Thursday, 19 December 2013

Beeloved by butterflies and bees

My Scabiosa atropurpurea has wonderful flowers about 2 inches/5cm wide floating over a lovely emerald green foliage all summer long. Scabious is better known as the butterfly blue or pincushion flower and it was believed "that the Devil did bite it for envie, because it is an herbe that hath so many goode vertues and is so benificent to mankind" - given where the name comes from I hardly like to think of the manner of uses Scabious was taken for. It is enough that it grows in the baking hot places of my garden and is beeloved by butterflies and bees and can be cut for the house as by harvesting the flowers you get many more all season long.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Nice to meet you Mrs J. Bradshaw

Geum 'Mrs J. Bradshaw' looks lovely waving among the perennials and roses, she is light and airy with a bold splash of scarlet colour waving around up to 60 -90cm high. She is a bit prickly though as spiky little seed heads form all summer long. So with lots of seeds and splitting the clump in spring and summer I hope to have a whole flock of Mrs J. Bradshaw's. Highly recommended. Good for bees. Common name Avens.

I like that William Morris included Avens in one of his most popular designs 'Blackthorn', although he depicted a water Avens which are now rare in the wild unlike in his time when it was common in the UK along river and waterways. 

Monday, 16 December 2013

All the things that love the sun

My little hare in the herb bed
There was a roaring in the wind all night;
The rain came heavily and fell in floods;
But now the sun is rising calm and bright;
The birds are singing in the distant woods;
Over his own sweet voice the Stock-dove broods;
The Jay makes answer as the Magpie chatters;
And all the air is filled with pleasant noise of waters.

All things that love the sun are out of doors;
The sky rejoices in the morning's birth;
The grass is bright with rain-drops;—on the moors
The hare is running races in her mirth
by William Wordsworth
Sunlight through the acer
 There was a storm now everything is washed clean and new. Sunlight through the Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku" - a delicate acer with pink stems and lime yellow foliage.
Catkins on the Macedon Oak.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

I meant to do my work today

I meant to do my work today—

   But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
   And all the leaves were calling me. 

And the wind went sighing over the land,
   Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand—
   So what could I do but laugh and go?
Richard Le Gallienne

Friday, 6 December 2013

Dreaming spires

With apologies to Mathew Arnold! Wonderful spires of Echium reflect the blue sky and pop out from the gold of diosma behind. 

I love to love my Echiums but like a summers lease they are all too soon over and you are left with sad reality - leggy growth, and in my garden they just grow and grow up to 2m tall, which can be stunning when in flower but all the nasty prickly leaves kill everything underneath them so the look unsightly. Once in a decade I go mad with a chainsaw and cut the down to the ground and just a few months later seedling come back and harmony is restored.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Raindrops on roses and peonies and geums!

Sweet gentle rain falling all day today.

Nature's riches scattered tiny diamonds everywhere for me to capture.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

You're weird, I like that

I've had this shrubby phlomis for a few years now placed at the top of some steps and it has just sat there and looked …well scrubby shrubby and hardly a flower.

This year is another story, magnificent grey green spikes of foliage and covered in extraordinary whorls of yellow flowers. I also like the idea that only bees can pollinate the phlomis, a great reminder of how important our little bee friends are. I'm looking forward to taking cuttings when it finishes its firecracker display and then I shall continue them along the back of the long border with nepeta and 'Silver Ghost" rose.

I'm not 100% sure but i think this is Phlomis fruticosa, Jerusalem sage.

Monday, 2 December 2013

'Albertine' sweet fleeting love.

Rosa 'Albertine' is always the perfect Christmas present, flowering from early December for about six wonderful weeks. Generous, fleeting but bountiful in it's delicate apple scented blooms, it is like a dear friend you meet just once a year and with fond memories look forward to the next.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The blueberry harvest.

This is the first year I have had more than a handful of blueberries from my two little low bushes 'Sunshine Blue' and they still look like I shall get another two punnets or so from them as the weather gets hotter. They are just under a foot high now and I intend to try and strike a whole hedge of them as they are very expensive to purchase in my area at $17ish a pot. They are growing around the outer area of a mature  Really amazing taste fresh from the bush, a bit sharper, clearer and not gritty. Rather than whizzing them up in a smoothie I made this Blueberry and lemon cake. 
Blueberry madeira cake

The recipe is over on my home crafty blog.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The summer sun shone round me.

The summer sun shone round me.
The summer sun shone round me,

 The folded valley lay
In a stream of sun and odour,
That sultry summer day.
The tall trees stood in the sunlight
As still as still could be,

But the deep grass sighed and rustled
And bowed and beckoned me.
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Blue Rinse and Rollers or improving your nepeta.

I have always been smitten with the billowing knee high allĂ©e of nepeta seen in English gardens and it seems wholly suitable to repeat the effect here in our dry summers. 

 I have a two walled and paved walkways around the house where rose grow that need a dense hedging to create more definition and mid-summer interest in the peak of our searing sun conditions. Last year I planted what should have been “Six Hills Giant” which I had hopped should be more upright. The bees have loved it but I am not impressed.

Trawling through an old copy of English Garden magazine I read a great idea (sorry didn’t note who she was!) which was to roll tubes of chicken wire and let the nepeta grow through. What a great solution – I’m rushing out to try it straight away as they have just had a haircut and I hope to get a second magazine worthy display.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Where the fairy left his hat.

I love alliums for all the different stages they go through, particularly fun for us with little children in the family is the whimsy they show when they burst into flower.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Beautiful Butterfly Bush Buddleia or flowering this week in my garden

In the heat of high Summer just a few things are not only bold enough to withstand the blast of these days but seem to revel in the heat; Buddleia, Oriental lilies, Shasta Daisy and the Agapanthus are blooming like showgirls on a day out in Vegas!

One of the important records I shall make in the garden this year is to have something beautiful and useful (to paraphrase William Morris) in the garden every week/month of the year and the most important of these is to have something thing for the bees, dragonflies, butterflies and ladybirds. The great thing about this is that almost all of these “useful” plants have wonderful scent for me too! Buddleia likes well-drained soil –even if it’s rocky dry and wretched and thrives in sunny spots. I recommend deadheading which will result in more flushes of flowers and the plants can get scrappy and leggy so a good hard prune back 60cm (one-two ft) or so from the base in late autumn. This is also when I strike cuttings and as I have very sandy soil where these are planted I simply prune and select some good sized cuttings about the size of my little finger and pop them in the ground – by next summer they should be leafy and even flowering.

Monday, 7 January 2013

ArtLife in the Garden - pebble mosaic

Many of you will have seen Maggy Howarth's work as they often feature in magazines and Chelsea or Hampton Court flower show. I find something magical about the tones and intricacy of the work that by placing pebbles and stones you can create images with such movement and clarity to them. Oh for one in my garden! 

I have a step at the bottom of a stairway leading to the back of the garden that has lost its stone top so I shall try to make a small mosaic on that - commonly called lintel mosaics as they are so small and used to define an entryway. I shall be using Maggy's book for that - highly recommended.
I wonder how long it will take me!  All images from Maggy's web site - pop over and have a dream.

Friday, 4 January 2013

More snow in Summer - Literal and figurative!

Well almost! After some baking hot days last week we have been plunged into a very winter like chill, not soon enough to save the last of the peony flowers though as they are well shrivelled up now as well as some other bloomers. I hope the rain is good for the fruit trees as the apples are coming along-I shall post a fruit update later this week. It seems like only yesterday they were baby blossoms!  

Rosa Silver Ghost -planted last year has been lovely. Very nice form and has lasted well in the heat and the rain, which is very nice as many white flowers have been spoilt by these conditions and who can blame them!


Philadelphus Belle Etoile one of my all time favourite plants.

Darling Rosa Edna Walling - I do think she would have been very pleased with this rose, such sweet nature and a wild rambling way.

Rosa Wedding Day in a pot near the Secret Garden. Ammmmazing!