In a Vase on Monday: Harlequin

I am not going to make any sort of apology for including tulips in my Monday vase again as we have learned by now that this is an occupational hazard in spring for northern hemisphere Monday vase makers – but I WILL apologise to those who didn’t get my comments on their vases last week, or perhaps got them several times over. Other WordPress blogs were OK, but using my tablet and leaving comments on other blogs proved nigh on impossible although I can assure you that I was able to enjoy every vase that linked to last week’s post.

I found lots of tulips flowering in the garden on our return from the Scilly Isles, and at first was just going to include the ‘yellow’ tulips (which will prove to be streaked with red once they open fully) and the Narcissus ‘Erlicheer’ but decided instead to highlight those streaks by adding first the red tulips and then the Ivory White (white? pah!) wallflowers. The blooms now reminded me of some fabric I have in the bathroom and suggested ‘Harlequin’ for the title – but needed a blue addition to compete the picture, hence the muscari. Sadly none of the tulips are labelled as they were not expected to last more than a season but looking back into my Peter Nyssen orders might at least identify the streaky yellow ones.

Having cut my cornus back a couple of weeks ago I now have a large galvanised pot of trimmings outside the back door which is being dipped into for vases and posies while the stems are still looking fresh, and three stems of red Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ were added to today’s vase. Despite originally planning to place the blooms in a clear rectangular glass vase, they instead ended up in a tall drinking glass because I preferred the vertical look of the stems but no doubt this alternative will need frequent topping up with water. Reflecting the varied colours of the blooms is a piece of titanium quartz, formed  by coating natural quartz with titanium molecules through an ionisation process, giving it an an iridescent metallic sheen. This enhances the inherent properties of quartz and is believed, amongst other properties, to bring deep insights and transform dysfunctional relationships.

It will be good to get back into my usual weekly routines now our holiday break is over and visitors have gone – and those routines begin with a Vase on Monday so I look forward to seeing what you have found in your gardens or foraged locally to pop in your own vases. As always, please share them with the rest of us by leaving links to and from this post so we can share in the pleasure they bring you.

Posted in Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday | Tagged , | 75 Comments

Home Delights

For most of us who consider ourselves gardeners, coming home after a break away is highly anticipated, with a ramble round the garden a priority after the usual urgent loo visit and perhaps putting the kettle on. Daylight was just about hanging on when we returned on Friday, but I was just about able to see that things in the  greenhouse were still OK but now ready for a watering after what was a hot day; elsewhere I could make out the general lushness of the garden but with no real detail, so it was a daylight ramble the next morning that really brought me up to date. Naturally I was champing at the bit to get on with all the necessary garden tasks but the coincidental timing of a visit by Elder Daughter and the Poppet meant that patience was needed whilst those tasks were largely deferred.

Weatherwise it has been a hot and sunny few days in much of the UK and this has worked closely with early April’s natural spring resurgence to boost growth, most borders filling up with fresh green foliage and quickly camouflaging the bareness of the brown earth that has predominated over the winter months. Have I really got room for all those plants I am growing from seed, I wonder?

It would be hard to say what has brought me most pleasure on these post-holiday rambles: my greenhouses full of healthy seedlings of course, all those trays of hardy annuals ready to be planted out as soon as I get the chance and, excitingly, the first (out-of-focus) bud on the Winter Sunshine sweet peas:

The alpina clematis are in their element on the colonnade and looking glorious:

The wood anemones in the woodland now form a deep pile carpet but with a splash of blue from the first bluebells, strays from the other side of the path through the woodland:

It was a good decision to supplement the Anemone blanda last autumn as the blue ones have been an absolute delight on the fringes of the blue & white border. On the ground is blossom from the amelanchier above, something I sadly managed to miss seeing on the tree this year along with the lovely coppery new foliage which has now turned green.

Blossom is apparent on many of the fruit trees and it is good to see that crab apple Malus ‘Evereste’ has settled in and is well on the way to becoming a creditable replacement for the magnolia that previously occupied the same approximate space (in the background, the Golfer is replacing the guttering around the sitooterie):

Noticeable because it is in our faces each time we open the front door, foliage on climbing rose ‘Pink Perpetué’ is bright and green and so far unblemished by black spot (although I did notice a few aphids as I took the picture), whilst strands of Clematis ‘Étoile Violette’ are once again clambering happily through it:

Finally, I am thrilled that the seemingly dormant mason bee cocoons are gradually coming to life and at least four now show evidence of bees having hatched and flown off to do their own thing  – most exciting, and I am sure they will enjoy the blossom in the garden as much I do!

Posted in Gardening, Gardens, mason bees, Spring | 30 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: Subtropical

Posted in Gardens, Visiting gardens & days out | Tagged , | 32 Comments

Another Alternative Tuesday View (or two)

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In a Vase on Monday: So Simple

Being as honest as the day is long, I will immediately come clean and say that this vase was prepared on FRIDAY and the tulips given to a friend on Saturday accompanied by prunings of a red-stemmed cornus. This was due to a busy weekend and not being at home on Monday. I may well be late responding to comments or seeing your vases because of this, but I shall do my best.

I have enjoyed Christina’s predominately tulip filled vases for a number of weeks and can see how easily my own vases could go the same way, as each day reveals new buds opening on my own tulips – but only on those planted in pots in previous seasons and not yet on any of last autumn’s plantings. Today’s tulips were in a mixed collection of named ‘pink tulips’ from Aldi a few years ago and from the illustration I think they must be ‘van Eijk’. They were placed simply, as the title implies, in a pretty red glass vase with no embellishment other than 5 red jasper crystals. The vase was snapped up from a car boot sale and has no markings to identify its source but is weighty and shouts ‘quality’. Jasper is believed to aid protection and grounding and bring courage and determination, with red jasper also encouraging insights and helping resolve unjust situations.

You may well be busy too, but even popping a few stems of tulips or narcissi or hedgerow twigs breaking into leaf into a jar or vase can be quickly done and put a smile on your face and bring you pleasure for several days, so do give it a go, especially if you have not joined us before. It can also bring pleasure to others if you share it with us by leaving links to and from this post. Enjoy your Monday, everybody! 🙂

Posted in bulbs, corms and tubers, Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday | Tagged , , | 74 Comments

The Golfer Does it Again

You will have realised by now that it is very useful to have a Golfer around the place and we certainly make a good team – I just need to have an idea, decide on a rough design and the Golfer does the rest, give or take a bit of design tweaking during construction. Oh, and I do the painting. Thus we have this made to measure Versailles style planter, purpose built to house the monstrous tree lily that has been emulating Jack’s beanstalk for the last few years. Thinking it might look better with a solid backdrop behind it, the corner of the gable wall that has just been painted was considered just about tall enough to cope with its towering stature. By creating a planter that wraps around the drainpipe and planting a clematis in the same pot to hide the bare stem of the lily, its giraffe-like tendencies will hopefully prove to be less obtrusive than before as attention will be drawn to the feature as a whole. That’s the idea, anyway, but time will tell just how successful the idea is! Oh, and well done to the Golfer of course…

Posted in Gardening, Gardens, projects | Tagged , | 21 Comments

End of Month View: Spring has Sprung

Someone asked recently in one of their posts which plant people most looked forward to as a symbol of spring. I think most of us probably wouldn’t be able to identify one specific plant and it perhaps takes a combination of blooms to make us realise that it really IS  spring – which it certainly is now. Along with the remnants of narcissi, grown-up tulips have budded up nicely alongside their already-blooming species counterparts, and various little anemones are making striking displays. Just about coming into bloom is a very ordinary dicentra (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) which, because its stems look deceptively tender but clearly aren’t, somehow does seem to represent the transition to spring.

So, what else is happening in the garden at the end of March? Have a look at the slideshow and see, using the map shown under The Garden tab above to see where the views fit into the garden. Thank you to Helen the Patient Gardener who encourages us to record these monthly changes, and please pop over to her blog to see what is happening in her and other gardens too.

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Posted in End of Month View, Gardening, Gardens | 12 Comments