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Monday, 9 July 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Firstlings


Again another late in the day vase for me - it wasn't until mid afternoon that I got to the allotment to water and pick a couple of stems for today's 'In A Vase On Monday'. Taking centre stage in today's vase is the very first flower of a new to me dahlia by the name of 'Henriette'. She was twirling around in the breeze in need of companions but she was ahead of them in opening. Also here is my very first ever zinnia flower! It's zinnia elegans 'Queen Red Lime'. I think that our hostess Cathy featured her very first zinnia last week. Up to now getting these to grow let alone flower has always eluded me. Normally my seedlings have shrivelled up or have been decimated by the molluscs. This year's batch were all sown under cover in coir pellets in May. I'm not sure whether that technique helped or whether they've just thrived with the heat but they are happy zinnias this year. The inside of the flower is an exquisite colour. I need to to take more photos to do this particular majesty justice.


The 'Romanesco' courgette is also the first of the year, again from seed sown in May. Unfortunately some of the other courgettes on the same plant are turning yellow. The allotment is flagging like me. Watering can duties seemed onerous on a humid afternoon. I think that I was feeling sorry for myself as I was bitten by some nasty creature during the night and woke up sporting an eye that looks as if it has been in a boxing match. Off for now to apply a cold compress or maybe a slice of cucumber to the offending area. Thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who I hope is managing to keep cool.

P.S. I've had a couple of lovely comments recently from Penny Post. Unfortunately I can't deduce from the comments whether Penny has a blog as if so I would like to visit. If you read this Penny please let me know or maybe some of my other visitors can point me in the right direction.

Monday, 2 July 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Not Quite What the Seed Packet Said


Finally at long last in today's 'In A Vase On Monday' there are ..... wait for it ..... some sweet peas! A trip to water at the allotment this morning revealed just enough sweet peas to pick. Not a plethora to fill a whole vase on their own but a few to act as a filler. My sweet peas have been a source of disappointment this year as far as gemination went so I only have the one wigwam. Now just why some red flowers have materialised I just don't know. I sowed named sweet peas rather than a mix and there were certainly not any red flowered varieties amongst them. Having said that I was delighted to welcome them.


        The sweet pea companions are :
  • Rosa 'The Fairy' - this is a polyantha rose which bears clusters of small light pink flowers from late June right through to the first frosts. The foliage always seems to be glossy and untouched by any signs of black spot etc.
  • A couple of stems of clematis 'Blekitny Aniol' (Blue Angel) which was bought many moons ago from the Country Market in Tavistock, Devon. It runs through rose 'Blush Noisette' and is normally a most attractive combination. The clusters of rose flowers have been crisped by days of intense sunshine so sadly this has spoilt the effect somewhat. There is much deadheading to be done.
  • Allium sphaerocephalon this is a most reliable easy going bulb which flowers after the larger alliums are done and dusted. Its only drawback is that any seedlings can be mistaken for grass when they first come through the soil. I must make a note to buy more bulbs this year. They don't take up much room and the flowers sway gently on wiry stalks.
  • Hordeum jubatum also known as squirrel tail grass and as foxtail barley. The green plumes slowly morph into a silvery - pink as the season progresses. I grew mine from seed sown in March.
Our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' has put together a vase this week that really encapsulates the weather we are having at the moment. The heat is most definitely on. Have some sunglasses to hand if you haven't already had a peek!

Sunday, 1 July 2018

End Of Month View ~ June 2018


My words for the month of the June that has just flown have to be watering can and wilt! They sum up what I seem to have spent much time doing as no doubt have many of you. With no end in sight this summer will be one of those that goes down in the record books for its exceptional weather. Our local television news weather forecaster, who has been doing the job for some twenty two years, said this week that she has never known such a period of sustained hot and dry weather at this time of year. It seems that the country has tipped on its axis this summer and we're getting the summer weather that the south east usually enjoys or should I say endures.

Well there has not been much going on in the garden with all this heat and jobs are building up. Some plants are looking decidedly stressed and for the first time I have bought the hosepipe out to certain areas of the garden. Giving me most pleasure this month have been hardy geraniums, astrantias, roses especially my new rose' Boscabel' and an old stalwart 'Blush Noisette'. I've also enjoyed the best display ever from a cutting of a scented pink dianthus from my mum's garden.

Keeping the allotment ticking over without casualties has been a bit of a struggle. The raspberries have certainly suffered and sadly there were will not be the surplus that we had last year to make raspberry gin. The foliage on my 'Charlotte' potatoes are now looking most tatty but we enjoyed the first crop of the year served cold yesterday. Most delicious was the verdict. These were planted on 26th April.

I hope to be picking courgettes in the next few days with climbing French beans 'Cobra' to follow close behind. My lovely niece helped me to plant a wigwam of runner beans the day before storm 'Hector'. We anticipated the worst but our wigwam survived intact and the beans are now climbing. The other curcubit crops seem to thriving as well along with what promises to be some rather yummy beetroot.

My cut flower beds are doing reasonably well. One is mainly dahlias which are now coming into flower and the white flowering cosmos bipannatus 'Purity'. In the other are more dahlias, nasturtiums, cornflowers, scabious, rudbeckia, zinnia, geum 'Mrs J. Bradshaw' as well as the lovely calendula that was in last week's vase. Sadly the latter seem to have been really zapped in the last few days and are looking rather sickly at the moment. I've sown another batch so should have more to look forward to later in the season. There is also a wigwam of sweet peas. Just the one wigwam this year because of disastrous germination rates. I have yet to pick my first bunch of sweet peas which is unheard of but hope to cut a few this coming week.

Out and about this month I had a most enjoyable day at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show with a good friend. The weather was so much better than last year and there were none of the traffic jams and long queues to get in which visitors endured last year. The floral marquee was a delight as was the fabulous display of moth orchids. The show gardens were disappointing in their number which was down on last year. However there was a new feature in the shape of a long border competition which was a useful source of inspiration for planting combinations in relatively small spaces. Perhaps though the most spectacular sight of the day though were the swarms of mayfly on the wing by the river. Quite beautiful creatures.



I also had the pleasure of spending a day at Cathy's open garden (photos above) where I helped out at the plant stall. A most gentle and pleasant occupation. The weather was fine, the plants sold themselves and there was most delicious cake and good company.


Bucket of cut flowers

More recently himself and I have visited Graythwaite Hall Gardens and Holker Hall Gardens in Cumbria. I gathered afterwards that the former is best visited in spring when the rhododendrons and azaleas are in flower but we still managed to enjoy a relatively cool stroll on a sultry day. There was a most impressive yew hedge studded with tropaeolum speciosum but the combination of bright red and bright sunshine didn't make for a decent photo. We have been to Holker Hall several times over the years now and always enjoy our visits. This time we took particular delight in standing in the shade cast by the Holker Great Lime I was nearly tempted to buy a seasonal flower bunch from the bucket but persuaded myself that they wouldn't last long in a hot caravan.


Plant purchases this month include astrantia 'Star Of Passion, 'hosta 'Cracker Crumbs' and something else (the heat is getting to me). Coming home with me from Cathy's plant stall a peony 'Duchesse de Nemours' and a couple of ferns. The ferns have since decamped to the supposedly cooler climes of the Lake District to adorn the little garden outside our caravan.

The watering cans all standing in a line and ready for action are not mine but were photographed by me a few years ago on a visit to Le Jardin De Marie - Ange in France.

A big vote of thanks  as always to Helen over at 'The Patient Gardener's Weblog' for hosting. I've dipped in and out of this meme over the years now and have often found oh so invaluable for jogging my memory.

Monday, 25 June 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ "What's In A Name?"


After a hot sunny day working at the allotment and then in the garden it was a quick snip and plonk late on yesterday evening to fill my 'In A Vase On Monday'.

In my vase, which just had to be my sunshine vase are :
  • Centaurea cyanus more commonly known as cornflowers. I can't quite make my mind up about this very dark colour and think that the flowers might be better on the plant than in a vase. These flowers came from a plant that must have grown from seed late last summer. I also sowed a 'Polka Dot Mix' in May which were very slow and sparse in germination. It will be a while before there are flowers but I'm hoping that the end results might include blue and purple.
  • Leucanthemum superbum ' Silberprinzesschen' - this  short in stature white flowering perennial daisy came home with me from the RHS Tatton Flower Show last year. It was on the 'Plant Heritage' stall which had a great selection of plants for sale. I only wish that I had found the stall earlier on in the day when my hands were less full. 
Calendula 'Touch Of Red Buff' which have been grown from seed. Back in January I came across mention and a photo of calendula 'Bronzed Beauty' on Kris's blog 'Late To The Garden Party'. It was a case of instant fatal attraction but my search for 'Bronzed Beauty' initially led me down the proverbial garden path. It was only after much internet research that I discovered that this beauty goes by a different name in the UK, where it is known as calendula 'Touch of Red Buff'. The flowers were shutting up for the day when I took my photo but I will try to pick some again for a vase later in the summer. Not only a beauty whatever the name but edible too! What's not to like?


Monday evening and the calendula flowers are more open as you can see below ~


Thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for being such an enthusiastic and steadfast hostess whatever the weather.

Monday, 18 June 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ ' A Good Year For The Roses'


Each Monday Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' invites bloggers to share their vases of floral and foliage pickings. My vase this week is mainly a chance to show of my new rose 'Boscabel', which I bought as a bare root rose last autumn. I could only bring myself to pick the one flower which shows off the rose at it's best I think as far as colour is concerned. As the flowers mature they morph into a much paler pink. This rose is most deliciously scented. It is from David Austin and the scent is described in their catalogue as a "medium -strong myrrh fragrance" which "has a hawthorn character with hints of elderflower, pear and almond". Well my noise is still making it's mind up about that description but whatever wafts in my direction is  a pleasure to breath in. I have Jessica from 'Rusty Duck' to thank for bringing this rose to my attention in the first place on her blog.

Keeping the single stem of 'Boscabel' company are :
  • More roses in the shape of 'Blush Noisette' - the flowers in this photo are looking paler than they do to the naked eye.
  • Astrantia - variety long lost in the mists of time.
  • Some dark foliage in the shape of physocarpus opulifolius - 'Diablo' I think.
  • Soft blue scabious flowers from a perennial, which came with the label scabiosa 'Irish Perpetual Flowering' but which apparently also goes under the name of scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue'.
  • Spires of linaria purpurea also known as purple toadflax. It is what might be called a generous self seeder.

The liquid refreshment is a something that I very rarely drink apart from on the odd trip to National Trust tearooms, where it often seems to be available and is most refreshing on a hot day. I recently came across it for sale at our local delicatessen so thought that I would treat myself to a bottle to imbibe on a sunny summer afternoon.

For those of you who haven't come across the song 'A Good Year For The Roses' before now do click and listen to the other Elvis.



Blogland seems to be in a temperamental mood at the moment. Blogger has stopped emailing comments directly to me and for the last few days I've found myself unable to comment on Wordpress blogs. I'm getting a message to say that I'm not logged into my Google account but I am! I do have a Wordpress account so will have to log on to that and see what transpires.

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy who so ably steers the good ship that is 'In A Vase On Monday'. Enjoy your week and your plot of earth.

P.S. I'm unable to comment on Cathy's latest post at the time of writing using either of my dramatis personae. I will return later in the day to see whether I fare any better.

Monday, 11 June 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Little & Large


 No it's not the comic duo I'm referring to when it comes to ' In A Vase On Monday' but the size of the respective vases.

The first is a quick as lightening picked and plonked effort put together early this evening. The day has been one of those with no chance to get out into the garden until late in the proceedings. In my vase are :
  • The first pickings of calendula 'Sunset Buff', grown from seed, all the flowers so far varying in shade and shape. I'm not sure whether that was meant to happen but still a gold star so far. Sown under cover on 17th March the first flower opened last week. Time still to get a second batch sown methinks.
  • Some sprigs of an old favourite in the most easy going perennial that is alchemilla mollis.
  • A few little white buttons of another old favourite, the lovely ranunculus aconitifolius, commonly known as 'Fair Maids Of France'. This is an easy going shade loving perennial. It's one of those which goes completely underground relatively early in the season until the following spring.

Now to my second vase. I would dearly like be able to say here is one I made earlier but ...... this was on the 'Flowers From The Farm' stand at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show last week and I think that it's simply too fabulous not to be shared. I thought that it might be of special interest to Alison who is currently setting up a flower farm business. I am not going to attempt to name the flowers except from the red rose which I found out is 'Hot Chocolate', a rose that I have read about but have never seen in the flesh before. It's gone on to the wish list and no ..... it doesn't smell of chocolate. If only!

Thanks as always to our excellent hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden'. Your invitation to share our flowers each week is much appreciated

Monday, 4 June 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'The Heat Is On'


Every Monday Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' invites us to share our flowers and leafy loveliness in a vase. This week's pickings mainly come from the allotment where I'm spending what seems a disproportionate amount of time at the moment. I was quite excited when the weather forecast was predicting cloud and cooler temperatures today as my allotment plot is almost all in sun. The only shade is offered by area around the gate. However once again the forecast was adrift and my plans to work there all day were curtailed as I could feel myself overheating. Still progress is being made albeit slowly as I catch up from my allotment absence during early spring when it was so cold and wet. Those days are already seeming a dim and distant memory.

In my vase are :

  • Some salvia officinalis or sage flowers which most popular with the bees.
  • Allium schoenoprasum or chive flowers. Sometimes I scatter the flowers over salads - just a modest amount as they are quite peppery.
  • Centaurea cyanus or cornflower to give them their familiar common name. These are dark flowers which seem to have been swallowed up in the photo. Blue would have been more effective in the vase but there was only a solitary open blue flower. The plant is a self seeder which I moved from one bed to another back in March. It is a sturdy and flourishing plant which is mysteriously sporting  black flowers and one blue flower to date.  Maybe it is two plants rather than one. Lesson learned - I will be sowing cornflowers direct come September. 
  • The yellow roses are not from my plot but come from a wilding that grows on the site. It seems to survive quite happily with no special attention from anybody.
  • Sambucus also known as elderflower. These frothy heads were picked from the elderflower on the other side of the stream which runs alongside one the the garden boundaries. I can see it from the kitchen window and love the way the flowers light up at dusk. 
  • Finally a grassy head of two of luzula nivea from the garden. 
The crystal vase was a retirement present from a colleague and the tablecloth came out just because the vase looked as if it needed it.


Thanks as always Cathy for your most excellent hosting of 'In A Vase On Monday'. I must apologise to anybody who had problems commenting last week. Blogger has imposed changes on the comment system and not for the better. A special thanks to anybody who had to persevere to make their voice heard. I have been muttering about changing to Wordpress for some time and am thinking that will be a priority on the to do list once the sun stops shining.