These Are a Few of my Favourite Things…

IMG_5115I can’t say I would be particularly moved by whiskers on kittens but raindrops on roses, particularly after a long period of rain, are always very welcome and would make an attractive photograph. No rain here today though (not yet anyhow), but after a couple of weeks of having my head stuck in my laptop whilst marking test papers I have emerged today to face the world and the garden again, so am feeling a little self-indulgent. Do bear with me and take a look at some of the delights that have kept me going on my brief escapes…

The right hand bold border, above, is exactly what it should be – bold, with Allium ‘Purple Sensation’, Geum ‘Mrs Bradshaw’, climbing rose ‘Parkdirektor Riggers’ and nasturtium ‘Banana Split’, with the brick wall accentuating the bright colours. You can see the leaves of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and Inula magnifica which will also extend the boldness.

Much pleasure has derived from seeing things grown from seed reach flowering stage, particularly those that have taken longer than a season, like the aquilegia, armeria and primula. From the left we have Primula ‘Harlow Carr’, candelabra primulas grown from RHS seed, Armeria ‘Bees Hybrids’, Papaver ‘Swansdown’ just bursting out of its fat bud, a ‘large red and orange’ Touchwood aquilegia, and Californian poppy ‘Ivory Castle’. I have been amazed how quickly and easily the latter have got to flowering stage and will be happy if they and their ‘Red Chief’ cousins seed themselves around a little.

favourite.thingsClematis ‘Josephine’ is also worth swooning over as she goes through various stages of flower formation, as this Juxtaposition of Josephines shows:

IMG_5110The clematis colonnade is big on bursting buds at the moment, and I have been observing these ones overhead for a few weeks but had to get a ladder for a close view as there was some doubt as to what it was. I was rather hoping it was a a tiny plug of ‘Vyvyan Pennel’ that had flourished, but my close inspection showed it to be ‘Ernest Markham’, a clematis that has sulked for two years after being forced to change location. In the background you can see just how floriferous climbing rose ‘Madame Alfred Carrière is.

IMG_5109When I left the school I was working at four (gosh…!) years ago I took away with me a clump of these totally neglected irises which had been languishing in a very dry and impoverished soil – although they flowered every year so they cannot have been too unhappy. Last year they produced flowers for the first time here, having been completely forgotten about in the meantime since being replanted. I don’t know much about irises, but I always think of Monet when I see them and yet on checking his iris paintings they are clearly not this type so my memory has been playing tricks. Behind them are ‘Royal Family (white)’ sweet peas.

IMG_5113Always lovely to see because of its rich velvety deep red and multitudinous petals is Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’, benefiting from its text book pruning by producing stouter stems (and more of them too) and all stages of development of Allium cristophii:

favourite.things2IMG_5118And finally, wrapping up this most indulgent post, is a closer look at this still nearly pristine pot of miniature hostas. Ironically, the hosta at the back, ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is supposedly one of the varieties that slugs are less partial to…. so now you know. By chance, the Golfer heard that one of the regulars at his golfing establishment had been at Chelsea for the show week and on his return found that his involvement is with a hosta specialist – needless to say the Golfer has been primed to find out more!

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34 Responses to These Are a Few of my Favourite Things…

  1. Amy says:

    Am indeed swooning over Clematis “Josephine”… I love seeing your seedlings coming into bloom – how encouraging! The California poppy looks wonderful; I’ve not seen a white-only available before; in fact, my standard seed suppliers seem to be offering fewer selections of Eschscholzia these days – just when I could really use them! Perhaps I’d better hunt a little harder!
    What a refreshing time to come back to reality (the garden sums up reality, doesn’t it?) after all those papers… 😉

    • Cathy says:

      Oh yes, Amy, the garden does sum up reality for me 🙂 I bought Ivory Castle seed through eBay after seeing them on someone else’s blog – I had no idea there was such a colour

  2. rusty duck says:

    Welcome back.
    I love those irises. I’m sure mine don’t have the red bits..

  3. Delighted to be following this blog. It never fails to make me happy with its information and great photo support. Of course, now I must go and find the Clematis “Josephine.” Thank you for the work it takes to create these lovely posts.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks so much for your kind comments, Stepheny – I don’t intentionally set out to inform, but I know how much I have learned from blogging so I do like to pass on what could be useful to others

  4. Thanks to your post, I have just put Clematis ‘Josephine’ onto my next-garden list (as my current garden is temporary, thus I view myself simply as a caretaker). She is stunning!!

    • Cathy says:

      She was moved a couple of years ago from where she had never really thrived, and she clearly loves her new home – I have never seen her as lovely as this before!

  5. Sarah says:

    I think my garden needs a dark red rose. Those overlapping petals are gorgeous. The Iris (is it I. Sibirica?) rose and allium would look wonderful all planted together, perhaps with alchemilla mollis at the base to cover and unify. The three mini hostas are so sweet. I wonder if you’ve ever tried growing I. Sibirica in your streamside garden. Mine does well in the boggy conditions around the edge of the pond.

    • Cathy says:

      MW is in a big pot close to the house so is near at hand for inspection of her deep red beauty! I had to smile at your iris suggestion – as the stream is of ‘woman-made’ origin and much angst has been involved in resolving leakages and the like, so I am happy to say there are no boggy conditions next to it!! 🙂

  6. Anna says:

    Oh I can imagine the feeling of euphoria you must have Cathy! One of my allotment friends who is a former English teacher stopped marking GCSE papers this year because of the amount of time she would have to spend online. Well your rambles will no doubt be longer now. How particularly satisfying to see the perennials you have grown from seed in flower. Must check my ‘Blue Mouse’ – the molluscs in your garden have definitely not played fair. As for me whiskers on kittens do the trick especially when they twitch their noses 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      This is the first time the ones I mark have been online and I was reserving judgment about future years, but will stick with it I think now I am more used to how it works. Great to have time available for other things now! Hope your mousey ears are OK – to be honest slug and snail activity has been pretty minimal (so far) this year

  7. alison says:

    A lovely set of photos – such pretty combinations. Like others, I will be putting some of your plants on my wish list. It’s always great to get so many ideas from reading blogs.
    I have a small clump of Iris Sibirica ‘Silver Edge’ (a very dark blue) which seem happy enough in a sunny, dry border.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh thanks Alison – I am really thrilled with the how well all the clematis are doing. From what others are saying these iris do seem to enjoy such conditions so were obviously quite happy in their original neglected spot!

  8. Gorgeous. I have several drifts of Siberian Iris and love them all. I’ve added your varieties of Clematis to my plant bucket list because they are lovely. 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Judy – and increasingly I can see how clematis can sometimes take more than a year or two to settle in, whether they are new or moved from elsewhere

  9. Ian Baker says:

    I love the iris. do you know what type they are?

  10. Chloris says:

    Lovely June plants, such sumptuous colours. Josephine is so beautiful and I love your Iris sibirica. It is so exciting when the roses start blooming, Munstead Wood is wonderful.

  11. Pauline says:

    Your first photo is wonderful showing all your different colours and Clematis Josephine is gorgeous! May and June are such wonderful months in the garden, all our efforts are coming to fruition. Hope all your marking is over and you can now enjoy your garden once more.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Pauline – that first photo is such a colourful juxtaposition that I really wanted to share it with other people. As you say, seeing things come to fruition makes all the care and attention worth while, doesn’t it?

  12. Helene says:

    Oh, you have Josephine! I have wanted it for ages! Lovely to see how your garden is getting on, alliums are also one of my favourite things 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Hello Helene – I have probably had Josephine for as long as 10 years or so but but she hardly produced a flower in her previous location. She is clearly happy here – although last year the slugs attacked the few flowers she had… 😦

  13. I love your bold border and am so pleased to see its time coming round again for the year as I do especially enjoy seeing it in your posts. I am naturally drawn towards muted colours, and think I may take inspiration from your boldness to step outside my comfort zone and create something similar in my next project at the back of our flat. I also love the old terracotta brick wall behind it; sadly I can’t recreate that!

    • Cathy says:

      The bold combination are new to me too, Joanna – and as for the wall it may be old bricks but it is a newish wall, an ‘internal’ wall I built about 15 years ago. If you look on the plan of the garden it separates the bold orders from the greenhouse and fruit cage end of the garden. I love brickwork and will no doubt keep finding places that could just do with a little wall… 🙂

  14. The bold border is looking wonderful – with so much more excitement to come! I love that “Munstead” Rose! So sumptuous! I, too, can appreciate the uplift the garden can give you, through hard or busy periods. Glad to hear the marking’s over for another year and you can get back to rambling!

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