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In a Vase on Monday – feet up!

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Aaaaaaaaaaaah – finally, a weekend without a care!

Last weekend was the St Helens Secret Gardens event where I attempt to organise a village group of garden openers (13 this year) to raise money for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.  As you can imagine, there are any number of incidents where the greater medical expertise/equipment found on the mainland – usually at Southampton General – is key to a positive outcome, and the air ambulance provides the crucial link.  Consequently, I’m absolutely delighted that the sun shone and we raised over £3,100, beating our previous total.

However, not surprisingly, the previous (many) weekends have been spent coralling openers, emailing potential sources of publicity, baking cakes or trying to rescue my own garden from a year of  neglect, hence there’s been precious little time for feet up, let alone blogging.  So, this weekend, without a care in the world, I have done a lot of nothing.  One thing I have done, however, is arrange a few flowers.

It was my birthday last Tuesday and whilst the OH went to Canada on business (and gave me nothing) and the son bought me a new outdoor broom (because apparently I’d moaned about the other one being ‘too large and unwieldy’), the lovely daughter bought me four charming little vases.   Consequently, they’re making their debut today.

These Icelandic poppy blooms grow in a pot (with a chicken) and since the photo below was taken, they’ve gone sufficiently bonkers that I felt I had enough to cut.IMG_6272

On the basis that you should always arrange in odd numbers, I added the bud as a fifth bloom, so I’m now intrigued to see whether it opens.IMG_6325

Why don’t you pop over to Cathy’s blog to see what others have arranged in their Monday vases?

Oh look – post script.  And then there were five.IMG_6327

 

In a vase on Monday – last hurrah!

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A very simple vase consisting of the last Prince Edward of York sweet pea, still flowering outside in December!

Some of you may remember my mother’s name was Mary and this lovely little vase was given to me by my wonderful sister.

It somehow felt appropriate to bring it out today – not just because my little sweet pea would be lost in anything else, but also because mum’s surviving sibling, Joan, died a week ago today, marking the end, for me, of my parents’ generation.

Joan was a sparky, intelligent woman who graduated from Cambridge in one of the very earliest cohorts.  But she wore her intelligence very lightly, never using it to belittle or ‘outdo’ people and (unlike mum and me!) she was very calm, never showing a temper.

So, this one’s for Joan, a remarkable woman, for 91 years.

Thanks Cathy.

End of month view – November 2018

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Another late, ‘warts and all’ EoMV of a garden largely untouched (and largely unchanged) from a month ago.

I definitely feel I’m losing the plot – and probably not just gardening wise.  Luckily, in the shot above, the freshly mown lawn suggests a better cared for garden than is currently the case!

Luckily also, the mild weather here means I haven’t yet had any real frosts and Pelargoniums such as this ‘Choun Cho’ continue to flower.IMG_4593

The vine, which was rather brutally detached from the decking when it was replaced earlier in the year, has been reattached and is surprisingly putting on some attractive fresh growth.

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Whilst the Veg Bed has still not been cleared (and there are plenty of nutty ‘Pink Fir Apple’ potatoes still to dig) I did have a massive cut back of all the bay shoots around the Diving Lady so she can be see out again.IMG_4595

Either side of the swing the two Swing Beds are now almost completely devoid of colour, with just a handful of Salvia blooms remaining,IMG_4596

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but in the middle, draped across the swing arch, the Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ is looking like a pretty but very overgrown fringe.IMG_4598

The Grass Bed has been mostly cleared of dying Zinnias but this has again exposed all the missing Stipa Tenuissima plants which used to line the back of this bed and were sadly lost last winter.

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The Mid Century bed still has the odd rose flowering and another Salvia, but little else except a random Nicotiana (middle front) which has popped up unexpectedly.IMG_4601

Below you can see that the Silk Tree – Albizia julibrissin ‘Ombrella’ is looking a little peaky.  I’m hoping she perks up and next year provides rather more than the solitary bloom she provided this summerIMG_4592

Round to the western end of the garden takes us past the last of the flower carpet roses and the inherited Nerines.

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At this side of the garden I’ve finally cleared the decaying Dahlias but the bed is still clogged with leaves from the ‘over-the-road-oak’.

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In the shrub planted Oak Bed I stumbled across these Hamamelis buds.  I think it’s ‘Arnold’s Promise’, but don’t think I’ve ever seen him this early before.IMG_4616

Looking much better than either of the beds is the oft-featured tray of succulents.  I wonder when I’m going to need to get them under cover?IMG_4614

Finally, into a very untidy greenhouse.  A bit of a hack through the tomatoes ended up with these as collateral damage.IMG_4602

As last year, in the late part of the growing season we’ve had a bad infestation of whitefly in the greenhouse so (unbeknown to me) having seen them advertised online, the OH ordered some biological pest control and these cards arrived and were hung up while I was away in the week.  I’ve just taken a moment to look the product up and I think it’s possible the parasitic wasps which are supposed to target the whitefly won’t hatch unless it’s an average of 17 degrees and sadly there’s not much chance of that now!IMG_4605

On a more positive note I did finally get around to taking some Salvia and Pelargonium cuttings,

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so hopefully I’ll have more plants like this, S. ‘Love and Wishes’ (3rd place in the RHS ‘Plant of the Year’ in 2015) to play with next year!IMG_4607

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

Castle House Garden Opening

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Not only do my lovely neighbours open their garden for the St Helens Secret Gardens event which takes place every other year, but on their year off, rather than put their feet up, they open in aid of the Red Cross – and not once, but twice!  I missed their opening in May and so was delighted to pop along this afternoon.

Castle House sits within a wonderful plot.  Above the house is a superb walled garden (where I used to borrow a small plot to grow cut flowers) and below, wonderful views over Bembridge Harbour.

The drive is walled on both sides and both walls are generously covered in various climbers including Wisteria on the left

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and Clematis Tangutica on the right.

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From the drive, into the walled garden to admire the old greenhouse – with wonderful tomatoes and a vineIMG_4542

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as well as the outdoor veg.IMG_4547

Since I gave up growing my cut flowers here (the last year was 2015) J and A have done a lot of work in the walled garden, building raised beds and planting more flowers and fewer veg.

I just love this horned poppy – it’s absolutely one of my favourite plants and is clearly thriving here.  IMG_4546

And look at these fabulous Zinnias – these are rather more zingy than mine!IMG_4548

Out of the walled garden for a stroll past the house and down towards the southern boundary to capture the beautiful view.

Pictures I normally share of the Duver are taken from a rather more northerly and easterly position compared to these.

This first is looking east towards the SolentIMG_4550

the second, pretty much due south over Bembridge HarbourIMG_4554

and the third, looking slightly more westwards, inland towards Culver Down – you can see the Yarborough Monument on the sky line above the block of conifers towards the right of the photo.IMG_4551

And then it was back up the slope for tea and cake, and plant perusal time….IMG_4558

With thanks to J and A for generously opening their garden.

In a vase on Monday – let’s hear it for the girls!

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Friday saw my sister in law arriving for lunch and bringing my mother in law who was staying for the weekend.

Whilst normal people would have spent the previous evening (having arrived home at 8pm after travelling home by train with the dog following a Waterloo handover with the son!) tidying, cleaning and fretting about lunch, I concentrated on bringing some of the amazing pink abundance going on outside, inside.

The vase is a mix of roses – ‘St Swithun’, ‘Jubilee Celebration’ (and a couple of unknown ones), together with Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ and Diascia personata.

I think our guests were much more impressed with the lobster lunch the OH knocked up while I was working, but I liked the flaaaars!

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Just before signing off, I though I’d share last week’s similarly hued vase ‘on a desk’.  Those of you who have been following for a while know that I try to take a vase of flowers to the office each week.  Bearing in mind they travel by car, ferry, train and train without water, some arrive in better condition than others, but this one was fabulous.  Beautifully scented and lasted really well.  Almost made the day job bearable!1119CC9E-A788-4C6F-9E6C-F383E3A25E54

With thanks to Cathy who corrals all of us crazy IaVoMers.  Thanks Cathy!

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.

 

In a vase on Monday – three seasons in a day – and thwarted Thursday!

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Let’s start with late spring, exemplified by sweet peas, together with the Panicum ‘Frosted Explosion.

Followed by summer, with Malope trifida ‘Alba’, Cosmos ‘Psyche White’ and Nicandra physalodes (Shoo-fly).IMG_3364

And autumn, with a mix of Dahlias, Salvias, Cosmos and late flushing roses (Pat Austin and Munstead Wood). IMG_3362

The arrangements above were all created on Saturday, which sadly was too late for Thursday’s island birthday celebrations for the OH.  

We were having dinner in a local restaurant, with drinks at home first.  I’d hoped to arrange flowers for the house, and had even wondered about taking some little arrangements to the restaurant.

Sadly, thanks to a signal failure and swans on the line (yes really), my attempts to get back from London by early afternoon on Thursday were badly thwarted and I got through the door at around 6, with guests arriving at 6.30.

Obviously a sane woman would have forgotten the flowers and gone and got changed, but not yours truly.  No, I went running around the garden gathering a great armful of blooms and was still shoving them in a huge vase as the first guests arrived…

The result, photographed a day later, looks rather sad, but I promise it did look a little better on the night (and a little less flat in the middle).  IMG_3309

With thanks to Cathy who hosts all our Monday vases.

End of month view – September 2017

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The best bit about this view is the newly mown, stripy lawn – thanks hubs!

Taking the usual End of Month tour takes us firstly past the metal troughs which have been taken over by two enormous, self seeded Shoo-fly plants (Nicandra physalodes).  I confessed last month that the Cosmos and trailing Sweet peas planted in the troughs this year were unhappy with such hot roots, so I’ve let the Shoo-flies take over.

The plan for next year is an abundance of Pelargoniums – reckon they’ll be happier?IMG_3322

Talking of unhappy, the Veg Patch is a little sorry now too.  Not only have the cutting flowers largely given upIMG_3325

but the Diving Lady’s pool has dried up, and the beans have fallen over.IMG_3327

And those of a sensitive disposition look away now – I seem to be feeding the Island’s Cabbage White caterpillar population with my ‘Flower Sprouts.’

The Flower Sprouts are a cross between kale and Brussel sprouts, which supposedly grow ‘baby’ kales (kalettes), at the leaf axils (where you’d ordinarily find the Brussels).  I’ve been trying to convince myself that I don’t need the leaves as they’re not the crop, but I guess without the leaves there is no ‘engine’ to grow the ‘kalettes’.  Hmmm.IMG_3324

On a cheerier note the Swing Beds are still colourful, with even a Lupin in bloom.IMG_3330

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On the Swing Pergola itself there is a veil of flowering Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles.’IMG_3336

Whilst up close they’re very pretty, from a distance I have to admit they’re rather a mess!IMG_3334

Interestingly, the Cosmos in the Grass Bed which got damaged in earlier windy weather, has now all but disappeared, with the white Malopes and self seeded Nasturtiums taking over.  IMG_3338

In the Mid Century Bed the Ricinus communis ‘Carmencita’ has been hauled back upright having flopped right over the path, and is still providing fabulous foliage to accompanyIMG_3319

the remaining blooms, particularly the Dahlia ‘La Recoleta’ and the roses.

I’m also delighted that the Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ (planted in April) has survived despite my rather haphazard attentions over the summer and is now looking settled.

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The Silk Tree (Albizia julibrissin f rosea), planted at the same time as the Cercis, is also fine, but looking a little overwhelmed by the Asters in the photo below!

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In the Greenhouse beds, my clearing of the Nasturtiums last month (in an effort to expose some soil for the poppies to self seed) didn’t exactly go to plan.  Instead, the Nasturtiums are back in force and sadly, there’s no sign of any poppy seedlings.IMG_3342

In the Greenhouse Pots, a Sarah Raven combo has been flowering for months – Arctotis ‘Flame’ and Thunbergia ‘African Sunset.’

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Whilst in the greenhouse, most things are coming to an end,IMG_3343

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the cuttings are just beginning.IMG_3344

One thing I’m hoping to grow more of is this Pelargonium ‘Choun Cho.’IMG_3345

Along by the house, the Flower Carpet roses are back with a vengeance and smothered in buds.

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Buds too on the Nerines.IMG_3351

Round the corner the inherited roses by the gate are reflecting the (definitely inherited!) pampas.

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In the tin bath at the top of the steps, the Osteospermum ‘Serenity Rose Magic’ (also from Sarah Raven) have survived best of everything in here.  I took plenty of cuttings at the weekend so hopefully I’ll have more next year.IMG_3353

The Bronze Bed is still doing well – the ‘Happy Single Dates’ are only looking a little thin because I’d picked loads for a big vase.

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And to finish, better late than never.  My neighbour gave me seedlings of Morning Glory ahead of June’s garden opening, but sadly I didn’t get them planted out until quite some time later.  But look, they’re flowering now – thanks Rosy!

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With thanks too to Steve, at Glebe House Garden, who has taken over hosting End of Month views.