In a Vase on Monday

I have often said that reading interesting and varied blogs is a bit like peeling an onion.  You can find other blogs mentioned within the one you are reading and move on to visit them.   Actually it is more like pass the parcel with a little goodie inside each layer.  Let me explain a bit more.  I love looking at Liz’s blog  Gwirrel’s Garden and when viewing her latest post “In a Vase on Monday“, I discovered Cathy’s blog Rambling in the Garden and her post “In a Vase on Monday“.

Excellent idea for a Monday post which I have joined in today.

I have a large selection of little jugs that I have collected over the years, ideal for small posies of flowers from the garden.

This little posy, consists of Dahlias, Fennel Seedheads, white Cosmos “Seashells”, Nigella seedheads and a pretty, un-named White patio rose and a couple of Calendula flowers.

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Pay Cathy’s blog a visit by clicking HERE and enjoy unpeeling the layers as you find other bloggers’ contributions to In a Vase on Monday.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge : Containers

My first thought of a subject for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge theme “Containers” was the variety of pots I have in the garden.  Most of the time I am busy taking photos of  plants and flowers so the containers they are in go unnoticed.

I love photos of other gardeners unusual and original containers, such as wheelbarrows, watering cans and Wellington boots and ask myself why I am not so artistic.  I will have to try a bit harder.

There are some beautifully ageing terracotta pots dotted around my patio, including this Long Tom in which I am growing sweet peas.

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The reverse of showing off containers is hiding them.

The large water butt outside my kitchen door is well camouflaged in the summer by a Passion Flower.

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Sometimes I try to co-ordinate the colour of the plant with the pot and this was successfully managed with a Blue Fescue Grass in a blue ceramic pot.

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Once I started on the theme of containers, I remembered a small collection of jugs I have which I use for flowers from the garden.  This small posy containing Verbena Bonariensis, Calendula, Dahlia, Astilbe, Penstemon and a Fennel seed head was picked this morning.

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When not gardening, I am an avid knitter and can’t resist buying yarns; for me a wool shop is like a sweet shop to a child.  It does mean that I have a number of projects on the go and waiting in the wings.   At the moment I have three large plastic containers, separated into a stash of new yarns, unused left over balls of yarn and half used balls being saved for any odd project that might crop up.  No doubt one day they will all be used up.

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There are always  many contributors to the Weekly Photo Challenge and last time I looked for this week’s theme they numbered almost 300.  Every one of them is an original take on  Containers.  Click HERE to  pop over there and take a look, you will be impressed!

 

Parham Gardens at the Height of Summer

I have been to Parham Gardens near Storrington in West Sussex, four times, each one has been different experience.   My first visit, quite a few years ago,  was at the end of the Summer and the garden was looking overgrown and well past its prime.  To be honest I came away slightly disappointed.   The next two visits were this time of the year when Parham hold their Garden Weekend Event, always well attended and heaving with people.

On 8 July 2012, was my first time at this event and it rained!   That afternoon, I wrote my post “Sunshine and Showers at Parham’s Garden Weekend“.    I commented at the time how lush the borders were looking, which was  not surprising due to the amount of rain.

My next visit to the Garden Weekend was last year, July 2013.  A very hot day, with lots of people and unfortunately a day, being in the throes of receiving chemotherapy, I didn’t really enjoy and was not feeling on top of the world.

Yesterday was my friend’s birthday and when I asked him where he would like to go as a day out he said he would like to visit Parham.   Bearing in mind it had been forecasted as the hottest day of the year with possible temperatures of 30C we headed off armed with sunblock and sun hats.

It was lovely to arrive without lots of other people there.  It gave us the necessary time to wander around the garden at our leisure.   The large flowerbed in the entrance was striking with its dark and rich colour scheme, bordered with Chard with brightly coloured red stems, in the middle are Dahlias – Bishop of  Llandaff , Cannas and tall spires of Red Lobelia.

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I apologise to  readers and Parham for the poor quality photographs.  I decided to leave my Nikon DSLR at home, instead taking my small Fuji, not renowned for excellent clarity.   Coupled with the knowledge that no-one should take photographs in the middle of the day when the light is exceptionally bright, means that I am unable to give Parham justice for the wonderful colour that met us down every path and at every turn of the garden.

Tom Brown, the Head Gardener at Parham since 2010, has produced a garden that is spectacular and abundant.   The colour matching in the Walled Garden, of hot colours down one path and pinks down another gives great inspiration.  It was good to hear the whole garden humming with bees and busy butterflies.

The entrance into the Walled Garden.

The entrance into the Walled Garden.

The entrance path packed full of warm colours.

The entrance path packed full of warm colours.

The hot border in the Walled Garden

The hot border in the Walled Garden

The hot border was packed full of plants such as bright orange Coreopsis, Pink Echinacea,  Achillea, red Sedum, Rudbeckia and Kniphofia, all creating a blaze of colour.

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This is in contrast to the cooler pink and purple border, which was just as attractive to the wildlife.  I took pics of deep maroon, almost black,  Scabious and an interesting late flowering dark red drumstick Allium which appeared in many parts of the garden but they are not of good enough quality to reproduce on the blog.  Take it from me they were wonderful.

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Parham Garden is a series of rooms which always appeals to me.  I love to wander around a garden when each turn presents you with something new.  It was impossible in the heat to walk past the Herb Garden, the spicy perfumes just wafted around to invite you in.

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The next room was the Rose Garden.   Clearly, this would have been splendid a month or so earlier, there were few roses left, and an abundance of Nepeta.  There was one rose that continued to flower and sadly not being a rose expert I am unable to give it a name, but it was so pretty.  Can someone name it for me please?  UPDATE:  This rose is called Queen of Sweden 

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The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden

Unlike many Cutting Gardens, where all the flowers are in straight rows,  Parham have redesigned this part of the garden with meandering paths to enable the visitor to wander through the flowers.

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I was particularly taken with the fabulous Sweet Pea “Wigwam” which you could walk into and be surrounded with the heady perfume of very impressive Sweet Peas which made me very envious!   The stems were long, thick and strong, totally the opposite to my weedy short thin stemmed blooms.  UPDATE:  Parham inform me that these beautiful Sweet Peas are John Gray, Charlie’s Angels, Kippen Cream and April in Paris.

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At this point, my camera decided it was not going to take any more photos, advising me the memory card was full!  How silly of me to only have put in a 258Mb card, but there you go these things happen.  It does mean that I can’t show you the vegetable garden, where each bed is bordered with box hedging, or the Pleasure Gardens with Veronica’s Maze and the lake.   There is also a well stocked Plant Sale area with healthy and well priced plants.  However, you will be able to see these for yourself  when you visit.

Parham Gardens and House is open from 12 – 5:30 pm every Sunday & Bank Holiday Monday in April and October, and from May to September on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Bank Holidays.  Also it is free to RHS members, which is a bonus.

A Grannie’s Book Dilemna

I have grown up loving books and as a child and teenager I couldn’t have had a better birthday or Christmas present than being given a book.  That love has remained with me and I still have a sense of excitement to have a book as a present.

When my daughters were young I bought them many books on the assumption that they too would be book lovers.  I believe they are, either that or they were very good at hiding their disappointment at being given yet another book.

Now I am a Grannie, I have been drawn back into the world of children’s books, especially when book companies leave their wares at work. I have to be very controlled otherwise I would be buying books all the time. Christmas and birthdays are a great excuse to go buying, and I am firm in the belief that children can never have too many books.

It is my grandson’s birthday at the weekend and he will be 8! In order to find something to catch his imagination and after a little hunt around the internet I found and bought ’101 Things for Kids To Do Outside’ by Dawn Isaac. 20140714-174604-63964234.jpg

It arrived on Monday and on looking at it I feel so inspired to do a lot of the ideas myself. It is packed with great photos, instructions and the all necessary safety advice. The first thing I am going to do is plant a mobile garden using an old wheelbarrow.

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A brilliant idea especially when you can then wheel it into a shady area when away and not able to water regularly.

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There is no surprise the book is packed with ideas for things to make in the garden, not only is Dawn Isaac garden designer, and writer, she is a mother of three, and the horticultural adviser for a CBeebies program. She has a blog called ‘Little Green Fingers’ (www.littlegreenfingers.com) which is an excellent port of call for any adult in need of ideas to occupy children. Another project on my to do list will be making a wreath, which is something I have never done. This one looks so pretty and there is no shortage of ivy in my garden.

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Mine would be for a door, although the thought of wearing it on my head is tempting – all I would need then is a pair of wings!

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Of course, it is not all ideas for garden makes, the Bear Hunt idea is something I will be doing next time my grandchildren come to visit.  I loved the photos of the teddies hiding in the trees and behind pots.

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I could wax lyrical for ages, telling you about making a rain gauge, giant bubbles and flower fairies, with interesting and varied things for boys and girls,  but that would spoil the book for you.  I now have the dilemma of keeping it for use when my grandchildren come to stay or buying a second copy!

This is a fabulous book for any child of any age up to and including grandparents.

Thank you Dawn for providing me with excellent photographs which are copyright to Will Heap/Kyle Books.

101 Things For Kids To Do Outside by Dawn Isaac is published by Kyle Books (www.kylebooks.com) at £14.99.