Monday, 19 October 2020

IAVOM ~ In The Pink

The post title accompanying 'In A Vase on Monday' this week is a reference to both the colour of the flowers within as well as to my return to my usual self. Thanks to all of you who offered good wishes and a speedy recovery after my last post. I really fall down with a good whack so although there was fortunately nothing bruised or broken I was very stiff and ached for a good few days afterwards. Fortunately normal service has been more or less resumed. I have enjoyed pottering about in the garden this just gone mild and dry weekend. I've surprised myself by making a start on planting my bulbs and actually enjoying it for once. I often manage to delay this task until early winter (quite often sporting numb fingers whilst planting) but there is no stopping me at the moment. A box of bulbs from Peter Nyssen arrived last Monday and inroads have been made into them. The tulips will have to wait until November though. I think that I'm relishing this task this year as last year bulb planting was out of bounds for me with my dominant right arm encased in plaster. Himself planted whilst I directed which I'm sure you will agree is not quite the same.

I've moved my vase indoors this week as my usual vase perch has had its leafy background decimated for now. The willow tree has just been pollarded again after some eight and half years or so ago since its last encounter with the tree surgeon. There were too many branches encroaching in the direction of the roof. In my vase this week are just the two specimens :
  • Lathyrus odaratus 'Gewndoline' - I dismantled the remaining sweet pea wigwam yesterday and there were still a few defiant flowers clinging on. Most of them were too moth-eaten to pick but I thought that these few deserved to be cherished for a day or two longer. ' Gwendoline' is one of the strongest sweet peas I've grown, always performs well and has superb long stalks for use in vases. She is also highly scented which is a must. All my sweet peas were sown in the middle of March and only really got going in July.
  • 'Panicum capillare 'Sparkling Fountain' is the second component in the vase.  This half-hardy grass was started from seed sown in the greenhouse on 5th March. The inflorescences really do sparkle on sunny days and it has grown well in pots this year although it is going over now. I think that it is possibly my favourite out of the handful of grasses I grew from seed this year.
Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for being the perfect hostess. I hope that everyone has a good week and makes the most of the daylight before it goes! 

Monday, 5 October 2020

IAMOM ~ Glowing Embers


The flowers for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' were picked on Friday afternoon in anticipation of a weekend of extremely wet weather. Saturday indeed saw heavy rain from when I pulled the curtains back to when I went to bed. In the afternoon the wind strengthened and it was absolutely the most dire day you could imagine. Hunkering down was definitely the order of the day. Sunday however defied the weather forecast when the rain stopped and the wind had died down. There was sunshine and blue skies and I had plans. Well I had plans until I went out to throw some odds and ends into the recycling bin and suddenly felt my feet slip from underneath me. I landed on my back. Luckily as I didn't get any warning I did not put my hands out to save myself and managed to keep my head up. Luckily I was saved from any serious injury by my ample posterior. Still I was rather stiff for the rest of the day and still am so have been taking it easy. We think that a wet leaf was the culprit so be careful out there!  My vase contains :

  • Some rudbeckia hirta 'Sahara' flowers - I have already featured these flowers in a couple of vases this year. Grown from seed back in February they have been a joy. They have not needed any support but I did notice on Friday that some of the stems had been toppled over by previous inclement weather earlier in the week so decided to pick some whilst the going was good. I will be leaving the plants in the ground to see if they come through the winter. If things are not looking encouraging the heated propagator will be kickstarted towards the end of February.
  • A flower of dahlia 'Chat Noir' which I have never grown before. How remiss of me as it's a beauty. Apparently it has a long vase life so I shall be checking if that is the case.
  • Finally some stems of the perennial persicaria 'Blackfield' which I used in a vase back in July and which is still going strong. Although I'm not struck on the foliage the length of its flowering time is a winner. Perhaps a stem of persicaria 'Firetail' might have been more appropriate in view of what was to happen to me.
The vase is also a hardy perennial and in a former life before 'IAVOM' was used to store either pens or watercolour paintbrushes in the study.

I am still not sure about new Blogger but am getting there slowly. I've noticed recently though that I'm having some issues on commenting on Wordpress blogs and sometimes have to try a few times before I succeed. Sometimes changing my browser from Chrome to Safari does the trick. I'm wondering whether this is because of the Blogger changes or is a completely unrelated issue. 

As always a big thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who gets us together every Monday all year round to share our vases.

Monday, 28 September 2020

IAVOM - Into Autumn

Well what a change in the weather from one Monday to the next when a balm sunny  day has morphed into a decidedly chilly and windy mode. The first day of autumn was beautiful but then it went downhill from there albeit there has been a brief let up over the last couple of days to allow some gardening activities. I've dismantled one of the sweet pea wigwams this afternoon leaving the one still standing as there may be a couple more small vases  left in it. In my 'In A Vase On Monday' this week are just a couple of occupants :

  • The first is from the shrub lonicera 'Baggeson's Gold'. We have just removed an overgrown specimen of this to make room for a construction project. Details to follow soon. However we still have access to pickings from a hedge of the same plant which belongs to the neighbours but we have access to prune it.
  • The second is a few stems of one of my favourite late flowering perennials in the form of the tuberous begonia grandis subsp. evansiana 'Alba'. Despite its delicate appearance this is a toughie flowering from late summer until the early frosts. It does self-seed but never enough to be a nuisance as seedlings are easily recognised and in my experience fall close to the parent. The leaves have red undersides. There is also a pink version which has larger flowers which are just opening now. I can't remember if this is the normal course of things. These plants appears extremely late in the day and I have often fretted in the spring that I've lost them so patience is absolutely essential. I have never picked the flowers for a vase before so will be interested to see how long the flowers last.


I am still getting used to the vagaries of the new Blogger platform in particular with resizing photos so please bear with me if any of them or the text appears a but squiffy. Meanwhile over at 'Rambling In The Garden' Cathy our hostess has jellies and cakes for our delectation today. I could certainly tuck in to them right now. Do pop over there if you haven't already.

Monday, 21 September 2020

In A Vase On Monday ~ Summer's Last Swansong

My 'In A Vase On Monday' this week is a tribute to the very last day of summer and was picked in most beautiful weather yesterday afternoon. We have been blessed with some most glorious settled weather for the last week or so which is set to make way for more of an autumnal feel as the week progresses. We are forecast much cooler temperatures and what will be some welcome rain.

In my vase this week are :
  • Sweet peas - the two toned one is 'Erewhon' whilst the other is 'Noel Sutton'. I mentioned in an earlier post this year that my sweet peas sown in mid March seemed very late to start flowering. However once they got going they have more than made up for it. I planted them at home this year rather than at the allotment so they have been close to hand for picking. Perhaps not in the best position as they proved rather challenging to pick at times and I have to avail myself of himself's extra height and longer arms. A new position will be sought next year. They are slowly dwindling to a close now but will be allowed a while longer before going into the green bin. Not enough room left in the bin now before it gets wheeled up ready to be collected tomorrow morning.
  • Some sprigs of an old favourite herbaceous perennial clematis in the shape of clematis jouiana 'Praecox'. This is a sprawler in my garden but can climb too given support. It is great for late summer colour and is beloved by bees and butterflies. Its one big minus is that it dies disgracefully and sadly will soon begin its annual journey in the direction of dormancy.
  • Lastly a single rose in the shape of 'Wollerton Od Hall'. She is a most delicate appealing shade and is supposed to have a strong scent. Unfortunately I am unable to pick up on much scent although I must admit that after some nasal problems my sense of smell is not as good as it was. However to me her scent definitely pales in comparison with 'Gertrude Jekyll'. 'Wollerton Old Hall' is a David Austin rose and is named after the outstanding garden of the same name in Shropshire. I have been lucky enough to visit there twice with himself and once with a local gardening club. I'm hoping very much to make another visit next year and would urge anyone to do so should you find yourself in Shropshire.

The vase is a cheap and cheerful purchase from a well known supermarket some time ago.

Thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy who pampers and cherishes her flowers over at 'Rambling In The Garden'. I'm off to recover now over the shock of legacy Blogger completely disappearing. There had been enough warnings but it seems that sadly Blogger have finally pulled the plug. I will be heading back into the garden to relish this beautiful last day of summer.

Monday, 14 September 2020

IAVOM ~ Mellow Yellow

Gathering flowers for today's 'In A Vase On Monday' was fun with a heavy dew and spiders conspiring against me. The it came to taking a photo and the flowers flopped and the sun was too bright but here we have a few ingredients from what is still flourishing during these last few days of summer. You might be able to make them all out if you squint your eyes :

  • Anthemis tinctoria 'E.C Buxton' also known as Dyer's chamomile - a beautiful perennial daisy which starts off as a slightly too bright yellow but redeems itself as the flowers mature and fade in colour. It seems trouble free and flowers over a long spell. I would love to know who E.C. Buxton was.
  • Mainly faces looking down is the annual cosmos 'Pink Lemonade' which was grown from seed this year and is unlikely to be on my seed list next year. I could not take to this cosmos.
  • Some wispiness from seed grown hordeum jubatum or squirrel's tail grass. I planted a few of these and will keep my fingers crossed that they return next year. I also have a few left overs in pots which I will overwinter in the cold frame.
  • The annual nasturtium 'Milkmaid' which again was grown from seed, a free packet from a gardening magazine. Last year she was at the allotment but this year she has been in the garden where she has developed a bit of a climbing habit. She will definitely be on next year's seed list which is already in the making. 
Thanks as always to our steadfast hostess Cathy who blogs over at 'Rambling In The Garden'. Her post this week has a little person stealing the show. Do take a peek if you haven't already! Here after spending a good part of a beautiful day in the garden I notice that I have bitten a few times but it has been worth the price. Now off in search of some calming lotion to apply to my wounds.

Monday, 31 August 2020

IAVOM ~ Hanging On In There

It's Monday - the last bank holiday of the year and time for 'In A Vase On Monday'. As I was in danger of being edged out of my usual photographic perch by a power washer it was a case of the quickest of snips this morning.

Both snips are from plants that have been badly treated, one by human hand and the other by the elements :

  • Rosa 'Boscabel' - this was a new purchase from David Austin in the autumn of 2018. She came in bare root from and was planted in a pot for convenience. This was supposed to be short term and much to my shame she is still in the pot. Even worse than that she had been pushed almost out of sight but still has managed to hold on and flower. I have promised her better. She is a beautiful soft coral pink and has a most pleasant scent.
  • Tucked in behind her is a snip of the half-hardy grass 'Panicum capillare 'Sparkling Fountain'. This was grown from seed sown in the greenhouse on 5th March. It certainly more than lives up to its name especially on sunny days. This snip was taken from a plant that was looking most splendid in a pot with companions, until it was knocked sideways in the first of this month's two named storms. Fortunately it has perked up and still lives to tell the tale. It didn't over winter this year so maybe another sowing will be in order next spring. 
A BIG thanks as always to host Cathy who blogs over at 'Rambling In The Garden'. Time soon for lunch and the plan then is to have a peaceful afternoon out in the garden before finally placing my bulb order tonight. No bank holiday traffic jams for us especially this year!

Monday, 24 August 2020

IAVOM ~ The Calm Before The Storm

It has been a beautiful late summer's day here with blue skies, sunshine and the most perfect temperature. The green bin has been filled almost to the brim ready for collection in the morning and this afternoon's trip to the allotment resulted in patty pan squashes, French beans, beetroot and a ruck of apples coming back home with us. The apple picking session was deemed an urgent task in view of the named storm that is heading our way tomorrow bringing heavy rain, thunder and gale force winds in its wake. Still it was lovely to breath in summer today. 

In my 'In A Vase On Monday' this week are :

  • A couple of roses. The larger flower of the two is the rose my sister had named after my mother namely 'Luisa's Daughter"and then sent to me as a birthday present. I've picked her flowers for vases before and they have always been a creamy deepening into a pale soft yellow colour. This year though odd things have happened and she is sending out some very pink buds which are opening to a pale pink flower. Most peculiar. The other deeper pink rose is an emerging bud from 'Evelyn', a new rose purchase this year from Davis Austin. 'Evelyn' has a most intense perfume and reminds me of the roses we picked as children to make rose perfume with. Somehow the promise of rose perfume never lived up to the expectation and the liquid from many a jar laced with decayed petals was tossed aside before winter. 

Update - since posting I've realised that the second rose is 'Gertrude Jekyll' and not 'Evelyn'.
  • Orlaya grandilora - the flowers of this annual come from the batch I sowed in May. This is the first year that I have grown these and I will be sowing another batch in the next week or so for an earlier flowering next year.
  • Some sweet peas which are still producing after their late off the starting block days. I hope that their respective wigwams are up to a bit of buffeting from the wind tomorrow.
  • A couple of flowers from cosmos 'Pink Lemonade' which I don't think that I will grow again. I only planted five of the plants and all have produced different sizes and colours of flower with only one looking anything like the flower pictured in the seed catalogue! An annual with a lot of hype to it's name or am I being harsh?
  • A sprig of the perennial thalictrum delavayi var. decorum. I love it's soft colour and airy ways.
  • Finally a few bits of the perennial eurybia divaricata also known as the white wood aster. It flowers in late summer and is a shade lover. 
My vase this week is a little milk jug, origin lost in time but probably bought from a local charity shop.

With many thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for the inspiration for sharing our vases on Mondays. Do have a peek there if you haven't already and be prepared to be dazzled and delighted by a wealth of flowers laced with generously shared knowledge and tips.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

August Musings


"There is no question of me trying to reform my reaction to the major smell that starts at the end of August to dominate the house in autumn - apples.

I was sitting down at my desk on a rather dull day when this strong mouth-watering perfume filled the room. I had no flowers on my desk. I turned my head and remembered I had bought a big bag of Discovery apples and piled them in a bowl on the window-sill, for their brightness as much as anything...... Another interesting smell that lingers in the house for some time comes from the making of crab apple jelly. It has a faint clovey tang to it. 

The elderberry with its irony smell had also succeeded to the fragrant flower. The bullaces, the sharp wild plums are brightening some hedges with their orange-red where the traveller's joy has become the old man's beard, a soft curly silver beard when the flowers have just gone over into seed.

So August is the beginning of the gathering season as well as the harvesting of cultivated crops. There are lighter sweeter smells as well from two plants that will have a resurgence now if you pick sedulously earlier on - sweet peas and wild strawberries. Mingled with these are the stringent smells of nasturtiums, tomatoes, bonfires, new feverfew leaves, poppy stalks. How can anyone, how can I think of August as a dull month?"

Photo - some of my 'Katy' apple crop 2017.