greentapestry : 2019

Monday 30 December 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Plastered Again!

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak at the moment. No I haven't imbibed too many glasses of festive sherry or Baileys but I have my right hand in plaster again. The X-rays I had back in September which revealed a broken metacarpal failed to pick up on another fracture. I went back into plaster the week before Christmas and return to the fracture clinic in the middle of January. I have a feeling though that I may be plastered beyond then but I'm trying not to think too much about that prospect.

I have therefore slightly cheated this week and am sharing a thoughtful gift of a miniature pink rose sent by a family member when she heard about my misfortune. As always thanks to our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting not only today but constantly throughout 2019. Here's to a new decade of Monday vases!

Saturday 28 December 2019

December Musing ~ 'Today's Single Promise'

"I climb back to the village sliding on frozen puddles. They are like holes of sky in the road. A sudden blackbird alarmed skids out of a bush chipping chains of short cries behind him. A true note of winter, like an axe on a tree, a barking dog or a daylight owl, each pure and solitary in the pause of silence from which the past and future hang.

It has now turned noon and the day slides slowly from the roofs of the sloping village. It freezes harder than ivory; one can almost see it in the air as though the light was being stretched on nails. A clear cold radiance hangs over the landscape and a crow crosses it on creaking wings. The rich earth, with all its seeds and humming fields and courtships, is now closed and bound in white vellum. Only one colour remains, today's single promise, pricked in red over the ashen world - seen in a flitting robin, some rosehips on a bush, the sun hanging low by the wood, and through the flushed cottage windows the berries of the holly and the russet faces of the feasting children."

Words from 'Village Christmas And Other Notes on the English Year' by Laurie Lee.

Illustration - Inga Moore.

Monday 16 December 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Golden Brown

Golden brown? Well perhaps slightly dusty and faded frippery would be a more accurate description of the contents of this week's 'In A Vase On Monday'. The star of the show is a small bunch of scabious stellata 'Sternkugel' which was grown at the allotment in the summer of 2016. They featured in a vase in February 2017 after which I had intended to throw them into the green bin but somehow or the other they have lingered on the windowsill of our utility room. They have become rather fragile in the meantime so I will be ruthless very soon. Time to grow them again next year perhaps. When in flower I was not particularly keen on the flowers which were an insipid pale blue but I was struck by the attractive seed heads. Keeping them company and rescued from the greenhouse are heads of papaver 'Lauren's Grape' and a sprig of lunaria annua. Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden'. I wonder what other folk have come up with in their mid - December vases this week - it's certainly a challenging time of year to bring outside in.

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Almost Wordless Wednesday ~ Fernery

Our visit to RHS Garden Harlow Carr last month coincided with an exhibition entitled 'Seventy Days Of Sculpture', to celebrate the garden's 70th birthday. Sculptors from throughout Yorkshire exhibited their work. Sadly the weather and my camera played up on our visit. We only managed to see a handful of the sculptures on display. I used my phone camera to take one or two snaps before the blue skies turned to a leaden grey peppered with drizzle and that together with a biting wind saw us retreating inside. This sculpture is one that I would have dearly liked to take home with me and is the work of James Wilkinson an artist blacksmith based in North Yorkshire.

Monday 2 December 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Message In A Bottle'

I've moved the goalposts for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' and have come inside. When all is said and done there is very little in flower out in the garden now. The hard frosts of the last few nights have done their damage to whatever colour was lingering.

We celebrated a wedding anniversary this weekend and to mark the occasion himself bought me a gift. Last year he kindly treated me to a beautiful orchid with small white flowers. I've amazed myself by managing to keep it alive to this very day. It was in full flower when he bought it and has a second flowering period since although the spikes have gone over in the last couple of weeks or so. When he asked me what I might like this year I suggested an orchid to see if I can keep another one going. I've never had much joy with orchids but always envied my mother's collection which grew and flourished over many years. Anyway himself presented me with a most pretty orchid, which has taken me by surprise as it is growing in a bottle. I'm really not quite sure how I'm going to keep this one ticking over. The only care instructions are to place a couple of ice cubes on the growing medium each week. Any advice would be very welcome. I will report back this time next year!

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her weekly invitation to share our flowers on a Monday.

Monday 25 November 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ A Backwards Glance

It's a backward glance for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' with some sweet peas picked back in the already distant days of summer. The photo was taken at the end of July, just after we had got back from our holiday in Wales. I'm not sure why I didn't post it at the time but maybe I was just busy catching up with various odds and ends.

It was very much a case of a tale of two wigwams when it came to the sweet peas this year which were all grown as usual at the allotment. The wigwams were constructed in raised beds on opposite sides of the path that runs down the allotment. The first lot were sown at the beginning of March, whilst the second batch were sown in the middle of the same month. They were all sown in the same compost under cover in deep root trainers.

On planting at the allotment the earlier sown plants never really flourished. They grew and produced flowers but the plants were straggly and the stems were short. Wigwam Two on the other hand generously produced flowers with the bonus of long stems. However even wigwam 2 didn't produce the sheer volume of flowers that I had picked the the previous year despite the drought conditions. On reflection I think that it may have been down to the extra special attention that I paid to my sweet peas during that long hot summer.

As usual I sowed a small number of several varieties of sweet peas. I forgot to note the contents of this year's mix at the time but they definitely included some constants including 'Gwendoline', 'Erewhon', 'Eclipse', 'Mollie Rilestone' and 'Matucana' which is possibly my favourite. I'm already looking forward to choosing next year's assortment.

The vase is one that has been used before and is a small Emma Bridgewater pink hearts milk bottle acquired via eBay.

A peek over at 'Rambling In The Garden' reveals that our hostess Cathy has concocted a vase containing visions of summer and all in real time rather than a retrospective. A real treat for the eyes lightening up a dreary November afternoon. I'm looking forward to seeing what magic there is in other vases this week.

Tuesday 12 November 2019

In A Vase On Monday - Teeny Tiny

A late in the day post from me to celebrate the sixth anniversary of 'In A Vase On Monday'. I was ahead of the game with my photo taken on early Sunday afternoon but sadly then was suddenly hit by a horrible tummy bug. I was out for the count yesterday and unable to put any words to my photo. Cathy came up with the challenge of filling a little vase this week and I used a glass bottle that usually resides on my dressing table. It's a little short of three inches high. I did pause to take the stopper out of it to insert :

  • An ivy flower head.
  • A few flowers from the long flowering erigeron karvinskianus.
  • A rose from 'Luisa's Daughter', a gift from my sister.
  • Some snippets of a persicaria which is still looking vibrant despite all the recent heavy rain. I used it in a vase about a month ago unsure whether it was 'Firetail' or 'Blackfield'. Our hostess Cathy suggested that it is probably 'Firetail'.
Many thanks and much love to our excellent hostess Cathy for all the encouragement, sense of fun, inspiration and dedication she has demonstrated over the last six years. 

Monday 28 October 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ First Frost

One solitary bloom in this week's 'In A Vase On Monday'. The final flower of the year from rosa 'Crown Princess Margareta', which was cut last night to save it from the jaws of the first predicted frost this autumn. She is a new to me rose arriving as a bare root plant last November so still settling in. The skeletonised leaf which was already on the wall seemed to pick up on her colours. Crown Princess Margareta was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and was an accomplished landscape gardener and artist.

I also rescued a few unopened buds from the rose 'Luisa's Daughter', a gift from my sister and a rose which my sister had named in memory of our mum. This rose opened its first flowers in early May and was still hanging on in there last week. That first frost did indeed materialise this morning and another is forecast for tomorrow so I'm glad that I gathered these flowers and bought them into the sanctuary of the house when I did.

With thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden'.

Saturday 19 October 2019

October Musing ~ "Delicious Autumn"

"Is this not a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love - that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one's very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."

Words by George Eliot, in a letter to Maria Lewis, October 1st, 1841.

Illustration by Clara Atwood.

Monday 14 October 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Still Shining

A few snippets in today's 'In A Vase On Monday' gathered before the next lot of rain arrived on the horizon. An almost dry day was most most welcome though. Dry days have been in scant supply so far this autumn. In my vase some still shining late colour in the way of :

  • Aster cordifolius 'Little Carlow' which is not only a beautiful colour, dainty, late to flower and also attractive to pollinators. I am aware that it has been renamed but as I am unable to pronounce or spell the new name I'm sticking with the old.
  • Persicaria amplexicaulis-  I think that this one is 'Blackfield' but it could be 'Firetail'. I must confess to not really liking the leaves but the flowers last for such a long time.
  • A sprig of salvia 'Nachtvlinder' - not only does this flower over a considerable time but the foliage is deliciously scented. I started off with two sprigs but one came to grief as I was putting it in the vase.
  • Finally some leafiness in the form of panicum elegans 'Frosted Explosion'. These were grown from seed sown in the greenhouse back in either March or April. 
Thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her kind invitation to share our vases on a Monday.

Monday 7 October 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Not Quite What The Packet Said

Another simple pick and plonk for today's 'In A Vase On Monday'. A BIG thanks for the lovely supportive comments on last post which were much appreciated 😘 I was released from the plaster cast on my right arm on Wednesday. It felt like the limb belonged to somebody else for the first day or so but I can now feel some improvement. My right hand is becoming more supple although it still definitely has some way to go before it is back to full strength. I was also slightly alarmed as I was experiencing incidents of sharp shooting pain higher up the arm before the plaster came off - the sort of pain that made me gasp aloud. I was advised at the hospital that this sort of pain can occur when you have had a limb in plaster for some time. It could last for anytime for a couple of weeks or so up to a year and a half! Anyway whatever happens I will not be in a hurry to pick up a spade in the near future. I can see a long list of jobs to do in the spring. I am pleased to say that all my left handed seed sowing of hardy annuals have germinated but I will need to do some thinning out sooner than later as I simply tipped too many seeds in. In other news himself is giving the greenhouse a spruce up and has taken the heated sand bench out for some repairs in readiness for spring. It is we think ten years old and has given good service but was in need of some minor surgery.

Just one flower in my vase this week in the shape of cosmos which were sown in April. They were according to the packet cosmos bipinnatus 'Purity' which is an old favourite of mine grown most years. Instead of those anticipated all white flowers some pink came out in the mix too. As well as the pink in the above photo there is also a deeper shade of pink at the allotment. Not quite what the customer ordered but still they are all most pretty flowers which will go on until the frosts arrive. A note has been made to order a new packet of seed for next year.

Thanks to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for being such an excellent hostess and inviting us so nicely to share our vases of flowers each week.

P.S. My joy in discovering the microphone facility on my iPad to send emails etc. whilst incapacitated was short lived - too much gobbledygook emerged. However the predictive text came in useful.

Monday 23 September 2019

In A Vase On Monday - Fall

                                 The title of today's 'In A Vase On Monday' post, is not only a nod to the arrival of a new season but also a reference to the fact that I recently had a rather nasty fall. A holiday in France and Italy had to be cut short when I took a tumble downhill on our way out for lunch and a glass of vino. Unlike Jack and Jill in the nursery rhyme I couldn't be mended with "vinegar and brown paper". Would it were that simple. I am sitting here not only looking slightly like a panda but my right (dominant) hand is now encased in plaster as I have a broken metacarpal. The long to do gardening list is on hold. I did have a go at sowing some annual seeds on Saturday and discovered that it is not easy to do using the wrong hand. I ended up with a mountain of seeds in the middle of one tray. On the plus side though I'm not in any great pain and the various cuts and bruises are now healing. I have also recently discovered the most useful dictation feature on my iPad which is making one aspect of life easier.

It was a bit of a challenge to snip and plonk a few flowers for vase but I got there and felt a sense of achievement when I did. Himself kindly took the photo for me. Just a couple of varieties in the mix :

  • Rudbeckia hirta 'Sahara' - grown from seed sown back in February. This is the second year that I have grown these and the plants have been so much sturdier and productive than last year. Maybe the drought conditions that we experienced last summer didn't suit them. A definite candidate for next year's seed list.
  • Dahlia - possibly 'Henriette' and only just into flower but most pretty.

With thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for all her gentle encouragement to get out there and snip.

Monday 2 September 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Sizzle

Although this weekend's temperatures were down a good few degrees on the previous weekend and the weather has been most unsettled the flowers are sizzling. In my vase today are :
  • Amaranthus caudatus 'Viridis - grown from seed sown in the greenhouse back in March. The plants are at the allotment and are looking rather aenemic. My allotment plot neighbour who has an exotic jungle of a a plot has plants that have reached dizzying heights. I will have to ask him his secret.
  • A single flower from dahlia 'Sarah Raven'. This is new to me and I don't like it as much as I did when it was looking at me from the pages of a catalogue. My dahlias have been an unmitigated disaster this year. With the exception of  the dark leaved 'Magenta Star' and one to still to flower plant, all the allotment dahlias were either nobbled in the winter or came through only to fall victim to bunny or mollusc damage. Our wet summer meant that there were more of the latter pests out and about. I was especially upset to loose 'Henriette' which had been so productive last summer. Time soon to start thinking of replacements for next year.
  • Phlox drummondii 'Cherry Caramel' grown from seed again sown  in the greenhouse on 11th March. I like the colour of this and it seems to be trouble free so will probably sow it again next year.
  • A single flower of the perennial helenium 'Sahin's Early Flowerer'. This came to me as a division from the owner of a cottage that we stayed in back in 2009. I had asked her for the name of the plant having admired it both in the garden and in a vase with other late summer flowers and was delighted to come away with a living souvenir of our holiday.
  • Flowers of rudbeckia hirta 'Sahara' grown from seed started off in a heated propagator in February. Two of the plants that I planted at the allotment last year survived the winter but fizzled out in spring. I still haven't seen the full colour range of these flowers as promised by the seed packet but maybe next summer. They are beauties.
  • Some foliage in the shape of physocarpus probably the variety 'Diablo'.
  • A very dark scabious which has appeared of its own accord at the allotment. Last year I grew some scabious from a packet of allegedly mixed coloured tall flowers. They all turned out white. Whether this is one that did not reach maturity land flower last year I just don't know or maybe it is a self seeder? There are white flowers too which came through the winter.
Thanks as always to our hostess the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' . Do join in the fun!

Monday 19 August 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ The One That Nearly Got Away

My vase this week is one that missed being posted at the end of July. I'm not quite sure what happened at the time but thought it a shame to let it vanish into obscurity. All the flowers in it are still flowering today.

The contents are as follows :
  • Erigeron annuus - I first saw tall billowing clouds of this white daisy at Great Dixter a few years ago. I thought that it would be easy to raise from seed but my attempt last year didn't produce as much as a single daisy. Earlier in the spring I had an email from Special Plants Nursery  to say they had some small plants for sale including erigeron annus so I placed an order. My plants have been much more floppy and not as impressively statuesque as the ones I saw at Great Dixter but I'm quite taken with them. Whether they become nightmare self seeders remains to be seen.
  • The yellow daisy is anthemis tinctoria 'E.C. Buxton' taken from a cutting I took at a propagation workshop held in 2010 at local to me Bluebell Cottage Gardens And Nursery. This anthemis has attractive ferny green leaves and the long lasting flowers are a soft pale creamy-yellow.
  • An annual that I have not grown for a long time and I'm not sure why in the shape of nicotiana 'Lime Green'. Definitely on next year's to be sown list.
  • A new to me annual and also to be repeated next year is phlox drummondii grandiflora 'Isabellina'. The seeds were from Chiltern Seeds and were sown in the greenhouse in March.
  • The delicate white flowers of thalictrum delvayi 'Splendide White'. I bought this dappled shade loving perennial a couple of years ago or so and it's rapidly becoming a favourite.  It is sterile so has a long flowering period. I've still to work out how to support it properly and it will be moved further back in the snowdrop border next year.

As always a special thank you to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting. I'm off to find pen and paper and go vase visiting. 

Monday 5 August 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Allotment Pickings

The contents of this week vase had to suffer the indignity of suffering a bus journey back from the allotment to reach their destination. They did well to arrive substantially less crumpled, sticky and weary than I was. It was one of those unpleasantly muggy days that we seem to have had too many of this summer. They were just as appreciative of a long cool drink on arrival home as I was but I spared them the ice and a slice.

In my vase are :
  • The first flower of rudbeckia 'Sahara', which were sown back in February in a heated propagator. Plans to end up with more plants than I did last year sadly didn't materialise. Note and reprimand to self - must do better next year!
  • Cornflower 'Blue Ball' which was directly sown last September. The cornflowers have done well this year. I think that the blue and mauve remain my favourites. They are beginning to look a bit straggly now. I've not been able to keep up with deadheading them this summer which doesn't help their general appearance.
  • A bronze fennel flowerhead. This is an old favourite despite its self seeding tendencies. It's one of those plants which is pure joy to feel and to smell. My original plant came from a fellow local gardening club member.
  • Some sweet pea flowers. I think that this might be lathyrus 'Noel Sutton'. All my sweet peas were sown in March and the plants are now planted up a couple of bamboo wigwam structures at the allotment. I can sense a sweet pea vase coming soon.
  • Tropaeolum majus 'Milkmaid'. Nasturtiums are always a must at the allotment. They self seed and are descendants of 'Empress of India' or 'Blue Pepe'. This year I also sowed some seeds from one of those 'freebie' packets of seeds that come with gardening magazine. 'Milkmaid' has flourished and will be sown again in the spring as an insurance policy just in case. She spreads well, is most floriferous and is an an appealing soft creamy yellow.
A special thanks must go as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for providing perennial inspiration to snip flowers and greenery to fill a vase on a Monday.

Monday 22 July 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Singing The Blues

It's mainly about the blues but some pink and purple has crept in too with not just one but two Monday vases. We have just spent a most relaxing week away in Ceredigion, Wales in a cottage overlooking Cardigan Bay. There was much time spent gazing out to sea trying to spot bottlenose dolphins but they kept a low profile. However the view was still fabulous at all times of day and the antics of the rabbits on the lawn in front of the cottage kept us amused. There was a welcome pack on the kitchen table when we arrived - I assure you that the tea bags were opened first well before the wine. I especially appreciated the vase of flowers on the kitchen table and was kept spellbound watching the central florets of the hydrangea open out as the week progressed.

Now for a random collection of mainly blues from the garden ~

  • Some flowers of clematis 'Blekitny Aniol' also known as clematis' Blue Angel'. I bought a small plant at least ten years ago from the Country Market stall at Tavistock Pannier Market in Devon. I was bewitched by the colour. She has spread over the years and is entwined in the embrace of rosa 'Blush Noisette' which peaks before the clematis. The angel seems to have gone slightly astray this year and will need some prompting next spring to climb up rather than lurch perilously close to the ground which she is doing this summer.
  • A couple of sprigs of salvia 'Nachtvlinder' which has proved hardy so far and has the most delightful scented foliage. I was surprised last year by the appearance of a couple of seedlings which I suppose I should extract and replant now that they have put on some growth.
  • Some flowers from the annual phlox drummondii grown from seed sown in the greenhouse in March. The photo does not really do it justice. I think it will be on the repeat list next year.
  • A helping of what I think is possibly campanula trachelium, which invited itself into the garden some time ago and which also has a white counterpart. It seeds itself about a bit but never enough to become a nuisance.
  • Finally some foliage in the shape of physocarpus leaves. I am unable to remember the variety but it's probably 'Diabolo'.
As always a special thanks to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' whose vase this week aptly reflects the hot temperatures that are forecast for the week ahead. Time to sit in the shade with a long cool drink and a good book methinks.

Monday 8 July 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Shades Of Pale

This week's 'In A Vase On Monday' was photographed in a new spot, still on top of a wall overlooking the stream but a wider wall decorated with a soft cushion of green. Unlike last week's readymade gifted vase the contents all were picked from the garden. In my vase this week are :

  • A stem of a rose 'Luisa's Daughter' which is now in it's third flowering season and has certainly leapt this year. The rose was a present from my sister and was specifically named in memory of my mother. It was a most thoughtful gift but one that I have fretted about in case the rose didn't flourish. Anyway it seems to be happy where it's planted and has been in flower since the beginning of May. It has a light but discernible lemony scent.
  • A couple of stems of anemone coronaria 'The Bride', the tubers of which were planted in a tray in the greenhouse back in March. 
  • A couple of calendula 'Snow Princess', which were sown on 11th March. 
  • A stem of the annual phlox drummondii 'Crème Brûlée'', grown from seed again sown on 11th March. I've yet to make my mind up about this one. It seems to have a rather spindly habit and so far I have been unable to detect the scent promised on the seed packet blurb. I went slightly over the top this year on annual phloxes and sowed four varieties. The others will hopefully feature in later vases.
Our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' is doing her very best this week to make sure that we will all be singing and disco dancing until the sun goes down.

Monday 1 July 2019

IAVOM ~ Game, Set and Match

The creation of today's 'In A Vase On Monday' came about by pure chance. My weedathon at the allotment continues and I spent a good part of the day there. Plans for picking flowers to bring home with me and perhaps combine with flowers from the garden floated round in my head whilst I tussled with comfrey roots, brambles and other delights. Before my snippers were primed for action one of my lovely plot neighbours kindly offered me an instant vase, when he asked whether I would like three calla lily stems in exchange for some stems of cornflower 'Black Ball'. Never look a gift horse in the mouth!

My post would have appeared sooner but I was distracted when I sat down to watch Serena Williams play the talented young Cori Gauff at Wimbledon. I'm looking forward to the next fortnight and all the excitement and wonder of watching some more thrilling tennis matches.

Thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for encouraging us to fill a vase on a Monday. It has become a most comforting and pleasing activity to begin the week with.

Saturday 29 June 2019

Musing In June ~ Weeding For Gardeners

"Weeds have a particular fascination for us. They are endlessly interesting, like an enemy who occupies our thoughts and schemes so much more than any friend and who (although we would never admit to it) we would miss if he suddenly moved away. I know the weeds in my garden better than most of my flowers and, without them, my victories would be insipid affairs. They may sometimes appear to us as ineradicable as Original Sin, but we would be sorry to to admit that, like sin, we were not conscious of a strong urge to overcome them ...... They come in unalterable , even decorous, procession, like a formal dance measure of long ago. First the speedwell in its long trails, the goosegrass, whorled and easy to remove while it is not too sticky ; the ground elder with its fresh - green palmate leaves ; the hairy bittercress and the nettles. There is the constant background theme of shepherd's purse and groundsel which, in mild winters, never seem to cease growing. Later, in late April, the first leaves of bindweed will make their entrance, usually after the first mulch is applied so that it can grown unseen and unchecked for some time. As speedwell is the spring's weed , so sowthistle belongs to the early summer, even half an hour's pleasant labour in June will yield a barrow-load of weeds".

~ an extract by Ursula Buchan from 'The Virago Book of Women Gardeners'.

I seem to have spent an inordinate amount of time this last week or so weeding especially at the allotment, where there has been a proliferation of weeds, encouraged by excessive rainfall. In addition to the above I'm also well acquainted with rosebay willowherb, dandelion, herb robert, wood avens, couch grass, creeping buttercup and nightmare of nightmares - horsetail. I was slightly puzzled by the reference to sowthistle in the above extract and was congratulating myself on not being plagued by that. My joy was short-lived as I made the mistake of looking for further information and once I saw a photo I realised that I've got that in the collection too! Which weeds are you engaged in mortal combat with?

Monday 24 June 2019

IAVOM- Thereby Hangs A Tale

Never mind the 'Chelsea Chop' - it was more like the 'Malvern Chop' when my centaurea cyanus 'Polka Dot Mixed' and nigella 'Persian Jewels' provided hearty fare for grazing rabbits in early May. I knew from previous experience that the cornflowers would survive but I wasn't sure about the nigella, which was reduced overnight from a frothy green haze to pathetic tattered stumps.

So this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' shows that happily both have survived to tell the tale. They were sown directly at the allotment sometime in mid September where they have both been left to get on with things. I did a little bit of thinning out but other than providing support for the cornflowers have not paid either any special attention. The cornflowers have been blooming since the start of June but these are the first nigellas to open. Both are from packets of mixed colour seeds but I've noticed that blue seems to the dominant colour in the resulting flowers of both varieties.  Maybe next year I will stick to packets of single colours and create my own mix. I couldn't resist adding some lagurus ovatus also known as bunny's tail grass to complete the vase which must have been a milk jug in a former life.

As always a special thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her weekly invitation to share our vases. A little peek over there has revealed that some beautiful sweet peas and tempting cake are on the menu this week. A most irresistible combination!

Monday 10 June 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Tragedy'

Well it was almost a tragedy! Picture the scene : 'In A Vase On Monday' assembled and waiting to be photographed. Vase left perching on top of wall behind which there is a good drop down into a stream. Me retreating indoors to find my camera and returning a few minutes later to see a squirrel inching along the wall towards the vase ready to send it toppling. A silent stand off ensued which I'm most relieved to say I won and the vase has survived to tell the tale. I would have probably cried if the vase had been broken. It is a favourite. Although I don't anything about its history it came to me from my mother. A salutary lesson has been learnt. Vases will not be left unattended in the future!

The contents of the vase all come from the allotment, where I seem to be spending much of my spare time whenever it's not raining. In the vase are :
  • A rose which grows in no man's land so good material for foraging.
  • Cornflowers 'Black Ball' and 'Mauve Ball' from my plot. I think that I described the latter as 'Purple Ball' in a previous post but that is not the correct name. September sown directly into the ground the cornflowers have got into their stride now. As always when I use 'Black Ball' in photos it seems to disappear but you may see it if you crease your eyes up extra hard!
  • Some stems of alchemilla mollis - this grows outside the allotment community hut and is in flower before my plants at home are.
  • A shimmer of of briza maxima again growing outside the allotment community hut, where it self seeds in profusion every year. I also grew this from seed this year hoping to transplant seedlings on to my plot. Sadly it has not germinated neither has hordeum jubatum, both of which I've grown from seed without problems in the past.  I'm using a new compost this year for all my seed sowing - it is Dalefoot Wool Compost For Seeds which is peat free. Made of bracken and sheep wool is has a most pleasing texture. I've had great results with this so can only put the non-germination down to poor seed.  I'm pleased that I can readily get hold of the briza but will miss out on the other grass for this year. 
Thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for providing us with the opportunity to start the week on an upbeat note. Do visit so that you can see what is singing in other people's vases this week.

Wednesday 29 May 2019

A Wednesday Worisit

My sister came across this specimen when walking in the Cotswolds last week. She is on a mission to find out what it is and asked me for help with identification. The verdict was that it's probably a shrub rather than a tree as there was not discernible central trunk. It came in at a good ten to fifteen feet. It was a solitary creature growing on grassland and as far as she could tell there was no scent coming from the flowers. So far aruncus has come up as a possibility but we are puzzled by the leaves, so confirmation or other possibilities would be most welcome.

Monday 27 May 2019

Rain Stops Play

Himself refuses point blank to take to the highways on bank holidays but usually spins me to the allotment for an outing. Today though with its blustery wind and frequent showers saw me stay put at home. Time was well spent in the greenhouse and finally later in the afternoon there was a chance to whizz round the garden and pick a few flowers. 

In this week's 'In A Vase on Monday' are one of the first buds from the 'New Dawn' rose, cornflower 'Purple Ball' (not this grown this colour before - a definite will do again), astrantia (identity lost in time), spikes bearing small purple and white flowers from what I think is scutelleria (a prolific self seeder), some physocarpus leafiness which seems to have more or less vanished into the background and finally the pink flufiness which is persicaria bistorta superba.  

Thanks to Cathy who blogs at over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for providing a platform to share our vases on Mondays, come rain or shine, high days and  holidays.

Monday 20 May 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Butterfingers

Today has been one of those days when my fingers have not been doing as they are told hence the title of this post. They struggled to put up a wigwam at the allotment for the sweet peas to climb up, they were seriously challenged when it came to tie in the  planted sweet peas and then as I was putting my 'In A Vase on Monday' together they managed to decimate a few flower heads sending them flying off into oblivion. My vase has mainly come from the allotment, where the bunnies are enjoying some fine dining experiences this year - the main casualties so far being nigella and cornflowers. I know from previous experience that the latter will recover but I'm not sure about the latter.

In my vase are :
  • Cerinthe major - these flowers have come from a self seeder that overwintered into a most sturdy plant at the allotment. They were being much enjoyed by the bees this morning which made me happy. So far the bunnies don't seem interested. Fingers crossed that it stays that way.
  • Allium schoenoprasum also known as chives. Again these were picked from the allotment. Both leaves and flowers are edible. The flowers have a rather hot kick to them.
  • Some leafiness in the shape of what I think is the edible atriplex hortensis var. rubra commonly known as red orach. I saw a patch of purple coming through the grass when I was filling my watering can at one of the communal taps and closer investigation revealed this leafy lovely. I'm not sure how it ended up where it did but it is a most welcome escapee from another plot.
  • A trio of cornflower 'Black Ball' flowers - the first of the year and again from an overwintered self seeder.
  • Aquilegia vulgaris - just a seedling that has appeared in the garden. The colouring is rather wishy-washy and streaky so the plant is heading for the compost heap. However it conveniently plugged a gap in my vase today.
I'm looking forward to seeing some fabulous creations as bloggers from far and wide post their Monday vases. Thanks to Cathy over 'At Rambling In The Garden' who so kindly enables us to do this every week.

Monday 6 May 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Warning'

"When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me,
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals,
and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
And run my stick along the public railings,
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens,
And learn to spit."

- an extract from 'Warning' by Jenny Joseph.

My vase celebrates today's milestone which sees me officially morphing  into a senior citizen! A most sobering thought! Where did all those years go? I can assure you that the lily of the valley and geum in my vase were not picked from other people's gardens but from my own. Just like the flowers depict I really am a sweet 'old' lady but do watch out. Tomorrow I'm off to give my new older concessionary bus pass its maiden outing on a excursion to buy a red hat. You and the flowers in your garden have been suitably warned.

The vase is one of set of five different colours, a fairly recent gift from my sister who will no doubt enjoy teasing me about my new status.

As always a most heartful thank you to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting 'In A Vase On Monday'. Do visit and see what delights she and other bloggers are displaying in their vases today.

P.S. Just to clarify that I've not just had a birthday but yesterday was the date that the state declared me to be an 'old age pensioner' 😄

Tuesday 30 April 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Wonderful Baby'

"Wonderful baby livin' on love
The sandman says maybe he'll take you above,
Up where the girls fly on ribbons and bows,
Where babies float by just 
Counting their toes."

 - lyrics from 'Wonderful Baby' by Don McLean

It's a late in the day vase for me this week - in fact a whole day late. This weekend was rather special as I travelled south to spend a couple of days with my sister. My sister became a grandmother for the first time in January, so there was a new little person in the family for me to meet in the shape of a great niece. 

With one thing and another it was a hectic weekend and by the time I arrived home yesterday evening I was fit for very little. My vase was picked today and consists of the following :
  • Stems of a most lilac lilac which I spotted just outside the allotment gates this morning. It smells fabulous.
  • Again just outside the allotment gates a couple of branches bearing the white flowers of hawthorn also known as May blossom.
  • Some frothy pink in the shape of flowers from the perennial pimpinella major rosea which is growing in the garden.
  • Some leafiness from what I think are sycamore seedlings growing where they shouldn't be in amongst my gooseberry bed at the allotment.

The vase is one that belonged to my mother who would have relished being a great-grandmother.

This was very much a quick pink and plonk and sadly the vase will have to live outside in the greenhouse. As I moved it to take a photo a trail of petals and pollen followed me. I will be able to appreciate it at close quarters though as there is much in the way of potting up to be done this week.

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who encourages us to share our vases every Monday.

Monday 22 April 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Dawn Chorus

We've been blessed with the most fabulous weather over the Easter period - more befitting the middle of summer than spring. Maybe too hot for all the work that I planned to do at the allotment but perfect just to pause and lap up the warmth and marvel at what is coming into flower. I'm waking up earlier and earlier each day as the birds are singing so loudly. My clock tells me it is around 5.00am but I'm happy just to lie there and listen before I doze for a while longer.

So as you can birds have crept into my 'In A Vase On Monday' this week - this little ceramic trio usually live inside. As I can't remember where they came from or how long I've had them it suggests it was some time ago. No chocolate this year but my Easter vase just had to have some daffies in it. In my vase are :

  • 'Tête-à-tête' narcissus  - when I found out that Easter was so late this year I decided to plant some bulbs early in the new year. These have just managed to flower in time. I grew them in pots and they are a bit shorter stemmed than usual but otherwise no worse off for the experience.
  • Narcissus 'Thalia' which are growing in a very shady spot. They are past their sell by date as a whole but there were still the odd lingerers.
  • An all time favourite in the shape of a couple of stems of lamprocapnos spectabilis alba also known as bleeding heart. Since the name change from dicentra spectablis I always have to check on its new name.
  • Another plant whose name evades me in the shape of the green flowers provided by the perennial  mathiasella bupleuroides 'Green Dream. Now that's a mouthful if ever there was one! 
  • Finally the pale lavender flowers of the perennial honesty - lunaria rediviva. Cathy over at 'Words And Herbs' featured the dried elliptical seed heads of this in one of her vases not that long ago. I grew my plant from seed in 2017 and this is second year of flowering. It has grown too big where I planted it so has been in a pot for a few weeks awaiting rehousing. Not only are the flowers and seedheads attractive but the flowers are also most sweetly and noticeably scented.
As always a big thank you to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for being such an eggsellent hostess each Monday. Do visit and see what she has put together this week as well as peek at other vases chock-a-block full of spring beauty.

Monday 1 April 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Spring Forward

It was great to have that extra hour of light yesterday not just for gardening purposes but also for the opportunity to take my vase photo later in the day after a trip out. I had been celebrating the arrival of summer time by meeting up with my younger brother. I had not seen him for eighteen months so it was good to catch up on family news. I have lovely siblings but they are all some distance away so any get together is special.

The wallflowers and anemones were picked from the allotment on Saturday afternoon. The wallflowers were bought as plants at the beginning of autumn and are fairly short but compact. Unfortunately there seems to be more than a fair share of in your face vivid yellows amongst them but to my relief I've spotted some reds and oranges too. They are only just coming into flower and some are still tightly in bud so there may be surprises to follow.

Anemone coronaria 'Mr Fokker' (blue) and anemone coronaria 'Sylphide' (pink) grow in raised beds at the allotment. I started them off from corms grown in pots on a heated sand bench in March 2016 and then transferred them as plants to the allotment. I'm now down to one plant of each so will have to line up some replacements soon especially as the foliage of 'Sylphide' is looking rather anaemic. As I was leaving the allotment I noticed the white anemone coronaria' The Bride' just on the point of flowering. She has never done as well as the other two whether that has something to do with her being a white flower and perhaps consequently less vigorous I just don't know.

Back home late yesterday afternoon I was able to pick some narcissus namely 'Petrel', 'W.P. Milner' and 'Minnow' to add to add to my sunshine vase which spent a good few years of its life as a container for pens and pencils. It was late in the day before I realised its potential as a vase. 'Petrel' and 'Minnow' have the bonus of being softly scented too.

Our 'In A Vase On Monday' hostess Cathy over 'At Rambling In The Garden' is showcasing some rather attractive tulips this week and links will point you in the direction of some other no doubt wonderful vases. Do have a peek if you haven't already visited.

Wednesday 20 March 2019

A Fanfare For Spring

" Everything now gives way to daffodils. I am a bit one-sided about daffodils. If I were allowed only one sort of flower on my desert island, it would have to be daffodils. When nothing was out in a flat in-between time earlier in the month, I cam home from a tiring visit to find a bunch of cut daffodils in my letter box. Some telepathy from my neighbour had moved her to this inspired act. I retired to bed for a couple of days, downed by the slight attack of plague that had been dogging me throughout the month, bought a jug of lemon and the daffodils up from the kitchen window-sill where I had set them and together they effected the cure. What crisp fragrance, what unburdensome vigour, comes from leaning one's fevered brow to the cool touch of those extraordinary trumpet-tubes , and what health one breathes in from their stringent breath,

If there us one smell of spring it is the smell of daffodils, not the sweeter, further-travelling, sometimes over-powering jonquil ..... not the very elusive smell of the small wild daffodils ...... No, it is your ordinary all yellow single trumpet that catches the wind in its strong favourite horn and almost rings the bell for spring".

- an extract from 'Led By The Nose' by Jenny Joseph.

- illustration by Angela Barrett.

Monday 18 March 2019

In A Vase on Monday ~ Branching Out

Although there was a slight mizzle falling as I took photos for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday', engaging in this activity didn't involve the same risk as last week either to me or vase. After endless days of gales or so it seems the wind has finally dropped. It's a smidgen warmer too and the weather looks as if it's on the upper as the week unfolds. There are plans for much sowing of seeds and other garden related activities.

Just a couple of bits of twiggery in my vase this week in the shape of snippings from prunus x subhirtella 'Autumnalis', which can be grown as a small tree or a large shrub. Mine is a tree which provides much welcome and delightful flowers in the coldest and darkest of months. In theory the tree flowers between November and March. Usually though my tree has two substantial flushes of flower, one which lives up to its name in autumn and the other in spring. It's autumn leaf colour is it's other attractive feature.

Thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy over 'At Rambling In The Garden' for hosting each week. I'm looking forward to some vase hopping later this evening with pen and paper in hand. No doubt the wish list will expand.

Wednesday 13 March 2019

Almost Wordless Wednesday ~ Over The Edge

A few words are needed to explain this follow up post to my latest 'In A Vase On Monday' post - this is the over the edge from where I often take my vase photos. The land on the other side of the stream is outside our boundaries - the clumps of snowdrops where there when we arrived but I've added some later colour by doing some guerilla gardening. I've lobbed some 'Tête-à-Tête' narcissus bulbs over the edge and crossed my fingers. As you can see some have survived. There is a further patch of these little daffies just out of shot together with some tall later flowering daffodils that were already growing there. A few more bulbs will be jettisoned in the direction of the bald patch later this year.

Monday 11 March 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Living On The Edge

My 'In A Vase On Monday' was picked yesterday on one of those days that bought my sister's wedding day to mind. It was one of those days when the weather gods were intent on selecting a morsel of everything to chuck at us mere mortals - icy gusty winds, rain, serious hail, sleet and some all too brief sunny spells were in all the mix. My sister got married on such a day at the beginning of April, which presented me as her only attendant with quite a challenge to keep her looking at her pristine and glamorous best.

Fortunately there was a lull in the early afternoon which enabled me to rush out, snip and photograph all at lightening speed - well as fast as I can go these days. I even managed a couple of outdoor photos which was an achievement. What you can't see is that behind my normal perch for vase photos there is a drop of some fifteen feet or so into the stream below. Sometimes I wonder about the wisdom of parking a vase in such a spot especially when it's windy but there's nothing like living on the edge.

In this week's vase are :
  • Narcissus 'Elka' 
  • 'Narcissus 'Jetfire' - that's the one with the orange trumpet which was most helpfully identified for me last year by fellow bloggers.
  • Narcissus - unknown variety.
  • A couple of stems of a pulmonaria seedling. 
  • A couple of stems of ribes 'Elkington's White'. The flowers seem to have a tinge of blue on it which isn't visible to the eye - maybe it was the light or it simply was feeling cold.

A BIG thank you as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting.