Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

In a vase on Monday – out of water!

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So a complete cheat of an IaVoM – not only not my arrangement, but not even a vase!

The weekend saw the visit of my friend, together with her sister who I hadn’t met over from the States.  You know when guests say ‘Anything I can do?’ and you say ‘Could you set the table please?’ and they plonk round cutlery and glasses and all is good?

Well the result of this request on Saturday evening was this lovely table setting.  Not only complicated napkins arrangements, but the inspired addition of matching pink Pelargonium flowers in the centre of them.  I’ve never seen the like and was chuffed to bits – especially as, although I’d made little Sweet Pea arrangements for the guest bedrooms, I hadn’t found time to arrange flowers for the table.

Thanks K and C!IMG_2252a

And thanks too to Cathy at Rambling in  the Garden who hosts IaVoM.

In a Vase on Monday – Dark

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I love ‘In a Vase on Monday’ because it’s full of beauty, warmth and a sense of community, and, reading Cathy and Christina‘s posts this morning about their meeting (which sadly I missed as I was away) only reinforced how wonderful warm hearts and like minds are.  Sadly, this was something so brutally missing a week ago in Manchester.

Consequently I’m sharing flowers which, whilst deliberately dark, I hope convey both life and beauty, things we all need to pause to appreciate in these tricky, tricky times.

Wishing you all a peaceful, beautiful Monday.IMG_2609

Thanks Cathy.

Glorious Gravetye Manor

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This weekend saw the OH and me celebrating (a month early) our 30th Wedding Anniversary having decided just a few days ago to go to Gravetye Manor.

Gravetye was the home of William Robinson, who bought it in 1884 and lived there until his death in 1935.  At Gravetye he established the idea of the English natural garden, eschewing the ‘blobby’ Victorian bedding planting and,  instead pioneering sweeping, painterly drifts of herbaceous perennials close to the house, but also establishing wonderful ‘wild’ areas of naturalised bulbs and wild flowers.

As the website says “The variety and charm of the arrangements of trees and shrubs and the layout of the different types of garden at Gravetye is still his creation and memorial. Even when very old and partly crippled he would go out in his wheelchair and scatter bulbs and seeds from a bag on his lap; the garden room he built at the end of the formal garden provided him with a shelter from which he could watch his beloved flowers and trees from a fresh viewpoint.”

I’d read about Robinson and Gravetye in The Garden magazine a couple of years ago and it’s been on my list ever since.  Following the hotel changing hands in 2010 significant redevelopment work has taken place in the garden under the careful eye of Tom Coward (who had previously spent three years with Fergus Garrett at Great Dixter).

The gardens surround a wonderful hotel and aren’t available to just wander into, consequently our stay was planned as a special treat – to stay a night and enjoy the gardens as part of the visit.

Exiting through the bar you are greeted with the view above.  The view is north westerly across the flower garden.

The timing of our visit was pretty much perfect with not only the tulips at their peak, but the Azalea Bank too.  And you have to admire the backdrop of remarkable mature trees.IMG_2476IMG_2483

Further absolutely stunning displays surrounded the Flower GardenIMG_2462IMG_2520

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To the south of the Flower Garden is a huge Wildflower Meadow but there wasn’t a great deal to see at this time of year, but there were some lovely poppies!

Walking around to the orchard and then on towards the glasshouses, we passed this glorious sight

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and we weren’t the only ones enjoying it!  Can someone identify it please?IMG_2489

On to the glasshouses and there was a mixture of large scale production, IMG_2492

as well as rather more glamorous endeavours.  Look at these fabulous peaches!IMG_2493IMG_2494

From the glasshouses we entered the astonishing elliptical 1.5 acre Kitchen Garden. Not only is this the first kitchen garden I’ve ever been in that wasn’t square or rectangular, but it’s also on a proper slope – the whole thing slopes really significantly towards the south east.IMG_2496IMG_2502

At the back of the Kitchen Garden we came across this beautiful ‘Allium Gate’. Apparently it was only made three years ago by a local female blacksmith.  I haven’t been able to find out the name of the maker, but isn’t it wonderful?

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All in all it was an amazing garden, so thank you Gravetye Manor, Tom Coward and William Robinson.  Genius!IMG_2501