Tag Archives: Cosmos Click Cranberries

In a vase on Monday – split personality?

IMG_7993

I’m late in the date joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for ‘In a vase on Monday’ as although I’d picked my blooms yesterday (in the rain) I needed to do some work before I found time to arrange them.

IMG_7986

All of these blooms were picked from my little cutting garden on a plot I’ve ‘borrowed’ within a walled garden down the road.  I meant to take my camera to show you how it’s progressed since I first blogged about it here, but completely forgot.  Hopefully the output will give you a clue!

Looking at my bucket of goodies I decided to go for two themes – one mad and bright for the kitchen table and the second rather more serious to take up to work in London tomorrow.

For the first, I chose my beautiful Orla Kiely vase given to me last Christmas by my awesome big sister (with exquisite taste).  The vase is deceptively roomy and certainly gobbled up all the flowers – lucky I had so many!

IMG_7987

A couple of flowers were new to me this year, firstly the Antirrhinum majus Orange Wonder.  This was grown for the new Bronze Bed, but in the end I decided I had enough there and planted it in the Cutting Garden.  Now, I’m loving it so much I’m wondering whether I could move a couple back into my garden!

IMG_7991

Also the Stocks ‘Ruby Punch’, which were grown from seeds from Plants of Distinction.  These were grown for the Mid Century bed, but germinated really well so I planted some leftovers in the Cutting Garden.  They definitely need staking which I haven’t done, and so they’ve ended up decidedly kinky, but they still smell divine.IMG_7992

As well as these two newbies, there is plenty of the stalwart Salvia horminum Oxford Blue,IMG_7990

numerous sweet peas as well as Cosmos Click Cranberries and Dazzler.

For my little work vase I chose a white and yellow theme.

IMG_7994

This included the first of my Helianthus Vanilla Ice

IMG_7995

as well as Cosmos Double Click Snow Puff.  I think both this very double oneIMG_7996

and this one, are both Snow Puff.IMG_7997

And lastly some white sweet peas, the single Cosmos Purity and Dianthus Green Trick.IMG_7998

As always I’ve had great fun with my vases.  Why don’t you go over to Cathy’s and see what everyone else is up to?

The Cutting Garden(s) – May 2015

IMG_7586

So finally I can join Julie, at Peonies and Posies‘ party to talk about the cutting garden.

As last year, my cutting beds are spread about a bit which isn’t ideal, but I’m still very fortunate to have space for cutting blooms.  Again I’ve been allowed to use some space in my neighbours’ walled garden, however this time I have had two different areas allocated.  The first, shown above, is an area that used to be inhabited by chickens, but sadly they were dispatched by a fox earlier in the year and haven’t been replaced.  I’m glad to say there is another area with (live!) chickens just above, so I’m not without company.IMG_7587

The bright green in the photo above is some (I assume) self sown lettuces that I didn’t feel I had the rights to dig up and discard!

As well as (let’s call it) the Chicken Bed there is also a smaller area next to one of the walls.IMG_7589

Whilst the Chicken Bed slopes to the south and is sunny, if rather stony and sandy, the Wall Bed is to the east of the wall and loses the sun relatively early on.  However the soil here seems richer; I think there’s been manure added (you’d think the chicken area would be rich with chicken poo, but it doesn’t seem so).

If you look closely, you can see I have now planted both areas out and I’m interested to see how they fare comparatively.  I haven’t planted any sunflowers in the wall bed as I didn’t think they’d be happy, but I have planted some seedlings in common across the two.

So, seedlings planted so far include Antirrhinum majus Orange Wonder, Centaurea cyanus Black Boy, Cosmos Click Cranberries, Cosmos Dazzler, Cosmos Double Click Snow Puff, Helianthus deb ssp cuc Italian White, Helianthus deb Vanilla Ice, Helianthus Ruby Eclipse (thanks Cathy!), Salvia horminum ‘Oxford Blue’, Stocks Ruby Punch, Ten Weeks Mixed Stocks.  In addition I’ve planted a couple of Dahlia Roxy plants I had spare.

I’ve also got multiple different Zinnia seedlings ready to go in the Chicken Bed in a week or so, as well as plenty of sweet peas that I don’t have space for at home (largely because of my new wider spacing strategy).

As well as the two beds at J&A’s, I’ve also got the two raised beds I used for the first time last year.  The photo below shows them in August last year.

August

Both the Antirrhinums (front left) A. Liberty Crimson and the Euphorbia oblongata behind have overwintered and are looking good.   I’ve planted out some shorter seedlings here,  including Molucella laevis and Calendula.

Whilst I still seem to be up to my neck in seedlings, I’m already regretting some omissions of plants grown last including Amaranthus viridis and Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy.  I also don’t think I’ve got nearly enough foliage and fillers (I seem to recall Sarah Raven suggests you should have a similar quantity of flowers and foliage, well I’ve failed there!)

However, there are two bigger issues, firstly will I have any blooms to speak of for my daughter’s 18th on the 19th June?  And, conversely, later in the year once the cutting garden is in full production, what on earth am I going to do with all the blooms I will have?

Something I never confessed at the time, was that last year, when I wasn’t working, I sold flowers twice a week at the local post office (mostly small bouquets in tin cans, see below).  The trouble is, whilst I could still attempt to sell blooms, what I’m concerned about is that if I’m not there to pick them mid week will they all go to seed and stop flowering?

IMG_3477

With many thanks to Julie at Peonies and Posies, (who has a completely glorious cutting garden) for hosting this meme.  Do go and take a peek.

 

 

Annual round up

IMG_3379 (3)

After a weekend of leaf collecting, veg patch dismantling and (tardy) bulb planting, I thought I’d hark back to sunnier, summery times and give a review of some of the annuals I’ve grown from seed this year.

All the seeds mentioned here were from Sarah Raven, except The Aster chinensis Hulk, which I think was Thompson and Morgan.

Above and below is the gorgeous marigold, Calendula offiinalis ‘Sunset Buff’.  IMG_3378

As well as the ‘Sunset Buff’, I grew Calendula ‘Neon.’  I’ve never grown calendula before, but I have to say I love these two.

I’ve been lucky enough to grow them either in my raised cutting beds, or my borrowed neighbours’ garden, as I would struggle to fit these colours into my rather pink scheme.

With regard to their use for cutting (the main reason I was growing them), they have been good, but I’ve struggled to get very long stems and also struggled with mildew later in the season. They were only planted in March, so I’ve planted some seed this autumn, in the hope of having more established plants earlier on next year.

Another orange plant grown in my ‘borrowed’ garden has been provided by my Tithonia, Tithonia rotundiflora ‘Torch’.  This has been incredibly prolific this year with the blooms making such a cheerful, bold statement.  I do love this plant but wonder where I’ll be able to grow it next year as it does reach quite a height and spread and, as mentioned before, orange isn’t always the easiest colour to include in a planting scheme.  I do have plans for a new orangey/bronzey themed bed, but the Tithonia would be too tall.  

A genus I’ve grown lots of before is Cosmos, but this year as well as the lovely Comos ‘Purity’, so prolific and so, well ‘pure’ (clue’s in the name…)

I also grew Cosmos ‘Psyche White’. These are very similar to ‘Purity’, but have semi double flowers, which are like a fun mutation of ‘Purity’.

As well as the whites, I grew three pinks, Cosmos ‘Dazzler’, which is quite well known but was new to me and was good, but to my mind not as good asIMG_3776 - Copy - Copy

Cosmos ‘Click Cranberries’.  These very double flower heads were fabulous, and in such a stunning pink (it look wonderful contrasted with the Tithonia).  However, one problem was that sometimes the flower heads were so heavy they didn’t stand up in the vase as well as the singles.

The last Cosmos was C. Rubenza.  I do like the rather unusual colour which fades as the plant ages to a very dusky pink, but this one is shorter than the rest and therefore impossible to get really long flowers for cutting, if that’s what you’re after.

IMG_3338 - Copy

I grew a couple of sunflowers – Helianthus ‘Valentine’ which was an attractive soft yellow and had realtively small blooms making them good for cutting.  Sadly, all my seedlings got eaten by slugs except one, so there weren’t many blooms to cut.  (I heard Sarah Raven suggest that it was as prolific as Cosmos but can’t say I found that with mine).

The second was Helianthus Claret.  I found these rather variable – you can see that the first picture shows the deep ‘wine-red’ colour I was expecting, whereas the next two don’t.  Although they were quite fun, and pretty prolific for cutting, I found it hard to put them with other blooms and didn’t particularly like just a vase of sunflowers.  I don’t think I’d grow them again.

Another plant I don’t think I’d grow again are Cleomes.  I rather like their spidery heads but I found them quite hard to arrange as cut flowers and certainly didn’t appreciate (or expect) their vicious thorns.  Ouch!

Something I would definitely grow more of are Zinnias.  They had a wonderfully productive year this year as it was warm and sunny, just how they like it, and they grow with long straight stems and last well in the vase.  I grew Zinnia ‘Genoa Mix’IMG_5362

IMG_5123

and Zinnia ‘Envy’.

Another favourite is Salvia Viridis Blue.  Although not that tall, I love the form with the wonderfully coloured flower bracts.  This is still going strong in the garden in November, as are

the Nasturtium Black Velvet.  These had a bad patch in high summer, but are flowering wonderfully now.  The stems are very short for cutting, but make lovely posies and are, of course, good picked and sprinkled on salads as they are edible.

This Malope, Malope trifida Vulcan, I hadn’t grown for years, but it did really well for me this year.  The petals have a beautiful silk like texture, which is gorgeous, but they can get easily bruised when cutting and arranging, so you do need to take extra care.

This Rudbeckia, Rudbekia ‘Cherry Brandy’ has also been great and was used in my ‘In a vase on Monday’ post on November 10th, as it was still going strong.

A couple more flowers I haven’t grown from seed since I had my allotment in London – Antirrhinum ‘White Giant

and A. ‘Liberty Crimson’

I loved arranging with both of these as they provided fabulous vertical accents.

To finish, my ‘greens’.  The first one, an annual aster, was supposed to be Aster chinensis ‘Hulk’, but goodness knows what it is instead.  I do rather like it though!

Secondly, Ammi visnaga white.  I grew this instead of the more common Ammi majus, but I think it was a mistake.   I found the flower heads were very dense and not so easy to mix with other plants.  It did look lovely in simple arrangements, for example with the white Cosmos, however.

My Amaranthus caudatus ‘Viridis’, was an absolute revelation.  Lots and lots of fresh green cutting material, with funky long (sometimes very long!) green tassels.IMG_3775

And to finish, one of my favourite blooms of any colour – Molucella laevis, or Bells of Ireland.  I just love the form of this flower and for the first time ever got good germination rates and managed to grow some pretty tall blooms.  OK, not the two foot ones you get in the florists, but then I probably wasn’t as assiduous with my staking as I should have been, and they were never going to grow that tall along the ground!

Of course the other things I grew plenty of from seed this year were sweet peas, but I think I’ve gone on long enough.  You can read about my sweet peas here.

I would love to hear about your favourite annuals.  Do you like mine?  Know better?  Tell me!

End of month view – September 2014

IMG_5030

The trouble with going somewhere as amazing as West Dean (see my last post) is that your own garden can’t help but suffer by comparison.  But, having said that, it’s always good to see fabulous gardens as they hopefully inspire us to do better.

Like West Dean, I do have some Asters, including this inherited one which is very tall and has flopped badly, but still makes a wonderful showIMG_5050

but this one, Aster Frikartii Monch, in the left hand Swing Bed, is much better.  It’s still a little floppy, but a better colour and a much bigger flower.  I love the way it goes with the Verbena bonariensis.  (I think the colour is a better match in real life than in the photo).IMG_5046

In the right hand Swing Bed, you can see the matching Aster as well as the out of control Rosa Snow Goose.  I think a ladder and a pair of gaunlets is called for.IMG_5048

On the posts either side of the swing the rose Rosa St Swithun is having a lovely second flush.  I really need to tie these branches in too, but think I’ll leave it until they’ve finished flowering now.

IMG_5047

The Grass Bed is looking a little better now that the Nasturtiums have recovered from the drought.  I like the colour combination of the orange of both the Nasturtium and the Fox and Cubs with the purple Salvia, but this bed still desperately needs a good sort out.

IMG_5052

In the veg patch, likewise, the runner and french beans have all recovered from the drought and are cropping well.  However the Pumpkin Munchkins have finished and need to be brought in.  Some of the courgettes are still going strong, but nearly all have succumbed to mildew.IMG_5045

By the conservatory the (inherited) Nerines are coming into flower.  They always strike me as a rather incongruous plant for this time of year, but at least they add some colour.IMG_5038

In the greenhouse, as well as lots of tomatoes (yum),IMG_5060

and Cucamelons (not so yum!)IMG_5056

I’ve finally got peppers, both the long pointy red ones (well they will be one day)

IMG_5058

as well as some rather sweet little orange onesIMG_5059

Many pots are still going strong, but most won’t survive the winter and so will have to be moved into the greenhouse – never a trivial task!IMG_5040

IMG_5073

IMG_5041

And to finish, a quick catch up of my ‘borrowed’ garden.  The Tithonia and Sunflowers featured last month continue to bloom their golden socks offIMG_5071

but the real development is a bed I created underneath the hornbeams we pleached earlier in the year (see part 1 and Part 2).  The hornbeams need a bit of a hair cut now, but have taken really well and I’m looking forward to seeing the blossom in the spring.

Again, like the Tithonia and Sunflowers, all the flowers here are annuals, but this time on a pink theme including Cleomes and Cosmos as well as the greens of Molucella and Amaranthus.  It really is amazing what you can achieve in one season with a few hands full of annual seeds!IMG_5066

IMG_5067

With many thanks, as ever, to Helen at the Patient Gardener,  for hosting everyone’s End of Month views.

Garden bloggers’ bloom day – September 2014

IMG_4785

Like last month I’ve used GBBD as an excuse to use my macro lens to get up close with my blooms, starting with Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ above.  The blooms are so amazingly fresh for so late in the year – verging on the virginal!

With similar shaped flowers I still have multiple varieties of Cosmos flowering:

PurityIMG_4745

Click CranberriesIMG_4759

and RubenzaIMG_4729

A rather more complicated daisy flower is provided by my Zinnia ‘Giant dahlia mixed’,  It’s been a great year for Zinnias – they’ve loved the sun and heat and have been one of the few flowers to have coped with the lack of water.  And they’re just so jolly!IMG_4709

To round up some of the other annuals I’ve grown from seed this year – a couple of Cleomes IMG_4761

IMG_4763

Molucella laevisIMG_4762

Helianthus ‘Claret’IMG_4755

Salvia viridis ‘Blue’ (here with the increasingly invasive ‘Fox and Cubs’, Pilosella aurantiaca)IMG_4739

And a new one this year, Nicotiana ‘Black Knight’.

For some reason I don’t do that well with tobacco plants.  Whilst I’ve been successful with Sylvestris in the past, I always have difficulty with ‘Lime Green’ (which I love for cutting, so I keep trying) and didn’t have success with Mutablis when I tried it last year.  Conversely this one, which I’m really not sure about, seems to be doing ok.  Such is gardening….IMG_4772

Next a couple of shrubs flowering now – Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Heavenly Blue’, which looks lovely at this time of year with the similar coloured Asters.IMG_4735

and Anisodontea capensis.IMG_4749

And to finish, some rather more exotic blooms.  Firstly my Glory Lily, Gloriosa superba ‘Rothschildiana’.  This lives all year in the (unheated) greenhouse.IMG_4774

Next my Plumbago, which for the first time this summer I’ve brought outside and seems to be thriving, but I’ll obviously have to move it back to the greenhouse fairly soon.

IMG_4715

And lastly, an inherited shrub that’s planted outside, and has survived snow and frosts and yet looks very exotic.  Firstly the buds and then the flowers.  Do you think it’s some sort of Grevillea?  The leaves seem a little big for a Grevillea (they’re about 5cm long and 1.5cm wide).  But whatever it is I love it!IMG_4779

IMG_4778

With thanks as ever to Carol at May Dream Gardens for hosting GBBD.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – June 2014

IMG_3362

Well, it all happens in June.  In addition to an my wedding anniversary last week, this week I had a big birthday, and to cheer myself up I requested a macro lens as my present.  And what a toy!  My first foray into the world of macro photography was Wordless Wednesday’s Allium Hair, and today I’ve had great fun getting up close and personal with my June blooms.

In the interests of keeping this to a manageable length, I’ve decided this month’s edit should only include either plants I’ve grown from seed, or blooms bearing a ‘bug’.  So I’ve started with my beautiful, soft pink Astrantia Roma, together with visiting bee.

Next my sweet peas.  I’m growing more and more each year, and this year they’re all along the back of the Swing Beds, in pots by the front door and in the veg plot.  I’m really only interested in flowers with scent, and this year chose MatucanaIMG_3391

Lord NelsonIMG_3377

Prince Edward of YorkIMG_3320 - Copy

Mrs CollierIMG_3340 - Copy

As well as four more from mixes from English Sweet Peas – ‘Fresh Air Mix‘ and ‘Parfumiere Mix‘.  Unfortunately I don’t know the names of the individual varietiesIMG_3342 - Copy

IMG_3339 - Copy

IMG_3348

IMG_3364

As well as sweet peas, I’m growing a lot of other annuals for cutting, including Cosmos Rubenza (a little short for cutting but I love the slightly smoky pink)IMG_3338 - Copy

PurityIMG_3332 - Copy

DazzlerIMG_3365

and Click Cranberries.IMG_3366

A couple of ‘greens’, Molucella laevis and Amaranthus caudatus ‘Viridis’

A couple of oranges, Helianthus ClaretIMG_3386

and Calendula Bronze BeautyIMG_3379 (3)

and a couple sown last year – Digitalis Camelot CreamIMG_3369

and Knautia macedonica

IMG_3357 (2)

And to finish, another bug.  I think this is the caterpillar of the Rusty Tussock Moth, Orgyia antiqua, chewing a hole in my rose bud.  Sigh.IMG_3309 (3)

With thanks again to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting the GBBD meme.