In a Vase on Monday: Dragons or Lions?

This Monday morning the first thing I did was to go outside and pick some flowers so that I can join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her lovely vase meme. It is now 10 am and already 27°C, so I am glad I was up early to enjoy some cooler air.

Alchemilla mollis is trying to take over my garden beds this summer, so a few strands overhanging the lawn or shadowing other plants were the first choice for today’s vase. Then I cut the tallest stems of the antirrhinums that miraculously survived our cold winter. Add some of the red Heuchera that crept into the Moon Bed by mistake, and this is what you get.😃

The German name for antirrhinums is ‘Löwenmäulchen’ – little lion mouths. 😃 In Britain they are called Snapdragons. I rather like both names. I wonder which you prefer.

Heuchera also has a pretty common name in Germany – Purple Bells or Silver Bells. Does anyone know of a common name for them in English?

My Alchmeilla will need to be cut down soon as the flowers scorch and droop in the heat. But new leaves will quickly appear and provide some nice green ground cover.

 

Do visit our host Cathy today to see what she has found from her beautiful garden to put in a vase this week.

Have a great week and happy gardening!

The Garden in June, 2021: Part Two

June is hot this year, but the garden has benefitted from the cool Spring so it is coping pretty well. 30°C and climbing! Phew! Glad I got that mulch down in time!

The other day I posted about the Vegetable Plot, the Butterfly Bed and the Oval Bed. Today I am taking you on a tour of the remaining beds. It’s a long post, so settle down with a cool drink in the shade! 😉

So first of all the Herb Bed.

There are a few plants in there that aren’t herbal actually, but the majority is edible. 😃

This is the hottest, driest part of the garden for most of the year, and in late winter a cold wind whistles round the corner where this Geum stands… but this is its third year, so it clearly doesn’t mind!

The Lemon Balm has grown into almost a shrub this year. The silvery foliage on the right is curry plant (Helychrysum italicum).  It really does smell of curry!There are some Hypericums and Echinacea, and all the usual kitchen herbs in here: parsely, chives, thyme and oregano, sage, winter savory, dill and borage, coriander, fennel and mint.

Under the Hamamelis tree are some wild strawberries. They smell (and taste) fantastic! Last year this bed was plagued by mice.  🙃 This year we have been lucky so far…

A few ornamental sages are planted here too. This one is Salvia greggii ‘Syringa Blues’, which does in fact look more blue in real life.

One plant I can’t wait to see flower is this Moldavian Dragonhead (Dracocephalum moldavicum) grown from seed. I have no idea what to expect!

Next up, the Moon Bed.

It was tilled autumn 2020, when a few things were planted,  and then the rest of the planting took place this spring.

The bed is actually a half moon shape, and the planting is predominantly whites and blues with some silver and cream. Allium Mount Everest has already gone over, but the bees loved it while it was in flower.

Shrubs and plants include a white lupin, veronica, phlox, lavender, a dwarf Philadelphus, a white broom, Spiraea arguta, Sea Buckthorn and a pretty willow (Salix integra) called Hakuro Nishiki. The leaves are variegated with creamy white and a hint of pink. So pretty!

The ‘moon’ in the centre is a hollow rusty metal ball – a gift from my Man of Many Talents. 😃A silvery Miscanthus is planted next to it and behind it a pink Heuchera (wrongly labelled!) has crept in…

…but this bright pinky red peony was added as a fun touch; it is called Cuckoo’s Nest. And it is the cuckoo in the nest, standing out among the softer colours. It smells wonderful. I love it!

Another peony currently flowering is Jan van Leeuwen. It’s a gorgeous flower – big and blousy with a golden centre. But sadly it has no fragrance.

Several Geraniums are planted here, including the perfectly blue Mrs Kendall Clark and the strikingly white ‘White Ness’ seen here with Rozanne.

I have planted lots of annuals in between, yet to make a show… Cosmos, Cleome and Gaura (the latter is often winter hardy here but not reliably).

Let’s move on to the Sunshine Bed.

This is glorious right now with the Californian poppies, Oriental poppies and Geums lighting it up.

Sunflowers, Tithonia and then the perennial Helianthus will provide more sunshiny colour later in the summer, with some grasses in between. A yellow broom has gone over now, but here it about two weeks ago in full bloom on the right. What a lovely honey-llike scent it has. Another favourite with the bees. 😃🐝

Finally the latest bed. The ‘Edge.

Not a hedge, exactly. But almost. Hence the apostrophe. And this long curved bed marks the outer border – the edge – of the flower garden.

This is what I have been working towards from the very beginning. I knew it would be tough – it is 25 metres long! Hopefully it will eventually meet my expectations, but currently it is still looking rather sparse. The stunning Lupin in the middle has been flowering nonstop since mid-May.

Then there are grasses such as Miscanthus, Calamagrostis and Imperata, some shrubs such as a Forsythia, Cornus, Hazel and Weigelia, some ground cover like Spiraea and Heuchera, and some sunflowers and Tithonia yet to flower. This is a lovely shrub that is new to me. Physocarpus opulofolium ‘Lady in Red’.

The bed is exposed, to say the least, and will be put to the test over the next twelve months. But the soil is wonderful and the wood chippings as mulch help keep it moist.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed the tour. Thank you for joining me while I keep records of the garden developing, and have a wonderful weekend!

Happy Gardening!

 

In a Vase on Monday: Purple Dance

The blue skies are hanging around a bit longer at last and the ‘April’ showers we have been getting all through May have subsided. 😉 The ground is soaked through and everything is growing like mad. (A working holiday in Bavaria anyone? I have weeds and more weeds!)

The cool temperatures all month also mean I still have tulips. 😃 The one at the centre of my vase today is called Purple Dance, and along with Tulips Purple Dream and Menton and some purple Alliums it makes for a pretty show at the end of tulip season.

So, this Monday I am pleased to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden once again with a purple arrangement in a purple vase. 😁

This Allium is either Purple Sensation or Purple Rain (very similar).

And the Geranium is G. renardii ‘Philippe Vapelle’. It has lovely dark veins along the petals.

I added some Salvia pratensis, some Nepeta and some Alchemilla mollis, all of which are drooping a little in these photos but they perked up after an hour or so in the vase.

My fading Hellebore is still looking gorgeous, so I had to include it again… it lasts so well (two or three weeks) in a vase when cut this late. I wonder if it is possible to dry it. I will try.

Then there is this purple Aquilegia. Now where did a purple one come from?!

A bit of Heuchera foliage, some chive heads and some Geranium phaeum finished things off.

 

Have a good week everyone.

Happy gardening!

☀️🐝☀️

Spring Update

The sun is shining and temperatures have finally climbed into double figures. And my Spring plant orders have started arriving. What more could a gardener ask for?!

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There are lots of plants in this delivery for the new bed, yet to be prepared. But the other things that arrived yesterday went in immediately. For example, some more Echinacea and Salvia for the Oval Bed and a Veronica and white Dicentra (Lamprocapnos) for the Moon Bed. You can see the Dicentra here… tiny but very vigorous!

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I never really introduced the Moon Bed, which was prepared and planted rather late last autumn. Here it is, still looking rather bare.

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Cutting down the Miscanthus next to my ‘Moon’ in late winter made it look even sparser, but it will soon start taking off now it is warmer. Most of the plants I put in last year are peeping through the soil. It is so reassuring, and exciting too, to see them appear from nowhere!

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The barriers around two shrubs are to deter a Mummy hare from nibbling… can you see a bundle of fur in here?

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One of her babies has made a nest in some hay I put out for him. He seems to like the spot under my potting bench for daytime napping and basking in the sunshine!

The colour scheme for the Moon Bed (which is actually a half moon in shape) will be limited to blue and white, with some silvery foliage and grasses mixed in. Can’t wait to see if it works! I think it is easier to experiment when you are starting from scratch. There are some new plants in there I have never grown, including a Delphinium… not sure if it will like such an exposed position, but we will see. 🙃

I also planted a few small herb plants in the Herb Bed yesterday: a Schizonepeta multifida (sounds a bit scary!) which is a mountain mint and looks like a dead stick still, hence no photo; a fennel plant to replace one eaten by the mice; and some Greek oregano. (Have any of you ever grown the Schizonepeta before? )

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My Rosemary sadly had to be dug out of the Herb Bed as it did not survive the winter, but I now have a lovely Witch Hazel on the other corner of the Herb Bed and after ripping out dozens of wild strawberry plants (or was it thousands? 😉) to make room for the witch hazel I planted some cheerful Saxifrage. Albeit not the herbal kind. The witch hazel is ‘Diane’ and looks extremely boring now the flowers have gone over and the leaves haven’t started to unfurl but, for my own reference at least, here it is.

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Today the cold wind has made a comeback, so I am spending a relaxing afternoon recovering from a few aching limbs typical for gardeners at this time of year! 😉

Have a great weekend everyone.

And Happy Gardening!

🌷☀️🌷

 

My Grasses in Winter

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

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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! 💕