In a Vase on Monday: Put your Sunglasses on!

Colour is the thing right now, and my vase for Cathy’s meme (Rambling in the Garden) reflects this today. So before you scroll down, be warned… you may need sunglasses for this one!

The sunflowers are Earthwalker and the lemony Valentine, both of which are favourites and have done well in large pots. The other additions are Cosmos Brightness Mixed (orange) and Polidor (golden yellow), Tithonia, a white Cleome, and a couple of Zinnias.

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The jug came down from the shelf for its annual airing!

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Here are a few more pics. Click on any to enlarge.

 Have a great week, and do visit Cathy to see her vase and all the others that have joined in today.

😀

Thursday’s Feature: Ricinus communis

Ricinus communis

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This tropical plant fascinates me, and after some success a few years ago growing it from seed, I decided to try again this year.

From a packet of nine seeds, eight germinated, one seedling then died, two were planted up in large pots,two are growing in the rockery, and three (also planted in the rockery) were eaten by snails.

The foliage is a beautiful reddish brown when young…

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As they mature the leaves turn greener, but still with a predominantly red tinge…

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The most fascinating part of it however is the flower and then the seeds…

The flowers are tiny and the seedheads are about the size of a raspberry. But they are not edible. In fact they are very toxic. This plant is also called Castor Bean Plant,  as castor oil is extracted from the seed.

The tree actually originates from North Africa, the Mediterranean region and the Middle East, although it is now found in all tropical regions and here it is grown as a summer annual.

In my garden it gets to about 1.5 metres at most, and stands so tall and straight even if in a windy position – quite wonderful. Which is where it gets its German name from I suppose: Wunderbaum (‘Miracle Tree’)!

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You can see I have taken precautions against snails, which despite its toxicity are rather fond of this plant. The copper tape around the pot and stem works to some extent, but doesn’t deter them completely. It is supposed to give the creatures a little electric shock as they touch it, but I think my snails are too big to notice it! Some of the lower leaves had to be removed as they were in shreds!

A few more pictures of this weird and wonderful tropical wonder…

Have you ever grown Ricinus? Or any other tropical delight? I am joining Kimberley again today at Cosmos and Cleome, as she asks us to feature something from our gardens each Thursday. Do visit her to see her feature this week, as well as others linking in with interesting plants from near and far!

The Tuesday View: 9th August 2016

My view for this week was actually photographed on Monday afternoon… I noticed how mid-afternoon part of the south-facing rockery is now in the shade of our tall fir trees. Yes, the sun is getting lower in the sky already!

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The fern (bottom left) is yellowing slightly, but the rest of the rockery is still fairly green. Much of the Centranthus has been cut right down, and the lavender too. This means some of the ground cover plants (Heuchera and creeping Sedums) should now have time to regenerate and the Geraniums have more light and space too. Some of the oriental poppies are sending up fresh foliage, which fills in the gaps nicely. And of course the Perovskia can take all the limelight again, this week with the bright red Persicaria “Blackfield” peeping through it, as well as the Scabiosa. Above and beyond it is the yellow Potentilla fruticosa (possibly “Goldfinger”) which is flowering wonderfully again this year- it has been given a hard pruning the last few autumns, which seems to suit it.

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Here is the view from a bit higher up again…

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On the far bottom left you can see a small Miscanthus already flowering – not sure what sort it is though. In case you can see it, at the top right is a vase of Japanese anemones on the table on the patio.

It would be lovely to see your view again this week, to observe any changes as summer starts to ebb towards its grand finale! Just leave a link in the comments so we can all find you and enjoy your gardens too.

Have a good week!

In a Vase on Monday: What I Call Summer

The weather has taken a turn for the better the past few days – not too hot and no longer humid. Now this is what I call summer! Temperatures are in the mid 20s, and there is a light breeze… ahhh.

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My golden vases are filled with Cosmos Brightness Mixed (orange), Cosmos Xanthos (which is not as yellow as advertised, but a lovely creamy colour), Cosmos Purity (white), Achillea, Fennel, Tithonia, Golden Euonymus foliage, Scabiosa ochroleuca and a Sedum bud.

The tubular vases contain Sunflower Valentine, Tithonia and Echinacea Cheyenne Spirit (a new one in a pot again this year as they never survive the slugs in spring in the ground)…

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Have you noticed someone has been nibbling the petals…

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Whoever it was thankfully left the Cosmos Xanthos intact. I really like this new Cosmos flower which I have grown from seed for the first time…

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Finally a look at my sunflowers from the local “Blumenfeld” where you can pick Sunflowers, Gladioli and later Dahlias too, just for a few cents.

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And the remains of last week’s vase are still looking very pleasing too…

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Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this lovely meme. Do visit her, or even better join us all as we share flowers from our gardens across the globe each week!

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Thursday’s Feature: Succisella inflexa

Scabious and Knautia are two members of the Teasel family that have found a home in my rockery. But today, as I join Kimberley at Cosmos and Cleome for her Thursday meme, I am featuring another member of this family – the relatively unknown  Succisella inflexa (Moorabbiss), almost the same as Succisa inflexa.

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It starts flowering in July or August and will continue until the first frost. Like Scabious, the bees and butterflies love it…

Succisella and ButterflySummer Map Butterfly (Araschnia levana)

The buds are slightly pink, the flowers icy white, with just a tinge of violet to them.

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Succisa plants are supposedly happiest on damp ground or wet meadows… well, this year they have certainly had more rain than usual, but I have had several beautiful, healthy plants thriving on dry, well-drained soil in the full sun in drought years too! However, I should point out that mine is a cultivated specimen: Succisella inflexa “Frosted Pearls”, which differs from the wild ones in that it is a little shorter (about 2ft high), and has longer leaves.

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I love this plant for its dainty petals and delicate colour.

It is not invasive in my garden, but is easy to remove if it seeds itself where not wanted. It is very hardy, tolerates heat and drought as well as poor soil, and needs no special care – perfect for the middle of the inaccessible parts of the rockery. (The slugs and snails also pay it no attention).

😀

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Do visit Kimberley to see what she has featured this week, and why not join in too!

(P.S. Most of these pictures are from a post I did a few years ago, which you can read here. And I also featured this plant here. )