The Tuesday View: 26th July 2016

My view today is actually from Monday – luckily I had already taken some photos yesterday, late afternoon, as I knew rain was forecast for today… in actual fact it rained shortly after taking these pictures too. I think Bavaria has shifted somewhere nearer the tropics and our humidity is rising daily!

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Most years the ferns, bottom left, are scorched and shrivelled by now – I usually cut them right back around the summer equinox, but with this year’s weather where we get regular heavy rain they might even last until the autumn!

The Perovskia is glowing like a blue beacon, with the Scabiosa ochroleuca in front now flowering too…

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… and the Perovskia is also humming from the sound of bees…

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I couldn’t resist showing another picture of my beloved Crocosmia, with the yellow Potentilla shrub as a backdrop…

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And here is the view from a slightly different angle, photographed from the top of the steps instead of halfway down. I miss the Centranthus this year, which has almost completely gone over. I will have to think of another filler for high summer in case this happens regularly in future…

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I hope you will join me in focusing on one view each Tuesday, to see how it changes through the seasons.

What is attracting the bees to your garden right now, and is your view still lush and green?

In a Vase on Monday: Garden Joy

After using wild flowers recently, my Monday vases this week are made up of flowers from my garden alone.

Vase25th1Two small vases with a big backdrop!

The first has a snapdragon as its centre piece, then Verbena, Perovskia, Heuchera and Allium encircled by Japanese Anemones.

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The second has a yellow Achillea at the centre, as well as a small pale pink Hydrangea with yellow tinges.

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It also includes yellow Marigolds, a Clematis tangutica bud, a sprig of Euonymus foliage, some fading Sage and a Nigella seedhead.

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It’s amazing what fits into a small vase, but I shall have to watch them carefully to keep them topped up with water.

The Crocosmia in the background is wonderful, and on the far right you can see the Lythrum I featured last week.

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Do join in and share the joy of your garden in vase – or at least visit our host, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, and some of the other vase-makers linking in from around the world.

😀

Thursday’s Feature: Lythrum salicaria

This Thursday I am joining Kimberley at Cosmos and Cleome again in featuring a plant growing in my garden. Until choosing this plant for my feature today, I was unaware of its common name Purple Loosestrife, as I only knew the botanical name Lythrum salicaria and the German name ‘Blutweiderich’. I had heard of Purple Loosestrife, but never put two and two together!

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Lythrum loves damp ground, so this year it has done much better than usual. It is one of the few plants that I water if it is dry. It grows down near our river, where it gets taller than mine – this one is just 50cm tall but in the wild with the right conditions I have seen it about 80cm tall too.

It is a fantastic plant for pollinators of all kinds, especially bees and hoverflies…

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Lythrum appears late, with the first leaves visible only after the last tulips have flowered.  It is therefore useful for areas where spring bulbs leave a gap. And in autumn the foliage turns orangey red, prolonging the interest. But the flowers are what I grow it for in this area reserved predominantly for herbs. And it has had many herbal uses in the past; as a diuretic, for stopping bleeding, for stomach disorders and even for skin problems.

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The Nigella seedheads are a happy coincidence, reflecting the pinky red of the flowers and buds. The yellow in the background is St John’s Wort.

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Do you grow this flower, or have you seen it growing nearby?

Thanks to our host once more – do go and visit Kimberley to see what she is featuring this week.

:)

The Tuesday View: 19th July 2016

The strong morning light gives the rockery a different feel, and although the colours are not as intense as later in the day, I feel I must record this too. So today an image from around 9.30am…

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The Perovskia is getting bluer and stragglier by the day – I do love the way it stretches out in all directions, unaware of any need to behave and tidy itself up a bit – exactly how I want it to be!

You may just be able to spot a splash of orange at the top of the rockery, dead centre (click on the photo to enlarge and zoom in)… my Crocosmia is starting to flower and it is wonderful! I will have to take more photos in a week or so, but here is an image of it taken from the top of the rockery, with the Perovskia in the background…

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The Geranium sanguineum, near the bottom, is attracting bees for breakfast…

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And the dark Day Lily, hiding at the bottom of the photo behind a Buxus, is enjoying the last few moments of shade before the sun reaches it too…

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On the right, in front of the Golden Euonymus, the gorgeous Persicaria/Polygonum amplexicaule is flowering. I love the pale foliage of this one, ‘Firetail’, and the flowers are often still standing in November!

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That is my view today, on a hot sunny July morning. Do join me in sharing one single view of your garden each week, to record the changes it sees through the seasons.

In a Vase on Monday: Buttermilk

Cream, yellow and white seem to be predominant colours all around us now, with the hedgerows alive with St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum), Queen Ann’s Lace (Daucus carota), golden grasses and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), to name just a few.

I picked some wild flowers from the edges of a meadow that has not been cut at all this summer, and plonked them in a vase. But for Cathy’s meme I decided a ‘proper’ vase was needed and gathered more creams and whites and yellows for my milk jug. This was also inspired by the roadsides and hedges, and by the jug itself.

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The Leucanthemum daisies and yellow Achillea ‘Parker’ were the starting point. Then Alchemilla mollis and some yellow Fennel were added, along with some Feverfew, Clematis seed heads, a white Heuchera flower, wild Yarrow and some white airy wild flowers that look a bit like cow parsley, but I don’t know what they are…. Milk Parsley perhaps?

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I love the sunshine effect this vase created when I brought it inside.😀

And here was the first vase from the meadow. I may not have identified everything correctly, as there were a few things I recognize but have never named…

There is a large stem of Artemisia in there too, as well as various clovers, some Agrimony and some wild Yarrow (Achillea).

Our host Cathy at Rambling in the Garden is having a party with Annabelle today, so do drop by for a share in the celebrations!😉

The Tuesday View: 12th July 2016

A thunderstorm overnight has brought temperatures down to the 20s and has provided the garden with a good drink and the gardener with the opportunity to do some tidying up… after all, I wanted to make my view look a bit respectable before showing it to you today! When I took the photos it was drizzling slightly, but already it is raining quite hard again.

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Both the Lavender and the purple Linaria are going over – we had some pretty high temperatures at the weekend. But now the Perovskia is slowly becoming the focus, while the red rose (cut back this morning) is still going strong with plenty of new buds. The Centranthus has run out of steam and although I have only trimmed it back, I don’t think it will flower much more this summer… with no hummingbird hawk-moths to visit it has little function anyway, as the bees and most butterflies (except the skippers) seem to prefer the lavender and other flowers. And now my dwarf Buddleia (‘Buzz Velvet’) is also out (just behind the red rose at the top of the rockery) so the Marbled Whites and Tortoiseshells have been visiting its rich magenta blooms.

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By next week my Crocosmia should also be visible (you can see the leaves behind/to the right of the buddleia) … exciting for me as they rarely flower in our normal summers. They clearly like a damp spring.

What changes have you observed in your garden this week? Do join me in sharing your view each week, to focus on the seasons progressing. Kimberley at Cosmos and Cleome also often shows us several of her views on a Tuesday, while I just focus on one. If you wish, leave a link in the comments so we can find you and can enjoy watching the seasons change in other parts of the world too.😀

In a Vase on Monday: the Ikebana Challenge

Those of you who follow this meme will know that our wonderful host Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden, has set us a challenge for today; to ‘have a go’ at an ikebana style vase.

At first I felt very daunted; many years ago I spent some time teaching in Japan, and one of my students was a Buddhist priest who I taught at his amazing home and temple. His beautiful wife was schooled in all the skills her position required, such as singing, performing the tea ceremony, and of course Ikebana. I often admired her stunning creations. Later on, a visit to a presentation for tourists explaining the background to Ikebana reinforced the idea in my mind that this was an art way beyond my comprehension.

However, as this past week progressed, and with encouragement from my sister, I found myself looking at Pinterest, contemplating the possibilities with the tools and plants I have at my disposal, and planning what I might try out.  And I started looking forward to participating!

So here we are:

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One tall Allium sphaerocephalon, a Hydrangea flower and some Crocosmia leaves cut off at an angle, all inserted into floral foam.

The second vase was intended as a backup should this planned one fail:

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The vase itself was a present from my sister.:) The three stages of the Leucanthemum at different heights are tied together with grass, albeit invisibly.

I have always hesitated at cutting day lilies as they do only last a day, but the ephemeral nature seemed fitting for a Japanese theme, so this final effort was a simple ‘playing around’ with some props from my time in Japan, and the burnt orange day lily cut right at the base of the flower:

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(Those chopsticks were the ones I used on a daily basis, carried around in my bag in a special case, to avoid the wasteful use of the throwaway chopsticks used at every eating place.)

This was so much fun, despite the intense heat which forced me to give up on capturing the first vase exactly as I wanted. The vase itself, however, was extremely satisfying as it was very simple to put together once planned.

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A big thank you to Cathy for hosting, and to her and all the other bloggers who post vases on a weekly basis for being so encouraging and inspiring – you are an incredible crowd!

😀