In a Vase on Monday: Forgiving

I decided to use these roses in my Monday vase because they are so forgiving despite being overlooked and neglected. Climbing rose ‘Parkdirektor Riggers’ is probably the rose that has been in the garden the longest – the wall that the bold borders back onto was built in 2001 so the rose, which is trained (using the term loosely) against it would have been added soon after this. As I tend to be looking down at the borders when I ramble to this end of the garden I often don’t think to look up at it…

…and more often than not, when I DO notice it, it is from the other side, by the greenhouse and cutting beds…

I don’t know when it started flowering (because I didn’t notice!) – but it will go on flowering until the first frosts by which time it will be covered in large orange rose hips because it never gets deadheaded (because I don’t notice it!). In fact, I probably notice the hips more than the flowers because the borders are having a rest by the time they arrive, and indeed the hips are a wonderful sight and have been used several times in vases over the years. The plant does get pruned every year, the only attention it gets, with every side shoot trimmed to 6 inches or so: easy peasy.

A simple foil for the roses is a form of thalictrum which I think is probably the common meadow rue, originating from a sister’s garden and an offshoot taken because I thought it looked pretty: it does look pretty but it spreads too readily and I often ‘rue’ my decision to add it to the garden. The vase is a gorgeously tactile and heavy piece of glass which suggests quality but sadly has no markings to identify it; accompanying it is an ‘Apache tear’, a form of obsidian, which it is believed can promote forgiveness. The white inclusions are perlite, the result of excessive water in the cooling of the lava which formed the obsidian. The name is an informal nickname for this type of obsidian, reputedly relating to a surprise attack against an Apache tribe in the 1870s.

When I do notice this rose in bloom I always intend to watch out for it more frequently, but in practice don’t suppose this will happen, so I am happy to be featuring it to today and hope that it will forgive me, with or without the support of an Apache tear. If you feel motivated to find some blooms or other material from your garden today and pop them in a vase, with or without a story, then please consider sharing them with us by leaving links to and from this post.

Posted in Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday, roses | 33 Comments

A Random Six on Saturday

There is no theme to my Six on Saturday today, although if I could post fragrances that is what you be experiencing instead of six fairly random photos. I cannot even post pictures of the six things given me the greatest pleasure in the garden as there are just far too many of them to rank in any order of preference. After a wet week (great for the soil and the water butts but not so good for roses laden with blooms), my six range from one of many paths strewn with rose petals (above) to near perfect hostas:

… a glorious grouping of heuchera:

…flamboyant herbaceous poppies (see Chloris’ post for more of these):

…the first of the summer clematis, C ‘The Vagabond’ (several C viticella are on the point of joining the party):

…and finally, the exquisite rose I showed on Wednesday, Gertrude Jekyll, now opened to show a perfect ‘quartered rosette’. Moved from the gallery fence to the shrub border in the autumn, she is looking much happier already and will hopefully go from strength to strength in future seasons. Having flowered below par in her previous location, you may appreciate why I am thrilled to see such perfection. She smells pretty good too…

With garden openings this coming week this of necessity is a brief post; rest assured, all is well and everything is in hand (excluding the weather, over which I have no control) bar a few more cakes and keeping up with deadheading. I may not have time to read all my favourite Saturday Sixes but don’t let it stop you popping over to Jon the Propagator’s blog yourselves and checking them out.


Posted in foliage, Gardening, Gardens, herbaceous perennials, open gardens, rain, roses, Six on Saturday | 32 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: Exquisite

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In a Vase on Monday: the Very Pink of Perfection

The very pink of perfection *

I wanted to use the pretty pale pink hawsbeard, Crepis Rubra, in my Monday vase this week; grown from seed, this ‘pink dandelion’ is flowering profusely in the cutting beds and in bud elsewhere so I picked  a number of stems as a starting point, conscious as I did so that this is one of the flowers that has a definite going-to-bed-time, as I discovered after following up a comment on Allison the Frog End Dweller’s blog. On Sunday evening as I write, however, they are still open although looking a little tired.

Joining the crepis are a number of other pink pretties: the palest of the Winter Sunshine sweet peas, a flowering heuchera stem, phuopsis, Limonium ‘Pink Pokers’ (rat tail statice), pink stamens of Astrantia ‘Buckland’ and some self-seeded dangly Briza maxima for movement and a touch of greenery – popped into one of my many Caithness Glass vases, together they form a sweet confection that will bring me no end of pleasure over the next few days. Accompanying them is a tactile piece of rose quartz, the base in its natural state and the top cut and polished into a six-sided point.

As spring morphs into summer in the northern hemisphere it is an exciting time on In a Vase on Monday as the number of blooms expands exponentially, making a decision on our vase contents harder – or is it easier? I hope some of you are able to make such a decision today and that there will be lots of vases to share with our readers – just leave links to and from this post.

*from ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ by Oliver Goldsmith

Posted in Gardening | 47 Comments

Six on Saturday: Golden Girl and Other Wet Things

We have had a couple of very welcome wet days, bringing less than 1″ of rain but nevertheless the wettest period since sometime last year; filling all the water butts and soaking the ground, the steady and prolonged showers were very gratefully received and, with many tasks that could be carried on indoors, did not slow down preparations for opening the garden. Occasional breaks in the showers were taken advantage of to tick off more items from the to-do lists and to admire the renewed lush greenness of the garden.

The borders are filling out nicely and I have been moving pots of lilies  and other oddments into any remaining gaps. There will be plenty of newbies to share with you in due course, but today I have been admiring Bupleurum longifolium‘Bronze Beauty’ which I tried several times to grow from seed without success, before treating myself to a small plant from a specialist plant fair last month. I look forward to being able to cut some to include in a vase when the plant has grown more:

Some years ago I acquired a small specimen of  Geranium maderense without realising how difficult it can be to grow; what it has been doing since then I don’t really know as I haven’t seen it since – until now, when it has suddenly reappeared (at least I think that’s what it is). The result of last year’s prolonged summer perhaps?

It wasn’t long ago that I thought I needed to add another plant or two to the heuchera bed to bulk it up a bit – but look at it now, looking pretty leafy and lush. In fact, all my heucheras seem to be doing well this year and this bed, unlike the others, did not get a top dressing of manure because it has a blanket of slate chippings which it would have been a faff to remove.

Early in May when buds were first forming on Rambling Rector I thought it was going to flower early this year, but the buds are only just opening now and it will not be in full flower for a couple of weeks. Combined with the adjacent Crown Princess Margarita it will be an absolute picture and is currently one of the many sights in the garden that my gaze keeps returning to:

And finally, for this Six on Saturday meme hosted by Jon the Propagator, I have my first dahlia of the year! It is (shade your eyes) a VERY yellow dahlia, and not what I would have chosen myself, but it came as a gift with another dahlia I had specifically asked about from Brian the Dahlia Man who lives near my Mum. Unbelievably, it came as a cutting that was taken only in mid-March, and also helped trigger my own foray into dahlia cuttings. Meet Golden Girl:

Posted in dahlias, Gardening, Gardens, Six on Saturday | 28 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: Rural England is Looking Particularly Lovely This Year

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In a Vase on Monday: Oops!

I hadn’t anticipated yesterday being a particularly busy day, but with a visit to support a local NGS (National Garden Scheme) garden in the morning, a commitment in the afternoon and then our least favourite garden opening task – putting up posters on the roadside – there was no time for any gardening.  Suddenly, it was early evening and oops! I hadn’t prepared a vase for IAVOM… Nipping outside again, I snipped a bloom from Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’ and popped it into a little vase with a stem of graceful grass Luzula nivea – a very impromptu and simple vase – but I have some others to share with you as a bonus.

On Wednesday, the Golfer and I did a stint at the Staffordshire County Show, manning the NGS stand for a couple of hours and promoting garden visiting in the County. The stand was in the Floral Marquee and although there were not many classes it was interesting to seeing the entries and how they interpreted the themes. We were directly opposite entries for the ‘Coastal Chic’ class, and I enjoyed inspecting them closely. Without seeing them for real, you might not realise that they are all miniatures – ‘A petite exhibit using a shell. Exhibit must not exceed 25cm in width, depth & height’, I discovered later when I checked on the internet. Photos show (in order) a selection, 1st, 2nd and 3rd and a number of Highly Commended entries.

I am sure there will be ideas to be had from some of these.

If you have had time to pick blooms or other material from your garden for a Monday vase then please share them with us by leaving the usual links to and from this post.

Posted in Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday, open gardens | Tagged , | 65 Comments