Monday, 14 August 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'All Shook Up'

The ingredients of today's 'In A Vase On Monday' had the dubious pleasure of a bus journey back from the allotment to home via the shops. One or two of them became battered and bruised en route and sadly a few stems had to be jettisoned. My vase this week reflects the seasonal changes of the palette from pale and pastel to dark and sultry. In my vase are :
  • Sweet peas - 'Matucana', 'Midnight' and 'Eclipse'.
  • Crocosmia - I inherited a patch of this at the allotment so have no idea what variety it is.
  • Dahlia 'Magenta Star' and an allotment dahlia - possibly 'Arabian Night'. 'Magenta Star' is a fabulous flower, which not only attracts pollinators but also has deliciously dark stems and foliage that seems to have a sheen about it. The photo doesn't do justice to it so I will try to remember to take another photo before this year's flowers are over. The allotment dahlia has been left to overwinter in a raised bed for the last two years and is now a most sturdy plant producing a multitude of flowers.
  • Geum 'Mrs J. Bradshaw' - this poor lady suffered in transit. I only managed to retrieve one stem. This is a long flowering perennial which comes true from seed and can be sown in autumn in a tray and left in a cold frame to overwinter. I was given a trio of plants by my allotment neighbours last year and they have made a good show this season.
  • Cosmos bipinnatus 'Rubenza' - grown from seed sown in April. I prefer the 'Double Click Cranberries' that I grew last year. Although the 'Rubenza' plants have not grown as tall or as broad as 'Double Click Cranberries' I've not really been struck by the flower colour. I think that I will be clicking again next year. 
  • Tagetes 'Cinnibar'? - these seeds were grown in the expectation that they would result in an all orange cosmos - either  cosmos sulphureous 'Diablo' or cosmos sulphureous 'Tango. I sowed both varieties in April but one of them has turned out to be an impostor. As far as I can tell they are very similar to tagetes 'Cinnibar' which I've grown previously. Labels got lost somewhere between sowing and planting but the other is definitely an orange cosmos. I picked a flower for this vase but it suffered a fatal injury on the way home so could not be included. Hopefully there will be more blooms to pick soon which I can include in a future vase.
A huge vote of thanks as always to Cathy the lovely hostess of 'In A Vase On Monday'.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

August Thoughts

"One early evening at the beginning of August, I come back from my allotment with potatoes, carrots, shallots, beans (broad and runners), kohl rabi, and a little tomato, and soon the juice of runner beans under the knife with the smell of other vegetables cooking. After supper, through the open back door, the pale cups of the oenothera and the sweet Turkish smell of the night-scented stock, the clovey smell of other stocks, and the deeper clove of carnation, took over. Then there was the fresh astringency of a perfect unfurling bud of 'Golden Showers', lemon balm up the path, and then phlox.

But what had drawn me in to the darkening garden were the night-scented stocks, and it is the one smell that, inside comes to me on its own without seeking it out. This is one of the high points of the year - the quiet house, the lamp on the table with the bowl of sweet peas, dahlias in a jar on the shelf. It's so still that there's hardly the flap of a moth. It's warm enough again, after the dip we took at the end of July, to relax and think of another day's activities ahead in and out of the house, pegging down strawberry runners, taking cuttings of honeysuckle, remembering not to miss the time for sewing spring cabbage ; drying shallots and then onions in the sun, cutting down the broad beans for a second flowering , and being reminded, by the smell  of your hands when you touch stalk and leaves of excitement at the emergence of those grey-green leaves at the beginning of the year if you had done a sowing the previous November".

~ An extract from 'Led By The Nose' by Jenny Joseph.
~ Illustration by Lena Anderson.

Monday, 24 July 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ A Snow Princess

This week's vase features a 'Snow Princess' and in this case she has not been blown in on a cold blast of arctic air but has been ushered in by a summer zephyr. Three new to me annuals were sown earlier in the year and this is the first to come into flower. Hopefully I can report on the other two in the near future. 'Calendula 'Snow Princess' was a new arrival in some the 2017 seed catalogues and as far as I'm concerned has lived up to my expectations. Although definitely not the colour of snow the creamy flowers are most attractive and I like the bronze tinged petal tips. There is of course the bonus that her petals are edible but I've not nibbled yet.

After reading this article by Graham Rice I sowed a few seeds yesterday, in the hope of some late flowers and will also be sowing again come September. Here she is together with some rosemary and a sprig or two of a viola. The container is a little jar hand-painted by my mum. As always a heartfelt thank you to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her oh so gentle encouragement to fill a vase on a Monday.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Five Favourite July Plants

The lovely Chloris over at 'The Blooming Garden' has kindly invited her fellow garden bloggers to share their favourite July plants. Chloris has shared her top ten plants but it seemed more than that to me. Do visit her blog if you haven't already to peruse her choice of some fabulous plants. I've gone with the option of five plants. Four of them have proved to be reliable stalwarts over the years whilst the newcomer shows signs of promise in that department.  So in no particular order are :

Erigeron karvinskianus (formerly erigeron mucronatus) also known as the Mexican fleabane. This is a perennial which flowers from March onwards until the first hard frosts. It is in these summer months though when it looks at its best and the flowers are most prolific. It is best grown in full sun but has obviously not read the books as it is dotted about our north facing courtyard. Apart from its long flowering period another attraction of this little daisy is the way the flowers change from white to pink as they age. It is a plant that just gets on and does it own business without any intervention or attention. Moreover it seems to be pest and disease free.

It can be grown easily from seed or bought as a plant although I think that the latter option is usually relatively expensive. I have gasped with shock more than once when I've seen the price label at plant sales. Once you have it I think that it is with you for keeps it as it self-seeds with abandon. I'm quite happy for it to do so despite himself's regular assassination attempts.

 Kalimeris incisa 'Charlotte' - this is the newcomer of the bunch only arriving in August 2014, a purchase made at the Southport Flower Show from Holden Clough nursery. Preferring a sunny position is a hardy perennial which flowers from June to October. It bears pale mauve aster like flowers with a yellow centre. As far as I've been able to find out it is relatively disease and pest free. It's biggest selling point as far as I'm concerned is that it attracts bees and hoverflies. As you might be able to see I need to get in to do some dead-heading and some belated propping up. Friday night's torrential downpour has battered and flattened the plant somewhat and now that it's established I think that it might need staking in the future. The biggest selling point as far as I'm concerned is that 'Charlotte' attracts bees and hoverflies. 

Allium sphaerocephalon also known as the drumstick allium. Coming into flower later that most other alliums this is another easy-going character that just gets on with it given a sunny spot. I like the fact that they take so little room to accomodate so that you can plant them in between summer flowering perennials. A downside as it with all bulbs is trying to remember where they were the flowering stalk dies down. The flowering heads start off green before slowly from the top down turning into a deep purple colour. They can have a bit of a flippy- floppy tendency but that doesn't matter. They will self-seed gently. Again they are another magnet for pollinators. If you don't already grow these make sure to add some to your bulb order this year. Talking of making bulb orders I've read that it has not been a good season for bulbs because of the warm dry weather. The advice is to get bulb orders in early. I'm usually last minute when it comes to do doing this but intend to get cracking forthwith.

Clematis jouiniana x 'Praecox'- this is a long time July favourite although it first comes into flower in June. It's an extremely vigorous herbaceous clematis which can either be grown either as scrambling ground cover or as a climber. Awarded the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit this again is a pollinator magnet. I love it although it has one major fault in that it dies a most disgraceful death. If you are not of a sensitive disposition and want the full picture have a peek here. It has reached the situation though where it's taking up too much room so is in for a most severe pruning next spring. 

Geranium pratense 'Plenum Violaceum' - another easy going perennial which has such pretty double flowers. Mine is in a north facing border where the flowers do not scorch as much if we have a very hot spell. Sadly it is sterile as I would welcome seedlings with open arms. I've had it growing in the garden for a long, long time, along with its sibling geranium pratense' Plenum Caeruleum' but sadly the latter did not remerge this year. I must seek a replacement. There is also a white flowering sibling too!

Thank you Chloris for your welcome invitation. I'm now off outside as the weather has brightened up. I have a pot of oh so tiny hardy begonias to prick out so may be gone for some considerable time.

Monday, 17 July 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ Bounty

It's vases in the plural this week. The first vases were picked slightly prematurely on Friday afternoon and went to other homes. Our allotment association took part in a local annual fun day on Saturday. We have been kindly invited to have a stall there for several years now. We took plants, flowers, fruit, veggies, jam and chutney to sell. All our profits go towards the cost of insuring our composting toilet on the allotment site. Friday saw me at the allotment picking sweet peas and dahlias. I picked over a hundred stems of sweet peas some of which stayed at home but there was enough to make up four bunches for the sales table. A couple of bunches were the first very sale of the day. They were bought by two young lads who had an earnest debate beforehand as to which was their favourite colour of sweet pea flower. It was the highlight of the afternoon for me! Young gardeners in the making.

Back to the allotment this morning to do more watering, weeding and picking before it got too hot. Look what was waiting for me .... yet more sweet peas!

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for encouraging bloggers to share vases full of sunshine and flowers every Monday. Do call in to see her latest vase and to follow links to other vases from far and wide.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day ~ A Most Special Gift

Just one bloom from me today in the shape of a rose which is new to the garden this year. Back in the depths of January a birthday present arrived for me from my dear sister. She had purchased my gift from a company which sells roses that are specially named by the customer. So it came with a certificate bearing the name 'Luisa's Daughter,' in memory of my Mum who died in December last year. It  arrived complete with a certificate, a photo of the flower together with planting and cultivation instructions. It opened its first flowers last weekend when I was away. I had been looking at the emerging buds willing it to open before I left but it teased me and wouldn't oblige. Still it was a delight to come home to and joy of joys as well as looking most pretty it is noticeably scented. As you can see it's also being appreciated by passing garden visitors.

Thanks as always to Carol over at May Dreams Gardens for hosting. I wonder what plants will be tempting me to add them to the wish list for future July blooms.

Monday, 3 July 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ Sparkle

Today's 'In A Vase On Monday' has been put together late in the day as I've been out in Liverpool with my lovely niece. She has been a student in Manchester for the last four years and got her final results last week - a first class honours degree! We are all so proud of her especially as there as been one or two family illnesses during this time, which must have been both distracting and upsetting for her. Still she managed to get her head down and work really hard to obtaining such an excellent result. It was a pleasure to treat her to lunch today and listen to her plans for the future. She is most lively and excellent company, has a wicked sense of humour but is caring and gentle too. Himself stayed at home but we will be raising a glass to a special young lady later.

In my vase this week are :

  • buddleja davidii (which originated as a cutting from my parent's garden)
  • some alchemilla mollis
  • a solitary stem of penstemon 'Sour Grapes
  • the lilac daisy type flowers of kalimeris incisa 'Charlotte'
  • the  larger yellow daisy type flowers of anthemis tinctoria 'E. C. Buxton'
  • a couple of stems of the curious mathiasella bupleuroides 'Green Dream', which looks exotic and tender but has proved most definitely otherwise.

Oh and I have new vase! With time to wait before our respective trains home we took a wonder round 'The Bluecoat Chambers' where the above jug caught my attention. My niece didn't persuade me to refrain.

Thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for encouraging us to share our vases each and every Monday.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Musing In July

" We have our first dish of peas. The aisles of pea plants grow tall and the green walls are full of bulging pods ...... Compared with the gathering of strawberries, pea picking is is intricate, but undramatic. There is no sudden grow of crimson , no soft warmth of fruit. It is a world of shapes, pea being undistinguishable from leaf only by virtue of its bulk and form. We pick by feeling rather than by sight. The pea plant is a gentle green, deep and soft against the pale colour of the lettuces that shelter from the sun in the shade of the pea rows. Our baskets full of hard, rattling pods, we pick lettuces for salad. It is good to feed oneself from one's own earth" 

Words from 'Four Hedges A Gardener's Chronicle' by Clare Leighton.

Illustration by Sara Midda from "In and Out Of The Garden".

Monday, 26 June 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ Summer In A Nutshell

"Here are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight:
With wings of gentle flush o'er delicate white
And taper fingers catching at all things
To bind them all about with tiny rings"
~ John Keats, 1795-1821 

This is the vase of flowers that I look forward to most each year - the very first vaseful of sweet peas.  My summer would not be complete without them. The flowers have been opening in tantalising dribs and drabs over the last couple couple of weeks and now finally there are enough of them to cut to fill a vase. Such vases usually sit on the kitchen windowsill and I hope there will be many more of them to follow.

This year's sweet peas were spread over two sowings both in rootrainers in a cold greenhouse. The first batch was sown on 14th February and the second at the beginning of March (unable to find label with exact date but will update this post when and if I do). The plants raised from the February sowing have turned out to be the stronger although the germination rate was less than fifty per cent. I have since read an article which recommends not watering any early sowings of sweet peas until they have germinated and must remember that for next year. I think that some of those early sowing seeds rotted away. I've never sown sweet peas in February before so have nothing to compare against. The March sowings all germinated but the plants are not as vigorous.

Once hardened off the plants were planted on wigwams at the allotment with two plants to each bamboo cane. They all got a dollop of manure and some chopped up comfrey leaves when planting. I must start to feed them soon. This year's varieties include 'Matucana', 'Midnight', 'Gwendoline', 'Ewewhon', 'Eclipse', Mollie Rilestone (not in this vase), 'Noel Sutton' and 'Ballerina Blue'.

Thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for encouraging us to share our vases each Monday. I had the pleasure of seeing Cathy's magical garden last week and came away wishing that I could take it away with me. Looking forward to seeing what is in everyone else's vases today.

Monday, 12 June 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ Handpicked With Love

This week's 'In A Vase On Monday' just had to feature my new vase, bought recently at a well known supermarket for the princely sum of £3.00. The flowers within were all picked at the allotment this afternoon and are :

  • Leucanthemum vulgare or ox-eye daisy growing at the back of the community greenhouse. It is also known as the moon daisy which I think is most apt as the flowers seem to be gently glowing.
  • Briza maxima - growing at the front of the community hut. This self seeds in the same spot every year which is most considerate of it.
  • Buddleja globosa which I've just found out is also known as the Chilean orange ball tree. These were snipped from a shrub growing near the allotment perimeter fencing. I wish that I had clocked the shrub a week or two ago as the flowers are going over but it's a part of the site that I rarely walk past. I wonder if this self seeds like buddleja davidii. A search for tiny offspring didn't produce any sightings. I will now be keeping my eyes peeled.
  • Finally from my own plot a few sprigs of helichrysum italicum also known as the curry plant. Just stroke the leaves and you know how it got its common name. As somebody who pulls a face at  the mere mention of curry I'm not sure why I grow it other than I'm partial to its silvery foliage. The flower is a soft yellow when in bud, before opening to reveal brighter in your face yellow, which again makes me wonder what possessed me to plant it in the first instance. Anyway I've become fond of it over the years so I daresay it's not going anywhere.
Thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who inspires to share our pickings in a vase each Monday.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

#mygardenrightnow ~ From The Allotment

Over at Veg Plotting and as part of the Chelsea Fringe event, the lovely Michelle has extended an invitation to share a photo of our gardens or allotment plots this weekend. I've spent most of my spare time at the allotment over the last couple of days, not only working on my plot but also supporting a plant sale which was held this afternoon. Funds were raised for the allotment association, delicious cake (too much) was eaten, growing hints were shared, plans were made to exchange pears and other fruits for jars of jam but above all there was a chance to meet new faces and strengthen community spirit. Do pop over to Veg Plotting or to Twitter to peek over garden fences and allotment plots from far and wide.

Friday, 2 June 2017

EOMV May 2017 ~ Watering Can Neck

Tennis elbow, driver's arm, writer's cramp, housemaid's knee .... is there such a condition as watering can neck? If not can I make a plea for it to be included in dictionaries across the land forthwith. The early part of May passed in a blur of pain, which was located at the top of my spine spreading out to my shoulders. I was unable to think of anything that could have caused it other than the increased lugging of full watering cans. Himself kindly applied foul smelling liniment to the affected parts but it was slow to abate. Needless to say gardening and other activities suffered.

The splendid trio of watering cans in the above photo are not mine but were spotted in the garden of a cottage in Bishop's Castle, Shropshire where we spent a most enjoyable weekend in the middle of the month. Another highlight of the month was a visit to Trentham Gardens, Staffordshire in the company of a good friend, where we were held spellbound by dandelion and fairy sculptures as well as a memorable display of tulips. A return visit is on the cards later this year.

Meanwhile whilst the neck pained the garden did its own thing so May was filled with the loveliness that is chestnut candles, lily-of-the valley, cow parsley, bluebells, honesty, sweet rocket, aquilegias, Solomon's Seal, alliums, tulips and geranium phaeum in various hues and shades. I hobbled in and out of the greenhouse just about keeping in top of the watering and was pleased that I've not grown as much from seed as in some previous years. For the second year running I've not sown tomato seeds but obtained them as small plants from Simpson's Seeds. Both the quality and variety choice is excellent and I'm not left with surplus plants to care for and rehome.

There's been much in the way of weeding, planting and constructing bunny deterrents at the allotment and not much in the way of eating produce. However by the end of the month there were encouraging signs that we will be picking soft fruit soon including raspberries, strawberries and goosegogs. The apple crop looks as if it will be good, shallots and potatoes are doing well so far, French beans have been planted and this weekend will see courgettes and pumpkins move from home where they have been hardening off, to being hopefully planted in their permanent positions. The non-edibles such as sweet peas are just starting to show colour which is a sure sign that summer is knocking at the door. May is without a doubt my favourite month of the year so I'm always slightly sad to see the back of it but still looking forward to the delights of June.

Monday, 29 May 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Not Fade Away'

Today's opportunity to pick flowers and take photographs for 'In A Vase On Monday' was a race against time. Once again the weather gods have decided on rain to celebrate a bank holiday with rain. They were considerate enough to throw a dry interlude in this afternoon, although there is the promise of more wet stuff on the cards before the day is done.

In this week's vase are :
  • Sprays from an inherited honeysuckle which was picked and bought home yesterday from the allotment. 
  • Astrantia which are now at their peak. There are two varieties in the vase, names long forgotten.

  • Some wispiness in the shape of flowers from a grass that I think is some sort of sedge.
  • Fading out now but still retaining a paler shade of their true colour are the pink flowers from what I think is viburnum plicatum 'Pink Beauty'. I really should have cut some of these last Monday. A big confession and a source of hang my head in shame, is that I bought the viburnum home some years ago and plonked it down at the side of the side of the cold frame whilst I decided where to plant it. Well procrastination got the better of me. It is still there, taller than me and rooted firmly into the ground. I think that an attempt to move it now might well prove fatal. I'm planning to take some cuttings this year and if they strike the progency will be allocated a more deserving spot. 
Thanks as always to our hostess the lovely Cathy who is coming up with roses today over at 'Rambling In The Garden'. I'm wondering what will be starring in other vases today as spring is now well as summer is slowly nudging spring out of the way.

Monday, 22 May 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ Chive Talking

We've officially marked the end of winter when it comes to our Sunday evening meals. I persuaded himself yesterday, not without difficulty, that it was time to move on from traditional roast dinners to salads. A visit to the allotment in the morning provided me with the chance to pick some chive leaves to garnish new potatoes and the flowers shouted out at me to pick them for a 'In A Vase On Monday'. I also did this in the knowledge that removing the flower stems is beneficial for the vigour of the plant, so there were no pangs of guilt when I cut the flowers off.

Chives along with thyme must have been the first herbs that I ever grew, initially in the garden before I had an allotment. Their flowers have always given both me and the bees great pleasure. As you probably know the petals of the flowers are edible too but they are too hot and strong for my taste buds. I once had a very pretty white flowering chive plant sadly long since gone to that big plant compost heap in the sky. I must seek out a replacement.

Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting.

Monday, 15 May 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ The Twilight Zone

This week's 'In A Vase On Monday' was picked and photographed late yesterday evening prompting the title of the post. It was a rush to get there before the sun went down. The weather forecast for today suggested that we might have rain throughout the day, so I thought that I would assemble my vase in advance. As it has turned out so far today a wet start has given way to a substantial dry interlude. However hopefully we will have more of the wet stuff later. The garden is already looking happier for what has already come down, after what has been a prolonged dry spell. It's not often that the watering can comes out in April and May but that has happened this spring. In my vase are :
  • Aquilegias - over the years the original aquilegias I introduced into the garden have morphed into an annual lucky dip of different colours, shades and forms. Occasionally mucky shades emerge but they are easily dealt with by snapping their heads off. Each year usually brings the unexpected - this year in the shape of pompoms of pink and also a pale blue which I could not bring myself to snip.
  • The fluffy pink spikes are persicaria bistorta 'superba' which used to be called by the more memorable name of polygonum bistortum 'Superbum'.
  • A couple of stems of convallaria majalis also known as lily-of- the-valley. 
  • The white daisies are erigeron mucronatus - yet another plant that has had a change of name over the years. I think that it would be hard to beat this plant for sheer length of flowering, from very early spring until the frost gets to them.
  • Lastly the pink cow parsley like pimpinella major rosea - well at least I think that is what it is. I also grow chaerophyllum hirsutum, which has similar flowers but in a different shade of pink and every year I struggle to remember which is which. Whatever name it answers to it's one of my favourite late spring flowering perennials, being easy to grow and seemingly pest free.

    Well whatever is happening out there it's time for me to get back outside to the shelter of the greenhouse where urgent potting on awaits. You know that sense of mounting pressure that an explosion might be imminent unless you act!

    Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting. A quick peek reveals that her vase this week is a pretty vision in shades of pink, white and green. I will vase hop later with pen and paper by my side as usual.

    Monday, 1 May 2017

    In A Vase On Monday ~ "As I Roved Out One Fine May Morning"

    So here we are in the month of May already - the fairest month of the year. I would like to say that it dawned fair here but it was rather grey and damp earlier on. However it is definitely brightening up now so I will be heading out into the greenhouse and garden very soon. In my vase celebrating the arrival of May are anthriscus sylvestris or cow parsley, geranium phaeum, narcissus 'Thalia' (there are some advantages to a late planting) and a double flowered tulip by the name of 'Antraciet'. The tulip is a first time round experience which will definitely be repeated. Sadly most of my bulb order didn't get planted last autumn but this one did and I'm delighted with it

    Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' ,who is the ever constant inspiration behind 'In A Vase On Monday', such a pleasant way to kick-start the week.

    Wednesday, 19 April 2017

    Almost Worldless Wednesday ~ Not On Tonight's Menu

    Spotted last night growing on our gravel driveway leading to the garage a new to me mushroom. We regularly come across mushrooms growing in the garden but usually in the autumn. My initial research suggests that this might be a common morel, which is a much sought-after edible mushroom. However with no definite identification it was left to passing woodlice and their friends for their supper. Any mycologists about? 

    Saturday, 15 April 2017

    Easter Lilies

    Think Easter flowers and daffodils come straight into my mind. It's a late Easter this year and the daffodils are already fading away. Before thoughts of them go over the horizon completely, I wanted to post about a veritable host of daffodils that we had the pleasure to see on our last trip to the Lake District.

    This year we were spot on with our timing to catch the the wild daffodil at the peak of perfection 'Narcissus pseudonarcissus' is also known as the Easter lily, Lenten lily, daffy and daffydowndilly. They are the daffodils mentioned in the famous opening lines of William Wordworth's poem :

    "I wandered lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
    When all at once I saw a crowd, 
    A host of golden daffodils;
    Beside the lake beneath the trees, 
    Fluttering and dancing in the breeze"

    The poem was inspired by a walk that Wordsworth had taken with his sister Dorothy on the shores of Ullswater. She records in her journal on the 15th April 1802 that "When we were in the wood beyond Gowbarrow Park we saw a few daffodils close to the water-side...... But as we went along there were more and yet more ...... I never saw daffodils so beautiful. They grew among the mossy stones about and about them; some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness; and the rest tossed and reeled and danced, and it seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind, that blew upon them over the lake; they looked so gay, ever glancing, ever changing".

    We didn't go to Ullswater to see wild daffodils but to the beautiful church of St. Anthony's, Cartmel Fell, which was built in 1502.

    Here we paused for some considerable time in the churchyard, gazing at the daffodils and listening to the sound of silence, broken only by nectar seeking bees and by birdsong. Simply quite magical.

    Monday, 10 April 2017

    In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Small is Beautiful'

    The flowers in today's 'In A Vase On Monday' are lathyrus vernus or the spring pea which is one of my favourite early spring flowering perennials, not just for the flowers, but also for its attractive fern-like foliage. Oh and there's also the bonus that it seems to be pest and disease free (says she whispering softly). I wanted to pick a few blooms before all the flowers had gone over. Some are already developing seed pods. This year I'm determined to collect seed which always seems to manage to evade me.

    The little vase has come from my Mum's house and is one of a number that she painted herself. It's teeny, tiny being all of two inches high but just the right companion for dainty blooms.

    Thank you as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting.

    Monday, 3 April 2017

    In A Vase On Monday ~ Take Two

    Today's 'In A Vase On Monday' morphed into something else in the making thereof. An allotment visit yesterday revealed some anemone caen 'Syphide' flowers in full fettle, so these were picked to be the star of today's vase. They were joined by a trio of tulips (one seems to be photo shy) from the pots that time forgot and some lunaria annua 'Chedglow'. Something didn't seem quite right though - the penny was not long to drop. Whilst 'Sylphide' looks brilliant growing at the allotment the flowers are a very much in your face pink and dominated the vase at the expense of its companions. A touch of light was needed - either pink or white or the anemones needed to shed their company. A flying trip to the allotment late this morning provided the answer in the shape of some white blossom along the road leading to the site. There was such a profusion of blossom that I didn't feel guilty snipping the odd branch for my vase. I'm not sure what the blossom is although I know that there are some cherry trees along the road.

    The vase is an old favourite which my Mum gave me many moons ago after I came across it lurking in a cupboard.

    As always thanks to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who is the muse behind this great way to start off the week.

    Saturday, 1 April 2017

    End Of Month View ~ March 2017

    I hadn't realised that a whole year had passed without me posting an End Of Month View, which has been most remiss as it's a great meme for keeping track of new developments in the garden and allotment. So I'm back with one day in March which just happened to be the last day of the month. I can't remember how the month started but here it did go out like a lamb. It was one of those days when it was blissful to be working outdoors.

    I decided to make a start on planting up a section of the garden which was in desperate need of a makeover. An aged dogwood had made a bid for world domination sending suckers hither and thither. It just had to come out and himself proved to be the strong man for the job. There is also another shrub in the shape of a hardy fuchsia which will also probably be extracted later in the year. I'm reluctant to remove it as I think that it's the first plant that I ever grew from a cutting but it does get in the way where it is. If it comes out I will certainly make sure that I've established some cuttings first.

    I have had it in mind for some time to plant more of my named special snowdrops into the ground and this seemed a perfect spot to get a few in. Growing them in pots has some advantages but has ceased to have some charm as their numbers have grown. Crates full to the gunnels of pots are getting more challenging to lug in and out of the greenhouse and tend to as the years go by, so I'm looking at making life easier. I will still keep a few specials in pots but want to try to plant the majority of them out. I know that snowdrops are happy in this spot - there is a clump of galanthus plicatus here already, some galanthus 'Lady Beatrice Stanley' and a clump of galanthus 'Blonde Inge' which is in need of division. I also wanted another dogwood or two to keep them company and have promised himself that I will keep them under control.

    Work began yesterday morning with tidying up the surface of the soil. Three buckets of twiggy debris and leaves were removed. Some new compost was added. Then time for a bowl of soup before returning to an initial planting session. I've kept the back of the border clear for now to allow space to give the railings a lick of paint. The railings mark one of the garden boundaries and are about twelve feet above a small surface water stream. Come later in spring the border becomes very shady as the willow on the other side of the stream greens up. Our resident ducks were out for a morning constitutional down below which was good to see.

    MR & MRS

    Plants that went in during the afternoon were cornus sanguinea' Midwinter Fire', cornus sanguinea 'Anny's Orange', pulmonaria 'Opal', thalitcrum inchangense, geranium phaeum 'Album', arum italicum 'Mamoratum', a brunnera that was lurking in the cold frame - probably 'Jack Frost' and a white flowering  Lamprocapnos spectablis. There was much dithering over which snowdrops to plant and so far only two were planted. These are the early flowering galanthus elwesii 'Peter Gatehouse' and the rather unfortunately named but beautifully marked galanthus 'Trumps'.

    Come late afternoon I called it a day. Despite himself's muscle there were still signs of the dogwood under ground which I encountered whilst planting. Several tugs of war later I was worn out. I still have more planting to do - I would like to duplicate some of the planting, get more snowdrops in, plant a shrub (still to be chosen) in front of where the two walls meet, plant a couple of hellebores (debating which colour) and to sneak some interest in for later in the year. As always there is never enough room. I'm also wondering whether to leave my wooden dragonfly in. It has just come out of its winter hibernation in the garage. Oh and then the geranium phaeums at the front will be removed, the border needs some bark on it and then edging, the gravel needs refreshing etc, etc...... Hopefully I will be back next month with an update. Thanks as always to the lovely Helen, The Patient Gardener who is the most inspirational hostess encouraging us to share views at the end of each month.

    Monday, 27 March 2017

    In A Vase On Monday ~ Stealth

    Whilst my back was turned for a weekend away some bright tulip colour quietly crept in and took me by surprise on my return this afternoon. I make no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with tulips - love the flowers and hate the leaves. I think that the bulbs pick up on my vibes so don't usually perform well. Sadly my autumnal bulb planting schedule went out of the window last year, so nearly all of my hopes in the tulip department have been pinned on bulbs that were planted in pots in the autumn of 2015. After flowering the pots were unceremoniously shoved at the back of the greenhouse and have been left to their own devices ever since. They have rewarded me with what seems the earliest ever tulips in flower so of course a trio of stems had to be snipped to leap in to this week's 'In A Vase On Monday'. Unless the squirrels have been playing musical labels I'm reasonably sure that these are 'Orange Emperor'. Along with them a stem of a hellebore (name unknown,very tall stems) together with a trio of narcissus - 'Thalia', 'WP Milner and sweet scented 'Bridal Crown'. I'm not sure whether I've shown the vase on a blog post before. It's a fairly recent find from a charity shop and it's Chinese. That's all I can tell you about it.

    I wasn't sure whether I would get a vase together today but then I remembered that magical extra hour of daylight that we have gained, so there has been time to catch up with some domestic chores and still time to play. Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling At The Garden' for her unwavering prompt to celebrate the start of a new week with some flowery goodness.