Monday, 17 June 2019

In a Vase on Monday - Full of Grace

Today is an Auspicious Date in our family calendar......

So I have held back this year, until now, to post a vase of roses the colour of which is beguiling.  

It is Rose Grace, which I had in my previous garden and have written about many times, 
and then missed so much I ordered a couple for my conservatory border, less than a year ago.  They are in full bloom, and are looking wonderful with their bright green foliage.  The blooms have stood the downpours without damage, which is a great attribute.

To balance out the roses, which are around 10cm across I have added some Persicaria Red Dragon, the big leaf being 17cm long, the original plant coming from Cathy, and a few stems of Phalaris arundinacea with its barcoded leaves, a recent gift from a gardening friend.  I love this plant despite a reputation of being rampant.  It adds a slender vertical element in the garden, and I recall growing it in several previous gardens, except the last one.

The vase is a lovely cloisonne vase collected by my mother's on her travels around China nearly forty years ago....

I shall go over to Cathy's blog, link into hers, and see what other friends have posted today...Cathy has posted roses too, with a great story under the theme of forgiving....

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Six on Saturday- 15 June 2019

At last some rain...almost too much.  In between squalls but not on the days when we had non stop rain, the gravel paths have been a asset, meaning I can get out into the garden.  The watebutt is completely full, and dust washed off plants.

As I write this post and am yet to see what others have entered, I wonder if there have been light bulb moments, or other mid season challenges from The Propagator who hosts this meme, and other gardeners....we shall see.  Interesting viewpoints and musings will be there to pour over during the coming week for sure.

Choices have had to be made regarding which plants please and perform, and if not, I have tried to weigh up their merit and gone ahead in some instances and removed them entirely.  It is not that they are unhealthy, or not good plants, its is rather a question of their relationship with other plants in garden or their position.  The garden is too small for the number of plants I have, a few have been binned this week!

1.   The first plant to be removed was the double camomille.  It had grown too lush and tall, over 30cm high, and was yet to flower.  I was envisaging a low growing green swath with some nice double flowers, but that was not to be.  So out they came.  I do have a lovely lower growing single flowered camomile which came to the garden last year, gathered as little plant whilst visiting a friend.  Just the sort of sharing that I love....a simple small division the sort that is gathered with a trowel from the edge of a larger patch which one had admired. No plant pot or potting compost, or time spend looking after it, just a little bit of damp newspaper is all that it needed, then it is straight home to be cosseted, until it is nicely established.  As soon as I was home, the piece smaller than my palm, was teased apart, and every little joint grown in a well draining medium under shelter, to provide a dozen or so plants to plant out early this spring.

2.   The second plant to go, was to be the golden feverfew: Tanacetum parthenium 'Aureum'.  Just coming up to flower, its stems were encrusted with black fly.  There were far too many blackfly to spend time squashing the bugs away even with a gloved hand, and really they had just been fillers during the winter.

As I pulled out the first plant, I remembered that in spring I did admire the lovely yellow green growth on the golden feverfew.

I stopped just in time, also remembering how I was enthralled and beguiled by its looks on a stand at the Malvern Show, only a few weeks ago.  I clipped the other plant, removing the blackfly infested top growth.  Isn't it ironic that a plant that was almost a 'weed', well staged, with a fancy name plate can say: "Look at me am I not just the sort of green that can draw the eye on a gloomy grey day?"

It seems that at least half of my SOS this week are woes....

3.   My third SOS and woe is the sad condition of my a couple of my hydrangeas.  Being almost hooked on propagation, it was with glee I brought back some clipping in the middle of winter 2017, from the Bishop's Palace Gardens, with permission of course, salvaged from what would have ended up on the compost heap!  I had about seven plants root well, even when the gardener there thought they were not likely at all to take at that time of the year....several plants went to Alison...whose garden the camomile came from.  I have three shrubs in the garden. One plant which is not in the shade border, is very handsome indeed, but in the shade border I have two plants, both looking quite stressed.

Medicine for now is Seaweed plus sequestered iron, and close observation to judge whether some alternative action would be more appropriate. Again suggestions as to what has caused this and any remedies would be much appreciated.

4.  Looking very handsome in the shady border is Chiastophyllum oppositifolium, sometimes called Umbilicus oppositifolius.  I first admired this in my friend's garden in Kenilworth.  She brought me a little piece as a parting gift, and having been moved a year ago from the sunny side of the garden, it is finally thriving in its semi shaded position.  It is a lovely well behaved plant, with its light reflecting shiny evergreen, fleshy leaves, it is well behaved little gem.  The flowers a pale sulphur colour work very well in a vase too over a long period.  It is quite hardy here in the UK.

5. Sometimes finding a solution to something just comes around when one is least pondering them:

A light bulb moment!  Whilst tidying the shed during a heavy squall, I came across my roll of copper tape which usually goes round just below the rim of plant pots supposedly to deter slugs.

The thing that had been iruking me was the sight of my damaged pot.  I decided not to throw it away, but to use it to house my three little tumbler tomato and outdoor cucumber plants for the summer, thenditch it.  Unfortunately in my haste, I position the cracked rim towards the kitchen window.  Each time I looked out from the kitchen, the damaged white edge glared out at me.

The copper tape which has a sticky side, is now a 'decorative' rim, hiding the damaged edge....

6.  Not just bumblebee watch....but a game similar to the one years ago of how many people can you get into a mini....when minis were still very small cars.  I think this was a game invented in my youth, so that chaps could stand around and watch girls squeeze into their small cars....maybe its because girls have got bigger that minis have got larger...but I don't think that at their current pricetag, many youths would be able to afford them...other small cars do exist!

Anyway around six bumblebees on the white Centaurea Montana Alba is a much finer sight!  One clump was cut to the ground ready for new growth in a couple of weeks, but I had to leave this clump.  Different species of bees seem to congregate on different plants.

Perhaps if you comment, you would mention if you have been light bulb moments in your garden.  Comments are enjoyed, appreciated, and where appropriate a great help.  So many thanks for them all.

Monday, 10 June 2019

In a Vase on Monday - Choices

Potentially there are so many choices to be made.  The real nub is deciding....

In the end a simple vase of Rosa Open Arms.  The shrub needed a little prune to allow good strong shoots to grow up unhindered by the first shoots following the successful planting from the cutting stage.  This is Mr S's favourtie rose, which I managed to take cuttings of before moving.  

Rain and more rain is forecast for this week, therefore most of today has been spent catching up with garden cutting back.  As it is with me and newly planted areas, some plants were planted too close together, too many volunteers left to outgrow their space, and growing much taller than anticipated was a very vigorous plant of honesty: Lunaria Annua Chedglow.  

Lunaria and Briza Maxima join the graceful flowers of Chiastophyllum oppositifolium. The newly planted shrub Phlomis fruticosa Bourgaei had all its flowering stems removed and I felt the handsome structure of the seed heads deserved to feature as well so a second vase was quickly put together this afternoon.

As the wind and rain is likely to topple the large Lunaria over for the second or third time despite obviously inadequate staking, the whole plant has been prepared..hope I've done it right....

Over now to link in with Cathy who hosts this meme, and see what beauties are being showcased this week. Cathy's is the Very Pink of  Perfection.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Gooseberry Invicta

There is something about gooseberries that I love.  I have several large bushes that I was growing in tubs in Kenilworth, but fearing that the furniture or removal men would be damaged, decided to leave them with friends.

I was missing them, and up at Rocky Mountain at the end of March, when I was walking through the nursery, I came across some well branched gooseberry plants.  I wasn't even looking for a plant at the time, I seem to remember a very low price, something like £3.50 each, so decided to get one.  It is an early season variety, and so far it looks really healthy, no mildew or gooseberry sawfly thankfully!

It went into the far corner of the known as Gooseberry Corner.  The first harvest is always a bit of an event, and 350g is pretty good.  By harvesting fairly early, I hope this allows the plant to put its energy into growing great roots and flowering spurs ready for a serious crop next year.

Making apple and gooseberry crumble for supper tonight....

Six on Saturday - 8 June 2019

Some reasonable rain showers this week meant that herbaceous plants were not floundering, and it felt very pleasant being able to walk out on the gravel paths to work on the borders, crush greenfly and rose sawflies as they land on stems ready to saw into stems and lay their eggs....

The first of my SOS is a view from the embryonic gravel garden area towards our central seating area.  Star plant for the month for me has been the red Dianthus chinensis.  Not only does its red add a point of attraction for me, looking out from the kitchen window or conservatory, each of its very numerous flowers is supporting bees and other insects.  I would have liked to get a picture of a visiting Hummingbird Hawkmoth yesterday, but by the time I found my had moved on. 

For my second SOS a view towards Acer Corner, along the curving path,  showing the growth achieved in area planted up less than a year ago.  There have been mistakes...such as too many Lychnis coronaria.  To give them their due, grown from seed they are wonderful specimens, but are crowding out choice plants.  This coming week, they will be thinned!

I love Phlomis and for my third SOS show Phlomis purpurea Matagallo. Its the plant with the pink flower spike.  I grew this starting March 2018, with seed from Chiltern Seeds.  I am amazed to have grown a small Phlomis shrub from seed that is flowering like this in just one year.  Something is nibbling its leaves!

This is on my driest sunniest most open bed.

The fourth item is a large clump of soft grey Stachys byzantina aka Lamb's ears.  I love it for its silver accent lighting up the border in winter,  and being evergreen here gives a good ground cover all the year round.  However at the moment it is rather floppy as the flowers grow up, and weighed down after heavy rain.  As it one beloved by bees I am waiting a little while before cutting it back, reducing it, etc!

The fifth item this week is a peep at Saxifraga stolonifera, which is going through its flowering stage.

It is growing on the edge of my shady border which does catch the early morning summer sun, and where the breeze makes the petals shimmer like so many small butterflies. It is close to the conservatory and I have a lovely view of this as I have my breakfast in the early morning.

Saxifraga stolonifera before flowering

 I grow Saxifraga stolonifera primarily for its year round attractive rosettes, but the flowers give an added bonus.  After flowering, the rosettes die off, but new plants from the strawberry like runners soon take over.

Number six is the clump of Sweet cicelyMyrrhis odoratathis week in the green seed stage.  

I am rather apt to cut back plants to encourage new growth, and tend to miss out on the seeds.  The fern like leaves grow on a drier part of the garden, partly under the shade of the evergreen oak tree. It flowers very early in the year offering nectar to early fliers.  Just above it on the wall, I've positioned some pieces of wood with holes and several of these are now sealed off by  This coming week, when the plant is cut back,  I shall cut the green seeds, freeze some for later use, and use some in walnut sourdough bread.  They have a wonderful sweet aniseedy flavour.  The sweet cicely came to me as a small plant several years ago from my friend Kay in Kenilworth, and a piece was brought with me, so I am pleased to say that after a couple of years sulking after the move, it is in fine fettle! 

Sweet Cicely is not native to Britain but is in fact a relatively recent introduction (neophyte) and was first recorded from the wild in 1777. Although recent it has become well naturalized and is often common around woodland edges and clearing, grassy banks and road verges particularly in the northern half of England and southern Scotland.
I shall be sure to use the leaves too next year,  when my new rhubarb will have grown strong enough to pick.

I'll be sure to see what other gardeners have contributed...if not now, later in the week.

Monday, 3 June 2019

In a Vase on Monday - Pure and Simple

Top of the agenda this last few weeks has been decorating...and in the last few days, it has been down to me to do the gloss painting.  Down often means lying on my side as I work brushstrokes to smooth out undercoat and later gloss on the well prepared woodwork.  I could pass on all the tips and tricks I have learnt regarding painting woodwork...

The very important part is having a little rest every few hours...

Reading poetry is what I have been doing during my rests.  I found a slim volume  in French, when  moving all the bookshelves I came across a collection of Poetry from my friend published under the name Elizabeth Staub Lagess.   

Lettre a une Rose

Dans la fraicheur de ce mois de juin,
je n'ai pu resister au plaiser d'aller, ce matin a l'heure
Ou le soleil fait une timide apparition,
dire Bonjour a mon amie Rose.....

In the cool of this morning, I picked Iceberg roses, bent low from the heavy overnight rain.....I dedicate this vase to my friend Elizabeth with a big thank you for sharing her beautifully crafted heartfelt thoughts...

Back to the next couple of hours of painting....and then I shall have a little brose on Cathy's website to see what other contributors have come up with this week....or it may be in a couple of days.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Six on Saturday - 1 June 2019

SOS time for posting six items in the garden...a weekly meme hosted by The Propagator...

Yeah!  We have had some last, enough to half fill the water butt, and give plants a good soaking.  They are popping out of the ground now.

And so are the insects. It been a bit like Spring Insect Watch each time I am out in the garden for a cuppa, lunch, or rest from the painting.

 For my first of my SOS: a shimmering green metallic winged beetle.  This is Cetonia aurata or the Rose Chafer Beetle.  It is feasting on the pollen in the Silene Uniflora Alba flowers.  Reading up about their life cycle and place in the ecosystem is another great pleasure to be had from observing the insects, birds and bees, and other fauna that live in or visit the garden. As and when I write about some of the insects I find within other posts, I like to add a label, which later then directs me to all the posts without having to sift through my blog.  I use my blog in this way, as a pictorial notebook, with a good way of finding items, and also by using the search engine.  This is also why I add links etc...

This little pass along campanula, name unknown, from a neighbour, is buzzing with bees in the morning.  

Bees with their sacs full of the white pollen from these blooms, move from flower to flower:

For my third SOS, here is another of my best flowers for interest: Phuopsis stylosa also known as Caucasian Crosswort.  It stays evergreen here, and I like the form it takes.  However I ought to have cut it back much earlier as it has sprawled rather wide.  As soon as the bees stop visiting, it will have the chop.  I bought three little plug plants online in 2014, and made sure to bring some rooted pieces with me.  I had seen it growing for the first time on a garden visit, and then spent a week or so wondering what it was, and ordering it.

It is just around four weeks ago that I potted up the Pelargonium ardens into my Jacky Duncan pots, and already they have responded by having many shoots, so it holds well as my fourth SOS this week.

There are more that five leaf rosettes on each plant.  Hopefully this means more flowering stems when the time comes. A couple of weeks after first posting this SOS, I came across a site with some very useful cultural tips regarding Pelargoniums, so many thanks to Woottens of Wenhaston, using bleach to sterilize cut tips will be de rigueur from now on.

For my fifth item this week, just nearby in the gravel, is our little 'art installation'.

Mr S arranged the little bits of wood that had been used to level the gravel when we  had finished emptying the huge bags of stone,  then  my Rusty Lizzie Lizard and a few of my stone collection added, and all in full view of the kitchen window!  Just meant as a little joke, it has stayed put all winter.  He claimed his Turner Prize....

For the last of my six this week...a peek of a present to myself for my half-birthday!  The post man arrived just as we were finishing lunch.  The table was cleared, the parcel opened....No fear now of using 'blunt' secateurs, tearing shoots, and leaving a cut attractive enough for any passing pathogen to jump into the plant's stems!  As they had a deal with the whetstone, and Mr S had admitted he did not have one when I suggested we try to sharpen my secateurs a few weeks ago, it made complete sense to have the secateur, sharpener combo and some oil too to keep my new tool in the condition it deserves to be kept!

Have you had any half birthday presents of the gardening type?  Or even full birthday presents?

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Cotyledon orbiculata

"C. orbiculata is an evergreen, succulent shrub growing to 100cm tall. Its grey-green, oval leaves are coated with a white wax and sometimes have a red edge. Small, bell-shaped, orange-red flowers are borne on stems up to 70cm long in late summer and autumn."
Hardiness H1C

This is the description given on the RHS website.

I have had this plant for many years.  Bought at a garden open day at Southwold nearly twenty years ago, it hasbeen propagated many times.  Cotyledon orbiculata does tend to get quite large after several years, and as it is not winter hardy in the garden, in most parts of the  UK, it spends the winter months in the conservatory.  

Last summer, without any premonition, I planted most of my succulents in the front garden.  Here the Cotyledon orbiculata, about four years old, at the start of the season makes a bold silvery statement, even when first planted out in June.  Another fine plant was located near to the curbside.

By the end of the summer, dry as it was, it had grown to a fine specimen.  I already had a few smaller plants, so I called my friend Sally Gregson, and asked if she would like it, together with a number of echeveria elegans, which had been used as bedding plants.

Yesterday during a visit to Sally and Peter, and having an extensive tour of their garden which is open under the Garden Scheme, I came across the pots of Cotyledon orbiculata which Sally had propagated and grown on and they were in fine form and ready to sell on.  The large stock plant which had spent the winter under glass had recently been moved to a sunny display area along with some other choice plants. It was full of many many tips which will start to flower in August.

When I first saw their flowers a couple of years after first getting my plant, I was enchanted by the flowers, and the colour of the inner surface of the petals which a deep rich mango.  This are complemented by the waxy  covering of the petals' outer surface.  The stamens protrude, and being pollen rich are visited by the various bees in the garden.

In a vase the flowers lasted a very long time, and were mixed in with other succulents.

Here is a close up of the stem in the vase.

One year I had cut off some long stems, which had grown in the poorer light undercover during the winter, and popped them in a vase.  A few weeks later, they had grown roots, so were potted up.

The only three plants I now have were cuttings last year, and were planted together with a few other succulents, last autumn, so as to take up less room in the conservatory.  They grew far too leggy with the low light levels, and are now ready to be chopped back.  For this and next season, I shall attempt to grown on a group in a pot on their own.  Whereas the flowers are damaged by frost, I read that the plant can cope with temperatures hovering around 0 c,  if kept the plant will spend next winter in conservatory. In its native habitat, which will have much brighter sunshine, and probably well drained growing conditions, the plant can tolerate lower growing temperatures.  Knowing this is a valid reason to try and keep it without any additional heat during the winter, unless of course night time temperatures fall too low.

I am writing this post about the Cotyledon orbiculata based on my experiences, having seen it mentioned in the spring issue of The English Garden.  The picture there just shows the flowers.  The plant is worth growing just for its leaves and the forms it grows in, but try not to touch the leaves, as the waxy covering is easily marked.

Monday, 27 May 2019

In a Vase on Monday - Soft and Rich

Cathy who hosts this meme has a very early bunch of sweet peas this week.  The colours remind me of sugared almonds and the wonderful jar I had as a birthday present from my son.  One or two a day meant I several weeks of enjoyment.  Fresh flowers may last a day or two, or maybe even longer...growing them in the garden brings many benefits!  Of course there is the benefit of sharing and also seeing what other people are contributing.

With a very early morning session in the garden on Sunday, my eye was drawn to the long rich purple flowering stems on Verbascum phoeniceum violetta.  It had been in the ground for less than two weeks, having come home with me from Malvern Spring Show.  Whether or not I was right to do so, I decided for the sake of the plant that I would cut down the flower spikes to allow the plant to develop roots and leaves instead.  Half of me thinks this was foolish as the lower flowers were fertilized and could have given ripe seeds later.  I've also read that they may not be perennial, so I may only have a few days in which to enjoy my dark beauties.

A perfect partner in this twosome are stems of Ballota pseudodictamnus.  I feel that with its grey furry leaves it is a perfect soft partner for the sumptuously coloured verbascum.

Before it unfurls its dark petals, the verbascum keeps its petals beautifully folded in tiny hexagonal cushions.

The good news is that this twosome appears not to be eliciting allergic reactions, so will be remaining in the vase for a few more days!  This morning being Monday, they have their heads up and making a fine display.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Six on Saturday - 25 May 2019

Since last week there has not been a drop of rain...the water butt is empty, and really we have had nothing to mention for weeks, the clay soil is starting to crack in places.  It is early years on this plot and with several years of mulching, I hope to change things round in due course.

For my Six the first is a  view of  'The Shed Shelf' which has now has become the place where sunlovers take their turn on the eye level viewing shelf.

For my second item I have Aeoniums.  Another hot spot is a corner by the front door.  The tall multi branching aeonium is having its last season, before it is broken down and propagated this winter.  Maybe my friend Sally can get it in her van and we take take it to the October 'show and tell' at the HPS meeting.  Yes I did find it quite strange that at the Show and Tell...there were plants that were 'not hardy'!

Aeonium schwarzkopf will also possibly be too large to go another year.  It already had a reprieve this year, when it was potted with another aeonium and a selection of other succulents in the pot that nearly broke my leg when it fell on me when I was moving it to the conservatory.

For my third item I have my wigwam of runner beans.  I planted the seeds on 7 April,  far too early...which resulted in a lot of work, with bringing in and out they covering for protection against frosts once they had been planted.  Probably I will have only gained a week at the most.  End of  April sowing would have much easier, with planting out this week.  I am growing the 'self-fertile' variety still with white flowers: Moonlight by Thompson and Morgan.

My fourth entry this week is this edge of the border beauty which I bought from my favourite local pop up stall: Tadham Alpines last year.  It is Silene Uniflora Alba.  In the wild Silenes seem to catch my eye, and along the coast of Northumberland when on holiday there in the summer, have often watched as bees and other insects crawl into the I crouch down on our shingle path and do the same! It is revelling in the sun and has settled in well.  The red campions are out in fine form along the hedgerows locally following on the heels of the Queen Ann's Lace.

 My fifth item is a view of the narrow alley along the northern edge of the house.  This 'premium shaded and cooler ledge' is where plants stand if they need relief from the glaring sunshine for the greater part of the day. Pot grown cyclamen, and 'self seeded' ferns transplanted to three of my 'Penny Pots', and potted cuttings fight for a place along the narrow wall.

The last and sixth of the entries is a sad looking Exochorda macrantha The Bride. It was newly planted last summer, and flowered quite nicely.  I thought it may be too dry, so have been watering it deeply each week.  Maybe someone helpful would give me advice.

Maybe a prune now it has finished flowering?

I look forward to joining with The Propagator who host this meme and through his 'hub' was view Sixes from other gardeners here and from other places around the world!

Monday, 20 May 2019

In a Vase on Monday - Early one morning

Early this morning, just as the sun was rising, I heard the birds a singing in the garden below me....

Yes there is a song about a mother used to sing this...and as I went into the garden very early this morning, it was the white Iceberg rose which came to mind.  My mother used this rose...

Then I started to look around and various other elements sung out, and the white rose had been deceived into thinking it would be the star!

The colours as viewed by the camera weren't quite right in the very early morning light, but I have neither the knowledge, the skill or the patience to meddle with the picture!

In the vase this morning: Weigela Florida Variegata still a small plant in the garden, Corydalis Purple Dragon, Lamium maculatum Beacon Silver, Rose Iceberg, Cerinthe, and vying to take the limelight is new to the garden Phlox divaricata subsp. laphamii 'Chattahoochee' .

With its purple eye, and beautifully twisted and curled round purple in the in bud stage, I defy anyone not to have fallen for its charms!  I just kept wanting it as I walked around Malvern.  It was only when I got home and read about it that I found that it was' a fussy madame'.

The cerinthe with its glaucous leaves and nodding 'only slightly purple' heads goes well with Miss Chattahoochee.  Each time I view this plant I feel a guilty pang, as I saved seeds and Alison has been growing the plants on beautifully...and as I found out when visiting the Cathedral in Salisbury,  there were some magically purple ones in full flower.  Whether it is the chalk soil there or whether it is my strain, my cerinthe are a very pale example!  Later this morning I am off to collect a few weeks supply of honey, and will take the posy to Meg.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Six on Saturday - 18 May 2019

This little plant brings a spot of excitement in the 'Shade Border'.  There is very little shade in the garden, and this area is being planted up on the north side of a slatted fence is being developed to put in some of my favourite shade loving plants.   Only recently bought from Graham at the Pop up Alpine Tadham Nurseries Stall, Dodecatheon pulchellum already is performing nicely.  Just look at that rosette of smooth pointed leaves, and those shooting star flowers.  I read that once the flowers are fertilised, the drooping habit changes and the flowers point upwards.  For now I am enjoying it as later it will disappear as it is summer dormant.  Now the nights are so short, I am far too tired to stay up to watch for shooting stars, instead I have these beauties to gaze on during the day.  No plough here, just mulch and watering....

Dodecatheon pulchellum

Along the border is a second little plant which I enjoy mainly for the interesting leaves, but at present it is flowering its socks off...I've no idea what this one is called.  It has been flowering well, but all winter its attractive leaves have been lighting up this little spot.  It certainly is living up to its 'common' name of coral bells.

When it comes to a heuchera well grown how about this one at the Malvern Spring Show 2019.  The patterning and colouration on Green Spice filled me with Heuchera envy!

One other shady area is in a corner by the conservatory, where some of the potted ferns are gathered.  In the winter when two of these lose all their leaves, they are tucked behind other pots.  Not counting the large pot at the back,  there are four pots here...I hope I can sneak these in as 3 to 6 of this week's Six on Saturday: Fern Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’ with its silver and purple leaves in  the foreground.  I originally bought it in 2014 in Frome, and have since divided it up several times.   At two o'clock Fern Athyrium otophorum var. okanum, which is lovely with its purple stems and bright green leaves, the little fern is Asplenium trichomanes the Maidenhair spleenwort, which is a lovely native (UK) fern.  Its has been so forgiving...if I forget to water it and it looks very close to a bowl of tiny green crips, a soak in a bowl of water, brings it back to life.  

The sixth plant masquerading as a fern is a small very slow growing grafted acer.  I've had it about five years.  I remember buying it from a specialist grower who came to give a talk at my previous gardening club.  It had a label, I remember it breaking in half, I remembered that I ought to write a new label out...I didn't, I hadn't put it on my blog, and I hadn't entered it in my garden log....I know very little about acers and would not know where to start!

Its hard to believe from looking at the garden, that this time last year there was very little planted up!