Wordless Wednesday: Most Striking, But Still Don’t Like Them

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In a Vase on Monday: Glowing Embers

img_8527Today’s vase is a ‘bit of a cheat’, inasmuch as it was made and photographed on Thursday after which it was given to my weekly ‘lift’-  usually prepared on a Sunday, going away on Friday morning and not due back till after dark on Sunday meant no opportunity for my usual vase-making ritual. As always, my recipient was delighted, accepting that the weekly offerings are getting smaller and less varied and my warning that the rose was likely to drop its petals sooner rather than later: the last glowing embers of the garden, now in vase on Monday.

img_8530Quickly and simply made, the limited contents comprised a single lingering ‘Munstead Wood’ rose, a spray of baby-faced new foliage from Nandina ‘Obsession’, rose hips from obliging ‘Parkdirektor Riggers’, a sprig of hanging-on Sedum ‘Thunderhead’, a glowing piece of Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ and a spent stem of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’,  all squeezed into a trio of narrow-necked car boot found vases, in real life redder than the photographs suggest. Accompanying them is one of my favourite crystals, a palm sized polished nugget of carnelian, which enjoys the natural freedom of its garden location.

img_8531Writing this on Sunday evening, I am looking forward to rambling in the garden  tomorrow after our weekend away (and will be on the lookout for potential contenders for my next posy or vase) – and wondering what will you find for your Monday vases. Do share them with us by leaving links to and from this post as usual – see you soon!

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Meddling

Having a December birthday means winter seasonal visits, including gardens where possible. Inevitably, most gardens are not at their best at this time of year but this does not put us off visiting and today we have made the acquaintance of the University of Bristol Botanic Garden. The garden largely consists of carefully planned educational displays all with a clear theme, the four core collections being plants that illustrate evolution, those from the Mediterranean region, useful plants and rare and threatened plants from the Bristol area and south west peninsula; sadly a December visit did not provide much of decorative value and many of the less hardy foliage plants were wrapped up for the winter, but the educational emphasis was obvious with clear signing and explanation throughout.

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I was, however, pleased to see my first Iris unguicularis of the season:

tmp_9778-20161202_214132-1901250304The ground under this ginko tree was most attractively carpeted in fallen leaves, completely undisturbed:

tmp_9778-img_85381023313921Over 250 herbs are grown in the Chinese Medicinal Herb Garden, created in partnership with the Garden and the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine, enhanced by an affiliation with the Nanjing Botanic Gardens and other Chinese contacts. Very much a teaching garden, the herbs are arranged in the traditional Chinese categories of diagnosis and use, with the yin and yang qualities also attributed to specific organs:

tmp_9778-20161202_214536150331946Signs were helpfully explicit:

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In the glasshouses my camera lens quickly steamed up:

tmp_9778-20161202_214339-595164670Apart from these photographs and a wider knowledge of herbs to improve certain bodily functions I also took away a little pile of medlars, fallen from the elderly tree in front of the buildings on site, now used as student residences. This is the first time I have been confronted with medlars and was surprised by their size – over an inch in diameter – as I had assumed they were smaller. I know they have to be ‘bletted’ before they can eaten, allowed to go soft and brown after ripening, but I haven’t a clue what they taste like and whether I should bypass the tasting process altogether and make medlar jelly instead…

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Wordless Wednesday: A Frosty View at the End of November

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Thank you to Helen the Patient Gardener for hosting this End of Month meme.

ps to place these views within the garden don’t forget there is a map under The Garden tab above

Posted in End of Month View, Gardening, Gardens | 11 Comments

In a Vase on Monday: Out to Grass

img_8503Today’s vase was quickly put together, the decision already having been taken to use some of the grasses which I have increasingly been coming to appreciate in the last couple of years. I have particularly enjoyed the tactile nature of Pennisetum villosum with its fluffy bunny tails and the plumes of Miscanthus ‘Ferner Osten’, wondering at the gradual change to a delicate lavender of a rescued stem of the latter in a glass on the kitchen window sill.

P villosum was potted up and placed in the greenhouse a few weeks back  as a winter precaution but there were a few lingering flowering stems which were snipped to join ‘Ferner Osten’, Pennisetum ‘Moudry’, Carex buchananii ‘Red Rooster’, Anemanthele lessoniana, Luzula sylvatica and Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’. I have a number of low growing grasses, mostly at the front of the shrub border where after two years they are becoming well established, but the taller grasses have been in situ little over 12 months and many have not yet made an impact, so by this time next year there may well be new favourites, and perhaps more new grasses too – yes, their shape and form and colour range have certainly won me over!

img_8504Keeping to the very muted palette, the chosen stems were placed in a pleasingly simple brown glass vase, the shape of which demands to be held and cupped in the hands but in practice rarely provides a suitable receptacle as there is little depth to keep the stems upright: today though, the stems were in sufficient enough quantity to hold themselves in place in the narrow opening of the neck. Borrowing from my much-played with 60s collection of Britain’s miniature garden, today’s props were  a 1:32 scale lawn mower and roller, and a section of ‘lawn’; after I last aired some of the collection as props for IAVOM I took time to tidy the whole box of pieces, sadly finding that they had been badly mishandled by the last child to have played with them😦

Clearing autumn detritus around the garden has revealed early signs of spring bulbs, not just some of the earlier snowdrops but also what I think must be leucojum, but flowering is still a long way off. In the meantime there are witch hazels, winter blooming honeysuckle, sarcococca and Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ to look forward to and to help fill Monday vases – and ‘forced’ indoor bulbs too. Will any of these have made it to your vase yet? Whatever you can find in your garden or scrounge nearby to put in your vases please share it with us by leaving links to and from this post as usual.

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Wordless Wednesday: Reached its Peak

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Garden Bloggers Foliage Day: The Gingerbread Boy

img_8492It reminds me of the story of the Gingerbread Boy, where Fox has tricked him and is carrying him over the river on his back but begins to eat him, bit by bit, with Gingerbread Boy squeaking “Help – I am three quarters gone”, then “Help – I am half gone” and so on till Fox finishes him off altogether – except here it was the leaves and the Culprit was Storm Angus! You can see that beyond the sitooterie our neighbour’s beech tree and our own little woodland are now suddenly and virtually naked.

img_8488It’s a different picture in other parts of the garden, with every plant having its own routine of undressing, and for November’s foliage day, a meme hosted by Christina of My Hesperides Garden, I decided to photograph the more interesting states of dress and undress, as not everything prepares for winter gracefully. Do look at Christina’s blog for links to foliage posts in many other gardens and learn as many of us has done the benefits of foliage in the garden. Thanks for hosting Christina!

I keep the lower branches of Hydrangea petiolaris trimmed and the result is a relatively sculptural shrub, particularly prominent at this time of year with its flaky stem and tangle of spent leaves and flowers – there is also a necklace of white bryony berries draped over it which adds to the attraction, although I should really remove it as the seedlings pop up all over this end of the garden.

img_8484I have toyed with moving this Trachelospermum asiaticum, gifted to me to replace a lost T jasminoides, but with its creamy yellow flowers is not really what I would choose for the blue & white border. However, it is clearly happy here and although growing slowly is beginning to cling to the wall behind, making an attractive framework across which Rose ‘Snow Goose’ also climbs. The foliage is consistently green and shiny although I am not sure how it would respond to a hard winter which is what saw off its predecessor.

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Unlike most other things, Nandina domestica ‘Obsession’ is putting on her party clothes. Still small, she shows great potential for the future when she is more grown up, but in the meantime will no doubt enhance a Monday vase or two.

img_8490In a more sheltered position at the side of the house the twisted hazel, Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’, is still in a state of autumnal transition…

img_8493… and on the rear elevation the wisteria, although already carpeting the path with most of its leaves, is still going through its intriguing routine of highlighting its veins as the leaves change from green to yellow before finally dropping off and revealing the skeletal framework:

img_8495December, I fear, will present a much bleaker picture.

Posted in Autumn, Garden Bloggers Foliage day, Gardening, Gardens, Winter | 19 Comments