Monthly Archives: July 2015

In a Vase on Monday – But a Day Late!


My very first Dahlia!

I’m so impressed with it that I wanted to show it off, by joining in with Cathy, at “Rambling in the garden” and her meme. I do hope she’ll forgive me for being late!

Like so many of you, I’ve become very fond of cutting flowers from the garden to bring indoors, with the result, I wanted to try growing some this year, specifically for cutting. I’ve never grown Dahlias before, but thought they would be ideal, to grow in pots with this aim in mind.

While strolling past a nearby florist, earlier in the year, I noticed baskets full of summer flowering bulbs for sale. Two dark red ones instantly appealed to me. This one is “Natal”, a pompom dahlia.


It’s turned out to be an absolute stunner, I hope you agree!

Sadly, the other hasn’t amounted to much. The tuber wasn’t the healthiest, although it did shoot, but it has just become mollusc fodder. Which is the way my other pots of flowers for cutting – Ammi majus, which I adore, and have been desperate to try, and Didiscus “Blue Lace”, a new one on me, which looked interesting, scented with pale blue umbels – have ended up.

But, at least I have my dahlia – and some sweet peas!

So back to the vase!

I just cut one stalk, which had two beautiful flower heads on it. There’s still another two left, with loads of buds in waiting. I thought the dark chocolate coloured foliage of Cotinus “Grace” would set them off beautifully and provide a bit of a prop for the single stem. It did need a bit of lightness, though, to alleviate the darkness, so I added some silvery blades of Miscanthus “Morning Light” and then came across some stems of Astrantia, which were white, with similarly coloured splashes at the base of the flowers. Should pick up the dark red shade perfectly! Funnily enough, the whole vase blends beautifully with the decor in the dining room, complete with complementary candles. Cathy will hopefully appreciate the props!

Oh, and the sweet peas came indoors, too!


Scent in the Garden – July

Clockwise from top left -  Sweet pea; Buddleia; Jasminum officinalis; Jasminum beesianum

Clockwise from top left –
Sweet pea; Buddleia; Jasminum officinalis; Jasminum beesianum

The baton that June laid down, has been most definitely picked up by July, and is now off and running.

The July scented garden has all the usual suspects – roses, honeysuckles, sweet peas, lavender, pinks and Jasmine. The camera has gone into overtime and the volume of photos now, necessitates the use of montages, to display them all!

Some of our roses, missed the bus in June, and have now caught the next one.

Clockwise from top left -  Rosa eglanteria; Rosa gallica officinalis; Rose "Silver Anniversary"; Rosa "Albertine"

Clockwise from top left –
Rosa eglanteria; Rosa gallica officinalis; Rose “Silver Anniversary”; Rosa “Albertine”

But I still maintain, that Philadelphus most definitely give roses a run for their money when it comes to perfume. We have two – the giant, clumsy mock orange, rescued from a supermarket shelf, claiming to be “Virginal”, and the smaller, more delicate, “Sybille”. Of the two, “Sybille” has the better perfume, and its bubblegum scent carries all around the garden.

Top- Philadelphus "Sybille" Bottom - Philadelphus "Virginal"

Top- Philadelphus “Sybille”
Bottom – Philadelphus “Virginal”

For scent in the garden, nothing can beat lavender. It shouts the Mediterranean – even though L. angustifolia is English lavender! I love it! I grow it wherever I can, in pots, as well as in the borders. In common with other aromatic herbs, it gives us perfume all year round from its leaves – the flowers are a bonus! This lavender, “Hidcote” with its dark purple flowers, looks particularly good alongside the yellow froth of Alchemilla Mollis.


Other aromatic herbs are adding to their appeal by starting to give us flowers, as well.


Our Honeysuckle “Belgica” is still going great guns, and has been joined with a few pals ….

Top- Lonicera "Belgica" Bottom L. - Lonicera delavayii ; R. - Honeysuckle from next door

Top- Lonicera “Belgica”
Bottom L. – Lonicera delavayii ; R. – Honeysuckle from next door

My potted pinks are giving me particular pleasure on the patio.


I do have a few other more unusual gems, though.

Top - Zenobia pulverulenta "Blue Skies" Bottom L. - Escallonia Iveyi; R. - Calycanthus floridus

Top – Zenobia pulverulenta “Blue Skies”
Bottom L. – Escallonia Iveyi; R. – Calycanthus floridus

More on those another time!

Now, I must show you an idea I “borrowed” from the local pub!


They had pots of herbs and flowers in a small trough on a table in the garden. It got me thinking of a line of troughs along our outdoor dining table containing scented flowers, and herbs for picking and adding to food. What do you think? Add some jars for tea lights, a pot of “touchy-feely” chamomile and our recently acquired Kaffir lime, and that’s a lovely table centre piece.

July’s scent, though, has not been restricted to the garden.
Some of it found its way indoors.


How’s your garden smelling?

His ‘n Hers Sheds!




Oh, it’s not that sad! Honestly!

Even though Mr. Chef is planning to paint “his” a similar shade of blue, to create his “beach hut”!

It’s really a necessity!

My shed was the original garden shed. Complete with potting bench, trolley, and all the necessary wall hooks for shears, loppers, and all my lovely tools. The walls were packed with our power tools – lawn mower, shredder, hedge trimmer and so forth – bikes, and stacked with piles of empty pots and bags of compost. Sound familiar? I even have an old bar stool, for potting in comfort.

But then came the new porch cum utility room. All the D.I.Y. paraphernalia just had to be moved out. Where to? Sadly, my shed!

It might as well have had a “No Entry” sign on the door, instead of its lovely old “Sutton’s Seeds” sign. For the last year there’s been no way in!

So now, order has been restored.

“Her” shed has been restored to its former glory. I mean, I can now actually get inside!

“His” shed is now Mr. Chef’s D.I.Y. shed, complete with work bench and tools. And his bike. Of course, seats will also be needed!

And the porch/utility room is still in order.

I’m sure we’ll enjoy both sheds, amicably!

A win-win situation, me thinks!

Perfect Plant Partners


The highlight of any garden – maybe even the ultimate aim – is the combination of plants, and the effects they create. What a feeling, when what you envisaged and planned for, comes to fruition! Or, even more exciting, when a perfect plant combination comes out of the blue.

Sitting out the other night, enjoying a bit of lovely evening warmth, I looked more closely at the adjacent Black border, and thought “You know, that grass, now it’s flowering, is perfect next to that Astrantia!” The grass was a later addition to the bed, and hadn’t proved itself, up to that point. Mind you, it does need staking – the effect is totally ruined if it flops, as it tends to do.


I really wanted to share this, and then went on a walk around the “Estate” to see if there were any other possible contributions. Thanks to the joys of iPad, I have now learnt how to annotate my photos, and show you, so easily now, what the plants are. Modern technology, eh?



And here’s one I made earlier!


I hope to continue this theme, as and when these horticultural pairings arise. The photos, once annotated, are self explanatory, so these posts may be short and sweet, even wordless, but always impromptu.

What wonderful and exciting plant combinations do you have in your garden? It would be lovely if you could share them with us. I, for one, would love to see them!

Gardening is all about learning, and what better way to learn, than from fellow gardeners?