In a Vase on Monday – Late Summer Glow

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My vase this week contains some late summer perennials which are looking good in the garden at the moment.  I have to admit to being a little mean when I cut flowers in the garden.  I really hate diminishing the display and many of my plants are  to young to produce lots of blooms.

This week’s bunch contains some perennial Rudbeckia which arrived in the garden, possibly via bird seed.  One of the pale pinky red echinacea, a larger flowered Aster whose name is long-lost (I much ask Helen Picton which it is), two types of Crocosmia – one of which could well be ‘Sunglow’, an unknown Persicaria, Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’ and some Thalictrum – probably delavayi.  It seems the lesson to learn here is I need to keep better notes of what is what!

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There is nothing to tell you about the vase as I am sure I have used it before for this post.  It is one I bought in my early teens when on holiday in Venice and I have used it ever since.  It is the perfect vase with a narrow neck which flares at the top thus keeping the stems together but allowing the flowers to spread out.

So this are the colours of my garden at the beginning of September.  For more vases pop over the Cathy’s at Rambling in the Garden

My Garden This Weekend – 7th September 2014


Autumn and the season of bounty is definitely upon us.  My step over apples have generous crops of apples considering how small the trees are; not bad for their third year.


I finished off my period of annual leave by replanting the Cottage Border along the top of 2014_09070001the wall.  Last weekend I lifted everything aside from the roses and sage, potted it up although I threw a few plants.  Then I set out off the plants I had accumulated over the past couple of weeks along with the plants that were going back in the border.  I have adopted a pink, grey, burgundy/purple theme for the border with the grey and burgundy coming primarily from foliage.  The colour palette comes from the spring blossom of the step over apples which back the border and the flowers of the Abelia at the beginning of the border which is a key view of the border.

2014_09070003I struggle with getting the maximum impact from my borders and have taken various approaches over the years including mixed season interest and a key season of interest.  Neither approach has really worked as the borders have looked dull for too much of the year.  Therefore I am trying a different approach influenced from reading Christopher Lloyd and Margery Fish.  I am trying to have good structure with foliage interest and then having flowers to supplement this with hopefully interest at different times of the year.  I probably haven’t explained myself very well but I feel I have a plan in my head! The border planting is fairly restricted too, another part of the plan, and features sedums, stachys, roses, aquilegia, pink Japanese anemones, and geraniums.  One of my sons has suggested that I add some alliums to continue the purple theme in late spring and I think this is a good idea.


Pleased with how the Cottage Border, which I am renaming the Rose Border due to the number of roses included, has gone I have moved on to the Big Border.


The Big Border has always meant to have a late summer season of interest but is somewhat lacking at the moment.  There are a number of asters in the border which are still in tight bud so I am probably being unfair but I have felt that it needed zinging up and in particular the area nearest the steps.  As this is a particularly sunny spot of the garden I have planted quite a few bulbous summer plants here and the foliage has become very samey.  So this weekend I have really weeded this end of the border, removed a couple of poor kniphofia and a horrid pink sanguisorba – you can see how much space has been freed up. To this and along the far side of the border I have planted out the asters I bought from Pictons.  2014_09070019Anna asked which asters I bought from Pictons so just for her here is a list of my purchases:

Aster ericodes f. prostrate ‘Snow Flurry’
Aster trinervius ‘Stardust’
Aster lateriflorus var. horizontalis ‘Prince’
Aster pringeli ‘Monte Cassino’
Aster x frikartii ‘Wunder von Staffa’
Aster linosyris


I’m also really pleased with this combination – Crocosmia ‘Emily Mackenzie’ alongside the autumn foliage of Hamamelis mollis ‘Arnold Promise’; there is also an orange flowered Geum tucked in further back in this border which I hope will bulk up and add to the colour. This combination is at the end of the path which goes in front of the Rose Border and like the way it acts as a focal point as you walk along the path.


Finally I have been busy in the evenings repotting my bulb collection.  I still have lots more to do and am having to work out a new plan to accommodate everything that needs overwintering this winter given that I don’t plan to have the greenhouse particularly warm.  Mum’s mini greenhouse which she had decided to get rid of should help with this though and is probably going to become home for my non-bulbous alpines.


So lots achieved despite the odds and the plans I have been forming in my mind over the summer are starting to come together.  The tree surgeon has been instructed to deal with the huge willow and I am waiting to see how this impacts on the light in the top half of the garden before move forward there.  I have though decided to not buy any more seeds. I love sowing seeds but never had enough time to look after the seedlings and this frustrates me.  I am someone who if they are going to do something they want to do it well so no more seed sowing; well not until such time as I have more space or time.  This should take some self-imposed pressure off me and allow me time to explore my new fascination – embroidery which is the subject of my other blog!



GBBD August 2012 – Hotting Up

The garden has gone from the soft pinks and blue to basically orange and red.  I have a liking for Crocosmia and they have been slowly increasing in the garden more than I had realised.  The majority are the one above as ever I have no idea which variety it is.   I have bought Emily Mackenzie and Lucifer in the past but I am pretty certain it is neither of these and is more likely to be the very common variety which used to be called Monbretia.

I am particularly pleased with this Crocosmia, it has bulked up a lot in the last year and is really shining this year.  The leaves have a bronze colouring.  It could be Crocosmia Coleton Fishacre which would make sense as I have been to that garden.

This is this year’s acquisition – Crocosmia ‘Hellfire’ which I bought from Cotswold Garden Flowers about a month ago.  The red is quite something, very deep and pure.  The plant is destined for the new border in the front garden.

Crocosmia aren’t the only orangey flowers in the garden.  Ligularia britt marie crawford has just started to flower.  I have had this plant for a number of years and I am beginning to wonder if Ligulariaas are one of those plants which become less vigorous as they age.  A few years back the plant was huge with masses of flowers.  Last year it was much shorter and this was one of the reasons I created a bog garden to try to give the plant the moisture it needed.  Well the bog garden has generally done well especially given the rain we have had but the ligularia is still not up to its old standard.  A closer look shows masses of slug damage and I wonder if this is part of the problem.

Heliopsis hellanthoides var. scabra ‘Summer Nights’ was bought last year at RHS Tatton Flower Show and I am really pleased it has reappeared and is flowering already.  Such a dainty flower on wiry stems which wafts around above the other plants.

A Rudbeckia  that just appeared in the garden a couple of years ago.  I suspect it grew from seed in birdseed as it first appeared near the bird feeder.  However, I  do like the graceful appearance of the flowers.

Finally Cautleya spicata ‘Arun Flame’ which I bought from Crug Farm in 2009.  This winter I risked leaving the plant in situ, mulching it heavily and crossing my fingers.  It paid off as the plant really bulked up and is giving the patio border a very exotic look.

For more Garden Blogger Bloom Day posts visit Carol at May Dreams

Artifical Sunshine


The weather this summer, here in the UK, has been awful.  Whilst we were told by the weathermen that this summer there would be a heatwave in reality the heatwave consisted of a couple of weeks in late June when temperatures reached around 28 degrees.  Since then sunny warm days have been few and far between but there has been plenty of rain just like the last two summers.  I’m sure if this trend continues we will evolve to have webbed feet.

So in the absence of any real sunshine I am having to rely on some of my favourite plants to provide a little brightness to my life.  Above is Ligularia Desdemona which I think it is safe to say is one of my favourite plants at this time of year.  Another contributor of artificial sunshine is a new acquisition, Crocosmia crocosmiiflora ‘Gefbe d’Or’ and I am sure that this plant will soon become a favourite as well.


Feeling the heat!

Well we have been really struggling here in Worcestershire with the heat.  On average around 28 degrees but with the humidity it has felt like it was well in the 30s.  I know garden bloggers in Austin, Texas are dealing with much higher temperatures but we just aren’t set up for it here in the UK.  Air conditioning is not the norm though more and more have it in their cars – although then the rapidly increasing cost of fuel has to be taken into account. 

Not only is the temperature hotting up but also the flower colours – gone are the pastels and soft shades of early summer epitomised by Delphiniums, Lupins, Geraniums now we have moved on to the late summer hot colours and it still isn’t August!  My Ligularia (above) is looking gorgeous, I love the contrast of the fiery orange flowers against the sumptuous chocolaty foliage.

The Monarda (or Bergamot) is contributing fiery splashes around the garden and is certainly very popular with the Bees.  The leaves are meant to smell of Earl Grey tea but I dont think anyone has told my plants.

I also spotted the first flower on my Crocosmia Lucifer – this is still a very young plant but the colours are so electric then I think when it has clumped up in a few years it will have a real impact on the garden.

Oh now to find something cool to drink.