In a vase on Monday: Octoberfest

The leaves may be turning on the trees, conkers may be falling, berries ripening and seed-heads forming, but there are still plenty of summer flowers in my garden. Cosmos, osteospermum, snapdragons, verbenas, nasturtiums – all continue to produce blooms in jewel-like colours. Joining these flowers in my Monday vase are a few Crocosmia seed-heads, a length of hawthorn heavy with berries, a twig spindle leaves, a sprig of old-man’s beard (wild clematis) and some field maple which is just starting to turn.

October (before the clocks go back and it starts to get dark in the afternoon) is one of my favourite months. There’s the prospect of a walk through crunchy leaves, burnished and shiny conkers to find in the soft autumn light, and fruit, berries and seeds to harvest. It can be warm enough to be outdoors in a t-shirt (like today) or chilly enough to need a coat and scarf. Whatever the weather, it’s a month when you can really sense the seasons turning and I find that reassuring and comforting.

Thank you to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting all the Monday vases. Click on the link to see her lovely collection of persicaria and links to many other vases from around the world.

Wishing you a good week ahead.

 

Advertisements

In a vase on Monday: autumn gold

Swallows wheeled about in the sky all around me on the clifftop this morning. Large flocks of them calling to each other and riding the thermals from the sea, feeding up for their long migration south for the winter. I walked along slowly, taking it all in while the dog snuffled in bushes – such a magical moment. There”s are sights, smells and sounds particular to autumn, aren’t there? Berry-laden bushes, cobwebs everywhere, flocks of birds leaving, others arriving, leaves turning… As I walked back to the house through the garden, I spotted a couple of golden bells of Clematis tangutica (golden clematis) in the wildflower patch under the fruit trees. We don’t want clematis growing here so I went back out again to snip off the tendrils and cut a few white Japanese anemones that are growing in the steps to put together a simple Monday vase.

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden also has a jug full of autumn gold today.

I also have jars and jugs of zinnias in the house – the colours are more muted than the very bright colours in summer but still lovely.

I used to spend more time than I had spare gazing out to sea when we first moved here. After a while, I got used to the view (you have to get on with daily life!) but there were several moments yesterday when we had to stop and stare at the dramatic skies and the serene view.

Wishing you a good week ahead.

In a vase on Monday: stalwarts

There are flowers that are ubiquitous in a late summer border – stalwart flowers such as Japanese anemones, Verbena bonariensis, cosmos and sedums – and these are what I’ve picked to display in three Monday vases today (they wouldn’t all fit together nicely in one and I wanted to show off the flowers to the fullest extent).

The beautiful grey Royal Doulton vase was a birthday present from my best brother (no favouritism going on; I’ve only got one sibling) and I love its shape and colour. In the jug with the sedums, I’ve added pink scabious and Panicum elegans ‘Frosted Explosion’ which has appeared of its own accord in a different part of the garden to where I grew it on purpose last year. The little vase with cosmos was a second-hand shop find.

As I was taking the photographs I noticed a tiny passenger…

As usual, I’m joining in with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden who has a very colourful, lovely vase of late summer flowers.

Thank you very much indeed for the lovely comments on my previous post. It seems many of us have slight laundry mania 🙂 Brenda came up with a great suggestion of several (lots, if possible) bloggers writing about their day all on the same day. I think it would be fascinating to know what many bloggers from around the world all get up to on one day but I guess it might be tricky choosing a day that suits as many people as possible. What do you think? Who’s in?!

Have a great week.

In a Vase on Monday: sunshine on a rainy day

It’s the last day of the school holidays here and my three are making the most of it, i.e. at midday one is still in bed and the other two are lying on sofas plugged into their devices. To be fair, it’s a dull old rainy day which makes everyone feel lethargic and not inclined to rush about doing all the last-minute back-to-school jobs, plus we’ve run out of breakfast cereal.

While there’s a lull in proceedings, I’ve picked flowers for a Monday vase (I’ve missed it these past few weeks) and set about photographing them with one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever had – a Nikon camera! As well as a fantastic new DSLR to play with, my mum handed me this gorgeous jug yesterday – it was my grandmother’s and she thought I’d like it for flowers. Isn’t it lovely? It’s a little chipped and worn but it holds such happy memories of my dear grandma and I love it.

The contents of the jug are: zinnias, pink Japanese anemones, Verbena bonariensis, poppy seed heads, Miscanthus flowers, jasmine leaves, a spire of Heuchera flowers, dried lavender and a lovely copper-coloured osteospermum. It’s definitely a late-summer-blending-into-autumn collection of blooms. As usual, I’m joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden who is showcasing a gorgeous ‘Cafe au Lait’ dahlia today.

The village show on Saturday went really well, especially for David. His sourdough loaf won the ‘best home produce’ cup AND the overall ‘best exhibit in the show’ (a large shiny) cup! My son and daughter shared the cash prize for ‘5 meringues’ (he won but they agreed beforehand to split it as they were the only two who entered…), our ‘7 raspberries’ came first and second and my little milk jug of flowers was highly commended (which means it didn’t come first, second or third but the judge thought it had some merit). I also entered these zinnias into the ‘5 flowers of any annual’ and they won 🙂 A happy outcome all round for our family.

You can just see my daughter’s fingers on the right holding up the paper backdrop for me!

Right, I’m off to the supermarket. Wishing you a thoroughly good week whatever you’re doing.

In a vase on Monday: A–Z

With so much to choose from in the garden this week, I’ve picked just two different flowers – Ammi and Zinnia – for a Monday vase.

All the ammi (Ammi visnaga) are self-seeded from plants I grew from seed last year; they’re over-crowded and some are growing where I don’t want them. Rather than chuck those I’ve pulled up onto the compost heap, I chopped their roots and lower leaves off and plonked them in water.

This is the first year I’ve grown zinnias and I expected them to be rather prima-donna-ish but they seem pretty tough. According to what I’ve read, they hate root disturbance, don’t like overwatering and can’t be planted out until it’s warm enough to sit outside in the evening without wearing a cashmere wrap (I made that last but up). I was quite careful about potting on the seedlings, but not overly so, and there’s not much danger of them being overwatered around here. I was a bit worried about the temperature but I needn’t have as it’s been almost Mediterranean-like here. The major problem has been our slimy foes, the slugs and snails. A fair few pristine zinnias have been toppled and munched, sadly, – I reckon I’ve lost a third of the plants – but the survivors are hitting their stride now and starting to pump out flowers. They’re great for cutting as they last for ages in a vase, the colours are fantastic and they’re like sweet peas – the more flowers you cut, the more you’ll get, so that’s what I’m doing.

How’s life with you? It’s the last week of school before the summer holidays here and everyone is weary; the children are especially weary this afternoon as it was Sports Day today. Despite emails from the school inviting parents along to watch, my three pleaded with me not to go: ‘It would be social suicide, Mum!’. Mortifying our children seems to be something we’re particularly good at but I graciously stayed at home. It seems only five minutes since they were telling me where to stand so they could see me and to shout loudly. How times change.

‘In a Vase on Monday’ is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. I recommend visiting her blog to see what she and other bloggers from around the world have found to put in a vase today; it’s always inspiring.

Wishing you a good week.

In a Vase on Monday: Summer

After a hectic couple of weeks building up to our village’s open garden safari this past weekend, where every spare moment was spent in the garden, it’s lovely to be slowing down a little today and joining in with Cathy’s Monday vases.

It’s that time of year when there is so much material to choose from, so I started with dahlias that needed dead-heading and went from there. Joining the dahlias (which I think are ‘Karma Choc’) are three types of hardy geranium (unknown varieties), Verbena ridgida, white Scabious, lavender, Salvia viridis, Nigella seedheads, sweetpeas and Gaura lindheimeri ‘The Bride’ (which is just starting to flower). All of these flowers are beloved by bees in our garden and I had to pick carefully to avoid bringing several into the kitchen. And all these flowers sing out ‘summer’ to me and encapsulate a beautiful late June day when the sea is turquoise and the blue sky is dotted with wispy clouds.

Do visit Cathy’s blog to have a look at what others have found to put in a vase today. (She also has dahlias.)

I’ll post separately about the open garden when I’ve had time to catch up with myself. I hope you had a good weekend and that the sun is shining where you are. Cheerio for now.

In a Vase on Monday: Simplicity

After the excitement of last week, I thought I’d pare things back and go for a very simple vase today (and ended up with two). The wildflower patch at the bottom of the garden is overrun with oxeye daisies again – although they look lovely and last a long time, they are smothering the more delicate wildflowers that are in there. If you look very carefully, you can just see some yellow vetch to the left but there’s little evidence of anything else. We’ll need to thin the daisies out later in the year.

The whole area is looking a little bedraggled after the storms last week so I’ve brought some of the flattened daisies indoors (along with a few grass stems). Oxeye daisies don’t smell particularly nice (think cats…) so I snipped a couple of sweet peas to sit alongside them and, happily, their delicious scent is stronger than the other one.

Simplicity is something that politicians and the media seem allergic to; they seem intent on making life thoroughly complicated. If only there was a group of sensible, forward-thinking, cross-party MPs who could get us through EU negotiations – I’m sure there are several who could work together for the greater good rather than point-scoring party politics. Is it naive to think that something like that could happen? Probably. Sigh.

Anyway; back to the garden… It’s almost peak lavender time. Yay. The two simple rows of lavender flanking the steps on our top terrace were also bashed about by the winds last week, but they’re tough plants and, while they may be leaning slightly, they are starting to colour up and should look fabulous in time for the Garden Safari in a couple of weeks. It’s all go here in any spare time, or it was until I pulled a muscle in my lower back yesterday afternoon – too much bending, lifting and pulling! Grrrr. I was so cross. I’m trying to walk it off, stretching it out with yoga and popping the painkillers. Hopefully it’ll be sorted in a few days as there is so much to do.

I was going to forgo the pleasure of joining in with Cathy’s IAVOM today as cutting flowers requires painful bending but I couldn’t resist. Do pop over to her blog to see what she and others from around the world have found to put in a vase today.

Have a good week.