In a Vase on Monday: In the Garden!

Monday is the day I join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her lovely meme. The title of today’s vase refers not only to where the photo was taken, but also to where I spent all day – working in the garden. It was wonderful! I saw the first bee. I saw the first crocus. I ache all over!

And I picked some snowdrops.

😀

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To fill out the vase I added a few Spring Snowflakes (Leucojum vernum), which also have a lovely name in German – March Bells (Märzglöckchen).

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In addition, I still have some Hippeastrum flowering, including this beauty which is almost the same as the red one I posted a few weeks ago.

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As it started to lean to one side I decided to cut it, and discoveed another two shoots coming.

Today was a good day.

Hope you have a good start to the week too!

Germany’s ‘Flower of the Year’ 2017: the Field Poppy

Each autumn the Loki Schmidt Foundation in Germany announces the flower they have chosen as ‘Flower of the Year’. I was pleased to hear that for 2017 it will be Papaver rhoeas, the Common Poppy, or Field Poppy as I know it.

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We are fortunate to see it growing wild in corn fields and around the edges of agricultural land near us. But in some regions it has all but died out. The intense use of fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides, along with other modern technology in farming methods, mean the conditions no longer exist in which this wild flower can colour our fields and roadsides.

A couple of years ago this was the view just beyond our garden gate.

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Not just poppies, but sweet peas, chamomile and cornflowers were mixed in with the crop.

And this summer several farmers started sowing strips of wild flowers along the edges of their crop fields to encourage wild bees and other pollinators, insects and wildlife. This is subsidized by the EU – I only wish they would offer subsidies for NOT deep plowing, fertilising, and spraying chemicals or slurry on the land year in year out!

The idea of this Flower of the Year campaign, called ‘Blume des Jahres’ in German, is to draw attention to the plight of certain flowers which are slowly becoming endangered in our countryside. I hope it helps with awareness, as it would be tragic to lose more of our beautiful wild flowers.

Which wild flower would you miss most of all? The poppy perhaps?

In a Vase on Monday: Perfectly Pink

Walking around my garden choosing flowers for a vase was so enjoyable yesterday morning… the sun was really warm, the sky blue, the bees were humming… and there was a delicious smell of lemon cake from my kitchen, wafting across the patio! (What more could you ask for!)

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All these fabulous shades of pink, with my pink rose flowering again in the background, didn’t really need pepping up at all. But I added some bright orange Physalis alkekengi anyway. Just because.

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And with the cooler nights I wanted to at least once see how the seedheads of the Castor Bean Plant (Ricinus communis) hold up in a vase. I like the way they look with the Sedum and pink Asters (Alma Pötschke). You can just about see them here in the background…

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The pink anemone you can see in the above photo is ‘Serenade’, while in the photo below the shy white anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ is peeping out from under the Sedum. I have fallen hard for both of them, as they have been flowering for several weeks now and are still looking so fresh.

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And next to the white anemone this gorgeous pink Cosmos took me by surprise a few days ago as it had not flowered until then. It must be from a packet called ‘Double Click’, but I am not sure if that name is correct so any help would be appreciated in identifying it!

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Of course the reddish pink Persicaria ‘Firetail’ had to be included, along with a single pink rose, a lilac aster, some grasses, a few Cosmos ‘Candy Stripe’, some Zebra grass, and a gorgeous peachy pink cactus zinnia…

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Cathy’s Monday meme has made me look at my garden in a new and refreshing way, inspiring me to grow different annuals such as zinnias, and making me realise how much the garden can give at any time of year. Just as autumn has officially begun, and as I try to suppress any stray thoughts of grey winter days, my order for autumn bulbs and Amaryllis for my winter windowsills has arrived. Plenty of material for future vases! Thank you to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting, and to all the other contributors for sharing their vases every week too.

Happy autumn!

😀

In a Vase on Monday: Golden

The extended summer warmth means I still have plenty of flowers for cutting without worrying about more buds opening. With another heatwave with temperatures of 30°C and above, September is turning out to be a golden month… hence the title for this week’s Monday vase, as I join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her weekly meme.

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The yellow and orange Cosmos ‘Brightness Mixed’ and ‘Sulphureus’ have done well again this year. The creamy yellow Cosmos ‘Xanthos’ is also very pretty and has produced lots of flowers. However, I find they don’t last as long both on the plant and in a vase, and deadheading is made tricky as lots of buds cluster together. The vase also contains Tithonia and Sunflower ‘Valentine’, and a couple of yellow Marigolds too.

The taller vase has one of my white cleome at the centre, from seed collected from last year’s plants. A big success, but I have ordered some pink ones for next spring as well.

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I added Cosmos ‘Purity’ and a pinky Cosmos ‘Candy Stripe’, as well as some pink and orange Zinnias from a mixed seed packet. All have thrived in large pots in front of our living room window, creating a pretty panorama view! The Zinnias are so intricate…

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I really don’t know why I have only discovered zinnias in the last couple of years!

My seeds for next spring and a few plants for autumn planting are already ordered, and the annual tidy up can wait until the end of October, allowing me to enjoy the rest of this month and the fine weather with very little to do except dead heading. 😀

Have a lovely week!

Thursday’s Feature: Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’

The new Echniacea hybrid ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ by Fleuroselect appeared in garden centres everywhere this summer, and I was quite taken by it.

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This photo above from the Fleuroselect website shows the complete range of colours the hybrid includes, so the pictures of my Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ are perhaps misleading… this colour mix ranges from deep banana yellow to crimson, going through various pinky reds and orangey reds along the way. I picked a lovely orangey red with a hint of pink as the flowers fade, and with a deep red centre…

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This plant is safe and sound from slug attack – in a pot and on a bench, well out of reach! As with all my other Echinacea bought over the years it will be planted out in autumn, I will delight at seeing it reappear in spring, and then before I can say ‘copper tape’ it has been devoured by the hungry slimey creatures who rule my garden!

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Still, for one season of gorgeous blooms it was worth the few euros spent on it. 😀

In our climate Echinaceas flower from July through to October. They are great for vases – the seed heads too, which I leave standing until the stalks collapse in winter. A good mulch in autumn will add some protection and possibly help against slugs in the spring.

I am joining Kimberley at Cosmos and Cleome again this Thursday, to feature a plant I grow, so pop over and pay her a visit too!

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Thursday’s Feature: Ricinus communis

Ricinus communis

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This tropical plant fascinates me, and after some success a few years ago growing it from seed, I decided to try again this year.

From a packet of nine seeds, eight germinated, one seedling then died, two were planted up in large pots,two are growing in the rockery, and three (also planted in the rockery) were eaten by snails.

The foliage is a beautiful reddish brown when young…

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As they mature the leaves turn greener, but still with a predominantly red tinge…

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The most fascinating part of it however is the flower and then the seeds…

The flowers are tiny and the seedheads are about the size of a raspberry. But they are not edible. In fact they are very toxic. This plant is also called Castor Bean Plant,  as castor oil is extracted from the seed.

The tree actually originates from North Africa, the Mediterranean region and the Middle East, although it is now found in all tropical regions and here it is grown as a summer annual.

In my garden it gets to about 1.5 metres at most, and stands so tall and straight even if in a windy position – quite wonderful. Which is where it gets its German name from I suppose: Wunderbaum (‘Miracle Tree’)!

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You can see I have taken precautions against snails, which despite its toxicity are rather fond of this plant. The copper tape around the pot and stem works to some extent, but doesn’t deter them completely. It is supposed to give the creatures a little electric shock as they touch it, but I think my snails are too big to notice it! Some of the lower leaves had to be removed as they were in shreds!

A few more pictures of this weird and wonderful tropical wonder…

Have you ever grown Ricinus? Or any other tropical delight? I am joining Kimberley again today at Cosmos and Cleome, as she asks us to feature something from our gardens each Thursday. Do visit her to see her feature this week, as well as others linking in with interesting plants from near and far!

The Tuesday View: 9th August 2016

My view for this week was actually photographed on Monday afternoon… I noticed how mid-afternoon part of the south-facing rockery is now in the shade of our tall fir trees. Yes, the sun is getting lower in the sky already!

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The fern (bottom left) is yellowing slightly, but the rest of the rockery is still fairly green. Much of the Centranthus has been cut right down, and the lavender too. This means some of the ground cover plants (Heuchera and creeping Sedums) should now have time to regenerate and the Geraniums have more light and space too. Some of the oriental poppies are sending up fresh foliage, which fills in the gaps nicely. And of course the Perovskia can take all the limelight again, this week with the bright red Persicaria “Blackfield” peeping through it, as well as the Scabiosa. Above and beyond it is the yellow Potentilla fruticosa (possibly “Goldfinger”) which is flowering wonderfully again this year- it has been given a hard pruning the last few autumns, which seems to suit it.

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Here is the view from a bit higher up again…

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On the far bottom left you can see a small Miscanthus already flowering – not sure what sort it is though. In case you can see it, at the top right is a vase of Japanese anemones on the table on the patio.

It would be lovely to see your view again this week, to observe any changes as summer starts to ebb towards its grand finale! Just leave a link in the comments so we can all find you and enjoy your gardens too.

Have a good week!