Saturday, 25 June 2022

Six things in my garden late June 2022

We do have distant views of the Festival at Glastonbury if you stand on the sitting circle and peer to the distant hill, at night we can see the lights, and sound even reaches us.  I can't imagine a place I would rather not be, the place to be is however in the garden trying to zone in on the birdsong or even the sound of the wind in the foliage.  I am a little later than usual joining in with the weekly meme but still want to join the queue of people linking in with Jon The Propagator.

1.  Growing still in the same pot is Clematis Olympia, with blue flowers.

After it has flowered I am going to have a go as cutting it right down, giving it a feed etc, to see if it will flower a second time this year.  Last year after flowering but much later I cut it down and was really surprised at the growth.  It was too late in the season however.  I think it ought to be repotted in fresh compost for next year.

2.  Repotting was far too late for the cyclamen and after twenty minutes of trying to get the corm out of the pot with knives involved, it was either throw the whole lot away, or smashing the pot.  The corm is now planted in the garden, but for the heck of me, I can't remember where I put it.  I might as well have thrown the whole thing away!

3. Origanum 'Emma Stanley' in its third year in the gravel garden is the top plant there this week.

4. Grown from seed from the Alpine Garden Society these little Eryngium bourgatii will soon be placed in that area.  I lost the one growing elsewhere probably because it got overshadowed by other foliage, and I have realised they do need their own patch in the sun.

5.       My friend Eileen gave me a couple of tumbling tomatoes that have already set many fruit.  They are planted in the one large pot, which is now balanced on top of another inverted pot just to keep the fruit off the ground.

6.  Do you remember those little small plug plants...they are coming good, and will be a nice addition to our mini open day on Tuesday.

Hope the wind settles down, and for at least Tuesday we have a dry spell in the afternoon.  Other than that the garden could so with some rain.

Monday, 20 June 2022

In a Vase on Monday - June Roses

 Last Friday Alison and I had a very pleasant time at the Bishop's Palace Garden festival. We had a 'personal' tour by Colin, one of the gardeners.  There were few people on the Friday morning and no one else on the tour.  Alison is very knowledgeable and was able to bring to mind some names of shrubs and trees, and together we enjoyed the tour with Colin pointing out many great plant associations.

Just after lunch we went to sit in on a flower arranging demonstration by one of her friends in the floristry world: Louise Bastow .  Some of Louise's workshops take place at Alison's, from whose garden the flowers come: Floral Acre. Until she developed her flower business Alison was a regular contributor to In a Vase on Monday, and since moving to this area, we have become good friends.  I shall of course be volunteering to help should she have an open garden again after the last couple of difficult years.

I have as a result of In a Vase on Monday which is a weekly event hosted by Cathy, met some lovely people, and enjoyed arranging garden grown flowers. 

This is not the tied bouquet demonstrated by Louise, but she did remind me of the importance of putting cut material straight into water in the garden, so my bucket followed me.  Another tip that reinded me to cut material in cooler conditions, so all this was cut yesterday early, and another tip was  conditioning flowers and stripping leaves.  This morning everything in the bucket was looking fresh and lovely.

I've used almost everything before: Rose Grace, and rose Ghislaine de FĂ©ligondePittosporum Garnettii,  Achillea millefolium 'Lilac Beauty', love in the mist seed heads,  but it is the first for Filipendula Vulgaris Multiplex, or best described as frothy creamy white flower.  I think it was the conditioning that made the flower stem firm and be suitable for arranging. Even the youngish bright green bay leaves hidden amongst the roses here are excellent. I had fallen into the 'doldrums' but having met my friend for the day, and got drawn back into the love the flowers, I too feel 'conditioned' and in a much nicer place.

As for reading, I have recently finished The Fair Botanists by Sara Sheridan. Brenda brought this for me to read when we met up at East Lambrook Manor.  I would highly recommend this book which is a nice read with an excellent sense of place and time, a bit of intrigue, and suspense, a good page turner. I'll be meeting up with Brenda again when the book will be returned. It will be a chance at last to visit her garden during the Stogumber Open Gardens in its 40th Year.  

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Six on Saturday 18 June 2022

It was hotter than Hawaii, and almost wall to wall sunshine here yesterday.  Some of the small seedlings in the veggie area are covered with fleece to reduce scorching, and I am watering the cucumber several times a day.  Linking in with The Propagator and no doubt there will be a bit of a weather report on some of the post linking in, but we are here for the Six on Saturday from the garden, so lets begin! 

1. In its sixth year, top spot this week in the garden goes to the Dianthus chinensis.

I love early mornings in the garden, getting some  watering done, checking and dead heading roses, and feeling the freshness of the cooler air. Very early morning there was the slightest of dews...

2. I am not sure that either the garden or I are made for the summer: we are spring time delicates!  I am apt to get impetuous and sometimes the garden is on the receiving end.  Could it be that because of all my spring bulbs I do not plant for a true 'summer' or autumn garden.  I shall ponder that and in the meantime appreciate what is good in the garden.  My double camomile which looked lovely earlier on in its tight green lawn phase, was peeking up to be in full flower and the poor little rose Shine On, was being cast into the dark, with leaves sadly stressed and flowers struggling.   I took it upon myself to remove it all.  This is the after picture. The patch looks a little bleak at present but I am sure within a few weeks it will be looking great.  Mr S worries as again I have more visitors in a couple of weeks time.  However now I am in the phase of having recruited other members to show their garden, I shall henceforth be gardening purely for my own joy, and not worrying whether to leave patches alone or progress with my savage gardening.  At least it makes me appreciate more than ever all the efforts people go to to get their gardens in a 'show' condition.  But then I know all about the process from my times as chair of Kenilworth in Bloom.

The colour is bleached out as I can't get the colour right first thing.  You may notice some pieces of chamomile replanted, that is because someone who came to visit the garden rather liked the camomile, but I thought they would do better in the cooler ground being watered there than in individual small plastic pots.  I have another patch coming into flower across the other side of the garden.

3. Early morning dew on Rose Shine On looking a little colour faded in the early morning light.

I find myself looking at more roses and whilst searching for the rose tonic mentioned last week, came across a nice selection of smaller roses at Cants of Colchester.  Has anyone bought from them? I would love to have your feedback.

4. Collecting Tulip Seeds...This time is is Tulipa turkestanica.  I may well keep the empty seed pods for a dried flower arrangement.

5.  The Rhodohypoxis 'Pintando' came through the winter and was repotted whilst still dormant in a slightly wider pot with fresh compost. I found a good article about these plants written by Chris and Lorraine Birchall.

Rhodohypoxis 'Pintado'

6.  Last year I planted the cyclamen hederifolium seed as soon as it was harvested, and it was already nicely germinated by November as shown in the picture below.  I kept them growing all through the winter in these half pans. 

Cyclamen hederifolium seedlings
This spring I gave one of half pans to one of my local snowdrop suppliers Tryffid Nursery, and planted the second pan selecting leaves that showed some promise. of looking interesting.  The true form and patterning often become evident only in the third year.  

They continued in leaf all through and now they look like this.  They have been tucked up underneath the Pittosporum and I may have been a little negligent with the watering, but the main corms are in their dormant phase, and I am sure they will soon be in leaf again. 

If the ripening seed is not collected from the mother plant, small corms develop in the centre. Shortly I shall be inspecting the areas and harvesting the small corms, before the flowers  on the main corm emerge, the leaves on hederifolium appear later. This what you get left with after the large corm has flowered and the leaves start to grow if you do not remove the corms. If you have ants as I do, little corms can form wherever the ants leave the seeds, the phenomenon  is called myrmecochory. The ants are attracted to the part of seed called the elaisomes which are full of nutrients which benefit the ants and are not required at all by the seeds for germination to take place.

Sometimes I dig up the whole clump, select some medium sized corms and discard the old one, having 'improved' the soil underneath with a little more humous, sometimes I even relocate the growing corm.  The last one I dug up was about 15cm across!  This is just something I do in this small garden not something I have picked up from any experts.  

Of course, this is the time to repot cyclamen grown in pots, choosing a pot a little larger with added growing room, and new compost.  I do this every two to three years, and there is no need to water for the present. 

May the cooler summer days return, and a few good showers during the night would be added bonus.

Thursday, 16 June 2022

Rosemary & Sea Salt Focaccia

 I ordered Bread Every Day by 'Bake with Jack' born Jack Sturgess, way back when his book was first announced, and many months later a couple days after publication date, it arrived!

This is the first recipe from the book, and true to his many videos every step was clearly explained.  They feel as light as air..well almost, and look and smell delicious.

The mixture of 500g flour and everything else added made up a large square Foccacia, which will be frozen, cut into four ready for picnics, and the other two to go with suppers.  Each one has a different herb: Rosemary of course, and one with sage and the other with thyme. Jack's video recently released shows all the stages.

Saturday, 11 June 2022

Early June on the Mendips

 Another visit to Draycott Sleights with extensive views.  Not a long walk but a pleasant revisit to the cave and surrounding grasslands.

There were many butterflies around, but they kept on being startled as I came close. I think this is the Chalk Hill Blue.  Its sole food source is the Horse Shoe Vetch which grows in abundance.

The orchids were out, and even these were not still in the strong breeze.

Even smaller this tattered specimen of the Small Blue butterfly.  It is our smallest resident butterfly that similarly feeds solely on a different vetch.

Whilst the ant hills are veritable miniature gardens with thymes and hawkbits in flower, and yet clinging onto limestone exposures at least three different types of fern were growing in close proximity.

Amongst the other more yellow hawkbits this lighter lemon one caught my eye.