greentapestry : 2021

Tuesday 7 December 2021

A Week Of Flowers 2021 - Day 7

 My final flower for 'A Week Of Flowers' was going to be a snowdrop that is in flower today but the second named storm in as many weeks has decreed that it isn't a day to venture out to take a photo.  Instead another look back earlier to this summer when the above combination gave me much pleasure. The rose is 'Luisa's Daughter', a rose gifted to me from my sister and named by her in memory of Mum. It was my birthday about a month after Mum's death when this most lovingly chosen present arrived in the post as a bare root rose. Her first flowers appear in May and the last one of the year shed it's petals in late November this year.

In close proximity the beautiful thalictrum delavayi 'Splendide White' which is a hardy perennial. It grows quite tall and benefits from some support, flowers throughout summer and has attractive aquilegia like foliage too. It's only minus is the fact that it is so late to come through in the year so much so that I start to panic each year about it's welfare.

A huge bunch of virtual flowers must go to Cathy over at 'Words And Herbs' who has given us the chance to celebrate flowery memories as we head towards the shortest day of the year. Another season will be turning soon which is a most uplifting thought and I see that the good news that Cathy is planning a reunion next year. 

Monday 6 December 2021

A Week Of Flowers 2021 - Day 6


A full frothy flowery border of mainly purples and oranges snapped on a visit to Powis Castle, in north Wales on a visit there back in late August this year. Many thanks to Cathy over at Words and Herbs for hosting 'A Week In Flowers' for a second consecutive year. I hope very much that it becomes an annual event.

Sunday 5 December 2021

A Week Of Flowers 2021 - Day 5

Some sweet peas from late July for today's 'A Week Of Flowers' hosted by Cathy who blogs over at Words and Herbs.  These are the one annual that I enjoy growing the most from seed and would not be without. Do visit and see what other fabulous flowers fellow bloggers are enjoying this Sunday.

Saturday 4 December 2021

A Week Of Flowers 2021 - Days 3 & 4


A touch of spring bling for 'A Week Of Flowers' going back to this May with a trio of aquilegias and some bluebells. The first aquilegia is 'Nora Barlow' whilst the other two are nameless seedlings that have appeared in the garden by magic. The bluebells were photographed by himself in one of the woods close to our caravan in Cumbria. With many thanks to Cathy over at 'Words and Herbs' for the perfect excuse to indulge in some photographic floral memories on yet another extremely wet and windy December afternoon. The perfect tonic!

Thursday 2 December 2021

A Week Of Flowers 2021 - Day 2

Going back to this May today for 'A Week In Flowers'. This time I ventured out of my garden and just down the road to Norton Priory Museum And Gardens. It is a historic site, comprising the remains of an abbey complex dating from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries as well as an eighteenth century country house. It is the most excavated monastic site in Europe and today houses a museum as well as being home to the garden where these daffodils delighted the eyes. Like several places more or less on our doorstep we are guilty of not visiting often so we hope to remedy that next year. Thanks to Cathy over at 'Words and Herbs' who came up with the lovely idea of sharing flowers on our blogs every day for a week to brighten up the month.

Wednesday 1 December 2021

A Week Of Flowers 2021, Day 1

In desperate need of some sunshine and a reminder of warmer days today on what has been day of mainly gusty wind and intermittent heavy rain, here is a pot of tulip 'Ballerina' taken this spring. A much better photo of the pot I'm afraid rather than the tulips but they provided a rather lovely glow of colour and the addition of scent too. As you can see an interloper crept in - I'm not sure how. I'm must confess removing it not long afterwards. Not the biggest fan of tulips I was most pleased with this effort which waved at me when I was at the kitchen sink. Thanks to Cathy over at 'Words and Herbs' ,whose lovely idea it is to celebrate a week of flowers to brighten up these sometimes dark and dismal days of December. Do visit Cathy's blog and see what what flowers she is sharing today and also check out the blogs of other participants. 

Saturday 27 November 2021

November Thoughts

"November provides us with a breathing point. Colour is going, if not gone, and branches are newly naked, revealing the bones of things. Scarlet hips are left starkly alone in the hedgerows, and the floor is littered with the fruit of a growing season. Birds are moving seed about, windfalls pecked to little more than skins. We may well have had the first frost by now; if not, it is sure to hit by the end of the month. With it the dahlias are suddenly blackened, to leave behind just a trace of their autumn bulk. The brick-red schizostylis and lipstick-pink nerine continue to flare for a while, yet in stark and diminishing contrast to the decline around them. There are a few other flowers out - perhaps a rose or two looking out of placeand left behind - so they are doubly welcome.

We are surrounded by rot and decay, but it is not a death to be disturbed by but rather celebrated as the cusp of this annual cycle. It's an appropriate time to pause for thought, and, with it, the potential for new planting. 

I wait until the garden starts to feel on the wrong side of neglect, before imposing any order, and even then I favour a less-is-more approach. Sweeping the mouldering leaves from the lawn or terrace imposes a little order on the chaos and allows you to stand back for a while to assess the departure of the growing season, but the pause is brief: there are tulips to put in the ground, plants that need their winter protection , and the season for planting bare-root trees and shrubs opens up again as nurseries start lifting them before the ground freezes. Use the time well to plant before the year is out and new plantings will be settled in before the worst of the winter arrives."

- an extract from 'Natural Selection' by Dan Pearson

- illustration by Eugene Grasset.  

Sunday 14 November 2021

November Notes - Garden Diary

Time to catch up with my somewhat neglected virtual garden diary. It has been a really beautiful weekend here. Calm, blue skies and sunshine throughout. It has also been a most pleasant temperature - yesterday was so mild that I was able to potter about in the garden wearing a t-shirt rather a warm fleece which is my normal November gardening attire. We have still to experience our first hard frost although there was a slight trace of white on our neighbour's roof one morning last week. It soon evaporated though. My priority this weekend was filling the green waste bin which will be wheeled up our lane on Monday ready for the last collection of the year so of course I just had to cram in as much as possible. The service resumes in the third week of February and by then the bin will no doubt be full to the brim again. Earlier this week the monthly speaker at my local u3a gave a talk on the subject of waste disposal which after a dry start turned out to be more interesting than I had anticipated. It was fascinating to find out out what happens to the contents of each bin once it is emptied.

There was time though after the hard work for exploration. The most exciting discovery was to see some seedlings of arum mamoratum italicum poking through the ground. I wasn't sure what they were at first until I saw the distinctive black spotting on the leaves. Funnily enough I recently saw an episode of Carol Klein's great television series on autumnal gardening, in which she sowed fresh seeds of this striking foliage plant. The next day I collected the bright red berries from my plant to sow. Obviously nothing has happened as yet but was I most delighted to see these self-seeders. Funnily enough I had been talking to a friend about sowing these the seeds and she mentioned that she found them self-seeding in her garden but this is the first time I have had the pleasure. I will have to extract them sooner and later as they are in a place where they could easily be accidentally trodden on and somebody in this household does have rather large feet. 

On the subject of Carol Klein one excellent series has finished but a continuation of the programmes where she visits one garden over the course of a year has replaced it. This is on Channel 5 on Thursdays at 7.00 pm and well worth watching whenever you can.


In the same border another surprise was waiting for me - the not unexpected signs of snowdrop snouts poking through the ground. The first to reveal themselves this year are the early flowering 'Fieldgate Prelude' and 'Philippe Andre Meyer which I thought flowered later. Of course there is always the possibility that the squirrels might have been switching the labels for fun so I will just have to be patient and wait to see what happens. I have previously noted that my pots of special snowdrops had snouts coming through but these are the first to come through in the garden. 

Another bulb that is showing and is not far off from flowering is the diminutive and early flowering narcissus 'Cedric Morris'. The flower buds are very much in evidence but no sign of colour yet.

In other news the pile of bulbs to be planted is I'm glad to report slowly diminishing. The containers that were virtually emptied over the weekend and contents snipped for the green bin can now be planted with the tulips that have been patiently waiting in the shed. In the meantime I'm tempted to order one or two more packets of bulbs at half price and then of course it will soon be time to seriously start to study seed catalogues in earnest. First and foremost plans are afoot to sow some sweet peas next month - a first for me so the supplies need restocking. I wonder what everyone is else is up to in their gardens at the moment.

Monday 8 November 2021

IVOM - Pieces Of Eight

Today sees eight years of a weekly celebration of vases containing a myriad of wonderful flowers and foliage and other plant material along the way. Although I didn't join in posting with in 'A Vase On Monday' from the start I think that that my first vase came along the following spring. As with all other autumn or winter birthday celebrations there are perhaps not as many choices on offer. Today though Cathy invited us to pick perhaps some material that might be sometimes regarded as past its sell by date but is still every bit as beautiful in it's own right. I have to admit that my flowers are not dried as such but at this stage of the year they are certainly faded or air dried. In my vase today are :

  • Some lunaria annua or annual honesty seed heads - purple or white spring flowers, plain green, purple or variegated leaves followed by seed cases which resemble fabulous silvery shining paper moons. No doubt they creep into a good few households including mine every festive season.
  • Some seed heads of papaver 'Lauren's Grape' which flowers a delicious deep purple plum colour. I leave a few on every winter and am rewarded with seedlings the following year.
  • A couple of seed heads of daucus carrota. I noticed today that the stems are now a red colour. I'm sure that they were green in the summer. I must look more closely year. 
  • Some fading flowers of physocarpus, probably 'Diablo'.
  • Finally a sprig of panicum capillare 'Sparkling Fountain' which caught my attention when it floated past the window one windy afternoon last month. I braved the elements to rescue it and shook the remaining seeds into a bowl. Thinking that it might come in handy for something it has been sitting in the greenhouse ever since.

I paused for sometime when I had put everything into my vase convinced that something vital was missing before I realised that of course for once no water was required! 

Thanks as always dear Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for your dedication and love in keeping us gathering virtually on Mondays to share our weekly pickings. This habit has certainly widened my knowledge of plants as well as improving my powers of observation.  I do get fond of my Monday snippings and am sad when they exit to the compost heap or green bin but then I smile as there's never long to wait until another Monday comes along.

Monday 25 October 2021

IAVOM ~ Still Giving

Cathy has reminded us that 'In A Vase On Monday' will shortly be celebrating
eight years of posts which is hard to believe! Just where has that time gone? Although I didn't contribute in the very early days I think that I posted my first vase the following spring and what fun it has been to contribute over the years. In my vase some this week a few of of the generous flowers that keep on giving namely : 
  • Rosa 'Blush Noisette' - I'm not sure whether this is a second or third flush of this climbing rose. Her main show was in the summer. She still has a lot of unopened flower buds but I don't think that they will get the chance to flower now.
  • Some cosmos bipinnatus' Double Click Cranberries' flowers. I like these although some of them haven't doubled clicked. I sowed them quite late on probably mid April. Their white flowering sibling 'Purity' which I may have sowed a couple of weeks earlier have fizzled out. The latter were grown in a pot (not to be repeated) and a wasp's nest in the roof above them perhaps meant that I wasn't as eager to dead-head them regularly. 
  • Some seed-heads of daucus carota grown from seed sown earlier this spring. I have a batch of September sown seedlings which need potting up but also think that I will leave this year's plants in place as apparently they can be short lived perennials depending on the winter. It will be interesting to see what happens.
  • Finally a couple of sprigs of achillea millefolum 'Summer Berries' which were sown at the beginning of September last year. The packet promised a variety of colours but most of the few other plants that I planted didn't prosper or have failed to flower this year. This was has a pinky peach tone and as it is a perennial I hope that there are better things to come next year.
Thanks as always to Cathy over 'At Rambling In The Garden' and to all the other bloggers who contribute to make this meme so much fun as well as inspiring to visit. Wishing you all a good week and hope that you get the opportunity to spend some time in your gardens.                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Monday 4 October 2021

IAVOM ~ Bring Me Sunshine


A lightening pick, plonk and photograph for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' snipped in a break in the showers. I'm in dire need of some sunshine or failing that at least a break from the wet stuff that seems to have been stuck overhead for the last week or so! There's only so much housework that I can tolerate. In my milk bottle instant sunshine has been provided by :
  • The yellow daisy of anthemis 'E.C. Buxton' which started life as a cutting on a propagation course I took at a local nursery. It is a trouble free perennial it's only fault is that it opens a shade of yellow that's just a tad too bright for me. It does fade though to a much more attractive softer yellow. It flowers throughout the summer right up to the first frosts and is most generous with its flowers.
  • A single of stem of the half hardy perennial rudbeckia 'Sahara' - a favourite of mine. It has sadly struggled this year from sowing onwards and didn't appreciate the wet August. Even the molluscs who usually show disdain for the slightly rough leaves have shown an unwelcome interest.
  • A couple of flowers of cosmos bippinatus 'Purity' - I love the never ending supply of white flowers throughout the summer but the plants are lanky and need support. The search is on for shorter white flowering cosmos for next year.
  • Finally a flower of my new to me this year rose 'Bathsheba'. Her colour and shape have lived up to my expectations but sadly not her scent but that could be down to my nose. After some minor surgery on that aforesaid part of my anatomy a few years ago I'm convinced that my scent of smell has diminished. I often confer with rose loving friend on the scent of roses. She has some of the same roses as me which is most useful but she does not grow this one. I was most relieved when after a close up and personal sniff of my rose she told me that she wasn't picking up much scent either. Earlier this summer I was stopped in my tracks in her garden by the scent coming from rose 'Eustacia Vye', so it has gone on my list of plants to investigate further over the longer nights. 
Thanks must go to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her gentle encouragement to get out there and snip each week.  It's great to see what other people are cutting and enjoying especially as the year goes on. This afternoon's forecast thunder and lightening haven't materialised yet and there is a most welcome break in the rain so I'm off outside for a while before domestic goddess duties in the kitchen call. 

Thursday 30 September 2021

Diary Update ~ September 2021.

Well my using my diary keeping attempts using this blog are proving haphazard to say the least. A couple of months have elapsed since I last wrote a post. August came and went but maybe the least said about it the better. It was a dull and depressingly not at all like summer month.

September however has by and large been a warm, sunny and quite beautiful month although the temperatures have dramatically dropped over the last week when there have also been winds and heavy rainfall. Autumn is well and truly here. We enjoyed the first week of the month on holiday by the sea in South Wales.  The weather was a mixture of sun at the start and end, overcast in the middle but most fortunately dry throughout. Sadly there were no opportunities for any garden visiting but plenty of coastal footpath walks, unsuccessful dolphin spotting and sitting out in the garden of where we were staying reading and enjoying the beautiful view of the sea as well as bat watching each evening. We usually see bats in the summer at home but not a single one this summer. There was also time for the obligatory seaside fish and chips meal sitting on a bench overlooking the bay and of course an ice cream (not at the same time!)

The two new raised beds in the garden have been largely cleared. The sweet pea and bean wigwams have been cleared and will be dismantled soon. The pattypan squash 'Sunburst' remains along with some beetroot. Calendulas have been torn out but all the herbs planted there are designed to be permanent occupants with perhaps more to be added to their numbers in the future. The potato bags have been shaken out and cleaned in readiness for next year. We didn't grow the same volume of potatoes that the allotment allowed us to but the 'Charlotte' salad potato crop was much enjoyed and the potatoes were cleaner than those grown at the plot. We are now eating the last of the tomatoes the plants having been consigned into the green bin. The majority of the tomatoes were the variety 'Romello' which is a bush plant with delicious small red plum tomatoes and it produces in quantity. 

I missed my 'Sunset' apple tree at the allotment as well as it's two companions and of course all the soft fruit I had there especially the raspberries. Still the stick of a spring planted 'Sunset' apple tree has taken and grown better than expected and our wonky apple tree has produced more fruits than ever. This might be down to having removed a large autumn flowering cherry in it's vicinity. The pear tree is covered with fruit and harvesting will be done in the immediate future before the squirrels get there. At the moment their attention is focused on scurrying about with conkers in their mouths bound for a secret hide and forget all about spot but that diversion will not last forever. 

In the flower garden there has been some pruning and tidying. The battle against the marestail in the Lockdown Border runs it's infinite course whilst plans have been drawn in my head to remove some of the perennials in there. I'm planning on planting some new additions but still have to locate them. The new roses planted round the geodesic dome were doing well until I spotted some rose sawfly larvae munching them with relish. Some spraying and squishing seems to have done the trick but they did some damage. Their presence was restricted to one side of the dome so fortunately only three plants were affected. I've never come across these beasties on other roses in the garden and certainly didn't expect pests like that in September.

A few hardy annual seeds were sown as soon as we returned from our holiday - calendulas 'Sunset Buff' and 'Snow Princess', orlaya grandiflora, daucus carota 'Purple Kisses Mix', ammi visnaga 'Green Mist' and 'Antirrhinum 'Chantilly Bronze'. Most have germinated well except for the ammi and calendula 'Snow Princess' so second sowings have been made. A couple of days later I remembered the larkspur packet that I had left in the freezer before we left and a possibly too late sowing of these was made today. A perennial scabious has also been sown and cuttings of salvia 'Nachtvlinder' have been taken. 

I've made a few plant purchases for planting up a big container at the front of the house - white flowering cyclamens, white violas, a small skimmia, Christmas box and an ivy. My bulb order was sent off and should have arrived this week but because of the shortage of hgv drivers/ fuel it is still with the carriers. I'm not in a hurry for the tulip bulbs as I will not plant them until November but would like to get my hands on the other bulbs as soon as possible.

Finally we made one garden visit as such to Abbeywood Gardens in Cheshire, a few weeks later after blogging friend Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' was there. You can see her post here. This was my first there since last August and we had a most enjoyable morning walking around finishing with lunch outside. The photos you can see on this post were all taken there apart from the seaside holiday snap. We also visited Chester Zoo last week where some of the planting there grabbed my attention away from the animals much to my niece's bewilderment. So on to a new month tomorrow and wishing you all happy gardening in October. 

Monday 20 September 2021

IAVOM ~ Holding On


It is still just about holding on to summer here, although the end of the week is promising a definite taste of autumn with rain and gales predicted for some areas. My last collection of this year's summer snips for 'In A Vase On Monday' includes :
  • Daucus carrota 'Purple Kisses' - a couple of stems from last week's vase are still going strong but I've added another stem with white flowers. This is an annual grown from seed which can either be sown in spring or late summer.
  • Aster divaricatus - a late flowering perennial.  I bought my original plant from the sales area at Powis Garden in Wales over ten years ago. It has dark wiry stems and the tips of the petals slowly change from white to a soft lavender shade as the season progresses. It is resistant to mildew and does well in a moist shady spot. It's a quiet plant but one that I wouldn't be without. 
  • Clematis jouiniana x 'Praecox' - a late summer flowering clematis, loved by bees and butterflies which could either be grown as a scrabbler as mine is or as a climber. It's only fault is that it is not a pretty sight at all as it fades.
  • Thalictrum delavayi 'Hewitt's Double' I love it's soft colour, the delicate little button flowers and it's airy ways. This plant came home with me earlier this year from a plant sale as a replacement, as my original plant or possibly a replacement too slowly fizzled out over the years.   
A big thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting. Do pop over there and visit other bloggers to see what is delighting them in their vases this week.

Monday 13 September 2021

IAVOM ~ Summer's Lease

Well summer's lease is certainly rapidly slip-sliding away with just a few days of the season left. All but one of my flowers in this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' will fortunately make it well over the seasonal dividing line. In my vase this week are :
  • Phlox drummondii 'Cherry Caramel' - a half-hardy annual grown from seed. I like it but find it on the straggly side. Maybe I'm doing something wrong? I must research it's likes etc. in more depth. This was the very last vestige of it for 2020. It has been in flower for some time although the flower heads do vary slightly in colour, some more attractive to me than others.
  • Dahlia - (far left) which I have been calling 'Senior's Hope' all year but am beginning to think that I have had a senior moment or two and that it could possibly be some other name! Again further investigation is called for and update of posts if required. 
  • Daucus carota 'Purple Kisses'- a hardy annual again sown from seed this spring. I have just sown some to hopefully flower earlier next year. The kisses do not live up to the name coming in a range of shades from purple, pink and through to white but they are all most pretty and delicate. I've included a seed-head in the vase.
  • Finally a couple of flowers from rudbeckia hirta 'Sahara' - again grown from seed. It hasn't been it's best year in terms of germination or flowering but it looks as if it is going to pull out all stops with the imminent arrival of autumn.
Thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for bringing about and nurturing this lovely meme. It gave me the prefect excuse to take a break from a most frustrating and unfruitful online appointment booking experience and subsequent telephone call this afternoon. After unsuccessfully holding on the phone for over half and hour with much internal growling I put the phone down and headed out in the direction of the garden and felt all the much better for doing so. Looking forward to seeing what's in other vases later.

Monday 30 August 2021

IAVOM ~ Simply Red

Well maybe some shades of russet and yellow too. It's time for 'In A Vase On Monday' and as summer slowly drifts away my flowers seem to reflect the subtles change in the air. This week's vase contains:

  • Dara carrota 'Purple Kisses' - a hardy annual which will soon be sown again in readiness for next year
  • Dahlias 'Chat Noir' and 'Senior's Hope' - the latter is new to me this year and I'm still making my mind up about it. I'm absolutely sold on 'Chat Noir' which I planted for the first time last year. i didn't lift the tubers last year and started from scratch again this spring. It hasn't been the best of years for dahlias which have suffered from all the wet weather we have had. They have provided the molluscs with much in the way to nibble and laugh about.
  • A single stem of rudbeckia 'Sahara' which was sown back in March/April. Germination of these proved very hit and miss this spring with the result of later than usual flowers. So far this hasn't lasted more than a couple of years in the garden so I will sow again next spring. The seed mix results in a variety of colours - soft reds, oranges and yellows.
  • A sparkly champagne moment in the shape of a couple of stems of panicum capillare 'Sparkling Fountain'. This is a beautiful grass which was sown from seed back in April I think. I've planted in pots with companions but must try it directly in the garden next year as well to see how it fares. A couple of self-sown seedlings from last year's plants have appeared growing in cracks in the patio but as yet there are no signs of sparkle and whether they will get there in time remains to be seen.

As always a huge thank you to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for enabling us to share our blooms each and every Monday.

Monday 23 August 2021

IAVOM ~ 'Monday, Monday'


I had to pinch myself today to remind myself that it was indeed really time to pick some flowers for 'In A Vase On Monday'. For the first time on a Monday this month it is sunny and there is not as much as a whisper of a breeze. What is more the forecast is set fair for the week ahead! Not a heatwave in store but a settled dry week which will be a good end to the month which has been generally most unlike summer.

In my vase this week :

  • Cosmos bippinatus ' Double Click Cranberries' - I sowed just the two cosmos this year and 'Purity' the other was in my vase last week. This is much shorter and is just only really getting going as I didn't sow the seeds until mid-April I think. However last time I sowed this variety they were still producing flowers well into October so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. The odd flower here and there isn't double but I'm not bothered about that.
  • A few persicaria flowers  - I don't know which variety.
  • A button or two of dara carrotus 'Purple Kisses' which were sown in the greenhouse either in March or early April at the latest. I will be sowing some of these next month when I plan to sow seeds of several hardy annuals.
  • Finally some shimmer from hordeum jubatum commonly known as squirrel tails grass. None of the grey squirrels I regularly encounter have tails like that otherwise I could even become fond of them and risk a stroke or two. These were sown last spring and have overwintered coming back as much bigger plants this year. I will leave them in and see what transpires next year but may sow a few more next spring as a back up. 
Of course my sunshine vase had to be my choice for today inspired by the weather.

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who came up with the idea of sharing our vases each week and has encouraged us to do so over a number of years now. Time for me to get back to filling my green bin which is due to be emptied at the crack of dawn or thereabouts tomorrow. I will be back later to see what delights are in other participant's vases later on today.

Monday 16 August 2021

IAVOM ~ Swirl


Today continues in the same vein as most of August in that it's cool, damp and windy so just a quick dash out to pick and plonk from me whilst there was an opportunity to do so. My flowers still swirled round in the wind, a couple of petals flew off  (perhaps I was to rough when I coaxed them into the vase) and they are not quite where they were meant to be when I took the photo. An optimistic hint of sun from my sun face vase was obscured. Still in the words of my school reports when it came to maths "I tried".The flowers are cosmos bippinatus 'Purity', a favourite old stalwart sown from seed in the greenhouse back in early April. I love them but this year have struggled to find the right place for them this year. I used to grow them at the allotment where they had plenty of room but tried to grow them in big pots this year and they were just not right. I may have to seek out a similar but smaller version next year so any suggestions of a shorter white flowered sister, cousin or friend would be most welcome. Thank you as always to Cathy who blogs at 'Rambling In The Garden' and who came up with the excellent suggestion of sharing our vases each Monday. 

Monday 2 August 2021

IAVOM ~ 'I Am The One And Only'

How quickly 'In A Vase On Monday' comes round! As usual this year I sowed some sunflower seeds. Sunflowers are one of those seeds that are either a hit or a miss with me - a big miss being the usual outcome. I decided that this year I would go for a red shade rather than yellow and after some searching of seed catalogues and web sites decided that 'ProCut Plum' was the perfect choice. The thought of "dusky crimson and 'cafe-au-lait shades" was the clincherAn order was made and seeds arrived well in advance of sowing plans. I sowed my seeds (two to a three inch pot) duly in April and nurtured them with an eagle eye. They survived the delicate seedling stage when more often than not predecessors have been demolished by molluscs. They grew nicely into young plants, were hardened off and were finally ready to cope in the big wide open world. Five sunflowers were planted. They were happy and healthy and grew taller and taller and are now taller than me. Flowers began to form and I waited with great anticipation. Imagine my excitement when I saw colour appear. Imagine my disappointment when I saw a different colour to what I was expecting! Four of out five sunflowers were a murky yellow with vague hints of a plum centre. However I'm pleased to say that the runt of the litter and the last to flower was exactly the same as the illustration on the seed packet and I love it. I will just have to try them again next year. Of course I had to opt for my sun vase to display my one and only true sunflower in all it's full colours.

Thanks as always to Cathy over 'At Rambling In The Garden' who is most pretty in pink this week. Do have a peek and enjoy vases of flowers from far and wide.

Saturday 31 July 2021

Dear Diary ~ Late July 2021


Here we are already at the end of July and thoughts turning to late summer and the autumn. I'm still dithering over my spring bulb order and need to make a final decision and get it off as soon as possible. I will probably order the majority of my bulbs from Peter Nyssen and a few odds and ends from Farmer Gracy.  Last year I ordered some narcissus bulbs from the latter and they turned out to be the plumpest narcissus bulbs I've ever seen. I'm also enjoying leafing through the tempting catalogue that you can pages from as Sarah Raven's  catalogues are always brimming with positively beautiful colourful combinations. 

Just a brief post today mainly for my personal records. A lull from full on seed sowing for now but the seed compost will come out again in September. I pricked out some 'Sooty' sweet william seedlings today which were sown at the back end of June and there is another batch of a different variety that are still to small to prick out.  I may fit in for some sowing more salad seeds though. We are now eating French beans, which were just morphing from flower to bean just over ten days ago or so, some rather delicious beetroots and cherry tomatoes. I've not grown my own tomatoes from seed for a while now but treat myself each year to some small plug plants from the excellent Simpsons Seeds. They offer a wide range of tomato varieties in all colours and sizes and their plug plants are always well packaged, happy and healthy. They also stock other vegetable plant plugs.We have just enjoy the third harvest of 'Charlotte' potatoes grown in bags this year. Each harvest has been enough for two meals and there are probably another couple of harvests still waiting. Not necessarily a cheap option but they have been delicious.  My shallots need lifting - they looked most promising in their early days but are not looking so brilliant now. The proof will be in the lifting sometime this week. 

We have had a fair bit of rain this week which the garden needed after the recent heatwave. Unfortunately there were two intense cloudbursts involved which did flatten some plants but no long lasting damage done.

Not much in the way of other news. I'm expecting an exciting delivery in the post next week but more of that next time round. The weather for the last week or so has been on the wet and cool side so I've not been out there in the garden as much as I would have liked to. Just in the nick of time we gave the new 'Bathsheba' roses a specific rose granular feed this afternoon. Their second flower flush is just starting with one or two flowers already out and plenty of buds to come. That's it for today - short and sweet. Next time I hope to say that I've ordered those bulbs. Does any one else dither just trying to decide what to include in their bulb order.

Monday 26 July 2021

IAVOM ~ Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow

It's another bunch of sweet peas in 'In A Vase On Monday' today. The flowers are coming in thick and fast at the moment so I'm picking every couple of days otherwise the flowers will soon turn into seed pods and then this year's display would not last as long. All the sweet peas were grown from seed sown in March and are getting a weekly seaweed extract feed. In the absence of any rain for a good ten days or more now as well as very hot temperatures for us they are also being regularly well watered. Rain is forecast for tomorrow and I think that the garden will be singing and my watering can arm will be highly relieved. 

The little hare that you can see next to my vase - a Kilner jar, maybe intended for a long cool summer drink, was discovered in the garden yesterday. Himself is in the process of embarking on some major brick repair work and found this hare buried under some ivy. It was that long since that I've seen it that I had no recollection of it all! It is looking somewhat sadder for it's experience and has lost a leg although it is still able to perch on the wall. I'm sure that it was not giving onlookers the evil eye in its previous existence. Another garden long lost dicovery was made last week which I will share another day. I wonder what discoveries lie in store this week in other Monday vases. Thanks to Cathy over 'At Rambling In The Garden' as always - she is sharing some bright sunshine in her vase this week.

Monday 19 July 2021

IAVOM ~ Butterfly, Flutter By

The word hot would describe today in a nutshell. Much as I would like to be a vision of loveliness in the garden, floating hither and thither all day in a flimsy dress, floppy straw hat perched on head with a pair of secateurs to hand I am a sticky glowing creature who is only venturing out at the moment in the early hours or after our evening meal. My Mediterranean genes have failed me. However I made an exception today and ventured out later this morning for a lightening snatch and grab raid of flowers to put in 'In A Vase On Monday' this week are : 

  • Buddleia flowers - this is an unknown variety which came to me as a cutting along with a darker flowered one from my late parent's garden. 'The Big Butterfly Count' is ongoing at the moment and these buddleias also known as a butterfly plants are usually covered with butterflies especially on very warm days. Most sadly that doesn't seem to be the case at the moment with the only butterfly visitors being Cabbage Whites. Where are all the others? Buddleias do self-seed but seedlings are easily pulled out, the foliage is nothing special but on the other hand they smell delicious and as well as usually acting like a butterfly magnet they do pull in other pollinating insects too.

  • Occupant two is a new to me dahlia called 'Senior's Hope' which I have fallen for and will definitely include on next year's list. 
Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for encouraging us to share our pickings on a weekly basis. I'm living dangerously now and heading back out again to try to harvest some salad potatoes to eat this evening. Hope that everyone else is having fun either in or out of the sun and that you have a myriad of butterflies in your garden.

Saturday 17 July 2021

Garden Diary

Once again time is running away with me as it is coming up to a month since my last diary post. The weather was disappointing during the second half of June and first half of July - cool and showery. However it has been slowly perking up for the last few days and today is an almost perfect summer's day. If anything it is too hot for me and venturing out to potter is limited to early mornings and evenings. Apart from the sun the pollen is high and all the biting insects seem to be homing in on me as soon as I set foot outside. Oh well you have to take the highs with the lows and the sun is certainly welcome.

It doesn't seem that much has been happening as far as gardening jobs are concerned apart from weeding, weeding and more weeding.

We have had our first strawberries which were delicious but sadly a good number went mouldy in the rain. After weeks of looking pristine the French bean leaves are now looking rather tatty and mollusc shredded. The beans themselves are in flower and a few are now morphing into discernible beans. The beetroot are plumping out rather nicely, shallots will be ready to pull soon but the 'Sunburst' pattypan squash so far seems all leaf and very little in the way of pattypans. I've grown these for several years now and they are usually prolific. However this is the first time I've grown them in the garden. 

We've had the first crop from the 'Charlotte' salad potatoes which were delicious with some bacon and broad beans. This is the first time that I have grown them in a potato planter bag and I made the mistake of planting too many in each bag. I think that the two bags I planted are too congested to produce a good number of potatoes but those that were harvested were in an immaculate condition and looked better than some of those grown at the allotment over the years.

The lockdown border has come to a bit of a standstill. I think that I'm dispirited by seeing the marestail taking off again after my initial culling. However I must grit my teeth and continue to suppress it the best I can. I have bought three more 'Totally Tangerine' plants to go in there and need to get them in soon especially as new flowers will soon be opening on them. Now I'm in search of penstemons and phloxes in purple or lilac shades. I had quite liked the look of penstemon 'Plum Jerkum' when I saw it online but I came across it accidentally yesterday afternoon in a local garden centre and decided it was much too dark so that was a useful discovery. No I didn't buy anything for once - the main purpose was meeting up with two old friends and very pleasant it was too sitting in the sunshine under a canopy and chatting.

In other news the new 'Bathsheba' roses looked beautiful when they flowered but didn't seem to last long or look good when they went over in the wet spell. Their fragrance wasn't as strong as I had hoped for so the jury is still out. It is described as being repeat flowering though so I'm keeping my eyes peeled for new buds. 

A rest from seed sowing apart from another batch of lunaria 'Chedglow' of late but I'll soon be checking the seed tin to see if I need to order anything for September sowing and then of course the bulb order needs to go in imminently.

Finally for the first time ever I've managed to grow sunflowers at least as tall as me! Sunflowers are one of those plants I've sowed many a time usually to see them gobbled up by molluscs when they are still tender young plants but this year sees a trio of sunflower 'Procut Plum' about to open. I'm most excited indeed.