Saturday, 31 August 2019

Six on Saturday 31 August 2019

It is starting to feel that Summer is waning.  I do like Autumn but for some reason or other I think that Autumn ought to start much later in the year, say October.....In a week that saw us having a few days away mid week, being able to admire a different set of front gardens, there have been ups and downs.  My week started on a high as I was privileged to go to tea and also look round Derry's Garden for the first time, and to end it visited Bicton Park Gardens which did not quite hit my buttons...except for a few beautiful trees and the curve of the glass.......

Lets get back to Six on Saturday....a great way to post about plants and the garden, led and collated by the Propagator...I've just had a quick peep, and will go back and read more..we have so much in common for example the attack on his rose leaves!

A little star staying low, is (1) Fuchsia Tom West.  Some descriptions on line describe this as 'upright', it does make me cross when there is poor attention to detail, obviously someone has 'cut and paste' and has not looked at the plant at all!  I would grow this plant for the form and colour of the foliage alone, and its medium sized purple and pink flowers are delightful.  I have had this plant on the go for years, bringing a piece with me here.  In the spring, I gave it a bit of a chop, and simply pushed a couple of the stems in the soil close by...two lovely new plants which I only moved to another position only three week ago.  Even without flowers as can be seen with this young plant it is great towards the front of the border.

In gardening there are times to give up...but I was determined to work on (2) 'resurrecting' Geranium clarkei 'Kashmir Purple'.  This plant that was new to me earlier this year was another star...see link, but a few weeks later it just melted into the ground. I wanted to see what was happening underground, so up it came.  There was a healthy root with several dormant growing buds.  Is it normal for the plant to go into summer dormancy?  I can't find anything regarding this, but maybe it was the unusual weather.  On my tour of the garden I found the pot of good compost which I had to moved it to, with signs of life...Hurrah!  This plant has now been correctly identified as Geranium malviflorum.

There is always (3) Deadheading when you get back from a few days away.  I like to keep on top of this, and most late evenings on my tour, roses that are likely to drop petals are I didn't pick up all the dropped rose petals on this and the balancing shrub at the other end of the bed.  However I did squish all those little caterpillars feeding like pigs round a trough..the dreaded Rose Sawfly  There are several generations each season...I had not seen them up until 2015 in my garden.

(4) Calendula  given to me as little seedlings by Jean, still in their seed tray...planted out with one watering, have come up very nicely, with little attention.

(5) Chrysanthemum Dixter Orange arrived early this year in a 9cm pot.  It stayed there but also cuttings of which two did well, so three were planted into the soil to flower amongst the purple Verbena Rigida.  These are the first blooms, and they started to show their rich warm orange colour about 10 days ago...there are so many buds, and with dead heading, I think Dixter Orange with continue to give some colour for a couple of months.

Elsewhere (6) The Asters are working their magic.  If I had more room I think I would collect more of these.  For now I am really happy with Aster x frikartii 'Monch'. Named after a Swiss Mountain, this aster was bred by Mr Frikart in the early 20th century. This Aster comes into flower nice earlier than King George growing in another bed in the garden.

Monday, 26 August 2019

In a Vase on Monday - Simple yet complex - Beautiful Nadeskiko

It is Bank Holiday Monday...and it has been one of the hottest on record.....To mark the occasion my prop is the lovely small glass rhinoceros, a lovely present from Diana brought as a present after a journeys to her homeland of South Africa...

Only one type of flower has been picked for today's vase.  It came to me early last year as a small plant from Alison.  Had I not spotted the lovely bloom in her garden, I may never have come across this plant.  I am totally enraptured! 

Quite by chance our anchor for this weekly meme is also posting just one type of flower:  do go there and enjoy, and also through the comments see what others will have chosen for our enjoyment this week.

Close us the blooms are complex, with intricately fringed petals, reminding me of some sea creatures wafting in the sea currents.

I had got to this place in my post and decided to look further into this plant, and as a result found some interesting information.

I have been meaning to return to my weekly French conversation group, but for now, I have had a little exercise in reading a post written in French by Sophie Le Berre a Japanese specialist, who has posted on the Dianthus of Seven Plants of Autumn in Japan.  This plant is feted in Japan and many poems have been written. This bloom is associated with idealised feminine beauty in Japan. 

Certainly the perfume is absolutely enchanting, and sitting in the garden at any time of day is a treat.  In the situation, it is growing to 85cm.  One reason to have just one type of flower on the mantel piece is to test whether this affects either of us...since we are sensitive to different types of pollen/plant material.  Will report on that after a few days.

Last year I scattered seed from the first small stem, on soil nearby in September, and germination was excellent.  The plants will flower next year, and I wait in anticipation to see what will emerge.

I posted about Dianthus Superbus on my SOS this week, when Alison confirmed its name.

Quite by accident, for this week's IAVOM,  I had placed the stems in a very simple vase brought from Japan by my father, where he joined one of his Japanese and fellow World plant enthusiasts friends, on a plant finding expedition in the mountains in the 1960s.  I can't remember what time of the year he visited, and just wonder whether he saw this one, or a similar one growing in the wild.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Six on Saturday 23 August 2019

For the past couple of weeks there has been a light but delicious fragrance of  cloves and nutmeg wafting around the garden, held in by the stone wall.  The source is a Dianthus with very shaggy light pink petals,  held on tall stems.  I had a plant given to me by Alison who grew it from seed.  It may well be Dianthus chinensis (1)Dancing Geisha?I shall have to ask.  It moves beautifully in any breeze, and I ought to have thought of its support earlier on in the year.

It flowered last year on shorter stems, and from the seed saved and sown straight away in the garden, I had several seedlings plants grow through the winter, two of which have been moved and are growing on nicely in the gravel garden.   As the gravel garden is in full light, I am hoping that they will be sturdier and will manage to stay upright without staking. It is worth growing these for the scent alone.  I shall try cutting some as in the garden they don't make me sneeze or my eyes run, so it will be tested indoors and form part of my In a Vase on Monday post.

At (2) Butterfly Painted Lady apt name to follow on from Geisha just cannot keep away from the Origanum laevigatum Herrenhausen.  This is the smaller patch growing on the edge of a border, growing on nicely from  a small division taken early this spring.

I love to look closely at what is emerging and deciding whether it is a plant to be removed, for example a weed, or (3) a seedling from a nearby plant...It is semiaquilegia ecalcarata which I bought early this year at a Hardy Plant Fair.    

There are maybe six small seedlings.  I understand that these are a short lived perennials, and it looks as if it is happy enough in its situation. 

The finely divided leaves form a neat clump, and even now when the flowers have died down, the plant is a great addition in the Conservatory Border.

Towards Acer corner, ps there is just one Acer Tree planted in the corner of the garden, not some great swath of specimen plantings.... Cyclamens emerging (4)Silver leaved C. hederifolium was unseen until Geranium Rozanne was cut back to reveal them. PS Fuchsia silver linings, just behind made a slow start this year.  My special cyclamen in pots are also flowering along the side alley in shade for most of the day.

Fuchsias are definitely good value and very easy to grow here...unless they don't grow and then I find another variety to try.  This year's new one here is  (5) Fuchsia Upright Delta's Sarah.   Bought at the Malvern Spring Show this year, in a small 9cm pot, it soon went out into the garden, and is doing really well. Of course it had to pinched and hey another three shrubs are now growing nicely, in pots!  With its white sepals and blue/violet corolla, it is lovely,  it is blue when out of the strong sunlight ie on the shady side, or when we had a few days of few this year sadly,  but I am not sure the yellow flowers of  Rudbekia goldstum in the background are quite right.

Another new plant...yes most of them are, since the garden was mostly planted up last autumn, but planted in previous gardens is (6)Anaphalis margaritacea...silver leaved with white papery flowers....

It looks like it is back to watering again since it is hot, sunny, and no rain forecast for the next ten days.  Tomorrow I am going to a Special Garden just north of Bath, where there will be loads of Special Plants to enjoy....Do take the opportunity of visiting the Pro(pagator) who leads this weekly theme, he has been waving the flag...the Spanish one and also points towards the progress of other plants grown from seed.

Monday, 19 August 2019

In a Vase on Monday - Alison's flowers in a Vase

Yesterday Alison and Paul opened their garden, and flower growing zone,  for Flower Farmers Big Weekend.  Alison has a great gift for choosing and growing beautiful plants, and then bringing them together in wonderful arrangements.  It was through this weekly get together of In a Vase on Monday, organised by Cathy, that Alison and I met soon after I moved down to Somerset.  This week Cathy seems to have hit the bottle in her post: Sozzled! But she is not leading us astray, its just her usual very cleaver interpretation...

I was delighted to be able to lend a hand on one of the open days yesterday...generally making drinks,  and serving the most delicious array of cakes and drinks to visitors, and keeping Alison and Paul topped up with tea, as they showed visitors around the growing areas.  Money raised was for the Dorothy House Hospice.

Just as I was leaving Alison gave me the loveliest of bunches of flowers from her garden.  I was amazed at the feeling of receiving flowers.  Having had parents in this business, and also loving to grow my own for years, I seldom receive flowers, but mainly I love to give them.  I am perfectly happy with this, but hadn't quite understood the wonderful feeling of receiving flowers.

The smell of the freshly cut flowers was magical, with the Apple Mint adding a wonderful layer.   Last night they were conditioned and now they have been arranged and are gracing our mantelshelf.

Not knowing exactly what the flowers are is also a bit of foxing situation, and maybe if Alison has time and comments we may be given some hints.  So many of the elements are fabulous...just love the fluffy grass,,,the deep red bits, the long fascinating tall and dangly things, and the big  mauve powder puffs, which most of us will recognise as Asters.  If this is not the year of the Aster then next year may well be!  Alison is growing a lovely range with a real range of interesting other colours too.  As I was kept busy the whole time, (the washing up didn't do itself you know), I didn't have time to look around, and I even forgot a nice bronze carex that I had put aside from the plant stall which Alison's mother was running!

I know the name of this little fabulous phlox as Alison had showed this in one of previous vases: Phlox drummondii 'Silver Stars'.

For once I am perfectly happy to post flowers not from my garden, but they still count as they are from An In a Vase of Monday contributor.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Six on Saturday 17 August 2019

Mr Propagator  is probably out in the garden surveying the growth in the time he has been away, and in the meantime he has put up some pictures of plants at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh...

The last week has seen sufficient rain to make this gardener happy.  Early this morning it had stopped and I could step out and take a few pictures.

During the low light and wet days earlier in the week, the view from the kitchen window made me appreciate how the variegated plants help to lift my mood, as they stand out, which they didn't quite do in the same way when the sun was strong.  Straight across from the kitchen, just beyond the round table is a little group including Sedum (Hylotelephium) erythrostictum 'Frosty Morn' (1).

For the last couple of days I have been moving plants out from shelter of walls and even from the house to enjoy a little shower.  I used to have a range of  Sempervivums (2)all potted up separately and named, but now they get arranged as the fancy takes me, in discarded Bonsai pots....I have a spare empty one, and one of the little tasks for next week is to make a selection of the offsets to plant in it.

I've made a very slow job of replanting the front garden, due to all the painting and decorating taking place indoor.  On that account I am pleased to say all my gloss painting was completed yesterday.  As we have cleared the turf, I've planted in a very ad hoc temporary way.  Enjoying sowing seeds, and maybe also enjoying and understanding the growth of a plant for one season, I planted one of the little seedlings of Nicandra physalodes (3).  I had admired the flowers and the decorative spheroid fruits on a visit to Hampton Court Castle in 2016, and more recently to Lytes Cary Manor, and the seed came from a friend's garden.   As it has the space to expand unlike the plants in the border in the back garden, it has grown up and sideways over 1.5m across, and has needed staking:

I think it is making growth at the expense of the flowers, which in any case do not last long, and it is the dried pods later in the season that interest me.

Again in the Solanaceae the White flowered Solanum laxum 'Album' (4)growing up the fence by the conservatory was a bright spot. It has hardly stopped flowering all year and throughout the mild winter.  This was one of Morrison's specials at around £2 bought a couple of years ago.  I've always dead headed it, and having read that its berries are quite attractive, I think this year I shall leave a few to enjoy later in the Autumn

Like the rest of us I love a magazine to flick through, and get a couple of gardening ones delivered.  During the week Gardens Illustrated flopped on the mat, and attached was their free seed packet.  Earlier this year, I sowed some of their free Linaria pupurea 'Canon Went' (5) and have now five good plants, one of which is planted in the border, and the remaining waiting to be placed.  From seed to flowering in just a season, and now I shall have to wait to see how it performs over several seasons, and to see if I planted it in the right place, which is something that requires a little patience.

Pelargonium  hybrid sidoides x reniforme “Burgundy”(6) with its soft grey leaves  and long flowering stems, which grow longer and produce sets of flowers, and then branch again with more buds, is in full swing.  Growing in the tall Jacky Duncan pot it sits on the posing shelf with the flowers cascading down.

Earlier this year, when the overwintering plant had a bit of a trim, it was an opportunity to produce some replacements.  With a very good rate of success I have re-potted the rooted cutting into two  pots with three plants in each.


Thursday, 15 August 2019

Date stuffed Buns

Mr S and I have a thing for dates....the sweet ones, and enjoy our brazil nut stuffed dates as our lunch time sweetmeat after dinner.  Since moving I have been buying them from Persepolis, but lately very similar dates were on sale up at Rocky Mountain twice weekly fruit and veg market.  Sadly they ran out and stated that they would supply them seasonally.  By that I understood to be around Christmas.

Anyway, as we are about to be without, I was researching the different types of dates, and came across 'Komaj Buns'.  To think there could be buns stuffed with dates for breakfast got me thinking.  We were out of breakfast buns, and I decided to make some date stuffed ones.

For my bun dough I revisited Jane Mason's Sfoof recipe, which I adapted in a number of ways.  I omitted the mahlab and the orange blossom water, and reduced the butter to 75g.  Half Spelt and half wheat flour was used, as was the anise seeds and ground turmeric.

For the filling I decided to chop up the dates together with some juicy candied orange peel.  For half the batch I followed the Komaj Buns technique using a cutter.  Finding it quite tricky to get each bun the same weight, I reverted to one of the techniques learnt in the Book of Buns, and stuffed buns with the filling.

Friday Bun Day was moved to Wednesday! With our afternoon drink it was the two smallest buns, one each.  The rest are in the freezer. 

The bun is as light as a feather, the golden colour from turmeric, and taste combinations of the date, orange and anise seeds delicious.  We have six wonderful breakfasts to look forward to in the coming month.  We love sitting together in the conservatory having our breakfasts and watching the birds and the clouds.  We have a rolling menu but always a boiled egg each on Saturday, and a special bun each on Sunday, with great coffee and tea, and a fruit platter selection. 

Monday, 12 August 2019

In a Vase on Monday - Accessorizing

This week Cathy's leading IAVOM is called On a Slow Gravy Boat to China and is full of beauties....

Had I the most perfect blooms, I would have come up with a simple display of lovely white Dahlias, perhaps with a little greenery as a foil.  However when I cut the Dahlias and brought them in, oh dear, a few petals nibbled, edges of petals bruised by the buffeting action of strong winds.  What can be done?  A few petals carefully removed, and a veil of other items to distract the eye gives the vase this week an OK look.

Moving the vase to the conservatory early this morning for better light, here are some details of the flowers:

I like the structure, texture and arrangement of the Ballota pseudodictamnus, with its fury grey green leaves, circular bracts  and the tiniest of purple pink flowers.  Lysimachia candela has flopped seriously...I'm not sure this plant quite lives up to its sales blurb, another season and it may well be removed.  Lysimachia clethroides is doing much better, though not put int this vase.  Perhaps it was the hot dry weather earlier on during the summer.

I was pruning out the stems of the Thalictrum delavayi, which still have the odd flower, but had a netting effect better to veil imperfections in the Dahlia.  Solanum laxum 'Album' joins the vase, as do a couple of Fuchsias.

A little touch of dangling earrings offered by the demure Fuchsia Hawkshead, and a brighter splash by another hardy fuchsia.  Aster x frikartii 'Mönch' is just coming into bloom and with its lovely long stems and large lavender flowers it  is one of my favourite late summer performing plants.

Dahlia Gallery Art Fair, a lovely gift from Alison, would not  pass a photo shoot, but putting on a bright smile, and suitably accessorized, she is ready to go out there for all to enjoy.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Six on Saturday 10 August 2019

I love to start with a little weather report sneaked in...not counting as my six.  At last some significant rain over more than one day, so hopefully there will be no need to fret about watering, and my water butt will have stores for later...however the heavy winds very unlike August will mean for sure time spent removing debris and staking plants.  Luckily I took these pictures before the very heavy winds.

I first admired this allium:  Allium carinatum  subs pulchellum (1), aka Keeled Garlic, in Alison's Garden and was offered a  pot with a few seedlings.  After nurturing and bring these on, for another season in the pot, they were planted out last year, now in August, there is a  fine display of firework like pink blooms.  However they have needed to be propped up with twigs. 

To have a dainty allium performing in high summer with such a quirky form is a small thrill.  The leaves are dying down and perhaps it is on account of the very dry conditions this year.  I also wonder whether because they are at the original depth of the tiny seedlings, about one centimeter down with the tips of the bulbs now above soil level  there has been little anchorage.  When they have finished flowering, the bulbs will be dug up and planted ten centimeters down.  Last year I caught the seeds off the first blooms.  The seedlings emerged, did well, and were re-potted into six pots, but they have now died down.  I'll report again next year on their progress.  Taking this picture has make me consider moving the recently cut down sedum, and planting in its place something that will provide a better contrast to synchronize with the main flowering time of the allium. Any suggestions?

Allium carinatum  subs pulchellum 

On the shed shelf is this Sarracenia, (2).  I bought a couple last December from the market.  One went to my son and this one except for a short spell for a month or so around Christmas in the conservatory, has been outside.  In the strong sun it has coloured up well, but I need to pot it on now.  It stands in water contained by the outer pot.


At last some rain falling Thursday night and a little during the day on Friday, means that there is water again in the water butt.  Of course the birds visiting the garden much prefer to bathe in rain water, after having to bath in tap water.  Twice a day sometimes whilst watering, the Bird Bath (3)has been topped up. Insects and birds take turn to refresh and drink. 

Bird Bath

The variety of insects this year visiting the garden has expanded.  Leaves being eaten by caterpillars, butterflies and bees drink nectar, and ants are farming blackfly, beetles scuttle around.  Even without a pond, dragon flies are landing in the one is resting on Origanum laevigatum  Herrenhausen (4).  This was planted as a small 10cm potted plant last August and this year it and the smaller offshoot taken early this year are performing well and all the origanums are visited by bees, hover flies etc.

I love sedums...or at least I thought I did.  I still do but I guess that is so much easier whispering I love all you lovely sedums than saying that I love Hylotelephiums....but if a good friend changes their name, is it not good manners to learn their new one?  There are so many different forms, and over the years I have grown not only to love them, but bought a few different types, and increased them from cuttings.  This one was bought a couple of years ago, suffered from rotting at the soil level soon after planting in ground too rich for them, but I salvaged the stems, made up cuttings and got three plants, which were planted out in the Conservatory border earlier this year.  Now I have to learn the new names of Hylotelephium telephium, but for evermore I shall call this one to 'Purple Emperor' (5)!

Purple Emperor

Ballota pseudodictamnus(6) is another favourite and the plant bought last year at the Autumn Rare plant sale at the Bishop's Palace is growing well, even after its short back and sides earlier in June after its first flourish.  It has looked good all the year round remaining evergreen, in our mild winter.  In the foreground is a cutting taken and poked straight in the ground in January this year, flourishing with its first set of flowers. I find the cuttings very easy, and one taken in early June, is already rooted...that one was pushed into the ground in the shady border.  Of course loving full sun, now that it has rained, the small rooted plant not in view here, will need to be moved.  Where is that ladder? *  These have not been watered during the long dry spell.

Ballota pseudodictamnus

Looking forward to more gardening and seeing what other SOS contributors have on offer.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Plant of the Month August 2019 - Hydrangea Paniculata Vanille Fraise

A blogging friend Brian Skeys has posted a holly hock this month, and asked if readers had a favourite plant this month. Last month I was eyeing another pot which had performed beautifully,and I had wanted to put it on as a special.  Thinking about what has or is going to be the highlight of the month in the garden is a great one to look back on.  Hopefully that special for July will still be blooming beautifully July 2020!

For August 2019 I have this lovely Hydrangea Paniculata Vanille Fraise.  Here it is still in its white form, with large blooms weighted down with the first significant rains we had overnight.  Now eight years old, and having suffered removals, and perhaps over harsh pruning a couple of years ago, it is has been in full blooms for about two weeks already. 

If you have a favourite plant this month in the garden, why not leave a comment, and if you are a blogger, even better,  why not start up this monthly post, and link in.

Monday, 5 August 2019

In a Vase on Monday - Full of Grace

 It is a few weeks since I uploaded a post for In a Vase on Monday, and it is really lovely to be back.  I write this during a short break waiting for my coffee to cool.  The final fine sand of the bannisters is complete, and I gird my loins for the long stint of undercoats and gloss.

This morning before the sun has really cleared the sky of the fine haze shortly after six, , I brought the vase I put the blooms into last night,  into the conservatory to have sufficient light to take a picture.  All these blooms come from just one stem of Rose Grace.  The two bushes were cut following the fist surge of blooms only a couple of weeks ago, but before the other stems had finished, the plant sent up a new strong stem.  There is was, s standing out above the other pruned branches. With secateurs in hand from some other job, it took only a second to cut the stem out and convert the bush to a more harmonious shape.  The prunnings went into the vase with some stems of Persicaria Red Dragon, which keep being used.  They are full of roots in the water, and were waiting to get potted up.  The Persicaria Red Dragon was a gift from the Cathy.  I just keep on propagating it, and it gets passed on to any visitors who like it!

Cathy is the wonderful constant creator of IAVOM, who week in and week out, produces and herds us together.  Her post for this week is 'Dotty'.... Cathy is a great one for adding props, so this week my brass lizard shows just how hot it has been.  The arrangement is back on the mantelpiece where it is cooler and should survive a few days.

It has been very hot, and my rain dances have been letting the garden down....even when other areas of the country have received deluges, and the weather map shows rain over this area, still nothing...Parts of the garden need watering, and it seems to take all my spare time to water pots and favourite plants I don't wish to loose.  The internet went down, and after visits from BT and a new router, we are thankfully reconnected.

I picked this book up quite by chance in the library.  I had to go to Town and just needed a cool down, so headed to the library with its air conditioning, and all I felt like doing was having a sit down.  My eyes roamed the shelves for something, and maybe it was the botanic theme of the cover and the short introductions, but having brought this home, I have enjoyed both the style and the story.  Now I need to find another novel.....