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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.