In a Vase on Monday: The Moon and the Stars

My friend Simone (🤗) visited a couple of days ago, and as she was leaving she looked up and remarked at how many stars she could see. I think I rather take that for granted, living out in the countryside away from strong street lamps, motorways or industrial estates.

So I am using my ‘Moon’ vase today, with one of my first peonies and some star-like flowers. And with clear skies forecast for the next few days, I shall make sure I look out at the moon and the stars with more attention this week.


Peony officinalis ‘Alba plena’ opened in the Moon Bed last week.

The delicate white stars on the right are Deutzia gracilis. I think that is a lovely name for them.

The star-shaped bud is Scabiosa ochroleuca, the seedhead on the left is Pulsatilla vulgaris, and the small white flower at the back is Dianthus arenarius.

The reddish pink flower is a Knautia macedonica. It would have been fitting to use the ‘Mars Midget’ variety, which I had in my last garden. But this one, from my ‘Melton pastels’ clump, still looks a bit like a tiny planet, especially when you see it waving in the breeze on its tall and (against the rest of the greenery) almost invisible stalks. 😃

Can you see the night sky where you live? And do you know the names of all the stars? I am hopeless at recognizing the different formations, but I think I have spotted our brightest stars Venus, Mars and the North Star recently.

Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, who I am joining with my Monday vase again. Do pop over to visit her, and see all the lovely things people have found to share from their gardens.

And have a lovely week!

Wild and Weedy Wednesday: 24th May, 2023

My weekly look at what is growing wild in my garden (and even in my flower beds!) has made me realise just how many weeds/wild flowers there are here, and I am certainly not going to run out of ideas for posts for a long while yet!

Today I have chosen a very pretty weed that many of you may know in one form or another: Veronica. As a child we called it Bird’s Eye, but is also often called Speedwell. The German name is ‘Männertreu’, literally translated as ‘men’s faithfulness’ which is an ironic reference to how quickly the petals drop or the flower wilts when picked. 😉 (Not at all PC these days I suppose!)

In addition, the common German name ‘Ehrenpreis’ (‘honour prize’) refers to its value in herbal medicine. It is apparently good for all sorts of ailments if used to make tea. (I haven’t tried it).

The most common Veronica that grows here is V. chamaedrys, but we also sometimes see the evergreen one V. persica, which is not quite so blue, much ‘weedier’ and flowers almost all year round. Veronica chamaedrys creeps into my garden beds in spring, but if left to grow in the meadow it will grow towards the light and get to about 40cm tall. Its delicate flowers are about 1cm across and a beautiful deep blue.

It is one of those weeds you may not remove from your flower beds because it so lovely. But it will spread like mad really quickly, so beware!

Have you seen this weed in your garden? And do you remove it imediately or stop to admire how pretty it is? Let me know in the comments! 😉 And if you would like to join me, please do, and leave a link to your post in the comments below.

Happy weeding!

In a Vase on Monday: Geum Delight

I love Geums and decided to use them with some shades of blue in my vase today. What a summery combination it makes too, especially with the bright sunlight. 😃

The darker orange one on the right is Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’. The colour is vibrant and stands out well in a flower bed.

The paler orange one is Totally Tangerine – one that I had difficulty in finding here until last year. It is doing exceptionally well considering it is still relatively new to the garden.

This lovely pinky orange one is called ‘Bohemia Pink’. It can’t decide if it wants to be pink or orange, but since both colours mingle so nicely it doesn’t matter!

The blue Aquilegia are actually even bluer than they appear on the photos, for which I am grateful… my last garden became inundated with purple ones, which are also nice, but within limits!

And finally, the Camassias. I could only bear to cut two, one of the paler ones from my Moon Bed, and a deeper blue one. I am afraid I have forgotten their names.

Tucked into one side are a few sprigs of the orange foliage of Spirea ‘Magic Carpet’, and the whole vase is filled out with some Alchemilla mollis, just about to burst into flower, but lovely for its soft foliage too.

I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her weekly meme, where we are invited to share a vase of goodies from our gardens. And what better time of year to do just that!

Wishing you all a wonderful gardening week.


The Mid-May Garden, 2023

It seems like the perfect time to give an update on what my garden is up to. 😉 May has been mostly mild and damp so far (although last night it went down to 1.8°C!), and plants seem to be popping up from nowhere. Left, right and centre!

My first oriental poppy started opening this week. Its silky petals have the ‘wow’ effect, and in a day or two it will be wide open for the bees to enjoy!

It was a humid day when I took these photos, with thunder clouds and the occasional rumble in the distance. This kind of day in May, especially in the evening, produces a wonderful light where all the shades of green stand out and provide a magnificent backdrop to the fresh colour in the garden beds.

One of the brightest colours in the Oval Bed right now is this Aquilegia, bought a couple of years ago. After having mostly purple ones reseeding in my last garden, I wanted a different colour to get established here… there are some seedlings already. 😃

The Camassia are starting to add blue to the spring colour scheme in the Butterfly Bed and are spreading too. They disappeared completely one year, but are now back in force.

I also have a paler Camassia in the Moon Bed. The creamy white shrub behind is Broom – Cytisus praecox ‘Albus.

In the Sunshine Bed some Geums are already open. This one is Scarlet Tempest – a lovely healthy plant that has filled out nicely, despite being planted just before the terrible heat and drought last summer. The Euphorbia polychroma is a great plant for sunny dry spots, and all my Euphorbias did extremely well last summer with no watering at all.

And this is Geum Mai Tai. Such a pretty colour, and reliable too.

At the back of this bed is the yellow broom, Cytisus praecox ‘Allgold’. It likes my garden and also does well in the soil around here. I always look out for it when I drive to town, as it grows wild along the roadsides.

The poppy I showed above is in The ‘Edge, along with a few late red and yellow tulips. Euphorbia polychroma makes an impact here too, but something that surprises me every spring is the beautiful new golden and orange foliage of Spiraea japonica ‘Magic Carpet’. It looks dead until about late March, and then slowly but surely comes back to life with bright orange shoots, fading to yellow and then lime green. The flowers are a rather insignificant pale pink in summer, barely noticeable, but in the autumn it will again take on these wonderful rich colours.

To finish off, this (unplanned!) grouping caught my eye: Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’, Yellow tulips ‘Texas Gold’, Blue Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervivens) and, in the background, Physocarpus ‘Lady in Red’. Helctotrichon is perhaps an alternative to the enormous Stipa gigantea, albeit not so long-lasting. It is the first grass to flower in my garden and looks lovely in the evening light especially.

It has been comforting to see that I had very few losses due to the drought last summer. Choosing resilient plants contributed to that. And perhaps the wet winter helped a bit too. 😉

Has your garden suffered any losses this winter?

Thanks for visiting my spring garden. Do drop by again soon!🐝☀️🐝


Wild and Weedy Wednesday: 17th May, 2023

I have chosen a very weedy plant this week; each Wednesday I post about one of the wild flowers and/or weeds I find in my garden, and read up on its common names and uses. So many of them are edible, and this one is no exception: Red Sorrel, also known as Sheep’s Sorrel or Field Sorrel (Rumex acetosella).

It is small, pinkish red and spreads like mad via rhizomes, but has many benefits for wildlife. In fact, while reading about this plant for today’s post I discovered that it is beneficial to the Small Copper – a butterfly that I had photographed only a few days ago! The Copper depends on it for food, and it is also a food source for groundfeeding songbirds such as sparrows, of which we have plenty! So although its big sister, Common Sorrel or Rumex acetosa, also called dock leaf, caused us problems when we moved here (perhaps I’ll do a post on that too), I am happy to see this small and pretty one growing in the tall grass.

Here is the Small Copper, visiting one of my flower beds. 😃

Below you can see it is surrounded by several other wild plants or ‘weeds’, such as veronica, wild pansies and plantains, which may also feature in future posts.

It thrives on poor, sandy, slightly acid soil, in the full sun, so we have perfect conditions for it here. Drought is not a problem for it either. It grows to about 30 cm, and can flower all summer if not mown. It can give larger areas of fields or heathland a red shimmer.

I mentioned that it is edible, but only in small quantities due to the toxic oxalic acid. This makes it taste sour, which explains the German common name (Sauerampfer) meaning ‘sour bitter’! But a few young leaves and flowers can be added to a salad to pep it up. It is one of the seven herbs used for the famous ‘Frankfurt Green Sauce‘. (The other six are Borage, Chives, Anthriscus, Parsley, Salad Burnet and Cress.)

I would love to know what weeds and wild flowers grow in your gardens, so if you would like to join me on a Wednesday, please leave a link below.

Happy gardening!


In a Vase on Monday: Aqualegia

Yes, before anyone smirks, I know you don’t spell Aquilegia like that! 😛 But I want to draw your attention to how pretty they look when floated in aqua – water. 🤗

I am sure some of you have seen hellebore flowers floated; their faces so often point downwards when in a vase, but in this way we can see the intricate petals and stamens. The same goes for Aquilegias, and all the details of their pretty faces are revealed.

I started off in this garden with a couple of special Aquilegias… names long forgotten, and a packet of seeds, and this is the pretty mix I now have. 😃

I added some Pulsatilla seedheads and think they rather look like sea creatures, floating alongside the flowers.

You can find other Monday vases at Rambling in the Garden, where Cathy, our host, invites us to share a vase of flowers from our gardens. Thank you Cathy! 🤗

Wishing you all a week of happy moments in your gardens.


Wild and Weedy Wednesday: 10th May, 2023

This week I have chosen a very pretty wild flower to share, with a pretty name too: Lady’s Smock, or Cardamine pratensis.

These delicate looking flowers nod their heads above tall grass in damp meadows, which is why it has reappeared here this spring after our rather wet winter. And I am so glad to see it.

This is another edible wild flower, full of vitamin C, and quite peppery. It is also called the Cuckoo Flower, perhaps because it flowers just as the first cuckoos are commonly heard. (I haven’t heard a cuckoo yet). The name may, however, be due to the ‘cuckoo spit’ often found on it –  produced by spittlebugs which produce a kind of foam around their larvae as protection. The German name reflects this: ‘Schaumkraut’ – ‘foam weed’.

The colour varies from almost white to a soft lilac. The one above grows in partial shade and is paler than the ones in the full sun. It is a valuable food plant for the Orange Tip butterflies, as well as for various bees including wild bees and for bee flies and other butterflies.

The Flower Fairy’s poem describes it as ‘Dainty as a fairy’s frock’. And that is, I find, a perfect description. 😃

If anyone would like to join me on a Wednesday in posting about weeds/wild flowers in your garden, just leave a comment with a link below. Thanks for reading!