About my garden

Monday 24 April 2017

In a vase with bonus Foliage day!

It's so good to wander round with some secateurs and choose what to put in a vase. Such a change from a month ago when there was so little choice. 

I started with these purple leaves. I don't know what this plant is. It's a spreader by shallow roots and has white flowers somewhat like a cow parsley. You will probably see it again next week as it will be in flower. 

Other things in this vase:
Whitebells again. I'm not exaggerating when I say they are coming up everywhere. 
Peachy wallflowers
A viburnum I found flowering in one of our hedges. 
The first aquilegia to flower. The colour is just right with the purple leaves. I like all these tones together. 

Here is a twig of crab apple (NoID) with the tree flowering in the background. I love a vase stuffed full but having just one thing enables you to appreciate the detail. This is for my kitchen windowsill. 

For plenty more colourful and creative vases visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden - In a vase on Monday.

Now imagine this is a new post and that I posted it a few days ago on the 22nd. Christina from My Hesperides Garden hosts Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day for a focus on foliage for a change. 
My week has been rather hectic but here are a few fabulous foliage highlights from my garden in April.

 Carpinus betula. A tree in a pot. When we agree on where it should go it will get a new home but meanwhile is putting on soft new leaves.

Santolina. So soft and fragrant. 

Philadelphus coronarius 'Aureus'. One of my favourite shrubs. I had this in my previous life and it was huge and wonderful every spring. I dug up a suckering shoot and brought it with me and am so pleased that it survived. It hardly flowered but that really didn't matter. This photo really doesn't do it justice. 

Heuchera 'Midnight Bayou'. This has been in full leaf all winter. Most of my others look a bit of a mess. I think I mention this one at least once a month. 

A very tidy mound of lemon balm before it get unruly later in the year. 

Tiny Viburnum opulus leaves. I love tiny new leaves!

Just a few highlights from an April Garden bursting with life. 

Saturday 22 April 2017

Adventures in a poly tunnel - April 2017

I've had my poly tunnel now for a year and a half. For two winters I have been able to harvest from it and it has been wonderful for bringing on seedlings and starting off plants. Last summer it was full of tomatoes and cucumbers. I grew mini peppers, which I've never managed to do before and my son grew some melons. We were staggered that they actually produced edible fruit. 
Pests have been fewer and plants have grown larger. It is a joy to go in every day. It smells wonderful (unless the farmers have been spraying the fields).
Here is my favourite picture taken in January. Look at the mists hanging in the field beyond...
The tunnel is not normally photogenic. That seems like a long time ago. We had very few frosts this winter but of course we may still get some. Now in April I'm just clearing out the winter crops which have gone to seed. I've had Cavolo Nero which has been in all winter. The plants went to seed a few weeks ago and I cropped the flower stems like purple sprouting broccoli and they were delicious! They've gone too far now and had to come out. 

Here are the new plants which have been grown this year. They will stay until the tomatoes go in. There is rocket, also going to seed but it keeps producing little leaves and sweet smelling flowers, and lots and lots of kale.  Most of us are happy to eat it often. Also some dahlias shooting in pots and some spring onions.  

  I also grew some purple sprouting broccoli in the tunnel. The plants got enormous and fell over. The cropped only a week or two before the plants outside, were more spindly and for the space they took up, were probably not worth it. I might try one or two next year. It was an experiment. 
Here is the bed where the broccoli was now cleared and ready for rocket and who knows what else. I must just clean the wall I couldn't reach it sooner. It's green. 
 I've been tying up the broad beans. The plants look very good and healthy so far. Last year I had enormous plants and a huge crop. I still have some beans in the freezer. Such a treat for a quick lunch - beans on toast! (Cooked with garlic and butter).
I've promised myself I will stake properly so this is the start of it. We'll see how that goes. 

I started this post a couple of weeks ago and they have moved on apace:

I've got more seedlings than any sensible person should try and look after and I'm still sowing more. I've got them in 5 different places so have to remember to visit them all daily. 

I start some things off in the house then bring them out here. I can lose a whole tray of seedlings if they dry out. It can get very hot in here, even in April. My tendency is to over water so I'm trying not to do that either.

I'm trying an experiment with tomatoes. Last year I had luscious, green healthy plants which took a long time to  flower. Then they got blight so it was a short season for them.
I think I'd coddled them too much. This year I'm growing them hard!
The key is to have slightly stressed plants, not too much but enough so they want to flower and set seed. 
I started a few plants off in February. They are now looking good and healthy, they've been growing on a windowsill. I've just potted them on and was thinking about moving them out here but then the nights go much colder so changed my mind and they are in our east facing conservatory. That is not to say we have a north, south and west facing one too just that it gets plenty of sun but is not too hot.The second sowing are nearly ready to be potted on. 

I must remember not to include mess in the backs of photos.
Harvesting in April - 
Cavolo nero
Theyers/Red Russian kale which seem to be the same.
Spring onions
Garlic chives
Purple sprouting broccoli

Monday 17 April 2017

In a vase on Monday - a spring posy

The spirea foliage I had in my last vase was still looking fresh this morning.  I took the vase outside to add to it and left it on a table for several hours. After that it didn't look so good...

I'd planned to add these Narcissus 'Hawera' but they got a vase of their own. They are so pretty.

I started again with a vase of spring flowers:


In the vase is:
Weigela - a staple of my vases
Bluebells - Hyacinthoides non-scripta
Wallflowers - a lovely peachy one
Vinca major - like it or loathe it, it does have pretty flowers
Ajuga reptans
Nepeta foliage - 'Six hills giant' not yet in flower
Cerinthe major


Finally some more gracefully ageing tulips:

 This is after nearly a week and they stayed upright too.

Thanks for your visit. 
For creative and interesting vases from around the world visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden - In a Vase on Monday

Saturday 15 April 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - April 2017

Welcome to the Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day where we celebrate what is making our hearts glad.
I'm linking this to May Dreams Garden where Carol hosts this lovely idea.

There is so much to choose from, after a gradual start in March we are suddenly spoilt in April and don't know where to look first. 

 I'm starting with these Tulips which have come back from last year. I think they are Sapporo. 

This Magnolia stellata is trying to steal the show but there is plenty of competition.

 Two auriculas which I bought last year, just coming into flower. 
 Geum 'Mai Tai'. I adore this. 

 Hyacinthoides non-scripta. I have inherited white and blue. The white came out a week or two ago but the blue are following along:

An inherited Crab apple. We had a touch of rain last night. Just enough to make the flowers pretty but not really enough to wet the ground.


 A bit of a dark picture but here is Corydalis 'Berry Exciting' now with it's contrasting purple flowers. 
 Euphorbia amygdaloides purpurea, the start of my euphobia collection. I moved this early in the year but it didn't seem to notice. Flanked by two hydrangeas but they may need to go. They are not very pretty ones. 

 I'm thrilled that these tulips came back from last year. I did nothing to them. I'd be interested to know if people dig up and store their tulip bulbs. These are Tulip Clusiana Peppermint Stick from Peter Nyssen. It's like having four flowers in one. First thing or on a dull day:

Gradually opening:

and then in full flower:

These Narcissus 'Hawera' are so delicately pretty. I bought a pack of mixed botanical narcissus bulbs from J Parkers last Autumn.  Of course they came in one mixed bag (it was not an expensive purchase). As they have come into flower this spring I've been tying different colours of thread around the stems for each variety so I can move them and collect similar ones together.  
They have been a complete joy, each one more lovely than the last and this is the finale...

I've never managed to get a Dicentra to flower until now:

 And finally what about this? I wonder if someone discovered this now would we all clamour to have it in our gardens? Maybe not when we discovered how invasive it is but the bees do love them and I have plenty!

Monday 10 April 2017

In a vase on Monday

What a fantastic weekend we have had weatherwise. I'm sorry if yours wasn't so good. We had warm,even hot, sunshine and have been able to spend to whole weekend outside. There was plenty to do and we end the weekend tired but satisfied that we have made a huge difference by tidying, burning, clipping, trimming and generally fettling. Not to mention weeding, of course. If only it would stay tidy.
There was plenty of time to look around and decide what to put in a vase for Monday.
I chose this Spirea foliage. (Again).

 Some of it is reverting here. I think so anyway, I hope someone will correct me if that is not the case. So I thought I'd prune out the darker branches and use them in vases. Though they are beautifully coloured too, I'd hate to lose the bright reds and oranges. Perhaps I'll try rooting some bits. I have had good success with sticking twigs in the ground. Probably about 50:50 with things rooting or not, so it's worth a go.

I'd already chosen the white bells and a few other bits. In the end though I left everything else out as I think the white flowers against the dark foliage are perfect on their own.

I've also got these tulips on my kitchen windowsill. So far they are behaving well. They are tightly packed in. These are more Darwin Hybrids and I chose all the salmon ones.

Last week I picked tight buds and arranged them with foliage to hold them in place. What I didn't realise was that tulip stems continue to grow after they've been picked. I learnt this from Julie at Peonies and Posies.

So even though I did chop some off the stems they became rather unruly.
Look how beautiful they were though! They were like silk dresses. I kept them until they were very far gone. Definitely growing old gracefully.

For colourful and creative vases visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. In a vase on Monday

Monday 3 April 2017

In a vase on Monday - First tulips

Yes at last! I've been admiring tulips in other people's posts, and even bought a few (I know you're shocked), but now I have my own ones flowering. 

One day they were in tight bud and suddenly there was the colour. 

I've collected some honeysuckle foliage. It's just the bits hanging down waiting to catch my face as I pass by to a water tank. 
Also some Euphorbia shoots. I'm not sure what variety they are. They have seeded from somewhere. I always use gloves when cutting so I don't get the sap on me. I strip the lower leaves then hold the stems in a jug of just boiled water for 20 seconds. This seals them and they last very well in a vase.
The tulips are Darwin Hybrid mixed which were free with a bulb order. I put them in my cutting patch so I'd be happy to chop them.  The red ones have come out first with a couple of salmon popped in here too. It's very organised of them to come out one colour at a time.

I wanted to tuck the flowers into foliage as I know they'll open and flop around. Also they are quite bright so this tones them down a little. 
They have opened quite a lot in a day and are very bright.  

We have had a beautiful weekend, weatherwise. We gave ourselves the day off on Sunday and visited Hestercombe. A beautiful garden, developed over 300 years, in Somerset.  Trees, shrubs, walks, bulbs in full flower, cafe, shop...

It was warm and sunny, a perfect day out. It's that time of year when it can look like summer but the trees are still bare. 
Then today we have woken to a ground frost. It pays never to be complacent when you are a gardener. 

For interesting and colourful vases from around the world visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden - In a vase on Monday.