Tag Archives: Salvia horminum ‘Oxford Blue’

End of month view – August 2016

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Much is looking rather exhausted in this EoMV.  It’s been so hot and I think the OH’s watering efforts when I’m in London consist of a little vague hose waving, which we all know doesn’t really cut the watering mustard!

Having said that, the annuals are finally getting going and the roses are putting on a much appreciated second flush.  Here’s R. ‘St Swithun’ surrounding the swing.IMG_1559

In this rather bleached photo you can see (in the centre) the Diascia personata is still flowering well, and there are Salvias too, but most of the other plants have gone over.  Late season interest from Aster frikartii Monch seems to have disappeared from this bed, although there are a couple of small plants limping along in the right hand Swing Bed.IMG_1558

In the Grass Bed the annuals are finally starting to fill out after a very late planting.  Here Ammi visnaga ‘Green Mist’, Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Fizzy White’, Calendula officinalis ‘Touch of Red Buff’ and self seeded Nasturtium ‘Black Velvet’ are jostling for position.

Although I did lose some of the Cosmos along the way, it’s filled out well despite the dry conditions.IMG_1560

I don’t think the Mid Century bed is doing as well as last year.  I’m missing the bright pink Malope as well as the Rhodochiton (which I’d grown up the obelisk).  I did plant some, but again the lack of water meant they never took off.  There are a few annuals struggling along here – Antirrhinum majus nanum ‘Black Prince’ as well as Amaranthus caudatus which may yet fill out with a bit more TLC.

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Lucky the dahlias and roses (here D. ‘La Recoleta’ and R.’Jubilee Celebration’) are doing their thing.IMG_1563

On the other side of the garden the Bronze Bed is rather overwhelmed by the Dahlia ‘Happy Single Date’.  I think next year I might have to reduce the number of plants from three to two, or even one, to get some variation here.  I loved the hot planting at Mottistone so perhaps should add a bit of (whisper it) red!IMG_1541

In the Veg Bed the Sweet Peas (yes I know they’re not veg) are rather mildewed, and the stems definitely shorter, but they’re still pumping out wonderfully scented blooms.  In front of these is a very handsome row of Chard ‘Pink flamingo’.  Sadly however, it seems to be remaining a very handsome row, which isn’t really the point.  We somehow don’t seem that interested in eating it.  Any top tips as to how best cook it?

Even further forward is Cavolo Nero ‘Black Magic’ and Broccoli ‘Early Purple Sprouting’.  I haven’t grown either of these previously, and they too have yet to undergo the taste test. IMG_1554

In front of the Veg the Agapanthus are still clinging on.IMG_1555

Some of you may remember that in the previous couple of years I borrowed a corner of a neighbour’s garden to use as a Cutting Patch.  I decided I didn’t really have time this year, but I am missing it.  I planted a few Zinnias (this one Z. elegans ‘Luminosa)’ in these raised beds, but they too are struggling with lack of water.  Behind there are yet more Diascias grown from cuttings.  I should probably move these into the Swing Beds with the rest.IMG_1548

Into the greenhouse and the tomatoes are in full flow.  I just love walking in and smelling that wonderful tomato smell, so redolent of summer.IMG_1549

In the pots a new Aubergine for me after multiple previous failures.  These ones are long but thin (clue’s in the name – Aubergine ‘Farmer’s Long’) which I think makes it easier for them to ripen.IMG_1550

Back outside for more pots.  The one below has been fantastic this year.  I love this little Pelargonium which was bought at the local Car Boot Sale and increased by cuttings.IMG_1561

The trough by the front steps is full of plants which, despite being tender, have overwintered in situ, including Gazanias and Chocolate Cosmos.IMG_1542

Here’s another shot of last Wednesday’s Morning Glory which is thriving under the glass canopy (where last year Sweet Peas sulked and turned their toes up!)

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Dahlias on the barrow are looking a little unhappy, whilst the Abutilon is fineIMG_1547

Pelargonium ‘Surcouf’ has been fabulous all summer, despite a certain amount of neglect.IMG_1553

In the troughs the Cosmos are finally getting going.  I deliberately planted the shorter Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Sonata White’ as I’m always bad at supporting them and this way they don’t flop so far.  There is also Salvia horminum ‘Oxford Blue’ here, but they’ve struggled to bulk up and are now having to compete with the Cosmos!IMG_1556

This last shot is really an aide memoire for me – just look how the two Pelargoniums are thriving whist the Salvia (back left) Dahlia (centre) and Scabious (back) struggle.  Some things so clearly like their roots in the ground it really is cruel to deny them!

And for my final pot you’ll have to wait for Wordless Wednesday later in the day!IMG_1551

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting our EoMVs.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – August 2016

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Finally, a showing from some of this year’s annuals – the one above, Zinnia elegans ‘Luminosa.’

I purchased a number of seeds back in October thinking I would repeat the last two years’ practice of using a corner of a neighbouring walled garden as a cutting garden, but I’ve been just too busy to and so have tried to squeeze everything in here.  And whilst it hasn’t been entirely successful, the annuals are starting to fill out in their various (not always ideal) spots.

In the Grass Bed I have Ammi visnaga ‘Green Mist’, Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Fizzy White’, Calendula officinalis ‘Touch of Red Buff’ and some self seeded nasturtiums from last year.IMG_1442

In the troughs I have the shorter Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Sonata White’ and the Salvia that was so successful in the cutting garden last year, Salvia horminum ‘Oxford Blue’.  In the cutting garden these turned into wonderful big bushes, I’m not sure they’ll ever get that big here as I always struggle to keep the troughs adequately watered.IMG_1439

In the Swing Beds these Antirrhinum majus ‘The Rose’ are finally getting going, but I’m not convinced about the colour, finding it a bit sickly.  IMG_1441

At the back of these beds I had planned to plant some tall dahlias but then decided they weren’t the right colour and so instead have planted an annual tobacco plant, Nicotiana mutablis. This one has both white and pink flowers on the same plants and grows to 1.2m.  It was planted out very late and so far this is the only plant to have flowered.  I’m hoping that by the end of the summer there will be quite a ‘froth’ of these but it may be I have left it just too late.IMG_1450

And in the Mid Century bed these Antirrinum, A. majus nanum ‘Black Prince’ are also blooming now and to my mind are a far better colour than the pink.IMG_1452

Away from the annuals, I have a some good repeating roses – R. St Swithun, IMG_1440

R. Munstead Wood,IMG_1448

R. Jubilee CelebrationIMG_1445

and R. Pat AustinIMG_1425

And plenty of dahlias still going, I’d like to say ‘strong’ but after the over purchasing earlier this year, I’ve ended up with a number in pots and they’re not too happy, so perhaps I’ll just stick with ‘going’.  Many have succumbed to powdery mildew and one has a whole colony of blackfly, which I’m not prepared to spray, so am currently praying for ladybirds!

The old favourite D. Happy Single Date (much darker when the blooms are young) has its roots firmly in the Bronze Bed and is thriving, IMG_1426

D. Fifteen Love (pertinent as Andy Murray is currently playing in the Olympic Gold medal match as I type), doing OK in a pot, IMG_1434

D. Bacardi, also doing pretty well in the two greenhouse pots,IMG_1431

D. Hillcrest Royal (very mildewed)IMG_1436

D. Tamburo, also rather mildewed IMG_1428

and D. La Recoleta, with a very nasty case of blackfly.IMG_1444

But to finish, a shot of my seed grown Agapanthus lining the back of the strawberry bed.  Not the greatest photo, but you get the idea.

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With thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens who hosts everyone’s GBBD.

End of month view – June 2016

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What with my Northumberland jaunt, last weekend’s party and working in London every week, I’ve calculated that I’ve spent only ten whole days chez Duver Diary during June (and four of those working) and, whilst certain wonderful things carry on despite my neglect (roses, lavender, self seeded this and that) I do have a definite sense of the garden getting away from me.  If you look closely in the photo below, for example, you’ll see convolvulus growing up rosebay willow herb, surrounded by a fringe of couch grass.  So please don’t!

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Taking a circuit round the garden from this point takes us first to the troughs.  These still have the very leggy Matthiola incana that I can’t bring myself to bin, but these have now been joined by seedlings of the (slightly shorter than ‘Purity’) white Cosmos, Cosmos ‘Sonata White’  and Salvia horminum ‘Oxford Blue.’  I’m hoping it’s going to fill out into a wall of blue and white, but it’s very early days and I do think this trough, being south facing and metal, does suffer if the weather’s warm (some chance!).  And no, I didn’t line the front panel with polysterene as you’re apparently supposed to. IMG_1105

On to the veg patch and the most obvious ‘crop’ below is the Sweet Peas, definitely not edible!  Otherwise, from front to back, I have (under fleece) Purple Sprouting Broccoli ‘Early Purple Sprouting’,  and Cavolo nero ‘Black Magic’, and then Chard ‘Pink Flamingo’, Mange tout ‘Shiraz’, Dwarf French bean ‘Safari’ and Runner Bean ‘Lady Di’.  And running along the front edge (right of photo) Courgettes ‘El Greco’ and ‘Gold Rush’.  I think these are all new varieties to me except ‘Lady Di’ and ‘Goldrush’ so it will be interesting to see how they all do – and how they all taste.

On the left, out of site, in the highest raised bed, I planted Squash ‘Sweet Dumpling’.  This bed isn’t easy, as whatever’s there has to compete with the bay trees which were there first and obviously suck out lots of water.  I thought planting upturned bottles together with each plant and watering directly to the roots should solve this problem.  I was a little worried that I only had one plastic bottle kicking about and so was going to have to go on a San Pelligrino binge, but no!  Slugs ate all but one plant, so turns out my single bottle will be sufficient…

Meanwhile, if anyone has any bright ideas as to what veg would be happy in a very dry, south facing raised bed, please let me know, because there’s plenty of space now!IMG_1106

In front of the main veg patch is a smaller bed holding strawberries and rhubarb.  I planted out some Agapanthus I’d grown from seed along the back wall last year as I thought they’d enjoy a good cook against the south facing wall.  And look – over a dozen flower heads.  So exciting!

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The Swing Beds definitely need a sort out.  Since their creation in 2011 it’s taken some time for them to fill up, but now, all of a sudden, I feel they’ve got rather unbalanced, with certain thugs taking over at the expenses of other things.  I definitely have too much of the pink geranium along the front, so I need to thin that out.  And then I also have a number of annuals I’ve grown from seed which need to be slotted in.

I live in hope that this weekend might provide time for a BIG SORT OUT, but we’ll see…IMG_1131

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The grass bed has been completely dug over and emptied (apart from the Stipa) and has also been planted with annuals.  I’ve taken inspiration for the first year we were here, when I simply planted Cosmos in this bed.  This year I’ve included Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Fizzy White’ but have added Ammi visnaga ‘Green Mist’ to the mix.  I’m hoping for a white/green froth to echo the cow parsley in the field opposite.  We’ll see.

And in the interim, I’ve planted a few marigolds I had kicking around along the front edge.IMG_1111

I have been quite busy planting up pots post the big bulb throw out, but the one below is a new one, one of a matching pair given as a gift from my sister.  The concrete post is by the old (empty) chicken shed and the metal chicken normally sits on it but, as she’s not attached, she spends most of her time blown onto the ground.  I think she looks rather more settled amongst the pelargoniums and ipomaea!IMG_1110

In the Mid Century bed the Rosa ‘Falstaff’ is getting established on the obelisk, but you might remember I had good success with Rhodochiton atrosanguineus here last year, and I have now also planted some seedlings to see if they’ll cohabit with the rose.IMG_1112

There are a couple of pleasing combinations here – Dahlia ‘La Recoleta’ together with Dianthus ‘Sooty’

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and Digitalis ‘Mertonensis’ with (rather flopped) Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration.’   (I do wish ‘Mertonensis’ was taller – I’d have it everywhere)IMG_1114

On the other side of the garden the Oak Bed has now developed into a wall of shrubbery – the Cercis in particular has really filled out this year.IMG_1128

Closer to the house the Bronze Bed, new last year, is also exhibiting a rather floppy rose – Rosa ‘Pat Austin’.  I’m sure she wasn’t this tall last year and I pruned her pretty hard.

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She may be a rather ungainly girl, but she’s certainly pretty.IMG_1127

In the greenhouse I’ve finally planted out my tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines, but I couldn’t bear to pull out the Sweet Peas as they’re still flowering really well, so the toms have been relegated to each end of the bed.  IMG_1123

There are still a few seedlings kicking around inside the greenhouse – see below a third wave of Sweet Peas – but that is nothing

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….compared to all this lot outside!  Roll on the weekend….IMG_1120

With many thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting our End of Month views.

In a vase on Monday – When two worlds collide

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If Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden, who hosts ‘In a vase on Monday’, wasn’t already using the epithet ‘The Golfer’ for her husband, I would definitely have used it for mine.  He joined the local ‘Shanklin and Sandown’ golf club shortly after we moved to the island and this Saturday became their captain.

A week earlier he had (casually) asked if I could produce some flowers for his ‘Captain’s Drive in’ event on Sunday, when he hosted as captain for the first time, and ran a charity competition, to be followed by cream teas at the clubhouse.  Whilst my initial reaction was ‘no’, I looked around the garden and realised there were still hundreds of blooms. What I couldn’t quite picture was how they would work together, and then I realised, they didn’t have to.

There were to be ten tables of ten, so I splashed out on some cute spherical jam jars from Nutleys and set about making two matching arrangements for each table, twenty in all.

It all seemed like quite a good idea, until many hours later on Saturday….

So here they are, Cosmos Purity and Ammi,IMG_9337

Rosa Snow Goose and Zinnia Giant LimeIMG_9338

Helianthus Italian White and hebeIMG_9325

Rosa Jubilee Celebration, Cerinthe and Antirrhinum Orange wonderIMG_9329

Rosa Pink Flower Carpet, Antirrhinum and HoneysuckleIMG_9330

Dahlia Happy Single Date, Scabious Fata Morgana and mintIMG_9341

Zinnia Raspberry Cordial, seedheads of Iris unguicularis and Photinia leavesIMG_9327

Zinnia Giant Wine and Antirrhinum Liberty CrimsonIMG_9332

Cosmos Double Click Cranberries and Dahlia Downham Royal.IMG_9334

and lastly Salvia Horminum ‘Oxford Blue’, Aster frikartii ‘Monch’ and LinumIMG_9335

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And of course what happened?  They’ve already signed me up for New Year’s Eve.

Oh Captain, my Captain, what have you started?IMG_9349

In a vase on Monday – long stems at last!

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As I mentioned in my Cutting Garden post yesterday the stems on many plants are getting longer and longer as the season progresses,and so today I thought I’d splash out on a rather bigger arrangement than normal.

I’m again using my lovely sister-gifted Orla Kiely vase which is proving incredibly versatile and has a good heavy base so it won’t topple over, even when heavily laden!

As well as my sunflowers, H. cuc Italian WhiteIMG_8894

and stalwart Salvias, Salvia horminum Oxford BlueIMG_8898

I added some quite long branches of the shoo fly plant, Nicandra physaloides, a member of the potato family.  I’ve grown this from seed in the past and in fact have a couple of self seeded plants in the garden, but these branches were cut from my neighbours’ plant which is shrub sized at about 5ft tall by 4ft wide!IMG_8895

I like the way the dark buds picked up the dark centre of the sunflowers.  Meanwhile, the Salvias were supposed to pick up on the purple blooms of the Nicandra, but the two Nicandra flowers I had fell off in the arranging.  Oops.  But here’s another one peaking out…IMG_8896

With thanks as ever to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden who hosts our IaVoM meme.

PS.  Hey, look what opened up as soon as my back was turned:

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The Cutting Garden – September 2015

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In my Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post for August I mentioned how I couldn’t tell the difference between my two Cutting Garden pale sunflowers, Helianthus cuc Italian White and Helianthus Vanilla Ice.  Well I can now – the one above, H. cuc Italian White, is now about 7ft tall, a good 2ft taller than Vanilla Ice. They’re both still going strong and highly recommended, but I think I prefer the taller variety for cutting.

Below the Salvia horminum ‘Oxford Blue’, is also still flowering profusely.  The stems are getting even longer and it’s a brilliant, long lasting cut flower.IMG_8842

This is one of the few Ten Weeks Stocks still flowering.  As I mentioned last month I don’t think I’d grow these again.  They never seem to have more than a couple of flowers blooming on the stem at any one time, and although they smell gorgeous, the flowers look rather mean and a bit tatty.  I think I’ll keep looking for alternative varieties as there must be better ones and I adore the scent of stocks.

I have already planted some more Matthiola Incana seed for next year, but if anyone knows of other stock seed worth growing I’d love to know.

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The two Cosmos varieties, C. Double Click Snow Puff and C. Double Click Cranberries are starting to look rather exhausted, but they have been pumping out blooms for months so I’m not complaining.  Interestingly the two different varieties I have at home, Cosmos Purity and Cosmos Dazzler, both single, are both still flowering well.  Do you think making double flowers is more exhausting?

Meanwhile the Antirrhinum, A. Orange Wonder, seems to have gone rather more pink as it’s aged, very strange!  There are still plenty of flowers coming and, as with the Salvias, the stems are lengthening, making them even better for cutting – and there’s very little rust which was definitely a problem last year. IMG_8848

The Zinnias are also still producing well, with Z. Giant Scarlet, IMG_8844

Z. Giant WineIMG_8843

and favourite Z. Raspberry Cordial.IMG_8845

I’m also still supplementing these Cutting Garden blooms with various flowers from the garden, including dahlias, dianthus, molucella.  However, there’s no doubt the Cutting Garden is starting to look a little autumnal and I can’t help but wonder how many blooms I’ll still have to share by next month.

In a vase on Monday – Pomp and Circumstance

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The combination of our doughty Queen exceeding her great-great-grandmother’s record to become our longest serving monarch, together with the show of jolly nationalism that is the Last Night at the Proms, has found me coming over all red, white and blue this week.

Sadly, the Zinnias appear rather orange in the photo, but these aren’t the Z Raspberry Cordial I keep using, but instead Zinnia Benary’s Giant Scarlet,  IMG_8542

and they are actually a pretty good match for the Antirrhinum Liberty Crimson.  The Antirrhinums were grown from seed last year and planted in my satellite cutting garden, and this year two plants have self seeded!IMG_8547

As well as the red, the white was provided by two Cosmos, C Purity IMG_8541and C. Double Click Snow Puff.

And the blue, well, I admit it’s rather purple, but I still love it, Salvia horminum ‘Oxford Blue’IMG_8544

And for reasons I can’t quite explain, I decided to throw in a bit of mint, for the fresh green.IMG_8545

Why don’t you go over to Rambling in the Garden and see what others have been inspired by for their vases this week?

In a vase on Monday – four ways!

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Some of you will have already seen the bucket of flowers picked at my Cutting Garden on Sunday afternoon:IMG_8440

Well this is a quick post (as End of Month View beckons) to see what happened to them.

The first vase (top) is obviously sunflowers, but also a couple of stems of Nicandra physalodes, the shoo-fly plant, which is growing about 6ft tall in a corner of the cutting garden, not planted by me.  It has fascinating black/green bells which ultimately open to purple.

Below, Cosmos Double Click Snow Puff and Purity, together with the stalwart Salvia Horminum ‘Oxford Blue’ and lastly some Molucella laevis, all of a sudden quite tall – so proud 😉

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Next, a mad mug of blooms to take to London tomorrow, more Salvias, this time together with Antirrhinum Liberty Classic Crimson (which survived from last year), Zinnias, Cosmos and Dianthus Green Trick.

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And finally, yet another little peachy number, this time for the spare room where my mother in law has been staying for the weekend with Sedum and Dianthus (both left over from last week’s vase), Zinnias and Antirrhinums.  I think this ones my favourite, which one’s yours?

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And whilst certainly not the finest arrangements, it’s been such fun to have so many blooms to play with!

Why don’t you go and see what others have found for their Monday vases at Rambling in the Garden with Cathy?

The Cutting Garden – August 2015

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I’ve been remiss in not posting about my satellite Cutting Garden (in my neighbours’ walled garden) since it looked like this at the end of May.  And now it’s producing bucket loads of blooms, like the one above.

The following photos were actually taken last week, but when I visited today it’s clear the recent rain has battered everything quite badly.  I’m never great at staking (always thinking I’ll get away with it!) but this year, when it was clear some stakes were needed, it was so dry I couldn’t get them into the ground.  Quite what my excuse was for not getting round to it as the ground softened is anyone’s guess.  Tsk!

This photos is looking in a similar direction to the one above and shows the Cosmos Double Click Snow Puff, with Cosmos Double Click Cranberries nearer the fence.  Down the slope are the Antirrhinum majus Orange Wonder  with Salvia horminum ‘Oxford Blue’ to the right.  In between are the Zinnias,

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Zinnia Benary’s Giant Scarlet,IMG_8426

Zinnia Benary’s Giant Wine,IMG_8425

and my favourite, Zinnia Raspberry Cordial.IMG_8427

Looking up the slope you can see the Zinnias are still quite small (although have grown significantly in the past week).  Between the Zinnias and Salvias are a line of Ten Week Stocks.  Although they do smell lovely, they really don’t work for cutting, so I won’t be growing them again.

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The sunflowers have been amazing this year.  IMG_8429

The large yellow ones, which were very kindly sent to me by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, didn’t turn out to be the red flushed Ruby Eclipse we were both expecting, but now the huge central stems have been cut, there are plenty of smaller clear yellow blooms, which have that lovely sunflower cheer.IMG_8421

There are two other sunflowers, Helianthus cuc Italian White and Helianthus Vanilla Ice, but I can’t seem to tell the difference between them.  They’ve been absolutely great, hugely prolific and yet dainty and soft coloured for a sunflower.  I featured them in my ‘Moonflowers’ Monday vase and have used them every week since.IMG_8423

Back home, as well as more Zinnias, (including Z. Benary’s Giant Lime not at the satellite cutting garden) I’ve also been cutting Molucella laevis

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and another favourite, Dianthus Green Trick.  This came originally from Sarah Raven, but I’ve already taken a number of successful cuttings and this weekend have taken a dozen more. They last for well over a week in the vase and retain this lovely fresh green.IMG_8262

With many thanks to Julie at Peonies and Posies for hosting the Cutting Garden meme.

Now all I’ve got to do is decide what to choose for Monday’s vase!