Wordless Thursday (again): Jessie Feels the Cold

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In a Vase on Monday: Dawn is Breaking

After the excitement of IAVOM’s fifth anniversary last week we are back to ‘normal’ today; it was lovely to see all the ‘not’ vases and great that everyone rose to the challenge in some way or another to celebrate the occasion, showing what an inspirational lot you are. Thank you for humouring my request and for your continued enthusiasm. As promised, the name of everyone (with a UK contact address) who commented last week

was put into a draw, and the Golfer drew Karen (of Bramble Garden)’s name out of the fish dish – a £10 garden gift voucher will be posted out to you, Karen, once you have sent me your postal address.

Instead of an anniversary, today’s vase celebrates the numerous buds that have recently broken out on Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’, growing in the shrub border. Buds have been very sporadic until this year but are so easily ruined by frost so I shall enjoy them while I can. Their distinctive fragrance (vanilla? I am not sure) is not yet evident outside but is certainly discernible inside when not competing with cooking smells in the kitchen. A few stray leaves were removed from the essentially bare stems which lent themselves to an ikebana style arrangement and a new purchase was pressed into service, a blue rectangular receptacle from Chive, simply made from slabs of clay with a rectangular opening hand cut in the upper surface. Knowing how much I liked Chive’s quirky animal vases, Sandra of Wild Daffodil kindly alerted me to their recent sale; however, faced with just TOO much choice of creatures, instead of animal vases I chose a couple of ikebana ones!

Joining the stems of viburnum were two Arum italicum ‘Marmoratum’ leaves, always a joy to see with their glossy dark green leaves and silver veining, and a clematis seedhead, along with broken open beech nut cases from a neighbour’s beech tree, which heavily litter our woodland floor. Interestingly, we rarely get beech seedlings appearing whereas the

hazel nuts similarly purloined by the local squirrel population are regularly forgotten and pop up as new little hazel trees throughout the garden – are beech nuts best eaten fresh, do you think? Do they have a BBE date? Having cut down our last two remaining hazel trees this autumn (the product of previous squirrel activity), the minor problem of hazel afforestation should soon be a thing of the past…

Are there flowers or is their foliage in your garden that you could snip today and pop into a vase (or not) to bring pleasure into your week? We have been learning to look at our gardens in a different way for IAVOM, thinking out of the box to create a vase every week of the year if we can, and last week’s contributions will have given many of us some new ideas. It has proved inspirational to share these contributions, so please leave links to and from this post so we can do so.

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November Blooms – Salvicaria or Persicalvia…?

Chloris recently posted about autumnal colours in her garden but before long she will also be celebrating the blooms in her November garden that are bringing her joy. Here at the home of Rambling in the Garden it is especially persicaria and salvia that are still strutting their stuff and I found myself wondering what would happen if the two plant groups were ever cross-bred and if so what we would call the new genus? Salvicaria or Persicalvia? I must add this is not a serious suggestion, but the flowering capacity of both groups is phenomenal so the potential of a combined genus is a mind-boggling albeit highly improbable scenario.

Persicaria ‘Blackfield’ has been featured many times in the last few months, having been flowering from June or so and also having spread from the relatively small division planted here early in the year; similarly P ‘Inverleith’ (below) which arrived as a 9cm pot at a similar time. Admittedly elsewhere in tha garden other varieties have not flowered as much, nor bulked up as quickly. P ‘Red Dragon’, not a P amplexicaulis like many of our favourite varieties but a P microcephala tends not to flower until the end of summer and with ‘insignificant’ albeit pretty white flowers, has suffered in the earlier heat and drought, but this just reined in its tendency to sprawl which I can cope with.

As far as salvias go, S ‘Neon’ is the Blackfield of the salvia world, still going strong and quickly regaining its gangly height after being cut back severely in early spring; next year I will cut it back even more severely. S ‘Phyllis Fancy’ did not start flowering till late August or so but certainly doesn’t look as if it came from a 9cm pot about twelve months ago, nor as if it intends to stop flowering quite yet. Salvias ‘Amistad’, ‘Hotlips’ and ‘Nachtlvinder’ are much less generous in both flowering and bulking up but I am hopeful for next year, after generously mulching plants to protect them through winter.

Salvias and persicaria are not the only blooms in the November garden here, with the odd rose still appearing like this juicy big bud on ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’…

…a big clump of old-fashioned Sedum (Hylotelephium) ‘Autumn Joy’, still full of colour despite relative desiccation…

… fresh blooms on Astrantia ‘Bloody Mary’ and ‘Roma’, the former resolutely ignoring the stony-faced couple next to her…

… and new young plants of hardy chrysanthemums ‘Mary Stoker’ and ‘Jessie Cooper’ grown from cuttings kindly provided by our host Chloris…

I was not, however, expecting to see the next contribution quite yet, the first flower on one of my witch hazels which appeared a couple of weeks ago…I did whisper in her ear and suggest she was a little early but there are the tiniest specks of colours on some of her witchy friends too and I suspect she may be choosing to ignore me. At least all of them are smothered in flower buds which is a relief after such a dry summer, so I can expect a good showing whenever they choose to display their fine wares. I wonder if Chloris has any witch hazels teasing her at the moment too? Do check out her Blooming Garden blog and enjoy all the gems of her Suffolk garden as well as the knowledge she so generously and wittily shares. Thanks for encouraging us to share our top monthly blooms, Chloris.


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Wordless Wednesday: Muck Spreading

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(Not) In a Vase on Monday: One, Two, Three, Four, Five…

… once I caught a fish alive….

In truth, it’s not something I have ever done (but I did once have to unhook a live fish from Elder Daughter’s fishing line and throw it back in the lake when ED was about 10 and suddenly realised she didn’t want to eat the fish for tea after all), but this vintage Dartmouth Pottery fish platter is my (not) vase today; alongside the footed platter is a matching flat one. Five dried gomphrena (‘Strawberry Fields’) blooms were placed on the footed platter to represent the five years that In a Vase on Monday has been going … that’s 260 vases!

Having started to pick blooms and post a vase on Monday each week for my own benefit,  inviting others to join in gave me an even greater incentive to keep doing it – and here we all are still! Usually between 20 and 30 bloggers post a vase, some every week and some just as and when, whilst others are happy to enjoy our vases without creating their own. It has never been about ‘showing off’ arranging skills and ‘pick and plonk’ vases are appreciated just as much as grander or more stylistic ones, but we nevertheless learn from each other in terms of sowing, growing and arranging – and My Goodness! we are a supportive bunch! For many of us it has changed the way we think about our gardens too.

It was a joy to look back over my last year of vases in preparation for today, and I have picked out a favourite from each month:

November & December 2017, January 2018

February, March, April 2018

May, June, July 2018

August, September, October 2018

March’s vase, created for the sixth anniversary of this blog, Rambling in the Garden, still sits in the kitchen, constructed from six chunky stems of cornus with blooms cut from card pictures of the blog’s header.

I set a challenge for bloggers to present a (not) vase today, with no limitations on how this was interpreted – I chose to place my blooms on rather than in a receptacle, and the receptacle certainly wasn’t a vase, but who even mentioned a receptacle? Don’t worry if you didn’t get the message or choose to post your usual vase instead, that’s fine. All those who comment or post a vase today will go into a draw to win a £10 gardening voucher, unfortunately limited to those in the UK or with a UK contact address. Just like every Monday, I look forward to seeing the vases you post (please leave links to and from this post) – and thanks for your support of the meme over the last five years. Mondays have never been the same since!




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Stacking Up

I finished my bricklaying project last week (apart from a section postponed till one of the posts is moved a fraction) but the jobs are still stacking up – although the hardy geraniums have been moved from the beds under the clematis colonnade they still await re-homing, whilst the revamped beds await delivery of a bulk bag of manure and some bare rooted roses. The colonnade itself is due to be redesigned and rebuilt, but the Golfer is currently busy re-roofing the shed for the zillionth time (also a redesign) – at least there is now a fairy perched on the roof to keep an eye on his progress…

The bothy served as a temporary store for the bricks recycled from a neighbour so now that their numbers have reduced I was able to restack the remainder and tidy the space, even adding hooks to hang up some of the plant supports which have been a jumble for rather too long – gosh! that’s an improvement, and should have done ages ago!

My next task is to revamp the areas either side of the bus shelter – and find a solution to the very top-heavy climbing rose which currently offers the choice of an obstacle course or a detour on my rambles…

The section of fence propped up against the bus shelter was temporarily removed to await a slight realigment, so just another task… However, I am happy to say that my dahlias have all been lifted and brought into the greenhouse, along with fuchsias and pelargoniums, and all rooted cuttings have been potted up, seedlings pricked out and even some hardy annuals grown from seed have been planted out. Oh, and sweet peas are coming along nicely too… well done me!

Cutting beds are now empty – but only sort of, as there is a lot of clearing up still to do…

And the fruit cage desperately needs re-netting, as the plastic mesh deteriorates after a few years…

This section of block paving down the side of the new greenhouse has sunk in places and needs to be lifted and relaid – and I have bought paint to change the colour of our side of the neighbour’s fence…

On a positive note, however, I have removed some underperforming shrubs from the shrub border so the two obelisks can be placed in better positions and hopefully their incumbent roses and clematis will do better,  another job well done…

I have even finished all my bulb planting…but don’t those empty tubs look bare in the meantime?

And it hasn’t even crossed my mind to do any leaf sweeping yet … these jobs just continue to stack up, don’t they?

Posted in garden structure, Gardening, Gardens, projects | 23 Comments

Wordless We… Thursday: Six Months On

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