown.
  • Pennisetum 'Karley Rose' which has produced all of two inflorescences so far this year with signs of a least a couple more to come. The plant has spread in girth since planting but it is not happy. Time for a move come spring.
  • Finally aster 'Little Carlow' which is one of my favourites for its colour, late flowers and as a star attraction for pollinators. I know that it has been renamed by the horticultural powers that be but the new name totally eludes me. 

I see that our hostess the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' is also featuring some late flowering daisies in her vase today.

Conditions out there are more inviting today so after some necessary shopping it's time to pick any lingering tomatoes and to dispose of the plants. The crop of 2018 was a vintage one. Enjoy your Monday whatever you are doing.

Monday, 17 September 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Last Of The Summer Wine'

It's a speedy pick and plonk vase for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday'. I spent a pleasant few hours at the allotment on Saturday, (more chatting than working) coming home with some sweet peas amongst other pickings. I realised that I had not used them in any of my vases this year so thought it was only fair to let them have their moment in the spotlight. It's been a funny old year for my sweet peas which I grow every year and plant on cane wigwams at the allotment. I sowed two batches in deep root trainers - in early March and a mid March. Germination was abysmal with a less than fifty per cent success rate. However I think that other people had similar experiences this spring so that made me feel better. I only had enough plants to grow up one wigwam and some varieties such as the usually stalwart 'Gwendoline', who is the pinkest of pinks didn't turn up for the party at all.

Those that made it though have done well despite the drought. They did receive copious liquid refreshment every time I visited the allotment. The bunches are now getting smaller and smaller and the stalks shorter and shorter but they are still hanging on so it only seems fair to let them shine in a vase. It had been raining just before I put the vase out but then it cleared allowing the sun to come through to lift the temperature. If you look carefully at the first photo you can see a couple of small visitors enjoying a late afternoon flight and a perfumed floral encounter of a close kind.

I'm pleased to see that our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' seems to be very much in the pink this week with some late flowering lovelies from her garden.

I'm now debating whether to make an autumn sowing of sweet peas in October, so will be rummaging through my seed box tonight to see what's left and deciding whether any seed orders need to be made. Previous sowings have often produced lanky and weak specimens but one can but live in hope.

Did you grow sweet peas this year. If so what were your experiences?