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.

Monday, 16 October 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Last Of The Summer Wine'

Yesterday was a such balmy gentle day marked with some decent spells of sunshine. If you weren't aware of where we are up to on the calendar pages you may well have thought it was a summer day. I enjoyed pottering about in the garden for a good part of the day and picked my flowers for 'In A Vase On Monday', knowing that it would be payback time weather wise today. This morning's leaden sky has given way to blue skies, but it is getting windier by the moment as the remnants ex-hurricane Ophelia nears. We also had a most spooky red sun pierce through the leaden grey sky this morning. Apparently the colour is due to the winds dragging in both dust from the Sahara and debris from forest fires in Spain and Portugal. Here as readers from the U.K. will know today marks the anniversary of the Great Storm of 1987which fortunately didn't do much damage in the north of England but had absolutely devastating effects in the south. My sister has memories of probably the most frightening night of her life at home with just her son to keep her company. He was a mere ten days old at the time. Anyway the Great Storm is another story so for now back to this week's floral gatherings.

In my vase (rescued from Mum's kitchen cupboard) are :
  • 'Blush Noisette' roses. This is a climbing rose which I purchased as a bare -root plant in 2009. I had seen it flower in a rose garden the year before but still could not envisage the parcel of twigs that arrived in the post ever morphing into such beauty. I'm pleased to report that they did. The main flush of flowers is in the summer but it does repeat. At the moment there are quite a few stems bearing still to open buds. Their fate will obviously depend on the weather over the next few weeks.  
  • Some sprigs of mentha suaveolens or apple mint, which like the rose is subtly but oh so deliciously scented. It's a hardy perennial which disappears underground in the winter. It makes for a good container plant either on its own or with friends.
  • Some cosmos bippinatus 'Pysche White' flowers. I saw this cosmos in flower on one of the stands at the Malvern Autum Show last year and made a note of its name then. The flowers are beautiful but are really not suited for cutting as the stems are on the short side. If I grow it next year it will be just to look at and for the bees who really enjoy this plant. 
  • The blue is scutellaria incana also known as skullcap which is a late flowering perennial. It does self seed a bit but not to a nuisance extent. It also seems to be in flower for quite some time. I must make a note of its flowering period next year.
Well I'm off to see what  delights our hostess Cathy from 'Rambling In The Garden' is featuring in her vase today. Do have a look if you haven't already.

Monday, 9 October 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ Latecomer

A lightening snip and plonk for 'In A Vase On Monday' as I'm catching up with all sorts after a week's holiday. For some reason dahlia 'Bacardi' has only just come into flower and was a most welcome surprise when we returned home late yesterday afternoon. A note has been made to get the tuber planted in the ground next year rather than leave it in a pot. It has probably not had as much room as it would have liked so not surprisingly has been sulking. There are also a few sprigs of plecanthrus argentatus flowers in the milk bottle vase. This late flowering tender perennial came to me by way of one of my allotment neighbours last year. Unlike the dahlia it makes an excellent container plant and also has most attractive silvery foliage.

Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting. I'm looking forward to seeing what is residing in other vases this week.

Monday, 25 September 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Ticket To Ride'

Returning home with us from the allotment yesterday were more apples, raspberries (some for porridge, some to be ginned), the last of the potato harvest and some flowers or so we thought. However some stowaways had sneaked on board in the shape of the little snail that you can see above and below, a green shield bug and an earwig. We eventually caught up with the first two extra passengers but the latter seemed escaped in transit. It wasn't until that I set to photograph the dahlias that I spotted the snail who seemed to be having great fun showing off its mountaineering skills. The dahlia has been flowering all summer now. It was all of a couple of pounds from Wilkos and has been growing at the allotment for a few years. The label is long gone but I'm reasonably certain that it's 'Arabian Night'.

The second vase contains more allotment pickings in the shape of cosmos 'Rubenza', a pink cosmos (the seed packet said 'Purity' - something went seriously amiss there!) and dahlia 'Magenta Star'. The photo seems to make the dahlia more pink than it is. It has beautiful dark foliage which has a sheen to it whilst the flowers are most striking.

Thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who gives us the most welcome opportunity to share our 'In A Vase On Monday' posts come rain or shine.

Monday, 18 September 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ Dripping

We seem to be positively dripping towards the autumn solstice here - day after day where rain appears in some form or another. My flowers were picked and photographed yesterday between the rain showers and downpours that were not initially forecast.  I thought that I should get ahead whilst I had the chance in case today turns out to be a case of more of the same.

In my 'In A Vase On Monday' today are some of my late summer favourites namely :

  • A very pink penstemon, name unknown ( possibly 'Apple Blossom' ) which seems to have two flowering flushes each year. It is both reliable, easy going and pest free. What's not to like apart from the colour maybe? 
  • Eurybia divaricata (formerly aster divaraticus) - a woodland plant which has attractive wiry ebony stems topped with clouds of little white daisies. As the flowers age the tips of the petals take on a lilac-mauve shade.
  • Lysimachia barystachys, aka white loosestrife - this hardy perennial is a newcomer to the fold as I only purchased the plant earlier this summer at the RHS Tatton Flower Show. I came across it on the brilliant Plant Heritage stand, which I wish I had discovered earlier in the day as my hands were pretty full by then. So far so good. Apparently it has good autumn foliage so I'm looking forward to seeing the leaves change colour.
  • Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Firetail' - this is a moisture lover which sends out glowing red tapers of tiny fluffy flowers from mid summer to early autumn above lance shaped leaves.
  • Leycesteria formosa, aka the Himalayan honeysuckle or pheasant berry. This is a deciduous shrub, which has attractive stems and pendulous flowers with bracts, which eventually give way to deep purple berries. This year it seems to be positively dripping with flower and ahead of itself. In previous years it has shown colour as late as mid November but I think that it will give up the ghost before then this year. It is particularly recommended for partial shade or woodland gardens and seems to be one of those unsung easygoing shrubs that apart from pruning just gets on and does it own thing. My shrub is a good few years old and I can no longer remember how I came by it. It does have a tendency to self seed but it can be also propagated either by softwood cuttings. If you try sowing seed from your own shrub be prepared for really sticky fingers as you open up the ripened berries and try to extract the seed. It's great fun. 

Finally not actually in the vase but lurking by it some stems of cosmos bipinnatus 'Pysche White', which I've grown at the allotment this year. I usually grow 'Purity' but thought that I would have a change this year. They just didn't look right in the vase but I thought it was a shame to leave them out. Picked in yesterday's damp gloom they were still a major source of attraction for honey bees. 

A quick peek has revealed that our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' is sharing enough sunny goodness with us today to dispel any rain day blues. I'm looking forward to seeing what other flowers are starring in vases this week.