In a Vase on Monday: Happy Hellebore

The new year has started of mild and sunny, and today I actually found myself doing some gardening. What a great way to begin 2023!
I did some chopping of mouldy and flopped foliage, and then cut most of the leaves off my hellebores, which are starting to flower beautifully. In a few weeks I should have enough to float a whole bowlful, but for today I am more than happy with just one. 😃

I chose a small porcelain bowl my sister gave me a few years ago – just right for a single flower.

The intricacy of the flowers can be seen so well when floating them. This is one of the Ice ‘n’ Roses Gold Collection, I think ‘Early Red’, although I have ‘Early Rose’ too and they are practically identical. (Or wrongly labelled, which does happen!) I have raved about this collection before – they are all wonderful and very hardy, mostly flowering early and for a long time. And I believe there are now over a dozen sorts. I will be keeping my eye out for another one this spring. 😉

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme. And here’s to hellebores and happy gardening days! And a Happy New Year to you all!

Why I Love Autumn…

October is progressing, so it is time for an update from my autumnal garden. I really love this time of year, not just for the cooler temperatures and the special light or October sunshine. But the morning mists, the slower pace, the grasses, the asters, and a kind of ‘end-of-season’ feeling of satisfaction.

Apart from some slightly stunted growth (especially the Miscanthus), the grasses and asters seemed practically unaffected by the hot dry summer.

In the Oval Bed the rich purply pink Aster ‘September Ruby’ stands at about 1.8m tall. It has been the highlight for a few weeks now, along with the Miscanthus ‘Federweisser’, which is the only Miscanthus I have that has reached its full height and has flowered well. I love it!

Aster ageratoides ‘Ezo Murasaki’ is a small bluish purple one, about 60cm tall, spreading into a nice clump now….

Other asters have been planted in the Oval Bed but need a year or two to settle in, such as this pretty pale pink one called ‘Rosa Sieger’.

Moving across to the Butterfly Bed, this much pinker one is Aster novae-angliae ‘Andenken an Alma Poetschke’.

Pink is an understatement for this flower! It is lively, vibrant, luminous – a great one to have if you only have space for one or two asters, or as a focal point as it really stands out.

(By the way, Poetschke is one of the oldest gardening companies in Germany and this aster was named after the grandmother of Werner Poetschke who ran the family business until the 1980s.)

In the Butterfly Bed the mice/voles had fun reorganizing everything last winter, so bits of asters planted there have moved and labels have been lost! The only one I can name for sure is the Aster pringlei ‘Pink Star’, seedlings of which have been put in the Oval Bed as well. 😀 Here it is pictured alongside a blue Geranium and the Chrysanthemum ‘Anastasia’, which is just beginning to open.

These are also flowering in the Butterfly Bed…

 

Now onto the Moon Bed, which focuses on blue and white flowers.

I had Aster ‘Mönch’ flowering here. for weeks, but it is finally going over. The current blue in this bed is the very tall Aster ‘Barr’s Blue’… not a true blue, but lovely nonetheless…

The Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Schottland’ is still a great backdrop.

The white asters in flower here right now are creating a stir… I would never have thought that white could be such a lovely ‘colour’, but at this time of year it brings light to the fading flower beds and stands out so well against the blue skies we have had recently.


This is Boltonia asteroides ‘Snowbank’ above, and below the slightly shorter Aster ageratoides ‘Ashvi’.

The other white aster I have is on the corner of the Sunshine Bed, which is extremely dry and exposed to sun and wind.

Aster ericoides ‘Schneetanne’ has tiny flowers, but major impact. It looks as good as ever, especially from a distance, like a little cloud in front of the yellow Chrysopsis.

Finally, The ‘Edge. This bore the brunt of the hot winds we had in July and August, and although the Miscanthus suffered, most of the other plants bounced back in September.

The Calamagrostis took it in their stride and the Stipa gigantea has remained standing all this time and is still very present.

I have got my final planting done, and bulbs in pots and in the ground, so I finally had time to sit on my lovely lounger last weekend and dream about the perfect gardening year we will have next year… plenty of rain, but lots of sunshine too. No wind. No heatwaves. No thunderstorms or hail and lots of butterflies and bees! 😉

Do you grow asters? Which have flowered well for you?

I hope you are enjoying your October gardens too.

Happy gardening!

🐝🍁🐝

 

 

 

 

The Spring Garden, 2022

It is high time for a garden update as April is now in full swing and the garden is taking off! The month started out very cold and damp, but the last few days have warmed up the soil and everything is coming to life.

The early tulips are here!

This white botanical one, with delicate pointed petals and a rich bluish mauve eye is Tulipa humilis ‘Coerulea Oculata Alba’. It is perfect in the Moon Bed, where it is accompanied by blue and white Anemone blanda…

… and some pretty Narcissi.

This bed has developed into a lovely area for spring flowers. 😃

 

There are lots of Narcissi Cheerfulness in my Herb Bed… they certainly brighten up this area until the herbs start growing. You can see chives in the foreground, already tall enough to cut. 😃

The Herb Bed is also home to a few tulips. These are the first things to catch my eye when coming through our gate – a welcoming sight! They were planted a few years ago so the name is forgotten… maybe ‘Apricot Emperor’.

And here this morning with the Actaea Narcissi.

Apart from a few bulbs, the Herb Bed is still looking rather sparse, so let’s move over to the Oval Bed. There are some other early tulips in flower here, including these deep ruby ones: T. aucheriana. The buttercup yellow centre is such a contrast to the dark petals.

New perennial sweet pea shoots are emerging from the ground, the Viburnum is in bud, and the Pulsatilla are flowering.

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Next, The ‘Edge.

Those red dots are the ‘Showwinner’ Kaufmannia tulips. They are a dwarf tulip, but seem to have unusually short stems. Hopefully the stems will get longer as they do with many other early tulips.

They show up very well against the woodchip mulch and catch the eye even from the house. This is the first Spring for The ‘Edge, and I am going with the flow and seeing what works and what doesn’t. The Miscanthus and Calamagrostis stood there all winter and the red-stemmed Cornus have been lovely since January.

 

The Butterfly Bed succumbed to mice this winter, so I am waiting to see if many tulips have survived. The broom in the middle is wobbling, either due to strong wind or to root damage, but I will wait and see if it flowers before digging it out. The hellebores still look wonderful here.

 

And this Pulmonaria (P. ‘Benediction’) is a striking blue. The bluest I have found yet!

The hellebore below (in the Sunshine Bed) is my favourite at the moment. It turns from creamy yellow to pink and green. (Another one with no label…. where do all these labels disappear to?)

And between all the beds, dandelions!

Still, if they attract wildlife I don’t actually mind them, and they are such valuable plants. As long as they stay in the grass and out of the flower beds. 😉

The hedgerows planted around the perimeter of the garden in 2018 are well established now and the blackthorn opened yesterday. This was a few days later than the ones just down the bottom of the hill, which shows me what a difference it makes being a little higher and more exposed to the elements.

And these buds are about to burst. I wonder if you recognize them….

They are what we call ‘false elder’ as they do not produce the heavenly scented flowers people love to use in syrups and liqueurs. European Red Elder (Sambucus racemosa) is named so for the red berries produced. They start leafing out at about the same time as the scented Black Elder (Sambucus nigra) but flower much earlier.

Finally, one of the new raised planters is looking really promising, with radishes and salad leaves sprouting and some new parsley and chive plants too. If you are sowing  seeds that should only be barely covered with soil, I can recommend covering the surface with a little hay or straw to keep in moisture and to protect from wind, strong sun or cold nights. They will germinate much more quickly. 😉

The other planter will hold my butternuts, but I can see I need even more space for vegetables this year… Plans are being forged, so watch this space! 😉

I wonder if you have any specific garden projects at the moment?

Have a great Easter weekend.

😃

And Happy Gardening!

🌷🌷🌷

 

 

 

In a Vase on Monday: For Fear of Being a (helle)Bore….

Yes, it’s Monday again and I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden with her lovely meme where we are invited to plonk something from our gardens into a vase to share each week. And, as the title suggests, I am using hellebores AGAIN!

I have tucked them all tightly into my hare jug.

They are starting to fade a little, giving them that shabby vintage look. What’s more, as they age, they last longer in a vase. So fingers crossed….

My various attempts at keeping newly opened hellebores fresh in a vase this winter produced no conclusive result, except that – as is often the case with gardening – it is a matter of luck. 😉

We have had such a nasty cold spell, with heavy frosts. But some warm sunny days are ahead. So it made sense to use the hellebores while they are still looking perky. Today is still chilly, but look at that blue sky in the background. 😃

Do go and visit Cathy’s blog and see what she and others are sharing in their vases today. Why not join in?

Happy gardening!

🌷🌷🌷

 

In a Vase on Monday: Mums – and Dads!

Chrysanthemums/Chrysanths/Mums – are in my vase today, still looking very fresh despite some chilly damp weather last week. A few fading Sedums accompany them.
But can you spot the two surprise flowers tucked in?

Yes, a pink and a purple Scabiosa were braving the cold wind in the Oval Bed. I brought them in to enjoy close up.

I chose my title because this vase is for my parents. My Mum is feeling low today and my Dad is fed up too… he has been in hospital and is hoping he can finally go home soon.

Flowers can raise our spirits, and I am glad to be able to share such a cheerful bunch mid-November. Wishing you all a sunny week and thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting!

🍁☀️🍄