greentapestry : 2022

Monday 26 December 2022

IAVOM ~ Festive Faffing

Not a traditional vase as such this week but some green from the garden and dried lunaria seed heads were used to concoct a festive hanging for our front door. A string of fairy lights was threaded through. All held together with the aid of twine and sticky back sellotape. Thanks to the Christmas fairy in the shape of Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her hosting of 'In A Vase On Monday', which has been an excellent source of information, inspiration and encouragement throughout 2022 and no doubt will be a source of enjoyment in 2023.

Here it's Boxing Day and whilst himself relish getting back into the usual sports viewing routine normally associated with Saturdays, I'm plunging headfirst into sorting out my seed box and will be making lists and plans for warmer days. I hope that you enjoy your day whatever you are up to.

Tuesday 6 December 2022

A Week Of Flowers, 2022 ~ Day 7


It's the here and now in the December garden for day 7, with the last defiant few flowers of geranium 'Rozanne', an absolute star of a hardy perennial, They have been covered with flowers most of the time from late spring onwards - trouble free and such a beautiful colour. It makes excellent ground cover and can be also be grown in containers. I think that this last brave show will sadly be finished off by hard frost as this week unfolds but it more than deserves a winter break.

A special thanks and a virtual bouquet 💐 to the lovely Cathy over at 'Words and Herbs', who came up with this idea of banishing the blues through sharing photos of our flowers. I have enjoyed seeing both familiar flowers, new to me ones and those that I just can't grow but would love to be able to. It has made me realise that I've haven't taken many photos in the garden this year, so a new year aim for me is to get reacquainted with my camera rather than rely on my phone and get out there weekly to capture what is happening. 

Monday 5 December 2022

A Week In Flowers 2022 ~ Day 6

The summer was well advanced when this photo was snapped during the first week of August. It is an inula but I'm not sure of where I obtained it from. I know that I originally came across an inula on one of Cathy's from 'Rambling In The Garden' open garden events that she holds under the National Open Garden Scheme. The NGS raises considerable amounts of money for charity each year, thanks to the gardens that participate and open their gardens to visitors, usually provide welcome refreshments and often have brilliant plant stalls. I'm not sure whether I actually bought the plant that day or whether it was at another open garden event in Cumbria the following year. Well wherever I got it from its's a ray of sunshine, a bee magnet and opens up it's flowers in a most fascinating manner. Amazingly this year it has had a second wind and has sported a few late in the year flowers. There are still one or two hanging on in there today but I think that they will be finished off by the predicted severe frosts that are heading our way later this week.

A special thanks to Cathy who blogs at 'Words and Herbs' for her steadfast hosting this week.

Sunday 4 December 2022

A Week Of Flowers 2022 ~ Day 5

Fast forwarding to late May, possibly my favourite time of the year and a bulb in the shape of allium siculum also known as Sicilian Honey Garlic. Not only is it loved by the pollinators it has most attractive architectural seedheads too. It apparently has a tendency to self-seed and can become invasive but it has never reached pest levels in my garden ..... yet! It is also is happy in shade so that is a plus for me.

Thanks to Cathy who blogs at 'Words and Herbs' for hosting this week's celebration of flowers.

Saturday 3 December 2022

A Week Of Flowers 2022 ~ Day 4


It's back to to the middle of May this year when spring was working her magic and a couple of aquilegias. All my aquilegias have been grown from seed either kindly given to me by friends or obtained via the excellent seed exchanges run by The Cottage Garden Society or The Hardy Plant Society. Over the years they have self seeded and some interesting offspring have arisen.

We woke up to a light frost, blue skies and sunshine this morning and the weather is set to get much colder as the next week unfolds. I'm off outside to do some rearranging over seedlings in the greenhouse and one or two hardy perennials that have been bought under cover for the winter. Then to cut some lengths of fleece for protection on the colder nights. I'm trying to cut down on using the greenhouse heater overnight this winter but it may be switched on when the overnight temperatures are minus. Many thanks to Cathy over at 'Words and Herbs' who came up with the excellent idea of brightening up these back end days with a myriad of flowers. I'm looking forward to peeking at what other bloggers are sharing when I'm back in  the warmth later, coffee in hand and pen and paper in reach.

Friday 2 December 2022

A Week Of Flowers 2022 ~ Day 3


I got distracted yesterday by wedding anniversary celebrations, so here is a retrospective photo for yesterday and one for today. I'm going back to spring again and the months of February and March. The above photo is of some irises growing in a pot. I think that these are iris reticulata 'Katharine Hodgkin'. I could and do spend a long time just gazing at the markings.

My second photo was taken as the year was heading towards the middle of March.  I'm cheating slightly as this is from just outside our garden which is has a a stream as a boundary on one side. Snowdrops have appeared every year in this patch since we arrived and have multiplied without any human intervention. These are all faded by March but there were also originally a few naturalised unknown narcissus that appear to take over the mantle of the snowdrops. Over the years I have done some guerilla gardening and bought cheaper narcissus in the sales and then thrown them over to the other side of the stream in late autumn. They are narcissus 'Téte-à-Téte' in the main have never been properly planted and are just left to get on with things. This is just a section of the other side ( there are well over two dozen clumps now) and as you can see the ducks which return every year in spring are happy just basking in the sun and enjoying the flowers.

Thank you to Cathy over at 'Words and Herbs' for encouraging us to share colour and cheer during these dull days and long dark nights.

Wednesday 30 November 2022

A Week Of Flowers, 2022 ~ Day 1

I think that this is the third consecutive year that Cathy who blogs at 'Words and Herbs' has so kindly invited us to participate celebrating 'A Week Of Flowers'. It hits just the right note as we enter the darkest of nights in the northern hemisphere and flowers are thin on the ground. My flowers today are one of my favourites in the shape of galanthus, more commonly known as snowdrops. Some people think that they all look the same but this is definitely not the case. They vary tremendously in height, breadth and colour of foliage and also in the shape and colour of the markings on the flowers. These exquisite little flowers belie their delicate appearance and flower in the coldest months from autumn onwards well into spring. Those in my photo were taken in my garden at the start off the second week in February this year. They are galanthus 'Lapwing' - a variety which is easy to identify because of the distinctive markings and clumps up well.  

A big thanks to Cathy for the invitation! 

Monday 28 November 2022

IAVOM ~ 'The Spider From Mars'


Just the one bloom in this week's vase from chrysanthemum 'Spider Bronze'. This is new to me and came about courtesy of of a birthday gift voucher earlier this year from my dear sister. I treated myself to some chrysanthemum plug plants amongst other goodies. There were two varieties but this one is ahead of the other and perhaps the most striking of the two.

I've had mixed joy with chrysanthemums in the past having lost most of them. I did have a couple at the allotment plot which were most happy and hardy. They were nameless gifts from fellow plot holders but sadly I forgot to lift them when I gave up the plot. Yet other experiments have ended in abject failure. Still I am determined to persevere as to have such colour at this time of year is most heartening. This beauty is described as a tender perennial so will be coming in under cover for the winter. My friend who I gave some of the plug plants to thinks that they will get through the winter in her sunny south facing front garden, so I'm happy that she is going to experiment and will await her report in the spring with great interest.

After discussion with aforesaid friend and sister we have come to the conclusion that such a lovely flower merits a different name. Leading contenders include the words star or fireworks. What say you?

The little vase is a special one gifted to me and hand painted by my mum.

It's a thank you as always to Cathy who blogs at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her impeccable hosting. I'm looking forward to seeing what is in other vases this week but first on a sunny and still day, lunch and then some bulb planting before the sun sets all too quickly is the order of the day. The week is set to get much colder as it progresses so it will be good to get out there without the need for restrictive layers and gloves.

Monday 21 November 2022

IAVOM ~ Tiny Treasures

With not much room to manoeuvre in this week's tiny vase I managed to pick a trio all fortunately snipped in the relatively drier day that was yesterday. They are :
  • A flower from salvia 'Phyllis Fancy' - this plant was kindly given to me as a cutting by the lovely Cathy. She grows in a container and is more elegant with her subtle flowers. The foliage is attractively scented. So far I have bought her under cover for winter as I don't know just how hardy she might be.
  • A twizzle of berries from what I think might be malus robusta 'Red Sentinel' but may not be. Well the tree was bought in good faith as that  but I'm beginning to wonder for two reasons. Firstly this particular variety is well known for the berries being able to survive well into winter. So far my particular tree has never clung on to the berries until Christmas let alone afterwards. The second is that it is usually described as being upright in form whilst my tree has a weeping habit. So for now the jury is out but it is still a beautiful tree especially when in flower and also when in berry. This year saw a profusion of both blossoms and berries.
  • Finally making a reappearance is my i.d. unknown shrub foliage from last week's vase. There were a couple of excellent suggestions that it could be nandina but by sheer coincidence I think that I have now identified it as a leucothoe. When visiting Cathy who blogs at Words and Herbs  her vase last Monday contained foliage that looked remarkably similar. Further research has confirmed my thoughts that leucothoe it is.  I may even come across the label one of those days. 

The vase is one of two extremely tiny vases. It is difficult to appreciate the size in a photo but it can be no taller than an inch and a half in height.

With much thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her steadfast hosting. This particular Monday held no rush to fill the green bin deadline as it does every other Monday, as collections are now sadly suspended until late February.  However gardening activity other than opening the greenhouse door this morning for some ventilation has been thwarted as it has been raining most heavily indeed. Time to put my cagoule on to go out there and shut the door.

Saturday 19 November 2022

November Musing - 'An Easeful Approach To Autumn'

"Apart from those fronds prickling my conscience to do something about them , I ignore the words 'Tidying Up The Garden before Winter', with their nauseatingly prissy undertones . My ears are covered. I know that's what we should be doing in autumn: we should be clearing up the garden and leaving it ship-shape, with as much efficiency as some people clean the house , or their motor- cars on Sunday. 'Do it before winter', we are cautioned .....

Here, with my ideals turned towards easeful loving, there's a kinder climate and somehow find I don't bother until spring. And then it's too late to be a serious undertaking. Anyone can change their attitude of mind; if gazing out of the window in November, you think the place looks a shambles, comfort yourself with the knowledge that those untidy seedheads will look unbelievably miraculous outlined in rime. The sedums, lady's mantle, rose heps, twigs, stalks and stems - all the shabby eaves and the skeletons of radiant blooms left over from last summer - when outlined by frost will transform your habitual setting into somewhere unfamiliar. You will feel that you have never walked there before. Why not try it? Don't confirm to this tidying up business, but move into the territory of slothfulness. Inertia and a laid-back philosophy do have their moments. And this is one of them. From a home for shamefully neglected debris your garden will one day in winter be turned into a place of beauty, a place that is denied your neighbour, with his clean earth full of clumps of shorn stubble."

Extract 'From A Breath From Elsewhere' by Mirabel Osler.

Illustation - 'Autumn Garden, Norfolk' by Angie Lewin.

Wednesday 16 November 2022

'Slightly Wordy Wednesday ~ 'You're Out Of Time'

Weird goings on in the garden - this inula is shining again after flowering profusely in the summer. At the same time there are also snowdrops in bloom as well as winter flowering jasmine. In the words of Messrs. Jagger and Richards "You're Out Of Time" and it's most disconcerting.

Monday 14 November 2022

IAVOM ~ 'Three Is A Magic Number'


A tiny tiny vase this week to celebrate the ninth anniversary of the most special institution that is 'In A Vase On Monday'. Just the three occupants this week :

  • A flower from 'Bathsheba' one of its last few roses and sadly slightly bedraggled. The only rose that is still showing roses in any significant number is the climber 'Blush Noisette', but they are all too high up to reach.
  • A stem from the perennial achillea - 'Summer Berries' grown from seed in the autumn of 2020.
  • Finally a stem from a small evergreen shrub which is planted in a container in the area in front of the house. It was a purchase from a  local garden centre. True to form the label has gone absent without leave and I can't remember the name. I'm hoping that somebody might know.
The vase is an Etsy purchase and is an old ink bottle.

I'm using the same post title as I used to celebrate the third anniversary of IAVOM and indeed in you multiply 3 by 3 what do you get but 9! 

I will have to go back into the archives to see when I first posted a vase but it was a good few years ago.  Its very existence is a most comforting and reassuring start to the week and for a couple of years or kept my blog afloat. I always look forward to seeing what is everyone's vases and always have pen and paper to hands. None of this would be possible without the love and devotion shown by Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who who came up with the idea of IAVOM and who has nurtured it like she might well do one of her favourite roses or witch hazels. A huge thank you Cathy and sending you a virtual bouquet 💐 Thank also to all the participants over the years. It was magical to put faces to names yesterday afternoon when there was a virtual get together to celebrate this special ninth anniversary.

Monday 7 November 2022

IAVOM ~ Variation On A Theme


This time my start of the week vase is a variation on a theme, or should I say a continuation of last Monday's resurrection theme. By the way I forgot to say in that post is that our resurrection special often tastes better than the original Sunday roast dinner! Anyway two of last week's vase occupants survived perhaps because the vase remained in the cooler temperatures of the greenhouse. It was dropping little bits of white and pink in its wake so I thought that it would stay put. Some of the flowers stems in fact departed earlier in the week.

Still going strong though were a spray of the graceful hardy annual ammi visnaga as well as a couple of flowers of rudbeckia 'Sahara'. This rudbeckia is a mix of different colours and although this shade  isn't my favourite it is more than welcome at this time of year.

Joining them also with a swap of vase, are two picked in the November gloom and dampness newcomers. The first is a stem of a rather dog-eared geranium 'Rozanne', which is an outstanding hardy perennial hardy geranium. If only it had scent it would be perfect! I think that vase life will be short but will be keeping an eye out to see what happens. Hiding her head bashfully is a stem of the climbing rosa 'Bathsheba' which you can see more clearly in the photo below. 

The temperatures have most decidedly started to dip and not only have we had much more in the way of rain we had our first frost of the winter. It was a light frost but that combined with all the wet will see me clearing up the remaining soggy annuals and dahlia foliage in the next few days. The last green waste collection of the year is next Monday so I want to make sure I fill that bin to the brim. Collection resumes towards the end of February.

I see that our lovely host Cathy who blogs over at 'Rambling In The Garden' is making some special plans to celebrate the ninth anniversary of the inspiring and friendly weekly happening that is 'In A Vase On Monday'. I'm really looking forward to joining in and to meeting some of my blogging friends. Hope to see you there!

Monday 31 October 2022

IAVOM ~ Resurrection Special


We don't often have traditional Sunday roast dinners these days but when we do there is usually enough left over meat and vegetables to concoct what is known in this household as a resurrection special on the Monday. Todays vase is a such a resurrection special existing of some flowers from my last vase as well as some new additions.

Out have gone one dahlia 'Copperboy' (only to be replaced by another stem of the same), dahlia 'Matilda' and cosmos 'White Purity'. The persicaria and ammi visnaga have remained but now have a limited vase occupancy as both are messily shedding. The newcomers are a couple of stems of the half hardy annual panicum 'Sparkling Fountain' and a couple of stems from the shrub symphoricarpos or snowberry. The white berries are now morphing into a delicious pink shade. The latter is one of the banes of my life so the least said about it the better. Joining them are also a couple of flowers of rudbeckia hirta 'Sahara, one of my favourites. These have not performed as well as usual maybe not enjoying the drier summer. I must admit that apart from watering them after they were planted for a month or so I wasn't diligent enough with the watering can. 

With a nod to Halloween three little ceramic pumpkins have gathered for a convention. The vase in the shape of an old pickle jar is also is the same as last week. Apologies for the slightly blurry and tipsy photo - it was windy and I was in a hurry to get a photo before the light faded yesterday. The earlier descent of darkness takes some adjusting to!

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy who blogs over at  'Rambling In The Garden' for her steadfast hosting each week. This week she is trying to spook us all with a most seasonal vase. Do have a peek if you dare! Happy Halloween.

Monday 24 October 2022

IAVOM ~ Matilda & Friends


This week's flowers for 'In A Vase On Monday' were uncomfortably soggy when picked this morning, after yet another prolonged deluge yesterday. At least we escaped the dramatic thunderstorms that affected other parts of the country. I may well return to the vase before it gets dark when it has dripped dried for a while and have a bit of a faff as I crammed too much in. Most of the flowers have featured in vases this year such as ammi visnaga, a nameless still going strong persicaria as well as dahlia 'Copper Boy'. There is also a stem of geum 'Totally Tangerine' from which I was able to pick a stem for a vase on 22nd March! The folaige doesn't do it for me but for staying power it's a star looking good in the company of thalictrum and polemonium in the spring, red astrantias and a hardy geranium in the summer and dahlias come autumn.

Two flowers that haven't been in vases this year are firstly the white cosmos 'Purity'. I didn't sow this favourite in the spring but a seedling appeared in the paving close to where it grew last year. I was amazed to see it sprouting so left it to its own devices and it has gone on to flower. There is also a new to me this year dahlia 'Waltzing Matilda', which was grown in a large pot alongside annual purple swan river daisies. I would like to say that Matilda waltzed all summer long but sadly she stuttered and limped her way through producing odd flowers at intermittent intervals. The flowers themselves though are large and most appealing. I have read much in the way of praise of 'Matilda' both in print and online so will persist. I will be removing her from the pot soon, will overwinter the tuber and will try her in a different spot in the ground next year. Has anybody else grown 'Matilda' this year? Would love to know what you thought of her if you did.

Thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for providing us with the opportunity to share vases every week. Here we have a week of more above average temperatures predicted and some dry weather on the cards. Greenhouse sorting and cleaning is on the cards in readiness for sowing next spring. Hope that you all have a good week ahead.

Monday 17 October 2022

IAVOM ~ Of Honeysuckle, Conkers and A Treasure Trove.


Just one floral offering in today's Monday vase in the shape of single stem of leycesteria formosa, also known by the common names of Himalayan honeysuckle or pheasant berry. It's quite plain for most of the year but lights up in autumn with its dangling claret flowers tipped with white. It is an easy going shrub which just gets on with things and is recommended for shady gardens and woodland areas. This is a seedling child of my original plant. As well as the berries self-seeding it can be propagated by softwood cuttings. At the base of the vase a few conkers that have recently fallen from the horse chestnut at the top of the lane and were quickly picked up to thwart any squirrels with devious ideas.

The vase is new and an unexpected purchase. Plans for himself to drop me directly outside the hairdresser's salon in Chester for a recent appointment were quickly changed when my hairdresser texted me before 8.00am on the day of my appointment. He imparted the information to say that the road where the salon is was going to be closed to traffic for a few hours because a military parade was taking place later that morning. We decided to park at a Park & Ride facility and then make our way in.  I had my hair cut, himself saw the parade and then we made our way back to the car but firstly a pit stop. Not far from the hairdressers is a florist which sells huge houseplants at eye-watering prices but I had espied a display of glass vases in the window at affordable to me prices. I persuaded himself to let me have a quick browse in the shop on our return to the catch a bus and emerged clutching a couple of green glass vases. I discovered that there was a small room at the back of the shop crammed with a rainbow of vases of all sorts of shapes and sizes. A veritable treasure trove. I will be returning! 

As always thanks to our Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her stalwart hosting every Monday which is much appreciated by fellow bloggers. 

Saturday 15 October 2022

October Musing - Fall

"This is the time of year where everything drops into the earth. In the spring there is an upward movement all around one, with a lift in plants and trees. Now it is the time of weight, when seed pod and berry, fruit and leaf fall and return to the earth. It is truly the fall, a lovelier word for this season than autumn. The horse chestnut has cast down its shining fruit, warm of colour as it breaks from its tight fitting, kid-lined case case, on the soggy ground all around lie these lumpy, horned shells. The winds blow down pears and we find them, yellow and brown surrounding the trees at their base .....

How it rains these days . In the grass by the hedges, large shiny slugs appear, black as liquorice and beautiful of shape as they stretch themselves out. They heave like ships on a rough sea in their passage across the grasses. The garden is sodden and the trees drip, their autumn colours deepened and burnished. But roses and violas still bloom, and carnations are in bursting bust. Michaelmas daisies are untouched by frost, and the cosmos still shows pink among its seedling heads. We gather bowls of bright-coloured flowers for the house .....

Autumn is not the sad time it is supposed to be. Darkness falls at five o'clock and the garden is cold and wet, but it is a season of planning and expectation. It is now that we plant our bulbs, in itself an act of faith. How then can autumn be called dull and hopeless? Even the fallen leaf is food for future years of foliage and fruit, and promises next summer an added colour to the flowers."

Extracts from the October chapter of 'Four Hedges' by Clare Leighton

Illustration. of 'The Acorn Fairy' by Cicely Mary Barker.

Himself and I visited a local pharmacy a fortnight ago for the first of two seasonal vaccinations. We parked just outside where on getting out we noticed that the ground was littered with fallen acorns. We both hoped that nobody had parked nearer to the tree otherwise they and their vehicle might have been in danger. 

Earlier today I was delighted to discover that some of the Flower Fairy paintings by Cicely Mary Barker will be exhibited at a local art gallery next year! I'm looking forward to seeing the fairies in the flesh.

Monday 10 October 2022

IAVOM ~ 'Metal Guru'


Just dahlias in this week's 'In A Vase On Monday'. They are 'Copper Boy' which has been full of flowers since summer. There are still a good number in bud which I'm keeping my fingers crossed will win the race to flower before the first frosts. They have long stems, last well once cut but the one fault seems to be that the long stems flop rather drunkenly and snap off in heavy rain and wind. We have had a lot of inclement weather recently including last night and this morning so I cut these flowers yesterday before they came casualities. I made the mistake of bringing them into the kitchen to put into the vase only to then have to pursue three earwigs along the worktop. I will have to remember not to do that again! A change from the usual perch for Monday vases. I noticed that himself had left a terracotta pot which contained one of this year's tomato plants out to drain, after he considerately started to wash them out them out for me. I'm not sure why he stopped after one pot and will have to investigate.

The vase which has appeared here before is an Emma Bridgewater product and was purchased a few years ago via eBay. 

Thanks as always to our steadfast hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who has featured some lovely autumn joy in her vase this week.

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.