In a Vase on Monday: Monster Catkins

Monday, and despite yet another storm and snow and hail showers I do actually have a vase to share today, joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her lovely meme.

These innocent little catkins found their way into a vase the other day. They had been rescued from a fallen grey poplar tree – one of the casualties of our February snow.

Only a few hours later, after a good drink, they looked like this!

They smell slightly smoky… I wonder if that is normal or because the tree they were growing on was uprooted.

I brought some sprigs of Forsythia back from our old garden last week, which started opening within two days of warmth. Everything was put into a fresh vase.

The other catkins are common Hazel. I love hazel catkins, but next to these poplar ones they are somewhat plain, don’t you think? 😉

(Oh, and the roses that crept into the last photo are from the supermarket!) Thanks to Cathy – do go and visit her for some spring colour – I think spring is springing in the UK!

 

A Taste of Spring and a ‘Vase’ on Monday

Since the end of last November we have had hard frosts almost every night, and every morning I look out at my poor hellebores lying prostrate and forlorn…

… then a couple of hours later (if temperatures have risen above freezing point) they will be standing upright once again… a daily miracle that I have wondered at time and again!

A couple of hours later

I am very impressed with the pink Ice ‘n’ Roses ‘rose’ hellebore I planted last autumn. It has flowered non-stop despite the frosts. My white one – ‘Christmas Carol’ – has also done well and both have large enough flowers to be visible from some distance.

I recently visited a nearby garden centre to look for another one to join them. There was little choice (garden centres here are half empty at this time of year, since the ground is usually frozen) but I did find a small ‘Double Ellen Purple’ which had been on my wish list. With some sunny days and milder nights forecast I will plant it out later.

Double Ellen Purple

How wonderful it is to be out gardening once again!

Other news in my garden:

  • The rosemary seems to have survived the winter…so far! (A late March freeze last year got my last one, so I mustn’t speak too soon)
  • The greenhouse is in the process of being planned – it will have a solid foundation with a base wall, so planning permission and building work will mean it might be up by the autumn. I’m a gardener, so I have patience!
  • My Man of Many Talents has kindly dug over a new patch of grass for my next project: the Sunshine Bed. I am so excited about it! (More on that when planting starts in April)
  • We have dozens of mistle thrushes feeding on worms on the ground all around the house at various times of the day – even when there is still frost. They hop a few steps and cock their heads to one side as if listening and then…. ‘peck’ and the worm is gone! They are such pretty birds, but very shy, so this is the best shot I have got so far.

Mistle thrush

Mistle thrushes feeding

I am pleased we have enough worms for them!

Finally, a little taste of spring in my teacup…

One of each of my hellebores: Ice ‘n’ Roses ‘rose’, Double Ellen Purple, and Christmas Carol.

Thanks go to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting the In a Vase on Monday meme. Go and visit her to see what she and other bloggers around the globe are finding in their gardens for a vase (or two) this week.

In a Vase on Monday: Apple Blossom

Ha, I wonder how many of you thought I would be showing a branch of apple blossom! Hope this is not a disappointment…

Hippeastrum ‘Apple Blossom’

This is my third Amaryllis this winter. The first one, Red Pearl, is flowering on a second stalk, and last week’s ‘Alfresco’ is still looking wonderful with another bud just showing.

Our snow has almost melted away and I can feel the first ache for some spring colour. Just a little green would be nice. Still, I have these lovely indoor plants to tide me over, and today I will be looking at all the other vases participating in Cathy’s meme. Do go and visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what treasures she has found (in more ways than one) today!

(Not) In A Vase On Monday: November???

I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to celebrate the fifth anniversary of ‘In a Vase on Monday’. Congratulations to Cathy and all those who have joined in over the past five years!

This meme has enabled me to see flowers, foliage and grasses from places in the world I will most likely never visit, as gardeners share the secrets of their beautiful gardens in a vase each week. And it has been an opportunity to share my flowers with others too. I remember being so hesitant at cutting materials when I first joined in, but gradually developed my garden so that I always had plenty of flowers for bringing indoors. And now my new garden at our house out in the countryside is being planted with vases in mind too. What a brainwave this meme was, and it is still going strong!

Well, my neglected garden at the old house has amazed me this year. With very little attention, and no watering during the months of drought, here are some summer flowers still looking good in NOVEMBER!

While doing some tidying up at the weekend I stopped for a brief cup of coffee and took my mug out into the garden. It soon became a provisional vase for trimmings, so I decided it would suit for Cathy’s theme ‘Not in a vase on Monday’ for today. I realised afterwards that it is my ‘Happiness Garden’ mug. (Zoom in and you will see the print). How appropriate!

The Persicaria is still flowering like mad, and the lovely purple Geranium too. I found a few half-decent golden asters (Chrysopsis speciosa ‘Sunnyshine’), some fresh lavender(!) and a couple of roses from my red patio rose. A sprig of Miscanthus, some golden Euonymus, various Hypericum flowers and some sedum also went into the mug. The orange ‘lanterns’ from the Physalis alkekengi are so cheerful dotted around the rockery, but I have pulled a lot out again or they would take over. The best seedheads are then always saved for decoration.

Has your autumn also been so mild? Despite a couple of early frosts and some foggy mornings it has been more like spring than autumn, and many plants are growing new leaves.

Now, do go and visit Cathy and all the others who have posted vases today. A big thank you to Cathy, as always!

🍁🍄🍁

 

 

In a Vase on Monday: Frost and sunshine

This morning it was white when I raised the blinds and peered out of the window…. no, not snow, thank goodness, but a sparkling white frost!

Luckily I picked some of the last flowers from the meadow yesterday so I could join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden with a vase. Yellow and white, depicting the frost and sunshine I woke up to. 🙂

Do visit Cathy to see what she and others around the world are finding in their gardens today.

Hope your week brings you some October sunshine!

 

In a Vase on Monday: Recycling

This Monday meme, hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, encourages us to use materials from our gardens to put in a vase.

Well, the vase is new today, but the materials are the same as last week – just trimmed down a little. The asters still look good, and the sedums last well until their stems just fall apart. One Persicaria stem and a couple of yellow Achillea also lasted well enough to reuse.

And the photos are taken outdoors at the corners of my two brand new flower beds!

This one below will be the ‘butterfly bed’, with a focus on flowers for pollinators, but with some grasses too. The first lot of plants have been ordered and I am hoping the wonderful golden October weather will continue once they arrive in a week or so.

And the second bed will be home to more grasses, but primarily herbs. The soil here at our country house is very well-drained and sandy (a good layer of rich topsoil has been added for planting). The position is south-west and exposed to strong sun and wind. This could be a real challenge!

Thanks to Cathy and all the other Monday vase creators who welcome the week by sharing their beautiful and cheerful arrangements!

In a Vase on Monday: Asters and Co.

On Mondays, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden invites us to join her in gathering materials from our gardens to put in a vase or similar container.

I cheated a little this week, since I am still out in the country and am only paying infrequent visits to my flower garden. So these flowers were actually picked last Wednesday and transported in a large bucket!

Originally I had two vases – one crammed full with the Alma Poetschke Asters and the unnamed Aster Annette gave me a couple of years ago…

The asters surprised me, flowering earlier and more profusely then ever without a drop of water from me all summer. Definite winners!

The second vase is simply a mix of all the best from the rockery at the moment: Sedum, Persicaria, the golden asters, zebra grass, yellow Achillea and Japanese Anemones.

Forgive the yellow photos – the barn as a background is perhaps not as ideal as I had thought!

Yesterday I sorted and rearranged all the ingredients, discarding only the anemones and a few of the spent asters. Here is the refreshed vase on the area of grass where my first new flower bed will be dug later in the week!

I had collected some Physalis seedheads recently too. They glow like lanterns in the rockery in the autumn sunshine, but I must warn anyone considering planting them – they are very invasive! I added a few dried golden hop flowers to them which came from a branch plucked from a local hedgerow a few weeks ago.

These lanterns always make me think of autumn, even though they are already turning bright orange by early August. By the way, they were the subject of my first ever Words and Herbs post back in September 2011 – yes, I have now been blogging for over seven years!!!

I look forward to seeing what other gardens around the globe will be offering up for a vase this week.

Happy October!

🍄🍁🍄