In a vase on Monday: A tale of two seasons

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of materials gathered from our gardens.

I have to confess that on a grey day like today (I know, another one!), I didn’t think I’d even venture out into the garden, but then I did anyway, without high hopes. I picked a sprig of Helleborus argutifolius, mainly going to seed now, as I find the lime green quite cheering. Then I started pruning some of the roses along the front path, and there were still some soft pink blooms bravely hanging on. So we have a combo of June flowering roses and winter flowering Hellebore. Well, it takes all sorts.

I added a few sprigs of variagated ivy, a couple of fern leaves that have still remained green despite usually being brown at this time of year, and then finally one of my favourites, silver helichrysum. My hand now smells slightly of curry, but that’s ok, because the vase itself smells of roses!

Six on Saturday: 14 Nov 2020

Feels like it’s been a long week, am probably getting lock-down fatigue. Work has been slow, with a lot of student cancellations this week, my son is still not back at school after the half term break, to be honest even the cat is getting on my nerves, following me around from room to room and being ever present. I have managed to do a few productive, redeeming things, including getting my Christmas cards printed, using a sketch I made of a robin last week, and I’ve been taking out my frustration on the new bed, which now is almost ready for the bulb planting stage. Better get on with that while the weather is still mild!

Here are my 6 highlights this week. Thanks to The Propagator for hosting, check out his site for more contributions!

1 Helleborus Argutifolius. The Corsican hellebore has just opened its first apple-green flowers, although we’re still a long way from January, when it’s supposed to flower. I think this is a trend a lot of gardeners are seeing this year – things are flowering on into autumn for longer, and the winter performers are turning up surprisingly early. I do like this hellebore, with its healthy, interesting foliage all year round, and its ability to thrive in tough conditions without complaint.

The Hellebore in the glade, with Fuchsia magellanica, Geranium, Viburnum and a Japanese Quince against the wall, plus some shouldn’t-be-there Trumpet Vine suckers.

2 Shasta Daisies. Who would have thought it, fresh as a daisy in mid-November? They are flopping about languidly along my front path, and some are a bit ragged, but they seem keen to keep on going. I did remember to deadhead them this year, so that might have helped.

Leucanthemum still quite perky, with Euphorbia characias ‘Silver Edge’
Scruffy yet enthusiastic Shasta daisies

3 Rose Hips. These need a perfectly bright blue sky to look their best, and luckily that’s just what we had one bright mid-week morning. I haven’t collected them to make cough syrup, as a couple of readers suggested, because they are too pretty to take down. I did get some very strange looks from my neighbour as I was trying to photograph them (not very successfully, I kept getting entangled in the bramble under the rose).

4 Copper and silver/white. We have a lot of beech around the place – a beech hedge along one end of the garden, a neighbour has a beech tree, and there’s an entire forest of beech at the bottom of the hill. Hence I have a ready-made copper mulch, and this makes a pleasing contrast with silvery foliage plants at this time of year. Here we have Carex ‘Everest’ and Pulmonaria, along the front path, and Cyclamen hederifolium in the back garden glade. It would be nice to add some Cyclamen coum here along the front path to pop up between the tussocks.

5 More leaves. Leaf clearance in this essentially woodland garden is a regular and at times seemingly thankless task. Nonetheless, it can also be quite zen, and I spent a pleasant hour raking the lawn one grey yet mild afternoon, while I set my still-not-back-at-school-son to clearing the terrace/decking area. This meant that for about ten minutes, things looked remarkably neat! There’s also some satisfaction in thinking of the leaves as a harvest, in the form of lead mold, which I have got serious about this year, with a new and improved leaf mold collection space at the bottom of the garden. There will be plenty more leaves to go in; as you can see from the photo, the Lime trees have yet to shed, yikes.

Tidy, for a moment!

6 Hosta. This is the last I’ll be seeing of my hostas for this year. They are all in pots now, as I see no point in putting them out in the ground as slug food. Here is one with a bronze Carex. The ornate Italian terracotta pot is a present from my hubbie. I hope nothing has to be taken out, as its got a wide belly and narrow top, but practicality aside, it’s nice to have a good pot or two on the terrace.

Oh, and a bonus number, here’s the robin sketch that will feature on my Christmas cards this year…