Tag Archives: viola

A Room with a View – In the Summertime.


At last! The first summer after installing our much longed for French doors, has arrived. We can now throw the doors open and be free to wander in and out at our pleasure.

Of course, part of the envisaged scene, was us sitting at these thrown open doors, drinking a glass of something cool and refreshing! So that necessitates a table and chairs. We have recently bought a new “Bistro Style” garden set, to augment our permanent seating, when needed. And now, its natural home must be by our French doors.

What a lovely focal point it creates! Both inside and out!


A potted Bay tree usually resides in this corner, softening the harsh junction of fence with house wall. I’m training a scented honeysuckle (one already present in the garden, possibly L. periclymenum) across the trellis, so, all in all, a pretty, perfumed picture is starting to emerge.

But the table needs a centrepiece!

O.K., a flowering plant in a pot, should do the trick! Scented, of course! You know me! A cherry scented Heliotrope would be ideal. I had a pretty cream metal planter, from a Valentine’s Day plant arrangement from Mr. Chef, which would be a perfect pot container.

Then I thought of my cream metal bucket, from another plant arrangement, this time for Mother’s Day. That would complement the scene yet further. Last year’s creamy-lemon viola looked the part, with its spring flush of flowers flopping over the top. But it was nearing the end if its display, and so I was on the lookout for a summer replacement. How about some chocolate? Waiting in the wings is a gorgeous Chocolate Cosmos. What girl, besotted with scent in the garden, could resist?


Mmmm! Black Forest gateau!

Now all I need, is another cream container, for the Sweet William plant I’ve got my eye – and nose – on to finish it all off!


Here’s to the summer! Cheers!

The Joys of the Day


A beautiful day off, spent in the garden, has thrown up some lovely things to share with you.

I had so much catching up to do – yet again, well behind, what with one thing or another. Despite the workload, I still had to step back and enjoy what was
on show. After all, isn’t that what the garden is about?

Well, it didn’t take too long to start idling! The site of the Amelanchier in full bloom against the clear blue sky, was able to stall me before I even started!

Then there was the lovely lemon violas, bought last autumn for late summer flowers.


They’ve come back so beautifully now, decorating our patio table.

Then there’s my tulips, just starting to open.


“La Belle Époque”, after its wonderful display last year, was intended to be lifted after flowering and then replanted. But, as in the words of the Scottish Bard, “The best laid schemes…..” etc. So come spring, I’m afraid to say, they were still in last year’s pot. I didn’t hold out much hope. But, they have come back, and are now flowering, albeit not to last year’s splendid display. I may not keep them for another year, as they’re showing signs of disease, but it’s a lovely floral bonus!


I always enjoy watching the “Snake Dance” of the emerging Solomon’s Seal.


The sight of the fruit cordons, flowering again, is so reassuring!


And sometimes the simplest pleasures are the best! The first cut of the season. “The garden always looks better with the grass cut!” At least, that’s what we always say!

The bees and butterflies were happy to keep me company. And the birds provided the sound track.

Now, all that’s needed is smell-o-vision for the complete experience!

A happy day! 🙂

The Cuttings Calender – October


The star of the month!

Yes, you have seen this before. This was the vase I prepared before going off on our hols, in “Sun, Sea and Sand“. I was looking for a vase that would still be going strong – or, at least, strongish! – when we came home. And it did what I had hoped! Choosing berries, seed heads and grasses, that would die gracefully, rather than collapse, certainly worked. I do confess that part of me wanted a repeat of the red berry vase I did in September. I did love that, but the simple white roses with hydrangea, pipped it at the post.


This, my little experiment, you’ve also seen. This little vase was a sample of a cyclamen and viola flower, from my trip to the nursery, to see how they would perform in a vase. The viola flopped – literally! – but the cyclamen lasted well. Sadly the stems are a bit on the short side for its use as anything other than “posies” for example.


Now this was me trying to be clever! I’d salvaged these three jars, which had once contained some chilli relishes – a Christmas present to “Mr. Chef”. They have such a lovely chunky shape. They stack as well! I had long envisaged them, with flowers, being used together as a table display. The Grass Garden was producing a prolific patch of Aster frikartii “Monch”, which would give me plenty of lilac flowers for cutting, so these jars seemed the ideal receptacle. The table, at this time, is out of action, so I had to make do with a window ledge. I used the golden foliage from a Euonymus as a contrast to the lilac, in the two outer jars, and the silvery grass, Miscanthus “Morning Light”, in the central jar, giving a bit of height and softness. It would look better on our new table, though!

image The surprise, late flowering Jasmine, was a must for a vase!

I feel October was not my most productive month, vase wise. But who’d be without a holiday in the sun! Despite so few vases to show, my stream of displays is still continuous. Perhaps the longevity of the “holiday” vase is to blame! Next month, I hope will be more productive. Let’s wait and see!

I went to Ashwood and….


….came home with a cyclamen, a viola and some tulip bulbs.

I was needing some floral supplies for the forthcoming autumn and winter, as well as thinking ahead to flowers for next spring.

I wanted to see some winter colour,

from the kitchen window image

and from the dining room window image

and, hopefully, some cutting material for vases.


Oh! And I nearly forgot! A garden magazine – what I went for!

All Aboard for Malvern!


At last, it’s time for Malvern Spring Show, or Festival, as they have now re-named it! One of the highlights of our year!
I say “all aboard” as it is an easy train journey for us and so that frees us up to sample some of the other delights of the show. We both love visiting all the show gardens, but when it comes to the floral marquee, “Mr. Chef” loses interest. So he heads off to the Food and Drink hall, which is more his “cup of tea”. Although it’s not tea he’s seeking out! They do have exhibitors of local beers and ciders. And it would be so rude not to keep him company!

But first things, first – the show gardens!
There were 9 show gardens (fewer than in previous years, as we recall), 4 festival gardens and many lovely little school gardens. This is where our future gardeners and designers lie.

image image

This was the “At Home on the Beach” garden by Villaggio Verde, the olive specialists. Yes, as you can tell by the grey skies, we have not been whisked abroad. This garden was the winner of “Best in Show” and it was easy to see why. The attention to detail was incredible – so much so, that the beach hut was actually selling paella! All it needed was a bit of sun and blue sky, and you could think you’d been instantly transported!


Now, this was another of my favourites. The next best thing to being transported abroad, by the previous garden. Named “A Fruity Story” it showed how a productive garden, complete with fruit, herbs, and salad crops, could still be a relaxing and entertaining area. I loved the intimacy of this sunken seating area, complete with pizza oven (which I’ve more than dropped hints about, I’ve made a direct request for! One can dream!) and comfy cushions. I would certainly love to have this in our garden!


This was the “Blush” garden, designed as an urban retreat, for relaxation, with a soothing colour palette of brown, pinks, and purples. I’m interested in your opinions! I know mine! While it was a very well designed and imaginative garden, and the planting was sumptuous, it was too pink for me! Pink in the garden looks best in the flowers! But it definitely made you notice!

By now, it was time for refreshments, so off to the Food and Drink hall. Once fed and watered, our shopping began. What epicurean delights were there! Our bags were full of sausages, smoked and marinaded meats, Welsh Oggies(which we’d never sampled before – a cross between a Cornish pasty and a Forfar bridie!) and to round it all off, chocolate flavoured with botanicals, such as violet flowers and orange peel with chilli!

At last it was my turn, and back to the Floral Marquee for a serious foray. Of course, I left with some new gems! Goes without saying!

image image

I came back with Viola “Molly Sanderson”, a beautiful black one, for my cottage border, another Stipa gigantea, and a new one to me, Silene dioica, “Firefly”, a double form of the wild red campion, with beautiful magenta pink flowers. Should look wonderful in among grasses. And it was much admired, on the way home. Boy were we tired, but happy!

Now, this weekend will see these planted, and I have a new “toy” to play with too – show you later! And there’s Chelsea next week to look forward to (on telly – I’m not going!) And sunshine too! I intend to make the most of it! 🙂

Enjoy your hopefully, sunny weekends!