In A Vase on Monday – Blue Spires


Given the wonderful display of camassias I have in the garden this year I thought I should feature some in a Vase on Monday post.  Following on from Christina’s idea I decided to add some blue pebbles in the bottom of the vase to help keep the stems upright.  I wanted to add variegated hosta but also added some geranium palmatum leaves to bulk it out.  I am quite pleased with the effect but I’m not sure how well the hosta leaves will last as one has already, in only a matter of hours, drooped.  Not having any flower arranging experience or knowledge my approach is to give things a go and see what happens.

Last week’s vase which featured violas and other small spring delights taught me that I need to pick the flowers as they are opening as the violas only lasted a matter of days.  That requires a bit more thought and planning so is unlikely to happen!  I also have learnt that the flowers from my garden probably won’t last as long as a bunch bought from the shops which I presume are treated in such a way to help keep them fresh for longer.  But I am enjoying this meme and thinking about what I can include each week, it is making me look at the plants slightly differently and it is nice to enjoy the flowers inside as well as in the garden.

Thank you to Cathy for hosting this weekly meme – you can find links to more Monday vases over at hers if you look in the comment box.


Foliage Follow-up – April 2014

Fatsia Spidersweb
Fatsia Spidersweb

This month’s foliage post features some new acquisitions, some of which are destined for the new hardy exotic border.  I am particularly pleased with the Fatsia Spidersweb which I bought from Cotswold Garden Flowers the other week.  I have been considering  buying one since the end of last year but as I already have two fatsias I thought one more would be one too many.  But then whats another Fatsia especially when the foliage is as wonderful as above.

Tetrapanax papyrifer rex
Tetrapanax papyrifer rex

To go alongside the Fatsia I have splashed out on a Tetrapanax papyrifer rex.  I have never grown one of these before and it is more borderline than I am used to risking in the border but I love the foliage and I think it’s a must for the new border.

Asarum splendens
Asarum splendens

I do like the Asarum with its mottled and crumpled leaves.  For some reason when I look at this photograph I am reminded of a frog but maybe I need to have some more sleep.

Sciadopitys verticillata
Sciadopitys verticillata

Another new acquisition, back in February when I visited RHS Wisley, is this Sciadopitys verticillata.  This plant isn’t destined for the new border but for a large pot on the steps.  I just couldn’t resist the texture of the spines, they are very tactile.


Finally, some hostas which are really making their presence felt at the moment. I have had this variety of hosta for years and it has moved house with me at least once, if not twice and I have absolutely no idea what variety it is.  I also don’t know if this variety is particularly obnoxious to slugs but it rarely gets eaten even in a wet summer.

For more foliage posts pop over to Pam’s Digging site – I am predicting there will be Agaves but no doubt lots of other wonderful plants, many of which will be new to me.

Foilage Follow Up – August 2013


Some of the foliage in the garden at the moment is nearly as bright and colourful as the flowers.  The Coleus Henna is looking wonderful after a bit of a rocky start when the weather was so hot.  I have a pot full of 6 of these plants and they really look wonderful en masse with nothing else to distract.


I like this monthly meme as it makes me look past the flowers and appreciate the foliage more.  I hadn’t realised that I had hostas which had so far escaped the dreaded slug/snail attack which is quite an achievement this far into the year.   I don’t know what hosta this is as I have had it for years and the plant, or its parents, has moved house with me at least three times.  It is interesting as the variegated stripes are stronger on some leaves than others.


Like  the Coleus I am rather pleased and surprised by the Castor Oil Plants.  This is the first year that I have grown them successfully from seed and like many of the annuals they seemed to sit for a while doing nothing but in the last couple of weeks with more rain they have shot up and the glossy  foliage is a wonderful contrast to the dahlias around them.


I am beginning to realise that I have quite a few purple hued foliage plants in the garden.  Like the flowers this seems to be a garden I am drawn to.  Above is Actea simplex, another plant I have had for years.  When I bought it its name was Circumfuga but it has been renamed and now there are lots of named varieties so I really don’t know what this plant should be called.


Finally, one of my Japanese Painted Ferns, Athyrium niponicum, I love these ferns and they are surprisingly increasing in my garden as I keep buying more, each one slightly different to the other – well that’s what the nurserymen say but I’m not so sure!!

For more foliage follow-up posts visit Pam’s blog Digging

Fab Foliage – April 2012

I thought I would join in with Christina’s monthly meme on foliage this month.  Whilst lots of the perennials are still only just emerging especially as the cooler temperatures now seem to be holding things back, there are some plants which are really making their presence felt such asLigularia britt marie crawford. I am so pleased to see this plant looking so healthy.  Last year it suffered with the dry weather so much so that this autumn I moved it into the new bog garden and the added moisture really seems to be helping.  Of course with all the rain we have had the past week it should be romping away.

I’m not a huge fan of topiary but over the last two years a few box pyramids and balls have crept into the garden to give winter interest and as focal points.  I like the box best at this time of the year when the new growth is looking so fresh and the plants have a woolly look.

This hellebore – Helleborus Argustifolius ‘Janet Starnes’ – is making its presence felt at the moment.  The leaves really stand out from the woodland border though sadly this plant is lacking in decent flowers and the stems have a tendency to be top-heavy but right now it looks quite pretty.

I have had this hosta for years, well in fact decades, and have no idea what it is but it has been divided over and over again and given away here and there.  It is particularly good at withstanding slugs although I don’t as a rule get a lot of slug damage in the garden.

Those are my four favourite foliage plants at the moment.  For more foliage posts visit Christina’s blog Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

A virtual ‘walk’ through my ‘woodland’ garden


When I say ‘woodland’ garden what I really mean is my shady area of the garden where I grow lots of plants that would be happy on the edges of a woodland.  Like many other gardeners I tend to choose grandiose names of bits of my garden.  Obviously, sub-consciously I have a desire to have a bigger patch. When I say ‘walk’ what I really mean is standing on one spot and turning 180 degrees but that doesnt really sound very interesting!  Above is an Anenome that I bought last year though I cant remember its name.  It has bulked up well since this time last year and I am hoping it will spread in this area.  This corner of the garden is under the canopy of a number of my neighbours trees and also from a large Prunus tree in my garden.  The soil is a nightmare – thick clay so I have spent the last 3 years adding spent compost etc and it is finally paying off.  Next to the Anenome is an Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’,  I bought this at a plant fair last summer having read that it was ideal for damp shady areas.  It wasnt too bad but didnt live up to my expectations and then it disappeared – Oh no I thought not another plant I have bought only to kill off!  But no, it has started to re-emerge and it is looking loads better than it did last year.  I think it prefers the damp weather we have had this spring to the heat of last spring.

This is a grouping in my ‘woodland’ garden.  You can see hosta, Camellia, Acer, ferns and a Rhododenron.  Its a bit of a messy picture but I think it shows the textures that I am trying to bring together.

This Bleeding Heart is stilling much of the limelight at the moment.  I prefer the white flowers, on this occasion, to the normal pink version as they light up the corner, particularly in the early evening when the light is fading.  Also a good contrast with the Rhododenron in the background.

I believe this is a Tellima grandiflora. I had some seeds from my garden society several years ago labelled Heuchera and this is the result but I dont think it is a Heuchera at all.  It is particularly lovely now as the foilage is so fresh.  You will see it has flower spikes but they arent much, they just add a little height for a while.  In the autumn the foilage turns to a bronzey colour though not as spectacular as I would like.  It is very free with its seed and the 3 plants I grew have now spread throughout the garden. 

Well that was my ‘woodland’ garden I hope the walk wasnt too tiring!