In a Vase on Monday: Shooting Star

Joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her Monday meme is so much fun. 😃

A strong ice cold north-easterly wind over the past few days has provided material too, with several Narcissi being bent flat and the hellebores looking decidedly fed up with the constant battering!

First I cut some of my Hellebore ericsmithii ‘Shooting Star’. I decided it looked best alone in my mini vase bought in Norfolk a few years ago. 🙂 I love the way Shooting Star changes from pale creamy white/yellow to pale pink.

The background plant is my dear Maidenhead fern, which has forgiven me twice in the last year or so for not watering it and has bounced back each time!

Then I used the second matching vase for the other oddments rescued, including the battered Narcissi. I will make a mental note not to plant any more tall ones on windy corners. 😉

Since moving out further into the countryside away from street lights and motorways we have been able to see more stars than ever on clear nights, and more shooting stars in the past two years than in my entire life up to then! My first memory of a shooting star was in Blakeney, Norfolk, where my vases come from. I was only about 8 years old and I spied the star through a pebbled stone archway looking out to sea. Magical!

So, not only do I have some pretty flowers to look at, but pleasant thoughts to go with them. I do hope you are all able to have some pleasant thoughts today despite these difficult times.

Keep smiling and take care.

xx

Mid May and Karel Čapek’s Gardener’s Prayer

We had the hottest and driest April on record this spring, and the first half of May was just as warm, producing only a few passing showers. This sort of weather is absolutely wonderful… unless you are a gardener! Still, the garden has soldiered on and produced glorious flowers once again. Here are the Moon Daisies in our meadow…

And a view from the top of the rockery shows how my Man of Many Talents has mowed even fewer of them away this spring 🙂

From the bottom of the rockery I can still look across the top of the giant Miscanthus and see the early deep reddish pink peony. Today the first white ones opened too. And the ferns in the foreground have taken off since we got more rain.

Recently my thoughts have often returned to this ‘prayer’ I found some years ago in ‘The Gardener’s Year’ by Karel Čapek. His wit is sometimes charming, but occasionally beyond me! However this prayer says it all perfectly, so I shall share!

“If it were of any use, every day the gardener would fall on his knees and pray somehow like this:

‘O Lord, grant that in some way it may rain every day, say from about midnight until three o’clock in the morning, but, you see, it must be gentle and warm so that it can soak in; grant that at the same time it would not rain on campion, alyssum, helianthemum, lavender, and others which you in your infinite wisdom know are drought-loving plants – I will write their names on a bit of paper if you like – and grant that the sun may shine the whole day long, but not everywhere (not, for instance, on spiraea, or on gentian, plaintain lily, and rhododendron), and not too much; that there may be plenty of dew and little wind, enough worms, no plant-lice and snails, no mildew, and that once a week thin liquid manure and guano may fall from heaven. Amen.’ ”

😀

My Heart’s Delight

I planted a few tulips in pots last autumn, and the first ones to open were Tulipa kaufmanniana ‘Heart’s Delight’.

 

I have grown these for several years now, and find they don’t last many years in the ground, producing just leaves. So I decided to try containers for a change. They stood outside all winter, close to the wall on the north side of the house, and were basically ignored until I noticed them showing shoots!

I watered them sparingly and moved them into a sunny position. They started flowering  about a week earlier than those in the ground.

They have dark green stripy leaves, which add to their attraction both before and after flowering. Sadly I have more leaves than flowers these days – this picture below of the spring corner was taken several years ago.

The Spring Corner (under the Yew tree)

At first the flowers are mostly white, with an egg-yolk centre, but gradually they turn pinker and pinker – a kind of sunset orangey-pink. In the picture above you can see them at both stages. Delightful, don’t you think?

With Corydalis ‘Beth Evans’

The name of this pretty little tulip reminded me of a wonderful song you may have heard of. And not only beacause of the title but also the singer! The English title is ‘You are my Heart’s Delight‘,  but the original was German – ‘Dein ist mein ganzes Herz’. It is an aria taken from a Franz Lehar operetta and Jonas Kaufmann  sang it at the Last Night of the Proms in the Albert Hall in London a few years ago. I have been smitten with it ever since! Here is a German version with Placido Domingo…

Or if you prefer to hear it in English here is Richard Tauber singing it; he was the man who made it internationally famous after its success in Austria and Germany. The lyrics are lovely in both languages!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JtgmKpcgQ30

 

Have you ever grown this pretty flower, or maybe a similar early tulip?

In a Vase on Monday: Bohemian

Autumn has arrived, accompanied by still, chilly, misty mornings and golden sunshine. As I collected flowers this morning for my Monday vase I realised that fellow bloggers around the world will be doing the same at some stage today; a lovely thought, giving me that sense of connecting with like-minded people across the miles. 😀

This special vase* may or may not be Bohemian glass, but inspired me to try and create something romantic, gypsy-like, with a little wildness to it. I am not sure I succeeded, but the result is nonetheless pleasing!

I used Roses, Aster ‘Lutetia’, Scabiosa, Verbena, Cosmos, Helianthus, Golden Rod, Geranium, Anemone ‘Serenade’ and some sprigs of Sage, Miscanthus, Teucrium and various odds and ends of foliage.

I love this Aster, which is flowering extra long this year after all the rain we have had this summer.

Thanks go to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme, where we are encouraged to create an arrangement from materials in our gardens. Do visit her to see what she and others have found this week to plonk/arrange carefully in a vase/suitable alternative receptacle, with or without props!

Happy Autumn!

(Or Spring if you are in the southern hemisphere! 🙂  )

*A gift from my neighbour‘s daughter, as a memento of her dear parents.

In a Vase on Monday: The Sun and the Moon

With abundant spring sunshine and a full moon tonight, yellow and white are the colours I chose to put in a vase today, as I join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her weekly meme.

When I look at the night sky I love to think that some of you – hundreds of miles away – may be looking at that same sky or moon. And a connection is there…

I also chose a round vase to echo my thoughts… the sun, moon and the globe itself.

My yellow Hellebore ‘Frühlingssonne’ (Spring Sunshine) really took off this year, after just two winters in the garden. It is fading now, but I like it at this stage best as the heads turn slightly upwards and can be seen better.

The vase contains a mix of various Narcissi, including the lovely creamy multiple flower ‘Cheerfulness’, and below you can also see a little white Pulmonaria in the foreground; the label is long gone, but it could be either ‘Sissinghurst White’  or – perhaps more appropriately – ‘Mrs Moon’.

😀

My cowslips have lovely tall stems this year, so are ideal for picking, and I also cut just one of these lovely yellow double tulips.

Other flowers and foliage included are Mahonia, some early summer snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’ – see below), Golden Euonymus, and some starry white Omphalodes verna ‘Alba’.

 I look forward to finding out what is in other Monday vases around the world later today.

And if it is a clear sky for you tonight, do take a glance up at the full moon and perhaps you will understand what I mean…

🌝

Looking Back

It was a strange summer for me this year; our beautiful old Irish wolfhound, who had been such a major and joyful part of our lives for almost ten years, died in early July. Hence the blogging break for a couple of months as I came to terms with that and all the ensuing changes.

Not only that, it was extremely hot and dry – the third hottest summer on record here, and the driest in over 50 years. I almost gave up on the garden as it shrivelled and burnt, with temperatures in the mid-30s all through July and August (apart from just a couple of cooler days in between.) We do not have a well in our garden, since we live on a very rocky hill, so watering long-term is not an option.

But then a last-minute attempt to save it with several evenings with the sprinkler proved a success and almost everything survived! Even my new dwarf Buddleia “Buzz Velvet” rewarded me with flowers after the first buds had been singed and failed to open.

Buddleia

Although the heat forced me to be physically inactive, I did spend some quality time with my family, partner and our other dog. I  also leisurely browsed blog posts, admiring your beautiful vases and gardens, while my fingers were kept active crocheting – yes, a new hobby of mine. My summer project was very calming, inspired by Eliza when she posted a vase photographed on a beautiful vintage pansy doily (Eliza’s Doily) in June. (Thanks again Eliza!) My sister helped me immensely, actually tracking down the original pattern in a 1949 pamphlet that some kind soul had scanned in and put on the internet!

My version is somewhat different, but I am quite pleased with it…

Doily

Another of Eliza’s posts was simply magical – do take a look at it here before summer is over: Lazy Summer Afternoon .

I thoroughly enjoyed all of Jason’s Tithonia posts this summer (Garden in a City) where he showed us his Mexican Sunflowers getting taller – I just love the way he describes how he deadheads them and would like someone to ring a bell each time he snips off a dead flower! (Jason’s Tithonias). A big thank you Jason, for introducing me to this plant last summer. I grew mine from seed and absolutely adore them – as do the bees and other insects!

Tithonia2

I also enjoyed reading about Cathy’s challenge to herself to not buy any plants next year… one I will not be joining in with as I do not have that same self-discipline but also because I need to make changes in the rockery to grow more drought-tolerant plants. Good luck Cathy!

EarthWalker2

Then I followed Christina’s plans for changing her view from her terrace – which she is already putting into action. Her planting has inspired me over the years, as she also has very dry summers and long periods of intense heat in her Italian garden.

Cosmos1

Annette’s Book, “Gartenträume”, has finally been published. Sadly it is only available in German (at the moment?) but I am taking great pleasure in reading about the gardens she has focused on  – including her own. Exquisite photography and a truly wonderful way with words makes this a joy to read. Well done Annette! If you speak German then do take a look at it here.

Valentine

Weather watching from a Scottish Croft Garden, glimpses of a Norwegian summer, Monday vases (Wild Daffodil gave us the tip to type in “In a vase on Monday” in Google Images – what a lovely sight!), butterflies and rainbows, hummingbirds and bloggers’ flings, all kept me well-entertained during my break. So THANK YOU fellow bloggers!

Cosmos2

Hope you all had a good summer, and thanks for dropping by.

🙂