Monday, 6 July 2020

IAVOM ~ "Have A Little Patience"

In the words of the song all gardeners need to "Have A Little Patience" and never has that maxim resonated so strongly as I've waited and waited for my sweet peas to flower this summer. At long last I have a few for 'In A Vase On Monday'. Yaaaay!

I don't usually sow my sweet peas early and this year I think it was the middle of March - must search for the relevant labels to check. However I am sure that I've have never waited so long for that wonderful first of the year intoxicating intake of their aroma. This year my first sweet pea bloom didn't flower until the first day of July! I have planted two wigwams at home this year rather than in the garden. I have watered them regularly and copiously especially throughout April and May and have been feeding them. They grew well and started reaching for the sky but there was just not any signs of flowers. I started to wonder if I had made a mistake moving sweet pea headquarters from allotment to home where I have grown them for over ten years.

It was only when I commented on one of Karen's posts over at 'The Bramble Garden' which featured some sweet peas and mentioned my woebegone specimens that the penny dropped. Karen mentioned the word mulch in her reply and that was the one thing that I hadn't done. I immediately applied a layer of Strulch around them and that seems to have done the trick even though their lower limbs still remain rather bare of floral adornment. Thank you Karen for that most helpful and timely suggestion. We seem to have more than our fair share of wind this spring combined with a lot of sunny dry days and although I was diligent about watering them the water was obviously not soaking in.

I've not used Strulch before - has anybody else and if so what are your thoughts? So far so good here. As well as the sweet peas I've used it around bean plants, sweet corn and some other newly planted annuals. It is supposed to deter molluscs which it seems to be have done so up to now and it also has a most delightful aroma.

This year's sweet pea mix, which still have to reveal all their colours included 'Matucana', 'Noel Sutton,' 'Erewhon', 'Eclipse' or was it 'Enchante' (again I must find those elusive labels), 'Gwendoline', 'Mollie Rilstone' and 'April In Paris' and a couple others whose names escape me at present. It is not going to be my best year ever for plentiful supplies of sweet peas but at long last there are some most welcome pickings to swoon over.

Thanks also to our hostess Cathy who this week is also sharing her sweet pea bounty over at 'Rambling In The Garden'.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Wordless Wednesday ~ Demolition Job

Postcript - a few words by way of a reveal. We had noticed little green planty bits on the table for a few days before the crime. The evening before I was washing the dishes, looked up and saw a squirrel pawing the content of the bowl. By the time contents still intact and in a ball of compost were on the table. I scooped everything back in and should have removed the bowl at the time but I didn't. Next day - a complete mess! My money is firmly on the squirrel. I had bought the bowl when out with a friend garden visiting last spring and it had been quite happy but I had only recently moved it on to the table. Oh well lesson learned and the bowl survives for another planting. Bits of the damaged plant have been replanted elsewhere. It's a permanent battle with those creatures and it seems that I'm always on the loosing side! One day though .....

Monday, 22 June 2020

IAVOM ~ Shimmer

Today's occupants in 'In A Vase on Monday' were a quick snatch and grab from my allotment plot yesterday but were not photographed until this morning. I've noticed that wind seems to be a regular feature of the weather on Mondays. Although today is rather breezy as opposed to windy the contents of my vase just refused to stand to attention.

In this week's vase are :
A prickly stem of dispascus fullonom commonly known as teasel and one of the biggest mistakes of my allotment life. I planted it more for the birds and pollinators than me and have regretted that decision. They self seed profusely and although I always intend to get on top of the problem I have never succeeded. The plants are unbearably uncomfortable to get hold of without gloves and seedlings are difficult to remove. Still I enjoy them in a perverse way. There is something quite splendid about their architecture and the hollows above their leaves which hold pools of water after rain. You can just see the first flush of colour which is creeping into the flowers now.

  • Secondly are the purple flowers of verbena bonariensis - these again have self-seeded over the years but never enough to irritate. Some years plants over winter but when they don't there are invariably replacement seedlings. The mauve scented flowers attract butterflies. 
  • Lastly one of my all time favourite plants - some stems from stipa gigantea also known as the golden oat grass, which garden writer Val Bourne describes so eloquently as "The tall shimmering golden veil of summer, for a hot spot in sun, where it hovers over the garden constantly moving and shining until autumn". It is a real beauty and my plant is looking particularly good this year.
The vase is a favourite stalwart given to me by mum. Unfortunately I don't know anything about its origins and must make a note to ask my sister if she does.

As always a big thank you to our lovely hostess Cathy who blogs at 'Rambling In The Garden' for enabling us to share our vases every Monday. It's a great way to celebrate the start of a new week. 

Monday, 15 June 2020

IAVOM ~ Daisy & Friends

It has been one of those days which have not gone according to plan. The day should have started with a trip to the allotment to plant some more French beans and a couple of summer squashes. However we were foiled in our attempt to enter the site when the key would not open the main gate. Himself deduced that there was something metallic blocking the keyhole. Whether this turns out to be the remnants of a broken off key or the unsuccessful attempts of somebody trying to break in remains to be seen. I was hoping to use one of two allotment wildings in today's vase but have had to pick from the garden where everything is growing more quickly now that we've had some copious amounts of rain at long last. The biggest rainfall came on Saturday night we had the most dramatic thunderstorm accompanied by torrential rain. There are more thunderstorms predicted for the next couple of days but I'm pleased to report that all is quiet at the moment. In today's 'In A Vase On Monday' are :
  • Kalimeris incisa 'Queen Charlotte' also known as the Japanese aster. This perennial summer flowering aster came home with me from the Southport Flower Show in August 2014. It is an easy going perennial. I now have two patches although one seems less robust this year. Time to divide again I think. As well as the lilac form there is also a white form which I would like to grow.
  • A couple of heads of foxgloves - these as self seeders originating either from the white or cream forms that were growing last year. 
  • Some stems of astrantia - I don't know which variety this is. It's been in the garden for years and I'm not sure even of where it came from but I love it.
  • More of the orlaya grandiflora which I've grown from seed sowed in September last year. I'm most taken with this. I sowed another small batch at the end of May just as an experiment and these are just beginning to germinate now. 
  • Some of the perennial toadflax or linaria purpurea which seeds about a bit too much although interestingly it's pink sibling 'Canon Went' does not have the same annoying tendency. 
  • Last but not least a spriglet of consolida ajacis' Alba' commonly known as larkspur which was also sown last September. I had hoped to include more than one spriglet today but the inclement too hot/too wet weather had other plans in store for my blooms.
The vase is a the bottom of a tea making receptacle which I bought when we attended the 'Terracotta Army' exhibition at the World Museum in Liverpool in October 2018. I've not used it for tea making - in fact I don't drink tea but the table where the vase is photographed is where we often sit for liquid refreshments when the weather is good. We seem to have sat out there a lot this year down to a combination of the weather being so good and also of course because we have been at home so much of the time.

Thanks as always to our steadfast hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In the Garden', who is going to be out and about delivering tussie - mussies or nosegays to her friends this week. A lovely idea. 

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Musing In June ~ Roses

" Roses are like the days : shortest during the dark months from November to February, when they are often little more noticeable than a spiky stalk. Even unpruned wild roses are barely noticeable in a winter hedgerow, unless a rogue briar catches the wind or some unlucky patch of exposed skin. It is when the year begins to stretch and swell into early summer that the astonishing transformation of the garden begins, with bristling yellow or white rosebushes and arching sprays of clustering cream panicles.Wild dog roses whose blooms are small and pale and layerless , rely on numbers to make their presence known: along roadsides, in railway cuttings, the little fleets of pale pink coracles balance in a sea of green elder, firmly anchored by long, strong stems as the spray of white spume surge around. Some are white with yellow centres, like delicate poached eggs splashed across a hedgerow. By high summer, garden roses create a prismatic array of iceberg white, old yellow, amber, scarlet, magenta or crimson glory. Walls, sheds and garages disappear under mountainous rambling roses, which hang like suspended avalanches of pink and cream. Roses can shoot up trees to make midsummer fireworks of bright, white-gold star showers , or stay close to the ground, releasing cascades of soft, small spheres over a terrace or a rockery. The late flowerers are undeterred by autumn dankness and frost, their cold beauty, hung with clear cobwebs, while the bloomless bushes of earlier roses offer round red hips to ravenous birds."

- an extract from 'The Brief Life Of Flowers' by Fiona Stafford.

Illustration by Beatrice Emma Parsons, 1870 -1955.

Monday, 8 June 2020

In A Vase On Monday ~ Coming Up Roses

Today's 'In A Vase On Monday' is one of those that on reflection could have done with a little more filling at the back but it was also one of those where there was simply no more room to slip in another stem. The vase itself is relatively new and was a purchase a couple of years ago on a most pleasant day out in Liverpool with one of my lovely nieces. In it are :

  • A couple of stems of rosa 'Blush Noisette'. I first came across this rose in the Queens' Garden at Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire on a visit there in the summer of 2008. The Queen's Garden there positively drips with roses and I was smitten by a good number of them. In the January of 2009 'Blush Noisette' arrived in the post from David Austin Roses as a bare root rose. She is described as a relatively short repeat flowering climber but here she is more of what I would call a scrambler and is most pleasantly scented.
  • Some more of the annual orlaya grandilora which have grown from September sown seed. I've often admired plants of this at garden shows but this is the first time I have grown it and am delighted with the results.
  • An annual grass in the shape of the shimmering briza maxima. Last year there were a couple of self-seeded clumps in the garden but no sign of it this year. The stems in the vase were picked from outside the gravel in front of the allotment community hut where they grown in profusion every summer.
  • A few snippets of the perennial easygoing polemonium caeruleum or Jacob's Ladder. These came into the garden via seed from one of the gardening societies. Funnily enough after years of blue flowers a couple white flowering plants that have appeared amongst the offspring from the originals. I must remember to gently tie some string round their stems and sow some seed from them to see what transpires.
As always thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' where it's carnival time. Time to listen to the music, sing, dance and party but I'm opting out. I've had a morning constructing a wigwam, planting French beans and sweet corn at the allotment so time to slow down now, relax and visit vases.

Monday, 25 May 2020

IAVOM ~ Calm

It's a glorious late spring day here but had 'In A Vase In Monday' been a couple of days earlier it would have been night on impossible to pick let alone photograph a vase. We had an absolute hooley that whipped itself up on Friday and only finally blew itself out yesterday afternoon. Some rain would have been more than welcome but not a drop fell. Our garden was littered with willow and sycamore branches but luckily no serious damage was done. At the allotment my plot neighbour's polytunnel covering flew off leaving his tomatoes and various annuals exposed to the elements. He is not convinced that they will make a full recovery.

My vase this week was mainly picked from the garden but there is one contender from the allotment in the shape of :

  • Allium schoenoprasum or chive flowers. These are appreciated by the bees and usually have a second flush later in the year. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible but my preference is the leaves especially finely chopped in scrambled eggs. I'm always intrigued by how wiry and strong the stems of the flowers are. 
  • From the garden are stems of rosa 'Luisa's Daughter' now in its fourth year and most floriferous. I've mentioned before that my dear sister had the rose named and sent to me as a birthday gift in memory of my mother. I wish that it retained the creamy colour of its buds but these gives way to large and blowsy white roses. Still they are most pretty and have a most pleasant light lemony scent.
  • Lastly a couple of annuals that were sown in the greenhouse in the third week of September, namely nigella damascena 'Double White' and orlaya grandiflora. Now these are himself's pride and joy as he sowed the seeds under supervision when my right arm was in plaster. The rest of the journey from seed to plant though was left to me but I'm most grateful for his efforts. I'm hoping that these will flower for some time and will self-seed. I had hoped that the nigella at the allotment would have self-seeded but there's not a single peek of it. Maybe it was a result of all that February rain.
Thanks as ever to our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden',  who this week has some delicious sweet peas in her vase. Do go and have a look!