A Week of Flowers – Day 5: Peony Power

We are racing through Cathy’s annual Week of Flowers share and I love the floral glory that I am seeing through her posts and links. It’s also been rather enjoyable scrolling through (rather a lot of) photos on the computer to make my selections. Themes have been harder to choose though and I’ve not fixed on any process. Today I am going with herbaceous peonies, because I love them and their season is so brief. It merits a replay I think!

So, here we have Peony ‘Bowl of Beauty’, which seems like a classic place to start:

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Peony ‘Bowl of Beauty’

The rest are cute, but un-named, since they were purchased as a mixed, end-of-season bag. They are a frilly, delicate, ephemeral reminder of a beautiful moment in time.

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It’s really turning wintery here now (-5°C predicted by mid week, followed by snow), so I am busy in the garden, buttoning down the hatches and insulating the potting shed. I look forward to seeing today’s selections …

If you want to join in, it is as simple as posting a floral photo and linking to Cathy’s blog.

Have a great flowery Sunday! 

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Cathy’s Week of Flowers: Day 3 – Floral sunshine

It’s Day 3 of Cathy’s flower-sharing challenge to cheer up these damp, gloomy days we seem to have settled into at the start of winter.

Today I wanted to share one of the most cheerful sights I can think of from spring: Buttercups in a local meadow. I do have a set-aside meadow patch in our garden in which I encourage as many British wild flowers as I can. Some flowers seem to come and go, some I specifically spot plant to see how they get on in the location and some, like buttercup, creep in/float in from somewhere undefined. However, my patch hasn’t reached this density of gold yet, hence this shot of the meadow in the village. My guess is that it’s a mixture of the creeping, meadow and bulbous Ranunculus species, but I didn’t check 😂 !

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Wall-to-wall sunshine with common buttercups

Here’s an interesting fact about buttercups: Their petals have a thin layer of air trapped between the cells which is very efficient at reflecting light (possibly to make them more visible to pollinating insects). It is likely the reason why it can be difficult to get good photographs of the flowers.

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Buttercups with clover and dock.

For the last couple of years I have also been growing buttercups big cousin, Ranunculus asiaticus. This is next shot is of R. ‘Picotee Café’, which is a favourite, but actually doesn’t compare in glory to a field of the wild ones!

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Ranunculus ‘Picotee Café’

When I was raking up leaves earlier in the week, I noticed that the R. ‘Picotee Café’ are already putting out their leaves in preparation for next year. So that’s cheering!

If you too want to spread some floral joy, simply post a photo of a flower(s) and to link to Cathy’s blog.

Have a great day!

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A Week of Flowers – Off to a bright start …

Today I am joining Cathy from Words and Herbs for her delightful, annual meme ‘A Week of Flowers‘, which was conceived to help counterbalance the dark, dank days of this time of the year in the northern hemisphere.

I am sharing a photo of what I believe to be my favourite plant of the year in our garden. OK, I know that I throw that word around freely (I am a gardener after all), but this plant is a winner in so many ways. The accolade goes to … Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’!

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Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’

I love geums, but don’t seem to be able to keep them going for more than a couple of years in the garden, except for this one. This one not only survives, but, I swear, flowers almost from the vernal to autumnal equinox and beyond.

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Masses of orange flowers, from shades of fire and pumpkin to amber and tangerine (obviously!)

Peak display occurs in May, when it forms burning mounds of flowers which are stunning to behold. It looks great with alliums etc. A winner for sure!

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What’s your favourite garden flower? Why don’t you post a photo of it and join Cathy spreading a little floral cheer! Just add a link to her blog.

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#NationalTreeWeek 2022 – Day 2 : Land Art -> Trees

I really enjoy the different perspective that Land Art brings to bear on the natural world. It is a creative, inviting and challenging art form. I’d love to make some myself … and maybe, one day, I shall. (Although, no doubt, it will be a borrowed idea. You’ve got to start somewhere after all!)

Anyhow, I thought that, as a Day 2 post for National Tree Week, it would be nice to share some more Tree Art. (If you are interested, here’s a link to a previous selection I posted about a few years back).

My first choice is L’arbre aux échelles, an installation by François Méchain that was displayed in the park of Chateau Chaumont-sur-Loire between 2009-2011. It’s a invitation to look at the world from another point of view … “from further away, from higher up”. Ladders, were attached to the tree canopy so that they hung, suspended just a few meters from the ground. The idea was that they move slightly in the wind to create a living structure that evolves according to the seasons.

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L’arbre aux échelles by François Mechain

I’ve not been able to track down the artist name* for my second choice, so if anyone recognises it, I’d be grateful to hear. I only know that this picture of the piece was taken by professional photographer Jérôme Galland. There’s something very cosy and inclusive about the work. It’s evocative of camp fires and camaraderie. It looks like something Andy Goldsworthy might have done, but I can’t find it in his portfolio.

*Happily, I can now attribute this work to Malin Holmberg. It’s titled ‘I will stop loving you’ and was shown at The Wanås Foundation in Sweden (2010). Many thanks to Jérôme Galland, who quickly supplied this info.

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Photography by Jérôme Gallard

My third selection is definitely an Andy Goldsworthy creation, built in the Presidio park of San Francisco as a ‘permanent’ sculpture. It is called Wood Line and is made from eucalyptus wood. The eucalyptus was recycled from areas of maintenance or necessary clearance in the park. In the 1880s, cypress trees grew in and out of the rows of eucalyptus, but slowly their numbers have dwindled until … ‘there was a need for art to fill the resulting gap’.

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Wood Line by Andy Goldsworthy in Presidio, San Francisco

My fourth choice is Reservoir by John Grade. High up, in the boughs of a pine forest, in Borgo, Valsugana, Italy (the Arte Sella Sculpture Park). It is an exploration of the patterns of forest rainfall. A huge net structure is suspended across a clearing amongst the trees, with 5000 heat-formed, rain-catching droplets hanging below. When it rains or snows the precipitation accumulates in the clear droplets and the position of the net and individual droplets changes, swelling or lowering, depending on the amount of precipitation. At its fullest, Reservoir can weigh ~800 pounds, but as water evaporates, the sculpture lightens to its 70 pound ’empty’ state.

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Reservoir by John Grade

Number five is a piece by Dr Anna Popowa (Academy of Fine Arts in Lviv) called ‘Schody do Nieba‘ or ‘Stairway to Heaven’. It was created in the Arboretum Bolestraszyce, Poland. I’m a big fan of birch trees and like the lightness and simplicity of this work.

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Stairway to Heaven

My final choice is by Swiss artist Sylvain Meyer. It was apparently an exceptionally ephemeral sculpture, made from string. The artist managed to get a few pictures of the structure, but then says that a storm forced him to disassemble everything in a hurry.

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Couloir blanc by Sylvain Meyer

I hope that you enjoyed this selection of Tree Art.

Take care!

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#NationalTreeWeek 2022 – Day 1: A Star

26th November

The annual celebration of trees and start of their planting season in the UK begins today, so I thought that I would share a photo of one of my favourite trees at Wimpole. It is a huge London Plane, with a wonderful horizontal limb that reaches out to caress you as you walk down the path. It can be found in the Pleasure Grounds, on the left hand side on the way to Home Farm. I’ve featured it before here and here I know, but I love it so much! I am clearly not the only person that has been struck by its formidable size, shape and beauty, as it is featuring as a star player in this year’s Winter Lights Trail (from 25th Nov).

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This London plane tree, in the gardens at Wimpole Estate, is an obvious star (🤣) of their Winter Lights Trail.

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Wordless Wednesday – A Winter Larder

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This year’s beautiful red crab apple crop should keep the birds happy for a good long while!

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In-a-Vase-on-Monday is nine years old today!

What a fantastic achievement by Cathy@ramblinginthegarden, who started and continues to host this meme. 👏👏👏 468 vases and still going strong!

I love this meme, but rarely get my act together to post a vase, even though I sometimes pick flowers and place them in a glass, jug or vase for the kitchen table. Today is running away from me again, but I nevertheless wanted to join Cathy’s meme anniversary post with a hand-held posy as she suggested.

So here it is, all wet and dripping:

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Hand-held posy for the IAVOM meme’s ninth anniversary.

Recent wet weather conditions have made a lot of flower buds mouldy. So sadly there will be no more dahlias, zinnia, tithonia. However, roses, penstemon and salvias continue to open perfectly, so they form the bulk of today’s posy.

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There’s also stalk of antirrhinum (‘Liberty Classic Crimson’), some quaking grass and plectranthus.

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As a backdrop I’ve used a lovely folded, serrated Melianthus major leaf and for something soft to hold, the front is some irresistible, downy Lamb’s-ear (Stachys byzantina).

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In the depths of the bouquet there’s a sprig of golden variegated euonymus and a sprig of white campion (Silene dioica). The stalks are wrapped in gold edged ribbon, hiding the small rose thorns effectively.

I did put the posy in a glass though and now it’s adorning the kitchen table as usual.

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Thanks Cathy!

Visit Cathy’s blog to find links to loads of celebration posies for this ninth In-a-Vase-on-Monday anniversary.

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Wordless Wednesday – Alien faces in the wood?

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Walnut tree leaf scars, but why do they look like E.T.?

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E.T.

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Thrown Away

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Tinantia erecta, aka Widow’s Tears or False Dayflowers.

This little stunner is Tinantia erecta, aka Widow’s Tears or False Dayflowers, from the Commelinaceae family. More normally it is found in places like Mexico or India, certainly not in a UK garden.

Nevertheless, this example popped up beneath the foxglove tree on our patio. I’d been mulling over the sudden appearance of strange leaves in the bed, trying to remember what I’d planted. Except I hadn’t! Google Plant ID was telling me it was possibly Commelina benghalensis. Nope, definitely not.

And then it flowered and I recognised it. It must have been in a pot whose compost I threw away in disappointment earlier in the year. The summer weather clearly managed to charm the seed into germinating after all. Yay!

Now I’ve read that its seeds are frost-proof, so I am wondering if it might end up being a sugar-pink feature longer term. I can only dream (and collect more seed of course).

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In a vase on Monday – Benched

Not an imaginative title I am afraid, but rather a statement about the location of today’s ‘photo shoot’ for my vase. The bench sits on the top of a small, grassed-over spoil-mound in the corner of our garden and is always the best place to catch the last of any sunshine. So when I got round to gathering some flowers this afternoon it was the only spot left in the sun.

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Late October flowers in today’s vase include: dahlias, cosmos, salvias, asters and amaranthus

After several torrential downpours recently, pristine pickings for a vase are pretty meager. A notable exception to that is our self-seeded cosmos. Cosmos ‘Purity’ may have been late to start flowering, but has been prolific since the beginning of October. It is hard to resist when it comes to looking for material to cut for a vase. It always looks so fresh and lasts so well.

I’ve picked two different dahlias. One I know, the other is as yet unidentified. So, the smaller pale lilac blooms are Dahlia merckii. I’ve grown them from seed and am really enjoying them. (I’ll do it again if I lose them overwinter). Their flowers are held above mounds of lacey foliage on very long, spindly stalks. These are surprisingly wiry and robust.

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Dahlia merckii

The dahlia that I don’t recognise is the cerise Honka-like type.  The petals reflex backwards rather than forwards though and I haven’t found a match for it yet??? The dahlia was bought as ‘Black Jack’, which it clearly isn’t! 🤣

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A rather stunning, but unknown dahlia

To pick up the dahlia’s pink, I’ve added some hot pink salvia greggii, but then tried to calm things down again with a head of deep maroon amaranthus (A. ‘Opopeo’), together with its dark purple leaves.

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The final ingredient to the vase is the late flowering aster ‘Lady in Black’. The plant is growing on the patio and is an ever expanding cloud of tiny white stars with powder puff pink centres. It needed a bit of trimming, so that I can reach the bird bath!

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In a vase on Monday is hosted by Cathy@ramblinginthegarden. Pop over to her blog to find links to many wonderful vases.

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