Monthly Archives: August 2014

A Chocolate Pot

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It’s a wet Sunday afternoon. Nothing much can be done outside – at least with any comfort. So I’m amusing myself, playing around with some of my photos and practicing a new collage app.

Rachel de Thame, on the t.v. coverage of Chelsea Flower Show, did a series of articles, on themed plant collections, one of which was chocolate. For a bit of fun, I thought I’d create my own “Chocolate Pot”, using plants in our garden.

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Let’s start with a climber, to cover the back fence or wall. Akebia quinata, or “Chocolate vine”, is a beautiful climber, with chocolate coloured flowers, that smell of vanilla, in spring.

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Next, we need a backdrop to the border, so we have Cotinus “Grace”, with its beautiful oval, chocolate coloured leaves.

Now for the highlights of the border – the flowers.

Digitalis parviflora

Digitalis parviflora

The “Chocolate foxglove” gives us fantastic spires of chocolate coloured flowers.

Iris "Dutch Chocolate"

Iris “Dutch Chocolate”

Irises always give us stunning flowers, as well as interesting foliage the rest of the time. “Dutch Chocolate” is no exception.

Helenium "Moorheim Beauty"

Helenium “Moorheim Beauty”

We now need a flower to brighten up these chocolate tones, so I’ve introduced a “chocolate orange” element in the form of this orange daisy with chocolate centres. This daisy is a good filler providing a contrast in flower shape.

And now, to finish it all off, we need an edging.

Heuchera "Chocolate Ruffles"

Heuchera “Chocolate Ruffles”

What could be better than Heuchera “Chocolate Ruffles”! A great edging plant with evergreen, chocolate brown leaves (somewhat paler at this time of year, in this photo).

Uncinia rubra

Uncinia rubra

And, to provide a contrast in texture, we could do with a chocolate coloured grass, so this sedge fits the bill!

What a yummy collection for all us chocolate lovers!

As I said, this was a bit of fun, but I think it would work in practice. It would need a sunny site with free draining soil, although the sedge grass may need extra watering. Although shade lovers normally, Heucheras and this foxglove both like sunny conditions as well. The flaw, if it is one, is that the flowers don’t bloom at the same time, but the foliage should pull it all together.

Hope you like my Chocolate Pot! If you have any other suggestions for a theme, please let me know, and I’ll see what I can concoct!

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The Cuttings Calender – July

A bowlful of daisies.

A bowlful of daisies.

Well, this is my choice for July.

I love vases of daisies indoors – I’ve been known to cut lawn daisies for the house, before now!

We have several daisies growing in the garden, but I loved the simplicity of the white Leucanthemum with yellow Helianthus. It’s a combination I’ve used before and considered very cheery! The Heleniums and Echinaceas will have to wait for another time! I don’t know which varieties they are as they were gifts. The blooms are of similar size and the yellow centres of the Leucanthemum is repeated with the yellow of the Helianthus. I chose to cut them short and display them in a round bowl. I then added a few sprigs of fennel as a filler, to soften everything.

You may be wondering why I chose to photograph my vase outside, complete with detritus! Apart from it being a novel viewpoint, it was in the process of being admired!

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Poor little fly! I didn’t relish bringing him indoors, but I didn’t have the heart to shoo him off, while in the middle of his dinner!

And now for the competition!

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I can’t decide if this works or not! It’s certainly “plonked in a vase”! The display needed to be changed, but this was one of our rare wet days. It was soaking wet outside, and was showing no sign of stopping. Much as I can cope with a bit of rain, this was too much to spend time perusing the planting, and anyway, everything would be sopping wet. It was a case of what single stem was available that could look good in a vase – a minimalist arrangement this time! Crocosmia “Lucifer”! A striking looking flower, which was perfect at that moment in time. So I dashed out, secateurs in hand. But right by the plant grows Cotinus “Grace”. That would look good with it, so another shoot was cut. Then, while rushing back indoors, I noticed the flower spikes on our Heuchera. They were the same colour range, but with a softer texture. That was it! Back indoors and plonked! An amber bottle provided the plonking vessel. See what you think!

Also featuring;

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Mr Chef is a fan of buddleja and the butterflies they attract so this is for him! Again, an unknown variety, as it was one of my first successful attempts at propagation.

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One my grandad’s roses, “Braveheart”. Blooming lovely!

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“Annabelle” even looks fantastic in an old wine bottle!

Last, and certainly not least….

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…. the first of my sweet peas. These were seed packets way back in February! Two old fashioned, scented varieties, “Painted Lady” (the pink and white one) and “Matucana” (the darker purple one) They’re going great guns in the garden, so I should have a continuing supply of these scented beauties, for the rest of the summer. I think a small, simple vase is best, with no other floral competition. And, of course, the scent! Simply gorgeous!

All very simple displays, this month, for whatever reason, but lovely, nonetheless, I hope you agree!