In A Vase On Monday – A Floral Tapestry

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Welcome to ‘In A Vase On Monday’ when I am linking up with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden to share a vase of flowers picked from my garden every Monday.

Late-Summer-Bouquet

This weeks contribution to Cathy’s lovely meme was put together in the late afternoon today. I have been tidying beds and planting bulbs in the Cutting Garden today, as well as dead heading my dahlias quite ruthlessly in the hope of protecting them from the approaching storm. When I realised the time it was a case of picking very quickly – before I lost the daylight completely. These early evenings are still catching me out on an almost daily basis!

Late-Summer-Bouquet

The flowers that I grabbed from the Cutting Garden were prepped in the kitchen (by removing all the foliage along the stems and recutting the stem at an angle) and then placed into this tall white jug. I also floated a large flower head of the dahlia Lilac Time in a stemmed Bonbon bowl to show you just how big this dahlia can be. I then rushed outside with the flowers to catch the last of the light and quickly took my photos in the rain as the evening started to draw in.

Late-Summer-Bouquet

Late Summer Bouquet

This mix of flowers – dahlias, cosmos, annual clary, stocks and knautia reminded me of a woven floral tapestry.

Dahlia-Lilac-Time

Lilac Time is my favourite dahlia this year! It manages to be both elegant and graceful despite being so large. I just had to stop and take a few extra shots to try and capture her beauty.

Dahlia-Lilac-Time Dahlia-Lilac-Time Dahlia-Lilac-Time

Dahlia-Lilac-Time

The other dahlia I chose today is called Purple Gem – a Cutting Garden staple for me. Sadly I could not get the colour right in the photographs. It is a true purple, but appears more pink than purple in these shots.

Dahlia-Purple-Gem

I am lucky to still have plenty of cosmos and annual clary to pick – both of these flowers were self sown in the Cutting Garden this year.

Annual-Clary

I am also enjoying the flowers of a late sowing of 10 week stocks, which are looking very fresh in the fading cutting beds. These were sown in July just before we left for our holiday and have been in flower for a couple of weeks now.

Late Stocks

I will be keeping my fingers crossed tonight that the predicted winds do not do too much damage to the Cutting Garden. My shelter belt of yew hedges around the perimeter are still quite young, but they are providing some shelter from the wind these days. I was encouraged to read recently that in theory a hedge is a better windbreak than a wall, as wind can be channelled over a solid wall whereas it will pass through a hedge with the force taken out of it.

I am very busy in the garden right now tidying borders and planting bulbs. I think I have said before that I find November and December very bad months to be in the garden, so I like to get as much done as possible in the hopes of hanging up my boots for a couple of months. In the Cutting Garden I am clearing fading plants out of beds, weeding and mulching and replanting with bulbs and biennials sown earlier in the summer. In the Vegetable Garden all the summer crops have been lifted and eaten or stored. The winter crops are well covered, compost is being spread over empty ground and all that is left is to plant my garlic and broad beans. I am sorry that I have been absent from Peonies & Posies for the last week and that I have not been visiting all your lovely blogs much – I really am prioritising getting the garden under control for a few weeks!

This week I hope to be back on Friday, when I will be talking about my plans for the Cutting Garden next year. In the meantime I hope you will pop over to Cathy’s blog to see what she and the others have made this week.

 

In A Vase On Monday – Bringing In The Harvest

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Welcome to ‘In A Vase On Monday’ when I am linking up with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden to share a vase of flowers picked from my garden every Monday.

Autumn-Harvest

For the last week I have been concentrating on bringing in the harvest that is ready in my garden, before the wet and windy weather rots it all. These late crops are looking so beautiful that I decided not to use a vase or a container at all this week – instead I made a little still life on my favourite silver tray to showcase the best of this harvest.

Pumpkins Pumpkin

My mini pumpkins are a favourite crop at this time of year. This is Munchkin, a prolific producer which is also very ornamental in the garden. Started from seed in early May, I planted out 3 plants in mid June and have harvested upwards of 20 lovely little pumpkins from each plant. I have brought all the little pumpkins inside now, washed them well and left them to dry before storing them in a cool dry cupboard in the pantry that I use to keep carrots, potatoes etc that would otherwise rot in my Aga warmed kitchen.

These lovely mini pumpkins are delicious roasted or made into soup and are not as overwhelming to use in the kitchen as the larger pumpkins can be. I will keep some to use as decorations in bowls, on window ledges and piled on top of outdoor containers throughout October (in a nod to Halloween) and what are still left at Christmas will be sprayed silver, gold or white to add to my festive arrangements. All round a very useful crop!!

Homegrown-Sweetcorn

This cob of sweetcorn marks the end of the crop for this year, but it has been a very good year with plenty of sweet and tender cobs. I started my sweetcorn off inside with the pumpkins and courgettes in early May. The young plants were planted out in a grid formation in mid June in the middle of a large bed and then underplanted with butternut squash and pumpkins. I also like to add a few beanpole wigwams of climbing beans to this mix. Sweetcorn needs to be kept well watered and is ready to pick when the threads at the end have turned brown – do not leave it too long once it is ready – it quickly turns woody if left on the plant.

Homegrown-Pears

Next on my tray are these beautiful pears. They are from a very old pear tree that was in the garden when we arrived 5 years ago. The tree had been drastically cut back and did not produce any fruit for the first few years. It seems much happier now and we have had pears for the last two seasons. I am also very pleased to have harvested the first pears from the young trees I planted 3 years ago, which I am training as espaliers. Whilst the pears on my old tree need a ladder to harvest, the espaliers are a perfect height for picking.

Sweet-Chestnut Autumn-Leaf

Finally on my tray this week I have added some beautiful autumn leaves and sweet chestnuts. The chestnuts are not from my garden – they were gathered on a visit to a dear friend – she has a lovely tree growing just outside her front gate.

I do have a very large horse chestnut tree in my garden, which has always produced a lovely crop of conkers. Sadly the tree has been deteriorating for many years now and a recent visit from the tree surgeon has resulted in it being declared unsafe.

I am very sad about this on a number of levels – I hate to lose any tree and particularly one as old and gnarled as this one.. Also this tree seems to be a focus for wildlife, in particular a family of geese that return every autumn and can be seen and heard using its high branches as a perch throughout winter and early spring. And then there are the conkers – I will have to find another source as I do love to fill the bases of my hurricane lamps with conkers in the autumn (now that my son is too grown up to want to play ‘conkers’ with them!).

Autumn-Harvest

There are still plenty of flowers around for cutting and my outdoor chrysanthemums are just starting to do their thing. This week I moved the young chrysanthemum cuttings ordered in spring from Chrysanthemums Direct into the greenhouse beds – there are lots of buds, but I am hoping the flowers will not really get going until November.

I plan to have my first Paperwhites in flower in the greenhouse during December, so I will need to add some bulbs to the greenhouse beds in the next week or two (paperwhites are about 6 weeks from planting to flowering). The other big job that was finished this week was to plant up pots of prepared hyacinths. These are now sitting in the dark of the potting shed, where they will remain until mid December when I will start to move them onto the greenhouse staging. I like to have my hyacinths flowering in January and February – there is so much else going on at Christmas and I value their scent and beauty so much more in the quiet weeks before the outdoor bulbs start to flower.

Also in the greenhouse I have 2 young camellias budding up nicely and 2 Christmas Roses (helleborus niger) in pots, which I hope will flower well in the sheltered environment – forward planning for this years bleak months!

I hope you have enjoyed my look at the autumn harvest this week and that you will find time to pop over to Cathy’s blog to see what she and the others have made.  As ever thank you to Cathy for organising this lovely Monday project and if you would like to join in please do upload a few photos of your creation and add your link to Cathy’s post so that we can all enjoy what you have made.

Flowers On Sunday – Dahlias

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Just a quick post for ‘Flowers On Sunday’ tonight – I am busy cooking a roast for the family and need to save time for Downton Abbey later! I have been playing around with a few dahlias this afternoon, so thought I would share my photos.

The first is one of my favourites that I grow every year – a large decorative dahlia called Lilac Time.

Dahlia-Lilac-Time

Dahlia-Lilac-Time

Dahlia-Lilac-Time

Next is my first bloom of Lady Liberty. This beautiful pure white reflexed petal dahlia is new to me this year. I planted her rather late, which is why she is only just coming into flower – such a shame as she is stunning and I would have loved to have had months of blooms from her rather than just a few weeks!

Dahlia-Lady-Liberty

Dahlia-Lady-Liberty

Finally for tonight the anemone flowered Blue Bayou. It is very hard to get a good photograph of dark flowers so the dark centre here is not quite right, but you can get a good impression of how beautiful this dahlia is.

Dahlia-Blue-Bayou Dahlia-Blue-Bayou

Finally all the flowers in my little milk bottles, so that I can enjoy them for a few days in the kitchen.

Dahlia-Blue-Bayou-and-Lilac-Time Dahlia-Lilac-Time-and-Blue-Bayou Dahlia-Lilac-Time-and-Blue-Bayou

I hope you have had a lovely weekend and I will be back tomorrow with a very autumnal ‘In A Vase On Monday’.

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