My Heart’s Delight

I planted a few tulips in pots last autumn, and the first ones to open were Tulipa kaufmanniana ‘Heart’s Delight’.

 

I have grown these for several years now, and find they don’t last many years in the ground, producing just leaves. So I decided to try containers for a change. They stood outside all winter, close to the wall on the north side of the house, and were basically ignored until I noticed them showing shoots!

I watered them sparingly and moved them into a sunny position. They started flowering  about a week earlier than those in the ground.

They have dark green stripy leaves, which add to their attraction both before and after flowering. Sadly I have more leaves than flowers these days – this picture below of the spring corner was taken several years ago.

The Spring Corner (under the Yew tree)

At first the flowers are mostly white, with an egg-yolk centre, but gradually they turn pinker and pinker – a kind of sunset orangey-pink. In the picture above you can see them at both stages. Delightful, don’t you think?

With Corydalis ‘Beth Evans’

The name of this pretty little tulip reminded me of a wonderful song you may have heard of. And not only beacause of the title but also the singer! The English title is ‘You are my Heart’s Delight‘,  but the original was German – ‘Dein ist mein ganzes Herz’. It is an aria taken from a Franz Lehar operetta and Jonas Kaufmann  sang it at the Last Night of the Proms in the Albert Hall in London a few years ago. I have been smitten with it ever since! Here is a German version with Placido Domingo…

Or if you prefer to hear it in English here is Richard Tauber singing it; he was the man who made it internationally famous after its success in Austria and Germany. The lyrics are lovely in both languages!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JtgmKpcgQ30

 

Have you ever grown this pretty flower, or maybe a similar early tulip?

In a Vase on Monday: Bohemian

Autumn has arrived, accompanied by still, chilly, misty mornings and golden sunshine. As I collected flowers this morning for my Monday vase I realised that fellow bloggers around the world will be doing the same at some stage today; a lovely thought, giving me that sense of connecting with like-minded people across the miles. 😀

This special vase* may or may not be Bohemian glass, but inspired me to try and create something romantic, gypsy-like, with a little wildness to it. I am not sure I succeeded, but the result is nonetheless pleasing!

I used Roses, Aster ‘Lutetia’, Scabiosa, Verbena, Cosmos, Helianthus, Golden Rod, Geranium, Anemone ‘Serenade’ and some sprigs of Sage, Miscanthus, Teucrium and various odds and ends of foliage.

I love this Aster, which is flowering extra long this year after all the rain we have had this summer.

Thanks go to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme, where we are encouraged to create an arrangement from materials in our gardens. Do visit her to see what she and others have found this week to plonk/arrange carefully in a vase/suitable alternative receptacle, with or without props!

Happy Autumn!

(Or Spring if you are in the southern hemisphere! 🙂  )

*A gift from my neighbour‘s daughter, as a memento of her dear parents.

In a Vase on Monday: The Sun and the Moon

With abundant spring sunshine and a full moon tonight, yellow and white are the colours I chose to put in a vase today, as I join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her weekly meme.

When I look at the night sky I love to think that some of you – hundreds of miles away – may be looking at that same sky or moon. And a connection is there…

I also chose a round vase to echo my thoughts… the sun, moon and the globe itself.

My yellow Hellebore ‘Frühlingssonne’ (Spring Sunshine) really took off this year, after just two winters in the garden. It is fading now, but I like it at this stage best as the heads turn slightly upwards and can be seen better.

The vase contains a mix of various Narcissi, including the lovely creamy multiple flower ‘Cheerfulness’, and below you can also see a little white Pulmonaria in the foreground; the label is long gone, but it could be either ‘Sissinghurst White’  or – perhaps more appropriately – ‘Mrs Moon’.

😀

My cowslips have lovely tall stems this year, so are ideal for picking, and I also cut just one of these lovely yellow double tulips.

Other flowers and foliage included are Mahonia, some early summer snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’ – see below), Golden Euonymus, and some starry white Omphalodes verna ‘Alba’.

 I look forward to finding out what is in other Monday vases around the world later today.

And if it is a clear sky for you tonight, do take a glance up at the full moon and perhaps you will understand what I mean…

🌝

Looking Back

It was a strange summer for me this year; our beautiful old Irish wolfhound, who had been such a major and joyful part of our lives for almost ten years, died in early July. Hence the blogging break for a couple of months as I came to terms with that and all the ensuing changes.

Not only that, it was extremely hot and dry – the third hottest summer on record here, and the driest in over 50 years. I almost gave up on the garden as it shrivelled and burnt, with temperatures in the mid-30s all through July and August (apart from just a couple of cooler days in between.) We do not have a well in our garden, since we live on a very rocky hill, so watering long-term is not an option.

But then a last-minute attempt to save it with several evenings with the sprinkler proved a success and almost everything survived! Even my new dwarf Buddleia “Buzz Velvet” rewarded me with flowers after the first buds had been singed and failed to open.

Buddleia

Although the heat forced me to be physically inactive, I did spend some quality time with my family, partner and our other dog. I  also leisurely browsed blog posts, admiring your beautiful vases and gardens, while my fingers were kept active crocheting – yes, a new hobby of mine. My summer project was very calming, inspired by Eliza when she posted a vase photographed on a beautiful vintage pansy doily (Eliza’s Doily) in June. (Thanks again Eliza!) My sister helped me immensely, actually tracking down the original pattern in a 1949 pamphlet that some kind soul had scanned in and put on the internet!

My version is somewhat different, but I am quite pleased with it…

Doily

Another of Eliza’s posts was simply magical – do take a look at it here before summer is over: Lazy Summer Afternoon .

I thoroughly enjoyed all of Jason’s Tithonia posts this summer (Garden in a City) where he showed us his Mexican Sunflowers getting taller – I just love the way he describes how he deadheads them and would like someone to ring a bell each time he snips off a dead flower! (Jason’s Tithonias). A big thank you Jason, for introducing me to this plant last summer. I grew mine from seed and absolutely adore them – as do the bees and other insects!

Tithonia2

I also enjoyed reading about Cathy’s challenge to herself to not buy any plants next year… one I will not be joining in with as I do not have that same self-discipline but also because I need to make changes in the rockery to grow more drought-tolerant plants. Good luck Cathy!

EarthWalker2

Then I followed Christina’s plans for changing her view from her terrace – which she is already putting into action. Her planting has inspired me over the years, as she also has very dry summers and long periods of intense heat in her Italian garden.

Cosmos1

Annette’s Book, “Gartenträume”, has finally been published. Sadly it is only available in German (at the moment?) but I am taking great pleasure in reading about the gardens she has focused on  – including her own. Exquisite photography and a truly wonderful way with words makes this a joy to read. Well done Annette! If you speak German then do take a look at it here.

Valentine

Weather watching from a Scottish Croft Garden, glimpses of a Norwegian summer, Monday vases (Wild Daffodil gave us the tip to type in “In a vase on Monday” in Google Images – what a lovely sight!), butterflies and rainbows, hummingbirds and bloggers’ flings, all kept me well-entertained during my break. So THANK YOU fellow bloggers!

Cosmos2

Hope you all had a good summer, and thanks for dropping by.

🙂

 

 

 

The International Year of Soils

Did you know that 2015 has been designated International Year of Soils by the United Nations?

Logo of International Year of Soils 2015

I was a bit slow reacting to this, but then I finally got round to reading a few articles about it. And they got me thinking…

~~

“The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
~~

SOIL

DIRT        EARTH

MUD     MUCK

COMPOST

It is under our feet, maybe covered with concrete, gravel or tarmac, but it is everywhere and we rarely give it a thought. Okay, if you’re a gardener then you probably do think about it. You think about it being acid or alkaline, sandy or clay, stony, rich, poor, fertile, compact, organic and maybe a few more adjectives spring to mind. But on a grander scale what about soil erosion or desertification, contamination and pollution, soil degradation, increased salinity, soil management in developing countries…?

The aim of the IYS is to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem functions

Raising awareness is only the first step. After all, we are all very aware of global climate change and yet our governments still refuse to sign this or that agreement, to invest more in renewable energy, or to reduce subsidies for blatantly environmentally-damaging products and processes. But it is an important step as, at the end of the day, it is down to individuals to bring about change.

~~

“The fate of the soil system depends on society’s willingness to intervene in the market place, and to forego some of the short-term benefits that accrue from ‘mining’ the soil so that soil quality and fertility can be maintained over the longer term.”

Eugene Odum (US biologist known for his pioneering work on ecosystem ecology)

~~

The next stage promoted by this awareness campaign is to educate people about how important soil is for our ecosystems as a whole and how it affects not only our health, but also our economic welfare; sustainable soil management is the practical form of this educational process and must be invested in – worldwide – with the support of government policies and protective legislation.

The EU – after many years of deliberation – still does not have a cohesive soil governance policy, relying only on environmental policies and legislation of member states. Do we need a single policy? Or should soil governance be a regional issue? After all, the effects of poor soil management can have global repercussions…

~

~

One square metre of rich soil can harbour as many as 1,000,000,000 organisms, including nematodes, bacteria, slugs, insects etc

~

I Heart Soil English Image - Small

In Germany I have only been able to find a few events taking place to celebrate the Year of Soils – mostly rather dry-sounding lectures in distant cities.  But I have found a few links to interesting sites. In particular this one: http://saveoursoils.com/en

Please take a look at it. There is a wealth of information here, with some great short videos and a list of things you can do to help;

Buy organic

Garden organically

Eat less meat

Compost

Look out for more information and pass it on!

(e.g. Write a blog post about it, however long or short, or simply add a couple of links to interesting articles or videos)

~~~

Did you know that earthworms can deposit up to 10 kilos per square metre per year of valuable worm droppings in the soil?

(Neither did I! 😉 )

~~~

“We are able to breathe, drink, and eat in comfort because millions of organisms and hundreds of processes are operating to maintain a liveable environment, but we tend to take nature’s services for granted because we don’t pay money for most of them.”

Eugene Odum

Here are some other links. There really is so much information online, so this is just a selection of what I found recently:

Earthworm Society of Britain

Global Soil Week

Video “Support World Soil Day”

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

The International Union of Soil Sciences

http://www.soilassociation.org/internationalyearofsoils

 So, have I got YOU thinking too now? I do hope so!

The Weary Garden(er)

OrangePassion1

Live each day as if it were your last, and garden as though you will live forever.

(Author Unknown)

~~~

After two years of posting a Tuesday view it was very strange not to do so this week… but the view is getting ugly and I am tired of it. On Monday I had cut back most of the shrinking plants and finished mulching with shredded leaves – not a pretty sight! Perhaps I will come up with a new view in spring, but for now it’s time for hibernation reflection and dreaming of warm spring sunshine and colour!

SpringCorner1stApril

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.

(Henry David Thoreau)

~~~

Whilst tidying up I noticed that the Centranthus, which still had a couple of flowers on it, was already sprouting new leaves from the base. I am always amazed at how few Centranthus plants there are that fill the whole rockery in summer. One small plant that got pulled up by mistake has been replanted and I hope I will now have those red flowers all summer on the west side of the rockery too. I also noticed some Hellebore flowers and a few grape hyacinth leaves, although most of the garden is now looking brown and bare. But wasn’t it glorious in the summer!

TuesdayView1st01

What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.

(Author Unknown)

~~~

In December I shall be quietly reflecting on the year in my garden and will share a few of my favourite moments. It would be lovely if any of you would like to join me and also share some of your best memories of your gardens in 2014.

What do you say?

🙂

Just Beeing

A hot July afternoon

JustBeeing1

And the garden is buzzing

JustBeeing2

Lazily

JustBeeing5

Hazily

JustBeeing6

There’s climbing

JustBeeing3

And ambling

JustBeeing4

And bumbling

JustBeeing7

And swinging

in the hammock

Swinging

That last picture surprised you didn’t it?! 😉

This is the nearest I will get to posting a “selfie”, which was the recent subject of a great post by my dear blogging friend Nancy at “Life is Color“. Nancy also wrote a post about why she writes, after I invited her to take part in the blog hop. Take a look at her site some time. It’s precious!

🙂