A Week of Flowers Day Five, 26th November 2020

Blogging friend Cathy of Words and Herbs needed something to cheer herself up and, guessing that others might be feeling the same, suggested that from Sunday the 22nd through to Saturday the 28th of November we shared one or more photos a day of earlier seasons in our gardens to brighten up what could be a dreary time.

Moving into June, this ‘Bright Eyes’ Monday vase started with a seed sown dahlia and Clematis ‘Ville de Lyon’, joined by Calendula ‘Snow Princess’ and ‘Indian Prince’, Cosmos ‘Popsocks’, Limonium ‘Purple Attraction’ (statice), Centaurea ‘Black Ball’ (cornflower), Antirrhinum ‘Liberty Classic Rose’ and, to fill in some gaps, side shoots from a delphinium. A stem of meadow rue (wild thalictrum) provided a hint of foliage.

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(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: A Week of Flowers Day Four, 25th November 2020

Blogging friend Cathy of Words and Herbs needed something to cheer herself up and, guessing that others might be feeling the same, suggested that from Sunday the 22nd through to Saturday the 28th of November we shared one or more photos a day of earlier seasons in our gardens to brighten up what could be a dreary time.

Today’s cheerful reminder of brighter days shows one of the best combinations of the May garden, the Three As: Aquilegia, Allium and Astrantia

Posted in A week of flowers, Gardens, Spring, Wordless Wednesday | 5 Comments

A Week of Flowers Day Three, 24th November 2020

Blogging friend Cathy of Words and Herbs needed something to cheer herself up and, guessing that others might be feeling the same, suggested that from Sunday the 22nd through to Saturday the 28th of November we shared one or more photos a day of earlier seasons in our gardens to brighten up what could be a dreary time.

Brightening the garden in early April were, clockwise from top left: Primula denticulata and Asplenium scolopendrium, Tulipa ‘Persian Pearl’, a longly-labelless pulmonaria and Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Cherry Ingram’. Rest assured, spring will come again.

Posted in A week of flowers, Gardens | 5 Comments

A Week of Flowers Day Two, 23rd November 2020

Blogging friend Cathy of Words and Herbs needed something to cheer herself up and, guessing that others might be feeling the same, suggested that from Sunday the 22nd through to Saturday the 28th of November we shared a photo a day (or more than one if we liked) of our flowers and gardens to brighten up what could be a dreary time.

I can’t confess to feeling in any way dreary myself, but nevertheless I am happy to join in for the general good, despite missing Day One. My first contribution dates from March 25th and was chosen as it shows a range of ornamental Bellis perennis at their very best, a fitting contrast to their newly planted relations shown in my post on Saturday.

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In a Vase on Monday: the Spider’s Touch

The spider’s touch, how exquisitely fine!
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line.
Alexander Pope ‘An Essay on Man’, 1733

You may have guessed from recent posts that after featuring my other fantasy chrysanthemum In a Vase on Monday last week, that it would soon be followed by its partner, ‘Kiyomi No Meisui’. Unlike ‘Salhouse Joy’, which reminded me of sea anemones, this reminds me of spiders – the big house spiders with small bodies but lanky and droopy legs…you know the sort I mean?! I chose to include only three blooms in the vase, snipping off any side shoots and buds – a good decision as even just three blooms jostling for space easily created a tangled web of petals as they brushed against each other

I don’t have a probem with spiders but one of the Golfer’s sons does (the Golfer isn’t very keen either and I am regularly called upon to remove a spider from the bath), and the warning sign was a present to him one year when he still lived with us; sadly it turns out that spiders cannot read… Seeing a six foot plus adult’s response to the presence of a spider taught me to take all phobias seriously, however irrational or bizarre they might appear to be. The sign now normally lives in the ‘bus shelter’, and its embellishment with web remnants shows that the resident spiders are still educationally lacking.

I cut a couple of my remaining dahlias for a posy for a friend today but left a trail of petals as the blooms disintegrated in my hands, so even without frosts to blacken them, it seems that their season is now over and they are all flowered-out. Monday vases will become more of a challenge, but there will always be something to pop into a receptacle of some sort. Flowers, grasses, foliage, twigs, fruit or veg, just something from our gardens or foraged nearby, brought inside to bring us pleasure from close observation. Do join us, leaving links to and from this post.

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More Than Six on Saturday: November Blooms

In case you think I am cheating, this is NOT a Six on Saturday post, to link with Jon the Propagator’s weekly meme, but an inventory of what is blooming in the garden at the moment! I was rapidly running out of days in November and this seemed the only way to squeeze in a monthly record, something I have been doing in one format or another since October 2012. However, I shall still link to Jon’s blog, risking expulsion from the SosS community for taking extreme liberties!

As our house faces directly onto the street we have no front garden, but there is usually colour to be had in two baskets with a few additional pots in the summer. The summer baskets contain petunias and in winter there are usually pansies or violas with miniature narcissi to follow; this year I have added a winter flowering heather, not a favourite of mine by any stretch of the imagination, but the violas looked ‘flat’ on their own and needed some height for support. The heather certainly maks a difference and reduced to £1 they make an effective and economical partner for the bargain violas from Aldi.

In the garden, some pots of bulbs are overplanted with cultivated Bellis perennis (below), seemingly recovered from their dose of daisy rust, whilst others are waiting for Aldi’s polyanthus, usually available towards the end of January.

Both bellis and violas will tick over during the winter and peak in late spring, depending on the winter, which so far has been mild with just the lightest of frosts a few weeks ago. This means not only that the dahlias are still flowering, but that a number of annuals are still hanging on and maximising their season. Despite their healthy foliage, I did remove some of the dahlias this week, those with no new buds evident, and theose tubers are drying out in the greenhouse.

I have no idea why these nicotiana, N elata ‘Nick’s Rose and ‘Lime Green’, have stuck it out for so long, although I don’t think they will be around for much longer:

This zinc bath of nasturtium and nearby annual Rudbeckia ‘Irish Eyes’ don’t look as if they have any plans to stop flowering, an amazing feat for the self-seeded nasturtium which have received no attention whatsoever, thriving on complete and utter neglect:

On the perennial front, I am amazed to have astrantia blooming towards the end of November, several plants having reflowered after being cut back earlier in the season. This is ‘Star of Beauty’ and (I think) ‘Ruby Wedding’:

Fresh growth and young flowers on Echinops ‘Arctic Glow’ were certainly an unexpected result of cutting back the spent earlier growth:

New for this season Anemone ‘Dainty Swan’ has proved to be a determined bloomer, flower for longer than its taller and thuggish cousins:

Another fairly recent introduction has been outstanding, blooming from early summer or possibly even late spring and showing no sign of stopping – Erodium manescovii:

I am still enjoying the view of Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ from the kitchen windows;‘Nathalie Nypels’ is in bloom too, with the occasional flower on other roses as well.

Dependable persicaria are still at it too, albeit sporting very scruffy foliage. Both P ‘Blackfield’ and ‘Inverleith’ are in the streamside border which desperately needs a complete winter overhaul to remove both exuberance and couch grass – not a job to be anticipated with any pleasure, being a narrow border with a pergola along the length of it, between the paved area and the stream.

I recently removed the Campanula portenschlagiana that edged (and self-seeded into) part of the stone circle by the blue & white borders, so this patch in the raised bed outside the kitchen window is the only clump I have now, but it is unlikely to be turning up its toes yet and flowers reliably off and on throughout the year:

Later season blooms include this unnamed hardy chrysanthemum that came from blogging friend Chloris a couple of years ago – what does it think it is doing coming into bud so late in the year? I don’t really understand the mentality of the species…

More seasonal but nevertheless rather earlier than I would like it to be, is Viburnum bonantense ‘Dawn’ which I featured in close-up on Wednesday – sporadic blooms at this time would be acceptable but, unlike any other year, it seems to be in full bloom, with its pleasing fragrance readily detectable in this mild November. Whether it will continue to flower over the next few months after this relatively early showing is as yet an unknown.

And I nearly forgot to include the long-flowering salvias, clockwise from top left ‘Neon, ‘Amistad’, ‘Phyllis Fancy’ and an out-of-focus ‘Royal Bumble’. I shall be replacing the sprawling ‘Neon’ (and ‘Hot Lips’, which was photographed but inadvertently omitted) with well-branched cuttings next year, and trialling mulching the new ‘Amistad’, which I have never yet been able to overwinter.

The Coop is still home to some nerines in bloom, those below being N bowdenii ‘Albivetta’, and the flamboyant fantasy chrysanthemums, C ‘Salhouse Joy’ and ‘Kiyomi No Meisui’:

There are probably a few more floral scraps I haven’t mentioned in this November round-up and I am trying to ignore the buds on several hellebores and the first hint of colour on a number of the witch hazels, and although I am enjoying the promise of early snowdrop Galanthus ‘Barnes’ (below) and getting excited about the emergence of green shoots in the special snowdrop border, the sight of native snowdrops pushing up in the woodland edge border is most definitely not to be expected in November. Dare I hope for a cold spell to slow things down…?

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Wordless Wednesday: a New Dawn

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In a Vase on Monday: Under the Sea

The seaweed is always greener
In somebody else’s lake
You dream about going up there
But that is a big mistake
Just look at the world around you
Right here on the ocean floor
Such wonderful things surround you
What more is you lookin’ for?

These greenhouse fantasy chrysanthemums ‘Salhouse Joy’ always make me think of sea anemones, hence today’s title, and the lyrics are a catchy and rather amusing song from The Little Mermaid. I don’t have any preserved sea anemones nor dried sea urchins, but I do have these starfish to add a bit of authenticity. The ‘missing label’ miscanthus could perhaps represent a stream of bubbles, although I am not sure it adds anything to the vase. What do you think?

The chrysanthemum is in a pot which lived outside for the summer before being brought into the Coop for protection, and has soared to over 5 feet (1.5m) in height; although densely foliated,  it is now thankfully also smothered in blooms, which began appearing towards the end of October after a long and unproductive season up to that point.

Thank you to everyone who posted a vase or commented last week on In a Vase on Monday’s seventh anniversary – it is good to know that the meme brings pleasure to many. Winner of the giveaway book ‘Led by the Nose – a Garden of Smells’ by Jenny Joseph is Beverley of moreinkpleaseblog : I will email you at the email address linked to your comments, Beverley, to arrange posting it out to you.

As always, I look forward to seeing what blogging friends can find in their gardens or forage locally to put in a vase or jam jar or even display without a receptacle; please leave links to and from this post if you would like to join us on In a Vase on Monday today.


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Six on Saturday: a Mixed Bag

I could have filled my allocated six slots at least twice over with blooms that are still hanging on long past their expected sell-by date, but with a November blooms post planned in a week or so, I looked for alternative candidates instead; nevertheless, I will still begin with stalwart Persicaria ‘Blackfield’ because of its unexpectedly autumnal foliage.

The wisteria’s autumnal foliage is now mostly a golden carpet on the path below, falling quite suddenly during a fairly gentle breeze earlier in the week, a suddenness experienced also by Allison the Frogend Dweller. I swept most of the carpet this afternoon, accompanied by a golden shower as the wisteria continues to shed its remaining leaves.

The bags you can see under the wisteria are full of holly leaves, as hedge trimming nears completion – much to the Golfer’s relief and our joint satisfaction. Instead of boring you with more Hedge Trimming Progress pictures, let’s turn our attention to those stray bits of holly on the snowdrop border, painstakingly removed by hand by means of a series of squats and lunges to avoid standing on the bed itself, and in the process discovering (without any impatient scuffling in the soil) that more snowdrops are emerging and possibly, not being ‘early’ varieties,  a little early for their own good. I noticed at least three little clumps without really looking but, with losing a few varieties being an occupational hazard for galanthophiles, any emergence is a welcome sight, whether early or late.

Snowdrops are not the only winter highlight in this garden, as regular readers will know, with our small collection of witch hazels adding a bright splash of welcome colour in the leaner months. Flower buds form in the summer months and give an early indication of the degree of flowering that can be anticipated, in this case a good display as almost all are well-clothed in promising buds, none more so than Hamamelis ‘Zuccariniana’ – it may or may not be a coincidence that this didn’t flower last year other than an odd one or two blooms. Last season the others all bloomed earlier than usual and were sadly all but over by the time of our February garden opening so it will be interesting to see what they are planning this time around.

Another seasonal task is cutting back and defoliating the scented-leaved pelargoniums in the Coop, a recommended regime I have adhered to since beginning a small collection of them; they may look a bit sad over winter, but I like to think they are grateful for their prolonged rest.

I shared a picture of stunning fantasy greenhouse chrysanthemum ‘Salhouse Joy’ on Wordless Wednesday, but its new neighbour ‘Kiyomi No Meisui’ needs another superlative – what do you think? ‘Kiyomi’ means ‘pure, clean, beautiful’, which it certainly is, but I haven’t been able to find a translation of ‘No Meisui’ although I don’t suppose it means ‘lanky’ despite being at least a foot taller than ‘Salhouse Joy’ and necessitating my standing on a step-stool to photograph it!

If you visit Six on Saturday host Jon the Propagator’s blog you will find yet more Saturday pictures from gardens across the world.

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Wordless Wednesday: Joy of Joys

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