In a Vase on Monday: Advent Sunshine

Well, after a cold blast last week our temperatures are much milder again now. And although much has now shrivelled and died back in the garden there are still a few surprises. So I am pleased to be joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden again with a Monday vase.

These treasures were found in the Herb Bed, exposed to the icy wind and cold.

Echinacea ‘Flame Thrower’ and Hypericum ‘Miracle Night’

Both were placed in a small pot which a friend gave me for storing dried herbs and spices, but I immediately saw its potential as a vase!

I wonder if you have any surprises left in your gardens after the first signs of winter?

Have a good week, whatever the weather!

πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

In a Vase on Monday: Gold

Another week has flown by and it is time to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden once again with a vase of materials from our gardens.

Last week my vase featured soft silvers and blues, so this week I decided to bring some bolder colours indoors. The flowers used are mainly from the sunshine bed. The starting point however was some Golden Rod growing just outside our garden fence… a sure sign that summer is slowly coming to an end.

Various sunflowers add some more yellow and gold tones, while the Tithonia, Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Glow’ (gorgeous isn’t it?) and Echinacea ‘Flame Thrower’ provide some orange.

A couple of Zinnias add a hint of red – the seed packets said they would be pink and white, but I am so glad they turned out this colour!

The grasses are Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ and a wild grass which looks like the original grass Mr Foerster got his inspiration from. In fact it was seeing these grasses growing in the wild that ignited my growing passion for using grasses within my own garden. I added another splash of gold from some Euphorbia and a sprig of fennel, Patrinia scabiosifolia and Hypericum from the herb bed.

(Click on any picture for a slide show)

I hope these colours have made your Monday a bit sunnier. πŸ™‚

Have a good week!

In a Vase on Monday: Silvery Charm

Rain!

Yes, we have had two more entire days of good rain and everything is turning green again. With heavenly temperatures below 20Β°C and a damp garden under cloudy skies the silvery plants in the butterfly and herb beds sparkled and I decided to use them for a vase so I could join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her Monday meme.

The glare of the sun has been a problem with photography recently, but today it was hard to find a light spot!

At the centre of my vase is white Echinacea Baby Swan, which was planted in the herb bed last autumn. It is a novelty not to have young plants nibbled by slugs and snails – Echinaceas were impossible to grow in my old garden! The blue Scabiosa was grown from seed: Scabiosa caucasica ‘Perfection Blue’. It has such a lovely large flower compared with the annual ones. Other flowers are white Cosmos (possibly ‘Purity’), Coriander, Borage, Perovskia and a sprig of Buddleia ‘Pink Delight’, which has indeed been delightful. The silvery foliage is Artemisia ‘Silver Queen’ and Senecio (with the yellow flowers chopped off!)

And to complete the silver theme I added a prop this week – my silver charm bracelet which has probably not been worn for over a decade, maybe two. But each charm was a gift and has happy memories attached. πŸ™‚

I resorted to taking photos indoors with flash to get a picture of the entire vase…

 

As always, a big thanks to Cathy for hosting and encouraging us all to bring flowers indoors to enjoy close up – particularly uplifting on a wet day. I must admit we have been relishing this weather though and are not complaining!

Have a great week and hope you get the weather you and your gardens wish for.

πŸ™‚

Heatwaves, Summer Flu, some Tuesday Views and a Mystery Plant

Having recovered from the second (mega) heatwave and a rather nasty summer flu virus, temperatures (both mine and outside!) have subsided enough for me to enjoy the garden and share a few Tuesday Views at last. πŸ™‚

At the beginning of July I enjoyed a two-week interlude between our heatwaves with pleasant temperatures and good company while my sister visited πŸ™‚ The garden was left mostly to its own devices and a few individual plants were watered to tide them over. Overall, considering the incredibly low rainfall we have had since April, the new beds have done well with minimal watering. I am constantly amazed.

Here is the Sunshine Bed in early August…

The annuals really filled in the spaces and the fact that they all survived has confirmed my suspicions that slugs and snails and not lack of watering were responsible for previous failures in my old garden. So far slugs are few and far between here, and I don’t think I have seen any snails yet!

Tithonia, various sunflowers, cosmos, as well as some (leftover) zinnias – which have fortunately turned out to be red – have transformed the bed into a sunny oasis in the dry surroundings.

And I finally got some Californina poppies to grow for me!

Oh, and a mystery plant… it may have been in with some leftover seed scattered haphazardly, but is more likely to be a weed as the flowers are rather unspectacular. But I have never seen it before. Any ideas?

 

 

The Butterfly Bed has done well too, although more ground cover will be needed – autumn will probably become my main planting season as two dry springs and summers in a row have been a challenge.

The Buddleias steal the show and have been attracting butterflies galore. Mostly Painted Ladies, a couple of Swallowtails, some Fritillaries, loads of small blues and recently also Red Admirals…

Some sturdy Scabiosa have finally flowered – sown indoors in February they were brutally planted out at the end of March and barely started growing until the end of June. But they are rewarding me with dozens of flowers and buds. πŸ™‚

And finally, the Herb Bed…

Some of the annuals are looking a little tired – it has been a tough summer. But along with the beautiful Stipa tenuissima, the Hypericums and fennel, Echinacea and Baldrian (Valerian? ‘Patrinia scabiosifolia’), as well as some cosmos and Tithonia the whole bed has provided interest since mid-June.

 

 

 

Do you also feel summer is flying by? July is just a blur now, and I am wondering what the rest of August will bring… more showers we hope!

I have put Β all the photos in a slideshow…

 

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I hope to catch up with some blog-reading soon and wonder how everyone’s summer is progressing. I do hope excessive heat or rain hasn’t stopped you enjoying your gardens.

Happy August! πŸ˜ƒπŸŒΈβ˜€οΈ

 

New Beginnings

Planting a garden from scratch is a very pleasurable thing to do, but it does require patience. πŸ˜‰ Until the beginning of March there was nothing to see out there apart from my Hellebores, and the two flower beds – just large patches of brown soil – did not look promising!

Last autumn I posted here about my new Herb Bed and Butterfly Bed. I planted both mainly with small plants, delivered from my favourite nursery in 9cm pots. Bulbs were then also planted and since February a few additions have been made. So now I invite you to come along with me and see how the garden is looking a few months later.

Here is the Butterfly Bed in spring…

Yes, it still looks rather bare! But I am very optimistic as I believe almost every single plant has come through. (One aster is still not showing any signs of life, and I am not sure the Verbena bonariensis will have survived.) The Hellebores are still going strong – here is the star of the show, Ice ‘N’ Roses “Rose”…

It has just flowered non-stop since October, and the flowers seem a much deeper pink than when I first planted it.

And here is another I planted earlier this year: ‘Double Ellen Pink’…

I love those frilly petals!

And ‘Double Prince White’…

This one can hardly be called white, rather a lovely cream with beautiful green centres as the flowers fade.

The bulbs were very slow to come up and flower, but that may be due to the fact that there is so far no shelter in this very exposed site. That should change next year, as ground cover and grasses fill out. The last week or so has been warm and sunny though, and the grass is growing and the first tulips have opened.

Tulip turkestanica…

… and my old favourites ‘Heart’s Delight’. The stems grow a little each day, and the colour deepens within days from almost white to a deep coral pink with a gorgeous canary yellow centre.

The Anemone blanda opened at the weekend too. You can also just see a Geranium phaeum seedling on the right here – brought over from the old garden. I am hoping it will spread itself around here too.

I also brought back some Primula seedlings and this Pulmonaria, which was right next to one labelled ‘Wuppertal’, so I am callling it that since I know no better!

I haven’t managed to get any photos yet, but the butterfly bed has had some butterflies visit already – Peacocks, Tortoiseshells and Brimstones. Plenty of bees too. πŸ™‚

Now let’s take a very brief look at the Herb Bed as it is still looking rather empty…

Although predominantly herbs, there are a few other plants as fillers, and naturally plenty of spring bulbs. I am pleased to see that all the Stipa tenuissima seem to be alive as I was warned young plants may not be entirely hardy. And the Rosemary didn’t bat an eyelid at being buried under a mountain of snow that fell on it from the roof! Talking of snow, a splash of blue Glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa) is nice against the brown soil. πŸ™‚ (That is lemon Thyme in the background).

One lesson learned this winter was that wooden lollipop sticks for labels using normal pens is not a good idea. After rain, snow and wind they are practically indecipherable! I am writing down every single plant added to the garden, but I wonder how long I will keep that up. I do have a few black plastic labels and find that silver or white markers work very well and last for several years. But perhaps you have another labelling system that is more environmentally friendly?

Do share!

Thanks for joining me.

Happy gardening!

πŸ™‚