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.

Monday, 16 July 2018

In a Vase on Monday - Bright Sunshine and calling all senses

 Unless you have been underground, and thank goodness for all those heroes who rose to the occasion and saved young lives, you will have not failed to have noticed that in many areas of England we have had very hot and dry weather.  Since coming to live in the Mendips I have met and been told about many cavers who love to explore the underground territory under our feet.

 Last week, we did have one downpour, but not even enough to even coerce any green to reappear in the brown grass.  Even the wells in the Bishop's Palace are having a struggle to fill with water.

I hate to think what our water consumption has been.  Buckets of water have been ferried from spent washing up water and other activities to keep a few plants going.

Bright colours call out across the garden, and the flowers are buzzing with bees of all types, as well as these we have other flying insects and butterflies.

I bought three Tithonia plants when I went for a tour of the old Mendip Hospital Cemetery a few weeks back and one of them is already in flower.  They are really bright, and the center of the flower complex.

Sunday morning saw a gardening friend Jean and I volunteer there, clearing and planting wild flower seeds.  We worked in the shade, until the sun as so high, we started to fry!

 Also starting their blooming season are some annual rudbekias which have been standing the strong sunshine very well.

The bronze fennel flowers add a little softness, and I managed to persuade myself that the night time hoard of moths feeding on the Verbena Rigida would not miss a few stems.  I knew about them because when I started to turn the hose onto the plants when it was very nearly dark, I heard the moths rise up as they flapped their wings to get away from the spray.

Three stems from the yellow Japanese Grass Hakonechloa complete the arrangement.

Usually I wear gloves in the garden, but inside when I was arranging the flowers, my sense of touch came to the fore.  The rudbekia leaves and stems were as rough as sandpaper, but the stem of the Tithonia was soft and velvety:  what a huge contrast.  I started to feel the material...and experience the differences such as stiffness and pliability.  

I suppose that this season all plants that come through will be an achievement.  I for one believe that Cathy has achieved wonders keeping her garden open for visitors, and good for her for acknowledging her first arrangement of zinnias as a mark of achievement.  Do go and look to see them.

Monday, 2 July 2018

In a Vase on Monday - Without water or with?

The rain predicted for yesterday evening was insufficient to even cause more than a damp freckling to the stepping stones, and had evaporated off within minutes.  My little temporary 'installation' on the gravel area just about sums up our current weather...Cathy who hosts this meme is having it hot and dry too, her vase is full of sunshine this week.

As many pots as possible have been moved to areas which have shade at least part of the day.  White horticultural fleece is acting as sun screen on tender lettuce and beetroot, even so, they are very thirsty.    In the absence of water I thought maybe a vase without water?

The last of the Allium Christophii have been cut leaving my whole collection of succulents basking in the sun.

However, since I have been watering just to save newly planted areas, this morning just a few shouted out...enough, take us inside!!!!  Early this morning I was able to cool the house down to 22 C with all the windows and door open, before the sun rose.  By 9 am  this week's arrangement was ready

Four elements:  Fern Burgundy Lace, Clematis Vienetta, Centaurea Montana Alba, and Verbena Rigida.

Clematis Vienetta

Centaurea Montana Alba

A vase can be a teapot, and with a little tea ball from The Exotic Teapot Company

and a little boiling water...a flower in boiling water, but it did not come from my garden: green tea, marigold and rose.  Its given me the idea to make some of my own using Lemon Verbena as the green part, and maybe other flowers for the centre.

Finally bug of the week......

I believe these to be two lesser stag beetles.  Mr S found this in the area which we are preparing for the seating area.  I buried lots of old logs in the ground towards the back of the borders near the wall when we first moved, so I hope that they will be happy there.

What do I remember of the Summer of 76? ...easy to drying nappies..All daffodils were over when baby and I returned home at the start of March....and no rain till mid October.  My father visiting from the tropics found it too hot!!!!!  Now I worry more for farmers, fire fighters, heath land, wild life etc....