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!

In a Vase on Monday: Looking for Light

November can be dreary, and as the snow that fell on Saturday slowly melted on Sunday, the house seemed to be enveloped in gloom! Outside is rather unpleasant today; sleet and rain and a cold wind. So for my vase this week I decided to simply revamp some of the things I had in my posies last week.

Finding a good spot to get decent photos is not easy when the sun hides behind thick cloud. I tried the windowsill. (You can see how green the garden is looking again!)

And then I placed the vase on my mini sofa which is covered with a blanket I crocheted a couple of years ago. I liked that as a background, and with a couple of lamps on it suddenly looked a bit cheerier. The tealight will be lit later when I put the vase on my dining room table. 😃

Dark red Cornus twigs, a Hellebore and a Heuchera leaf, some sprigs of Leucothoe and a stem of the lovely Pelargonium sidoides which was looking a bit unruly and needed trimming. The plant came from a cutting Annette sent me, and when I saw how she had used it in her posy last week I knew I had to try it too. 😉

Thanks to Cathy Rambling in the Garden for hosting. Do visit her and see what others have found for a vase this week.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have some sunshine today!

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!

🐝🍁🐝

 

 

 

 

In a Vase on Monday: Helianthus tuberosus

Helianthus tuberosus is making a statement in our garden at the moment. 😃

In winter, my Man of Many Talents decided to try this plant as an alternative to potatoes (which did not do well last year due to the wet and the mice). The two long strips of ground used for potatoes last year were tilled once more and he planted the tubers in early spring.

 

The tubers are edible, and are known as Topinambur or Jerusalem Artichoke. I must be honest, the flavour does not appeal to me much – earthy, nutty, and rather strong, they overpower other flavours if added to a dish. But sliced thinly and fried or baked they are a nice accompaniment to a meal. If you have eaten them and have any good ideas of how to enjoy them, please do let me know.

So the tubers are not a big hit, but the flowers ARE! They were slow to get started but by August the plants were enormous, and about two weeks ago they started flowering….

The tallest must be about three metres, at least.

So my vase today is jam-packed with these gorgeous perennial sunflowers. They create the wonderful effect of a burst of sunshine indoors on a cloudy day. 😃

The tubers can stay in the ground over winter and be harvested as we want them, or simply left to produce flowers again next summer. They were watered once in the middle of the drought, but I think you could definitely label them as very drought-tolerant. But be warned. Given ideal conditions they can take over, so should only be planted where they can spread happily. 😃

 

I do actually have two more vases to share today as well. This one is leftovers from last week – annual sunflowers, Chrysopsis and some Golden Rod.

And my last vase is rather an incredible one. Back in August (the 8th to be precise) I posted this photo of a vase full of globe-shaped flowers and seedheads.

Well, after about ten days I removed the water and a couple of wilted pieces, and let the contents simply dry in the vase. And this is how it looks now…

I haven’t dared move it, and just dust around it, as the grasses and Echinops are very fragile. I am impressed with how well everything has lasted.

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme. Do go and visit her to see what gardeners are picking from their gardens today! 😃

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Six on Saturday, 13th August 2022

Here in Germany, like in many other parts of Europe, there has been practically no rain since late spring. The garden is parched, and no amount of watering seems to make a difference. The strong winds have been relentless here, drying the ground and burning up foliage. Our trees are wilting, shrubs in the hedges we planted are dying, and the flower beds have all but been abandoned to their fate. I know so many of you are also lamenting the lack of rain. It is frustrating, but we can do little about it. So I shall focus on some of the positive things this August.

1. My vegetable garden has done well and I have harvested more than we can eat. My freezer is bursting at the seams! The yellow wild cherry tomatoes are the most productive and easy to care for tomatoes I have ever grown, and taste good too. I have also grown some sweetcorn for the first time this year and we have eaten a few cobs already, although really we should wait another week or two for them to fatten up. Delicious!

2. My Japanese Anemone opened a few days ago and is looking happy, despite a few brown leaves. I love this deep pink one – ‘Serenade’ – a pleasant change from the paler ones that seem more common.

3. The Perovskia looks magical (with the Gaura just about hanging on in the background). In fact, it looks better for the lack of rain!

4. Stipa gigantea is still shining, here with the best of the Tithonia finally reaching about a metre (the others are less than 30 cm high) and a couple of sunflowers – sadly not as grand as last year when I had dozens of enormous sunflowers, but sunflowers nonetheless.

5. The Gaillardia are looking good – one of the toughest flowers I have, flowering non-stop despite gale-force winds and scorching sun. And loved by the bees etc.

6. And finally, a bit of an oddity…. a Hellebore flowering in the full sun in August!

I realised when finishing this post that I had six photos and it is Saturday. So I am finally participating in Jon the Propagator’s ‘Six on Saturday’ meme for the first time. If you visit Jon’s blog you will find links to other gardeners posting six garden-related things on a Saturday. Many thanks to Jon for hosting this meme. 😃

Happy gardening, and wishing all those in a drought lots of long and gentle showers!

🌧🌧🌧