greentapestry : 2021

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. 

Monday, 12 July 2021

IAVOM ~ The Sweetest Pickings

Of all the flowers I cut to bring into the house sweet peas remain my all time favourite and of course the first pickings are always occasion to celebrate. This year's are later by a few days than last year possibly because of the cool spring. They were sown in the middle of March and include 'Gwendoline','April In Paris', 'Erewhon', Earl Grey,  and the in my book best for scent 'Matucana'. Every year I think that perhaps I should have sown a couple more varieties but I think that I will now be returning to more or less the same nucleus of varieties each year. A couple of plants have still to show their colours so I'm hoping that this week's predicted warmth and sunshine will do the trick. In the meantime these elements are in very short supply today and apart from an odd short dry but damp spell it has been raining for most of the day hence the indoor photo. As I cut the stems in the damp spell I could inhale and smell the scent drifting through the air. Pure bliss! 

A big thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting. Do have a peak at what Cathy and other participants have in their Monday vases this week.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

June Musing ~ Rosy Thoughts


"The serene philosophy of the pink rose is steadying. Its fragrant, delicate petals fully open and ready to fall, without regret or disillusion, after only a day in the sun. It is so every summer. One can almost here their pink, fragrant murmur as they settle down upon the grass 'Summer, summer, it will always be summer."

Illustration - by Gustav Klimt.

Words - by Rachel Peden.

Monday, 5 July 2021

IAVOM ~ 'Flowers In The Rain'

"I'm just sitting watching flowers in the rain
Feel the power of the rain making the garden grow
I'm just sitting watching flowers in the rain
Feel the power of the rain keeping me good"

It's been one of those days when after some heavy rain over the weekend there has been the occasional glimpse of blue skies and sunshine but also intermittent showers too. We did need a decent amount of rain though so it's doing a good job. The watering can has laid idle for a couple of days too. In my vase this week are mainly perennials which have been growing in the garden for a long time and a couple of annuals. The contents are:
  • Rosa 'New Dawn' - I had to have a few goes at picking a couple of stems only to be met with a shower of sodden petals but was eventually successful. She is the first rose we planted and although I regularly threaten to behead her as she does suffer from blackspot she has survived. This year she has a particularly good show of flowers.
  • Almost impossible to see but there is some alchemilla mollis in the vase also known as lady's mantle. This perennial as I'm sure you will know does have a tendency to self seed rather vigorously unless you are quick off the mark and remove the flowering stems as soon as they go over.
  • Some astrantia flowers but I have no idea of what variety they are. They do have a slightly off putting aroma about them but not everybody's nose picks it up.
  • The purple daisy like flowers are kalimeris incisa 'Charlotte'. This is an excellent trouble free perennial which has never seeded in my garden yet so I wonder if it's sterile. I bought my plant in 2014 and have divided it and intend to do so again. It has opened in the last couple of weeks or so and will go on for some time. It's a great magnet for pollinators and unlike asters isn't affected by mildew. There is a white flowered kalimeris too which I would like to track down.
  • Finally a couple of September sown plants in the mix - orlaya grandliflora and daucus carota. 
My post title comes from a song by 'The Move' that came on the radio with perfect timing yesterday as I was on the treadmill. The vase an old favourite passed on to me by my mother.

As always thank you to our generous hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for enabling us to share our vases each Monday. I'm looking forward to being inspired tonight by glimpsing what's in other people's vases. I must also mention that I'm also looking forward to watching the indomnitable Carol Klein's programme on Channel 5 later tonight in which she will be visiting the beautiful gardens at Wollerton Old Hall in Shropshire throughout the seasons. A notebook and pen will be by my side for both activities.

Saturday, 3 July 2021

Visiting Time ~ Wollerton Old Hall, Shropshire

The idea initially was to write a diary update post but a weeding marathon was what came to mind when I thought of what has happening in the garden recently. I'm sure that there have been other activities but I will reflect and come back to do a diary post sometime this week. Instead a few words and photos from a visit to one of my favourite gardens that we made a couple of weeks ago or so. I've visited Wollerton Old Hall several times over the years both in the company of himself and also with the local horticultural society that I belonged to for a good few years. 

Funnily enough my last visit to Wollerton was also in June. It was seven years ago and not the ten or so himself reckoned and it was also following a very long and cold spring. It was the beginning of June and there were still tulips in flower and daffodils at a nearby garden! This time there were the roses I had hoped to see last time. Roses were climbing up the exterior of buildings that greet you when you arrive and were also in evidence throughout the garden. The rose on the left of the photo below is 'Wollerton Old Hall" but I don't know what the pink rose is. I imagine that most of the roses are probably peaking now. 

You can read more about the garden here  but in a nutshell it's described as being set around a sixteenth century hall and is a formal, modern garden on an old site. 

It covers four acres and is composed of a number of garden rooms richly planted with perennials, shrubs and some beautiful trees. It is especially renowned for its plantings of roses, clematis and salvias. The garden has a small nursery attached to it where you can buy many of the plants grown in the gardens including rosa 'Wollerton Old Hall' bred by David Austin and of course named after the garden. I already have the rose but did make a couple of salvia purchases as well as a thalictrum 'Hewitt's Double' which I've grown in the past but it has long since disappeared. There is also a tearoom with both indoor and outdoor space where you can enjoy a light bite or  more usually in our case a cuppa and a slice of delicious cake.

We called there after a couple of nights away in the camper van in Shropshire and had a dull but dry day for our visit. All visits needed to be pre-booked at the moment but that was easily done online and the garden is open on a few days each week. 

It is a combination of the setting and also the exquisite planting that appeal to me as well as the fact that the garden is beautifully maintained. It was busier than our last visit but still quiet enough to find the odd nook and cranny completely to ourselves. I would return tomorrow if I could. That's unlikely but we do hope to get back there later this summer.

All the photos in this post were taken on my most recent visit but you can see photos from my previous post here

If you can't get to the garden yourself you may be interested to hear that Wollerton Old Hall is about to feature on the excellent series 'Great British Gardens With Carol Klein' on Channel 5 on Monday 7th July. In each hour long programme Carol visits one garden throughout the seasons. This will be episode 4 in the present series but you can still see the others on catch up. I'm now trying to work on himself for a trip to Coton Manor in Northamptonshire which looks out of this world. Hope that you are able to visit some beautiful gardens this year.

Monday, 28 June 2021

IAVOM ~ 'Just William'

"Soon will the high Midsummer pomps come on,
Soon will the musk carnations break and swell,
Soon shall we have gold-dusted snapdragon,
Sweet-William with his homely cottage-smell,
And stocks in fragrant blow;
Roses that down the alleys shine afar,
And open, jasmine-muffled lattices,
And groups under the dreaming garden-trees,
And the full moon, and the white evening-star."

- an extract from 'Thyris' by Matthew Arnold, 1822 -1888

A quick and plonk from me this Monday in the shape of a jug of dianthus barbatus more commonly known as sweet william. I sowed them sometime in June or July 2019, fully expecting them to flower last summer. They put on a lot of growth by then but didn't have as much as a single flowering stem. I had passed some seedlings on to a friend and they became a regular conversation topic. As last summer progressed she doubted that they were sweet williams but at last there are flowers to confirm their identity. The centre of the flowers is a darker red to the naked eye but as always red shades are a challenge to capture on camera. Their outstanding quality as you will all probably know is their fragrance which I wish I could share with you today. I've just sown some fingers crossed for next year - a dark sultry colour and a neon pink. On the allotment sweet williams were short lived perennials when grown in a raised bed but were never as vigorous the following year. I shall pull these out when flowering ceases. One of the plants has a yellow anthemis growing directly behind it which might prove a rather offensive colour clash. Come to think of it the anthemis is going to be relocated later this year.

The jug was a buy from an Oxfam shop a good few years ago.

'Just William' in case unknown to you was the first in a series of books by the author Richmal Crompton. She was a prolific writer as there were some thirty nine William books which were published between 1921 and 1970! The central character was a lively soul and schoolboy called William Brown who got up to all sorts of adventures with his friends Ginger, Henry and Douglas. I have recollections of reading the odd one or two of the books as a child but never became addicted as I did to the books written by Enid Blyton. Was William part of your childhood reading?

A thank you as always to our simply brilliant hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who encourages us to share our Monday vases each and every week. 

Saturday, 19 June 2021

Catching Up - Diary Update

Ooooooops - almost a month has lapsed since my last diary update. I'm not sure where that time has gone but needless to say I've been busy. June seems to have been quite a dry month so far and we could really do with some of the wet stuff at the moment. Whilst parts of the south of the country received more than a month's rainfall yesterday there were just a few spots here and looking at the forecast no sign of any on the horizon in the immediate future. It has been cooler during the last few days though which has made it easier on watering duties.

The new raised beds are beginning to fill out. One is planted with a wigwam of 'Cobra' climbing French beans, a wigwam of about to come into flower sweet peas and 'Sunburst' patty pans. I sowed some 'Romanesco' courgettes for a bit of contrast but not one germinated. The seed was past it's sow by date though but still worth a try and note has been made to order some afresh. In the other bed there are herbs, calendula, shallots, enough for a meal or two of dwarf French beans, beetroots, a trio of sunflower 'Procut Plum' anemone coronaria 'Mr Fokker' and some strawberries. There are plans to put up a third bed but where remains to be decided.  The new apples tree which looked like a mere stick when it arrived has grown but I expect that it will be a few years before it produces a decent crop so I will treat us to a mature specimen before the year is out.

Work on the ongoing 'Lockdown' border also known as the 'Border Of Doom' continues. This like a lot of the garden has suffered whilst there were not really enough hours in the day to tend to garden and allotment. It is about thirty feet t long by four feet and is sadly riddled with marestail. I've come to the conclusion after years of battling with the stuff that there's no way to get rid of it so it's a case of living with it. However I was dismayed to see it also raising it's ugly head in the new raised beds which were filled with a newly delivered vegetable growing medium this spring. Grrrrrrrrr! 

Meanwhile the 'Lockdown Border' in search of a new name is slowly being replanted. I have planted a few annuals in it this year but in future the plan is that is filled with perhaps two or three roses, mainly perennials as well as some annuals/biennials that can either either be sown in early summer September or sown directly in the ground. The colour scheme is purples, mauves, orange, burgundy, plums and perhaps some bronze shades. It is going to take some time to sort out and is still very much a work in progress. Giving me most pleasure there at the moment is papaver 'Patty's Plum' (photo above) who although planted last spring didn't flower last year.

More seed sowing took place in late May and this month of hesperis both mauve and white, lunaria annua 'Chedglow', calendula and foxglove and I hope to sow some sweet william this weekend. I planned to sow some wallflowers but so far haven't been able to track down the desired colour. Then a bit of a rest from seed sowing until the September sown annuals when another year starts. 

There have been some most enjoyable garden visits squeezed in too - one to a local beautifully maintained and planted NGS open garden and the other to a famous garden which we had not visited for some years. More of the latter visit very soon. Needless to say plant purchases were made at both but I'm pleased to report that especially when it came to the first garden my purchases were on my wish list rather than falling into the spontaneous buy now and think where I'm going to plant it later category. Another diary update soon hopefully.

P.S. Although there wasn't a single hint of rain on the last Met. Office weather forecast I saw before going to bed yesterday there was some considerate rainfall in the night. Even though the sound woke me up at some unearthly hour it made me smile.

Monday, 14 June 2021

IAVOM ~ 'Summer Song'

It never ceases to surprise me just how quickly another Monday arrives and time to share our vases again in 'On A Vase On Monday'. What also still surprises me is that is often breezy on Mondays as it is today. I'm always on tenterhooks in case my vase topples and falls off the wall into the stream below. The breeze though is welcome after a hot and particularly yesterday an unpleasantly muggy day. Today is much fresher and the air so much more pleasant.

In my vase today are :

  • Rosa 'Summer Song'- a new to me rose purchased from David Austin last year along with 'Lady Emma Hamilton' who was in last week's vase. As their website says she has "vibrant blooms of a red -orange colour" which was what attracted me to her when I first saw her in a vase of flowers at a flower show. I had to rush over on first sight to make a note of her name. She is pleasantly scented and seems floriferous but on the minus side I'm finding her stems to be on the floppy side and she is also suffering from black spot. The jury is still out.
  • Some wifty-waftiness  in the shape of some stems of briza maxima which has gently self seeded in a couple of places in the garden. I was pleased to see it as it seems to be a hit and miss occurrence whether it appears each year. I used to be able to pick abundant stems from outside the community hut at the allotment where it grew in profusion but I have closed the allotment gate firmly behind me now. No regrets at all although I do miss the access to cutting certain flowers that grew there.  
  • A couple of stems of a favourite hardy geranium  namely geranium pratense 'Mrs Kendal Clarke'. She is now growing in a different spot to where she previously lived in the garden and is much taller than my first experience of her and has need staking this time.
  • Some stems of the blue flowering anemone coronaria 'Mr. Fokker' which were started off with some bottom heat in the greenhouse back in early March and were transplanted to one of the new raised beds sometime in April. I love them!
  • Finally some what the label in the pot they are growing in informs me that they are 'Allium Lilac Beauty'. I'm not sure whether I've written the correct name on the label so must check the bulb orders I placed last autumn. I'm mystified how they have acquired the name as lilac they are most definitely not. However if you look closely at the flowers there are little lilac spots on the flowers. They are gently scented.
The vase was given to me by my mum a good few years ago. I'm especially fond of it so took a photo very quickly just in case.

A big shout out as always to our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden', who so steadfastly steers the good ship which enables us to share and enjoy vases on Mondays.

Monday, 7 June 2021

IAVOM ~ Still Spring?

It seems that we have rushed from the unseasonal cool and wet May of a couple of weeks ago headlong into summer, although I refuse to believe that summer really starts until the solstice which this year is still a fortnight off. In my vase this week are the following :

  • A single rose stem of rosa 'Lady Emma Hamilton'. This was new to me last year and I'm most taken by both her foliage and her most delicious scent. I should have either moved her whilst she was dormant or the plants around her as I think she needs more air circulating around her. I must try to remember to do this later this year before she gets much bigger. 
  • Some of the annual orlaya grandilora which I sowed in the greenhouse in the first week of September last year and which subsequently overwintered under cover in the greenhouse. I didn't pot them up until the start of March and then introduced them to the outer world before planting them.
  • A couple of stems of allium 'Purple Sensation'. These appeared in a pot and I don't remember planting them last autumn. I'm wondering whether I planted them too late in the day in 2019 before because they certainly didn't show their faces in the spring of 2020. The heads are not as full and spectacular as the same variety planted in the garden so I didn't feel too guilty about beheading a couple of them although I had to wait for a couple of loitering bees to depart the scene before I did the deed.
  • Some unopened stems of sweet william. I've forgotten what variety these are in my long wait for flowers. I was expecting them to flower last summer but they didn't and in the meantime I've realised that there is going to be a quite unsightly colour clash when they finally do as there is a yellow flowering anthemis behind the plant these were cut from! Oh well it will be one year only nightmare.
  • Finally some flowers of the biennial or short-lived perennial hesperis or sweet rocket. I sowed seeds of both the white and lilac flowering in June or July last year. Their scent is heavenly especially as the day draws to a close.
The vase was bought almost four years ago when out in Liverpool for the day with my niece who had recently obtained her degree from Manchester University with flying colours. Tempus fugit and all that. She and her partner are still in Manchester but I have a feeling that they will move on when life settles down. Although we have not been able to see much of her recently I shall miss her when she departs.

Thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who so generously hosts 'In A Vase On Monday' each week and enables us to share our vases little and large whatever the season is.