Monday, 22 May 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ Chive Talking


We've officially marked the end of winter when it comes to our Sunday evening meals. I persuaded himself yesterday, not without difficulty, that it was time to move on from traditional roast dinners to salads. A visit to the allotment in the morning provided me with the chance to pick some chive leaves to garnish new potatoes and the flowers shouted out at me to pick them for a 'In A Vase On Monday'. I also did this in the knowledge that removing the flower stems is beneficial for the vigour of the plant, so there were no pangs of guilt when I cut the flowers off.

Chives along with thyme must have been the first herbs that I ever grew, initially in the garden before I had an allotment. Their flowers have always given both me and the bees great pleasure. As you probably know the petals of the flowers are edible too but they are too hot and strong for my taste buds. I once had a very pretty white flowering chive plant sadly long since gone to that big plant compost heap in the sky. I must seek out a replacement.

Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting.

Monday, 15 May 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ The Twilight Zone


This week's 'In A Vase On Monday' was picked and photographed late yesterday evening prompting the title of the post. It was a rush to get there before the sun went down. The weather forecast for today suggested that we might have rain throughout the day, so I thought that I would assemble my vase in advance. As it has turned out so far today a wet start has given way to a substantial dry interlude. However hopefully we will have more of the wet stuff later. The garden is already looking happier for what has already come down, after what has been a prolonged dry spell. It's not often that the watering can comes out in April and May but that has happened this spring. In my vase are :
  • Aquilegias - over the years the original aquilegias I introduced into the garden have morphed into an annual lucky dip of different colours, shades and forms. Occasionally mucky shades emerge but they are easily dealt with by snapping their heads off. Each year usually brings the unexpected - this year in the shape of pompoms of pink and also a pale blue which I could not bring myself to snip.
  • The fluffy pink spikes are persicaria bistorta 'superba' which used to be called by the more memorable name of polygonum bistortum 'Superbum'.
  • A couple of stems of convallaria majalis also known as lily-of- the-valley. 
  • The white daisies are erigeron mucronatus - yet another plant that has had a change of name over the years. I think that it would be hard to beat this plant for sheer length of flowering, from very early spring until the frost gets to them.
  • Lastly the pink cow parsley like pimpinella major rosea - well at least I think that is what it is. I also grow chaerophyllum hirsutum, which has similar flowers but in a different shade of pink and every year I struggle to remember which is which. Whatever name it answers to it's one of my favourite late spring flowering perennials, being easy to grow and seemingly pest free.

    Well whatever is happening out there it's time for me to get back outside to the shelter of the greenhouse where urgent potting on awaits. You know that sense of mounting pressure that an explosion might be imminent unless you act!

    Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting. A quick peek reveals that her vase this week is a pretty vision in shades of pink, white and green. I will vase hop later with pen and paper by my side as usual.

    Monday, 1 May 2017

    In A Vase On Monday ~ "As I Roved Out One Fine May Morning"


    So here we are in the month of May already - the fairest month of the year. I would like to say that it dawned fair here but it was rather grey and damp earlier on. However it is definitely brightening up now so I will be heading out into the greenhouse and garden very soon. In my vase celebrating the arrival of May are anthriscus sylvestris or cow parsley, geranium phaeum, narcissus 'Thalia' (there are some advantages to a late planting) and a double flowered tulip by the name of 'Antraciet'. The tulip is a first time round experience which will definitely be repeated. Sadly most of my bulb order didn't get planted last autumn but this one did and I'm delighted with it


    Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' ,who is the ever constant inspiration behind 'In A Vase On Monday', such a pleasant way to kick-start the week.

    Wednesday, 19 April 2017

    Almost Worldless Wednesday ~ Not On Tonight's Menu



    Spotted last night growing on our gravel driveway leading to the garage a new to me mushroom. We regularly come across mushrooms growing in the garden but usually in the autumn. My initial research suggests that this might be a common morel, which is a much sought-after edible mushroom. However with no definite identification it was left to passing woodlice and their friends for their supper. Any mycologists about? 

    Saturday, 15 April 2017

    Easter Lilies


    Think Easter flowers and daffodils come straight into my mind. It's a late Easter this year and the daffodils are already fading away. Before thoughts of them go over the horizon completely, I wanted to post about a veritable host of daffodils that we had the pleasure to see on our last trip to the Lake District.


    This year we were spot on with our timing to catch the the wild daffodil at the peak of perfection 'Narcissus pseudonarcissus' is also known as the Easter lily, Lenten lily, daffy and daffydowndilly. They are the daffodils mentioned in the famous opening lines of William Wordworth's poem :

    "I wandered lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
    When all at once I saw a crowd, 
    A host of golden daffodils;
    Beside the lake beneath the trees, 
    Fluttering and dancing in the breeze"



    The poem was inspired by a walk that Wordsworth had taken with his sister Dorothy on the shores of Ullswater. She records in her journal on the 15th April 1802 that "When we were in the wood beyond Gowbarrow Park we saw a few daffodils close to the water-side...... But as we went along there were more and yet more ...... I never saw daffodils so beautiful. They grew among the mossy stones about and about them; some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness; and the rest tossed and reeled and danced, and it seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind, that blew upon them over the lake; they looked so gay, ever glancing, ever changing".


    We didn't go to Ullswater to see wild daffodils but to the beautiful church of St. Anthony's, Cartmel Fell, which was built in 1502.


    Here we paused for some considerable time in the churchyard, gazing at the daffodils and listening to the sound of silence, broken only by nectar seeking bees and by birdsong. Simply quite magical.

    Monday, 10 April 2017

    In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Small is Beautiful'


    The flowers in today's 'In A Vase On Monday' are lathyrus vernus or the spring pea which is one of my favourite early spring flowering perennials, not just for the flowers, but also for its attractive fern-like foliage. Oh and there's also the bonus that it seems to be pest and disease free (says she whispering softly). I wanted to pick a few blooms before all the flowers had gone over. Some are already developing seed pods. This year I'm determined to collect seed which always seems to manage to evade me.

    The little vase has come from my Mum's house and is one of a number that she painted herself. It's teeny, tiny being all of two inches high but just the right companion for dainty blooms.

    Thank you as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting.

    Monday, 3 April 2017

    In A Vase On Monday ~ Take Two


    Today's 'In A Vase On Monday' morphed into something else in the making thereof. An allotment visit yesterday revealed some anemone caen 'Syphide' flowers in full fettle, so these were picked to be the star of today's vase. They were joined by a trio of tulips (one seems to be photo shy) from the pots that time forgot and some lunaria annua 'Chedglow'. Something didn't seem quite right though - the penny was not long to drop. Whilst 'Sylphide' looks brilliant growing at the allotment the flowers are a very much in your face pink and dominated the vase at the expense of its companions. A touch of light was needed - either pink or white or the anemones needed to shed their company. A flying trip to the allotment late this morning provided the answer in the shape of some white blossom along the road leading to the site. There was such a profusion of blossom that I didn't feel guilty snipping the odd branch for my vase. I'm not sure what the blossom is although I know that there are some cherry trees along the road.


    The vase is an old favourite which my Mum gave me many moons ago after I came across it lurking in a cupboard.

    As always thanks to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who is the muse behind this great way to start off the week.

    Saturday, 1 April 2017

    End Of Month View ~ March 2017

    BEFORE
    I hadn't realised that a whole year had passed without me posting an End Of Month View, which has been most remiss as it's a great meme for keeping track of new developments in the garden and allotment. So I'm back with one day in March which just happened to be the last day of the month. I can't remember how the month started but here it did go out like a lamb. It was one of those days when it was blissful to be working outdoors.

    I decided to make a start on planting up a section of the garden which was in desperate need of a makeover. An aged dogwood had made a bid for world domination sending suckers hither and thither. It just had to come out and himself proved to be the strong man for the job. There is also another shrub in the shape of a hardy fuchsia which will also probably be extracted later in the year. I'm reluctant to remove it as I think that it's the first plant that I ever grew from a cutting but it does get in the way where it is. If it comes out I will certainly make sure that I've established some cuttings first.

    I have had it in mind for some time to plant more of my named special snowdrops into the ground and this seemed a perfect spot to get a few in. Growing them in pots has some advantages but has ceased to have some charm as their numbers have grown. Crates full to the gunnels of pots are getting more challenging to lug in and out of the greenhouse and tend to as the years go by, so I'm looking at making life easier. I will still keep a few specials in pots but want to try to plant the majority of them out. I know that snowdrops are happy in this spot - there is a clump of galanthus plicatus here already, some galanthus 'Lady Beatrice Stanley' and a clump of galanthus 'Blonde Inge' which is in need of division. I also wanted another dogwood or two to keep them company and have promised himself that I will keep them under control.

    Work began yesterday morning with tidying up the surface of the soil. Three buckets of twiggy debris and leaves were removed. Some new compost was added. Then time for a bowl of soup before returning to an initial planting session. I've kept the back of the border clear for now to allow space to give the railings a lick of paint. The railings mark one of the garden boundaries and are about twelve feet above a small surface water stream. Come later in spring the border becomes very shady as the willow on the other side of the stream greens up. Our resident ducks were out for a morning constitutional down below which was good to see.

    MR & MRS

    AFTER
    Plants that went in during the afternoon were cornus sanguinea' Midwinter Fire', cornus sanguinea 'Anny's Orange', pulmonaria 'Opal', thalitcrum inchangense, geranium phaeum 'Album', arum italicum 'Mamoratum', a brunnera that was lurking in the cold frame - probably 'Jack Frost' and a white flowering  Lamprocapnos spectablis. There was much dithering over which snowdrops to plant and so far only two were planted. These are the early flowering galanthus elwesii 'Peter Gatehouse' and the rather unfortunately named but beautifully marked galanthus 'Trumps'.

    DRAGONFLY
    Come late afternoon I called it a day. Despite himself's muscle there were still signs of the dogwood under ground which I encountered whilst planting. Several tugs of war later I was worn out. I still have more planting to do - I would like to duplicate some of the planting, get more snowdrops in, plant a shrub (still to be chosen) in front of where the two walls meet, plant a couple of hellebores (debating which colour) and to sneak some interest in for later in the year. As always there is never enough room. I'm also wondering whether to leave my wooden dragonfly in. It has just come out of its winter hibernation in the garage. Oh and then the geranium phaeums at the front will be removed, the border needs some bark on it and then edging, the gravel needs refreshing etc, etc...... Hopefully I will be back next month with an update. Thanks as always to the lovely Helen, The Patient Gardener who is the most inspirational hostess encouraging us to share views at the end of each month.