Tag Archives: Hydrangea “Annabelle”

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!

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A Bowl of Frosties!

Crocosmia with Miscanthus, Artemisia and Persicaria

Crocosmia with Miscanthus, Artemisia and Persicaria

Boy, is it cold today! Takes us all by surprise! A pleasant one, however, after this wet and weary spell.

Well, my first choice of title, was to be “A Touch of Frost”, but it had already been used. But a touch of frost is what this post is all about.

How wonderful is the first real winter frost! It transforms the garden from a dull, mushy brown to a winter wonderland. It defines all the leaf edges and foliage detail, with crisp whiteness. This is when you pat yourself on the back for including all the grasses, and structural plants.

Deschampsia cespitosa

Deschampsia cespitosa

Miscanthus "Morning Light" with fennel

Miscanthus “Morning Light” with fennel

In the Grass Garden, the silvery Miscanthus grass, “Morning Light”, becomes even more silvery, set against the backdrop of frosted fennel seed heads.

Even the functional Allotment, takes on a picturesque quality.

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The last of the sweet pea flowers twinkle out of its frosted tepee, looking somewhat like an early Christmas tree!

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The wayward stems of the Japanese Wineberry, still with its autumn coloured leaves, are now edged with white.

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And the frost outlines the box balls, accentuating their crisp, structural qualities.

Mahonia japonica

Mahonia japonica

Elsewhere, in the garden, the frost picks out the scented shrubs, giving the Mahonia japonica, just starting to flower, the appearance of a sparkling star.

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Most of the flowers are now long gone, but the raspberry flower heads of the sedum, looks like fruits that have been dusted with icing sugar.

And talking of raspberry tones….

Cotinus "Grace"

Cotinus “Grace”

….isn’t the last of Grace’s leaves, stunning etched in white?

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Despite the sterling work done this year by our lovely “Annabelle”, she is still looking wonderful in her old age. As the song says “Silver threads among the gold”.

If this is what winter has in store, then bring it on!

The Cuttings Calender – September

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Sometimes simplicity is best!

This was my favourite for the month. I loved its freshness, and was enjoying the late burst of pure white rosebuds, nestled amongst the lime green flower heads of our good old friend “Annabelle”, yet again. And it was also, my first foray into Cathy’s meme “In a Vase on Monday”.

Mind you, it was a close run thing! Roaring into second place, was my warm, rosy wine vase I created for my “Last of the Summer Wine” post, out of the dying embers of the garden.

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It was quite a concoction of wine coloured flowers, buds and grasses, seed heads and red berries, freshened up with some simple white Anemone “Honorine Jobert” and Rosa rugosa flowers. The wine tones were provided by the flowers of our unknown Sedum, Persicaria amplexicaulis “Firetail”, the buds of Skimmia rubella, and the wonderful, velvety flower spikes of Miscanthus “Ferner Osten”. Other grasses were also used in the making of this vase. Seed heads were provided courtesy of Crocosmia “Lucifer”. The red berries used were from our Rowan tree (again, unknown variety) along with the hips of two roses – the fat juicy ones of Rosa rugosa and the smaller, goblet shaped ones of Rosa rubiginosa – complete with their leaves to provide bright green and blue green foliage respectively. Quite an autumnal display!

I must share with you my landmark of earlier in the month. Six vases in one day!

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You probably recognise several of them carried over from August, but there’s a couple of fresh ones, in there.

First, my jug of flowering herbs,

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with mint, lavender, hyssop, fennel, borage and purple sage.

Second, more rosy tones,

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with Persicaria used again, this time complete with leaves, complemented with the favourite wine combo of Cotinus “Grace”, and Miscanthus “Ferner Osten”. You can also see the red blades of the grass Imperata rubra, blending beautifully.

Other offerings this month;

A cool blue composition image

More sweet peas,
this time with rosemary. image

A single white rose. image

Buttercups and Daisies. image

And finishing where we started,

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the same vase, minus the long gone roses, fading away like a sepia photo!

In a Vase on Monday – Gather Ye Rosebuds….

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At long last, I’m managing to join in with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, by concocting a vase on the correct day!

I must confess to it being a bit of a rushed job, as I’m not long back from work, but I have been watching and seeing what’s available over the last few days, that could be used. When our “Silver Anniversay” Rose gave us a second flush of flowers, I saw the potential for, not only a vase, but also the title.

The composition was straight forward. The rosebuds at this stage have a lovely greenish tinge. Of course, our old friend “Annabelle” is now fading to a gorgeous lime colour and provided the “froth” that supported the roses. Lucky us, to also have the perfect shape and colour to complement the flowers, in a simple, round green pot. I did try adding some sprigs of the grass, Deschampsia, but felt it added nothing to the appearance, and spoilt its cool simplicity. So they were discarded. I even managed to find “props” in the fallen, pure white petals.

I hope you enjoy my first attempt, albeit rushed, and hope you will allow its simplicity!

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Now, all I have to do, is to work out this link business! Wish me luck!

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!

A Day of Delight and Devastation!

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What a delight today has been! Sun and high temperatures – a perfect day for the garden! A day with lots of little highlights which just scream out “Isn’t life in the garden wonderful”!

First we must get the devastation out of the way. It’s not as dramatic as it sounds – honest!

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The Philadelphus “Virginal” had been threatened with a drastic haircut. A bowl cut no less! Pruning by the book had resulted in vigorous new growth, which resulted in a plant that looked huge and gaunt, with strong, straight regrowth and huge leaves. So I decided to shorten all these long growths, in the hope of some branching lower down, with a more twiggy and pleasant, rounded appearance. Devastation, no less! But I think the results are more pleasing.
The Philadelphus was not alone. I apprehensively wielded the secateurs to our fruit cordons – not such a hacking venture. It did involve a lot of double checking with the manual, but I hope I’ve got it right. They certainly look more the thing!
So devastation is not really the right word. Nerve racking tasks that provide delight with a satisfactory outcome.

It was not all hard work. Among the watering and feeding, there was ample time to appreciate the many delights of the garden today.

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The Cottage garden has now reached its “teenage” phase, where it no longer wants to behave and just wants to sprawl about everywhere. Thank goodness for the late developers!

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I can’t rave enough about Hydrangea “Annabelle”. I’m so glad I added it to our Cottage border. It really packs a punch once the roses are past their best. I say “it”, I’ve repeated it another twice through the border. (I must confess, one is the very similar, Hydrangea “Bounty”.) Add to that the Leucanthemum, and the border takes on a distinctly white appearance, now, contrasting with the blues of the Aconites and Echinops. The rest keep ticking over.

But it’s not all over, yet! We have another bite of the cherry, with our Grass garden, just coming into its own now, extending the garden’s season of interest a bit longer.

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No soft pastels here! It’s all hot colours and textures. It moves from golds and blues, through plummy reds with silver, and onto hot chocolates, oranges and bright reds. All softened with grasses. It’s been ticking over up till now, when it’s heading towards its peak. Once the flowering is over, the grasses and seed heads will keep the interest going well into the autumn, and even winter.

Some little delights!

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Doesn’t the Echinops look wonderful against the lime-green of the hop covered fence?

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I love the way the light strikes this Hemerocallis!

The “Allotment” was also delivering delights.

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Apart from the handful of Japanese Wine berries I displayed earlier, the rest of the patch was filling me with great pleasure. All planted now, and produce, such as broad and French beans, cornichons, lettuce, and artichokes, not to mention my very first sweet pea flower, were all starting to burst forth. And the herbs I added a couple of weeks ago, were well settled in.

Wildlife were basking in it as well. Look closer at the globe thistles and you will see it’s not only me that enjoys them. The bees do too! (By the way, they smell gorgeous! That’s the flowers, not the bees!)

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I also spotted a dragonfly flitting by, and as soon as my back was turned, a robin pinched my seat! (Doubling as my kneeling stool – sadly much loved – and hereby, showing my age!) All too fleeting for my camera.

But I managed to catch one photo. (Annette asked for this, if I could!) One of our frogs, sheltering behind a fern.

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A happy day! 🙂