Monthly Archives: January 2018

End of month view – January 2018

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I somehow managed to delete the ‘classic’ photo I took looking across the lawn to the swing, so thought I’d start with the shady bed for a change.  This is the location of the Sarcococca (on the left) which I snipped for my scented Monday vase.  There’s a lovely dark hellebore here too, towards the centre of the photo, but it’s not yet open.  Another ‘spring thing’ to look forward to!

In the troughs the stocks, which were grown from cuttings and planted out last year, are finally starting to make their mark and will hopefully also provide scent later in the year.  In front of them plenty of daffodils are just peeping above the parapet.  The grand plan for this bed later in the year is to have a mass planting of Pelargoniums as I think they’re about the only thing I can think of that will tolerate the heat and dryness of these metal troughs in the summer.  IMG_3867

The strawberry bed is largely devoid of strawberries and increasingly overwhelmed with Agapanthus, but I’m fine with that (even if my daughter isn’t!)IMG_3868

The Swing Beds are still pretty green but definitely in need of a tidy – particularly those roses.  I’m going to need to be feeling strong for them!IMG_3869

The swing itself has a rather charming ‘fringe’ of Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ on the right hand side.  Sadly, the one on the left seems to have disappeared.IMG_3870

The right hand Swing Bed is looking as dull as the left one, but with a similarly scary looking rambling rose.  Now where are those gauntlets….IMG_3871

Happily, in the robustly defended Grass Bed, the bulbs are coming up unmolested.  At some stage – once I’m confident they’re beyond being eaten but preferably before all the buds have formed – I’ll need to remove the chicken wire so we can enjoy them.

Meanwhile, I’m a worried the Stipa tenuissima are looking a bit peaky.  I normally have a bit of a divide/replant over winter to try to maintain the row, but there’s not much material to work with!IMG_3872

Looking across the Mid Century bed towards the greenhouse you can still see the big white sacks of compost and manure delivered before Christmas.  I have done some sh*t shovelling, but the weather has been so rubbish that reading a gardening magazine by the warmth of the Aga has been rather more appealing.IMG_3873

In the metal bath by the front steps the Osteospermums are still flowering.  I did try to take some cuttings but they didn’t take.  Perhaps I’ll try again in the spring as I do love this colour.IMG_3859

Further round, the Hamamelis is looking good – it probably deserves neater environs, so that’s another bed that needs a tidy and mulch.IMG_3855

The Bronze Bed is already showing signs of the (hopefully) bonanza of bulbs to come.  For the last two years there have almost been too many, but I’m not complaining!IMG_3856

Numerous succulents and Aeoniums are still sheltering under the glass canopy,IMG_3858

whilst in the greenhouse there are lots of Perlargonium cuttings coming on, as well as a few bought ones from Derry Watkin’s nursery which I visited when we went to Bath.IMG_3865

In addition, here is the first wave of sweet peas – these are the ‘Winter Sunshine’ variety that last year flowered in April.IMG_3866

And to finish, yet more bulbs to look forward to.  Roll on spring!IMG_3860

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting EoMVs.

 

 

In a vase on Monday – all white now

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Happily, not only did I not succumb to the flu, but my three family ‘sicknotes’ are all recovered, hence part of the reason for the title.  The second one is obvious, the blooms are, pretty much, all white.

I have very little white in the garden, not because I don’t like it, but because I don’t like mixing it with other colours (hence my white themed planting in the Grass Bed last summer of just white Cosmos, Malope and Erigeron). 

What prompted today’s vase was the waft of Sarcococca scent I got when taking my ‘End of Month view’ photos earlier today.  The Sarcococca was planted as a tiny specimen and this is the first year it’s been large enough to smell ‘in passing’ (ie rather than grovelling on hands and knees for a sniff!)  Consequently, I thought it would be lovely to cut a couple of stems for the house.

Thinking I’d go with a white theme, I then added some stems of Leucojum (Giant Snowflake),IMG_3880

and some little stems of the evergreen Coleonema ‘Sunset Gold’.   This is now a large plant at the top of the ‘lavender’ steps, bought years ago as a good foliage plant.  The fact that it also produces such exquisite little star shaped blooms at an otherwise bloom-free time of year is a massive bonus.  Like the Sarcococca, I’ve never it picked for a vase before, so I’m not sure how well it will last.

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Lastly I added a couple of stems of Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’.  This is currently providing a veritable curtain across the front of the swing, and although most blooms are either over, or distinctly tatty, a few are still perfect.IMG_3885

The photos were taken with flash (something I usually try to avoid), as the light was so poor by the time I’d come inside.  However, for once, I like the effect as the flash helps to highlight the white against the dark granite surface.IMG_3887

Whilst the vase was put together on Sunday, this morning I’ve really enjoyed having the scent wafting around the kitchen.  In fact, bearing in mind how small the stems are, they pack a wonderful perfumed punch and I can’t believe I didn’t think to cut a little sprig last year.  I’m not sure how long the scent will last, but as I’m leaving for London again early tomorrow, I’m sure it will see me out!

With thanks to Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden who’s sharing a lovely spring display this week and, as usual, hosting all our Monday vases.

In search of the 287, two years later

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I drafted this post two years ago, but for some reason never got round to posting it so, lacking inspiration currently (and wasn’t the weekend weather FOUL!), I thought I’d share today.  I’m not absolutely sure when I visited but I’m pretending it was still January.

As a ‘friend’ of Ventnor Botanic Gardens, I receive regular email updates and recently heard that this year’s new year flower count had totalled 287!  I’ve been meaning to visit since I’d heard and finally, on Saturday, during a long awaited dry afternoon, off I went.

I think it’s fair to say that a number of those 287 had exhausted themselves in the intervening month, but there were still many blooms to admire, not least the Magnolias, including Magnolia campbelli alba (above and below) and M.campbelli ‘Charles Raffill’ (pink).

Whilst Ventnor’s incredibly mild microclimate means they have avoided any frost damage, they have clearly been battered by both wind and rain, leaving a number rather strangely ‘naked’ like the one above.IMG_9950

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The two below, still in bud, are in much better condition.  Perhaps the weather will allow these ones to flower in peace?

Magnolia x soulangiana ‘Triumphans’IMG_9954

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Against a west facing wall another white flower, this New Zealander, 10ft tall Glory Pea or Lobster Claw, Clianthus puniceus albus.  It’s supposed to flower from April to June, but clearly hasn’t read the books…

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A shrub I don’t remember seeing before is Buddleja offinalis.  I’m not a big Buddleja fan but this one is a lovely soft lilac and is scented and winter flowering.  Apparently it’s usually reserved for the conservatory in this country, but was thriving at VBG.IMG_9927

More shrubby interest was provided by this Cestrum fasciculatum ‘Newellii’, another plant ignoring the calendar to flower now.

I do love those arching stems, I wonder if they would last in a vase?IMG_9924

And anyone know what this one is?  It was covered in these pretty white flowers and growing in the ‘Australian’ area (hence the Eucalyptus in the background).IMG_9946

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And to finish, Ventnor’s pride and joy, a little mirror orchid, Ophrys speculum.  I was lucky enough to see these growing in the wild in southern Spain last year (see post here).  They really are very special.
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In a vase on Monday – Anya and friends

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Taking photos for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (just posted) I realised that the lovely Hellebore, Helleborus ‘Anya Oudolf’ was flowering, and was prompted to bring a stem inside.IMG_3837

One thing led to another and I picked a few stems of my favourite wallflower, Erysimum ‘Red Jep’ to highlight her gorgeous dark red veining, as well as a couple of plain green flowers of the less special Helleborus argutifolius.  IMG_3840

Looking around for some foliage, I realised the Helichrysum petiolare leaves were a good match for the Hellebore flowers and added a few stems to the mix.

As so often when prompted by Cathy’s inspiring In a vase on Monday meme, there’s more to discover, even in January, than you expect!

So, Cathy,  thanks as ever for hosting, but thanks too for prompting me to leave the house!  It’s currently full of flu – husband still too weak to accompany me on dog walk in the pouring rain, son retreated to bed and daughter’s return to uni put back by a week – so I’ve been caught up with nursing duties ever since I got back from London on Thursday.

Thankfully I’m not yet affected, but I can’t help but worry it’s only a matter of time and off to London early tomorrow….

 

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – January 2018

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Not surprisingly there aren’t many blooms in January, but I’ve had a poke about and come up with the Erysimum ‘Red Jep’ above, E. ‘Bowles Mauve’IMG_3823

and E. ‘Ivory Giant’ (neither ivory nor giant!).

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There are still a handful of roses braving it out – this one, ‘Freeman 1987’ was named by our children for our silver wedding anniversary,IMG_3824

this one, inherited, in the Lavender BedIMG_3826

and this, good old ‘Flower Carpet Pink’.IMG_3818

A few hellebores are already in bloom – Helleborus argutifolius and  H. ‘Anya Oudolf’

as well as various Horientalis on their way.IMG_3813

Similarly seasonal are two Hamamelis – ‘Arnold’s Promise’ in full bloom IMG_3802

and the first tangerine curls of ‘AphroditeIMG_3801

Rather more unexpected, still blooming outside are AeoniumIMG_3800

Leptospermum

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and Gazanias.IMG_3799

And in the greenhouse, not a great deal to see other than a lot of rather tatty Pelargoniums, and these – tiny little buds on the lemon tree.

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With thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens who hosts everyone’s GBBD.