Monday, 13 August 2018

In a Vase on Monday - In or out

Cathy who hosts this group of IAVOM  has posted a colourful go over and see what she has posted. 

Each week, as I start to think about what is best to pick and arrange for In a Vase on Monday, there is the question of what to pick.  Will it be the best of the flowers?  What can be spared?  What can be to be left in the garden for another week?  Often there are prunnings which would other wise be discarded that make a good addition. Then there are definitely ones which are left out because they are not up to much.  For sure I have my failures and disappointments, sadly this year the nasturtiums are not fairing well.

A few weeks ago, we spent a lovely family day all together.  To find things my GD and I can share is a lovely way of connecting. I have loved sharing my joy in nature and flowers and IAVOM with my beloved GD.  She has even been an apprentice IAVOM contributor. Izzi is at the fairy stage and is sharing her love of fairies with me.  Over several years we have shared our love of fuchsias, which also happens to be her favourite fairy.  Until the cooler weather and rain arrives,  it has been other types of flowers fairies who have been waiving their wands in my garden.

We found that there is a  Nasturtium Fairy.  For a number of years, I have grown very easy and colourful.  I have posted and talked often of this annual.

Each year I have been pleased with the nasturtium plants and flowers...until this year.  For the first time I bought seed, rather that collected seed from good plants.  I had a lovely tray full of good strong plants although even at that stage the shape and form of the leaves did not really appeal: Jewel of Africa  and planted them out at just the right time.  But I think Van Meuwen's fairies had not spread their magic dust on the packeted seeds.

With hot temperatures I had expected the plants to do well.  Although I have had the odd plant with variegated leaves emerge in the past and enjoyed this trait, now that all of them  are two toned, I have decided I prefer the matt green of 'standard' leaves where you can really appreciate the lovely round flat structure  where its petiole in the centre.

I have also read that the leaves are superhydrophobic, which means that because the leaves contain waxy nanostructures, water is not absorbed through the top of the leaf.  Because the water drops off, it removes dirt and dust aleaving a clean surface to continue photosynthesis.  I wonder what this substance is and whether we could add it to the surface of raincoats etc?

The shape of the leaves on Jewel of Africa are bumpy, and the outline rather wavy.  Sadly there are even very few flowers...but I did want to have an arrangement this week with the nasturtiums.

Only three or four blooms from about a dozen plants were worth picking, so I have added a couple of Tithonia flowers.  Those plants have more than made up for the poor nasturtiums.  Also a few stems of rudbekia.  One bloom and leaf would just not stay in the vase out it stayed, and then three of my miniature yellow tomatoes decided the join the combination.

This afternoon, I may well uproot all the nasturtiums and use the space for plants I want to bring on.

For reading this past week I have had my nose burried in  these two, whichI picked up from the library as they were on the just arrived, brand new shelf, and I was the first to borrow these two!

I love reading about gardens, and am enjoying reading this one.

I am about two thirds of the way through 'So much Life Left Over'....loving this. I have since read that this is a sequel to The Dust that falls from Dreams.  I haven't felt reading 'So much Life Left Over' that there had to have been a previous book.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

In a Vase- Eryngium Bourgatii

Its not Monday...but I wanted to showcase this one filled with my 'dead-headings' from today.

To cut these I now read was perhaps a mistake as they make a bold statement in the winter...but I wanted to give the plant the opportunity to bulk up.  Also as the flowers are over, and fully fertilized by the many visiting bees and hover flies, they made a good pollen free and low allergen arrangement.  The lovely blue cloisonne vase is one of a pair, the other is now back with Jenny in Spain. 

Eryngium Bourgatii: Mediterranean Sea Holly could well be growing wild not far from where Jenny lives, and maybe she will find some to make a similar arrangement.  It was first collected from the Pyrenees and named then...I wonder whether we saw some of these when Jenny and I took three days to cross the Pyrenees.

The Erygiums have reveled in the hot sun and not suffered for the lack of rain.  I particularly like the variegated foliage of Eryngium Bourgatii , its one of the plants I bought at the Bishop's Palace Rare Plant Fair last August.  Up close the bracts are turning silver grey...and believe me, gloves are certainly necessary.  Normally I avoid prickly plants but just have to protect myself as I love the form of these plants, and they are such an attraction to insects in the garden.

I do have another Eryngium Planum Tetre Petra in the garden, as shown in the foreground below.  Behind it next to Geranium Rozanne is Erigium Bourgatii.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

In a Vase on Monday - Delights despite the hot dry weather

If you are dreaming of delights such as Dahlias, do go and read Cathy's post for IAVOM this week.  Cathy is the lead gardener, story teller, arranger and hatched this great gathering of like minded people who like to talk about their garden and arrangements.

Here at home, Sunday saw continuing very high temperatures.  Having my gallivanting severely curtailed by a very underpar left foot, and feeling that I really wanted to get out there, the only thing on my mind as I woke up rather early, when it was still cool, was to get outside.  Even before Mr S stirred, I was out on my bicycle for a l ride onto the Somerset levels.  Some of the pastures there were rather green, and more highly populated than usual by rather fine herds of cattle.  I wonder whether prize herds had been brought for 'respite' with lovely grazing compared to some of the other areas.  We have had  no more rain but these herb rich meadows, which can spend winter months rather sodden with their rich peat laden soils, are now coming into their own.  It was a delight to see such handsome cattle enjoying their early morning munch.

Straight after breakfast I was out in the garden.  I attacked the large bay shrub, and was looking around the garden for possible material to put in a vase.  My vase this week just happens to be a cachepot which was sitting in the utility room, holding some 'dead heads' from a couple of days ago that I had found attractive.  They were from the Verbena Rigida and curly wood sage.  After their white flowers, their seed heads were looking attractive, but during a visit to Alison, she explained that the seeds sent plants that did not have the curly leaves, so I decided to cut them all off to allow the plant to throw out new growth, and also avoiding unwanted seedlings.  To bulk up the arrangement I found little bits of ivy, fern, white begonia that had survived even the snow, and nice stems of the Cerinthe which seems to revel in the heat, with a little night time watering.

I was trying to put the dark pink umbrells of Angelica as the center point.  The plant is performing well despite the dry weather, and this is but a little side shoot.  Already it has a little flotilla of  hover flies, so I did not want to cut too much.  I read that it is a biannual or short lived perennial so hopefully it will self seed.

Angelica sylvestris 'Vicar's Mead'

Teucrium scorodonia 'crispum marginatum', which also is known as curly wood sage.  

The rather round white hydrangea blob  is just one of the small pieces from the large flower on the Hydrangea Panniculata Vanille Fraise.  I've had the bush in the same large terracotta pot for about seven years.  At first I had misnamed it silver dollar, but having found the original label can confirm that it is Vanille Fraise.  Early this year, I gave it a rather too severe prune too late in the season.  As a result I had only four shoots...but the flowers are just huge!  After such a long time in its pot, it is going into one of the new beds, but only when we have had enough rain to really  replenish the moisture content of the soil.                                                                                      

Other plants in pots have had to be moved to whatever shade there is even if it is for part of the day.

The beds are all prepared and ready for planting.  Much of the gardening has been on my hand and knees, and my sister even videoed me to show her sons that Auntie is not always eating scones and cake and wearing pretty dresses!!!! 

When it is really hot, and the best way to keep cool is to remain inside and do very little very slowly, a nice gentle read can help.  Forgetting my left foot, either propped up or with an ice pack on it,  I immersed myself in several books and this one: quite a light read for me which got me turning pages...

with a visit to Bellagio, a place that Mr S and I had a wonderful long holiday, quite a few years ago, before the blogging began, to gardens that we enjoyed...a few nice quotes:  "A garden, like its creator, should have its secrets and surprises".  This rather well read copy is from my local library...

Monday, 23 July 2018

In a Vase on Monday - White Hot

Its white hot, and the conservatory is not the place for flowers...but this little glass rhino, a present from my friend Diana many years ago feels completely at home there.

In a little while the arrangement will be placed on the chest in the guest bedroom, where my sister visiting from Spain will be able to enjoy it.

Against the black slate board, the arrangement made up of just three elements stands out....

White agapanthus, Brunnera Jack Frost to remind us that one day it will be cool again, both plants given by my neighbour Val,  and a stem of  Fuchsia microphyilla 'Silver Linings'.

Cathy who hosts this meme created a posy to take to a barbie...go and see what lovely blooms she has cut from the garden for this, and maybe check in to see what others have come up with.

July Garden Update

It is certainly a challenging year weatherwise.  Non the less we have continued to work on the landscaping.  Most days Mr S is out there.....

First the edging has to be positioned...then when we are happy, the weed suppressing membrane laid

Large bulk bags of gravel are deposited over the fence...and with buckets etc, the gravel moved

Finally its time for a drink....

The cardboard is in place..this area will become the gravel garden.  It will have finer gravel through which some of my little plants can soften what is in essence the area for the washing line...

One little plant which is new to me and to the garden this year is Crepis Incana, the Pink Greek dandelion.  I bought it earlier this year from one of my favourite 'pop up' plant stalls in Wells.

It really loves this hot sunshine and I love its pink blooms.  It has stiff stems which  bear several blooms.

Close up it is particularly attractive, as are its matt grey green leaves.

I read that it hates disturbance and that it is not that easy to get the seeds to germinate.  I shall try of course with any seed, and look out for another plant or two.

Another plant which is close to the new round seating area, and is guaranteed to be humming with many types of flying insects is the Eryngium...cultivar name lost...

 Here is a large hover fly probably Volucella zonaria

And what could this one be?  Not a bee for sure,

Straight into the border soil I plant a few seeds of Cerinthe which we sent to me nearly three years ago, by Cathy  To my delight they germinated.  

Once they were up I placed three or four seedling in whatever gaps seemed suitable, and around the garden there are now dotted thick fleshy leaved plants with pendulous flowers which also are being visited regularly by all manner of flying insects.

The foliage seems to add a cooling element to the garden, and hopefully it will self seed and be in the garden for several years.