Tag Archives: Cuttings

January

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January – the doorway to the year.
Named after Janus, the God of beginnings and transitions.
Derived from tha Latin word ianua, meaning door.

How apt, therefore, is my cuttings display at the moment, displayed by our new French doors! They are showing a selection of scented blooms, flowering at the moment against a backdrop of the evergreen Sarcococca, or Christmas Box. It’s looking forward to the garden delights to come, while coming full circle from this time last year, when I started my Cuttings Calender, using Sarcococca in my new little milk bottles.

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Oh, yes, I’ve done it! Completed a whole year of having flowers and cut material from our garden, on display in the house. Sometimes, rather minimal, and sometimes, I must confess, slightly past their best, while I get a chance to do a fresh vase, but there’s been at least one vase on the go all year. Now, to keep it up and get better! This has affected what I plan to grow from now on. I’m considering more bulbs and growing flowers for cutting. As I’m now struggling for border space for these plans, I’m searching for some quirky containers in which to grow them.

And, I’ve been blogging now for a year, too. As many of you know, I was honoured to be nominated for a Liebster award too, to coincide with my anniversary.

January is also the time of returning to “normal”. I trust you all had a pleasant festive season. For the last couple of months, my garden has had to take a bit of a back seat, with, not only Christmas preps, but also the dreaded D.I.Y. to deal with! At least it’s been a quiet(ish)time, gardening wise. I’ve still been enjoying my walks around the “Estate”, seeing what is developing, and taken some interesting snapshots along the way, but with no coherent storyline – somewhat random – but I’ll show them anyway!

They mainly revolve around the weather effects in the garden – or to be more precise, frost. It has been such a mild Christmas period, with temperatures well into double figures at times, but contrasting with some cold snaps giving us some pure white frosty scenes, and even a touch of snow, albeit short lived.

I have some shots of our frosty garden.

The frosty Grass Garden

The frosty Grass Garden

The frosty Allotment

The frosty Allotment

Note the garden fork staring at me, reproachfully!

The frosty Cottage Garden

The frosty Cottage Garden

Glass of wine, anyone? Hot chocolate, more like!

And there were some magical frost effects!

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One of my somewhat overlooked shrubs, given as an unknown cutting, (unknown other than it’s an evergreen Euonymus) and just plonked somewhere to grow away, threw up a surprise.

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The most amazing berries – totally unexpected! I knew deciduous Euonymus developed similar interesting berries, but not the evergreens. I’m always learning! It has grown in my estimation over the last year for providing good foliage for vases. And now, berries too! Some were immediately added to the milk bottles! It will be a bit more valued from now on.

And on one glorious winter day….

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…. what a racket greeted me! The sycamore trees at the end of the garden, silhouetted against a beautiful blue sky, was full of birds chattering away. They were too far away to make out what they were, but I suspect they may have been starlings. If so, we don’t normally see them in our garden. Slim and dark and not too large. Am I right in thinking that starlings tend to flock and are renowned for their song? Anyway, it was such a cheerful experience!

And now it’s time to look forward. Have any of you got any gardening New Years Resolutions? What plans have you got for your gardens this year?

Here’s to another gardening year! I can’t wait to get started!

The Cuttings Calender – November

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Oops! It’s nearly the end of December, and I’ve just realised that in the battle of home improvements v Christmas preps, I forgot to post the November edition of the Cuttings Calender.

Now, I don’t want any of you wondering if I’ve fallen by the wayside, so better late than never.

It’s starting to get harder now, with fewer blooms around, so November started with the last of the floral stragglers and ended with evergreens and berries.

I love the winner for its colour scheme of silver (foliage), black (berries) and purple (berries and flowers). The only flowers still blooming were good old Astrantia “Buckland”, which I twinned with the silvery foliage of Pittosporum “Silver Queen” and Astrantia ludoviciana. Sorry, there was also still a few blooms of Verbena bonariensis, standing proud, so they started the purple. Down in the woodland I was enamoured by the matching Callicarpa berries and Muscari flowers, so I wanted that effect in the vase too. What better contrast to all of this than black berries, supplied by Ophiopogon “Nigrescens”. So cool!

There were other contributions, despite the slowing down of offerings.

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Centre stage in this vase has to be the winter flowering Coronilla “Citrina” flowering alongside summer flowering Alchemilla mollis. Crazy! Astrantia is still going strong, golden ivy leaves blend in with the flowers, and the ever flowering Campanula (not sure which one but it loves our garden!) provides a cool blue contrast.

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Don’t the vases seem to flow from one to the other? Here we have the Coronilla and the Campanula again, this time with more silver variegated Pittosporum, but this time with a splash of warming pink, from the Cyclamen.

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Now we’re getting more seasonal! Some good evergreen leaves – Sarcococca and Ivy – a beautiful sprig of Jasmine foliage turning gold and pink, with the last of the red berries and some red Cornus stems. I added some black “full stops” with some ivy berries and a stem of seed heads from Anemone japonica.

A difficult choice this month!

So sorry this is so late. December’s will be due any day now!

And I hope this does not appear too rushed. I’ve just been lucky enough to be nominated for a Liebster award for blogging, so I’m off now to ask and answer questions, and to compose my acceptance speech! 😉

The Cuttings Calender – May

Lilac Time

Lilac Time

May arrived with a bang! It was “Lilac Time”!
Such an easy vase to create – this one I’ve done several times before. It comprises of the blooms and leaves of three unknown varieties of lilac, in a favourite jug. Two are from our garden – the white and the lilac, and the purple one is from our neighbours garden (with his blessing!) This is easily my favourite vase!

White Lilac

White Lilac

I tried to repeat this, with purely the white lilac, in a smoky glass vase.

There were other contenders other than lilac.

A dinky pot with lily-of-the-valley

A dinky pot with lily-of-the-valley

A simple pot, that packed a hefty scent! Had to be done!

Bells and Bugles!

Bells and Bugles!

As you can tell from the title, I used the last of the bluebells, along with Ajuga flowers, in my milk bottles. I picked up the latter’s dark leaves with some sprigs of Anthriscus “Ravenswing”, for a bit of leafy texture.

A cup of "Wild" flowers

A cup of “Wild” flowers

This, I loved! So wild and floaty, but it was short lived. They were only wild in the confines of our garden! I chose blue Forget-me-nots, which were everywhere, pink Herb Robert, a wild form of geranium, which I introduced myself, and lots of frothy white Cow Parsley, which made a welcome appearance. I added in some white flowering stems of Luzula nivea, to add a grassy touch. A beautiful effect, but over too soon!

The rest were the “A+E” contenders!

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I was admiring the daisies, while I had five mins, before getting the lawnmower out. They just had to be rescued!

I wonder what next month will bring!

The Cuttings Calender – April

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I think I’m getting into my stride now. As the year unfolds, there is much more material available in the garden for cutting. Add to that, the inspiration that I have had, from following Cathy’s meme at “Rambling in the Garden”, has really helped my imagination.

Thanks to that, this has to be my favourite for April. I started to use a selection of flowers, along with foliage to create this display. We have here, Bluebells, Dicentra, Pulmonaria, Muscari, Forget-me-nots, all set off with the variegated foliage of Euonymus, and arranged in a pretty, blue and white mug.

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In a similar vein, my milk bottles came back into use, this time using Bluebells with Erythronium “Pagoda”, with its delicate yellow bells, again with some Euonymus foliage.

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By total contrast, there is this dark, sultry arrangement, which came close. These photos are of the same pot, but in different settings. How different do they look? I chose the dark flowers of Geranium phaeum, Vinca “Atropurpurea”, and a couple of sprigs of Akebia quinata (never imagined I’d use climbers in a vase!) and the foliage of Anthriscus “Ravenswing”, Heuchera “Chocolate Ruffles” and Bronze Fennel, and lightened with a couple of sprigs of complementary pink Chaerophyllum hirsutum “Roseum”.

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These last two candidates were rescued victims.
Firstly, some stray pink bluebells in a patch of blue, which completed their display indoors with some Luzula sprigs (again, I tip I learned from fellow bloggers!). The second, was a stem from my recently acquired Ashwood hellebore (remember the damaged stem, the day after purchase?). Shall we term this the “A+E” category?

So that’s it for another month – unless I decide I’m good enough to join in with the meme!

The Cutting Calender – March

Daffs

Daffs

Another round-up of cuttings to peruse!

“Daffs” came out top for me. Just a simple collection of odd blooms, but I find daffs in a vase to be the cheeriest of displays. Always a “must have” in our house, even if they’re bought or grown indoors as bulb arrangements, but so much nicer cut from the garden! The setting of my simple vase, on our crockery dresser, makes the picture complete.

The other contenders are our Hellebores.

Hellebores floating

Hellebores floating

A well recognised way of displaying these winter beauties, as you can more easily appreciate the beauty of the blooms, which normally hang their heads from view. It lasted well, too, for many days. And it showed all the varieties we have in the garden.

Hellebore "Ashwood hybrid"

Hellebore “Ashwood hybrid”

A beautiful, smoky black hybrid, which normally resides in our “Black & White” beds.

Hellebore "Ashwood hybrid"

Hellebore “Ashwood hybrid”

This lovely, pink one, here displayed with a fresh, new leaf of Anthriscus “Ravenswing”, is normally making itself at home in the “Woodland”. The leaf just sets it off beautifully.
These last two small, vases, were displayed together at either end of our mantle shelf. I think they look just splendid against the grey wall!

Hard choice!

The Cuttings Calender – February

Snowdrops in a dinky vase

Snowdrops in a dinky vase

I’m ashamed to say, that the contenders for February are a bit thin on the ground. I did keep it going, but there was a large element of repetition. I could blame a lack of cutting material, but it’s more likely to be my lack of imagination.

My other contenders?

Six of the best

Six of the best

“Six of the best” was interesting – a sort of botanical “exercise”! – but some elements of the composition did not last well. It comprised of a single sprig of six winter-flowering shrubs, in each of my milk bottles. Abeliophyllum distichum, Daphne laureola, Chimonanthus praecox, Coronilla “Citrina” and of course, Sarcococca and Lonicera fragrantissima. The smell was wonderful!

Chimonanthus praecox

Chimonanthus praecox

I loved the single sprig of Chimonanthus! I felt it was “understated chic”(!) – Japanese almost! It was simple and long-lasting, as well as fulfilling the original aim of bringing the scent down to nose height.

But the simple beauty of the snowdrops, was the winner. So lovely, to bring the harbinger of spring indoors and be able to appreciate them at eye level.

The Cuttings Calendar – January

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Having instigated my Cuttings Calender, and set myself the target of a constant supply of indoor arrangements, I’d better get on with it! It is now nearly the end of February, with little to show so far.

Indoor arrangements – well, I must use the term loosely! I do like single sprays occasionally, sometimes for simple impact, but sometimes because there is little available at the time. I will allow myself that leeway for my first attempts!
My fellow bloggers have inspired me to be more imaginative so I must be more adventurous in future.

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My Mahonia selection in milk bottles, was a contender. It imparted a wonderful scent around the room and was a lovely, cheery yellow. It also lasted well. Snowdrops with Sarcococca also featured for several days.

However, the Sarcococca had to be the pick of January! It was my first attempt and so had to be the one!