In a vase on Monday: October sunrise

There’s something special about sunrises at this time of year – there is probably a technical explanation about the angle of the Earth’s axis but whatever it is, the colours seem more intense. These photos were taken at 6.50am when our little patch of the world was bathed in a glorious pink-tinged golden light as the sun appeared then disappeared behind a blanket of cloud.

Tenuous link… There are still bright sun-filled flowers in the garden, most notably zinnias still doing their thing. They’re a little tatty from the wind, but valiantly producing powerfully coloured blooms. And the deep red nasturtiums seem unstoppable – they’re spreading and flowering all over the place and I’m happy to let them. I’ve cut a handful of these sunshine flowers to bring a little sunrise indoors. The red-tinged leaves are from Pelargonium ‘Attar of Roses’ and they smell delicious.

Astoundingly, I also found these sweetpeas on a plant that was destined for the compost heap. A last hurrah because it knows its days are numbered, perhaps.

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, who I’m sure you know by now hosts this weekly gathering of vases, has links to many others from around the world, so do go and take a look if you have time.

Thank you for the insightful and encouraging comments on my last post. You are a lovely lot. Wishing you a good week ahead.

In a Vase on Monday: better late than never




I completely forgot about Cathy’s ikebana challenge for this week’s Monday vase (oops) and instead went for a soft confection of whites, pinks and purples in a departure from the bold colours of recent weeks. I started with sweet peas ‘Anniversary’ and ‘Windsor’ (sowed in early March) which have started to flower well, despite being completely tray-bound due to me completely neglecting them and late planting out… It is said that sweet peas hate having their roots disturbed but I had to pull each one apart in an attempt to untangle them before planting them in the ground. They seem to have recovered from the indignity and are flowering away happily.


I’m also delighted that all the cosmos plants we finally got into the ground a few weeks ago have settled in, are covered with buds and now flowering well. These had also become very pot-bound and leggy and I cut them back quite hard, snipping off many flower buds in the process, to encourage vigorous growth. This always seems drastic and I hate doing it but it seems to have worked. They should keep flowering until at least October.

Instead of the blue/purple anemone I showed you last week, I’ve picked the delicate white Anemone coronaria ‘The Bride’, which is also looking lovely at the moment. Finally, some lavender (because it smells gorgeous and is at its peak), a couple of stems of an unknown pink penstemon (bought at a plant sale last year; I’ve lost the label) and a few sprigs of pink Linaria purpurea (toadflax) complete the bunch.


Do visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see her ikebana arrangement and links to others around the world.

Have a good week.


A few happy things for a Friday

A mug of mid-morning coffee is definitely one of my daily pleasures. Proper coffee from the filter machine, fairly strong with a dash of milk, no sugar. Ahh, that’s better. Oh, and some toast. To keep me going until lunchtime.


This is a photo of me on the left, my mum with my brother. You can see that he wasn’t too keen on having his photo taken. I’ve often wondered what my mum was saying… My dad was the photographer. I was about 6 and my brother about 2, so it was taken in the early 1970s. This is one of a very few photos I have from my childhood – it’s tucked it in a mirror frame and it makes me smile when I look at it. And the sweetpeas – I am especially fond of these sweetpeas from our garden that fill the room with their delicious scent. It’s such a treat to be able to go out to the garden and cut them every few days.


The Tithonia has started to bloom. The colour is completely stand-out and looks fabulous with the large, dark-green leaves. I’m really delighted with these plants as I raised them from seed sown in March. They are about 1m tall and stand proudly at the back of the border. The flowers are good for pollinating insects – I managed to snap this one with a hoverfly on it.


Our tomatoes are ripening. We have eight plants of two cherry varieties – Sungold and Gardener’s Delight – and they’ve grown very tall with lots of fruiting trusses. There’s nothing quite like the taste of a home-grown tomato fresh from the vine but I suspect we might be sick of tomatoes by the end of the summer.


Do you remember the pot-bound agapanthus that we cut into quarters and planted in the border? Well, here it is. It survived the hatchet-job and is flowering. There are only two flowers so far but that’s better than none and suggests it’s not too cross, thank goodness.


The achilleas are still going strong. I can’t remember the name of this variety but it’s a gorgeous, cheery colour.


Finally, here’s Cassie, worn-out after a good, long walk this morning. She’s usually curled up like a cat on this chair because she’s too long-legged to stretch out on it properly.

Oops. I’m supposed to be working on something… Back to it!
Wishing you a very good weekend.

Delighting in the details

After the crazy count-down to the Garden Safari last weekend it was lovely to ease off the pressure this past week and enjoy the garden. It was too hot by mid-week to do anything remotely energetic anyway. I restricted myself to a little weeding and deadheading and generally wandering about looking – properly looking – at the beautiful colours and forms.

Diascia planted around the base of a little olive tree with Panicum elegans 'Frosted Explosion'. The diascia was an emergency purchase from the bargain shelf at B&Q. It was very sad and past it's best. Fed, watered, trimmed and planted and a it's now looking lovely.
Diascia planted around the base of a little olive tree in a large container with the annual grass  Panicum elegans ‘Frosted Explosion’. The diascia was an emergency purchase from the bargain shelf at B&Q. It was very sad and tatty but we fed, watered, trimmed and planted it out and it’s now looking lovely.
Allium cristophii
Allium cristophii has taken over from Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ as the star plant.
Our sweetpeas (bought as plug plants and planted in early May) are just starting to flower.
Our sweetpeas (bought as plug plants and planted out in mid-May) are just starting to flower. It’s probably my favourite scent in the garden. Delicious.
Thyme flowers.
Thyme flowers.
Sunlight through hardy geranium leaves.
Sunlight through hardy geranium leaves.


Panicum elegans 'Frosted Explosion'. We've grown this from seed and had over 50 plants from a packet so we've dotted it about everywhere!
More Panicum elegans ‘Frosted Explosion’. We grew this from seed and had well over 50 plants from a packet so we’ve dotted it about everywhere!
Each time I go to the beach, I come home with a pebble or two in my pocket. There's something about a warm, smooth stone in your hand.
Each time I go to the beach, I come home with a pebble or two in my pocket. There’s something about a warm, smooth stone in your hand.
The love-in-the-mist (Nigella) is setting seed. I like the seedpods as much as the flowers.
The love-in-the-mist (Nigella) is setting seed. I think the seedpods are as beautiful as the flowers.


In other news… Both boys went off to Hampshire on Saturday for a week at a CCF (Combined Cadet Force) summer camp. They’re kayaking, climbing, marching, throwing themselves around assault courses and taking part in an overnight exercise which they assure me is all great fun. It’s organised through their school, so it’s a week away all fully approved and they won’t be missing much. I am missing them very much though.

My daughter, who is not used to being the only child and doesn’t particularly like it, has her ‘moving-up’ day on Thursday. She’ll spend the day at secondary school and generally experience a taste of how it’s going to be. Her brothers won’t be there, of course, but that’s probably a good thing.

I am feeling the passing of time acutely at the moment and I’m trying to remember to take stock and enjoy as much of it as possible. Have a good week and I hope you get time to savour your moments too.