greentapestry : 2020

Monday 21 December 2020

IAVOM - Winter Solstice Offering

"So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!!"

- an extract from the poem 'The Shortest Day' - by Susan Cooper. You can read the full poem here.

 In what may be my last 'In A Vase On Monday' this year (blooms are few, decidedly soggy and far between at the moment) are :

  • The first snowdrops of the season to open in the garden. These are the early flowering 'Fieldgate Prelude' and 'Faringdon Double'. They seem a little ahead of schedule although accurate record keeping is not my most strong point but they are still most welcome. 
  • Stems of cornus or dogwood' Anny's Winter Orange' - these with the exception of one snip appeared in November vases.
  • Some bleached and well blown about ready peeled seedcases of lunaria annua alba variegata, also known as variegated white honesty from the garden. I have a big pile of this in the greenhouse crying out in the greenhouse for me to to do much in the way of peeling and bring inside the house for Christmas. If anybody should want spare seed there will be no doubt be plenty to spare so please request in comments.

With a special shout out to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for continuing to host us so steadfastly and with such good cheer every Monday, whatever the weather is sending our way and through good times and bad. Looking forward to settling down this evening when surely there can't be any urgent household tasks to deal with, so that I can peruse vases from near and far.

Sunday 13 December 2020

December Musing ~ 2020


"From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens - the garden outdoors, the garden of pots and bowls in the house and the gardens of the mind's eye"

~ Quotation by Katharine S. White.

~ Illustration by Mary Azarian.

Monday 30 November 2020

In A Vase On Monday ~ Rescue Mission


The flowers in my vase were picked towards the end of last week thinking that they were about to fall victim to a heavy frost. The predicted frost did not materialise and apart from the lightest of frosts one morning early last week we have escaped. I think though looking at the forecast for the week ahead this state of affairs might change. In my 'In A Vase On Monday' today are :
  • Rudbeckia 'Sahara' which has flowered throughout summer and well beyond. I am leaving the plants in to see if they overwinter but will also sow a batch in February in a heated propagator.
  • Rosa 'Lady Emma Hamilton'. After reading hearing her praises being highly proclaimed in books and various blogs I finally took the plunge and bought a bare root plant last autumn. She has been slow to get going, has suffered slightly from blackspot but I have great hopes for the future. She has all the magic ingredients for a perfect rose. Her foliage is indeed most attractive as are her flowers and perfume.
  • The twiggy bits of cornus 'Anny's Winter Orange' and the green lonicera nitada are both pre-loved having appeared in my last vase some three weeks ago now. After a spell on the kitchen window-sill the vase was moved to the cooler climes of the greenhouse.

I didn't think that it would get a photo of my vase as the light here has been so poor over the weekend but there was a break in the rain and some temporary lightening of the gloom so I was able to snatch a couple of photos earlier this morning. As always a special thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden'. Do visit if you haven't already and see what she and other bloggers have in their vases on this very last day of November.

Saturday 28 November 2020

A Week Of Flowers ~ Day 7


My last flower of the week is one that is in flower today. Despite its appearance suggestive of early spring this little narcissus is a particularly early one to flower. The plantswoman Beth Chatto wrote in her 1998 book 'Dear Friend and Gardener' "On the kitchen window sill, I have a small vase of two or three flowers of our earliest daffodil, Narcissus 'Cedric Morris'. The late Sir Cedric, my old friend brought it from Spain more than 40 years ago. It seemed to be a one-off there in the wild, he could find no others around, and now the site has been blasted away to make a motorway. We always look, and find buds, if not open flowers, by Christmas , whilst established clumps continue to flower well into March. It is neither miniature (weedy), nor dwarf 'stunted', but stands in prefect scale, about 25cm (10 in ) tall. I love the green stain on the back of its perfect little lemon-yellow flowers ; the way its twisting petals curve round the frilly-edged trumpet. When picked, it lasts longer in a warm room than snowdrops". 

The Cedric she refers to was the artist and plantsman Cedric Morris.

It took me some time to get hold of some of the bulbs but after much patience I got my bulbs from the Beth Chatto nursery. They have taken a while to settle down, didn't do very well last year but are looking healthy this year and the bulbs are multiplying. I think that the flowers were much later in opening last year but this year they have opened up this week. I will have to check to see when I planted them but it was possibly four years ago or so. It will be some time before I have enough flowers to pick for a vase but I have noticed that the flowers do last for a long time despite any inclement weather that is thrown at them.

A BIG thanks to Cathy who came up with the idea of spreading some cheer in November by posting flowers from all the seasons. I must admit that I didn't stick entirely to the brief mainly because I have not taken many flower photos this year. However having said that all the flowers I've posted have flowered in my garden this year and it has given me great pleasure browsing through my photo archives. As well as photos of flowers, gardens, special gatherings I've also looked back at some holiday photos.  Do visit 'Words And Herbs' and see what flowers are there today and also check out the blogs of other gardeners who are participating.

Friday 27 November 2020

A Week Of Flowers ~ Day 6

Today I've either gone back a good few months or gone forward a month or so with some snowdrops from my garden. Although I make some fuss of my special named snowdrops I love the snowdrops in my garden just as much. This year there are already signs that they may be in flower earlier than usual. I'm hoping that the weather turns colder and holds them back a while longer. Although the frost and fog predicted for this morning didn't materialise (it was slightly misty in the early hours) there seems to be a cooling down in the long term forecast. This will suit the snowdrops and other early flowers in the garden. I'm joining in this week with Cathy's 'A Flower A Day' over at Words and Herbs. Do visit her blog and enjoy the flowers both she and other garden bloggers have been sharing today.

Thursday 26 November 2020

A Week Of Flowers ~ Day 5


It's been most enjoyable taking part in 'A Week Of Flowers' this week, an idea emanating from Cathy who blogs over at 'Words and Herbs'.  Cathy suggested that fellow bloggers might like to dispel some of the seasonal or other blues by posting photos of flowers from their gardens. I'm still harking back to summer today with a photo of a greranium pratense a most faithful and usually trouble free stalwart in the garden. I think that this one is "Mrs Kendall Clarke'. The bees like it too. If trimmed and tidied up after flowering you will be rewarded with fresh foliage and may get a second flush of flowers later in the year. Do visit Cathy's blog and also drop in some of the other participants.

Wednesday 25 November 2020

A Week Of Flowers ~ Days 3 & 4

 I'm catching up today - going back to late spring/early summer again with a couple of flowers. The first is allium christophii - no words needed. The photo below was taken on a sunny evening.

The second an astrantia - variety unknown and always appreciated by the bees. 

Thanks to Cathy over at 'Words and Herbs' for her idea of sharing flower photos this week and in doing so brightening our days.

Monday 23 November 2020

A Week Of Flowers - Day 2


Time traveling back to summer today to the flowers of rose 'Blush Noisette'. She arrived in the winter of January 2019 as bare root plant. She was the first rose I had ever planted as a bare root plant and it was hard to believe that the twiggy sticks I unpacked were going to turn into a rose of beauty but they did. She is a climbing rose and has been around since 1817. She has been trouble free, repeat flowers (still a few still hanging on now) and is strongly scented. A clematis viticella 'Blue Angel' dangles through her structure and they are briefly in flower together.

This week I'm joining in with fellow blogger Cathy's 'A Week Of Flowers' over at 'Words and Herbs'. Do pay her a visit if you haven't already along with the other bloggers keeping her company this week.

Sunday 22 November 2020

A Week Of Flowers Day 1

Blogging friend Cathy over at 'Words and Herbs' has come up with the inspired idea of posting a photo of a flower or plant from your garden for a week starting as of today. She suggested it as tonic to help ward away the blues that many people are currently experiencing for variety of reasons. My photo is of a Pacific Coast iris, variety unknown. I picked it up many moons ago from a plant stall in a colourful, brimming full of plants garden in Liverpool. The garden was open as part of the NGS Open Gardens scheme. This iris has a delightful flowers but its flowering period is fleeting. However for a couple of weeks usually in the middle of May it is absolutely magical. Divisions have been passed to friends and when I could take it in flower to our garden club plant sale where I used to have a small stand it always flew off the table. I must try to save seeds one year and see what transpires. Please pop over to Cathy's blog and have a look to see what she and other bloggers have posted. We are certainly all in need of as much brightness as possible in our lives as possible.

Saturday 21 November 2020

Not A Single Drop

Not just a single 'drop but 236 of them have been making their way into the greenhouse since the beginning of the month. I'm talking about my collection of potted named snowdrops. I have an inkling that the annual migration to warmer climes started earlier than than usual this year. This was because we had a most wet October and I was getting worried that my bulbs might simply drown. Funnily enough as soon as they started to come in the weather improved and the first two weeks or so of November were quite pleasant and bright on the whole. 

Until the cold winter of 2010/2011 my snowdrops lived outside all year round but that winter put pay to that state of affairs when I lost a good proportion of my precious collection. Now they come in for some winter pampering in a cold greenhouse which is ventilated every day unless it is bitterly cold. I have a small electric heater which goes on at a low temperature if frost is predicted. 

The task of gathering them all in takes considerably longer than it used to. Up to a couple of years ago I used to carry in crates of 24 one at a time. Each pot is topped dressed with horticultural grit so the crated weigh a fair bit. Last year himself was in charge as my right hand was in plaster so I directed proceedings. I am not longer able to carry the crates for any distance so this year I've bought them in two or three pots at a time and then they have gone back into the crates. I only have seven crates so some are in mushroom trays and some fitted in wherever. Each pot has a little well underneath so careful inspections have been made to make sure that they were not harbouring any stowaway molluscs. Indeed some of them were so these trespassers were soon shown the door.

Once all the pots were in I have then examined any that were still not showing any emerging snouts or didn't have signs of roots showing towards the bottom of the pots. Generally if you can't see anything above or below the snowdrop at this time of year it's not good news and sadly so it proved to be the case with a few snowdrops. Now the for the final part of the task which will be to sort my beauties into alphabetical order so I know what's what. Despite the numbers only about hundred of them are named. Others are spares to share or swap with snowdrop friends but the remainder of them are simply labelled 'unknown' as they have lost their original labels (most inconsiderate of them). The U section will soon be sorted with no need to refer to records.

As all this has been happening the first few 'drops have started to open. The first to open is labelled as 'Three Ships'. You can see the photo at the top of the post. I'm not sure whether it is 'Three Ships' but maybe one of my snowdrop friends can confirm. The second which is above is 'The Pearl'. Apologies for the grainy photos which taken using my phone. The third 'drop to open was 'Faringdon Double'. Before long there will be a veritable avalanche of snowdrops for me to wander at in the depths of winter and before that there is so much joy in the anticipation. 

Monday 9 November 2020

IAVOM ~ 7up!

What an absolute  gem of idea Cathy came up with seven years ago to invite bloggers to share a vase of flowers, foliage or garden related material every Monday. I must admit that although I visited posts featuring other folk's vases it was not until April 2014 that I ventured into posting my own vase. This was mainly because until then I had not really picked much in the way of flowers to come into the house from either the allotment or the garden. I was more than happy to welcome visitors clutching posies, himself occasionally treating me to a celebratory bouquet or with making the odd purchase of flowers from our excellent local florist. I regularly filled small vases with snowdrops in the late winter and with sweet peas in the summer. Other than that there was little in the way of creating vases from fabulous flowers and foliage.

Since then however my habits have changed and I regularly look forward to filling a vase whenever I can. The experience has made me more observant, brightened up my kitchen windowsill where a lot of my vases reside and has resulted in sharing so much fun and knowledge with some really friendly encouraging bloggers. Today Cathy asked us to create a flowerless vase. So in my 'In A Vase On Monday' today are the following :
  • Some stems of lonicera nitida and of cornus 'Anny's Winter Orange'.
  • Snippets of cotoneaster horizontalis - still a few green leaves hanging on but most of them are now going out in a flamboyant burst of fiery reds and oranges before they loose their livery for the winter. This plant originally came from a cutting in my parent's garden many moons ago and gives much pleasure all year round.
  • Some frondy ferniness from athyrium 'Ghost' - a beautiful silvery fern which does well in shady damp conditions. It has only recently started to go over.
  • Plump fruit on their way to red from malus x robusta 'Red Sentinel' which is positively dripping with berries this year. I noticed just before I took my photo that there was an stray floating at the bottom of the water but thought that I could do some damage if extraction was attempted.  I'm hoping that this is the winter when the berries last until the other side of Christmas and the new year which they supposedly do although I still have to see it. Funnily enough this little tree will also celebrate it's seventh anniversary in just over three months time.

My vase this week is just an old jam jar - no need for posh or expensive vases to contribute which is another appealing reason to participate regularly. 

Thanks so much Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden', for providing us with such a welcoming home to share over vases especially during the last few months and for forging such a great community. It has enriched my life as well as many other bloggers and is much appreciated.

Sunday 8 November 2020

'My Real Garden'

During lockdown and beyond thanks to a tip off from Caro of Urban Veg Patch, my days were brightened up by the discovery of 'MyReal Garden' an online gardening community. 'My Real Garden' was started up by the lovely Ann-Marie Powell, a well renowned garden designer and Chelsea gold medalist.

Ann-Marie decided to use the unexpected time on her hands provided by lock down to transform her own neglected garden and in doing so decided that she would generously share her experience through a daily live Instagram session over at @realgardens

This soon developed into a regular virtual meeting place of both expert gardeners, newcomers as well as folk whose gardens had not been paid as much attention as their custodians would have wished because of other commitments. Get togethers have involved a combination of practical demonstrations, one to one conversations with well known gardeners, much sharing of practical hints and tips, lows and highs as well as virtual visits to real gardens. 

Emerging from this Anne-Marie put her energy to thinking about a way in which the 'My Real Garden' community could be documented in the way of a permanent record. She came up with the idea of a book which would celebrate the community as it felt its way through the pandemic and the the joy, support and hope we have felt through sharing our love and thoughts about our diverse gardens during these challenging times. Ann-Marie enrolled the help of her friend Tamsin Westhorpe, gardener and former editor of the magazine 'The English Garden' to help this idea to materialise into something concrete. The book has been based on contributions from many members of the 'My Real Garden' community. It features advice from real gardeners who come from different backgrounds and different countries along with their own photographs taken in their gardens large and small. 

The book is being crowdfunded and hopefully if the target is reached will be published on 23rd March 2021 to celebrate the date of the launch of 'My Real Garden'. With a few days to go the appeal has still to reach its target of selling a minimum of 1,000 copies in advance. I obviously have not seen the book yet neither am I one of the contributors but I think that it could make an ideal seasonal gift to family and friends who are into gardening or just starting out or even as a treat to yourself. I am treating myself and somebody else who is special to me. 

As well as buying a book there are are other rewards on offer including the chance to attend a Zoom lecture by Ann-Marie on 15th January at 7.30pm 2021 on the subject of 'Plants, Plants, Plants'. She is a most inspirational and motivating broadcaster whom some of you might remember from television coverage of both the RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows and programmes like 'Garden Doctors' and 'Garden Challenge'.

As well as providing information that gardeners no matter their level of experience will find useful. Some of the profits will be donated to the UK charity Greenfingers an organisation which creates beautiful gardens for children with life limiting conditions to enjoy time together with their families and friends in children's hospices. The more books that can be pre-sold the more help that can be provided to this excellent charity. Please have a look here for more details of all the perks on offer and consider supporting this cause. If you wish to join in a session on Instagram Anne-Marie is currently streaming from her garden every Sunday here from 12.30 p.m.

N.B.The illustration at the top of the page is not from the book itself but is a mock-up page.

Monday 26 October 2020

IAVOM ~ Recycled


The last day or two have been decidedly autumnal and in the case of Saturday extremely wet. Gardening activities were restricted to mainly greenhouse activities where I have been pricking out some of the hardy annuals - calendula and scabious to date. They have mainly gone into three inch pots which I never have enough of. Hopefully more trays will be pricked out during the week to come along with more bulb planting. Today started with torrential rain and a Zoom committee meeting but there has been a let up in the weather this afternoon to enable to pick some flowers and to have enough light to take a photo.

Today's 'In A Vase On Monday' is a recycling job :
  • The grass is the same one that I used in last week's vase and is panicum  capillare 'Sparking Fountain'. I performed some cosmetic surgery and peeled off the outer leaves which were looking rather tatty.
  • To the grass I've added some rudbeckia hirta 'Sahara' which I've used before in vases this year. The plants started to flower back in July so certainly deserving of the label of a 'good doer'. They have become a firm favourite with me and I can't sing their praises high enough. I plan to start some off again early in the year in the heated propagator but will also leave this year's plants in the ground to see if they come through the winter.
The vase is also recycled as it' the same milk bottle vase I used last week although of course it was emptied and filled with fresh water to start anew.

Thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for the inspiration and platform to make time to gather a vase together at the start of each week.

Monday 19 October 2020

IAVOM ~ In The Pink

The post title accompanying 'In A Vase on Monday' this week is a reference to both the colour of the flowers within as well as to my return to my usual self. Thanks to all of you who offered good wishes and a speedy recovery after my last post. I really fall down with a good whack so although there was fortunately nothing bruised or broken I was very stiff and ached for a good few days afterwards. Fortunately normal service has been more or less resumed. I have enjoyed pottering about in the garden this just gone mild and dry weekend. I've surprised myself by making a start on planting my bulbs and actually enjoying it for once. I often manage to delay this task until early winter (quite often sporting numb fingers whilst planting) but there is no stopping me at the moment. A box of bulbs from Peter Nyssen arrived last Monday and inroads have been made into them. The tulips will have to wait until November though. I think that I'm relishing this task this year as last year bulb planting was out of bounds for me with my dominant right arm encased in plaster. Himself planted whilst I directed which I'm sure you will agree is not quite the same.

I've moved my vase indoors this week as my usual vase perch has had its leafy background decimated for now. The willow tree has just been pollarded again after some eight and half years or so ago since its last encounter with the tree surgeon. There were too many branches encroaching in the direction of the roof. In my vase this week are just the two specimens :
  • Lathyrus odaratus 'Gewndoline' - I dismantled the remaining sweet pea wigwam yesterday and there were still a few defiant flowers clinging on. Most of them were too moth-eaten to pick but I thought that these few deserved to be cherished for a day or two longer. ' Gwendoline' is one of the strongest sweet peas I've grown, always performs well and has superb long stalks for use in vases. She is also highly scented which is a must. All my sweet peas were sown in the middle of March and only really got going in July.
  • 'Panicum capillare 'Sparkling Fountain' is the second component in the vase.  This half-hardy grass was started from seed sown in the greenhouse on 5th March. The inflorescences really do sparkle on sunny days and it has grown well in pots this year although it is going over now. I think that it is possibly my favourite out of the handful of grasses I grew from seed this year.
Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for being the perfect hostess. I hope that everyone has a good week and makes the most of the daylight before it goes! 

Monday 5 October 2020

IAMOM ~ Glowing Embers


The flowers for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' were picked on Friday afternoon in anticipation of a weekend of extremely wet weather. Saturday indeed saw heavy rain from when I pulled the curtains back to when I went to bed. In the afternoon the wind strengthened and it was absolutely the most dire day you could imagine. Hunkering down was definitely the order of the day. Sunday however defied the weather forecast when the rain stopped and the wind had died down. There was sunshine and blue skies and I had plans. Well I had plans until I went out to throw some odds and ends into the recycling bin and suddenly felt my feet slip from underneath me. I landed on my back. Luckily as I didn't get any warning I did not put my hands out to save myself and managed to keep my head up. Luckily I was saved from any serious injury by my ample posterior. Still I was rather stiff for the rest of the day and still am so have been taking it easy. We think that a wet leaf was the culprit so be careful out there!  My vase contains :

  • Some rudbeckia hirta 'Sahara' flowers - I have already featured these flowers in a couple of vases this year. Grown from seed back in February they have been a joy. They have not needed any support but I did notice on Friday that some of the stems had been toppled over by previous inclement weather earlier in the week so decided to pick some whilst the going was good. I will be leaving the plants in the ground to see if they come through the winter. If things are not looking encouraging the heated propagator will be kickstarted towards the end of February.
  • A flower of dahlia 'Chat Noir' which I have never grown before. How remiss of me as it's a beauty. Apparently it has a long vase life so I shall be checking if that is the case.
  • Finally some stems of the perennial persicaria 'Blackfield' which I used in a vase back in July and which is still going strong. Although I'm not struck on the foliage the length of its flowering time is a winner. Perhaps a stem of persicaria 'Firetail' might have been more appropriate in view of what was to happen to me.
The vase is also a hardy perennial and in a former life before 'IAVOM' was used to store either pens or watercolour paintbrushes in the study.

I am still not sure about new Blogger but am getting there slowly. I've noticed recently though that I'm having some issues on commenting on Wordpress blogs and sometimes have to try a few times before I succeed. Sometimes changing my browser from Chrome to Safari does the trick. I'm wondering whether this is because of the Blogger changes or is a completely unrelated issue. 

As always a big thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who gets us together every Monday all year round to share our vases.

Monday 28 September 2020

IAVOM - Into Autumn

Well what a change in the weather from one Monday to the next when a balm sunny  day has morphed into a decidedly chilly and windy mode. The first day of autumn was beautiful but then it went downhill from there albeit there has been a brief let up over the last couple of days to allow some gardening activities. I've dismantled one of the sweet pea wigwams this afternoon leaving the one still standing as there may be a couple more small vases  left in it. In my 'In A Vase On Monday' this week are just a couple of occupants :

  • The first is from the shrub lonicera 'Baggeson's Gold'. We have just removed an overgrown specimen of this to make room for a construction project. Details to follow soon. However we still have access to pickings from a hedge of the same plant which belongs to the neighbours but we have access to prune it.
  • The second is a few stems of one of my favourite late flowering perennials in the form of the tuberous begonia grandis subsp. evansiana 'Alba'. Despite its delicate appearance this is a toughie flowering from late summer until the early frosts. It does self-seed but never enough to be a nuisance as seedlings are easily recognised and in my experience fall close to the parent. The leaves have red undersides. There is also a pink version which has larger flowers which are just opening now. I can't remember if this is the normal course of things. These plants appears extremely late in the day and I have often fretted in the spring that I've lost them so patience is absolutely essential. I have never picked the flowers for a vase before so will be interested to see how long the flowers last.


I am still getting used to the vagaries of the new Blogger platform in particular with resizing photos so please bear with me if any of them or the text appears a but squiffy. Meanwhile over at 'Rambling In The Garden' Cathy our hostess has jellies and cakes for our delectation today. I could certainly tuck in to them right now. Do pop over there if you haven't already.

Monday 21 September 2020

In A Vase On Monday ~ Summer's Last Swansong

My 'In A Vase On Monday' this week is a tribute to the very last day of summer and was picked in most beautiful weather yesterday afternoon. We have been blessed with some most glorious settled weather for the last week or so which is set to make way for more of an autumnal feel as the week progresses. We are forecast much cooler temperatures and what will be some welcome rain.

In my vase this week are :
  • Sweet peas - the two toned one is 'Erewhon' whilst the other is 'Noel Sutton'. I mentioned in an earlier post this year that my sweet peas sown in mid March seemed very late to start flowering. However once they got going they have more than made up for it. I planted them at home this year rather than at the allotment so they have been close to hand for picking. Perhaps not in the best position as they proved rather challenging to pick at times and I have to avail myself of himself's extra height and longer arms. A new position will be sought next year. They are slowly dwindling to a close now but will be allowed a while longer before going into the green bin. Not enough room left in the bin now before it gets wheeled up ready to be collected tomorrow morning.
  • Some sprigs of an old favourite herbaceous perennial clematis in the shape of clematis jouiana 'Praecox'. This is a sprawler in my garden but can climb too given support. It is great for late summer colour and is beloved by bees and butterflies. Its one big minus is that it dies disgracefully and sadly will soon begin its annual journey in the direction of dormancy.
  • Lastly a single rose in the shape of 'Wollerton Od Hall'. She is a most delicate appealing shade and is supposed to have a strong scent. Unfortunately I am unable to pick up on much scent although I must admit that after some nasal problems my sense of smell is not as good as it was. However to me her scent definitely pales in comparison with 'Gertrude Jekyll'. 'Wollerton Old Hall' is a David Austin rose and is named after the outstanding garden of the same name in Shropshire. I have been lucky enough to visit there twice with himself and once with a local gardening club. I'm hoping very much to make another visit next year and would urge anyone to do so should you find yourself in Shropshire.

The vase is a cheap and cheerful purchase from a well known supermarket some time ago.

Thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy who pampers and cherishes her flowers over at 'Rambling In The Garden'. I'm off to recover now over the shock of legacy Blogger completely disappearing. There had been enough warnings but it seems that sadly Blogger have finally pulled the plug. I will be heading back into the garden to relish this beautiful last day of summer.

Monday 14 September 2020

IAVOM ~ Mellow Yellow

Gathering flowers for today's 'In A Vase On Monday' was fun with a heavy dew and spiders conspiring against me. The it came to taking a photo and the flowers flopped and the sun was too bright but here we have a few ingredients from what is still flourishing during these last few days of summer. You might be able to make them all out if you squint your eyes :

  • Anthemis tinctoria 'E.C Buxton' also known as Dyer's chamomile - a beautiful perennial daisy which starts off as a slightly too bright yellow but redeems itself as the flowers mature and fade in colour. It seems trouble free and flowers over a long spell. I would love to know who E.C. Buxton was.
  • Mainly faces looking down is the annual cosmos 'Pink Lemonade' which was grown from seed this year and is unlikely to be on my seed list next year. I could not take to this cosmos.
  • Some wispiness from seed grown hordeum jubatum or squirrel's tail grass. I planted a few of these and will keep my fingers crossed that they return next year. I also have a few left overs in pots which I will overwinter in the cold frame.
  • The annual nasturtium 'Milkmaid' which again was grown from seed, a free packet from a gardening magazine. Last year she was at the allotment but this year she has been in the garden where she has developed a bit of a climbing habit. She will definitely be on next year's seed list which is already in the making. 
Thanks as always to our steadfast hostess Cathy who blogs over at 'Rambling In The Garden'. Her post this week has a little person stealing the show. Do take a peek if you haven't already! Here after spending a good part of a beautiful day in the garden I notice that I have bitten a few times but it has been worth the price. Now off in search of some calming lotion to apply to my wounds.

Monday 31 August 2020

IAVOM ~ Hanging On In There

It's Monday - the last bank holiday of the year and time for 'In A Vase On Monday'. As I was in danger of being edged out of my usual photographic perch by a power washer it was a case of the quickest of snips this morning.

Both snips are from plants that have been badly treated, one by human hand and the other by the elements :

  • Rosa 'Boscabel' - this was a new purchase from David Austin in the autumn of 2018. She came in bare root from and was planted in a pot for convenience. This was supposed to be short term and much to my shame she is still in the pot. Even worse than that she had been pushed almost out of sight but still has managed to hold on and flower. I have promised her better. She is a beautiful soft coral pink and has a most pleasant scent.
  • Tucked in behind her is a snip of the half-hardy grass 'Panicum capillare 'Sparkling Fountain'. This was grown from seed sown in the greenhouse on 5th March. It certainly more than lives up to its name especially on sunny days. This snip was taken from a plant that was looking most splendid in a pot with companions, until it was knocked sideways in the first of this month's two named storms. Fortunately it has perked up and still lives to tell the tale. It didn't over winter this year so maybe another sowing will be in order next spring. 
A BIG thanks as always to host Cathy who blogs over at 'Rambling In The Garden'. Time soon for lunch and the plan then is to have a peaceful afternoon out in the garden before finally placing my bulb order tonight. No bank holiday traffic jams for us especially this year!

Monday 24 August 2020

IAVOM ~ The Calm Before The Storm

It has been a beautiful late summer's day here with blue skies, sunshine and the most perfect temperature. The green bin has been filled almost to the brim ready for collection in the morning and this afternoon's trip to the allotment resulted in patty pan squashes, French beans, beetroot and a ruck of apples coming back home with us. The apple picking session was deemed an urgent task in view of the named storm that is heading our way tomorrow bringing heavy rain, thunder and gale force winds in its wake. Still it was lovely to breath in summer today. 

In my 'In A Vase On Monday' this week are :

  • A couple of roses. The larger flower of the two is the rose my sister had named after my mother namely 'Luisa's Daughter"and then sent to me as a birthday present. I've picked her flowers for vases before and they have always been a creamy deepening into a pale soft yellow colour. This year though odd things have happened and she is sending out some very pink buds which are opening to a pale pink flower. Most peculiar. The other deeper pink rose is an emerging bud from 'Evelyn', a new rose purchase this year from Davis Austin. 'Evelyn' has a most intense perfume and reminds me of the roses we picked as children to make rose perfume with. Somehow the promise of rose perfume never lived up to the expectation and the liquid from many a jar laced with decayed petals was tossed aside before winter. 

Update - since posting I've realised that the second rose is 'Gertrude Jekyll' and not 'Evelyn'.
  • Orlaya grandilora - the flowers of this annual come from the batch I sowed in May. This is the first year that I have grown these and I will be sowing another batch in the next week or so for an earlier flowering next year.
  • Some sweet peas which are still producing after their late off the starting block days. I hope that their respective wigwams are up to a bit of buffeting from the wind tomorrow.
  • A couple of flowers from cosmos 'Pink Lemonade' which I don't think that I will grow again. I only planted five of the plants and all have produced different sizes and colours of flower with only one looking anything like the flower pictured in the seed catalogue! An annual with a lot of hype to it's name or am I being harsh?
  • A sprig of the perennial thalictrum delavayi var. decorum. I love it's soft colour and airy ways.
  • Finally a few bits of the perennial eurybia divaricata also known as the white wood aster. It flowers in late summer and is a shade lover. 
My vase this week is a little milk jug, origin lost in time but probably bought from a local charity shop.

With many thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for the inspiration for sharing our vases on Mondays. Do have a peek there if you haven't already and be prepared to be dazzled and delighted by a wealth of flowers laced with generously shared knowledge and tips.

Saturday 22 August 2020

August Musings


"There is no question of me trying to reform my reaction to the major smell that starts at the end of August to dominate the house in autumn - apples.

I was sitting down at my desk on a rather dull day when this strong mouth-watering perfume filled the room. I had no flowers on my desk. I turned my head and remembered I had bought a big bag of Discovery apples and piled them in a bowl on the window-sill, for their brightness as much as anything...... Another interesting smell that lingers in the house for some time comes from the making of crab apple jelly. It has a faint clovey tang to it. 

The elderberry with its irony smell had also succeeded to the fragrant flower. The bullaces, the sharp wild plums are brightening some hedges with their orange-red where the traveller's joy has become the old man's beard, a soft curly silver beard when the flowers have just gone over into seed.

So August is the beginning of the gathering season as well as the harvesting of cultivated crops. There are lighter sweeter smells as well from two plants that will have a resurgence now if you pick sedulously earlier on - sweet peas and wild strawberries. Mingled with these are the stringent smells of nasturtiums, tomatoes, bonfires, new feverfew leaves, poppy stalks. How can anyone, how can I think of August as a dull month?"

Photo - some of my 'Katy' apple crop 2017. 

Monday 17 August 2020

IAVOM ~ Desert Sands

The run of very hot, sunny and humid weather has come to an abrupt end with some very heavy rain last night which snapped off some dahlia flowers and has knocked an ornamental grass for six. Fortunately thinking that it might be wet today I had picked most of my in 'A Vase On Monday' contents yesterday evening. In the vase this week are :

  • More of the lovely rudbeckia hirta 'Sahara' flowers which are now becoming a firm favourite. I have them growing in the garden this year rather than at the allotment which has worked out well. They were sown in late winter in a heated propagator. I passed some surplus plants to a friend who is equally enamoured so next year I will be growing for the both of us. I have already purchased seed for next year having read that one of the major seed companies has indicated that there may be shortages with seed supplies next spring! 
  • A new to me hardy perennial in the shape of achillea millefolium 'Salmon Beauty'. The blooms are now fading. This is one of my few plant purchases of 2020 and was bought from the nursery at Arley Hall. We made a trip there last month and struck gold. We had the double herbaceous border there to ourselves for at least ten minutes. I will have to write a post about this visit soon before it becomes a distant memory. 
  • Finally some foliage - cuttings a of a dark leaved physocarpus probably 'Diablo'. Most of them decided to turn their backs to the camera so you are seeing the green reverse of the leaves.

Thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who is also showcasing another delightful rudbeckia in her vase today.

I started this post off in the new Blogger format but when I was unable to see a preview I once again reverted to the familiar format. However I think that this ceases to become useable in the next few days a prospect that I'm not looking forward to. I predict stamping of feet and curses ahead. 

Monday 3 August 2020

IAVOM ~ Summer Breeze

In today's 'In A Monday Vase' are mainly annuals grown from seed this spring or in once case in late summer 2019 although the odd perennial has sneaked in. The contents are as follows :
  • Rudbeckia hirta 'Sahara' - I grew these for the first time in 2018 and am now would not be without. They were started off in a heated propagator and without label to hand I imagine that they were probably sown in the last week of February. They produce flowers in different soft colours but my favourites are those in this vase.
  • Zinnia - my zinnias have not fared well this year and there is only just the one of them in this vase. I think that is 'Queen Red Lime'. I don't know what it is about zinnias but I have the same ambivalent feelings for them as I do for tulips i.e. love the flowers but not the foliage. Maybe both have antannae and pick up on my feelings as I usually struggle with both.
  • Cosmos - 'Pink Lemonade' - grown from seed sown in April. This cosmos is a relative newcomer and this is a first time for me. The jury is still out on this one. One of the plants is a cuckoo in the nest and I am more taken with that one. You can see it in the photo below. I might save seeds from that and see what transpires with them net year.
  • Ammi visnaga 'Green Mist' - also grown from seed which was sown last September and then overwintered in a cold greenhouse. I love both the flowers and feathery foliage of these. I will sow these again next month along with some other annuals. Unfortunately once planted some of my plants were felled by a mysterious ailment so I hope that lightening doesn't strike twice next year. 
  • Finally a bit of yellow frothiness in the shape of alchemilla mollis - a stalwart and almost trouble free perennial. Well it does self seed everywhere but surely that is my fault for not cutting the old flower heads off quickly enough.
Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for encouraging us to share our vases each and every Monday which provides me and no doubt other bloggers with much inspiration when I vase hop. I'm hoping that this morning's early and unexpected rain will give rise to a sunny afternoon so that I can head out into the garden soon. The signs at the moment are encouraging. I see some blue sky appearing. Enjoy your Monday!

Monday 27 July 2020

IAVOM ~ Abundance

Sweet peas were not going to feature in this weeks 'In A Vase On Monday' but with the rain lashing down out there and a blustery wind I'm sharing a vase of sweet peas that were picked and photographed a couple of days when it was slightly more summery. My tardy sweet peas have morphed from a famine to a feast state at long last. I think that they are the one annual flower that I would miss the most. I've added one or two newcomers to the mix this year including 'April In Paris' (white with purple edge) and 'Earl Grey' (two tones and stippled). The latter is not in the vase as it had only just started to open. I am missing a couple of shades - a deep burgundy possibly 'Beaujolais' and a blue so must remember to order those for next year. The scent as always is intoxicating. 

I doubt if there will be much done in the way of gardening today other than in the greenhouse where I have some biennials to prick out - hesperis, lunaria and what the molluscs have left of the wallflowers. I'm looking forward to listening to another of the excellent Zoom lectures delivered by Fergus Garrett, Head Gardener at Great Dixter on Wednesday evening this week. This one is on the subject of integrating annuals and biennials into your borders. Bookings are still being taken today here.

Thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who gives us the opportunity to share our vases every Monday come rain or shine. I hope that fellow bloggers are enjoying better picking weather and weather that is more akin to summer.

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Monday 20 July 2020

IAVOM ~ Light My Fire

The contents in today's 'In A Vase On Monday' was picked on another breezy but dry Monday morning. Not a single drop of rain has fallen from the sky so far so that in itself is reason to celebrate with some sizzle. I must admit that I have a preference for pastel shades when it comes to flowers  but I do appreciate a bit of brightness now and again too. In my vase this week  are :
  • Dahlias - varieties unknown though one might possibly be 'Art Deco'. The labelling system went to pot when the dahlias were planted up in containers that had previously housed tulip bulbs. One of the dahlias still bears a label with the words 'Spring Green' written on it. I blame my assistant. The in your face bright red one at the front should be the peachy coloured 'Wine Eyed Jill' and in this case I think that it might be a case of right label, wrong plant. 
  • The pale yellow flowers of anthemis 'E.C. Buxton' which I bought home as a cutting taking during a propagation workshop at our local nursery 'Bluebell Cottage Gardens'. This is a hardy perennial and is a most easy going plant which flowers over a long spell. 
  • Helenium 'Sahin's Early Flowerer' - I first came across this plant in the vase that you can in the photo below.

We were staying in a holiday cottage in the village of Hanley Swan which is home to fellow blogger Brian who blogs at '' .We have stayed in Hanley Swan there several times over the years to visit the Malvern Show. Usually our accommodation is our camper van but that year we treated ourselves to a week in luxury. I asked the owner of the cottage what it was and came home at the end of the week with a division of the plant which is rather lovely. The flowers are all sightly different in markings and colourings. I don't think that mine have ever been in flower alongside Michaelmas daisies but wonder if they had been given the Chelsea chop, so flowered later in the year than mine do. 
  • Some persicaria 'Blackfield' pickings - another obliging perennial although I do wish that the foliage was more attractive.
  • Finally some leafiness from what I think is the deliciously dark leaved deciduous shrub physocarpus opulifolius 'Diablo'.

Is see that our hostess the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' has also been living dangerously and is playing with fire this week. Do visit. 

Monday 13 July 2020

IAVOM ~ Summer Soft

Yesterday saw a more than welcome return to summer. After a really miserable couple of weeks with the needle getting stuck on wind, rain and unseasonably cool there was finally movement in the direction of blue skies and warmth. I picked my flowers for 'In A Vase On Monday' late in the day, took a close up photo before it got too gloomy and then saved a longer distance snap for this morning. Guess what it has rained again overnight and one of my clematis flowers had wilted in the night probably because the stem wasn't properly immersed in water. So a clematis flower replaced and a photo taken before the rain kicks in again. In my vase this week are :
  • A couple of sprigs of label went a long time ago astrantia. The flowers are past peak perfection now but still have a certain faded elegance about them.
  • A little snip of the delicate but dainty pink rose 'The Fairy'. She is a shrub rose which comes into flower late in the season producing an abundance of little pom-pom clusters of clear pink flowers. Sadly she has little in the way of scent but that is her only shortcoming.
  • Sprinklings of a couple of annual grasses grown from seed sown in March, namely lagurus ovatus and hordeum jubatum. The former also goes by the most appropriate name of bunny's tail grass whilst the latter is also called squirrel tail grass which is harder for me to fathom. If squirrels had tails like that I might be more well disposed towards them. I'm still seething at the damage one of their number did more than likely did, which I described in a recent 'Wordless Wednesday' post. 
  • A couple of just opening buddleia snippets which are flushing with colour from the base upwards. The shrub came came as a cutting from my parent's garden.
  • Some white button flowers of achillea ptarmica 'The Pearl' an easy going if a rather floppy perennial. 
  • Last but but not least a couple of flowers of clematis viticella 'Blekitny Aniol', also known as 'Blue Angel'. This was purchased on holiday several years ago now from the Country Market Stall at Tavistock Pannier Market in Devon. If you live in the U.K. Country Markets are an excellent source of very reasonably priced plants and free advice from the sellers. They also sell home produced bread, cakes and pastries, jams and chutneys, eggs and a wide range of handicrafts. Hopefully they will survive and flourish again.  My clematis grows in the company of rosa 'Blush Noisette' which is usually between flushes when the clematis comes out but there are usually some rose stragglers so the two can flatter each other.

This week our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' is singing the praises of some summer beauties which I think that I might just have to try in future. Do go and have a peek. I am off to see if I can do one or two jobs between the intermittent rain that is forecast but look forward to sitting down with a cuppa later and seeing what is shining in other folk's vases this Monday.

Saturday 11 July 2020

Retail Therapy

Plant buying like haircuts has been rather sparse on the ground so far this year. I realised recently that is has been five months since I have had my hair cut. My tresses are the longest they have been probably for thirty years or more. My fringe had all but disappeared when I made the fatal mistake of asking himself if he would trim it. Say no more! Although hairdressers are open for business once more I will not be rushing to make an appointment so will have to do something with the headband I've recently bought to improve matters.

Anyway back to plant buying. Most of my plant buying is done in May at plant fairs and plant sales supplemented by trips to nurseries, the odd garden centre and open gardens. There have been none of those enjoyable activities so far this year although now that the weather has perked up after a really miserable spell plans for a couple of excursions are now being made. I occasionally buy plants online but really prefer to see plants close up and personal. Initially I thought that I would be content to make do without any plant buying and perhaps concentrate on planting all those plants screaming to get out of the cold frame. However there were one or two losses during the winter. I had peeked and peeked at the twiggy remnants of my lemon verbena plants willing them to sprout green but gave up all hope when it got to the end of May. I usually take cuttings of this but all my autumn routine went to pot when I injured my hand last September. Some years the odd pot left out over winter has re-sprouted the following spring but I think this year they probably were probably polished off by all that rain back in February.

I thought that I might be without lemon verbena this year and was resigning myself to that fact. However luck was on my side when I came across some positive feed back last month about Pepperpot Plants via my Twitter timeline and decided to look them up. Pepperpot Plants are a Hampshire herb nursery selling not only online but at some retail outlets too. Sadly lemon verbena was not available on their list at the time but I was still tempted and sent off for three scented pelargoniums, a couple of purple leaved perilla aka shiso plants and and a pineapple sage. I was delighted with the quality of plants, the speed of delivery and the sturdy packaging that the plants came in. I was also really pleased to see that there were a couple of plants in each of the pots of perilla.

The nursery updates their list of what's immediately available weekly and guess what ..... lemon verbena was listed a couple of weeks later! There was no hesitation and a second order was made for three lemon verbena plants, a couple of plants of African Blue' basil and a lavender. I have been restrained since but would have no hesitation returning to the same nursery. What about you - has it been a plant buying feast or famine during the lockdown? If the former any recommendations would be welcome.

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'.