greentapestry : 2022

Monday, 3 October 2022

IAVOM - Glow

Perhaps this week's vase photo should have been taken elsewhere other than its usual perch as it seems in danger of being lost in a sea of green but at least it was lighter out there than inside. In my vase this week are :

  • Dahlia 'Molly Raven' - I have grown one or two new to me dahlias this year and this is my favourite. In fact I'm slightly bewitched by her and think that she might be one of the most attractive dahlias I've come across. She has the most delicious inner eye of deep colour and subtle apricot lines on the petals which slowly fade to a more overall pink. She is quite prolific as far as flowers go. The foliage is relatively dark and so are the stems. The former is a plus in my books as I think that the darker leaved dahlias don't usually hold the same appeal for molluscs. The flowers hold their heads up nicely to attention and they once cut last well in a vase. 
  • Panicum capillare 'Sparkling Fountain' - a half- hardy annual, all grown from my own saved seed.
  • Orlaya visnaga - another half-hardy annual which was given to me by a friend in a seedling swap earlier this summer. It's still in full flush and will keep going until the first frosts. 

Thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy who blogs over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting.  Here it is a pleasant calm and mild October afternoon. I'm off outside to make the most of the calm before the predicted storm by topping up my green garden waste bin before collection tomorrow morning. I will be vase hopping later.

Monday, 5 September 2022

IAVOM ~ Damson Days

This week's vase is definitely a pick and plonk effort as I'm somewhat lacking in energy. I suppose it was inevitable sooner or later that the dreaded virus would catch up with us and it well and truly did. Most fortunately neither of us has had to take to our beds or seek medical help but it has certainly stopped us in our tracks for a good few days. The most noticeable symptom is that we have both lost our sense of smell for now which is most disconcerting. I believe that it can take a good while to return.

Anyway despite this one seasonal activity just had to place yesterday and that was the damson jam making. We're not big jam eaters but enjoy the occasional slice of granary toast adorned with a spread of damson jam. We now have four jars of deliciousness to last us through the next year plus one jar still unopened from last year's batch. All stones were surgically removed from the fruit by himself before stewing as if you have never had the experience of biting into a damson stone it's not to be recommended.

In my vase this week are :

  • Dahlia 'La Recoleta' - she is the same delicious colour as the damson jam and is apparently very good for cutting. I've not grown her before and as these are the first flowers I've cut I will have to wait to see how they fare in a vase.
  • Dahlia 'Copperboy', also known as Sturm 807 which again I've not grown before. I made the mistake of faffing about with the flowers once they were in the vase. I should know better than this  as one of these dahlias was waning rather than waxing so some of the petals fell off in the process as you can see.
  • Rudbeckia hirta 'Sahara' - this half hardy perennial has now become a must have on my seed sowing list each year. It is sometimes erratic in germination but worth the cosseting it receives. I never seem to have enough of the merlot shades that the packet of this mix promises. I might sow from more than one packet and different seed company next year or perhaps also sow some rudbeckia hirta 'Cherry Brandy' for some deep red colour.
  • Astrantia 'Gill Richardson' - from a most welcome second flush. I'm hoping to save some seeds from this plant. They don't produce come but I think that some attractive seedlings might arise. Apparently seedlings with green leaves should be removed to maximise the chance of new plants emerging true to form.
  • Some dangling greenery of in the shape humulus lupus aureus or to give it its common name golden hop. This grows over an arch and I've mentioned before is one of the banes of himself's life as he had to pass underneath it with the lawnmower. If you've not come close up and personal with this climber before the texture of the leaves is like velcro! Himself now takes the longer route to our excuse for a lawn. 
Thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for enabling us to enjoy each other's vases each Monday. Off now to top up that green bin of garden waste before it gets emptied tomorrow.

Saturday, 27 August 2022

Musing ~ An August Midnight

 Spotted out in the streets of Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria.

Please click on the photo if it is a struggle to see the text.

Monday, 22 August 2022

IAVOM - 'Turning Japanese'


This week's vase chose itself before the flowers were even picked. It was bought just over five years ago when I met up with one of many nieces. She had just obtained her degree result and I treated her to lunch in Liverpool to celebrate her success. Afterwards we pottered about calling into various shops including a small arts and crafts centre where she persuaded me to buy this vase. A few days ago my niece and her partner finally set off on a grand adventure that was originally planned to commence in the spring of 2020 when the pandemic abruptly halted many people's plans and dreams. They have finally set off to spend a year working in Japan and no doubt fitting in some travel too. I shall miss her occasional visits, the odd day out together and her lively company. Over the last year she ventured into allotment gardening and would regularly ask for advice and reassurance. More recently she was sending me impressive photos of her crops and has come to the conclusion that when she returns that buying a house with a garden will be a priority. I'm really looking forward to keeping up with her travels and experiences and she has promised photos of horticultural interest especially at cherry blossom time.

In this Monday's vase are :

  • A head of the lovely 'Lady Emma Hamilton' rose which has the most delicious scent, attractive flowers and rather lovely newly emerging leaves.
  • Larkspur 'Misty Lavender' grown from seed. I finally hit the jackpot this year when it came to germination having a surplus to my requirements seedlings. They have been neighbours to cosmos which most conveniently props them up. I shall have to remember this next year. 
  • Some achillea 'Summer Berries' - this perennial was again grown from seed sown in September 2020. 
  • Didiscus caeruleus - also known as the 'Blue Lace' flower. This is half hardy annual and was grown from seed by a friend and given to me when we swapped some seedlings. I like the flowers but am not really sure about the foliage.
  • Phlox which I thought was 'Cherry Caramel' although I have serious doubts as to their identity the cherry eyes are conspicous by their absence. This is another half hardy annual which I sowed in the greenhouse in March. It was a second sowing as the first didn't germinate and I think that I might have at that point accidentally selected a packet of phlox paniculata 'Isabellina', which was lurking in close proximity in my seed box. Never matter as I still like them just as much.
  • Some grassy foliage interest from panicum capillare 'Sparkling Fountain' which was sown in spring from seeds collected from last year's plants. I've planted them in pots with companions.

  • So nearly not appearing in any vase this year is a stem of the half hardy annual molluccella laevis commonly known as 'Bells of Ireland'. I have grown these before but not for many years. They were still in a seed tray when I tucked them at the back of the cold frame some time ago and then forgot about them! Two plants managed to flower despite my neglect - the actual flowers are the tiny pinky white whorls you can see in the close up photo above. I intend to do better next year as they are an excellent foliage plant and also dry well.
One of those promised photos from Japan arrived early this morning - a great start to the day. Thanks always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her stalwart hosting. Looking forward as the day unfolds to seeing what is in other vases on this so far sunny although rain in the forecast Monday.

Monday, 8 August 2022

IAVOM - 'Some Like It Hot'

The thought of another spell of hot weather stretching ahead isn't doing much for me. Despite having some Mediterranean genes heat and I are not compatible companions. Gardening tasks will be accomplished early in the morning or in the evening, a supply of cool drinks has been stockpiled and there is some much anticipated reading to keep me occupied as well as several less anticipated neglected housework tasks. Although I don't enjoy the heat I am drawn to some of the hot colours that are coming into prominence now so in my vase this week are :

  • Rudbeckia 'Sahara' - which is now a regular stalwart and in my must haves to sow back in the spring. They come in most attractive shades although there are never quite enough of my favourite shade which is a soft rosy red colour. 
  • Helenium 'Sahin's Early Riser' - a division of this perennial was kindly given to me by the owner of a holiday cottage that we stayed in for a holiday in 2009. I had admired it in the garden and had asked her the name. To be given a plant to be taken home was a welcome surprise as we handed the keys in on departure and a permanent reminder of that holiday. It's an easy going perennial and this year has really benefited from me remembering to give it the 'Chelsea Chop'. Along with the astrantias it was the plant that flagged the most in last month's heatwave. I was all set to revive it with the watering can when even better we had a decent amount of rain which revived it almost overnight. We've been fortunate enough to have more rain than some part of the country this summer and it has had a good drenching within the last few days. Still I will keep a close eye on it this week to watch out for any signs of distress.
  • Dahlias - I included a couple of stems of dahlias namely 'Waltzing Matilda' and ' Copperboy'. I've not grown either before and have enjoyed seeing them come into flower. 'Waltzing Matilda' more than lives up to her name with twirling petals and has a fascinating habit of closing up for the night.
  • Some cooling down from the pale creamy yellow flowers of the perennial anthemis 'E.C. Buxton', which started life as a small cutting coming home with me from a propagation course at a local nursery.
Thank you to Cathy who blogs at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting come heatwaves or hail. I've just remembered that I must water a new plant that I risked getting in the ground last week so will make tracks. What are your hints and tips for keeping cool?

Monday, 25 July 2022

IAVOM ~ Hotchpotch

This week's Monday vase is a bit of a hotchpotch to say the least and is certainly not a combination that I will be repeating again. It's more of one or two pickings which I like and one or two that hopefully will goad me into some sort of action in the future. The contents are as follows :

  • Cosmos 'Apricotta' - I thought that I might like this when I saw it in the seed catalogues and on line photos but I don't. The pink eye seems most garish when compared to the soft apricot petals. If it was minus the pink I would love it. It's a reminder to me to return either to all pink or white cosmos varieties and not to flirt with novelty in the future.
  • Rosa glauca - not in flower at the moment but I like the foliage more than the flower. Again a reminder to introduce more grey into the garden - maybe a eucalyptus.
  • Persicaria - a most useful late flowering perennial. I wish I knew which one this was. There are two stemas in the vase but one has gone into hiding.
  • A couple of heads of allium sphaerocephalon which is a most subtle and pleasing plant. These seem to be dwindling and as I'm about to put my autumn bulb order in I'm going to add a good number of these bulbs. They occupy so little space and are such easy maintenance and unlike their bigger cousins don't leave a legacy of unattractive foliage to clear up. Annoyingly I cut these two stems shorter than intended.
  • Finally a flower from a plant which I've hankered after for years but have only recently purchased namely helenium 'Moerheim Beauty'. It's been on the wish list forever and I'm not sure why I've never got hold of a plant before. Maybe it will encourage me to buying one or two other plants that have lingered on the wish list for way too long.

All in all it's not the most aesthetically pleasing of vases but more of a memory jogging post for me. I could have shared yet another big vase of sweet peas but that would be at the risk of becoming boring. Sadly the sweet pea foliage has now developed mildew so I don't know how much longer the wigwam will be there for. In other news last week's exceptional and indeed record breaking temperatures for the U.K. seem most distant. It's back to wet and windy here and in fact there has been a lot of rain since Thursday but the garden is not complaining in the least. Sending a big thank you to Cathy who blogs over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting and looking forward to seeing what's in other cases this week.

Monday, 18 July 2022

IAVOM ~ 'Cool For The Summer'

This week is was a case of picking flowers yesterday morning as we are in the grip of a heatwave today and tomorrow - dire and record breaking temperatures are forecast for most of the U.K. and we are been advised to stay in during the heat of the day with blinds or curtains closed. Even though I was out early yesterday to snip and take pictures my photos till looked bleached, so I was out even earlier this morning wield a watering can followed by a case of take two. I have a couple of vases this week. In the first are: 

  • Achillea 'Summer Berries' - these perennials were sown in September 2020, produced a few flowers last summer but have made substantial growth this year. They seem quite easy going although probably need some help not to flop ungainly. I had hoped for some of the other colours suggested in the mix so will sow some more this September to see what transpires.
  • A few sweet pea flowers - these were sown at the start of March. 
  • A couple of sprays of daucus carrota - sown last September and now an annual sowing. 
  • My first picking of consolida ajacis or larkspur 'Misty Grey'. I sowed some seed at the end of  September to overwinter in the greenhouse but they completely failed to germinate. A second sowing was made in March after firstly confining the seed packet in our freezer for a fortnight's holiday. After somewhat erratic germination I eventually ended up with well over a dozen plants. I was able to give some to a friend who had been drooling over them in a catalogue but didn't order seeds. I hope that the plants will stand up to being frazzled for a couple of days as I do have a soft spot for them. 

My second vase this week is a jug of sweet peas. We were away last week for a few well timed as it turns out days in Shropshire, when the sun was shining most of the time but most pleasantly so. Before leaving I stripped off all the flowers from the sweet pea wigwam and have been rewarded by being able to snip industrial quantities of them since returning home. 

Thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her impeccable hosting each Monday. There will be no gardening activities today but a gentle flurry of domestics followed perhaps by a leisurely read this afternoon with a glass of something cool to hand and then a spot of vase visiting. Cooking is also off the agenda - himself has been informed.

Monday, 4 July 2022

IAVOM - Sweet Pea Love

Summer wouldn't be summer for me without sweet peas to pick and bring into the house. They usually sit in a vase or an old jam jar on the kitchen windowsill where they are a welcome diversion from washing the dishes or other sink based chores. Apart from the array of colour their scent is for me one of my absolute favourites. In her book 'Scent Magic: Notes from a Gardener' describing the joy of sweet pea flowers after a ten month wait the author Isobel Bannerman writes : "Sun -warmed water, soap suds, marshmallows; treats of all kinds come to mind on sniffing sweet peas. The first lathyrus odoratus flower of the year is like the return of a great friend, usually alone and fragile, who has made it to your doorstep. A couple of days later you might be able to pick six and proudly put them on the kitchen table. A week later, the house is filled with them in every sort of vessel, like paint pots, like a flower show. The wait, the patience, the frost fingers grappling with hazel, mania about mice, all becomes worthwhile".

I held on until the start of March to sow my sweet peas and they are only really just getting into gear now. I find that if I sow them any earlier that the germination rate is not particularly good. This year's planting is restricted to one wigwam and has met with some setbacks. My assistant gardener was in charge of planting and early tending and in his eagerness was responsible for some accidental damage to stems and also uprooted one variety. I resisted the urge to say much about these unfortunate incidents 🤐  In my vase are 'Erewhon', 'Black Knight', 'Matucana', a solitary stem of 'Gwendoline', 'Eclipse' and a new to me variety with the unfortunate name of 'Piggy Sue'. 

The weather here seems to have forgotten that is summer. It seems to have been cool and windy for days with a good amount of rain thrown into the mix but there are signs in the forecast that there is better weather to come on the horizon. A big thank you to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her steadfast hosting. As always I'm looking forward to seeing vases from other 'In A Vase On Monday' participants.

P.S. I was puzzled by expressions of concern for my personal safety in comments responding to my last post. The drop below my usual vase perch is only 10 feet and not 30! I was obviously not thinking clearly when my fingers hit the keyboard. I do apologise and must go back and amend that alarming figure. I still think that the vase not be the same if it went over the edge. 

Monday, 27 June 2022

IaVOM ~ Shades Of Summer

It's just as well that the weekend's unseasonable strong winds have dropped enough to risk balancing a vase on the normal 'In A Vase On Monday' perch (thirty foot so drop into a stream behind) as otherwise it would have been a perilousbusiness. After some needed heavy rain this morning the skies are more benign so I have been out with the secateurs. In this weeks's vase are shades of green, red and pink. The occupants are as follows :

  • Red astrantias - given by where it's planted this is either 'Ruby Wedding' or 'Hadspen Blood'. The red astrantias are never as prolific in the garden for me but they are so beautiful. Elsewhere in the garden I have more reds in the shape of more recent purchases of 'Gill Richardson' and 'Burgundy Manor' which I think are more striking and perhaps more vigorous. 
  • Some sprays of the delicate pink perennial linaria 'Canon Went, which although a self-seeder does so with considerate restraint unlike it's sibling linaria purpurea. Whether purple or pink the bees and other pollinators appreciate these flowers.
  • A stem of dianthus 'Sooty', with the deepest of red flowers which as well as being scented has attractive dark foliage. I sowed this biennial last summer and hopefully it will last more than one season. 

  • Dianthus 'Green Trick' - I grew this short lived perennial few years ago at the allotment where it eventually petered out. I bought this one as a plug plant earlier this year and will try to remember to take some cuttings in late summer to establish plants for next year. This variety doesn't have the normal dianthus scent. 
  • Some foliage in the shape of rosa glauca. This has one flush of small single pink flowers but it's the grey leaves that are the star feature.
  •  A couple of stems of mathiasella bupleuroides 'Green Dream' which is a perennial. This is one plant that I have to check on the spelling every time I mention it. The green bracts slowly turn a soft pink as they age. As well as cutting fresh it dries well. 

A big thanks to Cathy from 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting. As always I'm most curious to see what is in other participant's vases this Momday.

Monday, 20 June 2022

IAVOM ~ Spring's Last Hurrah

With the summer solstice tomorrow, I realised that this would be my last spring vase of the year although it does seem that summer is already well and truly established especially after last week's warm spell. The pick and plonk in my vase this week are :

  • 'Bathsheba' roses - these were a gift from himself. Planted as dormant roses from David Austin either in December 2020 or January 2021 they have come on well. I love their shape and colour but have been disappointed by their scent and their tendency to fade rather disgracefully. There are six of them so they are hard to ignore when they go over.
  • In the same area as the roses are three clematis 'Etoile Violette'. We were initially supplied with the wrong clematis by the clematis specialist but when I queried the order I received profuse apologies and a very speedy replacement so full marks to Thorncroft Clematis for customer service. Once again my naked eye sees the colour as being a darker shade than my phone does. Time to dig out my camera methinks and make a serious attempt to get to grips with all the confusing array of buttons and dials. 

  • Astrantia flowers - unknown vaiety, these are in for a serious cull soon as there are just too many of them. 
  • Some stems of the hardy annual orlaya grandiflora sown last September. Sadly my more recent sowing has resulted in the grand total of two plants. I shall cherish them.

The vase is a well used one and was given to me by mother.

Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her evergreen encouragement and for providing the space for us to share our blooms each and every Monday. I will not have much time to spend in the garden today as I'm out for what may be a long lunch with a dear friend. However we are starting off with a bit of a plant swap and I'm sure that we will be talking of matters green in depth at some point during the proceedings. Wishing everyone a week filled with flowers.

Monday, 6 June 2022

IAVOM ~ 'Here Comes The Rain Again'

A quick pick and plonk from me this week after waiting for the raindrops that have saturated the garden to evaporate and before any more might fall. The pickings are :

  • A trio of roses - 'Desdemona', 'New Dawn' and 'Luisa's Daughter'. 'Desdemona' is new to me this year, bought after seeing it on a display at an RHS show and also seeing it and smelling it at close quarters growing in a friend's garden. The buds are the most softest of pinks before maturing to white and it is apparently repeat flowering. Apart from it's appearance the name called out to me as 'Desdemona' was a childhood nickname for me coined by my father along with 'Gertie'. Names which infuriated me at the time but now fond memories. The pink 'New Dawn' is an old stalwart and was probably the first rose we planted in this garden. It has been threatened with beheading a good few times but has always escaped and so far is having a good year. She continues to flower on and off for a good few months. Sadly her scent is light. The last rose is the creamy' Luisa's Daughter' which my sister had named and gave to me as a birthday present not long after my mother died. She starts to flower in May, her flowers change colour several times- pink tinges, cream, pale yellow before ending up white. Her scent is lemony.
  • Some astrantia flowers - variety long forgotten.
  • Some geranium pratense' Mrs Kendall Clarke' - the flowers of which are a softer colour to the eye or well to my eyes anyway than my photo suggests. She is rather floppy so needs support and is due for relocation in the future as she is obscuring another occupant of the border. 
Hopefully it should be warmer and drier tomorrow and might offer an opportunity to get on with a myriad of jobs that should have really been done yesterday or the day before or even the week before. Are you up to date with all that you want to do?

Thanks to the ever perennial Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting all our Monday vases. It is much appreciated 💐

Monday, 30 May 2022

IAVOM ~ Not What It Says On The Label

Well it's not quite summer yet despite the Summer mug from my collection of 'Flower Fairies' mugs. That little fairy would be clinging on to that rose for stem for dear life if she was out there today and perhaps wishing that she had a coat and shoes to prevent damage to her feet from the thorns. It is cool, breezy and the day so far has been interspersed with several showers one of which was quite vigorous. I was going to use a bone china cup for today's flowers but thought that it might not withstand the elements so out came this more substantial mug. In my vase this Monday are :

  • Stems of rosa 'Blush Noisette' - planted as a bare root rose in 2009, this is a relatively short growing climbing rose which produces clusters of deliciously scented small flowers. Sadly it has received some damage in the last week as a result of some drastic tree surgery taking place in close proximity but nothing that it won't recover from. It usually has a repeat show later in the year. 
  • Some orlaya grandilfora flowers - this is a delicate lacy flowered hardy annual which has the bonus of attractive ferny foilage too. Seeds were sown in September and the young plants were sheltered in a mainly unheated greenhouse overwinter before being hardened off. I have sown another batch at the beginning of May hopefully for more flowers in late summer/early autumn.
  • Finally a couple of sprigs from the deciduous shrub physocarpus opulifolius - I'm really not sure which one although probably 'Diablo'.

As always thanks for Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for enabling us to get together each and every Monday for some floral fun and frolics. 

Saturday, 28 May 2022

More May Musing - On Buttercups

" I remember once walking out hand in hand with a boy I knew, and it was summer, and suddenly before us was a field of gold. Gold as far as you could see. We knew we’d be rich forever. We filled our pockets and our hair. We were rolled in gold. We ran through the field laughing and our legs and feet were coated in yellow dust, so that we were like golden statues or golden gods ...  It was only a field of buttercups, but we were young.’

- Jeanette Winterson


Monday, 23 May 2022

IAVOM ~ More Darling Buds


Well it's that time to bring out this vase for the annual outing. Apart from this vase being on the small side it also has a very small neck. I think that it may well become one of those items that I will continue to wonder what tempted me to but it other than the words 'Darling Buds Of May'. Anyway here it is stuffed to the gunnels with some of my favourite May buds :

  • Aquilegia - this is one of the self seeders from the original 'Hensol Harebell' seeds from The Cottage Garden Society that I sowed many moons ago. Some good news on the aquilegia front is that Carrie Thomas of Touchwood Plants is back in the business of selling aquilegia seeds again. I'm most sorely tempted. 
  • Geranium phaeum - again a self seeder and perhaps not as pure white as it appears in this photo. These are such easy going  and obliging perennials
  • A trio of stems from millium effusum 'Aureum' also known as 'Bowles Golden Grass. Again a self seeder which prefers some shade as the foliage can scorch
  • Finally astrantia - variety obscured by the mist of time and many lost labels along the way. The astrantias are only just getting going here so I'm looking forward to others in different hues opening very soon too.
Thanks as always to Cathy who is firmly rooted over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her excellent hosting. It is a relatively cool but dry day here just right for some gentle pottering about and to discover what is happening out there. I hope that that you are also able to get outside to play in the dirt too. 

Monday, 16 May 2022

IAVOM ~ It's A First!


This week's vase just had to include :

  • The first ever ranunculus that I have ever managed to get to flowering stage! I have had a few attempts at growing ranunculus in the past but have never managed to get them this far. The fact that they were a named variety 'Champagne' and cost more than what I have paid for ranunculus in the past may well have something to do with it. I planted the corms in February in a tray under cover. I resisted the temptation to give the tray some bottom heat on the sand bench and watched eagerly for signs of growth. Sure enough I eventually saw signs of shooting and six of the ten corms I planted took off. They were eventually transferred to individual pots but I lost one when they were still quite small. There are more blooms to follow - not in copious quantities but they will all be treasured especially the couple that look as if they will be a coral/salmon colour when open. I haven't cracked ranunculus growing yet but will definitely be planting some claws in the autumn and hoping for sturdier plants which will produce even greater a quantity of flowers next spring,

  • Thalictrum - 'Black Stockings' I think and perennial . I planted this in 'The Lockdown Border' in 2020 and it has now really clumped up well and has several flowering stems this spring. The photo makes it look more pink than it is in the flesh. The dark stems are most attractive too,
  • Some flowers from geum 'Totally Tangerine - three of these were planted in the 'Lockdown Border' in 2021 with varying degrees of growth. The one that has been in flower since  late March seems to be on steroids and hasn't stopped flowering since. I must start to deadhead them soon.
  • A couple of sprinklings of the grass 'Briza Maxima' which has conveniently and so far considerately self seeded about here and there.
  • Lastly some of the deliciously scented biennial hesperis matronalis also known as 'Dame's Rocket'. I always think that the scent is more pronounced on a warm evening.  These were sown last June or July. 

Thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for encouraging us to share our Monday vases. I wonder what spring sparklers are in other folk's vases this week.

Saturday, 7 May 2022

May Musing

" The growth is a remarkable thing during these weeks between spring and summer. If you could hear it, there would be a tangible hum, made from a million buds breaking and stems flexing. The tide of green sweeps up and over bare earth, cloaking it as fast as the leaves fill out above us. Blink and you miss the soft marbling on the new leaves of the Epimedium and the dusty bloom of the overlaying the ruby young growth on the 'Molly the Witch'. Blink again and the first of the peonies will be open - primrose cups filled with bees.

The flurry of spring perennials starts the summer garden. One layer takes over from the next, replacing and adding like an increasingly complex textile".

From 'Natural Selection' by Dan Pearson.

If you enjoy Dan's writing and have not come across it yet he produces an excellent online gardening, growing, cooking and making magazine most Saturdays over at 'Dig Delve' together with his partner Huw Morgan. You can also subscribe to have it sent to your inbox.

May is such a beautiful month and although my favourite of the month I've noticed a distinct lack of May musing on my blog. I hope to return with another snippet or two as this magical time of year unfolds.

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Garden Diary ~ An April Catch Up

An extremely dry April looks as if she is going to exit on a last minute downpour in this part of the world which will be more than welcome with farmers and gardeners. We have had a very settled month with much in the way of sunshine but some cold nights when the fleece has come out to protect the more tender greenhouse occupants at night.

April has seen more seed sowing activity - another tray of cut and come again salad, thunbergia alata, aka Blacked Eyed Susan, Swan River daisies, nasturtiums, sunflowers 'Claret' and 'ProCut Plum', anethum graveolens 'Mariska' also known as florists' dill, moluccella laevis aka Bells of Ireland, a second sowing of cosmos 'Apricotta' and scabious 'Fata Morgana', courgette 'Atena Polka', beetroot and chard. There has been much in the way of pricking out and some hardening off of hardy annuals has taken place. March sown sweet peas are now more than ready to get into the ground. The first couple of bags have been planted with 'Charlotte' potatoes with another bag at the ready to plant.

The February planted ranunculus have flowers which is most exciting but some of the foliage is looking rather miserable so it's a case of wondering what will happen. I have never had any joy with growing these so I do so hope that these plants will turn the corner and I will be able to cut some flowers for a vase. 

 The potted snowdrops all made their way back outside at the beginning of the month to make room for seed sowing and other greenhouse activities. Dahlia tubers have been planted including some new to me varieties and are presently in pots still undercover.

It was a month of no plant purchases until we visited a local garden centre yesterday when it was warm enough to sit out in the sunshine and enjoy some lunch. Leaping into the basket gallantly wielded by himself went three lemon verbena plants, hyssop, apple mint, a tray of violas and a substantial plant of deliciously scented nemesia 'Wisley Vanilla'. 

Giving me particular pleasure this month has been the blossom on pear, apple, crabapple and amelanchier - so pretty and the display from the three pots of tulips. The most impressive has been the pot of single planting of 'Ballerina'. Two pots of mixed planting of 'Ballerina', 'Havran' and 'Purple Dream' have not convinced me especially the 'Purple Dream' which is either taller than the other two varieties or has not grown to full height in some cases and is on the pink shade of purple to my eyes. I shall tweak the combination next year.

Some of my stalwart spring flowers have been in fine fettle this month - especially brunnera, 'Solomon's Seal' and geranium phaeums. As the month departs and we enter my favourite month of the year alliums are on the point of bursting, aquilegias are slowly opening and elderflowers have just started to show. Exciting times!

Monday, 25 April 2022

IAVOM ~ 'Blue Monday'


Today's vase is part yesterday's weeding activities - a collection of just bluebells which we inherited with the garden, some bulbs more suitably sited than others.  As far as I can these are native English bluebells as opposed to Spanish bluebells, the difference between which is described here. These would have been deadheaded sooner than later to prevent them spreading further into an area which is already host to the thug that is lamium galeobdolon 'Variegatum' aka the yellow archangel. The common name seems most inappropriate as this plant is far from angelic in behaviour. The variegated leaves are visible in the above photo but none of the yellow flowers.  I have mentioned before now that I innocently looked out for this plant and welcomed it with open arms before I knew of its tendency to run everywhere. I've come to the conclusion that I will never be rid.

The vase is a recent purchase from eBay - a James Keiller & Son Ltd. marmalade jar. Keillers was established in 1797 and made a number of different flavoured marmalades until it ceased to be in 1992. The descendants of the Keiller family include the gardening writer and broadcaster Monty Don amongst their numbers.

"Enter the wood with care, my love
Lest you are pulled down by the hue,
Lost in the depths, drowned in blue"

With thanks as ever to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her steadfast hosting. Do take a peek in what is other vases this week. 

Monday, 18 April 2022

IAVOM ~ "Wearing White For Easter Tide"


Well not just white but shades of cream, green and even some red too. In this week's vase are :

  • Lunaria variegata alba - this variety of the biennial honesty obligingly self seeds so I now have a perpetual colony. The foliage is attractive too with the variegation varying slightly from plant to plant. I can't remember cutting the flowers for a vase before and somehow don't think they will have much staying power. Later in the year I will be cutting the stems down when the seeds have set and using them for seasonal decoration. I will have seeds to spare if anyone would like some.
  • A couple of stems of cornus which missed the chop out when I was pruning the shrub.
  • Narcissus 'Thalia' - possibly my favourite narcissus and one that is still going when most of its more diminutive siblings are fading.
  • The last occupant in my vase this week are stems of the tactile pussy willow catkins - none to be purloined in the immediately vicinity so I have to confess that these were bought especially for Easter.
The vase came from my mother but other than that I have no idea of its history. The little tin came supplied with little Easter eggs. The illustrations are by Arthur Parkinson who is developing a reputation as a florist, gardener and author and is is currently working on a book on keeping chickens which he has done since a young age.

My post title comes from  A.E. Housman's 'A Shropshire Lad' which includes these lines : 

" Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Easter tide"

As always a special thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who enables us to share our vases each and every Monday. I hope that you have all been enjoying the long weekend and that you have some beautiful gentle spring weather and delicious chocolates too.

Monday, 11 April 2022

IAOM ~'I Will Survive'

We had a reminder on Saturday that winter still had a sting in its tail when there was a sudden and most dramatic hailstorm.  I was inside and cosy at home at the time and wondered what the loud clattering noise was, before realising that  himself had left our bedroom window wide open so I was being treated to the additional sound effects of hail bouncing on a wooden floor. Whether that is winter's final fling remains to be seen but yesterday and today have been noticeably warmer and there is a strong pull towards the garden. In my vase this week are :
  • Tulip -   this is the only one one in the pot that has flowered so time to jettison all the bulbs. As to variety I know not what. Before the bulbs depart I thought that it only fitting to include the only survivor in this week's vase. 
  • Lunaria annua - this has arrived by itself and I'm delighted to make its acquaintance. It's in an out of the way part of the garden used as a gathering place for pots of bulbs after they have flowered. I'm hoping very much that will gently self-seed.
  •  A stem of amelanchier - variety unknown. This has made rather spindly growth but is slowly bulking out after a few years. I'm hoping to find room to tuck in another specimen somewhere . The colour of the spring foliage is exquisite. I just wish that it flowered over a longer spell but that of course is being greedy. 
  • Some hellebore flowers which have now reached the stage where you can see the seed pods forming. The colours are fading but they are still attractive. 

The hearts vase is an Emma Bridgewater creation which was purchased through eBay some time ago. I realised that it hadn't come out of the cupboard for a while so thought that it deserved an outing.

Thanks as always to Cathy whose blog can be found over at 'Rambling In The Garden'. Cathy most kindly enables us to share our vases throughout the year each and every Monday. Do visit and see what treasures are sparkling in vases created by fellow bloggers this week.

Monday, 4 April 2022

IAVOM ~ 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart'

 I snipped the content's of this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' in anticipation of some wet weather today but it now looks as if we might have a better day than originally forecast. It will be milder which will be welcome after some biting chilly winds over the last few days.

In my vase are companions, well in fact next door neighbours in the garden. They are :

  • A single leaf of arum italicum var. Mamoratum - this plant has really grown in spread this year and needs dividing. I will have to look up  how and when the best time is to do this. As well as growing in stature it has gifted me with some seedlings for the first time. which when slightly larger will be extricated and either potted on and then eventually planted or shared.
  • A single sprig of one of my favourite spring plants, the artist formerly know as dicentra spectablis alba also known as 'Bleeding Hearts'. The form of the flowers is fascinating. I refuse to learn the new name which is ugly and which I also find difficult to remember and spell. This perennial which goes completely underground in winter, always amazes me each spring as it seems to appear in the blink of an eyelid and then is flowering in no time at all.  It has a a clump of snowdrops in front of it and the dicentra is planted behind and just to one side.  I had a trio of dicentra at one point but the other two plants have disappeared. In the latest episode of 'Gardener's World' Monty Don demonstrated how to take cuttings in the same way as dahlia cuttings but the growth on my plant is too advanced to do this. I think that the programmes are filmed a good ten days or so before they get to our screens. I must try to divide it when it first shows next year which I've done in the past or even treat myself to two new plants. It was really too bright when I took my photo but after waiting some time standing in a chilly wind waiting for the sun to go in I decided that it wasn't going to happen. Of course it did as soon as I got back in the house!
The vase is tiny being just over 5 centimetres or 2 inches high and has the distinction of being the second smallest vase I have. 

My thanks as always to Cathy who blogs over at 'Rambling In The Garden' and who welcomes fellow blogger's contributions of vases both little and large every Monday. 

Thursday, 31 March 2022

March Garden Diary

A quick recap of the month before it goes sailing over the horizon. March 2022  has been dry and mild in the main and we have recently enjoyed a fool's spring, basking in a most settled long spell of above average temperatures, blue skies and sunshine. That came to an abrupt end with some dramatic torrential rain on Tuesday evening since when the temperature has absolutely plummeted. The month is ending with a cold but most seasonal snap.

Various distractions have meant that I've not achieved a lot in the garden other than seed sowing in the greenhouse and continuing to plant up the dedicated snowdrop border, where I'm beginning to run out out of room for further snowdrops.  I have been making sure to regularly water new additions and the established bulbs have had a seaweed feed.

A few more new plants have arrived in the shape of yet another pulmonaria 'Miss Elly', phlox 'Blue Paradise', epimediums 'Domino' and youngianum  'Niveum' and viola odorata 'Konigen Charlotte'. I'm looking forward to seeing all of these in flower. I've also had a delivery of dahlia tubers which now need starting off.

I've not sown any vegetable seeds yet but there is plenty of time left to do that. Shallot bulbs 'Red Sun' have been planted in cells in the greenhouse and will be transferred to the ground when they have made some growth.

I've made the difficult decision to sow fewer seeds this year but whether I stick to that remains to be seen.  It's a decision largely influenced by the fact that I have developed osteoarthritis in my left hand, which ironically is not the hand that sustained two breaks a couple of years ago or so. I think that I need to ease the burden on my hands as I get older and sadly lugging seed trays back and forth adds to the workload. The special snowdrop pots have been turfed out of the greenhouse into the outer world, the sand bench has been turned on and seed sowing has been going on since the start of March. 

To date I've sown panicum capillare 'Sparkling Fountain', lagurus ovatus (my own saved seed for these first two), larkspur 'Misty Lavender' (all of eight seedlings as of today), salvia viridis 'Blue Monday', two batches of sweet peas, ' papaver rhoeas 'Amazing Grey', more rudbeckia 'Sahara', phlox paniculata 'Isabellina' and 'Cherry Caramel', amaranthus caudatus 'viridis', cosmos 'Apricotta' and scabious 'Fata Morgana'. I've been mostly happy with germination rates with the exception of the poppy, larkspur (although the packet carried a warning that germination had been low in tests so there was a larger quantity of seeds included in the packet to compensate) and the phlox 'Cherry Caramel', which hasn't germinated at all so a second sowing has been made from a different packet. I will also sow more larkspur and poppy. The only perennial sown to date is heliopsis 'Bleeding Hearts' which is a new one on me. The seedlings from September sowings - orlaya grandiflora, ammi visnaga, perennial scabious, calendula and daucus carrota have been pricked out and potted up. Sadly all the puny snapdragons went by the wayside over the winter. April will see a few further flower sowings. 

Anemone 'Mr Fokker' is now in flower from November planting but those that were planted this February have gone mouldy in their pots. However I'm delighted that six of ten ranunculus 'Champagne' planted in a tray in February have healthy green shoots and need potting up soon.

So that in a nutshell was March in my garden. A month especially memorable for it's unexpected weather and an unbelievable sudden woooooosh of growth, the return of our resident ducks and for the pleasure gained from sticking my head over the stream to to gaze upon  labours of my guerilla gardening. When we moved here there were already clumps of snowdrops and some native daffodils growing on the other bank, which is nor owned by us but isn't maintained by anybody. I have slowly lobbed bulbs over to that side over the years. Numbers have depended on my finances and Wilko's sales at the end of the planting season. More yellow patches and the odd white are spreading slowly but surely with each passing year, with no attention from human hand whatsoever.

Monday, 28 March 2022

IAVOM ~ 'Monday, Monday'


A few tiny spring treasures in my tiny vase on  this sunny Monday. Making their way into this week's vase are :

  • Pulmonaria 'Diana Clare' who sadly lost some of her dark purple colouring as I  rather dangerously twizzled the stem round in the vase for a better view. Fiddling has its dangers when it comes to vases. This is one of my favourite pulmonarias. 
  • Muscari 'Valerie Finnis' named after the plantswoman and photographer.
  • A fritillaria meleagris or snakesead fritillary flower with its most distinctive chequered markings. 
  • A couple of stems of perennial anemone blanda.
The little glass vase was a gift from my mum who hand painted it with what I think are suns, although I suppose they could also be stars.

As always thanks to Cathy, who hosts 'In A Vase On Monday' on her blog 'Rambling In The Garden'. All shapes and sizes of vases containing flowers, foliage, stems, fruits etc. are welcome from fellow bloggers each and every Monday.

Monday, 21 March 2022

IAVOM ~ A Spring Posy

Although spring has really and truly been officially declared it feels more like winter today with a frost to greet my accidentally door left open overnight greenhouse, stubborn grey cloud cover and a definite nip in the air. I was relieved that I had bought my really tender seedlings into the house overnight and that I had fleeced up a few cuttings before darkness set in. I was also pleased to have snipped my flowers for a vase and taken photos on a Sunday sunny afternoon. In my vase this week are a mixture of late winter/ spring flowers and one that has surprised me by coming into flower so early. They are :

  • A flower of iris 'Purple Hill'. I have not grown these bulbs before now and initially thought it was too dark a flower but it's growing on me.
  • A dusky pink primula - unknown variety.
  • A flower of anemone coronaria 'Mr Fokker' - I planted the tubers sometime in November. They overwintered in single pots overwinter but have taken up residence in the outer world for a while now.
  • A couple of flowers, one now fading, of a  white picotee helleborus hybrid I bought from Ashwood Nurseries.
A sprig from a pulmonaria self seedling Finally keeping the pulmonaria company a sprig from geum 'Totally Tangerine'. The pulmonaria and the geum are companions in 'The Lockdown Border', aka 'The Border Of Doom' ,because of the persistent nightmare of marestail.  I planted three of the geums at intervals in the same border and one plant is flourishing, one is not quite as robust whilst the third is sadly puny. I was surprised to see it showing colour so early. The pulmonaria seedling appeared behind the flourishing geum and so far I've not had the heart to remove it. I was pleasantly surprised to see the geum showing colour so early in the year.

 Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her steadfast hosting. The forecast for the rest of the week is looking most pleasant indeed so I'm looking forward to much time spent in the garden this week.