Thursday 21 June 2012

A sunny day

Yesterday was a deliciously hot day in the garden so photographs were a must.  How different could today be with rain and feeling so very humid... perfect growing weather though really, so I'll make no complaints. Here are the photographs I took yesterday with just a few samples of what is growing in the garden at the moment.

In order of appearance we have: Ammi Majus with Sweet Williams in the background, larkspur, cornflowers, two types of scabious, Miss Willmott and Clive Greaves then finally the beautiful love-in-a-mist.

Happy, sunny days.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Weird and Wonderful

I like to grow something new or something strange each growing season but also, strange things return to the garden after a secret self seeding behind my back.  Ahem, ahem, in the ‘weird and wonderful’ category tonight we have ... Phacelia a green manure crop from last year that is popping up in the garden this year. It looks like a funky purple caterpillar.

This is Muscari Plumosum a very strange little beast. It has feathery purple blooms and it has a wild, rebellious way about it. It seems to say, “I’m gonna grow whichever way I want to, alright?!” When it is cut it is difficult to arrange in any organised fashion, so, I just don’t bother and let it do it’s own thing in a nice low vase or bowl.

The final candidate for tonight’s ‘weird and wonderful’ presentation is ... the Hairy Allium. I love these strange alliums, they can grow over 60 cms in height so together as a bunch they look very elegant. The bunch pictured below are little surprise seedlings from last year’s flowers.

The parents are even stranger.

Sometimes they even seem to have a personality of their own.

Sunday 17 June 2012

Blue and green should never be seen

“.... except with a colour in between”. 

In this day and age of 'anything goes' in fashion, I still love this saying’s retro naivety with the advisory warning of a potential fashion faux pas. In the world of flowers though, blue and green will most definitely be seen ... everywhere in the garden.

A blue and green dream with flowers from the garden: Bells of Ireland, Ammi Visnaga, love-in-a-mist, delphiniums and corncockle.

I love the ceramics from Dartington Pottery and this design, Peacock, is one of my favourites. I have two of these bowls but I particularly love the proportions of this bowl. It even has, “a colour in between”, with the white of the white lace flower.

Beautiful blues of love-in-a-mist, delphinium, anchusa and cornflower also known by the sweet name of, ‘batchelors button’.

I like to cut cornflowers in different ways. Here they are shown with just the bloom heads cut and then with full, taller branches to show off the natural look of how they grow in the garden with the tight buds at the top.

Two simple glasses look sweet with a single hellebore and delphinium sitting alongside some flower cigarette cards (yes, another of my weaknesses!)

The following pictures are from an old gardening book and show off the blue and green dream again.

So "Blue and green should never seen" ?... I don’t think so!

Tuesday 12 June 2012


I have been sulking each day following my ongoing vendetta against slugs, they are EVERYWHERE!  My first job of the morning, again, is having to hand pick all slugs from more or else all plants in the garden.  Here they are, the little blighters in deep munching mode in the centre of my achillea!

Following this particularly heavy duty hand pick of slugs I had to pick today’s flowers for bunches and arrangements to sell later today.  The flowers that I picked for today are shown below with bunches and close ups.

Awww foxgloves in a basket.

The bunches and arrangements when they have been finished.

“Slugs what slugs?”

Monday 11 June 2012

Blowing in the wind

Well, we are having some extremes of weather for June!  Wet and windy are not always the best combinations for cut flowers grown au naturel.  I have to put my trust in Mother Nature and civil engineering inspired staking for the taller and more fragile plants.  I use a combination of staking individual plants and whole rows at a time using bean support netting.  Discovering the most appropriate staking method for different flowers is a work in progress for me. Last year a little laziness took me over regarding the staking of plants.  Well, actually, I think it was more to do with too many things to do at once so I had to prioritise and mistakenly didn’t see staking as a priority last year.  The consequences were predictable and I lost whole rows of gorgeous flowers to wind and rain. This year was to be so different and thankfully there has not, as yet, been too many catastrophic casualties of the wind in the cutting garden. When I say casualties it infers negativity but in reality what I mean is I have to harvest the damaged flowers and I get more for myself... poor me, how I suffer for my garden!

The named ‘casualties’ of the wind so far in the garden have been, the tall thin corncockle, woad seed heads and an en masse sway of an 11 metre length of cornflowers.  The latter is shown below and provides me with yet another learning curve of using far more substantial supports than just bamboo canes for next year.  The whole weighty row of cornflowers has a 30 degree sway and I can almost imagine them saying, “Wahey”, as they all moved as one in last week’s wind.

Woad is well known for it’s use as a natural dye where the leaves are processed to provide a blue colour just like indigo.  I grow woad for it’s gorgeous lime green regimented seed heads, they look like rows of hanging bats on a branch. When left on the plant the seeds will turn a macabre black colour before they go forth and seed everywhere! 

The woad looks like a mini tree in this bottle.

Lovely close ups of the seedheads.

Fingers crossed now for only gentle winds for the remainder of the growing season.

Friday 8 June 2012

My one weakness

Vintage flower postcards are my one weakness ... oh, and CDV (carte de visite) photos ... perhaps I should rephrase then, vintage flower postcards are ONE of my MANY weaknesses. I have been collecting vintage postcards and CDV photos for many years and I sell them on my stall.  CDV photos were used as a sort of calling card between friends and guests circa 1850s-1900s. I love doing arrangements with a collection of vintage cards and a small selection of flowers that are in bloom at the moment in the cutting garden.

Wild poppies, pink ranunculus and a deep red climbing rose.

Poppies and postcards (mmm a lovely piece of alliteration).

A little bit of blue with cornflowers. The Autumn sown cornflowers were staked within an inch of their life yesterday ready for the strong winds today. They are already 1.5 metres high so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will remain steadfast against all gusts.

The beautiful old fashioned and heavenly scented Sweet Williams are just coming into their own in the garden at the moment.

This lady seems to be sniffing the intoxicating scent ... and who can blame her!