Monthly Archives: January 2016

End of month view – January 2016

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Finally some sun, hurrah!

Leptospermum, or Tea Tree, above, is (according to Wiki) very rich in Vitamin C and was apparently made into a tea by Captain Cook – probably not personally – to ward off scurvy in his crew, and it is also the plant on which bees forage to produce Manuka honey.  Two valuable traits, doubtless, but I’d settle for just the one – looking this good all the way through January. God knows I haven’t, and nor has the rest of the garden.IMG_9893

Not only are both lawns currently no more than fields as it’s been far too wet to mow, but my dear little Scillas, in the very outside ends of the Swing Beds, are sitting in a proper puddle.IMG_9901

The Swing Beds are both in need of a major cut back and tidy up, but it’s pleasing that there is some structure there.  Looking back at last year’s EoMV I can see how the pink flowered Phlomis Italica, has grown during the past year.  Having been planted at least three years ago they’re starting to get rather leggy and so will need some judicious pruning once we’re further into the year.

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The bed which holds the rhubarb and strawberries had Agapanthus grown from seed planted along the back wall last year.  None has yet flowered but they’ve definitely bulked up, so I live in hope.

Sitting on the edge of the wall in the seed trays are more Agapanthus seedlings (this time from seed collected from the more dwarf A. ‘Tom Thumb’), as well as Carex buchananii, also grown from seed last year for the new Bronze Bed.  I’m not sure whether the Carex will make it into the Bronze Bed, and I have no idea where I’ll put the Agapanthus, but I’m sure they’ll all find homes, even if I give them away!IMG_9900

The Stipa tenuissima in the Grass Bed are continuing to provide interest and you can now see plenty of bulbs pushing up through the forget me nots in front.IMG_9903

And the Mid Century bed, one of last year’s new beds, still has a couple of things to admire, notably the Rhodochiton atrosanguineus growing up the ‘obelisk’ (slightly hard to see in the shade), but also the Acacia baileyana purpurea in the centre.  I’m slightly worried how big this will get, but I’m sure I can prune it back.  (I’m also a little disappointed it’s not more ‘purpurea’ but perhaps it’s the time of year).

The rather scrappy mess in front are two Salvias and some leggy Cerinthe.  

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In the Shady Bed the Sarcococca has finally started to fill out after at least a couple of years.  And I can also see from this picture that I really should cut back the old Hellebore leaves to have any hope of spotting the flowers here.IMG_9906

By the smaller lawn the other new bed, the Bronze Bed, has been largely trimmed back and tidied, but look how much the soil has dropped!  The MC bed is even worse, so I’ll definitely have to top them both up.

The leafless shrub in the middle is Hamamelis ‘Aphrodite’ which I absolutely adored last year.  I’m slightly worried there’s no sign of flowers yet, but I did buy it in bloom in mid February, so perhaps it’s still on schedule.  At the back you can see the Melianthus major still flowering – certainly no normal schedule there.

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On the other side of the lawn away from the house, the shady Oak Bed has more hellebores, as well as inherited Bergenia and Leucojum aestrivum.

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And to finish a couple of early Narcissi  – roll on the rest!IMG_9908

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener who hosts the End of Month meme.  Why don’t you pop over to Helen’s site to see some other EoMVs?

In a vase on Monday – clean and clear

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Those of you who’ve ever been chez Duver Diary will know that I’m not the tidiest, always prefering gardening, and even ironing, to tidying and cleaning.

Today’s vase was actually created on Sunday when the OH’s brother and wife came for lunch and, as it was just the four of us, we ate in the kitchen.  Consequently the far end of the kitchen table, usually the site of a pencil pot, placemats, various gardening books and magazines and a laptop or two, was cleaned and cleared.  And in their stead I placed this equally clean and clear vase of hellebores.

The vase was bought a couple of Christmases ago from Oliver Bonas and was one of those gifts you buy for yourself when you’re supposed to be Christmas shopping for others.  I’m not sure it has featured on IaVoM before, but it’s great for when your blooms are limited and you don’t want to detract from them, as with these lovely hellebores:IMG_9879IMG_9881

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Why don’t you visit Cathy’s site to see what others have in their Monday vases? and I’ll get back to re-cluttering.  This tidiness is making me uncomfortable…

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Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

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Pretty slim pickings for GBBD today, but I love the optimism of this perky geranium.

I shared my favourite hellebore last Wednesday, but I’m delighted to have more to show.  Like Julie at Peonies and Posies, my hellebores are bulking up, but there’s definitely room for more!

This Cornus Mas featured on another Wordless Wednesday is still flowering well and, growing in a pot by the front steps, it makes a very cheery greeting.IMG_9835

This Abutilon ‘Orange Marion’ is also in a pot outside, which is starting to feel rather risky bearing in mind how the temparature’s dropped.IMG_9845

The Grevillea‘s also outside and still looking good.IMG_9856

Not blooms, but they were once!  These are the lovely, fluffy seed heads of Clematis ‘Freckles’. Perhaps I should try planting some.IMG_9854

Talking of seeds, whilst the Rhodochiton atrosanguineus is still flowering, there are also some stems which have now turned to seed heads.

I am already growing some (bought) Rhodochiton seeds which I planted late last summer,IMG_9866

but if anyone fancies trying this lovely plant themselves please drop me an email at jenhumm116@yahoo.co.uk with your address and I’ll send you some of the seed heads through the post.  I clearly can’t guarantee success but Chloris assures me they’re easy!

With many thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens  for hosting everyone’s GBBD.  Why don’t you pop over and have a look at what everyone else has blooming now?

 

 

Santa’s succulents

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Ever bought a gift for someone near and dear you rather fancied for yourself?  No?  Just me?

As Christmas loomed near I realised I’d spent a fortune on the ‘kids’ but not a lot on the OH.  As he professes an interest in succulents, I suddenly thought if I could find some plants online I could plant them up in a wire tray I already had, and make an extra gift that I would like too.

A little Googling found the http://www.surrealsucculents.co.uk site.  And after a happy half hour browsing their lovely site (see photo from the site below) I put in my order,

Echeveria ‘Chocolate’IMG_9796

Crassula arborescens ‘Blue Bird’,IMG_9792

Aeonium ‘Velour’IMG_9798

and lastly (a rather chewed looking) Haworthia ‘King.’IMG_9794

They’re currently tucked up in the greenhouse, unlike the rest of the collection which is still outside under the glass canopy.IMG_9800

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There are few single pots too which I’m planning to swap in when I get round to it – Echeveria ‘Pearl of Nuremberg,’IMG_9805

and here again with close relative, Echeveria ‘Duchess of Nuremberg’ (back).

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And lastly my absolute favourite, Echeveria ‘Blue Waves.’IMG_9803

In a vase on Monday – Happy New Year!

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Some of you may remember that after the rainbow  ‘Drive in’ flowers at the golf club, I was invited to repeat the commission for the New Year’s Eve dinner dance.  It was always going to be a tough act to follow, and I didn’t make it easy for myself.  Not only did I have a relatively last minute change of plan, but then also found myself unexpectedly driving round the island most of the morning chasing a ferry for my daughter and a strapless undergarment for me.  Both crucial, obviously, but it definitely cut into the relaxed pottering/cutting/conditioning/arranging day I’d hoped for!

The plan was one large arrangement plus 24 table arrangements (for twelve tables of ten).  I had been advised of a ‘silver’ theme and so had initially thought to incorporate sprayed silver seed heads in all the arrangements, but I found it ridiculously hard to get hold of silver spray (for some reason various online suppliers wouldn’t deliver to the Isle of Wight, and lots of shops I tried didn’t stock it).  The one tin I had purchased was largely used up spraying the seed heads used in the arrangement I did for my sister (and two smaller ones I didn’t show) but there were a few left over and so I used those in the large arrangement.

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As well as the seed heads, I added some wired silver baubles to the green base of Euphorbia characias ‘Wulfenii’, Garrya elliptica and some sage.   I think the silver made the Garrya look a little ‘grubby’, but I still love those tassles!IMG_9775c

Having run out of silver seed heads for the table decorations I had to improvise and part of that involved purloining Mimosa from our neighbour’s tree (thanks M & J!) as well as adding little clocks, as they seemed more appropriate for New Year than more Christmas baubles.

As with the October flowers, I found the blooms I had available didn’t really work together, but this time I ended up with just three colour schemes.  Firstly, yellow, with the beautiful, fluffy Mimosa coupled with yet more Euphorbia,IMG_9767

secondly white, with Leucojum, the last of the Ammi and some CerintheIMG_9771

and lastly pink, largely my lovely, incredibly long flowering Leptospermum, but also, at the last minute, I added a ‘drape’ of a few bells of Rhodochiton atrosanguineus.IMG_9770

And there they all are.

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Only a potholed drive to the golf club and a couple of fraught journeys from car to tables before I was able to relax with a glass of fizz, safe in the knowledge that the flowers (and the bosom!) were in the right place.

With thanks as ever to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this lovely meme.

Yearly round up – 2015

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2015 was the first time I’d planted dozens of tulips directly in the Swing Beds, having previously faffed about planting them in pots and then moving them in and out.  And, in classic gardening happenstance, they didn’t flower as I’d planned at all!  The tulips I’d planted as mids, ‘Pink Impression’ (above) flowered first, and on their own, and then these were followed by (supposedly) April flowering ‘Mistress’ and May flowering ‘Menton’ flowering together (below). The whole show was an absolute joy.

This year I’ve planted more tulips, but in the two new beds, so time will tell as to how perennial these three in the Swing Beds out to be.IMG_7022

As well as the tulips I also planted more Alliums.  I found the new Alliums ‘Violet Beauty’, a little disappointing, but the extra A. Purple Sensation I added, were fabulous as ever.IMG_7231

And the Diving Lady got a new, early bath in the form of Iris reticulata ‘Blue Note’.

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As well as new bulbs, 2016 saw the creation of two new beds, firstly the ‘Mid Century Bed’, below, named after the lovely metal structure the OH bought me for my big birthday.

The theme was supposed to be bruised, purply colours, but, as with the bulbs, there was a welcome ‘mistake’ to enjoy in the form of this Ranunculus, theoretically ‘Purple Heart’, but I rather think not.IMG_7715

I planted some roses for this new bed too, including R. Jubilee Celebration (no, not very bruised either!)IMG_7967

and Rosa ‘Falstaff Climbing’ to grow up the obelisk, but the plant that really stole the climbing show this year was the ‘Rhodochiton atrosanguineus‘.

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The second new bed has a bronze or orangey theme.

 

Many of the plants were grown from seed, including this Nasturtium ‘Caribbean Crush’ and the beautiful grass Hordeum Jubatum.IMG_8240IMG_7930

There was another new rose here too, R. Pat Austin.IMG_8906

And later in the year the ridiculously floriferous Dahlia ‘Happy Singe Date’.  This just went on and on and formed the basis of numerous peachy vases of flowers.

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In June I opened the garden for the third time as part of a village group opening, in aid of the island’s Earl Mountbatten hospice.  I had over 150 visitors and some lovely comments.IMG_7889

Also in 2015 I was lucky enough to visit numerous gardens both on and off the island, including the Sir Harold Hillier garden in February (and again in August)IMG_0411

Arundel Castle in May,IMG_7089

Mottistone Manor in June,IMG_7677

Osborne House in (March and) August

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and Great Dixter IMG_9124

and Bodnant in October.2015-10-29 11.28.44 HDR

As well as my own garden and garden visiting, I dipped in and out of Cathy’s lovely ‘In  a vase on Monday’ meme, including sharing the saga of the wedding flowers 

as well as this group of vases created in October when the OH became captain of his golf club.IMG_9349

And, on the basis that it’s a very rare gardener that ever stops learning, I went on courses at Great Dixter, Common Farm Flowers and West Dean.  And then, to top it all, in September signed up for a Level 3 course in Plants and Planting Design at Capel Manor college, which I’m absolutely loving.  Which reminds me, I really need to get on with my holiday homework!

Wishing you and yours a fabulous, flowery 2016, and thank you so much for supporting Duver Diary with your views, likes and comments.