In a Vase on Monday: Yippee for Hippee…astrums!

No vase today I’m afraid. I think this picture may explain why…

But not to fear, I have a card up my sleeve and some Hippeastrums (Amaryllis) on my windowsills!

This is Jewel…

Jewel has produced one very tall stem and one very short, both flowering at the same time. I like its simplicity. Just white, no frills.

And this is Lady Jane…

I really like this one, not least because it has flowered at the perfect height of about 20cm, requiring no support whatsoever. And it is a lovely peachy orange colour with pretty markings.

Now go and visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, the host of this weekly meme which encourages us to find things from our gardens to plonk in a vase. (And forgive me for cheating a little this week! 😉 )

Top Six November Blooms

Chloris at The Blooming Garden has recently been posting her top ten blooms for each month, and encoraging others to do the same. I am pleased that I can manage to join her and post six lovable flowers this month, despite the fact that is November!

The first is one you may have seen in my vase last week:

Persicaria/Polygonum amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’.

It has been flowering since July and has just got better and better. The flowers look a little battered after some heavy rain earlier in the week, and the foliage is starting to collapse after several light frosts, but it looks like I may still have some in flower in December!

Number two is my Hypericum. I have finally found the label:

Hypericum inodorum ‘Magical Red Star’

After freezing back hard last winter I was a little worried it would recover, and it did indeed take its time. But it flowered only a little later than usual in early summer, took a break for a while when it got too hot, and then with our damp September it suddenly almost doubled in size and started flowering again! Very impressive.

I will give it some extra winter protection this year (some mulch and evergreen branches spread across it).

The third flower that has become a firm favourite is this tiny Chrysanthemum which featured in my cabbage vase a couple of weeks ago.

Cath at Absent Gardener suggested it is an Argyranthemum, but the lack of a yellow centre is keeping me searching for the exact name. I love the frilly petals and it is still looking really healthy, tucked just under my porch roof for shelter. I have no idea if it will come through the winter in its pot.

Numbers four and five are new plants bought in October and planted up in pots for winter interest.

Hellebore ‘Christmas Star’.

This pure white hellebore will be planted out in spring, along with the Heuchera below, which did not have a name on it but is one of the most common ones found here.

Heuchera foliage looks good all year round, but the little flowers on tall stalks are often quite pretty too.

Finally, number six:

Teucrium hircanicum

This Teucrium is a wonderful plant that I can recommend if you have got space, as it does spread! It loves the warm and well-drained rockery, withstanding heat and drought without any problem whatsoever. It might curl up its silvery green and aromatic leaves when it is very hot, but the next morning it looks as fresh as a daisy again. Mine is purple, but I have seen a reddish one online too called ‘Paradise Delight’, which happens to be on my shopping list for next year. 🙂

So, a big thanks to Chloris for encouraging me to go out and focus on some of the better parts of November. Why not join her too? I bet there is more out there in your gardens than you think! 😉

And to prove my point, look what I found…


The Tuesday View: 21st November 2017 Looking Back (Take Two!)

(Due to a technical hitch I am posting this again, hence the “Take Two”!)

Since little has changed recently in my early winter garden, and since it is pouring with rain right now, kthis week my Tuesday View is a review of the year to remind myself of how this part of the rockery develops. In fact, this was the whole point of posting photos each week; to follow progress and spot gaps or particularly successful or not so successful planting combinations. I have also been able to see how various plants cope with the conditions they face throughout the seasons in this stony bed.

I started posting photos of this view in April… doesn’t that seem like a long time ago now!

And isn’t that spring sunshine lovely? (Sigh… we are stuck in the damp fog of November right now!)

Within just two weeks the view had been transformed, with the Acer and other trees in the background leafing out and the Viburnum ‘Aurora’ in full flower… it smelt gorgeous!

From then on progress was rapid: here is a gallery of May, and you can click on any picture to see a slideshow…

June brought the Lysimachia into flower, which eventually meant changing the angle I took my photos. It was a very dry month too, but fortunately ended with several days of showers.

In early July the garden managed to recover from the long drought and was surprisingly lush for the time of year! I was very impressed with the Teucrium and Hypericum standing up to the heat, and glad to see my pink Potentilla finally flower well.

The following month was hot and very humid, and it was hard to believe it was August considering how green everything was; usually the grass is brown, and the rockery is looking frazzled. But the moisture kept everything looking fresh and healthy.

September is a beautiful time of year. It is when I breathe out and enjoy the garden most of all… the heat is over and I no longer need worry that things may burn or dry out. The rockery was still very green and I think the Teucrium – which spread throughout the bed – contributed to retaining moisture. The grasses also started looking good. My favourite season…

The Acer never fails to put on a good show in October, and the asters flowered intensely too, some right through into November. By the end of the month I could finally return to my original spot to take the photos, as a lot of plants were cut down or died back.

To sum up my thoughts: it is pleasing to see that for seven or eight months of the year the rockery has been attractive from various angles and hardly any plants suffered seriously from the heat. A couple of spots need attention, and fighting the ground elder in spring is always a problem, but overall I am a satisfied gardener!

I wonder how you feel about your gardening year. Were there any particular highlights – good or bad? Have you been able to pinpoint problem areas or gain inspiration from successful planting?

The Tuesday View posts have, for me, served their purpose. So I will not continue with them over winter. But I do hope all those who have joined me over the past months will continue sharing their views as long as they can.

Thanks to you all!

PS Here is Christina’s post this week:


In a Vase on Monday: Taxing Taxonomy

I am once again happy to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden in putting together a Monday vase full of materials from my garden.

Not an easy task in November, but not yet an impossible one!

Apart from some sorry looking roses and almost black sedums, there is not much going on in the garden now. My Hypericum still looks lovely, but I am unwilling to cut any more of that as it can be seen so well from the living room window. So today I picked some Persicaria, still flowering like mad. 🙂

However, I am still confused as to what I should call them…

Persicaria, Poylgonum, Bistorta?

Wikipedia was no help: ‘The generic placement of this species is in flux. While treated here in Persicaria, it has also been placed in Polygonum or Bistorta.’

What has confused me is the continued use of ‘Persicaria’ in the UK while ‘Polygonum’ seems to be the most frequently used name here in Germany. I can see my Persicaria amplexicaulis listed as Polygonum amplexicaule or Bistorta amplexicaulis. But other Persicarias can be Polygonum Bistorta, Persicaria bistorta, Bistorta officinalis, or…. wait for it…. even ‘Aconogonon’.  ??? The online nursery I order from has helpfully explained that due to the constant shuffling of names going on they are continuing to use the name ‘Polygonum’ with a relaxed attitude in case there should be another change of opinion soon!

Maybe we should go back to common names after all…. Some are quite nice, like ‘Mountain Fleece’. Others not so nice, like ‘Knotweed’ or ‘Snakeweed’, and even the German (translated) ‘Toothbrush’!

Well, my vase contains: Polygonum amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’, Polygonum microcephala ‘Red Dragon’, Polygonum amplexicaule ‘Blackfield’ and Polygonum amplexicaule ‘Album’. And should anyone ask I would call them all Persicarias for the sake of simplicity!

What would you call them?



In a Vase on Monday: Fruit and Veg

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden is celebrating today, and I am joining her, as she has been hosting her wonderful meme ‘In a Vase on Monday’ for four years now. Congratulations on the anniversary Cathy!

And to honour this occasion she came up with a wonderful challenge for us all this week – to put our flowers for this week’s arrangement ‘in something other than a vase ‘…

I thought my contribution quite original until googling both receptacles… oh well, it’s been done before, but probably not on a rainy Sunday afternoon in November!!

On the left, a pineapple – slightly hollowed out with some foil inside to retain a little water. The focal points are the Heuchera leaf with its lovely red veins and the tall zebra grass. I then used the remaining annuals which are huddled up to the house in their pots, but shivering nonetheless: Nemesia, Sanvitalia, Verbena, yellow Lantana and a white Geranium (Pelargonium).

Mmm, I am looking forward to snacking on some more of that pineapple later!

The other vase is a red cabbage… 😀

I managed to photograph it from the dry balcony (it poured all day Sunday) with the remaining golden hazel leaves in the background, but the light conditions were not much better and it is cold… just 4°C today! (Most of the other photos were taken in the kitchen.) The cabbage was hollowed out enough for a tiny schnaps glass to fit in. I used the last of the Snapdragons, more Nemesia, and a tiny white flower sold to me as a Chrysanthemum but which from the foliage seems more like Dianthus family. Whatever it is, it is flowering like mad still, nicely sheltered under the front porch.

The cabbage was rescued later in the day and we had homemade coleslaw for tea! 😉


I wonder how other Monday vase creators will have met Cathy’s challenge. It was great fun again –  thank you Cathy, for motivating me to go out on such a rotten day and find some little treasures to brighten up my Monday!

And here’s to year FIVE!



The Tuesday View: 7th November 2017

A few rays of sunshine were captured in my photos of the Tuesday View today – precious in November, and lighting up some of the lovely autumn yellows and golds…

The giant Miscanthus is already changing colour, but the dwarf one in front of it remains silvery almost all winter…

As you can see in the above photo I haven’t had the heart to trim this Perovskia yet, but the larger one on the other side of the rockery has been cut back to about 50 cm and will be trimmed hard again in spring.

You may also notice an extra Calamagrostis has appeared in front of the Achillea support; planted out from a pot I had as a summer container, I am not sure I like it there but will mull over it for another week before replanting. Another awaits, and our new hole digger will be put to the test… watch this space!

A major highlight right now is the Hypericum…

… along with the Zebra grass at the bottom of the slope – hard to see from this angle, but below the Acer…

I must try and find the original label as there are various ones that look very similar. I just love these crimped seedheads!

The last aster in flower is in the foreground here and there is still plenty of ground cover. The Hellebore leaves (on the right of the Acer) are looking very healthy, so let’s hope they remain so!

I think a round up of some of my favourite photos of the view will be in the pipeline next week or the week after, as I doubt there will be many changes now… unless it snows! 😉

If you would like to join me in posting a view of one part of your garden every Tuesday, please leave a link in the comments below!

Happy gardening!