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!

High on the High Line

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Before we even start talking about the High Line, I just have to record my total admiration for Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who landed an Airbus 320 on the Hudson River (above), in which all 155 passengers and crew survived with only minor injuries.  It was an astonishing feat and, strolling along the High Line looking out over the Hudson and watching the helicopters buzzing about, reminded me of the film and brought home just what a feat it was.  It was properly choppy out there!  It’s not that wide!  And lastly, it’s a RIVER!  Hello!  What a guy.  If you haven’t seen the film (‘Sully’) just do.

I was in New York with my daughter to celebrate the end of her her degree.  I’d taken both ‘kids’ to New York for their first time a few years ago and she absolutely loves it.  She’s now been back twice without me and had, in fact, already walked the High Line.  However, bearing in mind I was (largely!) paying, she indulged me with another visit.  I have to say it’s been on my bucket list since I was first aware of it and it didn’t disappoint.  Having said that, the planting – designed by Piet Oudolf – is deliberately low key, with the aim to maintain a sense of the ‘feel’ of the line when it was abandoned and overgrown, and therefore it’s not ‘flowery’ in a conventional sense.IMG_3907

However, despite this, I loved it.  I loved the vision of ‘re-purposing’ an urban space (a disused railway) in such a bold way, and I loved the way it meandered above the city streets and brought greenery and beauty to what must previously have been an eyesore.  I couldn’t get over how many thousands of people now had this amazing green ribbon to admire.IMG_3886

The first section opened in 2009 and many trees are now becoming really mature adding shade, scale with some fabulous specimens of Cercis and Cornus amongst others.IMG_3903

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In places, the original railway lines have been left, and the planting is around and amongst them.IMG_3892

There was planting for sun,IMG_3914

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planting for shade,IMG_3901

planting that matched buildingsIMG_3913

and views of iconic landmarks.IMG_3911

Thanks High Line.  Now I know what I want to do when I grow up!

In a vase on Monday – rosy posy

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I posted a vase of roses here for my 27th Wedding Anniversary, and this one’s for my 31st on Wednesday.

I couldn’t run to the silver bowl used on the previous occasion as it needs a clean and I was running out of time and light!  Instead I’ve used the glass trough, used numerous times before.  However, this time, if you look carefully, you’ll see I’ve put in some chicken wire as otherwise the top heavy blooms would fall straight out!

There are four different varieties roses.  This first one is an inherited one by the steps which sadly I don’t have the name for – it smells divine – IMG_4127

next, Pat Austin, who also featured in the vase a fortnight ago,IMG_4130

next KorizontIMG_4129

and lastly, the wonderful Jubilee Celebration.IMG_4126

With thanks to Cathy who hosts all out Monday vases.  Why don’t you pop over and see what others have in their vases this week?

Duver dreaming

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Talk about ships that pass in the night – I returned from New York, only for the OH to turn around and head to Toronto!

Today finally saw us breakfasting and dog walking together for the first time in a fortnight – and to celebrate here he is, possibly showing his best side 😉

As many of you know, this blog is named after the National Trust area of land opposite our house called St Helens Duver (pronounced ‘duvver’).  It’s the location for our daily walk with Nimbus, our labradoodle.IMG_4103

Slightly earlier in the year the duver is smothered in sea thrift Armeria maritima.  (First blogged about here four years ago).  It’s a little past its best now, but you get the idea.IMG_4100

Today, however, it felt like all the other wild flowers had joined the thrift, and appeared together – foxglovesIMG_4107

evening primrose, Oenothera biennis,IMG_4108

dog rosesIMG_4115

and sea holly Eryngium maritimum.IMG_4111

Allwere looking magnificent in today’s glorious sunshine.  What a perfect day!

An Cala – a Scottish gem

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Not long after my walking holiday to Italy, where I visited the stunning Villa Cimbrone, I headed to Scotland, staying with friends for a more relaxing holiday, walking and garden visiting.

My favourite garden was the privately owned ‘An Cala’.  The garden was established in 1930 by Colonel Arthur Murray who had inherited a cottage outside the village of Ellenabeich on the Isle of Seil in Argyll.  He decided (with his new wife, the actress Faith Celli) to commission Thomas Mawson to draw up plans for their 5 acre plot.

It took a year to convert the terrain into a garden, including dynamiting bedrock, importing thousands of tons of topsoil, and creating terraces, walls, steps, paths and lawns.

Once the structure was in place, the Murrays planted up the beds and woodland using the acid loving plants including azaleas, rhododendrons, Japanese ornamental cherry trees and their great love, roses.

Whilst I visited a number of gardens, all reflecting the acid soil, it was this one that I loved.   The plant palette had been broadened to include more herbaceous planting, as well as bulbs.  As I’ve noted before, I’m not a big fan of ‘stiff’ plants, and to me azaleas and rhodos fall into that category and therefore I did struggle to really love the other gardens.  An Cala was different, not least because of the incredible engineering feat to make it in the first place, but more especially because of the more varied planting – and the wonderful use of water, coupled with stunning views.IMG_3759

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Pictures from the fir cone house!  The small building was built rather like a shell house, but instead of shells, there was an astonishing arrangement of different fir cones.

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Fabulous peony.

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The motto on this bench particularly struck me as our lovely hosts have planted some wonderful trees in their garden since they moved to Scotland five or so years ago.

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With thanks to the Scottish Gardens scheme (the Scottish equivalent of the NGS) and An Cala for sharing such a wonderful Scottish gem.

End of month view – May 2018

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I arrived home yesterday for the first time in ten days, and the change is absolutely extraordinary.  I’ve used the word ‘bonkers’ before about the garden in May, but this year it’s more bonkers than ever.

I popped out in my lunch hour today to take these photos, but haven’t had a chance to do even a minute of tidying (or lawn mowing), so hopefully you’ll excuse the rather dishevelled look.

Bearing in mind that due to a sequence of lovely trips away I’ve only spent three non working days at home in the whole of May, it’s amazing it’s looking as good as it is.  Having said that, scratch the surface, and you’ll see there’s an awful lot of work required and PLENTY of serious weeding.

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Let’s forget all that for the minute and take the usual tour.

Sadly there’s still no decking but I live in hope it might be there for the end of June.IMG_4075

I’ve replanted the Pelagonium ‘Surcouf’ at the front of both the pots as they were all lost this winter.  Luckily I had taken some cuttings, as I’d hate to be without the glorious fuchsia pink blooms to keep (Clematis) ‘Princess Diana’ company.IMG_4084

At the right hand end in front of the decking (well where the decking should be!) the Mulberry tree we had in a pot in Richmond and brought to the island ten years ago is finally finding its feet and looks like this year might bear proper quantities of fruit.IMG_4076

I had a mad planting out session two weeks ago so finally there’s something to see in the Veg Bed.  The flower at the front is Peony ‘Coral Charm’, bought going cheap at the end of last year.  I’ve planted it here for cutting, but clearly I’m some way off a bunch!IMG_4077

The rather odd combination of Agapanthus and strawberries is full of promise.IMG_4078

In the left hand Swing Bed there’s a rather mad combination of poppies, roses, geraniums and sisyrinchiums.

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and in the left, a similar mix, but with a rather handsome lupin thrown in.IMG_4080

The Grass Bed is in desperate need of attention – not least a change of name!  As you can see, nearly all the Stipa tenuissima which previously lined the back of this bed, have died over the winter leaving just a couple of wispy memories.

The majority of the bed can now be cleared as it’s full of faded forget me nots, bulb foliage and (eek) mare’s tail.  However, I’m not sure what I’m going to plant instead, and I can’t decide what to do about replacing the Stipas.  Hmm.IMG_4081

I treated myself to these poppies at the local garden centre and I popped the chicken in amongst them.  I just adore poppies and I’m excited there are so many buds to come.IMG_4082

This bench sits behind the Mid Century Bed and is normally ignored (and never sat on!) but I like the effect with the Rosa Seagull in full flower above it and the paired cans.IMG_4083

Here’s the Mid Century Bed with plenty of roses, foxgloves and more poppies.IMG_4073
In the Drive Bed I’m chuffed that some white foxgloves I only moved from the Mid Century bed a fortnight ago, have survived and flourished.  The rose here is the same plant featured in the two photos above, but on the other side of the fence.IMG_4065

This (inherited) rose scents the steps up from the drive, providing a lovely welcome.

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At the western end of the garden, looking the ‘shady way’ (actually south, but shady due to the magnificent oak) we can see the tapestry of shrubby planting.  Unfortunately I didn’t get round to pruning any of these this winter, so they’re all looking rather shaggy, but I’m pleased with the purple/green/purple/green repetition.IMG_4067

Looking the other way, to the much sunnier Bronze Bed, you can see the roses and Geums featured in my last Monday vase.  IMG_4069

Heading back towards the greenhouse takes you past the barrow,IMG_4085

the unpelleted (and thus chewed) hostas, IMG_4086

and various seed trays hardening off and in desperate need of planting out.  (The ones on the left below are stocks which sadly look unlikely to survive).IMG_4088

Talking of not surviving, my Winter flowering sweet peas which were planted out sooooo late, have not done well at all, and a number have not survived the transition to the greenhouse beds.IMG_4092

Happily the tomatoes are a lot perkier.

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as are various tender flowers still waiting for their chance to shine outside.IMG_4090

And to finish, just look at this Leptosermum.  I was thinking over the winter it had got rather leggy, but all is forgiven now!

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With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener who hosts our EoMVs.