Monday, 20 June 2022

IAVOM ~ Spring's Last Hurrah

With the summer solstice tomorrow, I realised that this would be my last spring vase of the year although it does seem that summer is already well and truly established especially after last week's warm spell. The pick and plonk in my vase this week are :

  • 'Bathsheba' roses - these were a gift from himself. Planted as dormant roses from David Austin either in December 2020 or January 2021 they have come on well. I love their shape and colour but have been disappointed by their scent and their tendency to fade rather disgracefully. There are six of them so they are hard to ignore when they go over.
  • In the same area as the roses are three clematis 'Etoile Violette'. We were initially supplied with the wrong clematis by the clematis specialist but when I queried the order I received profuse apologies and a very speedy replacement so full marks to Thorncroft Clematis for customer service. Once again my naked eye sees the colour as being a darker shade than my phone does. Time to dig out my camera methinks and make a serious attempt to get to grips with all the confusing array of buttons and dials. 

  • Astrantia flowers - unknown vaiety, these are in for a serious cull soon as there are just too many of them. 
  • Some stems of the hardy annual orlaya grandiflora sown last September. Sadly my more recent sowing has resulted in the grand total of two plants. I shall cherish them.

The vase is a well used one and was given to me by mother.

Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her evergreen encouragement and for providing the space for us to share our blooms each and every Monday. I will not have much time to spend in the garden today as I'm out for what may be a long lunch with a dear friend. However we are starting off with a bit of a plant swap and I'm sure that we will be talking of matters green in depth at some point during the proceedings. Wishing everyone a week filled with flowers.

Monday, 6 June 2022

IAVOM ~ 'Here Comes The Rain Again'

A quick pick and plonk from me this week after waiting for the raindrops that have saturated the garden to evaporate and before any more might fall. The pickings are :

  • A trio of roses - 'Desdemona', 'New Dawn' and 'Luisa's Daughter'. 'Desdemona' is new to me this year, bought after seeing it on a display at an RHS show and also seeing it and smelling it at close quarters growing in a friend's garden. The buds are the most softest of pinks before maturing to white and it is apparently repeat flowering. Apart from it's appearance the name called out to me as 'Desdemona' was a childhood nickname for me coined by my father along with 'Gertie'. Names which infuriated me at the time but now fond memories. The pink 'New Dawn' is an old stalwart and was probably the first rose we planted in this garden. It has been threatened with beheading a good few times but has always escaped and so far is having a good year. She continues to flower on and off for a good few months. Sadly her scent is light. The last rose is the creamy' Luisa's Daughter' which my sister had named and gave to me as a birthday present not long after my mother died. She starts to flower in May, her flowers change colour several times- pink tinges, cream, pale yellow before ending up white. Her scent is lemony.
  • Some astrantia flowers - variety long forgotten.
  • Some geranium pratense' Mrs Kendall Clarke' - the flowers of which are a softer colour to the eye or well to my eyes anyway than my photo suggests. She is rather floppy so needs support and is due for relocation in the future as she is obscuring another occupant of the border. 
Hopefully it should be warmer and drier tomorrow and might offer an opportunity to get on with a myriad of jobs that should have really been done yesterday or the day before or even the week before. Are you up to date with all that you want to do?

Thanks to the ever perennial Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting all our Monday vases. It is much appreciated 💐

Monday, 30 May 2022

IAVOM ~ Not What It Says On The Label

Well it's not quite summer yet despite the Summer mug from my collection of 'Flower Fairies' mugs. That little fairy would be clinging on to that rose for stem for dear life if she was out there today and perhaps wishing that she had a coat and shoes to prevent damage to her feet from the thorns. It is cool, breezy and the day so far has been interspersed with several showers one of which was quite vigorous. I was going to use a bone china cup for today's flowers but thought that it might not withstand the elements so out came this more substantial mug. In my vase this Monday are :

  • Stems of rosa 'Blush Noisette' - planted as a bare root rose in 2009, this is a relatively short growing climbing rose which produces clusters of deliciously scented small flowers. Sadly it has received some damage in the last week as a result of some drastic tree surgery taking place in close proximity but nothing that it won't recover from. It usually has a repeat show later in the year. 
  • Some orlaya grandilfora flowers - this is a delicate lacy flowered hardy annual which has the bonus of attractive ferny foilage too. Seeds were sown in September and the young plants were sheltered in a mainly unheated greenhouse overwinter before being hardened off. I have sown another batch at the beginning of May hopefully for more flowers in late summer/early autumn.
  • Finally a couple of sprigs from the deciduous shrub physocarpus opulifolius - I'm really not sure which one although probably 'Diablo'.

As always thanks for Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for enabling us to get together each and every Monday for some floral fun and frolics. 

Saturday, 28 May 2022

More May Musing - On Buttercups

" I remember once walking out hand in hand with a boy I knew, and it was summer, and suddenly before us was a field of gold. Gold as far as you could see. We knew we’d be rich forever. We filled our pockets and our hair. We were rolled in gold. We ran through the field laughing and our legs and feet were coated in yellow dust, so that we were like golden statues or golden gods ...  It was only a field of buttercups, but we were young.’

- Jeanette Winterson


Monday, 23 May 2022

IAVOM ~ More Darling Buds


Well it's that time to bring out this vase for the annual outing. Apart from this vase being on the small side it also has a very small neck. I think that it may well become one of those items that I will continue to wonder what tempted me to but it other than the words 'Darling Buds Of May'. Anyway here it is stuffed to the gunnels with some of my favourite May buds :

  • Aquilegia - this is one of the self seeders from the original 'Hensol Harebell' seeds from The Cottage Garden Society that I sowed many moons ago. Some good news on the aquilegia front is that Carrie Thomas of Touchwood Plants is back in the business of selling aquilegia seeds again. I'm most sorely tempted. 
  • Geranium phaeum - again a self seeder and perhaps not as pure white as it appears in this photo. These are such easy going  and obliging perennials
  • A trio of stems from millium effusum 'Aureum' also known as 'Bowles Golden Grass. Again a self seeder which prefers some shade as the foliage can scorch
  • Finally astrantia - variety obscured by the mist of time and many lost labels along the way. The astrantias are only just getting going here so I'm looking forward to others in different hues opening very soon too.
Thanks as always to Cathy who is firmly rooted over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her excellent hosting. It is a relatively cool but dry day here just right for some gentle pottering about and to discover what is happening out there. I hope that that you are also able to get outside to play in the dirt too. 

Monday, 16 May 2022

IAVOM ~ It's A First!


This week's vase just had to include :

  • The first ever ranunculus that I have ever managed to get to flowering stage! I have had a few attempts at growing ranunculus in the past but have never managed to get them this far. The fact that they were a named variety 'Champagne' and cost more than what I have paid for ranunculus in the past may well have something to do with it. I planted the corms in February in a tray under cover. I resisted the temptation to give the tray some bottom heat on the sand bench and watched eagerly for signs of growth. Sure enough I eventually saw signs of shooting and six of the ten corms I planted took off. They were eventually transferred to individual pots but I lost one when they were still quite small. There are more blooms to follow - not in copious quantities but they will all be treasured especially the couple that look as if they will be a coral/salmon colour when open. I haven't cracked ranunculus growing yet but will definitely be planting some claws in the autumn and hoping for sturdier plants which will produce even greater a quantity of flowers next spring,

  • Thalictrum - 'Black Stockings' I think and perennial . I planted this in 'The Lockdown Border' in 2020 and it has now really clumped up well and has several flowering stems this spring. The photo makes it look more pink than it is in the flesh. The dark stems are most attractive too,
  • Some flowers from geum 'Totally Tangerine - three of these were planted in the 'Lockdown Border' in 2021 with varying degrees of growth. The one that has been in flower since  late March seems to be on steroids and hasn't stopped flowering since. I must start to deadhead them soon.
  • A couple of sprinklings of the grass 'Briza Maxima' which has conveniently and so far considerately self seeded about here and there.
  • Lastly some of the deliciously scented biennial hesperis matronalis also known as 'Dame's Rocket'. I always think that the scent is more pronounced on a warm evening.  These were sown last June or July. 

Thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for encouraging us to share our Monday vases. I wonder what spring sparklers are in other folk's vases this week.

Saturday, 7 May 2022

May Musing

" The growth is a remarkable thing during these weeks between spring and summer. If you could hear it, there would be a tangible hum, made from a million buds breaking and stems flexing. The tide of green sweeps up and over bare earth, cloaking it as fast as the leaves fill out above us. Blink and you miss the soft marbling on the new leaves of the Epimedium and the dusty bloom of the overlaying the ruby young growth on the 'Molly the Witch'. Blink again and the first of the peonies will be open - primrose cups filled with bees.

The flurry of spring perennials starts the summer garden. One layer takes over from the next, replacing and adding like an increasingly complex textile".

From 'Natural Selection' by Dan Pearson.

If you enjoy Dan's writing and have not come across it yet he produces an excellent online gardening, growing, cooking and making magazine most Saturdays over at 'Dig Delve' together with his partner Huw Morgan. You can also subscribe to have it sent to your inbox.

May is such a beautiful month and although my favourite of the month I've noticed a distinct lack of May musing on my blog. I hope to return with another snippet or two as this magical time of year unfolds.

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Garden Diary ~ An April Catch Up

An extremely dry April looks as if she is going to exit on a last minute downpour in this part of the world which will be more than welcome with farmers and gardeners. We have had a very settled month with much in the way of sunshine but some cold nights when the fleece has come out to protect the more tender greenhouse occupants at night.

April has seen more seed sowing activity - another tray of cut and come again salad, thunbergia alata, aka Blacked Eyed Susan, Swan River daisies, nasturtiums, sunflowers 'Claret' and 'ProCut Plum', anethum graveolens 'Mariska' also known as florists' dill, moluccella laevis aka Bells of Ireland, a second sowing of cosmos 'Apricotta' and scabious 'Fata Morgana', courgette 'Atena Polka', beetroot and chard. There has been much in the way of pricking out and some hardening off of hardy annuals has taken place. March sown sweet peas are now more than ready to get into the ground. The first couple of bags have been planted with 'Charlotte' potatoes with another bag at the ready to plant.

The February planted ranunculus have flowers which is most exciting but some of the foliage is looking rather miserable so it's a case of wondering what will happen. I have never had any joy with growing these so I do so hope that these plants will turn the corner and I will be able to cut some flowers for a vase. 

 The potted snowdrops all made their way back outside at the beginning of the month to make room for seed sowing and other greenhouse activities. Dahlia tubers have been planted including some new to me varieties and are presently in pots still undercover.

It was a month of no plant purchases until we visited a local garden centre yesterday when it was warm enough to sit out in the sunshine and enjoy some lunch. Leaping into the basket gallantly wielded by himself went three lemon verbena plants, hyssop, apple mint, a tray of violas and a substantial plant of deliciously scented nemesia 'Wisley Vanilla'. 

Giving me particular pleasure this month has been the blossom on pear, apple, crabapple and amelanchier - so pretty and the display from the three pots of tulips. The most impressive has been the pot of single planting of 'Ballerina'. Two pots of mixed planting of 'Ballerina', 'Havran' and 'Purple Dream' have not convinced me especially the 'Purple Dream' which is either taller than the other two varieties or has not grown to full height in some cases and is on the pink shade of purple to my eyes. I shall tweak the combination next year.

Some of my stalwart spring flowers have been in fine fettle this month - especially brunnera, 'Solomon's Seal' and geranium phaeums. As the month departs and we enter my favourite month of the year alliums are on the point of bursting, aquilegias are slowly opening and elderflowers have just started to show. Exciting times!