Monday, 27 January 2020

In A Vase On Monday ~ A Few Drops

Special visitors in the shape of a niece and her partner merited picking a few snowdrops to adorn the dining table yesterday lunchtime. This small vase was therefore a ready made choice for this week's 'In A Vase on Monday'. The snowdrops were a mixture of galanthus nivalis which are only just beginning to fully open, the lovely dainty double galanthus 'Lady Beatrix Stanley' and the mystery which is in a pot labelled 'Photo 3'. I remember taking photos of a few pots of snowdrops which had lost their labels in an effort to help me identify them. This was some time ago and 'Photo 3' is still unknown. The markings are not all identical making the challenge more difficult. For now the name 'Photo 3' remains until I can if ever come up with the real and hopefully more attractive one.

I see that our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' is also showcasing the indomitable snowdrop in her post this week. Looking forward as always to peeking at other vases.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

January Musing ~ The Year is Hatched

"They seemed to have come from nowhere, the little clutch of pale shapes, half hidden beneath the tangle of tired brown stems and flat, damp last-year's leaves. A white so bright that porcelain would seem dull by their side. I like to imagine that one of those westward-slipping, clapping, whistling lapwings that whisk up the greyest skies had broken briefly from its whirling companions to drop off a secret new year gift. But it is not the season for nesting and, in any case these six white eggs are worryingly small, oddly elongated and rather perilously suspended. Had I been keeping a closer watch, I would have seen this quiet patch pierced by tips of green, spreading and whitening as the mornings passed. Today's thin cluster will be taller and fatter tomorrow, cracking open within days into perfectly balanced broken shells. The year is hatched in the unlikely undergrowth of January, despite grey skies, despite the puddles, mud and sodden fields, despite hard frosts and harder ponds, despite the snow, despite the falling snow."

Words from 'The Brief Life Of Flowers' by Fiona Stafford.

Not as much as a single flake of snow so far here this winter. I am wondering if and when we might have a snowfall. The book is a treat!

Monday, 30 December 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Plastered Again!

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak at the moment. No I haven't imbibed too many glasses of festive sherry or Baileys but I have my right hand in plaster again. The X-rays I had back in September which revealed a broken metacarpal failed to pick up on another fracture. I went back into plaster the week before Christmas and return to the fracture clinic in the middle of January. I have a feeling though that I may be plastered beyond then but I'm trying not to think too much about that prospect.

I have therefore slightly cheated this week and am sharing a thoughtful gift of a miniature pink rose sent by a family member when she heard about my misfortune. As always thanks to our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting not only today but constantly throughout 2019. Here's to a new decade of Monday vases!

Saturday, 28 December 2019

December Musing ~ 'Today's Single Promise'

"I climb back to the village sliding on frozen puddles. They are like holes of sky in the road. A sudden blackbird alarmed skids out of a bush chipping chains of short cries behind him. A true note of winter, like an axe on a tree, a barking dog or a daylight owl, each pure and solitary in the pause of silence from which the past and future hang.

It has now turned noon and the day slides slowly from the roofs of the sloping village. It freezes harder than ivory; one can almost see it in the air as though the light was being stretched on nails. A clear cold radiance hangs over the landscape and a crow crosses it on creaking wings. The rich earth, with all its seeds and humming fields and courtships, is now closed and bound in white vellum. Only one colour remains, today's single promise, pricked in red over the ashen world - seen in a flitting robin, some rosehips on a bush, the sun hanging low by the wood, and through the flushed cottage windows the berries of the holly and the russet faces of the feasting children."

Words from 'Village Christmas And Other Notes on the English Year' by Laurie Lee.

Illustration - Inga Moore.

Monday, 16 December 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Golden Brown

Golden brown? Well perhaps slightly dusty and faded frippery would be a more accurate description of the contents of this week's 'In A Vase On Monday'. The star of the show is a small bunch of scabious stellata 'Sternkugel' which was grown at the allotment in the summer of 2016. They featured in a vase in February 2017 after which I had intended to throw them into the green bin but somehow or the other they have lingered on the windowsill of our utility room. They have become rather fragile in the meantime so I will be ruthless very soon. Time to grow them again next year perhaps. When in flower I was not particularly keen on the flowers which were an insipid pale blue but I was struck by the attractive seed heads. Keeping them company and rescued from the greenhouse are heads of papaver 'Lauren's Grape' and a sprig of lunaria annua. Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden'. I wonder what other folk have come up with in their mid - December vases this week - it's certainly a challenging time of year to bring outside in.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Almost Wordless Wednesday ~ Fernery

Our visit to RHS Garden Harlow Carr last month coincided with an exhibition entitled 'Seventy Days Of Sculpture', to celebrate the garden's 70th birthday. Sculptors from throughout Yorkshire exhibited their work. Sadly the weather and my camera played up on our visit. We only managed to see a handful of the sculptures on display. I used my phone camera to take one or two snaps before the blue skies turned to a leaden grey peppered with drizzle and that together with a biting wind saw us retreating inside. This sculpture is one that I would have dearly liked to take home with me and is the work of James Wilkinson an artist blacksmith based in North Yorkshire.

Monday, 2 December 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Message In A Bottle'

I've moved the goalposts for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' and have come inside. When all is said and done there is very little in flower out in the garden now. The hard frosts of the last few nights have done their damage to whatever colour was lingering.

We celebrated a wedding anniversary this weekend and to mark the occasion himself bought me a gift. Last year he kindly treated me to a beautiful orchid with small white flowers. I've amazed myself by managing to keep it alive to this very day. It was in full flower when he bought it and has a second flowering period since although the spikes have gone over in the last couple of weeks or so. When he asked me what I might like this year I suggested an orchid to see if I can keep another one going. I've never had much joy with orchids but always envied my mother's collection which grew and flourished over many years. Anyway himself presented me with a most pretty orchid, which has taken me by surprise as it is growing in a bottle. I'm really not quite sure how I'm going to keep this one ticking over. The only care instructions are to place a couple of ice cubes on the growing medium each week. Any advice would be very welcome. I will report back this time next year!

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her weekly invitation to share our flowers on a Monday.

Monday, 25 November 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ A Backwards Glance

It's a backward glance for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' with some sweet peas picked back in the already distant days of summer. The photo was taken at the end of July, just after we had got back from our holiday in Wales. I'm not sure why I didn't post it at the time but maybe I was just busy catching up with various odds and ends.

It was very much a case of a tale of two wigwams when it came to the sweet peas this year which were all grown as usual at the allotment. The wigwams were constructed in raised beds on opposite sides of the path that runs down the allotment. The first lot were sown at the beginning of March, whilst the second batch were sown in the middle of the same month. They were all sown in the same compost under cover in deep root trainers.

On planting at the allotment the earlier sown plants never really flourished. They grew and produced flowers but the plants were straggly and the stems were short. Wigwam Two on the other hand generously produced flowers with the bonus of long stems. However even wigwam 2 didn't produce the sheer volume of flowers that I had picked the the previous year despite the drought conditions. On reflection I think that it may have been down to the extra special attention that I paid to my sweet peas during that long hot summer.

As usual I sowed a small number of several varieties of sweet peas. I forgot to note the contents of this year's mix at the time but they definitely included some constants including 'Gwendoline', 'Erewhon', 'Eclipse', 'Mollie Rilestone' and 'Matucana' which is possibly my favourite. I'm already looking forward to choosing next year's assortment.

The vase is one that has been used before and is a small Emma Bridgewater pink hearts milk bottle acquired via eBay.

A peek over at 'Rambling In The Garden' reveals that our hostess Cathy has concocted a vase containing visions of summer and all in real time rather than a retrospective. A real treat for the eyes lightening up a dreary November afternoon. I'm looking forward to seeing what magic there is in other vases this week.