greentapestry : 2020

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!

Monday, 11 May 2020

IAVOM ~ Old Friends

"Old friends, old friends 
  Sat on their parkbench like bookends"

~ from 'Old Friends' by Simon & Garfunkel.

The the plants 'In A Vase On Monday' are some old friends, who have been favourite May bookends for years. Their numbers are :
  • A sprinkling of a grass in the shape of millium effusum 'Aureum' also known as 'Bowles Golden Grass'. The leaves which are not in the vase are an attractive golden yellow. This plant prefers partial shade or shade as the leaves can be scorched by strong sun. Although it seeds itself gently about every year it has never become a nuisance.
  • Aquilegia - I think that these are self-seeders from aquilegia 'Hensol Harebell'. Although they have a relatively short flowering time I think that they make up for that in other ways.
  • Polemonium caeruleum or to give it it's common name 'Jacob's Ladder', an easy going perennial. This is given to self- seeding but like the millium never to excess.
  • Geranium phaeum - the darker one may have come with a variety name but it is long since forgotten whilst the paler one is a self-seeder I think. It may look white but is in fact a shade of off-white.

All the above apart from the geranium were sown from seed which I obtained from either The Cottage Garden Society or the Hardy Plant Society. I've been a member of both organisations for many years. One of the benefits of membership  of both societies is the opportunity to benefit from an annual distribution scheme where you can find a wide range of seeds at a much reduced cost than from a commercial seed company. All seeds are donated by members of the society. 
The navy vase is another in the set of small vases which my sister gave me as a present. I used the green one in the set last week as a container for lily of the valley. Cathy asked me what the other colours in the set are so I thought that I would use another from the set this week. I thought that there were five in the set but there are in fact four. They come from Sarah Raven and are described as ink bottles. The colours are listed on her website as navy, amethyst, dark green and purple. They can be bought as a set or as individual vases. Mine all came with cork stoppers.

As it is often is on a Monday today has been somewhat breezy albeit the wind is not as cruel as yesterday which felt like a throwback to winter. Panic was almost ensuing last night when it dawned on me that I had forgotten to buy some new fleece covering last autumn. Short of bringing all my seedlings into the house the only option was to rely on the little electric heater to come on to keep the temperature at a few degrees plus. The tomato plants and basil did come in for the night. Luckily we were spared frost and I hope that you were too if you live in the U.K. I've noticed some scorched leaves on astrantias but I daresay that they will recover and I think it was wind damage rather than the cold that got to them.

With thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting.
Featuring in her vase this week are some more familiar and lovely old Maytime friends.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Zooming In On Great Dixter

Until recently the word zoom only came into my vocabulary when I was thinking or talking cameras. However like many of you Zoom has now permeated my consciousness as a cloud-based video conference service enabling you to virtually meet up with others. It wasn't until this week that I actually used it and in fact have now had two successful Zoom experiences within a few days.

The first was joining in a virtual meeting of one of the U3A interest groups that I belong to. We normally go to the Apple shop in Liverpool once a month, where we have been treated to some brilliant free short courses covering a wide range of topics. As we can not meet for the foreseeable future it was great fun to get together in our respective homes over morning coffee and a quiz. We will meet again next week.

I'm glad that I joined in as it was a chance to use Zoom before I dove headlong into attending an online lecture by Fergus Garrett, the head gardener at Great Dixter. I had received an email earlier this week telling me about a couple of online lectures that were being offered by Great Dixter. Although both appealed the one that really interested me was a lecture entitled 'Layered Planting through the Season at Great Dixter'. The lecture I listened to was actually originally delivered in April but I missed the boat then, maybe seeing details about it at the time but perhaps being wary about my ability to use Zoom. Anyway I'm delighted that I decided to register for this lecture which was held this morning. It was a couple of hours or so long with a short interlude, was absolutely packed with information and ideas and all for the brilliant price of £15.00. I only wish that I had been able to listen to it thirty years ago. The lecture was illustrated throughout and the only person you could see was Fergus. We were advised that we will be sent a recording of the session and I will certainly listen again and maybe even again ....... I tried to make notes as the talk progressed but could not concentrate on the slides and talk as well as write legibly.

There are more online talks in the pipeline. There is one on ' Grow Fruit & vegetable in Pots' by Aaron Bertlesen on Thursday 14th May at 7.00pm which you can book here. Fergus indicated that he will be delivering another online lecture towards the end of May and I will definitely be zooming in on that.

I found Zoom fine to use although on both occasions I was slighly late in to the sessions. Has anybody else been using Zoom and if so what do you think of it?

The photo was taken in September 2011 on my very first visit to Great Dixter.

Monday, 4 May 2020

IAVOM - "Hi Lili"

It's a case of a speedy pick and plonk for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' as the green bin goes up the lane tomorrow and fill it I must. We are fortunate that so far this council service has not been paused as I know it has in some parts of the country. Whenever I see my lilies of the valley come into flower there are three people who come to mind. I think of my parents who gave me some pips from their garden many moons ago. Theirs grew in a narrow strip outside their garage which was baked in the summer sunshine. Despite these seemingly inhospitable conditions they flourished. Mine grow under our living room windowsill which faces north and is most shady. They are somewhat subdued this year as far as flowers go but otherwise seem happy enough.

The other person I think of is our next door neighbour when we first married. We lived in an end of terrace Victorian house and shared a common wall which divided our back yard from our neighbour's yard. Hilda was well into her seventies when we first became neighbours and her back yard was crammed full with colour, overspilling everywhere from pots and various containers. Although she sometimes despaired of not having enough space to grow everything she wanted to she enjoyed the challenge of fitting in as much as she could into her little plot. She was generous with her knowledge and with cuttings and divisions which were regularly passed over the wall.  I remember her telling me about how her lilies of the valley were always in flower for V.E. Day which is this coming Friday.

My vase is one of set of five little glass vases of different colours of given to me by my sister. This has become my favourite of the set but I really must make a determined effort to use the others. 

Thanks to Cathy over 'At Rambling In The Garden' for her ever steady gentle encouragement to pick and share a vase of flowers on a Monday. Right my siesta is over and it's time to get outside again to fill that green bin to the brim. I look forward to relaxing later with a cool drink and some pleasurable vase visiting.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Almost Wordless Wednesday ~ So Near Yet So Far

Regular readers of this blog will be aware of my longstanding love/hate relationship with tulips. For once I thought that I had cracked it - an almost perfect potful of tulips 'La Belle Epoque'. Well one or two were shorter in stature than others but that was fine. I intended to take a photograph to post last Wednesday but my camera was misbehaving big time. By the time I had checked the online manual and Google and finally sorted it out it was too late in the day to take a photo. I left it to the weekend and look what happened in the meantime - avert your eyes to the top left of the pot - an entire flower head has vamooshed without a trace! I'm not sure who or what the culprit was. The neighbouring pot also containing tulips has flowers with their heads bitten off but in this case considerately left on the surface. Pigeons maybe? They have been seen lurking in the vicinity. Oh well my search for the holy grail or in this case the picture perfect pot of tulips remains to be continued.

Monday, 27 April 2020

IAVOM ~ Froth

Opening the curtains up this morning to see no sign of the forecast overnight heavy rain was slightly disappointing. However when I got out to peruse likely candidates for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' it was noticeably cooler and fresher than of late. Maybe some rain may fall over the next week.

I made a beeline for a couple of spring favourites and added to them. In my vase this week are :

  • Geranium phaeum - this in various shades is an easy going stalwart which just on with its business with little need for human intervention. It does have the propensity to self-seed rather generously but you can forgive it that trait. The bees love it. I noticed this morning that the foliage is peppered with mildew probably a sign of the dry month we've had. I will give it a good haircut when the flowers are done and dusted to encourage fresh foliage to emerge. There may even be a second show of flowers.
  • Anthriscus sylvestris - also known as cow parsley, one of our most common native plants. It grows up the sides of the lane leading up or down to our house depending on your starting point. For some unfathomable reason it annoys the sensibilities of the motorist in our house each year as it froths over into the lane. I persuade him to let it have it's head for a few glorious weeks each year - after all there is no danger of it scratching the car. It does make me sneeze rather violently and for this reason this vase is going to reside outside in a shady spot.  
  • Some foliage from errant young would-be sycamore trees. I am not a fan osf sycamores but the juvenile foliage is quite a treat.
  • Flowers of the last narcissus still standing in 2020 - in this case the new to me 'Starlight Sensation'.  Their numbers are definitely to be added to next year. 

Thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her excellent hosting skills. I see that she has her dancing shoes on this week and is encouraging us all to trip the light fantastic to the tune of 'The Waltz of the Flowers'. Do join in!

Saturday, 25 April 2020

April Musing ~ Observations

"When proud pied April,
dressed in all his trim, 
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything" ~ William Shakespeare.

"I have seen the lady April bringing the daffodils,
Bringing the springing grass and the
soft warm April rain" ~ John Masefield.

"April prepares her green traffic light and the
world thinks Go" ~ Christopher Morley.

"April's rare capricious loveliness" ~ Julia Dorr.

"I had not thought of violets of late
The wild, shy kind that springs beneath your feet
In wistful April days" ~ Alice Dunbar - Nelson.

"Today has been a day dropped out of June into April" ~ L.M. Montgomery.

Illustration by Lena Anderson.

The world has been in turmoil this month yet the weather in this part of the world has rarely been so glorious, bursting with endless days "dropped out of June". Possibly when the monthly meteorological statistics come out they will reveal one of the warmest, sunniest and driest Aprils on record or at least one of those measures. Whatever the conclusion this hint of summer has certainly provided much comfort and has been a most welcome open-ended invitation to spend as much time possible out in the garden.

Monday, 20 April 2020

IAVOM ~ " I Am The One And Only"

I did say when commenting on Cathy's post last week that I would not be cutting any tulips this spring for 'In A Vase On Monday' so I will eat my words. This is the one and only tulip I will not have any guilt for beheading. It's the sole survivor of a collection that were planted in a container. There has been other foliage but no other flowers this spring so the contents of the container are imminently heading for compost.

I'm not completely sure of the variety but think that is probably 'Havran'. In the milk bottom vase some sprigs of a euphorbia that has appeared of its own accord.
I like euphorbias but dare not touch them. I was struggling to remove more of the lower foliage as I was wearing gloves nut in the end gave up on this task. Meanwhile you can see from the photo below that I will have some tulips this year - below is a glimpse of things to come.

With a special thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for making Mondays more fun. She is showcasing an elegant tulip in her vase this week along with a cuckoo as a companion. Do have a peek!

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day ~ April 2020

It seems to be a while since I've joined in with Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and I 'm not sure why. A determined effort will ensue to participate more regularly. Putting a smile on my face today are the flowers of malus x robusta 'Red Sentinel'. I bought this crab apple as a bare root plant in February 2014. The first flowers followed in the spring of 2015. Since then it has had a couple of blips - one year when there were but a handful of flowers and another when there no flowers whatsoever. I'm not sure why this happens. These occasions have been doubly disappointing as no flowers means no beautiful red fruits later in the year for me and the birds to appreciate. This spring my 'Red Sentinel' is dripping with flowers. I love the way the pale pink buds slowly unfurl to give rise to white flowers. It enjoys the companionship of two pear trees which flower slightly earlier but for a brief spell they flower in unison. One of my favourite highlights of the gardening year.

With many thanks to Carol over at May Dreams Gardens for being such an excellent hostess over the years. My first Bloom Day post was back in 2009!

Monday, 13 April 2020

IAVOM ~ Pastels

My 'In A Vase Of Monday' this week is a confection of pastel shades including some liquorice allsort colours. The contents are as follows:

  • A stem of lunaria annua variegata alba aka variegated white honesty - about half a dozen plants considerately self-seeded last year, came through the winter to produce some most sturdy plants which are now covered with white flowers. I am delighted as there will be a source of their shimmering transparent seed cases to pick later this year for vases and hopefully another source of seedlings for next year.
  • Some baby blue flowers of muscari armeniacum 'Valerie Finnis'. I planted these in pots and for some reason thought that they would flower much earlier than they did. I had convinced myself that I had planted the bulbs at the wrong depth resulting in no flowers this spring but have been pleasantly proved wrong.
  • A couple of stems of the plant that I will also refer to as dicentra spectablis alba (I know it has had an ugly name change) or white bleeding heart. Sadly I broke a few hearts whilst placing them in the vase.
  • Last but not least the pink flowers are from a plant which I always struggle to identify. It's a moisture loving perennial which does well in shade. I'm reasonably sure though that it's chaerophyllum hirsutum 'Roseum' rather than it's doppelgȃnger pimpinella major 'Rosea'. However I could be wrong and come back to amend this post later. I have both plants with one flowering before the other.
Easter Monday has turned out cooler here than of late but still with blue skies and sunshine. I have been pottering about in the garden doing a few gentle jobs.  I hope that my blogging friends have had the chance to get out too and enjoy their respective gardens which are keeping a lot of us grounded in the present situation. Thank you as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for providing with a steadfast platform to display and share our vases each week. It is much appreciated.

Monday, 6 April 2020

IAVOM ~ A Work In Progress

I certainly remembered that it was Monday today as our green bin is due for emptying in the morning. A good part of this afternoon was spent with a pair of secateurs in my hand with some of my prunings going towards filling this week's 'In A Vase on Monday'. They are as follows :

  • I gave my mathiasella burpleuroides 'Green Dream' a rather brutal haircut. Some of the stems had got very woody and unattractive but were still sporting flowering stems which I thought would be a shame to waste. I should have done this job in the autumn but I had to put nearly all gardening tasks on hold then. The green flowers last for weeks fading to a pinkish hue as they age.
  • I have also been cutting back cornus sanguinea 'Anny's Orange' today so a few stems were put in my vase.
  • I deliberately put some of the lovely white narcissus that is 'Thalia' into the vase.
  • Finally a snippet or two of catkin bearing branches of salix purpurea 'Nancy Saunders' which has grown from a cutting kindly sent to me by Chloris of 'The Blooming Garden'.
The vase is was bought from one of the mainstream supermarkets a few years ago. It is sitting on a table that is an integral part of the decking that himself built some years ago. The construction has been in dire need of painting for a couple of years. Himself has been busy doing all sorts of practical tasks in the last couple of weeks this being one of them. Unfortunately the supply of paint changed colour as the work progressed before finally running out. It now has a rather chequered appearance and will remain a work in progress until as and when new paint can be located.

With a big thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over over 'Rambling In The Garden' who brings us together to share our vases each week. 

Monday, 30 March 2020

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Purple Haze'

A friend texted me this morning to say that as we should have been meeting this morning for our reading group monthly meeting and perhaps we should swap notes of what we are all reading. In fact it had not even registered with me that it was the last Monday of the month. Apart from everyday being much of a muchness I have mislaid my diary. It's funny how I'm missing it even though I've got nowhere to go. Anyway her text certainly reminded me that it's Monday so went out into the garden to cut a few snippets for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday'.

In my vase are :
  • Iris reticulata 'Scent Sensational' - this was the last of my little irises to flower. It certainly lives up to its name as I can discern the scent without crinkling my nose too much.
  • A head of anemone blanda - this has been in flower for a while now with flowers still to come.
  • A sprig of pulmonaria 'Trevi Fountain'. The predominant colour of the flowers is blue.
  • A couple of sprigs of a blue flowering vinca minor which are doing their best to hide in the background.
The little bottle is one of a collection of five different colours, a present from my sister a couple of years ago or so.

I see that our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' is sharing spring flowers today along with a gem with a most topical hidden message. Do pay her a visit if you haven't already.

Monday, 23 March 2020

IAVOM ~ Daffodowndilly


She wore her yellow sun-bonnet
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
Winter is dead"

It's a quick pick and plonk for my contribution for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' - all daffies reflecting the beautiful spring sunshine and warmth we have enjoyed over the last couple of days. It has certainly proved most welcome in these troubled times. In my vase are 'Tête- à -Tête', my all time favourite 'Thalia', 'Jenny' and new to me this year the little 'Snow Baby'. 

My vase is standing on its regular outdoor perch of a perimeter wall. Some feet below the wall runs a surface water stream. Over the years I have been guerilla gardening and lobbed some ''Tête- à -Tête' bulbs over the wall. This is a glimpse of some of the resulting clumps that have sprung up. They have not been covered with compost but have gone on and done the business regardless. The white daffodils were there when we came along with clumps of snowdrops. Their colour and shape are very reminiscent of 'Thalia'.

With thanks as always to dear blogging friend Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for so kindly inviting us to share our vases each Monday. I hope that you all manage to see some sunshine this week.

Monday, 16 March 2020

In A Vase On Monday ~ Pensive

So many questions - ifs, whens, hows and whats will be running through our minds at the moment so it is most reassuring and calming to carry on with some familiar activities. My flowers in this weeks 'In A Vase On Monday' are a few little violas. I only wish that I could convey their scent.

Just before Christmas when I still had my hand in plaster after a fall we went do a little shopping at a local discount store. I was looking for a few pots to plant some bulbs in or rather for himself to plant some bulbs in. The mission was successful concluding with the purchase of a few plain terracotta pots as well as a trio of blue glazed pots. Before we entered the shop my eyes were drawn to a display of trays of bedraggled looking violas with the odd one or two bravely in flower. They were priced at 50p for a tray of six plants - a bargain I thought so a couple made their way into our trolley. Imagine my delight when were going through the checkout that the price had in fact been knocked down to 10p a tray. My bargain purchase of the year!

They stayed in their trays longer than was desirable but have since got their roots down in pots and are smiling. Thanks as always to our dear hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for providing a welcome sanctuary in troubled times. I hope that all my blogging friends are well and stay well 😘😘😘

Monday, 2 March 2020

IAVOM - A Late Winter Posy

A most chilly wind greeted me when I ventured out to pick a few blooms for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' but the sky is blue, the sun is shining and it's not raining! In my vase this week are the usual late winter suspects in the shape of :

  • Cardamine quinquefolia - an early flowering perennial which spreads out in a ground hugging pool of lilac. It will start to disappear soon and remain invisible until next winter. Some years it's foliage has been peppered with little holes but this winter it has remained unblemished. Maybe it has liked all the rain we have had throughout the autumn and winter.
  • Sprigs of a winter flowering heather. I've no idea of what variety they are. They were chosen and planted by himself and seem be pest and disease free.
  • Pulmonaria from one of the seedlings that appear by magic every year quite often in places that surprise you.
  • Narcissus - the flower at the back is 'W.P. Milner and the smaller is 'Elka'. Elka's innards fail to a pale creamy yellow as she ages.
  • A late flowering snowdrop - 'plicatus Augustus' I think. Most of my snowdrops both in the garden and in the greenhouse have gone over now but there are still a few welcome latecomers to the party.

  • With thanks as always to Cathy over 'At Rambling In The Garden' who stalwartly and generously hosts this meme whatever ever the weather. I've just had a peek at her post which is full of instant sunshine. Do take a peek there if you haven't already visited.

    Saturday, 29 February 2020

    February Musing ~ Looking Forwards

    Two short snippets to mark the month of February :

    "The shingle heavy with dew sparkled in the dawn. A pale blue mist washes over the willows, the larks are up. Such a show of golden crocuses, a ladybird bathes in the pale blue borage - the pussy willow opens - later, in the cold of the dayI walk back home across the shingle - a shimmering opalescent light. Vermeer dipped his brush in such iridescent solitude".

    - words from 'Modern Nature' by Derek Jarman.

    and ~

    "As we sit indoors, looking at the cold rain, nothing seems to move in the garden. But let us go out and look intimately at it, and we see that in spite of this checking weather, growth does not stop.  The perennial bed thickens. Scabious and phlox, delphiniums and veronicas sprout above the earth with their new crowns of leaves. Japonica bursts into flower. The stinging scent of the American currant already comes from shaped buds. Spring is upon us, and will not be hindered by winds or rain, or scurries of snow".

    - words from 'Four Hedges A Gardener's Chronicle' by Claire Leighton.

    I am wondering what the 'American currant' she mentions is - a form of ribes maybe?

    I usually find a seasonal illustration for these monthly musing posts but today I've fast forwarded to early autumn in the shape of a photo I took on a visit in October 2017 to the garden of the late Derek Jarman at Prospect Cottage in Dungeness, Kent.

    February here has been an utterly miserable month and to add insult to injury it's a whole extra day longer. Relentless rain and strong wind throughout. The first bee or ladybird of the year remain on the still to be sighted list but surely spring can't be far away. In good faith seed sowing has duly commenced.

    Monday, 24 February 2020

    IAVOM - 'Get Off Of My Cloud'

    It's that time of the year to get my cloud out and float some hellebores for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday'. Hellebore floating seems to have come early this year - late February instead of early March. I can only name two of the occupants of my vase namely 'Helleborus Madame Lemonnier' which is the biggest flower you can see and a  recent purchase of a white picotee ( bottom left) from Ashwood Nurseries. I hope that the edge is more distinct next year. The others are just what they are. The cloud was made some thirty years ago or more by a dear friend in her early days of dabbling with clay. She now lectures in ceramics.

    In other news a nasty cold wind was blowing most of the weekend and is forecast to get stronger today. There has been the odd spell of dry though which has been most welcome. The first seeds of the year have been sown under cover in the greenhouse and will be getting some additional warmth from the heated sand bench. I have reluctantly decided that I need to pare down on my seed sowing activities and carefully plan sowing this year until I know what my right hand can cope with. I have narrowed the flower seeds list down and will shortly tackle the veg list.

    The snowdrops have peaked both in the greenhouse and garden but other colour is emerging quickly - not only the hellebores but also irises, crocuses, little daffies, pulmonarias and primroses. There is also foliage stirring. Taking me by surprise yesterday was the green of the artist formerly known as dicentra specatablis spearing through the earth. My brief sortie outside yesterday afternoon was most satisfactorily concluded by stuffing the green waste bin to the gunnels in readiness for its first collection of the year tomorrow.

    With thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who is celebrating sunshine this week in the shape of some cheerful little daffodils. We are certainly in need of the odd ray or two at the moment.

    Wednesday, 12 February 2020

    Portrait Of A Snowdrop - 'Amy Doncaster'

    Every now and again I attempt to compose a definitive list of my favourite top ten special snowdrops. This is an almost impossible challenge and the list changes slightly each year. Growing in my affections over the last couple of years or so is galanthus plicatus 'Amy Doncaster'. Amy came into my care as a dormant bulb in 2017 if my memory and erratic record keeping serves me right. She was found as a seedling in 1988 in the garden of the plantswoman Amy Doncaster who gardened in Chandler's Ford, Hampshire. She gave it to her friend and fellow galanthophile John Morley of 'North Green Snowdrops' who named it after her. There is also another snowdrop with the name of 'Doncaster's Double Charmer'. If the name sounds familiar there is also a hardy geranium and a ribes speciosum named after Amy.

    I'm still struggling to do her justice with a photo. This one was taken on my phone. If you pop over here to the excellent and informative 'Judy's Snowdrops' you can see her both in the shape of a single flower as well as in a sizeable clump. Hopefully mine will reach sizeable clumps size sooner or later.

    Amy although not the most vigorous has made reasonable growth since arriving. She was planted out in the garden last winter and looks well. I also have a pot in the greenhouse hopefully containing a spare bulb to share with a friend later this year. This beauty is gently jostling her way into that top ten list.

    Monday, 3 February 2020

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

    Try as I might I could not bring myself to snip the head of this hippeastrum for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' so I hope that I'm forgiven. It's in a pot residing on the kitchen windowsill. The box it came in promised a white flower. It seems that I've been watching it for weeks in a state of animated suspension - the hippeastrum not me in case you wonder. I was delighted to see the first flower finally unfurling but when the first colour I could detect was red it was a bit of a let down. I thought that it might turn out to be all red but instead I've ended up with a rather stripy creation A note has been made to self to purchase from a reputable nursery this year rather from that German supermarket the name of which begins with an L. Having said that I bought a rather gorgeous double white hellebore from the aforesaid supermarket last week for the grand price of £4.99. You win some, you lose some.

    I see that our hostess Cathy is celebrating some of the forty shades of green in her vase this week over at 'Rambling In The Garden' - do take a peek if you haven't already done so.

    P.S. I limited myself to one hellebore purchase but there were some rather nice pale pink spotty- dotty doubles as well. I thought that I would return to buy a second but when we popped in this morning there were only the white flowering ones left.

    Monday, 27 January 2020

    In A Vase On Monday ~ A Few Drops

    Special visitors in the shape of a niece and her partner merited picking a few snowdrops to adorn the dining table yesterday lunchtime. This small vase was therefore a ready made choice for this week's 'In A Vase on Monday'. The snowdrops were a mixture of galanthus nivalis which are only just beginning to fully open, the lovely dainty double galanthus 'Lady Beatrix Stanley' and the mystery which is in a pot labelled 'Photo 3'. I remember taking photos of a few pots of snowdrops which had lost their labels in an effort to help me identify them. This was some time ago and 'Photo 3' is still unknown. The markings are not all identical making the challenge more difficult. For now the name 'Photo 3' remains until I can if ever come up with the real and hopefully more attractive one.

    I see that our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' is also showcasing the indomitable snowdrop in her post this week. Looking forward as always to peeking at other vases.

    Saturday, 25 January 2020

    January Musing ~ The Year is Hatched

    "They seemed to have come from nowhere, the little clutch of pale shapes, half hidden beneath the tangle of tired brown stems and flat, damp last-year's leaves. A white so bright that porcelain would seem dull by their side. I like to imagine that one of those westward-slipping, clapping, whistling lapwings that whisk up the greyest skies had broken briefly from its whirling companions to drop off a secret new year gift. But it is not the season for nesting and, in any case these six white eggs are worryingly small, oddly elongated and rather perilously suspended. Had I been keeping a closer watch, I would have seen this quiet patch pierced by tips of green, spreading and whitening as the mornings passed. Today's thin cluster will be taller and fatter tomorrow, cracking open within days into perfectly balanced broken shells. The year is hatched in the unlikely undergrowth of January, despite grey skies, despite the puddles, mud and sodden fields, despite hard frosts and harder ponds, despite the snow, despite the falling snow."

    Words from 'The Brief Life Of Flowers' by Fiona Stafford.

    Not as much as a single flake of snow so far here this winter. I am wondering if and when we might have a snowfall. The book is a treat!