In a Vase on Monday: Dilly Dallying

Sunday was a lazy day, rather too hot and humid to do much. But with rain and thunderstorms forecast for today I decided to cut flowers for my Monday vase nonetheless.

Notiice my new Tree of Life garden ornament in the Herb Bed. 😉

The dill has been amazing this year and I realize now it has been grateful for extra water, being planted in the Veg Bed as well as the dry Herb Bed. Before it goes to seed I wanted to use the flowers in a vase, so that was the starting point.

Another success this summer is the Cosmos ‘Fizzy White’ in the Moon Bed. I got tired of getting so much foliage and so few flowers on Cosmos Purity, so grew this one instead this year – a winner! There are plenty to spare for cutting. 😃

While moving slowly around the garden (it was REALLY hot!) I noticed the grasses are now starting to make a statement. The one in my vase is Calamagrostis Karl Foerster. I love its rapid growth in spring and the deep golden seedheads in summer and autumn.

Then I added a Sanguisorba seedhead and some white Borage (which seems less attractive to the bees than the blue). But the arrangement needed something to pep it up…. ah yes, Tithonia!

 

These have been wonderful this summer too, reaching a grand 1.8m and flowering like mad.

So that is my contriibution to Cathy’s meme – do visit her at Rambling in the Garden to see her vase and catch all the other links to vases this week. 😃

 

Wishing you a sunny (but not too hot!) week in your gardens. 😃🌻🐝

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!

 

Lovely Lemon Verbena

Herbal tea is really popular in Germany, but there is one sort I will not buy from a store or market. Lemon Verbena. Or Vervain. It simply does not have that gentle rounded flavour you get when you grow your own. So some years ago I started growing my own.

Lemon Verbena, also know as Lippia citriodora or Aloysia triphylla, is sadly not hardy enough for our climate, so I grow it in pots. In a sunny and sheltered spot, with some shade from the strong afternoon sun, it thrives. I have managed to harvest enough to last me through the winter already this year. (I drink one cup a day). So my next harvest will be for gifts, especially for my niece who also appreciates this lovely tea.

Harvesting is simple. Just snip fresh growth, shaping the shrub as you go, and taking care not to shorten it by too much as to weaken the plant. I cut mine by about a third (in autumn by about half). In spring and summer it will start producing new stems and leaves immediately.

Drying the leaves thoroughly is very important if you want to store them. I strip them from the stems, spread them out on a baking sheet and leave them in an airy place, out of direct sunlight, turning them every day. Within a few days they have withered completely and can be stored in an airtight container for up to a year. (I always add a piece of pasta to absorb any possible remaining bit of moisture).

If I have some strong healthy plants in autumn I will overwinter them in my stairwell, which is very light but not heated. I will water very very sparsely and most of the leaves will turn yellow and drop. But as soon as the plants are given some warmth and water in spring, they start regenerating. By the middle of May they can go back outside and be gently acclimatised to sunny conditions. From my experience night-time temperatures shouldn’t be below about 10°C. However, I always order new organic plants for the Spring in case mine don‘t revive. I can never have too many! 😉

Do you grow Lemon Verbena? Perhaps you have some tips I haven‘t mentioned?

Here are a couple of links to some recipes using this herb that I have posted in the past.

Lemon Verbena/Lemon Verbena Sorbet (vegan)

Lemon Cake (not vegan)

Or simply add a couple of leaves to an iced drink.

They smell wonderful. 😃

Now, talking of iced drinks…

Stay cool! 😉😎☀️

In a Vase on Monday: Fizzy lemonade

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling in the Garden leads this meme where we are asked to share a vase using materials from our gardens.

It is a damp grey Monday here, so a vase is just what we need to brighten up the kitchen. It has been very hot, so the rain and cooler temperatures today are so welcome! The Alchemilla has flopped in the rain, so that was a clear choice for the framework of my vase this week.

My Herb Bed contains some Hypericum perforatum which flowered bang on time for midsummer‘s day again as well as this dark-leafed one which isn‘t quite flowering yet. In fact I thought it was a goner when it got frozen back by freezing East winds in the early spring. But it has bounced back.

It is planted near the pale green Hypericum, these red Geums (G. chiloense ‘Blazing Sunset’) and the yellow Anthemis tinctoria, which is a pleasing combination.

And since I was in the Herb Bed I decided to cut some of the Lemon Balm which is getting rather vigorous. I must admit I never use it, preferring my Lemon Verbena for tea. But when I was putting a few sprigs in the vase with all that frothy Alchemilla I couldn‘t help but think of lemonade!

Some Stipa tenuissima (also in the Herb Bed), a broken stem of Calamagrostis (the sparrows?) and a Nigella seedhead saved from a previous vase were added as extras.

And my first Scabiosa ochroleuca to flower went in too. Love that plant… a seedling I brought over from my old garden has grown into a substantial plant, so I hope it will reseed as freely here too.

 

Do visit Cathy to see her vase – and all the other vases being shared today. 😃