About my garden

Monday, 20 November 2017

Hotchpotch In a Vase on Monday

What a day of chasing my tail. I think I've managed to do all I had to do but then had to drive home in the dark and wet. 

When I took this photo of my vase the light was very bad and it's blurred but I can't do any better now. I'll try tomorrow.

Sometimes things just don't go to plan. 

After a few light frost this month we had one which was more severe and that has finished off the Dahlias and reduced the Nasturtiums to a soggy mess. We knew it was coming and I've been lucky that I've been able to cut dahlias right to mid November. There were very few and the larger types just became a wet mess of petals. 
Surprisingly I did find 2 or 3 flowers even after the frost and they are in my vase.

I've used:
Dahlia - a couple of Karma Naomi, one Classic Rosamund and a couple of Labyrinth buds. They won't open and don't like the rain. 
a few cosmos - very small and the last of these too.
Mahonia leaves
Weigela leaves
Dill flowers - I have no idea why this is flowering
Chrysanthemum - Sheer purple
Persicaria - red dragon 

I'm very happy still to have so much colour but the garden really doesn't look like this.

The end of the dahlias. I'm going to dig most of them up but I will try leaving a few of the larger tubers in the ground. 

The crazy Chrysanthemums. There is one plant going off the left here and one to the right. As I said before, I have no idea why they are so tall but I do know I didn't give them proper support. 
This one has plenty of buds which are now breaking.

Thanks for visiting and do go over to Rambling in the Garden where Cathy encourages us to find what we can to put In a Vase on Monday. There are plenty if ideas to inspire you. 

Monday, 13 November 2017

NOT In a Vase on Monday

Cathy, from Rambling in the Garden, is celebrating 4 years of hosting In a Vase on Monday.  For this week only she has challenged us to find something and arrange it using anything other than a vase. 
I've chosen to have a triple  anniversary. It's one year since I found her blog and started joining in and also 6 months since we got our hens and, hopefully, it has been the happiest 6 months of their lives.
 Apart from, perhaps, the day I left the forgot to open the coop door again after I'd cleaned the house out. When I went to shut them in that night, I found them all perched on the ramp and the outside ledge of the house looking settled but disgruntled. One was so settled on the ledge that I had to lift her in. 
It was high summer so not cold and I did apologise. (Bear with me, I am going somewhere with this).
Apart from loud farm machinery in the next door field they have a quiet, happy time scratching and pecking  and look so fluffy and feathery they could hold their heads up any
poultry fashion parade. 

That was April 
and this is now: 
                                                                                                                                      They won't turn round to face the camera but even their rear ends (excuse me) are fluffy.                
It does make me sad to see how scrawny they looked and I will be rescuing some more as soon as I can. A little plug for the British Hens Welfare Trust who do brilliant work in campaigning, educating and re-homing the hard working girls. 

In case you think I've lost the plot here are is my arrangement:

This is one of Jenny Hen's eggshells, she is the hen facing the wrong way in the picture and top right in the before shot. She lays a large brown egg almost every day. I'd thought of adding a nest but an egg box was the obvious choice for holding it.
I do love tiny arrangements and we are getting short of large showy flowers now it's almost mid November. 

In my egg:
Geranium 'Dusky Crug' flowers and lovely dark foliage
Thyme 'Silver Posie'
Salvia x jamensis 'Violette the Loire' 
Fuchsia ?
Silver foliage plant which I bought in spring for a container but can't remember what it is. 
Virginan Stock flowers

And even though I tried to make it an all rounder, it still looks better from one side. 

Thank you to Cathy for inspiring us and encouraging us to share. She is always inventive and has something usual to share. It has been such a fun year and I must say I've added considerably to the list of plants 'I might like to have one day'! It's also good to know I'm not alone in this crazy and all consuming passion. 

Monday, 6 November 2017

November blooms In a Vase on Monday

I think I mentioned that I have some Chrysanthemum plants. They should be blooming and filling vases for this late end of the year but in fact they have grown very tall (about 5ft) and have been contentedly sitting there in tight bud for weeks.
This vase was to celebrate the two which have tried to open. I cut them and walked around to see what would compliment them and found plenty of things still flowering at this late stage. 
We have had a few light frosts but not enough so far to destroy anything. The dahlias and nasturtiums are still going but probably not for long. It actually stopped raining for five minutes and the week has been beautifully sunny which does lift the spirit. 

In the vase:
Chrysanthemum Shamrock Green
Chrysanthemum Sheer Purple ( I think, though it's not purple)
Passalong Persicaria which is establishing very well and making it's first appearance here in a vase. Red Dragon from Cathy via Noelle. I thought it and the green Chrysanthemum would sing together.  

Penstemon 'Sour Grapes'
Nameless pink rose
Feverfew flowers

Pittosporum foliage
Artemisia 'Powis castle'
Astrantia ?
Potentilla nepalensis 'Miss Wilmott' - an absolute star! This has been flowering pretty much for the two years since I bought it and, to cap it all, is now surrounded by dozens of seedlings.

What a happy vase for November.
The vase is plain grey and egg shaped. Old and cheap but a good shape and colour. 

Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting and inspiring - In a Vase on Monday. 

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Adventures in a Poly Tunnel - October 2017

There is still plenty going on in the tunnel even at the end of October. The weather has been mostly mild with a few dips in temperature but no frost yet, as I write this. 
Things look much the same as they did last month and I still don't have room to move. 

This is the view from the front door. Lots of Tagetes still flowering. I'm about to bring in the second bench which will go next to the first one on the left. This is for seedlings and small pots. 
This is what I have so far including: Larkspur, delphinium, sweet william, beetroot, Spinach to name but a few. I need to do some more pricking out of Ammi, Orlaya and a few other things. 

In spite of me not having pruned the plants properly for weeks, we are getting bucketfuls of tomatoes. I have made vats of soup for the freezer and we are eating tomato salads and sandwiches often. 
I am thrilled to report that there is NO BLIGHT. My regime has been to:
1 Plant in bottomless pots (or bags when I ran out) filled with grow bag compost
2 Not to grow potatoes
3 Spray with aspirin solution several times during the year as advocated by James Wong. This apparently turns on the natural defences. 
4 Feed with molasses. 

I did a reasonable job of keeping them in check early in the year but have lost the plot recently. I am also watering much less now. 
All is not completely rosy as the plants are covered in Whitefly. In an effort not to Instagram my life and pretend that all is fantastic here are the fruits when they are picked:

This is just the sooty residue from the whitefly. It cleans off easily and the fruits are fine.
When they are washed:

Tomato Brandywine and Sweet Dumpling squash measuring up to an old pound coin. My husband produced this coin and said his brother had just given it to him. I say he should give it back and demand a new one. 

Mini peppers. 

Magic beans. These are fully grown beans from Runner beans and Czechoslovakian beans. They can be dried but I mostly cook and freeze them so they can be quickly added to soups and dishes. Sadly they turn a dirty grey colour when cooked. 

 Spinach and kale growing well. 

Chillies still growing with lettuce and mustard leaves. 

Harvesting inside and out:
Mini peppers
Salad leaves
Borlotti type beans
One Squash 

Temperatures in October
Nighttime low     0 ∘C
Daytime high     35∘C

I'm sad for anyone who doesn't have a poly tunnel to play in. x

Monday, 30 October 2017

In a mini Munchkin vase on Monday

The inspiration for this came from visiting our local hospital. They had a full size pumpkin on the desk with Autumn coloured Chrysanthemums in it. I stole the idea and scaled it down a little. 

You'd think this would be quick to do but it really wasn't. A certain amount of fiddly poking of stems was involved. 
There is a tiny foil candle container inside the Munchkin. I'll probably find all the flowers dead in the morning due to lack of water as it hardly holds any. 
There are flowers and leaves of Tagetes, one of the Gem varieties, and Euphorbia foliage. 

I've been growing these Tagetes in my poly tunnel as they are supposed to repel whitefly. In fact all this season's plants have self sown themselves from last years seeds. 
 And the whitefly? I've never seen so many. As soon as the tomato plants are out, I'll be going in with garlic smoke bombs to try and get rid of as many as I can. 

For plenty of creative and inspiring vases visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden  - In a vase on Monday. 

Monday, 23 October 2017

Favourite flower In a Vase on Monday

It's time again to scout around outside and fill a vase to share with other enthusiasts. For creative and colourful vases visit Cathy at Rambling in the garden for In a Vase on Monday. 

Is it possible to have a favourite flower? It is like asking which is your favourite child. One week you'd say one child flower but then the next week something else is in bloom and that is your favourite.
If I had one, it would be this:

 Orange Calendula. The petals are shimmery and luminous and so vivid. 

I had them popping up all over my last garden and I've introduced them here, They are starting to seed around. They are in this vase with Corydalis ochroleuca (I think) which is a little plant with cream flowers. I bought one from Hestercombe and it is now seeding around as well as flowering for most of the year. 

My vases are getting smaller but I'm still finding colourful things to fill them.
Would you dare to choose a favourite flower?

Monday, 16 October 2017

Still Hanging On In a Vase on Monday

There is no denying it is now Autumn. There is plenty of green around but some of the trees are gracefully changing hue. As I drive around I see butter yellow, oranges and reds, beautiful but sad too, as we head away from summer. 
We've had mild days and not so much rain so I've been able to get on with a few more jobs. I'm trying to keep on top of things this autumn and winter though it's tempting to curl up with the seed catalogues and a cup of tea and just plan in my head for next year. It's better to start the changes now as I know many of you are doing. 

Making a late appearance is Dahlia 'Summer Flame'. Almost completely swamped by larger plants (my fault) this plant has hardly bloomed. Then I managed to decapitate this flower while trying to cut it. Sigh. 

I promise to look after you next year.

I could have chosen autumn hued things but I'm hanging on to summer here and you'll notice so is Rocky. 
My daughter no longer lives here but we still have a room full of her stuff. I wondered if I'd be able to find something appropriate in this treasure cave and sure 'nuff there was Rocky from 'Chicken Run'. This is my husbands favourite film, it's so clever and is extra funny now we have hens to observe at close quarters. None of them have yet tunnelled out with a spoon.

Back to the vase - I wanted to cut these pink roses, which I'm reliably informed are 'Queen Elizabeth', thanks Noelle. Storms are heading our way so they might not be standing after that. 
They are a very bright pink which is difficult to pair with anything so I chose Dahlia 'Karma Naomi' who is very dark and won't fight with the them. (Not all pinks are the same - discuss).
Also Artemesia 'Powis Castle' as grey is always calming. 
Feverfew still going strong after months of flowering.  I'm so glad I added the daisies as they really lift the arrangement. 
Finally Gaura 'Rose bicolour'. That's a disappointing name. This has also been flowering for months and is a beautiful, graceful airy plant. 

As usual I'm joining in with In a vase on Monday hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. For creative and colourful vases do visit and see what you can come up with yourself to share with other plant enthusiasts.