In a Vase on Monday: Mostly Herbs

I have been harvesting some herbs recently. Last week it was parsley, sage and chives; the parsley and sage are cut into small pieces and dried in our food dehydrator until dry enough to crumble, and the chives are snipped and simply frozen in tiny containers, ready to sprinkle over/in hot food. I also made some parsley and garlic paste (that was strong!) and some parsley ice cubes.

But today the mint was due to be picked and, as always, I got distracted and started picking things for a Monday vase!

The photos are taken on the steps next to my Herb Bed, which is also ‘mostly herbs’. There is a Viburnum in the middle, a few antirrhinums, a Geum, a Euphorbia and some spring bulbs. But I think everything else could be classified as a herb or medicinal plant (German has one word for this: Heilkräuter).

The first Hypericum flower of the season on my dark-leafed Hypericum shrub was the prompt for my vase, as this shrub looks so pretty growing near the Antirrhinums and I had already decided I wanted to use a couple of those today.  Some blue borage set them off nicely.

The pink sage flowers also look nice with the dark foliage. I have several sages, including some ornamental ones. To my surprise, a couple overwintered from last year, including this purple one: Nachtvlinder.

Other green foliage is mint(!), lemon balm and more Hypericum. Somewhere at the back there is even a sprig of parsley! 😉

I am now going to chop up all this mint for the dehydrator and will remember this warm sunny June day while sipping some mint tea on a winter’s day. 😃

Thanks to Cathy from Rambling in the Garden for keeping this idea alive every week, where we share things plucked from our gardens or neighbourhoods and show them off in a vase of some sort.

Have a lovely Monday and a great week.

Happy gardening!

In a Vase on Monday: Spring or Summer?

Despite a couple of nerve-wracking nights with temperatures dipping to just 3° above freezing (yikes!), the garden is looking like it is summer already. Poppies are about to burst their buds, annuals and the last veg are in the process of being planted out, and the Scabiosa and Knautia are in full bloom. So I picked some for my Monday vase, joining the other Cathy at Rambling in the Garden once again.

I love the Knautia and Scabiosa, as they are not only pretty but attract loads of bees and other pollinators.

We have so many buzzing around today. 🐝🐝🐝

The Veronica is opening too, so I added a couple of sprigs…

… and the red Heuchera (that should have been white and still hasn’t been moved out of the blue and white Moon Bed) was destined for a vase as soon as it showed its colour.

The best thing about this vase is the perfume coming from the pale pink Dianthus. Lovely! These pinks were a gift from my friend Simone’s garden a couple of years ago and seem very happy here. 😃

A few Nigella are hiding in there, along with a sage flower, a Persicaria, some grasses from last week’s vase, fennel foliage and some fading chive flowers. Oh, and some Pulsatilla seedheads again. I just can’t resist their fluffiness in a vase! 😉

Is your garden moving towards summer already? I wonder what defines that moment for you. In this garden I am still uncertain as the cold spell we get in early June is actually not all that unusual. In fact it has a name: Schafskälte. (Literally ‘sheep’s chill’) Early to mid June we often have a few colder days and nights that mean the poor sheep that have already been shorn feel the chill!

Hopefully this is an early ‘Schafskälte’ we are experiencing and tonight will be the last chilly night – the forecast says we are getting some real summer days at the end of the week. ☀️

Wishing you some good weather too.

And happy gardening!
🐝🌷🐝

 

A Flamboyant Parrot Tulip – Texas Gold

I grew a gorgeous parrot tulip this year called Texas Gold. It opened the second week of May and looked like this….

A lovely shape, a beautiful strong golden yellow colour, and some green streaks. I knew it should have a slight flaming around the edges as I had grown it before, so I watched it over the next week or so and on May 16th it looked like this.

Now, isn’t that pretty?

But then the petals started to develop an orangey red tinge all over. This was only two days later…

And now most of them have turned almost completely orange with only a little golden yellow remaining. Wow!

I feel I got more than my money’s worth with this tulip.😃

Did you have a favourite tulip this spring?

Himalayan Foxtail Lilies

In the autumn of 2020 I planted three strange roots that reminded me of an octopus – Eremurus himalaicus, Himalayan Foxtail Lilies.

Here is a photo I found online which shows what I mean about the octopus…

They were carefully positioned in the new Moon Bed, between the giant white Alliums ‘Mount Everest’ – after all, I wanted them to feel at home! 😉

Well, in the spring of 2021 only one showed any signs of life, with no flower. So I had more or less written them off. But this spring three clumps of leaves appeared mid-April. Hooray!

They are a bit difficult to distinguish from the allium foliage in this photo

One fell victim to slugs I think, but soon buds appeared on the other two plants. The excitement mounted, and suddenly the buds seemed to have doubled in size overnight! (Things like that happen here in May! 😉)

Or tripled?! This photo was taken on the 13th of May.

My attention was now well and truly focussed and I have been checking them daily since. By May 16th these imposing and majestic spikes had just started to open…

May 16th

The next day a few more flowers opened from the bottom upwards, clambering towards the blue skies…

May 17th

They love sunny, dry spots, and I have heard them called ‘Desert Candles’, as well as ‘Cleopatra’s Needles’. Maybe you know them by those names? Eremurus himalaicus was the first of the lilies to be taken to Europe in the early 19th century. It is also the earliest flowering one.

By May 18th both stems were open over halfway…

 

The bees like it too. 😃

On May 19th they were almost completely open. Who would have thought just two plants could make such an impression!

Well, here we are on May 21st, and I am completely bowled over by these flowers.

It is a plant with character, shining out above most of the other plants. It has presence. Whereas with other favourites  my reaction might be to grow more of them in a clump, with the Himalaya Foxtail I feel these two flowers are enough to make a statement. Well, three would also be lovely of course, and perhaps the third one will flower next year. I have since read that they can take a year or two to get started. But there are several other species that have different coloured flowers, some of them even taller than these…. perhaps I will be tempted to try some orange or yellow ones in another part of the garden. 😉

This is one of the loveliest plants I have ever grown. 😃

Would you give this plant space in your garden? Or perhaps you already grow them?

 

World Bee Day, 2022

I just saw Eliza’s post about World Bee Day, so felt compelled to post something before this day goes by unnoticed. Like Eliza, I ask all gardeners please not to use chemicals to get rid of weeds or pests. There is almost always a kinder alternative that will not harm pollinators.

This is my Peony ‘Claire de lune’ which opened yesterday, with a bee in her ruffles. 😃

 

In a Vase on Monday: The Might of May

Isn’t it amazing how much energy is lying beneath our feet as we walk around our gardens? Think of all that power, as the shoots and buds burst up and out with such vigour and strength. Alone the rate of growth of the grass is alarming. Fortunately my Man of Many Talents takes care of most of the mowing. 😉

May is the not the month for dallying, but I have been stopped in my tracks more than once this past week by a new flower opening, or new leaves appearing. The oaks are now fully clothed, the May is starting to open, the broom along the roadsides are all in flower, and the lilacs have bloomed and started to fade almost before I could inhale their gorgeous fragrance.

That is why I chose to use a sprig of lilac as the centre piece for a vase today. I am joining in the In a Vase on Monday meme with our host Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden.

Lilac ‘Andenken an Ludwig Späth’ is accompanied by some Geranium phaeum. The tiny dark flowers are the centre of attention as far as the bees are concerned at the moment. (And they have attracted some attention from me too!)

I also used some pale Pulsatilla seedheads along with a couple of pinkish ones too. These are so pretty in vases and go on looking good for ages.

Tucked away on one side are some Pulmonaria ‘Opal’ …

and at the back some white hellebores that have faded to a lovely shade of green…

I added some hellebore and fennel foliage, a few grasses, some Heuchera stems with tight buds on, and some spikes of white broom.

The ‘ice saints’ came and went with no sign of frost, so the vegetable garden will be the focus in the next week or two, and then the annuals will be planted out. I wish May was twice as long! 😉

Hope you are all enjoying this mighty month as much as we are. 😃

Happy gardening!

In a Vase on Monday: Totally Tangerine!

I am totally in love with Totally Tangerine!

I had been looking for this Geum for years, seeing it regularly (with growing envy! 😉) on other blogs. It seemed unknown in Germany. But the choice of plants here slowly improves each year, and more and more nurseries in the north of Germany have websites and online shops. A couple of weeks ago I finally tracked one down… well, actually I ordered three!

I was so surprised that they arrived in flower too. 😃

Naturally, one had to appear in my vase this week, as I join our host Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden, for this weekly meme.

The tulip is Ballerina, which can hardly be beaten for a splash of red/orange in May. The seedheads are Pulsatilla, and the foliage is Heuchera and Alchemilla.

I had to rinse the pollen off the Heuchera leaves, as everything is coated in a thick layer thick of it. Can you see it on the Pulsatilla?

It is not so much the oilseed rape at the moment, but the evergreens… in this photo below the oilseed rape is a pretty picture, but can you see the clouds of pollen in front of the dark evergreens? (Click on the photo to enlarge)

(Anouk has yellow legs most of the time! 😉)

I love the fiery colours of Geums and they have done well for me in the past, so I have sown seed of Fireball and Red Dragon this spring. They are coming along well. I also have a few other Geums in the garden; Blazing Sunset (grown from seed several years ago), Gold Ball, Mai Tai, Scarlet Tempest and Red Wings. Do you grow any?

May is such a busy month, but I will try and take time to enjoy the garden today instead of just rushing around weeding, sowing, shuffling seedlings around, etc.

Hope you have time to enjoy your gardens this week too. Happy Gardening!