Wordless Wednesday: Anticipation

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In a Vase on Monday: Oranges and Lemons, the Uncut Version

Quite clearly, today’s blooms HAVE been cut but, having cut them and popped them into the zinc ice bucket that I usually stand flowers in before they are arranged, I decided they looked attractive as they were, just randomly plonked and untrimmed (other than removal of lower leaves): the uncut version.

Spurning the temptation of various purple and pink shades of dahlia that are still going strong in the cutting beds, I was attracted instead by the last few presentable blooms on sunflowers ‘Velvet Queen’ and ‘Italian White’, Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ and Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Glow’. With the advent of an oranges and lemons theme, various oddments from the same colour palette were added – Dahlias ‘Jescott Julie’, ‘Golden Girl’ and ‘unknown’, Rudbeckia ‘Irish Eyes’, a fading hosta leaf and the yellow-green foliage of nasturtium. There may be others lurking in the mix too.

I liked the way the lanky stems of Prairie Glow and Lemon Queen splayed out at the sides of the bucket, creating a low and wide effect which I was unsure could be replicated in any of the vases I have – so they stayed where they were instead. I could have added the obvious props of course, but I suspect the lemons in my fridge are past their best and not for public display. Have you been able to pick blooms or find other material in your garden for public display on IAVOM today, as well as for your own personal pleasure? If so, please share them with us by leaving the usual links to and from this post.

Posted in annuals, cutting beds, dahlias, Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday | Tagged | 34 Comments

Six on Saturday: Propagation

I treated myself to a hydropod cuttings propagator recently and it looks as if it will prove to a good investment. The cuttings slot into foam discs inserted in the tray, which in turn sits above a water reservoir which sprays a fine mist over the lower part of the cuttings, taken mostly from salvia and persicaria. The first roots appeared just days after the unit was first switched and within two to three weeks almost all the cuttings were sporting an astonishingly healthy crop of little roots.

The cuttings could have potted up earlier than they were, but I didn’t find time until this last week when all but a handful of them were gently removed and potted into cell trays. I wasn’t sure how well they would take to the change in their environment but they have not drooped at all and look really happy. The whole process was far easier, and quicker too, than potting cuttings into gritty pots of compost and remembering to mist them regularly before teasing them out several weeks later to check if they had rooted. The empty discs have now been filled with pelargonium cuttings and a few trial clematis.

Not requiring much attention at the moment are plants propagated by division, some from plants purchased and split into smaller plants and others gifted from blogging friends Chloris, Jenny and Noelle. Most of these will be added to my own garden, unlike most of the cuttings which, planning ahead, are destined for the plant stall at next year’s open garden days. The hardier ones will be over-wintered outside before being planted out in the spring.

As well as cuttings and division, propagation has taken the form of seed sowing, although records tells me  I haven’t sown since the end of July which seems an awfully long time ago now. Autumn sowing of early sweet peas is a must for me, and I am sure there are other things I meant to sow around September or October – ah well, I shall catch up in due course perhaps… Meanwhile, I have trays of foxgloves, verbascum and sweet william to plant out (plus, sadly, far too many pots of this, that and the other), but planting out in borders already stuffed with perennials is not an easy task and is one that is too easily put off. I am pleased to say, however, that several hours of bulb planting in pots has taken place over the last couple of days, and overplanting these with bellis grown from seed has made at least a small dent in the trays awaiting planting.

I trust Jon the Propagator will approve of my Six on Saturday today, and I am grateful to him for hosting this meme.

Posted in Gardening, Gardens, propagation, Six on Saturday | Tagged | 27 Comments

In a Vase on Monday: Gather Ye Rosebuds

With temperatures down to 3 or 4°C on two nights last week, the prospect of a frost comes ever closer and I made a point of checking on my dahlias after both chilly nights. Most of the posies I pick at the moment are mostly made up of dahlias, and as well as gathering dahlias whilst I still can it would be a shame not to gather any rose buds that are unaffected by the cold or dampness. As I did so today, thinking of the recent loss of my younger sister and now other family illness, I was mindful of Robert Herrick’s poem in which he encourages us to seize the day: ‘Gather ye rosebuds while ye may’…

The roses I gathered are the increasingly popular ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’, her blushing apricot blooms and burnished bronze new foliage serendipitously complementing the adjacent crab apple ‘Evereste’, which is smothered in hundreds of little blushing apricot apples (blushing more furiously as they mature), making up for the dearth of last year’s crop, wiped out at the blossom stage by the Beast from the East’. The ‘lighthouse’ shaped vase I brought back from a pottery on the Scilly Isles was brought into service again for its band of orange and yellow glazes which neatly picked out the colours of the rose and the fruit.

Thank you for your tolerance last week when I was unable to catch up with your comments and vases; this week all should be as normal and I look forward to seeing your vases if you are able to venture into your gardens and find some material to pop into them.

Posted in Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday, roses | 54 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: Happy as Larry

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End of Month View: No Corsets

The garden
Unlaces its stays
And exhales,
Sitting back and
Relishing the freedom.

Time poverty,
Benign neglect
And Autumn
To bring dissipation:
Plants loll
And jostle,
Leaning against
Their tipsy friends;
Like squatters,
Weeds take advantage
Of the laxness,
Beggars growing fat
On scraps from
A summer banquet;
Dahlias defy
The curfew,
But elsewhere
Jaded blooms linger,
Of a receding year
With the shorter days,
Clothed in woven
Of their heyday
By busy tailors
And their webs;

All too soon
The party will be over,
The table cleared
And the guests
And beggars
Their invitations
For next year
Already in the post.

Posted in End of Month View, Gardening, Gardens, Poetry | Tagged | 27 Comments

In a Vase on Monday: Beyond Rubies

The deep, deep colour of Sedum/Telephinium ‘Purple Emperor’, far darker and richer than this picture suggests, had been calling me from the kitchen windows so was my first port of call when choosing blooms for today’s vase.

Joining it were dingly-dangly blooms of Fuchsia magellanica, the parent plant doomed to be removed having outgrown its dubious welcome by growing a couple of feet taller than it has done in previous years. Persicaria ‘Blackfield’ and flowering spikes of miscanthus (too wet to root amongst surrounding foliage to establish the variety) made up the rest of the contents, placed appropriately in the ‘handpicked with love’ vase given to me by lovely blogging friend Anna. Accompanying the vase are my only rubies, embedded in a zoisite ‘palmstone’.

I do, however, have something far more valuable than rubies – family and friends: immediate and wider family, friends from all walks of life and acquaintances that feel like friends. Let us never undervalue these relationships nor the joys of all friendly human contact: whether to family or friend or stranger, even a single word is a gift we can all give.

Do share your vases as usual today, but please excuse me from replying to comments this week, and from commenting on your vases; I will, however, try and read them all.

Poor light and inhospitable weather required indoor photography, so apologies also for the quality of the pictures


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