Wordless Wednesday: May Slips Out Quietly

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In a Vase on Monday: Self-Care

You may or may not have noted that it has been very quiet on Rambling in the Garden this week, with a focus instead on the provision of a considerable degree of self-care. I try to keep personal disclosure on the blog to a  minimum, but sometimes things make such an impact that it seems the right thing to do to share it with my blogging friends. I contracted Covid over a week ago which gradually developed into full-blown fatigue and brain fog, and still lingers; the only thing I have had the energy to do is ‘rest, rest and more rest’ (the best medicine, I am assured), with everything else in life put on hold. For someone as active as me this has been hard to accept, but I have had no choice, and even thinking has been an effort.

I am not the first person to have had Covid and will not be the last, but I know you will still generously sympathise despite this. As I may or may not be in a position to reply to comments following this post, with no way of predicting how I am going to feel from day to day, it may prove to be another D-I-Y  Monday vase job but, you know me, IAVOM will always go ahead come Hell or High Water. Today it is going ahead with a quick and mindless collection of early sweet peas from the working greenhouse, popped into a ubiquitous Caithness Glass vase and accompanied by the serendipitous find of a heart-shaped pebble, to remind me to keep up the self-care.


Posted in annuals, Gardening, Gardens, greenhouse, In a Vase on Monday | Tagged | 23 Comments

In a Vase on Monday: Sheer Pinks

I picked all the Winter Sunshine sweet peas that were blooming in the working greenhouse today, but decided against using them as the main focus of today’s vase, partly because I was so enamoured by Pimpinella major ‘Rosea’ which was flowering for the first time. Using the latter as my starting point, the flowers were quickly joined by a lost-or-buried-label astrantia, a similarly unknown heuchera and fluffy bunny tails Lagurus ovatus, all picked from the main borders, They were then joined in a simple. slim, deep purple vase by the lightest pink of the sweet peas to create a gently pleasing offering for IAVOM. The sheer pinks of the contents demanded something equally pink and sheer, and hence the inclusion of my dressmaker’s pinking shears…

A simple vase to start the week, but no less pleasing for it. As for last week’s tulips, they provided colour and form and interest for a full seven days – you can’t ask for much more than that. If you would like to join us with an equally simple vase or something more complex, please do so by leaving the usual links to and from this post.


Posted in Gardening, Gardens, herbaceous perennials, Spring | Tagged | 39 Comments

Six on Saturday: March of the Roses

Roses have been budding up since early this month, but resolutely refusing to open; sunshine and warmer days over this last week seemed to be the trigger they needed and one or two are now showing off their rosy glory, starting with R ‘Strawberry Hill’, above, increasingly one my favourites. More than likely, ‘Madame Alfred Carrière’ was the first, her blooms appearing way above my head and easily missed. There may be a hint of colour on buds of a handful of roses, but mostly they seem content to wait until they feel the time is right, like ‘Gertrude Jekyll, below, demonstrating the benefit of training stems horizontally to encourage more side shoots and therefore more blooms:

Reluctantly removing the last of the tulips blooms from various pots, cleared the way for refilling them with summer bedding. I have broken from my usual colour scheme in the four square pots on the paved area, using gaura for height, and keeping to pastel shades of pink and light purple, using argyranthemum, calibrochea, diascia, osteospermum and lavender lobelia. Hopefully they will be well-established when we open the garden in five weeks time.

With a dry weekend forecast, I had planned to go back and tackle the leak in the reservoir of the stream, which involved removing many of the surrounding rocks and part of the metal framework that supported them to allow access to the join in the liner where I think and hope the problem is. Tomorrow I will apply the repair tape and keep my fingers crossed that this resolves the issue. Surprisingly, since the last time I looked at the reservoir, it had refilled up to the level of the leak, even though it had been covered – presumably just from rainfall.

Despite the pesky wood pigeons, there is still a reasonable show from the wisteria, with blooms restricted to the upper parts of the framework, as if the pigeons were too lazy to venture higher. I must be thankful for small mercies…

One of my favourite May combinations, the three As – allium, astrantia and aquilegia – are ably doing their stuff, with the many astrantia slowly clumping up nicely and well worth waiting for. The aquilegia, ‘Green Apples’ is one I grew from seed many years ago and returns reliably without seeding around, although I try to be diligent in deadheading.

A big thank you goes out to Jim of Garden Ruminations, who ably hosts this Six on Saturday meme, allowing us to share six things from our garden each Saturday, a useful way of highlighting often quite random things

Posted in Gardening, Gardens, seasonal tasks, Six on Saturday, Spring | 22 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: Really?

Posted in bulbs, corms and tubers, Gardening, Gardens, Spring, Wordless Wednesday | Tagged | 11 Comments

In a Vase on Monday: No Secrets

Thank you all for your kind words over the last week following the unexpected death of my sister; they were very much appreciated. It has been a strange week and I greatly value the support of our blogging community.

I realised when putting another vase away in my ‘vase wardrobe’ that I hadn’t yet used this ‘moon’ vase this season. I like to use it for tulips because of the way the blooms splay themselves out, as if relaxing on a squishy sofa, reflecting the comfortable roundness of the vase. We seem to be reaching the end of tulip season here but I knew I could still gather enough of these frilly ‘Victoria’s Secret’ parrot tulips to do the vase justice. Victoria’s Secret is the only tulip other than species varieties that I have planted in the garden itself recently: having planted a batch some years ago I found them reliably returning year after year, so took the plunge and ordered more two years ago. These too have now returned for a second season, so I shall add even more to 2023’s bulb order when I make it. Apart from their reliability, I love their beetroot plummy purple tones, which sit comfortably in both main and bold borders – and their frills, which always make me think of silk underwear, probably the origin of their name, which is the same as a well-known UK lingerie outlet.

Sharing the vase with the tulips and adding a touch of dark greenery to accentuate the arching profile of the blooms are sprigs of Trachelospermum asiaticum, working perfectly and reminding me of its usefulness in vases. There are probably a dozen or so more of these blooms in the garden, but they are all a little flustered and past their best, and soon there will be no secrets left – the cat is clearly out of the bag and hence the prop, a teeny three piece jigsaw.

If you would like to join the IAVOM community with your own vase, why not find material from your garden or garnered nearby and share it with us by leaving the usual links to and from this post.


Posted in bulbs, corms and tubers, Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday, Spring | Tagged | 35 Comments

Six on Saturday: In Brief

Those wisteria flower buds that avoided destruction by woodpigeons are beginning to open and show colour

Fresh fern foliage

‘Strulch’ proves not to be entirely successful in deterring slugs and snails…

Lily beetle, not long for this world…

One of many hellebores before deadheading…

…and after

Delphiniums from seed sown in September last year, coming into bloom

Posted in Gardening, Gardens, Six on Saturday, Spring | 22 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: Susan

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In a Vase on Monday: Remembering my Big Sister

Janet Campbell Brayson,  10th February 1951 to 6th May 2023

I can’t actually recall my big sister Janet ever wearing pink, although she may well have been in the photo (she is on the further donkey), as we were no doubt dressed in different colours of the same frock, handmade as always by our mother. However, it seemed important for today’s vase to be soft, gentle and non-demanding, as befits the numbness that our family is feeling after Saturday’s sad news. In the pink Caithness Glass vase are: Bellis perennis ‘Tasso Strawberries & Cream’, Persicaria ‘Superba’, a random lily-flowered tulip from a pink mix and a couple of dark heuchera leaves with a faint pink mottling.

If you would like to join in today’s IAVOM please do so, leaving the usual links to and from this post. I may or may not be commenting or replying to comments this week, but all posts and comments will be read and welcomed.





Posted in Gardening, Gardens, herbaceous perennials, In a Vase on Monday | Tagged | 22 Comments

Six on Saturday: Clumps

Venturing out despite the rain to take photos for Jim’s Saturday meme on his Garden Ruminations blog, I changed my focus partway through as I was increasingly bowled over by the glorious clumps of perennials around the garden. I have mentioned a massive hellebore previously, now not the only one, and even the dandelions seem to be on steroids! It is not just the size that impresses, but the wonderfully rounded shapes of them too – look at Centaurea ‘Jordy’ above, and the echinops, probably E ‘Blue Globe’, below:

Salvia ‘Purple Rain’ and a bright red Papaver orientalis make a big contribution to one of the bold borders, whilst in the other one sedum, geranium and achillea jostle for space. The latter was grown from seed as A ‘Cassis’ but sadly has proved to be a typically wishy-washy colour and no longer justifies the space it takes, despite its healthiness and bulk.

In the main borders, several astrantias have been bulking up over the years and some, like this one (probably  A ‘Roma’), now make good size clumps, although they do take their time to get there:

Finally, injecting a splash of colour amongst the green, are the ‘bronze’ heucheras under the Acer griseum, having shed their winter overcoats when my back was turned and donned their summer wardrobe instead. It’s no wonder my rambles are getting increasingly slower!

Posted in borders, foliage, Gardens, herbaceous perennials, Six on Saturday | 10 Comments