In a Vase on Monday: Sunshine and Sand


I bought a dear little yellow bucket on impulse last week, and have been wondering what would look good in it. The Cosmos mixes I sowed this spring are gorgeous, and I have several pots of them in front of our living room window. The Shasta Daisies have also flowered well this year. So putting these two flowers together just made me think of long stretches of sandy beaches lined with colourful beach huts.


Golden sand and sunshine!


Makes me want to run along the beach and feel the hot sand between my toes, then jump into the ocean! (It’s been hot here!)

Well, that won’t be happening, as the nearest beach would be a 6-hour drive or so! 😉

Are you going to a beach this summer?


Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting the In a Vase on Monday meme. Why not join in and pick something from in or near your garden to put in a vase? It’s fun and you might just get addicted and find yourself looking forward to Mondays as much as I do!


Lavender Shortbread


Lavender is one of the loveliest perfumes, and a lavender bag retrieved from a drawer in the middle of winter conjures up images of summer, bees and warm nights. Most of my lavender is slowly going over after flowering early, but I also have some sorts that have only just opened. While it is in flower I like to use it fresh, not dried… in Lavender Ice Cream, Lavender Syrup, and here’s my latest lavender recipe:

Lemon and Lavender Shortbread


You will need:

  • 55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh organic lavender flowers for just a hint of lavender – if you want a more pronounced flavour use 2 tsps
  • 115g (1 stick) softened butter
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 170g (1 1/3 cups) plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • extra sugar for dusting

Place all ingredients in a food processor and whizz together to form a smooth dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 160°C and place a sheet of parchment on a baking tray.

Roll out the dough to about 5 mm and cut into rounds or hearts etc using a cookie cutter of your choice. Place on the baking tray and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes, when they should just begin browning. Mine needed a lttle longer today. Check them at 12 minutes as they can burn really quickly.

Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with sugar. After a few minutes’ cooling, transfer carefully to a cooling rack. They will still be soft and crumbly, but crisp up as soon as they are cold.


Best enjoyed on a summer afternoon with a cup of tea!

(These shortbread biscuits are the same recipe as my Rosemary Shortbread, posted here. Change up the herbs or flavourings as the fancy takes you! 😉 )

Tuesday View (15th July)

It’s been very damp and humid here for several days now. Today the sun prevailed though – and it got hot!

But the garden is refreshed and ready for the next wave of July heat..


The pink rose just visible at the top-centre has been listening to me moaning about its lack of flowers and for the first time ever has sprouted loads and loads of buds… I’m looking forward to the display and will definitely get some pictures!

Otherwise the hotter oranges and reds are taking to the stage. A crocosmia has decided to flower for the first time, the Echinacea ‘Orange Passion’ (see at end of this post) is looking more and more lovely every day, and this pelargonium is becoming a favourite… taken from cuttings it must be the third year I’ve had it now, and it is growing on me.


Echinacea “Orange Passion” – click on any image to see this lovely cone flower – this is just one plant in a pot!

What colours are dominating in your garden at the moment?

In a Vase on Monday: Love and Hate

On Sunday afternoon I gathered some of the flowers and foliage I love best in my garden, to put in a vase for Cathy’s meme In a Vase on Monday at Rambling in the Garden. (Do take a look at some of the other great vases again this week!)


The Japanese anemones started flowering last week, and at this time of year the flowers are a lovely shade of pink, paling as the summer progresses. Some of the Nigella that seeded itself so wonderfully last autumn has produced the pretty seedheads I have included.

Then there’s my pink Hydrangea; this is the first time it has produced such beautiful flowers. It was blue when it was given to me by a class of students at the end of their course…. about 5 or 6 years ago at least!


The Russian Sage has also just begun to flower… I love this plant – its unruly growth and sturdy spears are a focus until late autumn and add a bit more wildness to the rockery. Some wild clover is growing on the edge of the lawn, alive with bees, so just a few flowers were also cut. And I chose the peony foliage to remind me how fabulous the white peonies were in May. I added one red Allium and one sprig of Verbena bonariensis on the way back to the house.

So, you are perhaps wondering about the “hate” in the title…. well, the tall red spike with reddish brown leaves is a spiny berberis. I cut some new and particularly sharp shoots that were growing over the pathway and decided to use them in the vase as they are actually quite pretty… but can you see those thorns?!


I can almost forgive it when I see how nicely it goes with my lovely Hydrangea!


 I’ve got a bonus vase this week too… a friend laid these on my doorstep this morning! Thank you Elisabeth!


Do you have any plants in your garden that you can forgive for being thorny, untidy or simply thuggish?

Have a nice week everyone!


Tuesday View (8th July)

It was so hot over the weekend, we were all starting to wilt. But today the temperature has been dropping steadily and in the afternoon the rain came…


What a relief, although tomorrow we will probably be freezing as it is supposedly going down to just 13°C!

The garden is loving it. This was the view at about 4pm…


And zooming in I can see the blue of the Russian Sage on the left, and some yellow Potentilla flowers opening too.


Is your garden happy with your current weather?

Have a great week everyone, and stay cool! 😉