greentapestry : May 2020

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.