In a Vase on Monday: Standing on Their Own

After a summer of popping up in various vases I though it was about time that persicaria stood on on their own two feet and had a vase of their own. Flowering all summer, they come in a range of pink and pinky red shades as well as white, not forgetting the forms grown more for their foliage.

In this chunky blue glass vase are Persicaria Fat Domino, Blackfield, Jo and Guido, Rosea, Alba, Donald Lownde and Firetail against the foliage of Red Dragon, but there are also others that did not make it today. I am fond of them all, and especially love the big and bold Fat Domino and the dark Blackfield, but the fine and wispy Alba and Rosea have a subtle appeal too. As for the Dragon, I have sung his praises many a time and his popularity is still up there with all the others. The vase was photographed inside today, against the backdrop of a vintage quilt, and the tiny articulated figure who has accompanied vases before is showing that despite his disability he can still stand on his own two feet.

Autumn was very prevalent in last week’s vases but with late summer blooms hanging on too and not forgetting the spring flowers of the southern hemisphere. Wherever you are in the world, you are welcome to join us on IAVOM, finding material from your own garden to pop in a vase or jam jar to bring you pleasure during the week. We would love to see what you can find so please consider sharing it with us by leaving links to and from this post.

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End of Month View: Has Havoc been Wreaked?

It may look that way but, rest assured, any apparent havoc has been wreaked in the name of  ‘Improvement’, although you wouldn’t think so at the moment!

Replacing the pergola that separates the paved area and streamside, continuing down the side of the sitooterie, is ongoing and once the structure was removed from the first section I took advantage of the situation and dug out the climbing roses and all the ferns that were growing along its length. The ferns came in 3″ pots from Morrison’s (a UK supermarket) in 2003/4 but were now massive specimens and hugely difficult to dig out; the original intention was to split them into a more manageable sizes and replant them but other options are now being considered, along with alternative planting options for the roses. The paved area has become a jumble of planters, benches and abandoned ferns and overall it has been quite a physical week!

The whole streamside area looks very different now the stream is not concealed by overhanging fern fronds and the bright yellow and red leaves of the witch hazels are somehow more prominent.

Despite the example set by the witch hazels, green is still very much in evidence as autumn creeps into the garden only very slowly, but every day we see more of his handiwork alongside the seasonal spider webs.

The woodland

The main borders from the bothy

The main borders from ground level

Acer griseum and bronze heuchera bed, with clematis colonnade behind

Woodland edge border, witch hazel ‘Arnold Promise’ in the foreground

Woodland edge border from the opposite end

Bold border #1

Bold border #2, partially overhauled

Bold border #3, largely overhauled: what a lot of nasturtiums are appearing in these beds of all of a sudden!

Cutting beds

More cutting beds

Whatever has happened to the blue & white borders?! (leaves courtesy of the amelanchier)

And to the rose garden?!

All will be revealed in due course, but in the meantime rain has stopped play and spade, paintbrush, saw and drill have fallen quiet…

I know several other bloggers have ongoing projects at the moment, so do go to Steve’s blog at Glebe House where he will be featuring what is happening in his garden at the end of September and where he is kindly hosting links to End of Month Views on other blogs.

Posted in End of Month View, garden structure, Gardening, Gardens, projects | 22 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: the Last Post

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In a Vase on Monday: Winnie and Friends

Yesterday, when I picked these blooms and prepared the vase, was a lovely day,  a gentle and warm sort of day, a reminder of summer’s pleasures amidst the first signs of autumn. With a long list of on-going projects, the Golfer and I were able to spend most of the day in the garden on our allotted tasks, taking advantage of the September sunshine.

Unusually, the vase ended up as my final task of the day, resulting in a last-minute dilemma of a location to photograph it, the usual spot being hijacked by a number of lengths of timber and one of our  cast iron garden chairs pressed into service instead. The star of the vase is Dahlia ‘Jowey Winnie’ and she is accompanied by a number of her dahlia friends: Glow, Bishop of Leicester, Happy Single Juliet and  Karma Serena, supported by Persicaria ‘Jo and Guido’ and Miscanthus ‘Ferner Osten’ .

From left to right: Glow, Happy Single Juliet, Jowey Winnie, Bishop of Leicester, Glow

From left to right: Glow, Bishop of Leicester, Karma Serena, Jowey Winnie

The dahlias still provide plenty of pickings, although the blooms are generally smaller and the plants a little wayward from lack of staking and the effects of rain; having bloomed continuously for four months they have made a wonderful contribution to the cutting beds and to numerous vases and posies…all for less than £2 per tuber.

I fiddled with the length of the stems whilst trying various ways of arranging the blooms in the chunky rectangular glass vase, in the end using small pebbles to half-fill the vase and support the stems till I was satisfied, before filling it to the top. I need to remember that the water will also need topping up more often because of the space taken up by the pebbles.

Accompanying the vase, today’s prop is the complete set of Winnie-the-Pooh books – ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’, ‘The House at Pooh Corner’, ‘Now We Are Six’ and ‘When We Were Very Young’ – an integral part of my childhood. I still like dipping into them and often recite excerpts from the poems in the latter two books. Even as a teenager my friends and I still appreciated the books and used to match each other with the various characters: I was considered the Christopher Robin of the group, full of down-to-earth common sense, which I suppose is no bad thing!

Will you be conjuring up your own pleasure from a vase this week? You don’t need to include props alongside your weekly vases, but we find it does add a little extra sparkle to our Mondays so do consider it if it is not something you are in the habit of doing. See you soon!

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Garden Bloggers Foliage Day: the Good, the Bad and…..the Ugly

The transition from summer to autumn, heralded by yesterday’s Autumnal Equinox, invariably produces a range of foliage scenarios, some of them downright ugly. Some plants just do not die down gracefully, but I have to say that there is not yet anything here that meets that description. Although there is increasing evidence of roadside trees in the area beginning to lose their leaves, there is little indication of an accompanying loss of green in their canopies. Here in the garden sweeping leaves from the paths is not yet a necessity, and the only evidence of leaf change amongst the trees is in some of the witch hazels, especially Hamamelis ‘Diane’ (above).

Hostas too are just beginning to turn but will no doubt fall into the ‘ugly’ category in due course; however, after a season with virtually no slug damage the slimy critters have decided to make up for it with my miniature hostas, but I will shield you from their ugliness and just show some of the full-size ones.

While some plants are beginning to die down, others are at their best at this time of year, after a season of building up their strength. These candelabra primula (centre of picture), for example, were tiny self seeded plantlets at the start of the year:

Don’t you just love a big clump of pulmonaria? This one is ‘Trevi Fountain’:

Sedum ‘Jose Aubergine’ and Persicaria ‘Painter’s Palette’ are at their best now, the darkness of the sedum leaves not appearing till later in the season and the overall effect of the markings on the persicaria enhanced as the clump fills out. The latter, however, will die back very badly in due course.

The first year I cut these three cornus in the spring I was very hesitant as I snipped their beautiful coloured stems down to ground level, but soon learned that I needn’t have worried as they have grown about 5ft in a season, looking good now and no doubt even better after leaf fall when those stems are highlighted once again.

With the gradual demise of blooms in the garden as summer receded, the overall colour in the garden has increasingly become green, a showery September combined with equal periods of sunshine ensuring growth has been lush. These ferns adjacent to the stream typify this lushness but themselves are due for a partial cull, as the impending replacement of the pergola brings with it the opportunity to reduce their size and reveal more of the stream, a feature which some visitors missed during our open garden events, despite the very obvious sound of rushing water.

Christina of My Hesperides Garden has hosted this foliage day for a number of years, giving us the opportunity to consider different aspects of the foliage in our gardens each month. Do visit her blog and perhaps look at your own gardens from a different perspective too.

Posted in Autumn, Garden Bloggers Foliage day, Gardening, Gardens | 14 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: Mixed Messages

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In a Vase on Monday: Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

A mixed day, in fact, as a sunny morning yesterday gave way to a sudden short but heavy shower when I was in the greenhouse, then again as I prepared to photograph this vase, as you can see from the spots on the green felt fabric backdrop. These cheerful blooms, however, injected their own sunshine into the day, regardless of the weather.

It has been a struggle to reach the sunflowers this year, in the far corner of the cutting beds, without precariously stretching over dahlias and rudbeckia – and most of them were beyond my reach heightwise, anyway. Towards the end of their season, I decided there was much to be gained from cutting them down – not least the content of today’s vase, but beginning to clear the way to foreshorten this cutting bed and allow for all 3 water butts that previously served the greenhouse to be linked together now that the greenhouse is extended. The sunflower ‘stumps’ (many beyond the strength of my secateurs) reminded me of those fossilised forests that are sometimes revealed when water levels in reservoirs are low! We now need to work out how much of the cutting bed needs to be lost to allow access to the water butts when they are all in place – but it can wait till the long-flowering Rudbeckia ‘Irish Eyes’ has finished strutting its stuff.

A few of these rudbeckia blooms have infiltrated the bunch of their sunflower neighbours, joining ‘Vanilla Ice’, ‘Earth Walker’, ‘Italian White’ and ‘Ruby Eclipse’ in today’s vase, my spotty yellow jug. I am thrilled to be finally seeing the deep red of Earth Walker and the russet two-tone Ruby Eclipse at close quarters, instead of squinting a couple of feet above eye level! The dangly Vanilla Ice (or Italian White; it’s hard to say which) in the main photograph really was dangling like that, so for ‘dangly’ now read ‘artistically placed’! Lastly, and possibly reflecting the dottiness of the jug, we have some dotty Golden Hornet crab apples, currently smothering the small tree in the shrub border.

The Irish Eyes in last week’s vase still looks as fresh as the proverbial daisy (rudbeckia?) and it would be wonderful if all today’s blooms lasted as well this week, continuing to Bring me Sunshine… What will be bringing you sunshine in your Monday vases today? See what you can find in your garden or forage locally to pop in a vase and bring you pleasure during the week – and do share it with us by leaving the usual links to and from this post.

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