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!

🌧🌧🌧

 

In a Vase on Monday: Glorious Globes

This Monday, after a week off, I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden again for her weekly vase meme. And I decided to choose a global theme today – literally!

Globes.

After all the hot and harsh winds over the past few weeks, with no rain in sight, the flower beds are literally disintegrating. But this has meant structure is playing more of a role, and I have noticed a lot of round shapes in both flowers and seedheads.

Firstly an Allium seedhead and the fresh Allium ‘Millenium’ which is the latest flowering one I have found. I also added a Nigella seedhead (slightly oval), and a sedum – also much rounder in form before actually flowering.

And the Echinops of course – a perfect globe. The orange seed heads of Gaillardia too.

Then the Succisella inflexa ‘Frosted Pearl’ (which is very drought tolerant) and the seedhead of Scabiosa perfecta.

(The grass I added is my current favourite: Deschampsia ‘Schottland’. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but have slowly fallen in love with it!)

The Scabiosa close up is quite remarkable…

Naturally I used a globe shaped vase and found a prop to match too….

This ‘marble’ came from the Kugelmühle (‘Marble Mill’) near Berchtesgaden in the German Alps, right on the border to Austria. Founded in the seventeenth century, this mill ground stones to perfect globes, which were sold as marbles – toys for children – exported via Rotterdam and London to all over the world. There were in fact many such mills in the region in past centuries. This particular mill is still working, and is a lovely spot for a walk in a shady ravine on a hot summer’s day. And there is of course a beer garden for a refreshing drink too! Aah, nice memories of holidays in the mountains!

Have a good week, and stay cool! 😎

In a Vase on Monday: There’s No Smoke Without Fire

I was busy today, and left it rather late in the day to find something for my Monday vase so that I could join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. But I was determined to cut some flowers! even though it is hot. And windy. And dry. There have been warnings for forest fires in our region for a couple of weeks now so as I rounded the corner of the house and saw smoke I was somehow not surprised, but also rather afraid. It was only about a kilometre away from us, with a lot of dry woodland between us…

No sooner had I called my Man of Many Talents than we heard sirens in all directions. Nonetheless he got his emergency watering vehicle ready just in case; a trailer with 600 liters of water, a pump and a fireman’s hose, hooked up to his ATV. Thankfully the excitement was soon over, and the smoke subsided. Phew! I don’t need that sort of excitement too often! Only ten days ago a freshly harvested wheat field went up in smoke, a little farther away from us. Local farmers assisted with putting the fire out… they all have their tanks filled with water at the ready.

I still wanted to cut some flowers, but my thoughts had turned from sunshine and shade to fire and smoke! I cut lots of Heliopsis ‘Sommersonne’ as originally intended, but it is accompanied by the remains of the single flower on my young Smoke Bush (Cotinus coggygria) and some Euphorbias, which are the only plants that seem entirely happy in the extremely dry Sunshine Bed right now.

The sunflower vase is a summer favourite. 😃

 The wind has died down for now, but it has scorched and frazzled a lot of plants. Still, we had cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini and garlic from our own garden yesterday, so I mustn’t grumble! 😉

Have a great week and stay cool!

😎🍉🍹

Himalaya Park, June 2022

Well, just a couple of weeks ago I posted some pictures of my white Foxtail Lilies (Eremurus himalaicus) with words to the effect that I would not try and grow more of them as just these two make such an impact in the garden….

 

And then last weekend I went to the nearby Himalaya Park (which I posted about last summer, here) and saw these…

And these….

And this lovely dainty yellow one…

And these! 😃😃😃

Hmmm. They would be a lovely addition to the Sunshine Bed….

The Himalaya Park is not like typical gardens open to the public… plants are allowed to run riot if they feel happy there. One example that stood out on this visit was the foxgloves. Only a few days ago I planted a single ‘wild’ foxglove I found at my local garden centre into my Butterfly Bed, and felt rather pleased with it. And then at the Himalaya Park I saw several hundred of them in every possible shade, and felt somewhat humbled!

I imagine they had partly been planted and had then spread by seed. What a beautiful sight!

 

I really enjoyed the trip to the park again as we had chosen the right day; thunderstorms had been forecast which meant the usual crowds had stayed at home. At times we were able to take photos without any people in them.

And the thunderstorm did come (we sheltered under the roof of one of the wooden bridges and breathed in the lovely scent of elderflowers until it stopped raining.) Then we continued our tour – the storm had cleared the air a bit and everything was sparkling. The foxgloves were everywhere. 😃

The black clouds dispersed and the sun came out again.

 

Finally a few other highlights.

(The blue Himalayan poppies were cordoned off… I suspect people try and take seed. Now who would do a thing like that…… 😊)

 

Plenty of inspiration and impressions to keep me going until my next visit. 😃

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!
🐝🌷🐝

 

In a Vase on Monday: Snowballs

The Viburnum opulus in our hedgerows is flowering beautifully this year, prompting me to pick some for a vase this week. In German this shrub is called ‘Schneeball’, as the white flowers shine out from the hedgerows like balls of white snow. 😃

And here is the vase.

 

On a whim the cow parsley just the other side of the fence was picked too. And a few grasses from the hedge and the garden were also added. 😃

 

 

 

Close up you can see the ring of outer petals on the Viburnum, attracting the insects to the tiny inner fertile flowers. The berries in autumn are beautiful too – a bright shiny red.

 

I have never looked at cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) so closely before – they remind me of lots of tiny stars.

Some parts of Germany have had terrible storms over the past few days, but we have been lucky so far…. fingers crossed. Tonight another round of thunderstorms is forecast, but let’s hope for the best!

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme. And thanks to you for visiting. 😃

 

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!