Author Archives: thelonggardenpath

About thelonggardenpath

Avid gardener, with garden design ambitions. And when I'm not getting my hands dirty or playing with pencil and paper, I may be found relaxing, watching rugby!

In the Bleak Midwinter?

Well, it did seem to be the case, sitting indoors listening to the rain, yet again, pattering against the window. Looking out at grey skies can really dampen the spirits. But then again, the view from the French windows, had to produce a glimmer of cheer.

The sight of Garrya elliptica’s beautiful long catkins, like icicles, led me to venture out with iPad in hand. Never mind the rain!

So glad I did!

I was heading right to the end of the garden (how brave!) to the Woodland garden, hoping to find the first signs of Spring there.

En route, I paused to take in the perfume of our Mahonia japonica – a sniff of early lily of the valley!

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Then on through the Allotment to revel in the sight of this year’s rhubarb poking through.

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And then reaching the Woodland, to discover all that I had hoped for!

What with snowdrops, perfume and the promise of joys to come, it’s not so bleak at all!

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Our Annabelle Is A Bit Of A Wild Child!

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Or alternatively, “A Study in White”.

I’m a sucker for border design plans, so when our “Cottage Border” started looking tired and in need of a revamp, a plan I saw in a garden magazine for a cottage border really excited me. The lynch pins of the plan were pink roses (the plan used “Comte de Chambord” which I substituted with “Gertrude Jekyll” already in the border) and three plants of the hydrangea “Annabelle”. It was a plan incorporating lots of blowsy pinks and whites, dark blue spires, with highlights of black, courtesy of iris “Deep Black” and viola “Moly Sanderson”. So striking, but also very pretty and cottagey.

A few years on and some of the plants have struggled (I’ve learned that Campanula “Sarastro” is yet another slug delicacy! One flush, never to be seen again!) while others have well and truly flourished. No prizes for guessing which!

I have been trying to adapt these shortfalls to accommodate more of my scented shrubs, so is still a work in progress. But can you believe these hydrangeas?

“Annabelle” is stunning – quite a spectacle, you must agree!

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This is just one of the shrubs!

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And look at the size of these blooms! Much larger than the palm of my hand!

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Her beauty is not restricted to the border. She performs just as well indoors, cut for vases in the house.

There’s more than enough blooms to give us a pair of vases.

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Notice my “new” rose bowl’s second outing!

But, as with all unruly children, a bit of control will be needed.
Too many other plants risk being swamped and lost to her excessive advances. She needs reigning in! So I must invest in some more of those semi-circular supports that I have found so successful in other areas of the garden.

She’s a definite Diva!

In a Vase on Tuesday – A Casualty

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It’s like buses. You wait for ages for one, then two come along at once! So close on the heels of yesterday’s long awaited “In a Vase on Monday” post, I can’t wait till next week for the next one!

It comes, though, virtue of an “accident”. Some of my stems of Echinops had escaped their support. I’m ruthless now, and since they showed no desire to be caged up again, they had to be cut back – flower buds and all.

However, my conscience is always salved, if any material can be recycled in a vase for the house. These stark buds seemed to lend themselves to a simple display. I chose a collection of glass medicine bottles, with one stem in each. It may be simple, and not as frothy as my rose bowl, but gives the poor buds an extended life, giving a bit of pleasure indoors.

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I wonder if they’ll flower!

In a Vase on Monday – A New Rosebowl.

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I had to join in today!

I have just treated myself to a rose bowl. I have long thought about having one, not just for roses, but for any flower display. It seems to me to be a perfect solution for displaying many types of flowers, keeping them well supported and displayed. After scouring several local charity shops, I even had a choice of two. I plumped for the simpler, beautifully cut glass bowl.

Of course, the timing was perfect, coinciding with the first flush of roses, so what better way to christen my new bowl.

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I picked a bloom from each of my roses currently in bloom, not wanting to deplete the garden display too much. They sat in the bowl quite well behaved, and I filled out the gaps and softened the overall posy with sprays of Alchemilla mollis. How beautifully it combines with the roses! And how good it smells good too!

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I can see the bowl getting much use!

I’m joining in with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, who started this meme and faithfully shows us her beautiful and imaginative arrangements every week. Please pop over and see her contribution this week!