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Monday, 15 January 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Here We Go Again


If the contents today's 'In A Vase On Monday' look familiar that is because they are. Almost the same pickings graced my vase of a fortnight ago, the only addition being a few snowdrop flowers, from tall stately 'George Elwes' and elegant early flowering 'Fieldgate Prelude.

What happened was that I had left that vase of cornus 'Anny's Winter Orange', viburnum tinus 'Lisa Rose' and a stem of rosa 'The Fairy' in the greenhouse for some reason and never got my act together to bring it into the house. The upside is that I enjoyed seeing some welcome colour whenever I nipped in the greenhouse and the cooler conditions have obviously prolonged the flowering life of the roses and viburnum.

My vase today is a snowdrop mug which was purchased on a visit to the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show last June. The stall was the first one to catch my eyes from under the all enveloping hood which covered my head for most of the day. It was a full time occupation just concentrating on where you were walking on what was an extremely unseasonably cool, damp and most muddy underfoot day so I was delighted that I didn't just walk on by. Initially I had my heart set on a snowdrop jug but there were none to be had on the stall on the day. That's gone on to the wish list for one day in the future.

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who today is enjoying some enticing seasonal scent in her trio of vases.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Welcome In 2018


Yes I know it's Tuesday but my camera conspired against me and would not download the photos I took in yesterday morning's brilliant new year sunshine. In fact it was too bright really for taking photos. The plan was to pop out later for an action replay but by that time rain stopped play.

In my belated 'In A Vase On Monday' are stems of cornus 'Anny's Winter Orange' which is in its first winter with me (not as orange as I thought it might be but maybe that comes with age), some viburnum tinus 'Lisa Rose' and the last but one flowering stem of rosa 'The Fairy'. The latter is a stalwart having produced its clusters of small soft pink flowers since July. I think that this may have been the latest I've ever seen it bear flowers but then 2017 was a funny old year.


Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for  hosting come rain or shine and enabling us to share our vases throughout each season of the year.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Almost There


"'Christmas Eve', Fanny said. 'Christmas Eve'. As if saying it aloud would make her better able to believe it. 'Christmas Eve', and she watched her own breath puff out like pale smoke on the cold air of her bedroom, and turn to a fine mist on the windowpane.

Christmas Eve, was the best of it all, the waiting and laughing, the sense of excitement through the house, like one of Nancy's black pots kept simmering. She thought of the rest of the day, and the evening to come, and saw a gleam of brightness cast forward from the blazing gold of Christmas Day, lancing towards her like the light streaming under the crack beneath a half-open door.

Christmas Day, Fanny thought, is like the room beyond that door, a bright, bright room, an Aladdin's cave of treasure, the tree with its candles and the banked up fire all glowing, and the pile of shining presents, and the Christmas table, heavy with good things, the smells and the laughter and the love and oh, the bright brightness. But for now, she was standing just outside, in the waiting room, and the light from the room that was Christmas Day, just reached her, just touched, and she could feel her heart beat very fast'."

~ an extract from 'Lanterns Across The Snow' by Susan Hill.

Illustration by Lena Anderson.

Well, we're almost there - Christmas Eve is oh so tantalisingly close. Enjoy that most magical day of Christmas as well as the days to follow. Wishing my lovely blogging friends a most Happy Christmas!❤️ xxx

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Undercover ~ #my gardenrightnow


Today's garden related activities have taken place under cover in the shelter of the greenhouse, where I've been tending to my collection of special named snowdrops. I can't remember exactly when my addiction started but it was somewhere before the turn of the century. Over the years the number of snowdrop varieties has slowly increased and now this collection gives me great pleasure during the bleakest month of the year. My bulbs have come from specialist nurseries, eBay and as swaps or gifts from kind friends including fellow bloggers. Bulbs can be alarmingly expensive especially the new varieties but if you are prepared to wait prices do come down over the years. My greenhouse is close to the house so even on the coldest or wettest days I can pop out and see what is going on. As well as being able to see the flower markings at close quarters, I can also lift the pots up to inhale their delicate but distinct scent.

Growing snowdrops in pots can be a challenge especially when it comes to overwintering them. Originally all the pots were outside all year round but I lost a substantial number of bulbs following the cold winter of 2010/2011. Since then the pots come inside the greenhouse for the winter usually sometime towards the middle or the back end of November. The greenhouse door is opened on all but the coldest days and a small electric fan heater prevents the temperature dropping down below zero. Watering takes place at least once a month sometimes more depending on the weather but is always done during relatively mild spells. The pots will be returned to the big outside world sometime in the spring.

This autumn has seen the snowdrops come into growth earlier than I can ever remember. Today was chance to check all the pots where there appeared to be no visible sign of life. I wanted to remove any definite no shows in case those pots were harbouring any disease that might spread to neighbours. I found the odd pot where bulbs had completely disappeared. The good news was there were all varieties which I have more than one either growing in another pot or in the garden. The long term plan is to establish as many varieties as I can out in the garden and reduce my potted collection to a top twenty. Apart from the fact that they take over the greenhouse in the winter, lifting the crates in and out of the greenhouse has become more and more of a Herculean effort each year.

Why not join in the fourth and last in 2017 of this seasonal challenge to share what's been going on in your garden or allotment right now. This is a special festive or hope edition so I have focused on what gives me a fix of hope every winter. If you want to join in you can either put together a blog post or post a photo on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #my gardenrightnow

A BIG thanks to the lovely Michelle over at Veg Plotting who came up with this inspirational idea.

Monday, 20 November 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ Hanging On In There


Today's 'In A Vase On Monday' includes a couple of late lingerers together with a piece of leafy loveliness. The contents are as follows :
  • A spray of flowers from Rosa 'The Fairy', a small shrub bearing clusters of little pink pompoms, usually from July onwards until late November/early December. Looking back she has occasionally flowered in June. She has fine glossy foliage and unlike a near neighbouring rose 'New Dawn' does not usually succumb to black spot.
  • Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Blackfield' - another new purchase which has been giving me much pleasure. The flowers look darker to the eye than they appear on the camera.
  • Some foliage from heuchera Little Cutie 'Frost'. Despite the irritating name this has a most striking leaf. As the leaves were attempting to merge anonymously into the background I removed one just for the purposes of this photo. It has since been replaced to plug the gap. Apparently there is a whole family of Little Cuties but this is the first that I've come across. 
I've just had a good peek over at 'Rambling In The Garden' and see that our hostess Cathy has also included a new to me heuchera in her vase this week. Coming across and learning about new plants is but one of the pleasures of sharing vases on Mondays. Thanks as always Cathy for the opportunity.

Monday, 13 November 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ "Say Cheese!"


'In A Vase On Monday' is celebrating its fourth anniversary this week. Many, many thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for bringing this element of fun into the week and for your encouragement and generosity as the hostess of this meme. It takes much dedication and energy to grow and sustain a meme over this length of time. I'm in awe of your achievement.

My vase was picked yesterday when to say it was somewhat nippy is an understatement. The skies were blue and sunny but what a bitter north west wind was blowing about. Still I thought that I would wrap up well and get out there. Cathy had asked us to think outside the box when it comes to our choice of vases this week. Initially my mind drew a blank but when I saw this empty Stilton cheese pot in a charity shop early last week I thought that it might fit the bill.

Pickings are getting sparser as the weeks go on but I found a few bits and pieces namely :
  • A few seed heads of lunaria annua.
  • Some twiggy fluff from clematis jouiniana x 'Praecox'.
  • Spent ivy flower heads.
  • A couple of brunnera macrophylla leaves.
  • Some chrysanthemum flowers - the plants came to me via a fellow allotment plot holder. The variety is unknown. At this time of year their colour is most welcome.
  • Sprigs of the white flowering persicaria amplexicaulis 'White Eastfield'. This is a new purchase bought at a plant fair at the beginning of October. I am already smitten. Not only does it provide some late colour but it seems to fading gracefully.
  • Especially for Cathy, a trio of galanthus 'Faringdon Double'. This is an early flowering snowdrop which seems to be especially early this year. I took the pot into the greenhouse for a couple of hours to encourage the flowers to open but they would not oblige. 
The little wooden mouse was a holiday gift from himself.

A big thanks Cathy for enriching the garden blogging community over the last four years with such fabulous vases! 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

A Wednesday Worisit ~ Fishface


We came across this fungus growing in the shingle last month when we visited the fabulous RSPB nature reserve at Dungeness. Our fungus identification book has annoyingly disappeared, so until I find out a name I'm referring to it as Fishface. Himself says it reminds him of a burnt omelette! What do you see when you look at it? Maybe you know the name and can solve the mystery.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

November Thoughts


"From the window of my writing room I look out over the garden. I shouldn't; my mind should be on the writing. But it's hard not to - especially this year, especially now, when the annual pageant of autumn colour has been playing out with even greater theatrically than usual. Sitting at my window , mug of tea cooling in my hand, I'm an audience of one, a packed house, all attention ......

While I sit glued to the window, the book languishes unwritten, the bulbs unplanted, the apples unpicked, the garden untidied. But there are two messages that should be engraved on every gardener's heart at this time of year: don't panic ... and don't feel guilty. Allow yourself time to enjoy the garden, time to look. After all the trees won't mind if the fruit isn't picked, and the birds will bless you for it - and for the straggle of dead and dying herbaceous stalks which will provide them with seeds and shelter all winter long.

And there is still time to plant those bulbs. I have often been reduced to planting tulips at Christmas or even on New Day's Day, and they seem to come to no harm. There is even an argument for delaying planting now that our autumns and early winters are so mild and wet".

~ an extract from 'The Morville Year' by Katherine Swift.
~ illustration by Rachel Grant.