In a Vase on Monday: Ice and Lemon

Feeling the heat? ;-)

We’ve been enjoying the warmth under the sunshade on the patio, trying not to move about too much. And whenever I come indoors this refreshing vase, full of frothy zing, catches my eye and has a nice cooling effect. And the work was all done by my sister this week, so thanks go to her and to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this lovely meme.

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Grab a cold drink, preferably with ice and lemon, and enjoy the slide show!

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In a Vase on Monday: Midsummer Melange

This Monday I am again joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, with a mix of pretty pastels and gold for the Summer Solstice.

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Alchemilla mollis, Aquilegia ‘Yellow Star’ and Hypericum provide the golden tones, and the pastels are Sweet Williams, Linaria, Lychnis, Allium, Verbena, Lavender, Campanula and Geranium. The white flower is a single wild Aster which appeared on the compost heap again. :)

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I wonder if anyone can identify my Verbena… it has seeded around since last year and is looking lovely outside:

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The golden Aquilegia is flowering well and is clearly a much later sort than the others, which have all gone over now.

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I’m keeping it brief this week as I have a guest from England – my sister is visiting! :)

Do take a look at Cathy’s post with the other contributors linking in there.

And have a great week!

:D

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In a Vase on Monday: Tall and “Willowy”

It is Monday – time to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden again, with a vase full of lovely things from my garden. It has been a good week for vases – the clearing up after our stormy rainshowers last week meant that lots of peonies and cuttings from tall plants ended up in various vases around the house – and to think that only a year or two ago I would have put most of the damaged stems on the compost heap…

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Rosebay Willowherb appears at the roadsides and on spare pieces of land at this time of year, and occasionally in my garden too. But the one I used today for my Monday vase is one I planted – Epilobium angustifolium ‘Stahl Rose’ – it doesn’t actually spread seed like the wild form, which is perhaps a shame as it is so pretty!

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Even the seed pods are beautiful…

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Other tall flowers I included are the blue Campanula (I don’t know the correct name of this sort) and the pale pink Linaria purpurea ‘Canon J. Went’, both of which seed themselves everywhere nicely, and not in an invasive way.

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The foliage is again from the Goat’s Beard – Aruncus dioicus – I prefer it at this stage, just before it opens and goes all fluffy. A few stems of grasses and I thought my vase was done, but a splash of colour was needed, so I picked one of the tallest Sweet Williams (Dianthus barbatus) I could find – a nice deep pinky red. These plants have also spread throughout the rockery over the years.

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While taking the photos I wondered again at the exquisite detail in some of the flowers, as I did last week with the Nigella; the Sweet Williams above, for example, with their frilly edges and delicate centres, and the Epilobiums in particluar, in such beautiful shades of dusky pink…

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 That reminded me there is a Flower Fairy for Rosebay Willowherb – one of my favourites in fact, so I looked through my Complete Book of the Flower Fairies and found her in the “Flower Fairies of the Wayside” section. The detail in these drawings is simply incredible…

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With the wind in her hair and her arms open wide this carefree fairy is leaping out of the page in pure joy!

Here is her poem:

THE SONG OF THE ROSE-BAY WILLOW-HERB FAIRY

On the breeze my fluff is blown; So my airy seeds are sown.

Where the earth is burnt and sad, I will come to make it glad.

All forlorn and ruined places, All neglected empty spaces,

I can cover – only think! – With a mass of rosy pink.

Burst then, seed-pods; breezes, blow! Far and wide my seeds shall go!

by Cicely Mary Barker

What grows in your garden that has seeded itself either from elsewhere or from something you have planted? And is it welcome?!

Tree Following: June 2015

I am following a tree this year – a Field Maple to be precise – along with Lucy at Loose and Leafy, and many others around the world. This month my tree is looking lush and leafy. :)

However, on closer examination there are very few seeds that have remained on the tree, most dropping at or just after flowering stage… and a lot of aphids earlier this month have made an ugly mess of many leaves too… Maybe it became susceptible due to stress caused by our very dry April?

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But wait, what’s this? A strange orange and black bug…

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And another one… chomping away!

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I have identified them as the larva and pupa stages of the Asian Ladybird Harmonia axyridis, also known as the Harlequin Ladybird, the most invasive ladybird on earth!

It has the potential to threaten our native ones, eating both their food sources and their larvae. So I will be on the lookout for the adult now, to see if I can differentiate between it and our native ones. Not that I can do anything about it, but I’ll keep you posted anyway. A good website to help with identification of ladybirds, at least in western Europe, is the Ladybird Survey site, which has information on the Harlequin too. Here is a link to some Wikimedia photos of the adult Harlequin Ladybird.

Have you seen this ladybird? Do you see other ladybirds too, or did you in the past?

 Thanks go to Lucy for hosting this meme… I probably would not have learned that we have this ladybird in our garden if I hadn’t been watching my tree so closely!