Monday, 2 October 2023

In a Vase on Monday - Birthday Posy for Jenny

I can't remember when I was last with my sister Jenny on her birthday, and yesterday we had a special lunch cooked by Lluis, for which he cooked a traditional Catalan lunch.  There were various plates of starters and for the main course a slowly braised chicken, sausage and pork belly with tomatoes and aubergines with lashings of wine. It was a special dish which would have only be eaten once or twice a year when he was young. 

Jenny very much admired posies of English flowers outside a Florist on our trip to Frome on Friday.  Yesterday early I went into the garden and picked a range of the flowers to made up a posy for her birthday.  Knowing that I had still flowers from last week, I thought to picture these and use them for In a Vase on Monday before giving them to her.

The taller pink spikes are from Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Golden Arrow', a plant given to me by fellow plant enthusiast, Maggie R. Sedum Autumn Joy, and a pink Japanese anemone, are joined by Astrantia Major 'Sunningdale Variegated',  and the white Chrysanthemum Nicole 22c. If you look closely you can see the fuzzy mauve/pink heads of Serratula tinctoria var. seoanei, a small knapweed.

Foliage is from ferns: Polypodium vulgare, a native fern, growing on the ground in a shady corner in the garden. I am looking forward to showing Jenny this local wild fern that even grows on the branches on trees.  The second fern is Polypodium cambricum 'Richard Kayse' which is so useful as it is just starting to green up and is available to cut all through the winter.

The lizard, just happens to be resident in the middle of the table on our slate lazy susan at the moment, 

I am linking in with Cathy who devised this weekly get together on her blog: Rambling in the Garden, to share flowers and stories and props.  It must have been going for ages as this will be No 273 from me, and it must be well over 300 if not over 400 for Cathy as I have missed quite a few.

Saturday, 30 September 2023

Six on Saturday at the end of September 2023

The signs of Autumn are spreading only very slowly across the garden, since there is still plenty of colour. Already this week, in addition to those for 'In a Vase on Monday', I have picked two further lovely bouquets from a small garden. Like many gardeners, I am considering what to remove, or move or take cuttings of to overwinter. I'll probably be inspired further as I visit Jim whose anchor for SOS I attach this post to, and all the other gardeners who join in this week.

1. The Hydrangea flowers are already fading.....

2. Some flowers are just really coming up their peak such as this lovely Chrysanthemum Starlet (21f) and no apologies for having only recently shown this one.  I just love the shape of the petals.

3. Another favourite autumn flower is that of the Cyclamen hederifolium, silver leaved form nestling under the silver leaved Fuchsia Silver Linings.

4. Just before our break I was admiring the little Helianthemum which I bought this year, all the label said was 'yellow'!  Before I was very much drawn to the silver leaved forms which I planted in the front Mediterranean garden, but lately I have enjoyed the healthy deep green leaves on this one, which has been in flower for ages.

I liked it was much that several cuttings were taken (instructions and  a great collection via the link). They are getting away in their little pot, which should yield some good plants ready to plant out next spring.

5. Leafy plants too make an impact in the garden, and some are just emerging, and will brighten the garden throughout the winter.

Arum italicum var. pictum

6.  I usually bring back a plant souvenir from a holiday, but apart enjoying the trees, landscape, glasshouses etc at Bicton Park, sadly there were no good books on the history of the garden, planting etc. I did find an old publication on line and am expecting that any time now.  Having just read through 'Flower Hunters' by the Gribbins,  I had a better feel and appreciation for the effort that plant hunters took to bring back seed from around the world, which owners of wealth and land such as at Bicton Park grew, and their legacy years down the line as the trees reach maturity.

I brought back slate plant labels made on site at A la Ronde, from the old roof tiles  following refurbishment of the top part of the roof around the chimneys. They are Delabole slate, I shall use them for my special plants in pots.  I'll probably have to experiment to find the best way of writing on them.

Eryngium Planum Tetre Petra, Eryngium Silver Ghost, and the small pretty pale yellow Scabiosa columbaria subsp. ochroleuca, all the seed heads gathered before the wet weather are now dried and slowing having the heaviest of the 'chaff' removed. 

If anyone would like some of one or more, send me a separate comment with your name and address which won't be uploaded to the site, and I shall post them to you.  This applies to friends and SOSs only by the way.  Any balance will be taken to the next HPS meeting I go to. 

Wednesday, 27 September 2023

Quick Lunch but not at the Savoy!

It wasn't exactly what would be served at The Savoy, but this did Mr S and I had for lunch, today. 

10 minutes before serving I had no idea what we would be having for lunch! Everything was in the fridge, except the garlic focaccia, (in the bread bin, defrosted for lunch yesterday) tomatoes from the two plants which Janette Billington brought months ago to the WI meeting, slow roasted yesterday, each with half a clove of garlic added to each half before slow roasting. On top areslices of ash rolled goat's cheese, roasted sweet potato, lentils, spring onions and olives in a 'melange', a drizzle of Fussels's Oak smoked cold pressed rapeseed oil with pomegranate molasses. It is great to have bits and pieces pre-prepared in the fridge. The roasted veg were made when the oven was on for other things, and with no great pre thought as to what they would be used for.

This morning was busy: Mr S was at the Cathedral Library and I took myself and Jenny off to visit a Wood Engraver Geri Waddington whose work I had admired at the Arts Contemporary Exhibition in Wells during August.  With the title who could not smile at 'Meet me at the Savoy'.

I came away with a little print, and this won't be the last one I buy, I have a mind to getting the Savoy one!  I also saw the current work in progress and loved the details of that so will be looking forward to that being launched. Yes Geri did mention that there was a lefty snail and yes they do exist! It must be Jeremy the sinistral snail!

Monday, 25 September 2023

Chrysanthemum Chatsworth In a Vase on Monday

I'm back from a little break just in time to pose my Vase this Monday.  As usual I am joining in with Cathy, but having missed a few weeks, have some catching up to do. 

I have used Chrysanthemum White Gem (21f) before and having started in early July, it is still offering up flowers and has several yet to come.  The second Chrysanthemum is a gorgeous double bronze coloured called Chatsworth 921b).  With Chrysanthemums originating from China it was almost automatic that the beautiful cloisonné vase which my mother bought for me on her tour of China, was to be today's vase, with its lovely rich brown colours.

Chrysanthemum 'Chatsworth' a lovely rich orangey bronze

The Chrysanthemum Chatsworth plant has a great form, with strong stems having blooms well arranged, here there are just two stems. This in my opinion is the best of the Chrysanthemums in the garden at the moment. The  spoon billed Chrysanthemum White Gem is a little more lax in its growth and these were picked from one which ought really have ben staked.  The may well straighten up in the vase over the next few days.  I haven't had time to condition these blooms and they are just minutes from having been cut.

The greenery is made up of winter green fern Polypodium cambricum Richard Kayse, a few leaves from Mahonia Soft Caress., some variegated ivy and Persicaria Red Dragon. 

Saturday, 16 September 2023

Six on Saturday - Soggy Saturday

After a hot dry weather, today it is soggy. and from the weather forecast we are in for soggy days till the end of September.  Up till now no stacking has been needed but we shall see what happens over the next few days. Every Saturday Jim sets up the anchoring post for Six on Saturday, I am joining in with the 'gang' again. 

1.  I love a good Aster such as this Italian Aster King George is King of Garden this week.  Two clumps are giving the impression of a hedging plant.

So much do I like asters at the moment, than on a day out to Watchet on the steam train on Wednesday I succumbed to Fish and Chips, beer in a quirky pub, ice cream, books of poetry, and a very blue double Aster.  I guess now I have to find a place for it.

2.  It is coming to the time when I need to think about moving the succulents from the shelf to places either in the shed, the house, the canopy by the front door or the conservatory.  Unfortunately I love to propagate and now have a few to share, which is harder than you think. 

Aeonium Velour is already under the shelter of the canopy by the front door, and that seems to be a good half way house before the conservatory.

3.  Gardens, plants and skills are for sharing and this week 'Cucumber' Kate came over with some lovely old terracotta pots which she has to spare, and some cucumbers. Yes it raining for the first time this morning, and I as soon as I finish this, I am out to rescue the pots set them to dry and store until needed.

We spent some time chatting and I was able to share seed, show her how to take cuttings from Salvia Amistad, and give her some nicely rooted succulent cuttings.

4. Just by coincidence after writing my post last week, I bought a fig tree and have now planted it.  Since then I read that Fred has a very productive tree and I am looking forward to getting tips on growing great fruit successfully. This year I received separate lots of figs from two friends and was impressed by the quality and sweetness of the fruit.  Hope I live to enjoy many years from this one.

Fig 'Brown Turkey'

5.  A few weeks back I went the Summer HPS lunch, this was the first time I had been to such an event, mainly because the other annual events had been a little too far away from home.  After lunch we brought the plants we had to share, and there were some wonderful ones too.  Before this I had on my list a rose that I had wanted to grow for a number of years, and which my friend Kay had in her garden in Kenilworth.  Although she has now moved, we had some discussions about the possibility of my growing it against the back wall, and her advice was go ahead.  It was on my list to buy as soon as the work with the trees was completed.  There amongst the plants was a good sturdy Rosa banksiae 'Lutea'. Was that 'serendipity' again?  I nearly didn't go as I was on 'model railway' duty, but Mr S managed to find someone else to help him.

6.  I really cannot find room to squeeze much more into the garden, and I know there are bulbs everywhere, but I couldn't resist a few small purchases at the Rare Plant Fair last Sunday: a couple of ferns, and a handful of Crocus 'Dorothy' bulbs.

Fern Cheilanthes lanosa (grey felty) - Fern Asplenium x ebenoides