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.