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Monday, 12 February 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ If Today Had Been Yesterday


If today had been yesterday there would not have been an 'In A Vase On Monday' offering here. Fortunately Sundays's frequent showers of blustery sleet, snow and nasty hard pellety white polystyrene balls have given way to a much brighter, calmer day although it's definitely still on the cool side out there.


I resisted the urge to snip any snowdrops today although I have to confess to being sorely tempted. In my vase (a milk jug in a former life) are some hellebore flowers, winter flowering heather, viburnum tinus 'Lisa Rose' and foliage in the shape of lonicera nitida. The hellebore is one of those happy accidents that happen when a seedling appears in a most unlikely spot. I debated whether to remove it when it first made its presence known but it was left in place where it continues to grow against the odds. I have just noticed when bringing my nose near to the vase that the viburnum is most gently but pleasantly scented.

Many thanks to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who hosts a quite fabulous gathering of vases from far and wide each Monday.

Monday, 29 January 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Drop Dead Gorgeous


Regular visitors will know that I'm gripped by serious snowdrop fever at this time of year so I have picked a few of my specials to celebrate this week's 'In A Vase On Monday'. In my vase are 'Lady Beatrix Stanley', 'George Elwes', 'Diggory', 'John Gray' 'Cedric's Prolific' and an unknown 'drop that lost it label some time ago in the dim and distant past. Sharing the vase, which is an old  stoneware cream pot, is some ivy.

I will have a surplus of 'Lady Beatrix Stanley', one or two spares of 'George Elwes' and 'Diggory', which I would be more than happy to share later in the year with any U.K. reader. I would willingly send them further afield if I could but sadly postage charges or regulations regarding plant exports get in the way. Just let me know if you are interested either by emailing me directly (address in sidebar) or in the comments below. I will be splitting these bulbs later in the year, so could send you a dormant bulb which you can plant either in a pot or directly into the ground. They are all what you would call 'good doers' and easy to look after. 'Lady Beatrix Stanley' multiplies particularly vigorously and has been awarded the Award Of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society.

I wonder what other late winter delights will feature in other vases this week and am looking forward to having a peek later today. Thanks to our hostess Cathy over 'At Rambling In The Garden' who I know shares my snowdrop addiction or perhaps the word should be affliction.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

January Musing ~ A Smorgasbord Of Delights


"Somebody needs to invent blinkers for humans. There are novels to write, tax receipts to collate, but where is the harm in standing at the glass for a little look? A light drizzle is usually falling; I am shoeless because I prefer to write in but not with bare feet. No sane person would step outside.
I step outside.

...... Unlike most British people with our nice calibrations of weather, our conversational grumbling ('wet enough for you?') and outrage at any climatic extreme, I don't pay attention to low temperatures. I feel them obviously : I'm not a rock. I just don't remember to do anything about them. So while others would stop to shoe themselves appropriately before walking over grit or bramble or several centimetres of snow, I persist in believe I'll be able to tread lightly towards the compost bin, like a fairy oe'r stepping stones.

'Where's your coat?' people ask. 'Aren't you freezing?'
'Yes' I tell them and we look at each other, perplexed.

Yet my plants are calling to me. From here I can see the garden table, which was bought for Mediterranean style meals in the sun, but mysteriously is covered in improvised plant crutches; broken teapots; ice-lolly-stick seedling markers, treats for compost worms; postmans' rubber bands for attaching things, a child's stolen kitten-patterned pencil; takeaway cups labelled MANGO I THINK and ??MISC DON'T THROW OUT; stiffened gloves; rusty spoons and. To a non-gardener, it looks like dismal rubbish. To me, it is a smorgasbord of delightful and necessary tasks. 

Addicts are ingenious. They lie, even to themselves. A gardener can always think of an excuse to wander outside.
'I'll just ...' we mumble. 'Give me a couple of moments'.

This is obviously nonsense. How could one do anything in a garden in two minutes? It's just one drink, one cigarette. A garden is a knotted rope along which small tasks and satisfaction are laid out at optimum intervals, as in a computer game, or a punishment devised on Mount Olympus to drive mortals mad. We try to resist; we fail. We always do.
'This won't take long', we lie".

Extract from ~ 'Rhapsody in Green' by Charlotte Mendelson.
Illustration ~ Lena Anderson.

Monday, 22 January 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Evergreen'



In my vase today is a stem of hippeastrum cybister 'Evergreen'. This was one of my purchases from Pheasant Acre Plants at the Great Dixter Autumn Plant Fair last October. It is the most expensive hippeastrum that I've ever purchased, but has been well worth every penny its seven pounds producing not one, not two but three stems of flowers which are a most subtle and beautiful shade of green. It was quite breezy this morning when I took the photo so I made an effort to stop the stem from gyrating about by lobbing some redundant so called luminous stones into the vase. They are redundant as they never glowed in the dark as they should have done. I was thinking of disposing of them completely but they came in handy today. My 'vase' was a seasonal caramelised red onion chutney jar in a former life. 

Thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy, over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who encourages us to share our vases every Monday.

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.