In a Vase on Monday: Hope Springs Eternal

I was pruning roses yesterday and found this clutch of buds amongst the prunings of Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’. Instead of consigning them to the compost heap I decided to bring them inside and pop them in a vase for Monday, hoping there was still enough life in them for the buds to open. Unlike some out-of-season rosebuds which ‘ball’ as a result of winter cold and dampness, these buds seemed healthy enough and perhaps stand a chance. Joining them in the blue sundae glass is a leaf of Arum italicum ‘Marmoratum’, sadly becoming a little coy and turning away when its photograph was taken The prop is a little diecast lead water pump, of the style produced by Britains, which could easily have been fed by a spring in real life.

I remembered too late that this is the first vase of 2020 and was not the route I intended to take, but hey ho…! I shall have to store those thoughts up in the inner recesses somewhere for the start of another year instead! If I haven’t already wished you the best possible 2020, I do so now, and look forward to seeing what you have found in your gardens to pop into your own vases today and for a year of Mondays beyond.

Posted in Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday | Tagged | 29 Comments

Six on Saturday: Colour

It’s not all green and brown in the garden at the moment, as the Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’ and bright carex (C Everillo perhaps?) above demonstrate. Also in the shrub border are Nandina ‘Obsession’ and Nandina ‘Fire Power’:

In the border behind the Coop, Nandina ‘Twilight’ brightens a January day too:

Positively glowing, whatever the weather, are the three cornus which will continue to shine for 3 months or so before they get cut back to their stumps:

And last, but definitely not least, is witch hazel Hamamelis ‘Jelena’ with H ‘Ruby Glow’ behind it:

Thank you to Jon and his blog ‘The Propagator’ for giving us the opportunity to share 6 things from our gardens every Saturday.



Posted in Gardens, Six on Saturday, Winter | 25 Comments

End of Year View: the Garden at the End of December

From the back of the house, looking towards the sitooterie

The streamside and shrub border

The shrub border from the other end

The woodland

The main borders from the bothy

The main borders from ground level

Bronze heuchera bed and clematis colonnade

The woodland edge border

Woodland edge border from the other end

Bold border #1

Bold border #2, ready for a change

Bold border #3

Blue & white border

Rose garden

Special snowdrop border

Inside the Coop

The partially shady border behind the Coop

The relatively new ‘Fig Border’

Posted in End of Month View, Gardening, Gardens | 26 Comments

In a Vase on Monday: Hazel and Hazel

Having wished everyone a Happy New Year in IAVOM last Monday, today’s vase almost seems a bonus, having inadvertently ‘forgotten’ there was a complete week between Christmas and the start of 2020. Bonus Monday or not, I will still take the opportunity of wishing you joy, peace and happy gardening!

Today’s hazel vase is yet another teeny tiny contribution to IAVOM, the product of meagre winter pickings and a reluctance to pluck other than the smallest twigs of my precious witch hazels. Not closely related to the native hazel at all, they do have a few superficially similar characteristics, particularly the leaves. These three little twigs are from Hamamelis ‘Orange Peel’, one of five witch hazels currently in full flower; after a slow start, this witch hazel has really taken off and is looking stunning this year. Joining it are three sprigs of twisted hazel Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ each with early catkins.

The group of twigs were popped into biodegradable floral foam in the little rectangular ikebana vase that has appeared already in several IAVOM, their feet smothered in moss pillaged from one of the garden’s retaining walls. Supporting the vase is a little book entitled ‘A Tree in your Pocket’, which details all sorts of interesting facts and folklore about native British trees, from their ruling planet to the customs and legends, healing properties, magic & inspiration and physical uses associated with them. This twisted hazel is the only hazel left in the garden, as we have finally removed the original untwisted hazel and all its progeny from the garden, to the great chagrin of the local squirrel population who continue to seek hazelnuts in pots and tubs and the snowdrop border.

Have you some meagre offerings to share today? Or maybe something more generous perhaps? Please do join us if you can, leaving the usual links.

Posted in Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday, Winter | Tagged , , | 44 Comments

December Blooms: Out for the Count

Since 2013 I have kept a record of what is blooming in the garden on Boxing Day or thereabouts. Although we shared last Christmas with my Mum, because of losing my younger sister earlier this year we were up to Scotland again so were not at home for bloom counting or anything else on Boxing Day. My count is therefore a few days late and is doubling up as a contribution to Chloris’ monthly bloom of top blooms.

Winter bloomers are beginning to come to the fore and I am anxiously watching their progress (sadly out of my control), looking ahead to our proposed garden opening on 16th February. Five of my twelve witch hazels are currently in full bloom, ‘Orange Peel’ (above) and ‘Jelena’, ‘Harry’, ‘Rochester’ and ‘Amethyst’ (below):

Native snowdrops are beginning to push their way up in the woodland edge border but in the special snowdrop border several are in bud and six are just waiting for a really mild day to open fully, including ‘Three Ships’, ‘Peter Gatehouse’ and ‘Gabriel’:

Typical winter stars are fragrant Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ and Sarcococca humilis:

…but let’s not take the humbler stars for granted, like primrose, ivy, viola and Bellis perennis, whether nibbled or not:

If we throw in a pot of cyclamen blooming in the Coop that makes a total of 18, more than the ten allowed by the forgiving Chloris but not atypical of a Boxing Day count, which for previous years were as follows:

2013 18
2014 28
2015  37
2016 14
2017 28
2018 16

Posted in Boxing Day blooms, Garden Bloggers Blooms Day, Gardening, Gardens, Winter | Tagged | 17 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: I Saw Three Ships

I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day in the morning

Posted in Christmas, Gardening, snowdrops, Wordless Wednesday | Tagged , | 7 Comments

In a Vase on Monday: the Ink is Black, the Page is White

The ink is black
The page is white
Together we learn to read and write
A child is black
A child is white
A whole world looks upon the sight
A beautiful sight

I unexpectedly noticed the delicious looking berries of  Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ last week and immediately visualised them in a vase with the contrasting white berries of the ‘devil’s plant’ Symphoricarpos albus. Once picked, I couldn’t keep the lyrics of  ‘The ink is black‘ from going round and round in my head,  hence the title; after choosing the background colour, however, these thoughts were replaced by the joke ‘What’s black and white and red all over?’ (a book/newspaper), but that potential title will have to wait for another vase.

The reference to writing made the choice of vase and prop easy – a little glass inkwell and vintage fountain pen. I am sure the pen is very similar to those I used in my early days at school, which I clearly remember being in a marbled shade of early plastic (makes me sound ancient but the pens had probably been around far longer than I had); sadly I never ended up with the shade I coveted, nor the opportunity to be ink monitor and pour ink into the inkwells of my classmates…

I am sure most people have other things to do today rather than finding something to pop into a vase or reading about other people popping things into vases, but for those who do visit IAVOM today may I wish you peace and joy as we move towards the end of this year and on to the unknowns of 2020.

ps I suspect the ‘glowing’ snowberries are due to a dirty camera lens and not some strange phosphorescent phenomenon of symphoricarpos


Posted in Gardening | 49 Comments