Mid May and Karel Čapek’s Gardener’s Prayer

We had the hottest and driest April on record this spring, and the first half of May was just as warm, producing only a few passing showers. This sort of weather is absolutely wonderful… unless you are a gardener! Still, the garden has soldiered on and produced glorious flowers once again. Here are the Moon Daisies in our meadow…

And a view from the top of the rockery shows how my Man of Many Talents has mowed even fewer of them away this spring 🙂

From the bottom of the rockery I can still look across the top of the giant Miscanthus and see the early deep reddish pink peony. Today the first white ones opened too. And the ferns in the foreground have taken off since we got more rain.

Recently my thoughts have often returned to this ‘prayer’ I found some years ago in ‘The Gardener’s Year’ by Karel Čapek. His wit is sometimes charming, but occasionally beyond me! However this prayer says it all perfectly, so I shall share!

“If it were of any use, every day the gardener would fall on his knees and pray somehow like this:

‘O Lord, grant that in some way it may rain every day, say from about midnight until three o’clock in the morning, but, you see, it must be gentle and warm so that it can soak in; grant that at the same time it would not rain on campion, alyssum, helianthemum, lavender, and others which you in your infinite wisdom know are drought-loving plants – I will write their names on a bit of paper if you like – and grant that the sun may shine the whole day long, but not everywhere (not, for instance, on spiraea, or on gentian, plaintain lily, and rhododendron), and not too much; that there may be plenty of dew and little wind, enough worms, no plant-lice and snails, no mildew, and that once a week thin liquid manure and guano may fall from heaven. Amen.’ ”

😀

In a Vase on Monday: Violets etc

I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden again for her weekly meme, and am pleased my violets have lasted long enough for me to use this week as it has been hot!

They look sweet in my collection of miniature violet Hammersley chinaware, some of which was given to me by my Mum, and the rest belonged to my late grandmother.

In the little pitcher there are two shades – the normal purple found growing in the wild around here too, and a paler one which I think is a truer match to the painting on this jug.

The tiny perfume bottle contains purple again, with some reddish ones which have also been turning up for a few years now.

And in the miniature ginger jar are the yellowy creamy ones – Viola odorata ‘Sulphurea’, which seem to be a deeper colour than usual this spring. I bought one plant many years ago and they have sown themselves all down the pathway now.

I just couldn’t resist picking a few other little treasures while walking around the garden and ended up with this little vaseful.

Primulas and cowslips, pinky red Corydalis, hyacinths, puschkinia, forsythia, anemones, forget-me-nots, and a daffodil. All proper names forgotten, but I am so happy to see them I am not bothered about details!

It is so lovely to have lots of vases of flowers indoors again – as I have said many times before, this meme has had a profound impact on me and my garden! Thanks to Cathy and I look forward to visiting all the other vases over the next couple of days.

Have a good week!

🙂

 

In a vase on Monday: Iris, Snowdrops and Raindrops

That ‘inbetween’ time has begun and there are finally a few flowers beginning to open as winter draws to an end and spring knocks on the door. After a couple of mild and sunny days some crocuses and dwarf irises are providing tiny splashes of colour in the otherwise brown and ragged flower beds, and the snowdrops have opened up completely. Just enough for a small vase!

From my small clump of Iris reticulata I picked two deep blue flowers, and one pale ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ which has fascinating markings but in my eyes cannot compete with the gorgeous colour of the blue one. With the help of some artificial light you can perhaps appreciate what I mean…

A few snowdrops were added and I used my tiny pottery vase again, bought at the  Christmas market last year. The small rock in the photo is a reminder of a wonderful weekend spent in the mountains a couple of years ago, picked from the dry part of the river bed of the Isar near the Austrian border. 🙂

I am pleased to be back this week, joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her lovely Monday meme, and look forward to visiting many other vases over the next couple of days.

Have a great week!

😀

 

In a Vase on Monday: The Fair Maids

“Wait! the world shall waken;

It is not dead, for lo,

The Fair Maids of February

Stand in the snow!”

I finally picked a few snowdrops today, after waiting in vain for them to open outdoors, and put them in the little blue pottery vase I bought at the Christmas market especially for them.

The words above are from The Song of the Snowdrop Fairy, and along with my little flowers they offer me hope that spring will indeed come soon. What a grey winter it has been here. But we are practically half way through February already… 🙂

And just 20 minutes later they were opening. 🙂

With little to share the past few weeks I shall take extra pleasure today in viewing all the other vases posted for this lovely meme, which is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. As always I will start with Cathy’s very own creation, and I do suggest you take a look too!

I hope you have a sunny week!

In a Vase on Monday: Once in a Blue Moon

This week we will not only see the second full moon within one calendar month, but also the third of four full moons for this season, making it a ‘blue moon’. This doesn’t happen very often – hence the saying ‘Once in a blue moon’.

Now, if only I had one of those lovely Chinese moon flask vases to use for my Monday vase as I join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden once again… but this round one comes pretty close:

Now, what can I put in it?! Well, after searching the soggy garden I did manage to find something suitable…

Some lovely long hazel catkins, a hellebore from the patio pots and some hellebore leaves, grasses, and a few sprigs of St John’s Wort that hasn’t died back at all this winter. The sparkly white candle is left over from Christmas (I couldn’t bear to light it as it is so pretty) and is included here to symbolize the full moon. 🙂

I also filled another small vase with a hellebore and some Heuchera – the tiny pottery vase was bought at the Christmas markets with snowdrops in mind, but the little green shoots of my snowdrops are only just showing…

If you are in the northern hemisphere, I wonder if you have got snowdrops yet?

Have a good week, wherever you are!

In a Vase on Monday: A Peace Offering

Only a few sprigs of this and that were peeking out of the snow this morning, but I do love joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden with a vase each week, so they made it into a little red tealight holder that a friend gave me at the weekend.

And then a few cookies were added as a peace offering, since the ingredients of the vase are far from wonderful!

Or perhaps you’d prefer a homemade mince pie?

The rosemary went into our pasta and tomato sauce for dinner, and the mint smells lovely if I touch it. 🙂 So bringing a little of the frozen garden indoors does have its benefits!

Other snippets that made it into the container were golden Euonymus, yellowy-green Vinca, Pennisetum, some Erica, the very last Scabiosa and a shy Hellebore flower that insisted on turning away every time I pointed the camera at it!

(The artistic photo bottom right is courtesy of my Man of Many Talents, and a torch! 😉  )

If you have had snow, do take care. It is slippery out there. And if you live in warmer climes, please send me some December sunshine!

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…