Wordless Wednesday: Busy Old Fool, Unruly Sun…


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In a Vase on Monday: Storm in a Teacup

IMG_5058Welcome to this week’s In a vase on Monday where we can get in the habit of picking material from our garden and popping it in a vase to bring inside and give us added pleasure through the week. Regulars will be used to the weekly dilemma of what to pick and what to put it in – sometimes due to limited material, sometimes to an abundance, sometimes a pretty new vase we are anxious to use,  sometimes matching the right vase to our chosen material. I am champing at the bit to use the new Uig pottery ‘flowerstone’ I bought when we were away – and to make use of my new Aldi bottle bargains – but it was just not to be. Delighted to have the first of my annuals flowering and thrilled with the flowers (but not the height of the plants) of Centaurea ‘Black Ball’ I had been toying with the idea of using dark blues and purples in a vase this week and ideas and titles had been floating around in my head for a few days. The flash of inspiration came late last night and it all fell into place, just needing to be picked and put together this morning. We have been blessed not to have experienced stormy weather for many months, even though the UK Midlands is more prone to thunderstorms than other parts of the country (due to its distance from the sea, I guess) but these darker colours put me in mind of stormy skies. Sometimes storms appear seemingly out of nowhere and pass over just as quickly, leaving bluer skies and wispy clouds again, so I have included some brighter blues and hints of white to reflect this. IMG_5059In the vase we have the striking Centaurea ‘Black Ball’ and its enthusiastic perennial cousin, Aquilegia ‘Black Barlow’ and ‘William Guinness’, Viola ‘Cool Wave Frost’ and an unnamed ‘pink’ (it isn’t) pansy, both grown from seed, Tulip ‘Victoria’s Secret’ (probably my favourite tulip this year), Ajuga reptans, Luzula nivea and foliage of Persicaria ‘Red IMG_5061Dragon’. A serendipitious afterthought and representing the rain is a sprig of Wisteria floribunda ‘Magenta’. Today’s single prop is ‘The Cloudspotters Guide to Clouds’ by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, reminding me how much I enjoyed climatology when I studied geography, drawing all those diagrams of clouds and different fronts (and sand dunes forming around dead camels…!) Oh, and there is a teacup under there, a vintage blue-and-white one…. The vase was really quickly put together, basically just a bit of prodding stems into florists foam but the overall effect is really pleasing and shows effective a simple and amateurish vase can be. It’s something we can all do and getting into the Monday morning habit is highly recommended  – I love being able to sit here in the kitchen and still enjoy bounty from my garden. Do join us, regularly or occasionally, and leave links to and from this post so we can see share in the pleasure your vase brings. IMG_5060

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Garden Bloggers Foliage Day: Clumps

IMG_5048Thanks to Christina for hosting a monthly foliage feature which prompts us to look at our foliage in a different way and appreciate it for itself and not just as a background for our blooms. Earlier this season it was good to watch new clumps emerging from the ground but now we are beginning to see really sizeable clumps which fill the garden with a tapestry stitched with a kaleidoscope of greens and other shades.

In the blue & white borders we have Echinops bannaticus ‘Blue Glow’, a lost label geranium and a similarly unlabeled white aconitum in the photo above, then below there is cerinthe, hellebore, Ammi visnaga,  clary, and polymonium, and in the third photo poppy,  delphinium (whoohoo! that’s a first!) and veronica – and if you zoom in can I wonder if you see what I can see (I’ll give you a clue – it’s small and red)? :(

IMG_5049IMG_5050In the main herbaceous borders there is a pristine clump of Stachys byzantia ‘Big Ears’ and a mega clump of a lost label geranium (it might introduce itself when the flowers come out) with a hint of Campanula ‘Loddon Anna’ – in fact the garden is full of wonderful geranium clumps and I love every one of them!

IMG_5053IMG_5052The Mother of All Clumps is, of course, the woodland edge border – need I say more?

IMG_5055Please excuse the likely brevity of my posts and a lack of diligence in comments over this and the next two or three weeks as I am hunched over my laptop with other stuff, with the occasional break to go and deal with urgent garden tasks! Thanks to Christine, Christina and Ginny for identifying the mystery plant as Ornithogalum nutans – no idea how it got there but I love Ginny’s comment about the immaculate conception and Star of Bethlehem link!

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Help! (I need somebody)

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 not just anybody, but someone who can tell me what the above plant is (and why it is growing in the streamside grass). One of the advantages (at least it seems like an advantage) of having planted about 99.99% of … Continue reading

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Wordless Wednesday: Diamond Studs


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In a Vase on Monday : It Don’t Mean a Thing (if it ain’t got that zing)

IMG_5033I may have got a little carried away picking for today’s vase, but once the theme of ‘zinginess’ has suggested itself I just kept picking the brightest and boldest blooms possible and ended up with a real rainbow of colours. Thus we have a single ‘Double Price’ tulip, a trio of Allium ‘Purple Sensation’, a few Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ and an unnamed pink wallfower, Geum ‘Prince of Orange’, ‘Totally Tangerine’ and ‘Mrs Bradshaw’, single stems of Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’ and Hellebore foetidus, red Sweet William ‘Black Prince’, bluebells, comfrey, self-seeded pink columbine and a handful of Nasturtium ‘Banana Split’. Oh, and some of that striking lime green aquilegia foliage that people either love or hate.

This must be my biggest vase of the year so far and needed this chunky vase that has been unused for months and as I trimmed the blooms I resisted the temptation to cut them too short and thus retained some height. The allium has such tall, straight and striking stems it was almost a shame to cut them but I knew their contribution to the vase would be welcomed. Surgery was needed  for the pink wallflowers which were getting leggy but their colour was just what was needed and stripping dead blooms from the lower part of the stems improved their appearance. Time spent arranging the blooms was minimal (so what’s new?!) – just enough to mix the colours and achieve a relatively balanced look.

IMG_5031The first photographs were taken inside against the backdrop of a ‘mock’ stained glass door – a coloured plastic film is smoothed over the glass and looks quite effective – to try and match the zinginess of the blooms, but the light wasn’t brilliant and the clear glass of the vase showed the jumble of stems. Spur of the moment Plan B involved wrapping a sheet of sparkly card around the vase and cutting lengths of rainbow coloured ribbon and Plan C brought the vase outside to one of my favourite photo shoot locations. Photographing Monday vases outside always gives a better result and today’s was no exception.

With May’s abundance in the garden I suppose it is fitting to have a vase that represents this abundance and this zingy collection does seem to fit the bill. I wonder whether there will be other zingy vases today? It is so exciting seeing what our blogging friends find in their gardens to pop into a vase on a Monday morning – if you haven’t already joined us please do, either every week or just once in a while. It’s not competitive, just an encouragement to pick blooms and bring them into the house for your own pleasure – and if you add links to and from your post we can share in that pleasure too.


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It Wasn’t Me…

IMG_5001 - CopyI sowed the seed,
Planted the plant,
And tended,
Negotiated terms
With sun
And rain,
But who…
Waved a wand
So plants
That sulked
Would thrive?
Raised roses in dry shade
And magnified
The clematis blooms?
Breathed new life
Into the long-gone,
Filled the gaps
And brought
It wasn’t me…

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