greentapestry : 2019

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.

Monday, 4 March 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Sink or Swim, The Saga Continues

The annual attempt to float hellebore flowers once again has left me feeling decidedly unimpressed by the final outcome. I don't know whether I should opt for a more shallow vesssel, more water or whether it's just my general clumsiness but I have never created an arrangement that has satisfied me. Well the saga will continue next year but until then above is my latest floral float. 

Although I'm unable to name any of the hellebores which may well be nameless anyway, I can say that the bowl is made by Highland Stoneware in Scotland. I am fairly sure that it was one of my very first purchases after I started full time work. I bought it purely because I liked it. It has never been used as a bowl for eating which I think it is intended for but I've certainly enjoyed looking it over the years. It quite often filled with potpourri. I also bought a dress which I liked on the same shopping trip in Chester but the dress has long since departed from my wardrobe. The innards of the bowl are the grey you can see in the bottom photo.

Thank you to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who prompts us to get out into our gardens to see what we can pick and share on a Monday, whether it be fair or foul as it was today. I do hope that none of my fellow bloggers suffered any damage as a result of 'Storm Freya'. Here she made a lot of noise but didn't appear to do much in the way of harm. 

Monday, 25 February 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Tassels

I spotted the contents of this week's vase on Saturday afternoon.  Looking out of the allotment community hut windows I caught a flash of yellow out of the corner of my eye. Later when we had finished our refreshments and caught up with plans for fund raising plant sales this year I decide to investigate and this is what I found. I think that they are hazel catkins but please correct me if I'm wrong.

I wondered why I had never noticed them before and then it struck me that is highly unusual for me to be at the allotment in February. It's usually March before it's warm enough for me to surface there. I'm quite happy out in the garden in February in the knowledge that I'm near all creature comforts should the weather gods be spiteful but the allotment is usually still on hold this month. I was amazed how dry it was down there. Most years the central paths are often underwater or at least muddy at this time of year but then we've had very little rain this winter. I noticed a tweet from Monty Don on my Twitter timeline yesterday which read as follows: "the last time I remember a spell of February weather like this was in 1976 - if we are going to have a summer like that one start storing your rainwater now!"

Plans to add to the catkins where shelved when I realised that the slightest touch resulted in clouds of yellow dust floating through the atmosphere. I also persuaded myself that they looked quite replete on their own without the need for companions.

The vase was bought on a day out with one of my nieces and always makes me think of her.

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for providing such a constant platform for us to share our vases each Monday.

Monday, 18 February 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale'

       My 'In a Vase On Monday' morphed overnight. I originally put it together yesterday afternoon to photograph. Try as I would though I could not get the creamy double hellebore to hold its head to attention and look at the camera. Then the skies darkened and rain got in the way of play. I nipped outside this morning and replaced it with a single white flower which was much more obliging.

It was a beautiful weekend here which bringing to mind a quote that I have used here before but it was seven years ago so I think that I can be excused the repetition:

"There is always in February some one day, at least, when one smells the yet distant, but surely coming, summer" - Gertrude Jekyll, 1843 - 1932.

It was such a day on Saturday as it was on 23rd February 2012, when I used this particular quote. The temperature had hit the magical 60 degrees mark and I spent the best part of the day outside pottering in the garden. It was not quite as warm on Saturday but after a dip our temperature is set to rise again later in the week so we might yet get there in a day or two.

Anyway I digress. Keeping my hellebore company are some twiggy bits in the shape of beech and cornus as well as some leafy loveliness is provided by eucalyptus gunnii. The vase itself is part off a present of a set of five vases from my lovely sister.

Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting and encouraging us to start the week in such a satisfying manner.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Saturday, 26 January 2019

January Musing ~ Intrigue

'Because the first month of the year is the darkest, you might think it is the most inert in the garden, but January is not a month is which everything drop backs into inactivity. Our benign climate means that there is always something pushing against the season to draw us into the garden as witnesses. The foliage of celandine against bare earth, the perfume of witch hazel: each holds your attention and ostensibly has the floor to itself; but look again and the garden is full of intrigue. Low, raking light catches seedheads from a season spent, and plant skeletons provide a spectacular framework for frost if you let them stand, as I do, in the belief that it is good to see the garden run the full course of its cycle.

I love our four seasons, and winter is never one to fear, for it is then that there is room to think. The frenzy of activity that comes with the growing season is absent and you can look up and around and take in your surroundings without the burning feeling of the yard-long list of tasks. You can see a tree's structure and history in its naked branches, just as you can see the plants that are ready for winter pruning. 

Pace yourself with the winter work and use this time for building in change, to keep a garden feeling vital and refreshed. Tasks map the seasons, but although we have several weeks ahead of us to revitalise and re-do, there is time in January to revitalise the winter garden.'

~ an excerpt from 'Natural Selection' by Dan Pearson.

Monday, 21 January 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Leafy Lovelies

I have strayed a little from the straight and narrow with this week's offerings for 'In A Vase On Monday' as the contents have not come straight from the garden or allotment.

My first snippet is from my kitchen windowsill, where just in front of the garlic jar are a couple of glass containers containing some baby spider plants. It's a great source of hope at this time of year to see new plants in the making and certainly makes washing the dishes more exciting. The baby spiders will be potted up in due course ready for our allotment plant sales later in the year.

My other snippet comes about as a result of the annual January look through and purge of last year's photos which are taking up too much space on the computer. These were taken at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show. They were part of a display by Plantagogo, specialist growers of heuchera, heucherallas and tiarellas and show how attractive the foliage of these plants can be when displayed floating on water.

If these float your boat I still have another floating floral creation up my sleeve which I will share in due course. 

A special vote of thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for enabling us to share our Monday vases.

Monday, 14 January 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Just Dropping By

Yesterday's wild and windy weather eased up enough for me to get out into the garden this morning to pick and photograph a few of my special snowdrops for this week's in 'A Vase On Monday'. If you have been visiting here a while you will know that I grow a number of my specials in pots under cover but I have also been planting them out for some time and now have a dedicated snowdrop border although this is still a work in progress. Most of the snowdrops are in but the thinking cap is still considering what else to plant with them and the issue of summer interest. All bar one of the snowdrops in this photo are now growing in the garden.

This gathering includes 'Robin Hood', 'Fieldgate Prelude', 'The Pearl', 'Robin Hood', 'George Elwes', 'Florence Baker', 'Lapwing', 'Trumps', and 'Ding Dong' which are all single snowdrops. There are also two double snowdrops 'Richard Ayres' and 'Lady Beatrice Stanley' in the midst.

The vase is new - a Christmas present to myself and most useful in that its lid has holes into which stems can be placed and supported.

If you would like to know any more about any of them my go to place for snowdrop information is the excellent 'Judy's Snowdrops', where there is a wealth of information about growing them, gardens to visit to see them as well as individual plant profiles.

Thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her encouragement to gather and share our flowers and foliage on Mondays.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Reading Matters ~ 'House Of Glass'

'And on a February morning , I stepped down from the bus in a place called Kew. This was a name that I knew. For here, there were famous gardens, with rhododendron walks and glasses and pagodas. I'd read of them in books.

I entered through the gates of Kew Gardens on the twelfth day of February  ......  and Kew was grey, desolate. It grass was cropped by wintering geese; its lake had thickened with ice so that I asked myself, what is this? Why is this known, or written of? It seemed no different to other parks.

I decided to go home. But as I turned, I saw it: an extraordinary domed building of glass. A temple, or palace. I entered it and left February behind. For the Palm House at Kew contained canopies and ferns and damp wooden benches; palm leaves brushed my hair as I passed. Vines twisted on metalwork; condensation pooled on beams and, having pooled, dripped on my shoulders and the back of my hands. A droplet hung so perfectly at the tip of a leaf that I stood by it, waiting. Small handwritten signs announced such words as Indochina and frangipani.

Kew Gardens, October 2018

Now I wanted to be nowhere else. I was done with crowds and London's streets. Here was a new beginning. The betelnut's feathery leaves. The soursop and the kalabash tree. I'd move forwards to read their names. I'd wonder too, how these plants might have looked in their homeland - if jewel-coloured birds had flown up to their branches, if they had offered shelter in rains that came without warning. And I began to write down what I liked of each plant ; its brief rare flowerings, or how, in its motherland, bats would sip from it. Their Latin names : crescentia cujete. Fiscus benghalensis.'

- an extract from 'House of Glass' by Susan Fletcher.

Sunshine has been in short supply so far this January - we've had a run of almost uninterrupted mild, murky and grey days. I've been escaping into my own house of glass for a regular fix of snowdrops as well as reading seed catalogues and books. My first read of the year was Susan Fletcher's House of Glass' which certainly soon had me gripped. I was drawn in by the introductory blurb on the dust jacket :

'June 1914 and a young woman - Clara Waterfield - is summoned to a large stone house in Gloucestershire. Her task: to fill a greenhouse with exotic plants from Kew Gardens, to create a private paradise for the owner of Shadowbrook. Yet, on arrival, Clara hears rumours: something is wrong with this quiet, wisteria-covered house. Its gardens are filled with foxgloves, hydrangea and roses; it has lily-ponds, a croquet lawn - and the marvellous new glasshouse awaits her. But the house itself feels unloved. Its rooms are shuttered, or empty. The owner is mostly absent; the housekeeper and maids seem afraid. And soon, Clara understands their fear: for something - or someone - is walking through the house at night. In the height of summer, she finds herself drawn deeper into Shadowbrook's dark interior - and into the secrets that violently haunt this house. Nothing - not even the men who claim they wish to help her - is quite what it seems.

Reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier, this is a wonderful, atmospheric Gothic page-turner.' 
My first ever visit to Kew Gardens was made last October - it rained heavily throughout, but like Clara I was transported to other far away lands and warmer climes. A fabulous place. Where have you been taken to by your most recent read?

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Looking Forward ....

We came across the above sculpture on a visit to the fabulous Chelsea Physic Garden last year. I'm hoping to live life inspired by its sentiments in 2019, although the drink wine advice will have to be in moderation. Wishing anybody who might pass by a most healthy and happy New Year!