Having been all but absent from IAVOM last week and away again for part of this weekend I feel quite out of touch with most of my blogging friends, but hopefully normal service will now be resumed. I am really sorry to have missed not only your vases last week but the friendly interaction from the shared comments too. However, having read most of your comments last Monday it was clear that you enjoyed the heartwarming tale of Brian’s little helper as much as we did. Interestingly, inspecting my own ‘Blyton Lady in Red’ when we got home I found that my blooms were quite literally half the size of his – but I will at least have more of them. And as I am not exhibiting dahlias, on balance I think I would probably always choose More rather than Huge – with dahlias like Brian’s as an occasional treat.
As the conscientious hostess of this meme, forward planning is often required and today’s vase was put together and photographed on Friday with the post written last night, although not in absentia like last week. Having picked the blooms, I really dithered over a title – in theory not a problem as I wasn’t writing the post till Sunday, but to include the usual ‘prop’ it was required there and then for the photo opportunity and more often than not the title triggers the prop, or perhaps it’s the other way round… but it will have to do.
The colourful pickings began with herbaceous Clematis heracleifolia ‘New Love’, the gorgeous deep blue blooms appearing profusely on stiff stems about 3 feet tall; I first came across C heraclifolia ‘Wyevale’, probably the most well-known, at Powys Castle some years ago and it appealed immediately. Forming a rigid clump and flowering over a long season they make a wonderful blue contribution to a border and ‘New Love’, being such a vibrant blue, even more so. They also have a (very) slight fragrance. I added ‘Cassandra’, another deep blue variety, two years ago but it hasn’t yet flowered. One recent visitor to the garden struggled to believe they were indeed clematis and was only convinced when I showed her the catalogue!
Next to join New Love was Persicaria ‘High Society’, one of many persicaria that are now at their best, still flowering generously despite many weeks without rain; however, the foliage of some has suffered with what looked at first like a sort of rust but is more likely to be from the drought. Clashing stems of traditional cottage garden ‘montbretia’ have appeared in the same bed as High Society, remnants of a clump that was dug out many years ago (the panel on BBC4’s Gardeners’ Question Time recently pondered inconclusively why montbretia keeps on flowering with no attention whilst the named varieties of crocosmia will sulk and refuse to flower if they are too dry or not divided regularly). In the meantime, as this emergent clump will be removed shortly too, it seemed a good idea to use the blooms first.
With these contrasting blooms already in hand, it also seemed a good idea to continue with bright and even clashing colours, so I headed for zinnias in the cutting beds where (joy of joys) the small trickle of successful zinnia blooms continue – mostly from a Summer Bouquet mix, but also a single Purple Prince (bottom right above). Aren’t they lovely? The yellow zinnia (top left) had a damaged stem and a bloom of Rudbeckia ‘Irish Eyes’ (with Purple Prince) was cut to provide a splash of yellow but remarkably the former is still going strong so we have both. Another success is Helichrysum ‘Bright Rose’ (with zinnia top right), with Nicotiana elata ‘Nicki Red’, not as profuse as its lime cousin, adding further colour, and the central picture above showing the final constituent, Panicum ‘Frosted Explosion’ alongside the clematis and persicaria. What an attractive annual grass this is, and how perfectly apt is its name! It was only sown in May as the seed saved from last year proved not to be viable and I was late buying a fresh batch, but plants grew quickly and were planted up in small pots barely a month ago, still awaiting damper conditions before they are planted in the ground, along with many other pots of newly grown or acquired plants.
It was High Society I was focussing on whilst seeking an appropriate title, but inspiration eluded me; casting my eyes around the hum…bits and bobs?…clutter?! in our house I saw this little plane, most probably the product of a christmas stocking at some time, and thought – High Society…success with zinnias…frosted explosions…Flying High? Admittedly not up to my usual standards but, as I said earlier, It Will Have To Do!
Neither props nor titles nor even vases are essential for IAVOM so please do not let their absence cloud your inspiration – even a single stem or twig (preferably from your own garden or gathered nearby) in a jam jar or on its own can bring you pleasure and that is what IAVOM is all about, bringing the joys of our gardens inside for closer and more intimate admiration. If you would like to share your joy with this friendly and supportive blogging community just leave links on your own blog to this post and a link to yours in a comment here on this post.