Monday, 17 September 2018

In a Vase on Monday - Keepers

As the gardening year progresses many of us will be pondering on what has done well and planning for improvements, with more of, or less of next year for particular plants, and deciding what will definitely be keepers, at least for another season or so.  For sure I am doing this almost on a fortnightly basis with our new garden, as it has been evolving so quickly.  All the borders are now marked out, and there is not a blade of grass left in the back.  

I must be less impatient, and covet less since I have very limited room to plant all the plants that I have not only enjoyed in the past, but the ones I still am searching for or the one, and the ones I admire  in those beautiful vases posted each month.  To admire and get satisfaction from others hard work and artistry should be an end in itself sometimes.....

The best Keepers which I have been blessed with this year are new friends made since arriving on our new patch.  

As for plants, I have chosen for today for my Vase one that I have grown for the first time this year.  A couple of months ago during a visit to Alison C's garden she pulled up a plant of  Briza Maxima which had already dried to a crisp under our unusually hot summer sun.  It has made a lovely focal point in our living room during the last few weeks.  Dried plant material makes very good keepers, as does this Briza maxima.

This arrangement is from plants grown in our garden.  I planted the seed at the very end of April on a bare patch, from seed received from Cathy back in November 2015.  Those seeds were also good Keepers.  Cathy is the dedicated leader of IAVOM and each week she posts vases, with great stories, charming supporting artifacts, stories, and gardening musings.  Do go and see what she has posted.....

This little 'still life' is on the Kitchen windowsill, with some bay leaves and rosemary left over from a stem I had picked for a recipe a couple of days ago, and red chillis given to me by Jean.  I am attracted to keepers...and like my little stash such as jams and preserves, books, bars of soap to scent drawers.....and seeds.  Must go and find envelopes and start to package seeds up for next year and to share around with other gardeners,

I get such a great enjoyment from the garden, and also from reading.  I am currently reading 'The Curious Gardener' by Anna Pavord.  If you click on her name, I've put a link into Dessert Island Discs, and hope you enjoy her enthusiasm.

I started with 'September' in the book,  read to the end and then have started from January again.  At the end of each month there is a useful reminder of jobs to be done...Along the way interesting articles.  As a link to my arrangement where I have a few bay leaves saved from the pruning of our large bay one of the few shrubs retained, here is what I read only yesterday...

"...bay trees planted close to houses recall the time when gardeners believed quite literally that 'neither witch not devil, thunder nor lightning will hurt a man in the place where a bay tree is', as the seventeenth-century herbalist, Nicholas Culpepper, put it."

Monday, 10 September 2018

A gravel and stone garden and drought loving plant Hibiscus trionum

One of the last areas to have the 'no lawn' treatment has now been completed.  The section nearest the house has a layer of membrane under the stone,  and this is where I will be standing to hang out washing on our removable rotary line. Already I've been grateful that 'dropped' washing has stayed clean.  

 The area further away and  nearest the border where for now, I have some larger stones, will gradually become a free draining gravel garden in the sense that any little suitable garden plants that self seed won't necessarily to be removed, and I may well use the area to display some of the succulents during the summer period. I had salvaged these few stones from a friend's garden, as they were being taken away prior to to building.

Is this a mystery plant or will it prove to be a Callirhoe of some type?  Jean collected the seed from a 'well known' garden, and this is one of the plants that she successfully grew on.  It is growing rather well considering the very hot and dry weather, which is one of the characteristics of Callirhoe.  It does not however have the characteristic trailing habit.  It is setting seed, and as the flowers are quite distinctive with the purple centre and golden stamens, I hope to raise a few plants to bring closer to the front of the border.

The plant is doing well in a difficult position partly shaded by the evergreen Holm Oak during the early morning...I just can't keep up with removing the very slow to decay leaves, which the tree shreds in May and June.

If anyone reading this would like to help identify it and leave any comments, this would be really appreciated.  Thanks to an SOS on my gardening club facebook Amanda has come up trumps.  It is Hibiscus trionum, aka Flower of an Hour, and it took less than an hour for a response.  Thanks.

I have since read in a magazine article that this is an annual known as flower of an hour because its flowers bloom for just a few hours during the day before wilting.  I agree with its description as being a well branched plant with deeply grooved leaves that combines well with perennials.  The flowers are followed by hairy, bell-shaped seed capsules.  I shall see if they self-seed in the garden.  I have saved some of pretty seed heads, and will set some in the spring time.

In a Vase on Monday - Garden offerings

Cathy who leads us all this week has a very colourful offering and reminders of autumn gardening tasks, so do go and see what she and other have chosen.

I have two vases this week.

The first 'Vase' is a small vintage salt glazed ink bottle.  Its just the right size for a little sample of my new Fuchsia Hawkshead which I bought on a little jaunt last week.  The flowers are small and delicate with a green tip to the sepals and the palest of pink on the corolla.  Jean helped to carry the plant round the nursery and I was beginning to wonder when it would be handed back to me.  However I have already taken a few cuttings and Jean will be the first to get a rooted cutting.  We shall then both have a nice souvenir of our day out.

For my second vase, I just went around the garden and have assembled material I have shown in previous weeks.  I don't seem to be able to pose the vase with good enough light or contrast, but this week the posting of this vase is here, so that I have a record of what is still doing well in the garden.  The only new item is a piece of the Ballota pseudotdiamnus which is now settled nicely into the garden.  I love the structure of this plant, and the stems are just like soft woolly pipe cleaners.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Trip to Iford Manor

I seem to drive less and less....but feeling in need to organise a little expedition, I was delighted when a friend who also loves gardens, was free to come with me to visit The Peto Garden at Iford Manor.  The garden is on a steep slope behind a beautiful stone house, set besides the River Frome.

The lanes leading to Iford Manor are very narrow, with few passing points, and I was less than impressed with two drivers who insisted I reverse to a passing point, when in fact theirs was far closer behind them.  However I didn't let this rattle me, and was pleased that I coped well.

Even before we arrived at the payment desk, we knew we were going to love this garden.  In May the Wisteria must be magnificent when in full bloom, but just now, it was the huge gnarly trunk which caught our attention.

Close by the front of the house, with leaves showing the first signs of Autumn, was a lovely specimen of  Hydrangea quercifolia Snowflake.  It was in full sun.

With interesting formation, it has large blooms which start off white and fade to pink.  We saw several examples dotted around the gardens.  I'll be on the lookout for this one!

As Italianate gardens go, I have visited many in Italy, and this one is a peach of a garden.  With little touches like the rose in hip allowed to grace one side of a sarcophagus.

The garden buildings are beautifully position, with views from paths, hedges and shrubs cut at angles.

The fall of light, and shade cast added a visual dimension which on this sunny day certainly gave the feeling of being in Italy.

Close clipped box, yew, trailing rosemary plants, and geraniums were repeated to both catch ones eye and also lead it to distant views, or to the bronzes and sculptures dotted around the garden.

Emerging between creeping ivy, or tucked amongst ferns in shady places, the first cyclamens were emerging.

After our walk around the gardens, we spread blankets in the shade by the River, and enjoyed our lunch.  No outing would be complete without a trip  to a nearby Plant Nursery.  We spent some time looking round Downside Nurseries, with each of us bring home one plant.  I bought white flowered Fuchsia Hawkshead.   On our way home we drove through the pretty village of Freshford.