Monday, 21 May 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Tangled Up in Blue'

It's the turn of the blues and some purple this week to star in 'A Vase On Monday' - perhaps too many of them and probably better photographed against a darker background but I wanted to enjoy them at close quarters before they vanish. With the fast forward button heading towards summer, it looks as if the spring that took so long arriving is going to depart at a rapid pace. So in my vase this week are :

  • A couple of  stems of hyacinthoides non-scripta more well known by their common name of bluebells. These are native ones as far as I can tell.

  • Aquilegia - I think that some are a seedling of 'Hensol Harebell' originally from the Cottage Garden Society seed bank which I sowed many moons ago. Over the years it has crossed with other aquilegias so there is also now a double blue form too which also appear in the vase.

  • A couple of stems of an ajuga reptans which is danger of being overcrowded out of existence. Another job for the ever growing to do list.
  • By way of a contrast to all the blues and purple a couple of stems of mathiasella bupleuroides 'Green Dream. The green bracts slowly flush pink as the season progresses. This umbellifer is native to Mexico but seems quite happy growing in north west England. 

  • Some leafiness in the shape of millium effusum 'Aureum' also known as 'Bowles Golden Grass'. This was also grown from seed and like forget-me -nots seeds itself gently about every year.
  • More leafiness in the form of what I think is a euphorbia. The leaves were looking more purple a couple of weeks ago. Suffering from skin allergies I've never knowingly introduced euphorbias into the garden much as I like them but this one arrived quietly by itself and has now been granted permanent residence.
I see that our hostess the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' is celebrating a veritable confection of shades of pastel aquilegias this week. Thanks as always for hosting and in doing so inspiring the picking of flowers for a vase on Mondays.

Monday, 14 May 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ May Breeze

 No, there's not even the slightest hint of the phlox 'May Breeze' in this vase but rather it was last night's wind that lent itself to the title of this post. It became more than a breeze at one point catching the tallest flowers in the vase, causing the vase to wobble about rather alarmingly. At this juncture the vase was grabbed and immediately bought it round to relative shelter on the well used table by the back door for its photo session. In my 'In A Vase On Monday' this week are :

  • Tellima grandiflora purpurea - well that's what I think it is. I don't call buying it so it either sneaked a ride in with another plant or was present in soil that came into the garden. It's a quietly pleasing subtle sort of a plant although it does self-seed a bit too much at times.
  • Geranium phaeum - no name for this one. It is a seedling and is some shades lighter than its neighbour who I think is geranium phaeum 'Lily Lovell'.
  • Narcisssus 'Petrel' - the late flowers are result of planting some of my bulbs rather late in the day. I imagine that it would normally be over by now. The multi-headed flowers are on the shy side with their heads held down but their scent more than makes up for it.
  • Polygonatum x hybridum - commonly known by the more appealing name of Solomon's Seal. This is one of my spring favourites. The only downside is that it does go a bit tatty as the year progresses
Lastly the pink cow parsley like chaerophyllum hirsutum 'roseum' also known as the pink hairy chevril. As well as the attractive heads of lilac mauve flowers the foliage is feathery and fern like. An added bonus is that the foliage is also deliciously apple scented. It's one of my favourite late spring flowering perennials, being easy to grow and seemingly pest free.

The stoneware vase is a new addition coming home with us after a most enjoyable visit to the Malvern Spring Festival last week.

Thanks always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her stalwart hosting come rain or shine.

Postscript ~ some sad news since publishing this post. The remarkable gardener, writer and plantswoman Beth Chatto died yesterday. I've been fortunate enough to have seen her breathtaking stands at The Chelsea Flower Show and her garden at Elmstead Market. Her writing has provided with me much joy and information over the years with one of her books inspiring my blog title. Thank you Beth for for all the joy you have given me and thousands of others.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Brownie Points

No chocolate goodies on offer this week but a 'Brownie' in the shape of a single tulip. It's the only stem that I could bring myself to snip for today's 'In A Vase On Monday'. My love-hate relationship with tulips is long standing as I have mentioned in previous posts. I love the flowers but not the foliage and also I've never been able to grow them well. Maybe the bulbs sense my apprehension at planting time and behave accordingly. Tulip bulbs also feature on the menu for the local squirrel army so it's a battle of wits from day one of planting onwards. Despite this I'm still always tempted by the catalogues and try a handful of new varieties each year. This spring I have one or two modest successes including 'Exotic Emperor' and the still to fully open 'Mistress Mystic', also known as 'Mistress Grey'.

 I also have three pots of the peony flowered 'Brownie' which I'm quite chuffed about. From what I can gather 'Brownie' is a relatively new tulip. The colour is a coppery-brown flecked with golden-yellow and red.  It appears more orange in the photo than it does to the eye. The vase is last week's school milk bottle and the only prop was accidental. As I was taking the photo I noticed a skeletonised leaf on the wall, it's colour echoing the tulip flower.

Meanwhile the greenhouse is slowly filling with little trays and pots of seedlings, which will hopefully feature in vases to come over the next few months. The only bit of bad news apart from the dismal sweet pea germination rate, is that the world's biggest spider has taken up residence. It is lurking around and about the heated sand bench. Himself insists that the spider is more frightened of me than vice-versa but I remain to be convinced. I'm hoping that when I finally turn the heat off it might scuttle out in search of another snug hidey-hole.

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for being such an excellent hostess. She is also showcasing tulips this week and also treating us to an early taste of summer. Do visit if you haven't already.

Monday, 23 April 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Friends Not Anemones

A visit to the allotment at the weekend was a chance to rescue a few anemones,  suffering like me and no doubt others from the sudden and unaccustomed heat. They then had to endure the indignity of a bus journey and a supermarket foray, all in the confines of my allotment bag, so were perhaps a bit worse for wear by the time they got home. The pink 'Sylyphide and the blue 'Dr Fokker' were grown from corms planted in pots on a heated sand bench in March 2016 and then transferred to the allotment sometime in the second half of May. Their first flowers appeared the following month. I was delighted with them that summer, can't remember much about their performance last year but they seem to have come back with a flourish this spring. I also have the white flowered 'The Bride' but no show of flowers there as yet from her.

That glorious  taste of summer that we enjoyed for a few days has disappeared now to be replaced by more staple April fare. The garden lapped up yesterday's downpour. New flowers are arriving on the scene regularly and it's most exciting to go out on that first daily reccie to see what's arrived on the scene. Next week it might be the turn of tulips to feature in a vase. A quick peek over at 'Rambling In The Garden' reveals some absolute beauties.  Do visit if you haven't already. Thanks as always Cathy for hosting.

Monday, 16 April 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Petit Four'

Last night saw my first mollusc watch greenhouse session of the year hence the little snail you can see accompanying today's 'In A Vase On Monday'. I didn't find any snails but came across two slugs so was able to prematurely and gleefully end their party. The little snail came to me via my mother and I think that it had been in her possession for some time.

In this week's vase are :

  • Viola cornuta - a flower that never fails to please and which is subtly but pleasantly scented.
  • Narcissus 'Minnow' - these are noticeably scented but one of those aromas that I can't quite make my mind up about. I'm veering towards don't like.
  • Lathyrus vernus - a favourite spring flowering perennial. I've not forgotten that our hostess Cathy was interested in some seeds. I messed up last year but will do my best to strike whilst the iron is hot this time round. 
  • Narcissus 'Tête-à-tête' - I have an abundance of these little daffies this year. Some of you in the U.K. may already be aware that a certain household goods high street store by the name of W****o, usually discounts its bulbs as the festive season approaches. At first prices are halved but then further discount is applied as tinsel and glitter complete for limited space. The finishing price last year was 50p a packet. I can't remember now if there were 20 or 30 bulbs in a bag but I bought a few bags. They were planted up very late in pots - some as the year was closing and others as late as mid-January. They are just coming into flower now. They have not attained the same height as usual but there is plenty of flower. No doubt they will do better next year. 

Over at 'Rambling In The Garden' our esteemed hostess Cathy has shared some fabulous tulips for our delectation. An early lunch and then an afternoon in the garden or allotment calls but I'm looking forward to vase hopping later in the day.

Monday, 2 April 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Shall I Start With The Ears?

Every Monday is a chance to celebrate with a vase and not surprisingly this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' has an Easter theme. Photos were taken yesterday afternoon as the forecast for today was wet, wet, wet. In fact when I looked out of the window about 7.00am this morning it was snowing but that has now given way to cold rain. There was also the added risk of one of the subjects in the shape of the chocolate bunny being eaten so it was definitely a case of needs must.

In this week's vase are :
  • Narcissus 'Elka' - a little narcissus which starts off with a bright lemon yellow trumpet that fades from a bright lemon yellow to a creamy colour as the flower matures. 'Elka' was awarded an Award Of Garden Merit from the RHS in 2011.
  • Narcissus ''Téte-à-Téte' - they may be little but they certainly pack power.
  • A narcissus with a orange trumpet - the label has disappeared. I wish I knew its identity as I would likes some more bulbs. I will have to scour the bulb catalogues later in the year.
  • Viola cornuta - from a tray that's waiting to be planted up in a pot. There was no variety name but I fell for the colours.
  • Primula - a seedling that has appeared in the garden.
  • Some furry catkins. Now I have to confess that these were bought in for the occasion but I treat myself to some every Easter. 
  • Cardamine quinquefolia - an early flowering perennial - last seen in a vase on 19th February this year and just going over now.
  • White flowers of helleborus x hybridus, aka the lenten rose.

Alongside the vase (an old yoghurt jar) are a paperweight which I've had for a long, long time and a chocolate bunny. If you look closely at the bunny it gives a clue as to where I have just returned from after a very short but memorable trip. More to follow on that soon. The tablecloth is one rescued from when we cleared my mother's house last year.

N.B.With admirable restraint I've resisted nibbling my bunny so far. A survey on the matter of how people eat chocolate bunnies revealed that 59% start with the ears. Do you?

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at  'Rambling In The Garden' for her inspired hosting. I see from her post that she's had the right idea and has headed way up north where the sun has been shining.

Monday, 26 March 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Shadow On The Wall

Just a sole occupant in today's 'In A Vase On Monday' - some branches from the forsythia that is just outside the allotment gates. I left it to late for forcing these into flower as early some of my blogging friends have done. Having said that though the shrub is still a way off being at its peak when it comes to blossom power. When I picked them after a Saturday afternoon stint at the allotment there was only a single flower open, but after almost a day in the relative warmth of our utility room there was a noticeable difference. There was also a marked difference in the weather when I took these photos late yesterday afternoon. We have sunshine, we have shadows, we have spring!

It was interesting to go back in time to March 22nd 2009 when the forsythia last featured here in this post, describing my walk back home from the allotment. The forsythia was already in full blossom that day.

Thanks as ever to our hostess Cathy over at the 'Rambling In The Garden' for her stalwart hosting. She has some exquisite spring treasures in her vase this week. I'm looking forward to checking in later to see what everyone else has in their vases this week.

Monday, 19 March 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Every Cloud .....

This week's 'In A Vase On Monday' was picked under a slight flurry of snow accompanied to the tune of a bone-chilling wind yesterday afternoon. It seemed as good as any time to get out there and snip a few hellebore flowers rather than wait until this morning and risk them being laid low by frost. It has just struck me that we will be officially into spring by next Monday so fingers crossed that the weather gods will oblige and deliver accordingly.

I can only come up with one definite name for the hellebores in my vase and that's Helleborus 'Penny's Pink', who is floating in the top bottom hand corner. I love them all unconditionally but my favourites are the dark burgundy double and the single white. 

My vase is resting on a copy of 'The Cloud Spotter's Guide' by Gavin Pretor - Pinney, which makes for a fascinating read on the subject of clouds. My cloud vase is a much cherished gift, made some thirty years ago or so by a talented artist friend. 

Many thanks as always to our lovely and gracious hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who is celebrating a special blogging milestone today. Many congratulations Cathy!

P.S. The predicted frost for this morning didn't materialise but it's still very much on the cold side out there.

Monday, 5 March 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Forward Planning

Although the last vestiges of snow have melted most flowers still look rather bedraggled and squashed. I was going to include some hellebores in my vase this week but they are definitely not at their best. Instead it's the teeny blooms that have recovered more quickly so in my vase this week are :

  • Narcissus 'Tête-à-tête'. Although most of the narcissus I grow are either cream or white I am completely unable to resist these cheerful little bright yellow characters. 
  • A pulmonaria that has taken me by surprise. It's in danger of becoming smothered by ivy so that's another job for the list. I'm not sure which variety it is its origins being long lost in the mists of time. It has most plain foliage  so could possibly be angustifolia. 
  • The snowdrop is 'Blonde Inge', which usually flowers in February here and has multiplied well. 
With vases to come in mind, I've sown the first lot of seeds today including limonium suworowii , which seems to have acquired the unfortunate alternative name of rat tail statice. Having seen this plant in flower I couldn't imagine anything that looks less like a rat's tail! I stumbled across it on the last day of our holiday in 2014, took photos and eventually discovered its identity in a gardening magazine that autumn. My attempt to grow them the following year met in abject failure when the seedlings were fatally frazzled so I'm having another try. I've noticed that a few other bloggers have mentioned that they are growing these seeds this year, so below is a photo of the treat that we should be in store for if all goes well and we get some warmth and sun to spur them on their way :

In the meantime today I feel that we are definitely now a step nearer to spring. Thanks to our excellent hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden', who encouraged me to wrap up well and step out both yesterday in the extreme cold and again this afternoon to see what there might be to pick for a vase.