In a Vase on Monday: Water off a Duck’s Back

The Dog Days are here and the garden is now taking on its shabby look for high summer. But a few stars have been shining on regardless of the hot winds and strong sun, taking it all like the proverbial ‘water off a duck’s back’! So I decided to highlight these in my vase this week. If you are new to this blog, I join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden every Monday for this lovely meme, where we all find something from our gardens to share in a vase.

My little duck was given to me some years ago by a sales lady in a gift card shop, from her window display… such a kind gesture. 😃

First off, the Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’ which has appeared a couple of times recently on my blog. It is so blue, such a tough little plant and the bees love it. 😃

Perovskia. It doesn’t matter what the weather, this shrub comes back stronger by the year. The only thing you can do to hurt it here is to cut it back too hard before it has started showing new shoots in spring. (Or give it too much water and shade perhaps!) I used the stalwart P. ‘Blue Spire’.

Euphorbias. The tall Euphorbia seguieriana tends to flop, but I forgive it for the citrusy zing it adds to the garden. It refreshes and energizes just by looking at it. 😃 One stem I used here is Euphorbia cornigera ‘Goldener Turm’ which is still standing tall.

Gaura. The sun may singe flowers, but since they open new flowers on their long flower stalks daily this isn’t a problem. And they look lovely waving in a breeze/strong wind!

Echinacea. The only thing that might stop these flowering is the slugs in spring. But some of mine seem resistant to them too. The white one is ‘Fragrant Angel’ and is my tallest, at about a meter high. I also added a small pink E. ‘Pica Bella’.

Scabiosa. I cut them back after the initial flowering and they carry on flowering intermittently through the summer. Another bee magnet.

The grasses. I added a few stems of Calamagrostis, one of my favourite grasses at this time of year. With its defiant upright stance it faces the wind and sun like a real warrior. This one is C. Waldenbuch which has slightly paler seedheads than others.

Finally, I added some Daucus carota/Queen Anne’s Lace, which is growing wild absolutely everywhere this year, clearly enjoying the sunny weather.

Which plants take the summer heat or drought like water off a duck’s back in your garden? Do share!

And have a great week!

Summer Grasses

When planning my flower beds in this garden I wanted grasses. Lots of them. Ones that would sway in the wind, that would remain standing until late winter, that would provide cover for birds etc, and for the long flower bed I call The ‘Edge I wanted grasses that would grow tall enough to create the effect of a semi-hedge.  Miscanthus were of course on the list, but they take so long to reach any noticeable height and do not start flowering until August.

One that I chose for early flowering is Blue Oats Grass (Helictotrichon sempervivens ‘Saphirsprudel’). By mid-May it was about 60 cm tall and in flower. And here it is May 23rd…

… And at its full height (about 1.3m) June 1st…

Another early flowering grass is Stipa gigantea. Such a beautiful grass! It grew at roughly the same pace as the Oats Grass (but is somewhat taller at about 2 metres) and catches the light so well. Early evening light especially. 😃

In the Moon Bed I have Stipa capillata, which hasn’t made much impact yet but starts flowering in early June…

And this grass, Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Schottland’, which I think will have to be moved, as it has formed a very large clump already. It also started flowering at the end of May…

In various flower beds I have Stipa tenuissima, best planted in a windy position. (Which means almost every space in my garden! ) It is such a graceful grass.

It looks a bit drab until May, when it starts to produce fresh green, and the lovely seeds.

Another relatively early flowering grass is Calamagrostis. In my Butterfly Bed it is already taller than me. In more exposed beds it is only just starting to flower. This remains upright until mid winter, and provides some warm golden highlights in autumn.

And this year I have some small Briza.

Not sure if they are perennial, but hope they will seed around anyway. Probably the prettiest seedhead, but so hard to photograph!

Do you grow an ornamental grass that fills out early on in the year? Do share!

Thanks for reading, and happy gardening!

In a Vase on Monday: Hidden Gold

At the end of November, with a light sprinkling of snow, the idea of creating a vase with items from my garden would, just a few years ago, have been far from my mind. But then Cathy at Rambling in the Garden came up with her Monday meme and so, here is my contribution for this week. 😃

At a first glance, these grasses and seedheads look rather drab. But when I turned the light on to get some better photos this afternoon, I found hidden gold. 😉

See what I mean?

 

By the way, the little elk is Elvin. He is packed away after Christmas every year with all the other decorations and it is a happy reunion when I open up my boxes of bits and pieces! And the doiley is one I crocheted a couple of years ago. 😃

Do visit Cathy to see what she has found on an icy Monday in November. And have a lovely week!

❄️🌨❄️

In a Vase on Monday: A November Anniversary 2021

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden started up this lovely meme one day in November (!) 8 years ago now, and it has been part of my weekly routine for almost as long (I think I started contributing in the spring of 2014). Mondays are definitely not as drab as they used to be, and there have been weeks where all I have posted has been a vase, keeping this blog ticking over. So we are all celebrating this anniversary with her. Congratulations! And I am rising to the challenge Cathy has given us for today: to create a vase without using any fresh flowers.

😮

Well, actually, that might have been more of a challenge in June. 😉 But even in November there is still a lot to love in my garden. So here is what I put together for this week, which I hope conforms to the ‘rules’. 😊

The orange Geranium leaves against the pale pink vase rather appealed to me. Pink and orange is one of my favourite colour combinations. 😃 Although they are not dried, they are dry-ish!

Lighting was tricky… it was very dull and grey on Sunday afternoon, with freezing cold drizzle. I had to put a lamp on! Thankfully the sun is peeping through the clouds today.

Some Echinacea seedheads are still standing, and I also picked three Allium  ‘Millennium’ seedheads just before they start to disintegrate. The other additions are the still green Succisella seedheads and a few grasses from previous vases.

I hope you will visit Cathy in the course of today – you will find her latest vase and others linked in the comments section and I am sure you will agree how fascinating and inspiring it is to see what people around the globe are picking from their gardens.

Your Monday will be a little brighter for it! 😃

A big thank you to Cathy! xx

The Garden in November, 2021

The garden is still doing well in November, which somehow surprises me – but perhaps it is always so!

(I managed to get almost all the beds onto this one photo, taken from the terrace – albeit on Sunday 31 st October, so cheating a bit!)

Our first frost this year was October 10th, so a little later than previous years. Since then a few more have followed, so quite a few flowers have gone over now. But there is still loads of colour to cheer up these grey November days. 😃

Let’s start with the Butterfly Bed, sporting the Chrysanthemum ‘Anastasia’ I used in my vase the other day. It takes over from the adjacent pink Aster in mid October and will flower for another 2 or 3 weeks at least.

Another highlight in this bed is the leaves of perennial Geraniums changing colour… I like this unplanned combination with the lime green Euphorbia still looking lush.

At the back of the Butterfly Bed is my lovely ‘Red Chief’ Miscanthus. It isn’t as large as some, but from late October onwards the leaves and seedheads add some drama with their deep pinky red.

Moving across to the Oval Bed, two tall Miscanthus and the now faded Aster ‘September Ruby’ dominate. A mix of ground cover plants will provide winter interest for a month or two. I wonder if we will get much snow this winter….

The Miscanthus on the left is ‘Beth Chatto’, and the other one is ‘Federweißer’ – my favourite. To give you an idea of their size, the Aster is just short of 2 metres. I would recommend both Miscanthus, although my ‘Beth Chatto’ is a little later in gaining size and flowering than my others.

Beyond the Oval Bed is the Moon Bed, which was mostly planted in autumn last year and added to in the spring this year. Almost all the plants were in 9 cm pots, and still managed to put on so much growth, benefitting from the damp summer.

The colour scheme is white, cream and blue, drifting into purple. The white Aster ‘Ashvi’ and the Boltonia ‘Snowbank’, along with Aster ‘Barr’s Blue’ have kept this going into November, so I am pleased they seem to have settled in so well. Looking at it now I find it hard to believe that I could barely see the woodchip mulch only a few weeks ago. White Cosmos, Cleome and Gaura filled the spaces.

This Prickly Poppy, grown from seed, has flowered for months on end.

And naturally there are several grasses in this bed too. The Pennisetum is looking lovely at the moment.

Now a brief look at The ‘Edge, where my sunflowers were in the summer. The seeds were devoured in record time by the birds (and mice?!) and the remains are now on the compost heap. But there is still a lot of colour in this bed from plants like Cornus, Physocarpus and Pyracantha ‘Orange Charmer’.

A small yellow Chrysanthemum also adds some sparkle late in the season. 😃

The Herb Bed is simply glowing with another Pennisetum and my Witch Hazel adding golden hues…

And finally the Sunshine Bed, which is very very dry due to the trees behind it, and yet the Helianthus did well and the Chrysopsis does not seem bothered even now…

November is not such a bad month after all, as long as the sun keeps popping out every now and then! Still, I am glad I have managed to get all my spring bulbs in as it is rather chilly these days.

Hope you have plenty of mild and sunny days ahead now the nights are drawing in. Happy gardening and thanks for reading!

🤗

 

My Grasses in Winter

As my regular readers will have gathered by now, I love grasses!

🌾🌾🌾

I simply do not have enough of them and hope to remedy that over the next few years. But today I thought I would reflect on those that stand up to winter best in my garden.

 

First of all my favourite Pennisetum, on the corner of the Herb Bed.

Pennisetum alooecuroides var. viridescens

It is a bushy plant with compact growth which means the dark seedheads remain pretty stable all winter, even with a lot of snow on them. This is a windy corner too, and extremely hot and dry in summer, but the Pennisetum is completely unperturbed by wind or drought. Definitely a thumbs up for this one. 👍

Miscanthus Red Chief and Adagio with Calamagrostis (Karl Foerster) in the Butterfly Bed are still looking fairly fresh and are completely intact.

The Calamagrostis thins down a little over winter making less of a statement, but remains tall and straight with virtually no flopping. Red Chief loses its pink tinge a little, but is a lovely golden brown with a touch of bronze on the seedheads.

Adagio (the smaller Miscanthus further down the bed) flops a little and is more susceptible to the snow, but again it is still a lovely golden brown. Thumbs up!

At the far end of the Butterfly Bed (far left)is Miscanthus sinensis Hermann Müssel…

I am afraid he hasn’t done well for two years in a row so if he doesn’t take off this summer I will move him to another spot. Not one I would chose in future.

Then we have Miscanthus ‘Federweißer’ in the Moon Bed…

…and in the Oval Bed (on the left).

Wonderful! I fell in love with this plant in spring 2020 and now have two fabulous specimens. These are keepers! 👍

The other Miscanthus in the Oval Bed at the front is Beth Chatto. I must say I was not that impressed in the summer, but this is a very sturdy plant with tough stems and has stood up to heavy wet snow quite well. The seedheads have lasted well too.

So, nice for winter interest but with less impact in summer.

Finally, the Erogrostis trichodes…

Despite being on the windiest corner (and getting smothered in heavy snow this winter) it still has the ability to look pretty whatever the weather. Raindrops or frost enable this little grass to stand out, making it a must for my winter garden. It adds some extra sparkle. 😃 (Oh, and do you see those hare pawprints in the snow in the background?!) 🐇

The Panicums and another Miscanthus in the Sunshine Bed have long collapsed or look very dishevelled. I love the strong background they give to this bed in summer among the Helianthus. But they offer very poor winter interest. I know from other bloggers that some Panicums stand up better than others, but I think I prefer to stick with what has already proved successful in this garden… Calamagrostis, Pennisetum and the Miscanthus I have mentioned. More of these will be part of my spring 2021 project.

By the way, my Stipa tenuissima have all been completely buried by the snow. I wonder how long it will take for them to stand up again when it melts….

What grasses do you grow, and do they still look good now? Any recommendations for warm and dry spots would be much appreciated!

Have a great weekend! 💕

 

Piet Oudolf as Inspiration

I watched an absolutely wonderful film about Piet Oudolf earlier this week and want to share it with you!

Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf

The film takes a look at some of the gardens he has designed, such as the Lurie Garden in Chicago, the High Line in New York, or the Hauser and Wirth garden in the south of England. It also focuses on the changing of seasons in these and in his own garden, Hummelo.

A very big thank you to Angie at North Trail Living for sharing this film and for posting links to several other documentaries on famous gardeners too. Do take a look at her post!

My Man of Many Talents gave me two more of Piet Oudolf’s books for Christmas. I haven’t started reading this one yet, which is a German version, describing how his garden ‘Hummelo’ evolved.

But I completely devoured this one on Christmas and Boxing Day…

… reading it from cover to cover! It is actually a list of plants, with photos, descriptions and useful planting information…

This picture has been open on my desk for several weeks now and is providing inspiration for my next spring project.

It is from another German version of one of Oudolf’s books, written with Noël Kingsbury. I am afraid I don’t know the English title…

 

Have you visited any of Piet Oudolf’s gardens? Read any of bis books? If you know of him, what do you think about his planting style? Would love to hear anything you know about him or his gardens!

Thanks for reading!