Monday, 20 March 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ Sink Or Swim?

My 'In A Vase On Monday' this week is in fact a bowl into which I've  tried to float a quartet of hellebore flowers, hoping that they would artistically drift atop of the water. So far they are being rather wayward, hence the title of my post. It could be the fact that they were wet when picked that is dragging them down into the deep briny. Not content with chucking wet suff down most of the weekend, the skies continued to weep again this morning but the sun has come out this afternoon to celebrate the first day of spring. Yaaaaaaaaaaay!

The flowers have been picked from a plant that has been in the garden for years, from a self-seeder and from two newcomers purchased since the start of the year. I did vow not to buy all more hellebores this year but like snowdrops I find them hard to resist. Helleborus 'Madame Lemonnier' (bottom left) is the first newcomer carrying outward facing dusky-pink flowers. The majority of the flowers are conspicuous by their sheer size but this is one of the plant's smaller flowers.  The second newcomer is Helleborus 'Angel Glow' (bottom right), which seems to have been fed on a diet of steroids going by the sheer volume of flowers it has produced.

The Portmeirion bowl was a serendipitous find that emerged as we were clearing my mother's house. The exterior is an intense deep blue whilst the inner surface has a iridescent glaze of pale blues, soft greens and turquoise which has had me bewitched from the moment I set my eyes on it.

Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who provides the inspiration to come up with a weekly vase each Monday. I see that Cathy is very much in the pink this week celebrating the landmark anniversary of five years of blogging. Do pop in and say hello to her either with or without a vase and be sure of a warm welcome.

Monday, 13 March 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ Thumbs Up

It's a definite thumbs up for narcissus 'Tête-à-Tête', which are filling up this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' and are now brightening up the kitchen windowsill. Whilst a good number of my daffodils are 'blind' this year, this old stalwart is as floriferous as ever whether planted in the ground or in containers. I'm especially appreciate of them as a good number of them were purchased as late season bargain buys from Wilkos. A note has been made to add to their numbers this autumn as well as to give some t.l.c. to the afflicted daffies in the hope of better things to come next year.

Thanks to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for the weekly encouragement to fill a vase on a Monday. Domestic duties call for now but am looking forward to some vase visiting this evening.

Monday, 6 March 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ Would You Adam and Eve It?

Yes it's already that time of year when they are subtly making their presence known. I'm refering to pulmonarias or lungwort, also known as 'Adam and Eve', 'Soldiers and Sailors', and 'Bethlehem Sage' are one of my favourite late winter/early spring flowers. As well having flowers which are bee magnets their foliage is equally desirable coming in a variety of shades of soft apple green, darker greens, silvers and as well as spotty dotty. Today's 'In A Vase On A Monday' is a trio of three pulmonarias - one that I can't put a name to, 'Rubra Redstart' which is now really going over and finally 'Victorian Brooch' which leapt in to my basket last week when I was supposed to be seed potato shopping. They prefer moist, partially shaded conditions and respond well to a shearing in late spring producing a second flush of foliage. They are excellent companion plants for snowdrops, hellebores and little daffs. I don't think that they will last long in a vase but still it's good to be able to study them at close quarters albeit briefly.

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

P.S. Many apologies to those of you who tried to comment last week and who were initially thwarted (both Blogger and Wordpress users). I really don't know what's going on but changes here are afoot! Watch this space.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Having Fun~ #mygardenrightnow

Today's post has been inspired by Michelle over at 'Veg Plotting'. I've being making use of some welcome dry sandwiched between the wet to spend some time in the garden.

Amongst other activites I've been debating whether I can cram any more into our green waste bin, before its first much anticipated emptying of the year on Friday. I can see it being full again by the end of next weekend. The top layer reveals recent activities - belated removal of old hellebore leaves, cleaning up debris left behind by that femme fatale 'Doris' and evidence of a tussle with a truculent string of clover stem.

I've been wondering about the gap in the middle of this pan of crocus sieberi 'Firefly'. I definitely planted bulbs there!

I've been despairing over the stinging nettles, ivy and cow parsley that are creeping in, noting the blind daffodils and chastising myself for not picking up last year's leaf fall.

I've been admiring how some hellebore plants are bulking up and deciding that this patch of cardamine pratense definitely needs dividing sooner rather than later - just need to research when. 

I've made a start on planting one hundred eranthis hyamelis and continuing with the annual sycamore seedling cull. I've been pleasantly surprised by the emergence of the aptly named galanthus 'Baxendale's Late' which I had forgotten I planted last year. It's about to open now that the most of my other specials are shutting up shop. I've been gazing intently at my sweet peas in the greenhouse in the hope that it will make more of the seeds germinate. Above all I've had some much welcome fun in my garden today. 

Why not join in Michelle's imaginative challenge to share what's going on in either your garden or allotment right now. You can either blog or post a photo on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter making sure that you use the #mygardenright now hashtag. You can take participate either today or tomorrow. Full details of how to join in can be found here. I'm off out again whilst there is still daylight out there, but will return later to browse upon what other other folk are up to in their patches of earth right now.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017


"The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home. First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and aching back and weary arms.

Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing. It was small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said "Bother!" and "O Blow!" and also "Hang spring-cleaning!" and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat.

Something up above with calling him imperiously, and he made for the steep little tunnel which answered in his case to the gravelled drive owned by animals whose residences are nearer to the sun and air. So he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged, and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched and scraped, working busily with his little paws and muttering to himself, "Up we go! Up we go!" till at last, pop! his snout came out into the sunlight, and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of a great meadow.

"This is fine!' he said to himself. "This is better than whitewashing!" The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout. Jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and the delight of spring without its cleaning, he pursued his way across the meadow till he reached the hedge on the further side."

~ from 'The Wind in The Willows' ~ Kenneth Grahame.

Illustration ~ Inga Moore.

Spring is definitely"moving in the air above and the earth below and around" here too. It's not arrived quite yet but the first of March means that it's tantalisingly near. Time for me to very belatedly start my spring-cleaning in the greenhouse before another growing season really kicks in. Have you completed all your preparations?

Monday, 27 February 2017

So Last Year!

Today's 'In A Vase On Monday' has been some time in the making. For the last few months a shrub in the immediate neighbourhood has been dripping with clusters of red berries. Last winter's copious rainfall was probably responsible for the sheer volume of berries which have hardly been touched by the birds. I think that the shrub may be cotoneaster cornubia but I'm not sure. Whatever it is it has proved a most welcome attraction brightening up grey and gloomy days. Each time I've passed I thought that I must return with my secateurs and snip off a couple of stems for a vase. What prompted me into action was the fact I noticed that the shrub had taken a real battering from last Thursday's dramatic 'Storm Doris'which also felled two trees just round the corner from us. Those berries are now definitely waning so time to act.

I've put them in a vase with a few dried flowers from Scabious stellata 'Sternkugel' (a great word to get your tongue around) which I grew at the allotment last year. It's an annual with pale blue flowers which morph into most attractive seed heads. They have had their own vase since the autumn but are now getting slightly past their sell buy date so will be jettisoned shortly.

The weather has played up again this afternoon, with not only some sleet but some snow too throwing a spanner in the works, so an indoor photograph again. My title for the post was prompted by our hosts Cathy's fashion catwalk theme from last Monday. Many thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden'  for hosting. 

Monday, 20 February 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ Twenty Fours Hours Later

Why are the weather gods intent on conspiring to thwart me from taking photographs on Mondays? Another windy and slightly mizzly afternoon here so I had to resort to taking a photo indoors in the still and the dry. My 'In A Vase On Monday' is most simple this week being a couple of stems of hellebore flowers. These accidentally parted company from their respective plants yesterday afternoon. I realised that I hadn't removed the old foliage from a couple of hellebores that are planted in pots, so was prompted into remedial action. I was obviously not paying as much attention as I should have done as these flower stems were snipped off too along with the tatty leaves. After muttering a few choice words under my breath I put them straight into water and should have taken a photo there and then. However it was one of those rather special dry and almost balmy February afternoons when I got carried away on a roll of gardening activities. You know how it is. So some twenty fours hours later I've finally taken my photo. My vase is one of a trio of old school milk bottles purchased on a trip to to the beguiling medieval town of Rye last summer.

Thank you to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for providing such a pleasurable way to start the week.

Monday, 6 February 2017

In A Vase On Monday, Simply Snowdrops Too

A week later than intended another bevy of snowdrops for in 'In A Vase On Monday' .This week's pickings include galanthus 'Wendy's Gold', galanthus 'Diggory', galanthus 'Melanie Broughton' (rather photo shy and refusing to open fully), the slightly wayward galanthus nivalis 'Blewbury Tart', galanthus 'Benhall Beauty', galanthus 'Lapwing' and galanthus 'Imbolc' and finally one with the sad name of 'Lost Labellus'. I have a few of these and trying to identify them is a source of much fun as well as frustration. I was going to try to get a close up of 'Lost Labellus' but rain stopped play. I will take one soon though and post it so that perhaps one of my fellow snowdrop loving friends might come to the rescue. For the time being you can see it best in the bottom photo to the immediate left of the frilly 'Blewbury Tart' .

My favourites in this pick 'n' mix are 'Diggory' with its unique shape and seersucker textured petals and 'Imbolc' which is the large flower on the right in the photo below.

Thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden', for providing the platform for us to share our vases throughout the seasons. I see that she is featuring some of her beautiful 'drops today and well as a jar of yellow deliciousness. Do pop in for a peek if you haven't already.