Tag Archives: Milk bottles

The Cuttings Calender – December ….and the Calender!

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Well, I managed it! A year of continuous vases in the house, cut from the garden! It’s been a delight, both in the doing and the viewing! I did think I might fall by the wayside, especially towards the end of the year, as material becomes more scarce, but I was surprised by my own imagination. And I was helped by the inspiration from fellow bloggers who contribute to Cathy’s weekly meme “In a Vase on Monday”. Cathy’s blog is “Rambling in the Garden” – most enjoyable and inspirational, so please, do go and have a look! Seeing what others achieved gave me many ideas. So thank you all!

My December vase had to be the Christmas one. I had to include the Christmas necessities of Holly – both green and variegated – and Ivy – again variegated, complete with their berries. I chose to also include some Christmas Box (Sarcococca). Sadly, the traditional red element was lacking. I struggled to find many red berries in the garden. They must have all fed the birds, since they had been there earlier in the month. The only red element I could find were two holly berries and a couple of sprigs of Skimmia “Rubella” buds. Never mind, I had the props to finish it off, in the form of some Christmas pot pourri and a beautiful hand made card. And our colour scheme helps too! I must confess to using the language of flowers, in a bit of a sentimental moment, by adding a sprig of Myrtle for good luck and one of Rosemary for remembrance.

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Earlier in the month, the vase was decidedly more pastel, using the newly blooming flowers of Coronilla “Citrina”. These flowers are beautifully scented and their leaves are a lovely glaucous blue, so I chose some creamy lemon variegated evergreen leaves to set them off, in the form of Pittosporum “Silver Queen” and Elaeagnus “Limelight” to accompany them.

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As the last vase faded, I was faced with a bit of a problem. It would be several days before I could get into the garden in daylight to concoct the next vase (I’m no lark!) and no way could this vase last. Then inspiration struck! What could I pick from the doorway? Our front porch is overwintering our olives and myrtle, the latter sporting some magnificent juicy, black berries. So by the light of the hallway, the follow-on vase was concocted! Ok, a modest little number, but a pleasing little vase nonetheless!

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To round off the year is the “Full circle” vase I showed in my last post. It’s based on the first vase I did, in my little milk bottles, using sprigs of Sarcococca, but this time with a few added winter blooms. Standing proud at the back, are scented sprigs of fresh Lonicera fragrantissima and spicy Chimonanthus praecox alongside the delicate Coronilla again. On the sidelines are a beautiful sprig of Mahonia japonica with its tiny daffodil-like flowers and the ever flowering blue Campanula. In centre stage are some berries, including the cheeky tongues of the Euonymus berries – I just love them!

And this time I found a suitable prop in the form of our brass armillary, displaced from its normal site by the Christmas decs. Somehow it seems appropriate for a New Year vase!

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And finally, the proof!

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My Cuttings Calender for 2014!!

Here’s to 2015’s!

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 – 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!

The Cuttings Calender – June

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If I allowed myself, I would have had a joint winner this month. I was so certain it was to be the vase of roses I showed you earlier in the month, in a moment of self satisfaction, but the next vase I did, had me struggling to choose between the two. And to remind you….

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….here is the first one!

The centrepiece of the winning vase is a bloom of my Rosa gallica, which is a lovely magenta pink. It is exactly the same shade of pink as the Silene I bought earlier at Malvern Show, growing alongside it in the garden, and I was keen to see how it fared as a cut flower. (Wellywoman? Just to let you know, it works well!). I thought it would look good contrasting with silver foliage, so in went some Artemisia ludoviciana. Sadly, they drooped immediately! I repeated the colour with some sprigs of everlasting sweet pea, added a darker shade with some Knautia and Sanguisorba, and then added a few flower spikes of Melica altissima “Atropurpurea” – a wonderful wine colour – for added textural interest. Voila!

I finally made the decision, by considering how well they lasted. One week on and….

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…. the majority of the planting is still going strong. The silver foliage quickly perked up once in water. The central rose, Rosa gallica has gone over, but been replaced with the adjacent bud, opening up a paler pink. The perennial sweet pea has faded to a pale, lilac-white. It really lasted well – it evolved!

Other contenders …..

Geranium "Confetti"

Geranium “Confetti”

A single sprig of each of my geraniums in my milk bottle crate, made for a delicate display, and despite them dropping petals almost immediately (hence “confetti”) it lasted quite well. Pretty!

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I had cut another spray of Rose “Albertine”, while deadheading, so it couldn’t go to waste – in went some Alchemilla mollis.

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This was a poor “A+E” contender. I found a broken stem of Iris “Cable Car” in the border – upsetting as it was a new plant and its only flower spike. Still, it wasn’t wasted. It made a stunning display in its matching glass bottle!

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And finally, I had to bring the scent of Mock Orange indoors, with a cutting from my Philadelphus “Sybille”.

Well, I’ve managed 6 months now – halfway to my goal. I think I’ll be keeping it up. I, too, am making plans now for a cutting patch! All recommendations gratefully received!

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 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.