Tag Archives: Fox and cubs

In a vase on Monday – Nose twist

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Whilst one of the reasons I grow nasturtiums is to add a peppery twist to a salad, what I didn’t know until today was that, according to the National Gardening Association website, the name literally means ‘Nose twist’.  Any of you who have eaten one of these flowers will immediately recognise the sensation!

Today’s vase is I think the first time this year I’ve picked Nasturtium (N. Black Velvet) for a vase. Bizarrely I think my plants are looking healthier than at any previous time this year, so all of a sudden there are ample blooms to pick.  What is not ample, however, is their stem length, so I’ve resorted to my ‘vase of many bottles’ which I use very often for shorter blooms and used before for my ‘Purple Circle’ post.

In addition to the nasturtiumIMG_5153

I also picked some of my long flowering Tithonia rotundiflora ‘Torch’IMG_5146

and a few of my Fox and Cubs (Pilosella aurantiaca) which are continuing to threaten to take over the garden.IMG_5145

Not exactly refined, but very jolly on the kitchen table.IMG_5156

Please go to Rambling in the Garden to see what Cathy and others have in their vases this Monday.

Garden bloggers’ bloom day – September 2014

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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:

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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

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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.

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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

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

End of month view – June 2014

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Well, what a balmy June.  However, partly as a consequence of this balminess, I feel like the garden has got away from me this month.  There has been too much indulging in garden visiting (there have been others, watch this space…) and just not enough proper graft.  One thing I have spent a significant amount of time doing is watering – especially all my pots.

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Whilst others around the country have had some significant downpours, we’ve had nothing but the odd shower and as a consequence I’m developing arms like Popeye from carrying endless watering cans around.  Whilst we’re lucky enough to have a well (and associated complicated pump and holding tanks) the water pressure isn’t high enough to use a hose, hence the endless cans – and impressive muscles!

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So, having made my excuses, here we go.  The first picture is the grass bed.  I still love the Stipa tenuissima, but the rest of the bed is looking rather a mess.  The hope was that the dark nasturtium (Nasturtium Black Velvet) would pick up on the dark orange of the buds of the fox and cubs, but the latter seem to be going over, and rather than orange I have numerous tiny dandelion type seed heads, which don’t go with anything.

On a more positive note, behind the fox and cubs, but in front of the grasses, I’ve planted a whole row of the Verbascum chaixii album which I grew from seed last year.  These are just starting to flower so hopefully by next month I will have pulled out the spent fox and cubs and have some towering verbascums to admire.

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This is the left hand swing bed, which is looking a bit exhausted.  I haven’t pulled up the foxgloves yet in the hope that they’ll self seed, but the combination of them, the brown Nectoscordum heads and my very poorly Euphorbia wulfenii is not good.  However, hopefully some concerted effort in pulling all the above out, cutting back the geraniums (out of shot at the front of the picture), and giving some space, food, time and water to various annuals I’ve planted out recently (Cosmos Rubenza, Malope, Cleomes) as well as the existing Astrantia, Roses and Penstemons, will pull things back from the brink.

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The ‘Med Beds’ (ie Mediterranean) either side of the greenhouse door are looking rather better.  The Geranium and Potentilla are flowering well, the Eryngium are preparing themselves and I’ve planted out many of the Agapanthus I grew from seed.  I don’t suppose they’ll flower this year, but fingers crossed for next.  I’m also pleased with the Euphorbia mysinites (at the front), which I also grew from seed and must now be about four years old.

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This is the left hand Lavender Bed, the ones described as ‘bonkers’ in last month’s End of month view.   (Both lavender beds are shown in the foreground of the top photo).

Here you can see the old Allium Purple Sensation dead heads in amongst the lavender.  The colour of the lavender is picked up by the Veronicastrum behind, with a yellow flowering Euphorbia for contrast (and the ubiquitous Verbena bonariensis)

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The shady bed is continuing to look lush, despite the hot weather, and the inherited rose is flowering well

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and the hostas were also looking great, right up until the scaffolders came and planted their scaffold and ladder on them.

IMG_3666A new addition this month is my raised cutting beds which were made out of some repurposed greenhouse staging.  I’m a bit concerned as to how shallow they are, but whenever I pull up annuals at the end of the season the roots never go very deep so I hope with food and water they’ll do ok.  I’ve already cut some Amaranthus viridis, Molucella laevis as well as the Marigold, Calendula Sunset Buff, but the vast majority are still to come.

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Meanwhile, in the veg bed, the Diving Lady’s pool runneth over (and is being invaded by courgette leaves), but at least she now has plenty to look at:

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As well as three different sort of courgettes (yes, I know, too many altogether), I’ve planted French Beans (Cobra), Runner Beans (Painted Lady and Polestar), Chard Bright Lights, Cavalo Nero, Mange Tout, Sugar Snap peas and Pumpkin Munchkin.

IMG_3671I’ve finally planted out the greenhouse bed with tomatoes, cucumbers and, for the first time, Cucamelons.

IMG_3670And on the staging, second waves of beans and peas (which need to go out), various seedlings (the ones in the foreground are Abutilons) and cuttings, as well as in the grow bags some (rather diminutive) peppers and aubergines.

IMG_3643The wisteria is kindly providing a second flush, and the Oak Bed, which I always find disappointing, is actually looking rather calm in the heat of June.

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And to finish, the most exciting development.  After some weeks’ persuasion, the OH has finally agreed that we can lose some lawn to make another bed (see hose line below) as long as ‘he doesn’t have to dig it’.  Wish me luck!

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

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End of month view – May 2014

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Everything has, all of a sudden, gone rather bonkers.  All those odd self seeded plants are threatening to take over, but it’s unlikely I’ll live to see it as I will have been strangled by convolvulus long before…

In the right hand Swing Bed above, the roses on the pergola are flowering well.  As some of you know, the idea of the two Swing Beds is that they are generally symmetrical, but this hasn’t been helped by two things.  Firstly, my reluctance to pull out the existing apple tree and secondly, David Austin’s inability to supply two ‘Wedding Day’ rambler roses for the outside uprights.  By a sheer coincidence, I think the rose on the far right is instead ‘Snow Goose’ which I have along the drive bed and was inherited.  Consequently, these two are flowering away, but on the left hand Swing Bed, my Wedding Day rose is biding its time and instead I have the Clematis Josephine (which is a little smothered on the right).  These symmetrical plans are all very well but one does need to be flexible! IMG_2731 This is the Swing Bed looking north.  You can see the Cerinthe is still flowering like mad, but has now been joined by some perennial geraniums, foxgloves and Sisyrinchium striatum. I’m particularly chuffed with the Digitalis ‘Suttons Apricot’ which I grew from seed.   I planted them out last year (having planted the seed the year before), but lost a number to the chickens, and the remainder were all rather nibbled, so last year there were no flowers. However they’re now flowering well, so I guess one positive of the fox getting my poor girls last year, is that I get my foxgloves this year! IMG_2664 IMG_2732 This is the left hand Swing Bed and you can see my solitary lupin, Lupinus ‘Gallery Rose’, and you can also see a massive clump of Sisyrinchium.  The plant was a gift which I split and put a small piece in each bed a couple of years ago.  What’s comical is the fact that in both beds the original clump in the centre of the bed is quite small, but a much larger clump has somehow bullied its way to the front of the border and is now crowding out the geraniums and alchemilla.  I think some judicious ‘thinning’ (binning?) is in order.

What you can’t see in the photo above is my lovely poppy,  I’m pretty sure this is Papaver Patty’s Plum.  It does look a little pink for Patty, but I can’t think that I planted anything else. IMG_2717 IMG_2727 The Grass Bed is having a transformational moment.  I’ve planted Verbascum chaixii album which I grew from seed, all along the back of this bed, but I don’t think they will flower this year.  In front I already have the mad allium, Allium ‘Hair’ (still in bud) and far too many fox and cubs (Pilosella aurantiaca).

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This is a plant I first saw when I took my mother to The Garden House on her 80th birthday.  This instantly became one of my favourite gardens and this plant reminds me of a wonderful garden and a very special day.  However, it is threatening to take over the garden, so I think some more thinning/binning required here.  I think once I’ve got round to taking out the forget me nots I’ll add some annuals from the rather large collection still filling the greenhouse.  But which to choose? IMG_2734 The Diving Lady, introduced in last month’s End of Month View, now has a pool to dive into and something to look at: IMG_2735

The strawberries are ripening so we’ve but some fleece over the whole bed (bottom right of picture above) so that we don’t lose them all to the blackbirds.

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Meanwhile the Shady Bed is looking lush and green (although rather overrun with Honesty seedlings).  There is very little colour here, apart from the rose, which laughs at my ‘Shady’ description.

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This is the bed which epitomises the ‘bonkersness’ of the garden currently.  This is one of the ‘Lavender Beds’ (that’s a name I’ve just made up as they don’t have names, but there are two of them and the path in the middle is lined with lavender).

A number of these plants were inherited (the rose and the paeony for example) but this year all sorts of plants which have been growing around and about, seem to have decided to party in this one bed at the same time.  The Allium Purple Sensations are on their third year and better than ever, the Gladioulus Byzantinus have not previously visited this bed, and the Linaria purpurea and Verbena Bonariensis which were here before, have had a population explosion.  I’m starting to feel I’ve completely lost control, and yet there’s a certain delight in letting them all get on with it.

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The Oak Bed (above) continues to disappoint, but the Melianthus major  is still a joy and the Gladioli here cheer me up.  I think a proper redesign is required for next year.

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I have lots of lovely pots – these Aeoniums were planted by the OH and are very handsome.IMG_2636

Meanwhile, in the greenhouse, (which I think will have to be a whole other post) the tomatoes are flowering, but unfortunately they’re still in their 9cm pots…IMG_2685

With many thanks to Helen at The Patient Gardener for hosting the End of Month meme.  Why don’t you go and check out some other End of Months?