Monday, 16 January 2017
It's so good to be back with an 'In A Vase On Monday' post again after what seems quite an age and what else could I return with in deepest January but snowdrops. This morning's poor light and breeze were not conducive to taking photos but it all added to the occasion. In my vase this week are a few blooms taken from some of my special snowdrops. They include galanthus elwesii 'Fieldgate Prelude', galanthus plicatus 'Wendy's Gold' (yellow-green ovary and yellow-green marking on flowers), galanthus 'Benton Magnet', galanthus 'John Gray', the large flowered galanthus 'Mrs Thompson, galanthus 'Wasp', galanthus 'Lavinia' (a double) and finally galanthus 'Sutton Courtney' which has an lime green ovary.
I think that there could well be a second part next Monday as more and more 'drops are opening by the day. Thanks as always to our most gracious hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who is the inspiration behind this most gentle way of starting the new week.
Saturday, 31 December 2016
This little cameo is from one of a set of framed paintings, which have a special place of honour, hanging above the fireplace in our our living room. They depict the four seasons and were all painted by my Mum who sadly died earlier this month, just five days short of her ninety second birthday. Painting was one of the mains loves of her life along with gardening. I wish that I could have inherited her artistic talent in my genetic make up but it was not to be. Instead this painting along with its companions is providing me with some comfort as what has been a most stressful and painful year comes to a close.
Mum was Italian and although she came to this country over sixty years ago she still missed the warmth and sunshine of Roman summers. As a child she could go out into the garden and pick apricots and figs. She always especially cherished violets and cyclamens which were familiar to her when she was growing up. In later years her mobility was very restricted but she showed great tenacity and determination to tend to the alpine bed full of her treasures. On a beautiful summer afternoon this year I took her out into the garden, where from her wheelchair she managed to weed and prune, as well as to direct me to carry out other tasks. That was to be our last excursion into the garden together where over the years we had spent many hours working together or sometimes just sitting and being.
Just opposite her kitchen door is a is long and thin strip of earth, where snowdrops will be flowering soon. I will be digging up a clump of them to bring home with me, where they will have a special patch to grow in along with some of the other flowers that she loved.
I wish all my blogging friends a happy, healthy and peaceful year to come and I hope that 2017 treats your patch of earth kindly. Thank you for visiting and for all your much treasured wise, witty and simply wonderful comments which make blogging such a pleasurable experience.
Monday, 14 November 2016
It was one of those mornings where there was a constant background noise of dripping outside. There was evidence of rain in the night which then returned on and off. Fortunately it was just in slight drizzle form so it didn't stop me from completing the task in hand. I have been tidying up my potted collection of named snowdrops and getting them back into some semblance of alphabetical order. I'm sure that they play musical snowdrops when my back is turned. It brightened up as the day went on so much so that there were some patches of blue sky and a hint of weak sunshine. The dripping noise gave way to the gentle flutter of yet more descending leaves. Job done I turned my thoughts as to what I could pick for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday'.
I didn't have to think for long. These chrysanthemums have been strutting their stuff for a couple of weeks or so now. The plant was gift from a fellow allotment plot neighbour, who is also the most talented of cake makers and just as generous with cake gifts as with plant gifts. Earlier in the year he persuaded me to take a cutting of what he thought was a creamy coloured chrysanthemum! Obviously a case of mistaken identity. It's not a colour that I would have chosen myself but these very yellow flowers have certainly been sparkling on dull November days. I'm not sure whether this particular chrysanthemum is hardy but if it comes through the winter it will make the journey from my cold frame to the allotment.
The vase in the shape of a milk jug was another charity shop find. It's probably difficult to see as the photo was taken in fading light but it is decorated with a seasonal band of oak leaves and acorns.
Thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for adding song and sparkle to Mondays.
Tuesday, 8 November 2016
This week Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' has invited fellow bloggers to join in the third anniversary celebrations of her inspirational 'In A Vase On Monday' meme . I travelled back home yesterday after spending a long weekend in Cumbria. Daylight hours were gone by the time I got home so I apologise for being late joining in the party. I was looking back on my blog posts this morning wondering when I assembled my first vase, which as it turns out was not until the middle of April 2014! I wrote then that :
"I've enjoyed this meme but have not participated up to now, the main reason being that I do not pick many flowers to bring into the house. Maybe the odd snowdrop posy will make it indoors in the winter and then throughout the summer bunches of sweet peas picked from the allotment come home with me two or three times a week. Other than that I have never really made a habit of picking flowers for the house."
My initial vase came about by what turned out to be a most happy accident but since then I have actively sought to put vases together and now look forward to Mondays. It dawned upon me eventually that I've always had a cutting garden of sorts at the allotment. As well as the stalwart sweet pea wigwams, there have always been odds and ends of annuals growing on the plot. These pickings together with perennial flowers from the garden usually combine together to fill my vases whenever I'm able to join in. Over the last few months I've lost my blogging mojo, mainly because of ongoing family matters, which have consumed a lot of my time as well as my energy. 'In A Vase On Monday' has provided an invaluable lifeline as far as my blog is concerned, so Cathy I owe you a huge and most heartfelt thank you for keeping my blog ticking over ♥︎ xxx
This week's third anniversary tribute comprises :
- A trio of milk bottle vases bought on holiday this summer with 'In A Vase On Monday' in mind.
- A trio of flowers namely three stems of persicaria amplexis 'Firetail', six stems of the annual scabiosa stellata 'Sternkugel' and a stem of 'New Dawn' roses. Unfortunately I was unable to find a rose stem bearing any multiple of three.
- A trio of 'Wee-B- Little' pumpkins for some seasonal decoration, which I've squirrelled away, as part of my autumnal store cupboard. My cupboard sadly is sadly not as prolific as the wonderful bursting to the seams dresser in Jill Barklems's illustration from 'Autumn Story', a copy of which is is nestled behind my vases.
Thanks for giving us so much pleasure Cathy and long may 'In A Vase On Monday' thrive and prosper. You are an absolute star ⭐️
Sunday, 6 November 2016
"One thing alone changes rapidly at this time of year, and that is the colour of the leaves on the trees. They are as bright as flowers, and replace in gaiety the fruit we have gathered from the garden. But even this change is slow as compared with the rush of spring, when the leaves burst from their bud and clothe the trees in a flash of time. Since the beginning of September the leaves have been turning, varying in date with tree and weather. Weeks of calm will keep the leaves on the trees, as though they were forgetting to fall. They will be torn off in one night of wind. All the leaves by now have returned their sap to the tree, except the undramatic walnut which, like the ash, refuses to end it year in a blaze of colour, and lingers until the frosts strip off the leaves and scatter them at its base in a dirty, blackish green heap. The garden now is riotous in colour, in graduations of yellow and gold, bronze and crimson. We are reconciled at this moment to our smoke-grey, for it is an unequalled foil to these flaming leaves "
~ words from 'Four Hedges' by Clare Leighton.
~ illustration by Lena Anderson.
That "one night of wind" arrived in Cumbria on Friday night. Spending what will probably be the last weekend of the year in our caravan, I was awoken by a tremendous noise of the wind in the early hours. It took a long time to go back to sleep as the roof was hammered by falling autumnal debris. Come morning I peeked out of the door to see that in just one night almost all the glowing red leaves on my little acer had been stripped from the tree. Has that significant one night of wind arrived in your neck of the woods yet?
Monday, 24 October 2016
Today's 'In A Vase On Monday' was nearly a solitary stem of roses but I could bit bring myself to snip it as it could well be the last of the year. There are buds still to open on 'Blush Noisette' but they will probably be zapped by the first frost of autumn whenever that arrives. Today's vase was nearly a cloud of the white cosmos bipinnatus 'Purity' but I have not made it to the allotment. There is a distinct chill in the air and no sun about. Wimp that I am plans to work on the plot were shelved.
So instead in today's vase are a couple of now going over heads of ivy flowers, the dangling flowers of leycesteria formosa, the intense purple of salvia 'Amistad', aster' Little Carlow' (yes I know that asters are now called something else), the purple foliage and tiny fuzzy flowers of perilla frutescens, some asparagus foliage and the crimson tapers of persicaria amplexicaulis 'Firetail'. The latter was the only plant that I bought at the Malvern Flower Show last month. For some reason I didn't have my plant buying head on, as not only did I come home with one solitary plant it's one that is already growing in the garden! Having said that it's a really good do'er which flowers for months, so I'm more than happy to have a spare. More about the perilla in another post.
The garden is slowly coming to a standstill flowering wise but there are signs of exciting times ahead. The first snowdrop of the new season is already through and showing white! Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting.
Wednesday, 19 October 2016
This shrub stopped me in my tracks on Saturday morning when strolling along admiring the fabulous plantings on the promenade at Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria. It was singing out on a most dull and wet morning. My photograph taken from underneath a ginormous black umbrella doesn't do it justice. Would love to know what it is.
Monday, 17 October 2016
Today's vase was foraged yesterday during the course of a late afternoon constitutional. We have spent a long weekend at our caravan in Cumbria. The heavy rain of yesterday morning cleared enough for us to stroll the mile or so to the local pub for Sunday lunch and then back again. We were briefly able to kid ourselves that it was still summer on our return so sat out with afternoon coffee and a read. The sun however loses its strength all too quickly at this time of year, so we retreated back in for a while, before deciding to stretch our legs again whilst it was still light. We have what has become a regular 40 minute or so circuit, which takes in a country lane, a small village, then a dirt track before we enter an underpass where we invariably pause to sing and shout and enjoy the echoes. Fortunately we have not as yet encountered any other pedestrians in the underpass. Then on to the main but still quiet road that leads to the caravan park.
My eyes were peeled as we ambled so I was able to fill my impromptu vase of a beer glass on our return. In the vase are achillea, a stem of the pretty but extremely invasive impatiens glandulifera, some seed heads (probably cow parsley) and some what I think is is eupatorium cannabinum. The rains descended with a vengeance before we returned, so my pickings were rather unceremoniously jammed into the glass before I retreated inside. Here they are this morning perched rather precariously on the storage locker at the side of the caravan.
As always I'm intrigued to see what other participants have in their 'In A Vase On Monday' posts today. Thanks to Cathy over 'At Rambling In The Garden' who is not only a dedicated but also a charming hostess.
Monday, 10 October 2016
In my vase are :
- Sweet peas from seed that was sown in the middle of March. The wigwam made up of these did much better than the sweet peas sown at the beginning of March, both in terms of general vigour and quantity of flowers.
- Cornflower 'Blue Ball' which have been more impressive than their darker 'Black Ball' siblings. I've not grown cornflowers for years but sowed these back on 17th March. The plants became rather straggly and soon needed propping up. They have been in non-stop flower since at least 20th June, so nearly four months later I think they deserve the accolade of being 'good doers'. Plant numbers will be reduced though next year. Four plants of each was more than enough.
- Cosmos 'Double Click Cranberries'. These grew into rather substantial and sturdy plants which have flowered for most of the summer. Sadly they flopped when I picked them for the vase so their heads are looking down in the above photo. However they had perked up noticeably by the next morning. Cosmos bipinnatus 'Purity' has been a disappointment this year making tall and lanky plants which have only just come into flower in the last couple of weeks or so. I grow this most years and have not encountered the same issue before. I clocked cosmos bipinnatus 'Pysche White' in a display at the Malvern Autumn Show last month. It has most attractive small semi double white flowers and it's made its way onto next year's seed list.
- The last of the quartet is symphyotrichum 'Little Carlow'. This is a really fabulous and easy going autumn flowering plant. I have sung its praises here more than once in the past when it still went by the much more user friendly name of aster 'Little Carlow'. As well as being pleasing to the eye it's also beloved by pollinators. The plant at the allotment was visited by both bumble bees and honey bees in this morning's pleasant sunshine.
Thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' as always for her hospitality and encouragement to share our flowers at the start of each week.