In a Vase on Monday: Yearning for green (or white!)

After a lazy Christmas and New Year break, I am back to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden with a Monday vase. 🙂

Although our winter has been very mild (and wet!) there was little to pick today apart from some pretty white Hellebores from a patio pot and some greenery from the rockery. Still, I am glad to find anything!

The garden is looking rather brown and messy right now with no snow and hardly any frosts, and it is far too muddy to do any tidying up. I think I prefer frost and snow to this. But there is still time for our winter to show its darker side – as it is in North America at the moment – I hope all the gardeners there are staying indoors in the warm too!

Indoors are, after all, other delights at this time of year such as candles, hot spicy tea, comfort food…. and Hippeastrums!

This one is called ‘Rapido’ and has seven small flowers on one stem. A second bud is about to open too, so this has been another success after the lovely Lady Jane did so well in December. Unlike Cathy, I have not cut any of the stems so far, but it may be necessary with this one below:

I am certain that at that angle Hippeastrum ‘Red Peacock’ will not be able to remain upright once it opens… (The pinky peach coloured Hippeastrum flower on the left is the last of Lady Jane).

Wherever you are, and whatever your weather, I do hope you can find something of beauty today to either simply regard, or to put in a vase and share with us. Now go and visit our host Cathy to admire her beautiful ruby red Hamamelis flowers.

Have a good 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: 10th October 2017

I wish I had taken some photos yesterday in the sunshine… today is damp and gloomy. Nonetheless, there is lots of colour to brighten up my Tuesday View still!

Looking down, we can still see Sedums and the amazing purple spikes of Teucrium. The Acer suffered in our gale last week, but is hanging on to its leaves still!

Looking across, the giant Miscanthus is a backdrop for the dwarf one in front…

And looking up from the bottom of the rockery, the Aster ‘Alma Pötschke’ has stood up well to the wind and, as the Helianthus now fade and collapse, the golden Chrysopsis speciosa ‘Sunnyshine’ is providing some lovely yellow flowers on the left. It is about 150cm tall and this is the first time it has flowered although I planted it in spring last year.

Another nice surprise is this white Clematis re-flowering… I bought it as a creeping Clematis x jouiana ‘Praecox’ some years ago, but am convinced I was sold something different… any ideas anyone?

I will be posting my views less regularly from now on, but do please feel free to continue joining me and leave a link so I can find you!

Happy gardening!


In a Vase on Monday: Alma and Co.

Each Monday I join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her meme, which encourages us to find suitable materials from our gardens to put in a vase. This week I am cheating a little…

My first vase is actually from early last week. With a severe storm forecast I picked some of the Aster ‘Alma Pötschke’ just as it was beginning to open so that I could enjoy the flowers indoors…

The buds all opened in the warmth of the house and are looking at their best today, five days later. 🙂

Alma is a tall aster, flowering from the end of September/early October and the bees and butterflies love it on a sunny day. I actually cut some of these back in May, hoping to avoid them getting too leggy, but the shorter ones almost caught up with the ones I didn’t trim.

The second vase contains flowers that are not in my garden, but were picked for me by my Man of Many Talents from a field in the countryside. Sunflowers, Phacelia and various other wild flowers are sometimes sown after the main harvest in August, as food for the bees I assume, and to be ploughed back into the soil in late winter as a natural fertiliser. (Being skeptical as I am, I fear EU subsidies are the motivation for farmers to do this!)

The sunflowers grew so quickly in this field, and flowered in record time.

The Phacelia smells wonderful, filling the room with its sweet scent.

Do you see wild flowers in fields near you so late in the season?

Now go and visit Cathy and see what she and others have found to put in a vase this Monday.

In a Vase on Monday: Buttons

Joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her weekly meme has become a lovely ritual not only providing pleasure, but influencing what I grow and how I see my garden too. I sowed a few mixed Scabiosa in the spring with summer vases in mind, and the waiting has paid off – I am delighted with them all, even if I now don’t know which ones they are as they got mixed up when planting out into my summer containers!

Scabiosa and Knautia always remind me of buttons, and since my button tin was handy… 😉 The larger flower in the middle is a Cosmos ‘Double Click Cranberries’ – I feared it had succumbed to the slugs, but fortunately this plant was one of the survivors and has just started flowering!

Just to the right of the Cosmos in the photo above is my creamy Scabiosa ochroleuca, which has been in the rockery for several years now.

I particularly love this pink scabious, with Daucus carota ‘Dara’.

The Clematis tangutica is producing these gorgeous fluffy seed heads in great quantities now. Just right of this one is a small red Knautia.

A new addition to the garden this summer is this pretty Sanguisorba ‘Pink Tanna’, planted last autumn.

The Scabiosa sown were: Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Tall Double Red’, ‘QIS Formula Mixture’ and ‘Snowmaiden’, and Scabiosa caucasica ‘House’s Hybrids’. Sowing took place much later than usual in early and mid May, as we had frosts right up until the end of May this spring. So the flowers have been late. However, since I grew these precisely for putting in vases, I had no qualms about cutting them. There are plenty more buds! The plants will be planted out in the garden in September where they might drop a few seeds and, hopefully, will appear again next year.

Thanks to Cathy for conceiving and hosting this wonderful meme – go and visit her today and enjoy beautiful and unique vases from around the globe!