The Slope on Thursday and a bit of catching up

Before I begin I would like to apologise for not leaving comments on your posts for the last few days.  My husband has just celebrated an important birthday and we have has house guests for a few days to help him celebrate.  This meant lots of tidying-up and cooking.  I tried to read some, and left ‘likes’ where I could for the rest I hope to have some time to read them soon but with Easter coming and more entertaining I can’t promise to comment.

Moving on to the weather!  Last Wednesday was horrendous – torrential rain and very strong winds enough to topple another of the Rosa mutabilis.  The weather then improved a little but Saturday was again gale force winds that cut through you like a knife, the sun shone but the air was very cold.  Sunday was better and Sunday better still although with some clouds during the day, of course, when everybody left on Tuesday morning it suddenly became spring!  The sun shone, there was no wind and I took my fleece off while working in the garden which I haven’t done for quite a while now.

The plants also think it is spring; on the slope the Californian poppies (Eschscholzia californica) are beginning to open their bright orange flowers soon the whole slope will change from blue from the rosemary and Muscari to orange.

The usual view (Wednesday evening)

The usual view (Wednesday evening)

Eschscholzia californica begins to take centre stage

Eschscholzia californica begins to take centre stage



Euphorbia and Stipa in the evening light

Euphorbia and Stipa in the evening light

The light has also changed again, even on the colder days the light was telling me that spring was here if only the wind would change direction.

The cuttings beds are looking very small suddenly with all the plants that are ready to move out of the greenhouse.  I don’t have cold-frames so I am a little tough on my young plants as I more them from the protection of the greenhouse to the outside world in one go.

Bells of Ireland were planted out yesterday and I planted some carnation cuttings directly into the ground without potting them on as there were several pots each with 5 cuttings which all seem to have rooted.  A friend gave me the parent plant that she had produced using cutting material on a stem of a cut carnation from the florist.

Bells of Island planted yesterday

Bells of Island planted yesterday

A week ago the Wall flowers had only buds; now they have exploded into flower, they are a good mix of colours which I’m sure you’ll be seeing plenty of in vases over the next few weeks.

In the foreground newly planted carnations

In the foreground newly planted carnations

Wall flowers are an explosion of colour with the Sweet Williams showing their buds too

Wall flowers are an explosion of colour with the Sweet Williams showing their buds too

Rudimentary staking is encouraging everything to grow straight

Rudimentary staking is encouraging everything to grow straight

The snap dragons I planted out last month have buds so I should be able to cut some soon.

Ami majus is covered in blooms which I need to pick

Ami majus is covered in blooms which I need to pick

Larkspur is now in the ground

Larkspur is now in the ground and flowering from a September sowing

In a Vase on Monday

If I didn’t have a vase of flowers in the house at least for a few days each week my life would seem incomplete; the fact that I actually now do this is in no small measure due to Cathy at Rambling in the garden who encourages us all to ‘plonk’ what we find in the garden, in a vase.  Now suddenly it isn’t a case of searching for a few blooms but deciding what to use there is such abundance – how wonderful is that?!  Sorry I’m so late Cathy.

Cerinthe makes a good base for displaying the other flowers

Cerinthe makes a good base for displaying the other flowers

Cerinthe self-seeds every year so that is something I don’t have to think about although I may move some seedlings to a place especially for picking; they form the base of this week’s vase.  The flowers were picked on Saturday morning ready for a buffet type supper party for English friends and family and some of our Italian friends who wanted to greet our guests as they had met on previous occasions.  There was a lot of last minute preparations and I was literally stuffing the flowers into the vase as friends arrived – a very definite case of plonking this week, but it is one of my favourites so far this year.

Ranunculus - white and shades of orange

Ranunculus – white and shades of orange

There were also a few Freesias just beginning to flower in the greenhouse.

One pink tulip opened its flower before all the others in a pot so was also included

One pink tulip opened its flower before all the others in a pot so was also included

I think the finished vase looks better than it seems in my photographs

I think the finished vase looks better than it seems in my photographs

A few Wall flowers were also included.

I couldn't not include a few Campari bottles filled with smaller flowers distributed around the table

I couldn’t not include a few Campari bottles filled with smaller flowers distributed around the table

These are just two of five small filled bottles.

Easter is now nearly upon us and more flowers will be needed for decorating the table and filling the kitchen with spring colour.



43 thoughts on “The Slope on Thursday and a bit of catching up

  1. It’s lovely to see your poppies opening again – they go so well with the blue Muscari too. Love the vase! I sometimes think the “plonked” vases look even better than ones we take ages over… more natural. Enjoy your Easter weekend!

  2. Your post gave me a lift as I can imagine some of the things I should be seeing in a few weeks once someone takes this grey carpet off the sky. The slope is looking wonderful yet there is so much ready to break forth. Amelia

    • I’m so pleased spring has arrived, I was worried it would be winter then summer, but the air is still a little cool, very hot in the greenhouse though, must organise the external shading.

  3. How wonderful to have company for a happy celebration, I’m sure it must have been woderful despite, or perhaps because of, the cooking and hubbub. I dearly love a party and it looks like the garden chipped in at just the right time.

  4. All your vases must have been icing on the cake for a special birthday celebration. Such choice you have for flowers now! Enjoyed seeing your cutting garden. The belles of Ireland will be fun to use in arrangements. And that pairing of Euphorbia and Stipa is terrific. Hope the wind settles down soon.

  5. What a shame the weather was so awful when you had all your guests but I am sure you all had a lovely time despite that. Lovely to feel that spring is now with you – the Californian poppies certainly think so! I was intrigued to see the size of the molucella you have planted out, and I am guessing things will grow quicker with you and you can plant out when they are younger. I am hoping to plant out a few more of my early sowings soon. I am so pleased you feel there is something missing if you don’t have a vase every week as this is the ‘habit’ I wanted to get into when i started the meme and I think lots of us have definitely got that habit now! Your vase is gorgeous but it took me a little while to work out what made it particularly so – I think it must be the colour of the cerinthe and its foliage which somehow draw the otherwise eclectic mix of blooms together. The pink tulip and those ranunculus are stunning! I love it too, so thanks for ensuring you shared it with us 🙂

    • I think you are right about the Cerinthe, because it is certainly a very vibrant mix of colours but somehow it works! The Molucella looked to be as if they have grown after just a day in the ground! I’ll keep you up to date with how they grow, it is the first time I’ve ever grown them so it might be too early to plant them out.

  6. Oh best wishes to your husband for what must have been a special birthday Christina and I hope that you enjoy your Easter celebrations. There is something most soothing about that euphorbia and stipa planting. I wish that I liked Campari 🙂

  7. I’m very impressed by your cutting beds, Christina, and the vase, plonked on not, is very, very pretty. The only flower we have in common at the moment is the Cerinthe, which also self-seeded well here. The California poppies, despite their name, aren’t doing at all well in my garden this year, where they were largely dependent on rain that didn’t come. I hope you enjoy all your celebrations this week!

  8. I have got some Californian poppy seed, having admired yours all last year. I’ll be interested to see how they cope with the wetter conditions here, but it’ll look fabulous if it works.
    Have a lovely Easter Christina.

  9. It’s amazing to see how quickly the cutting beds have come along – I’m sure they will provide much inspiration! The muscari are still looking great. I always look forward to the eschscholzia flowers (for me they are a summer flower) but regardless of the time of year they always give a welcome burst of happy, clear colour. Hope you have a happy easter!

  10. I scattered poppy seeds around a couple of months ago…was beginning to suspect failure, but yesterday I spotted several of their telltale ferny leaves. Hoping for a show similar to yours (where I picked up that idea). Your plonked vase looks intentional. I don’t find it easy to pull off a mixed bouquet with so many different elements, but yours is lovely.

  11. It sounds as if you had a good time despite the weather. Belated birthday wishes from both of us. I’ ve been away and got a bit behind with blogging too. And these storms have been all over the place, they certainly pursued us to Liverpool.
    I love your arrangements with such a subtle colour scheme. Your cutting beds are coming on really well.

  12. That’s a beautiful vaseful of flowers, Christina! Rather like something from an old Dutch still life. And your cutting beds are an inspiration 🙂

  13. I always wonder how some bloggers keep up with everything (and garden on top of that!), glad to hear I’m not the only one who gets caught up in life sometimes. Congratulations and best wishes to your husband and I hope the birthday celebrations went well.
    You may think you’re just plunking, but my vases never look so good. Maybe it’s the base of cerinthe bringing it all together? Glad you pointed that out since I don’t think I would have noticed on my own.
    Congrats on winning the book too!
    I never see wallflower around here. I wonder if the winters are too harsh because it seems to be so reliable. You have so much coming along in your beds, I can’t wait to see the spring border!

      • It’s hit or miss with some biennials. Foxglove is iffy but sweet William is fairly reliable. Lunaria is also troublesome. Poppies don’t make it as biennials, I should try again but all attempts so far have failed.

  14. Good progress on plants, and I can’t wait to see the Calif. Poppy dotting your slope Too bad weather often nose dives when visitors come!

    That first photo really looks like your area is a cross of further south and more western Europe (France, Belgium)…someday, I hope to visit Italy again!

  15. Always a turning point in your garden when the Californian poppies start to open! Sounds like a really special weekend, and lovely to be able to greet your guests with hand picked flowers. The cerinthe does work well, pulling everythy together. I’m hoping it will self seed in my garden this year, I think I inadvertently cleared the seedlings as I was preparing a big change last year! As others have said, your cutting beds are looking impressive, it really has become a key part of your life. I am going to be sowing Bells of Ireland as soon as I get my hands on some more compost…

  16. Happy Easter, Christina! I hope your day was very special and that you had wonderful weather. It is exciting to see the abundance of plants showing so much promise for your garden. I love your exuberant vase!

  17. Partly inspired by your garden, I also scattered California Poppy seeds in one of the borders. I almost bought some wallflower plants but they had no fragrance in the nursery. Do you have a lot of Muscari? It is one of Judy’s favorites.

    • I have Muscari all over the garden! I planted 1000 the first year and now I just divide the clumps when I want some in a different place. They are so easy and the foliage soon disappears visually if not actually so I am happy to have them in almost all the beds.

  18. I am also trying to catch up so no worries….love the vase…so bright and springy! I can’t get over your cutting beds. I hope to get started planting some containers for cut flowers soon…spring is here.

    • I’m so pleased spring has arrived for you at last; it isn’t really very spring-like here yet, our night time temperatures have taken a dip down to zero!

  19. Christina it is lovely to see so much change in your slope having not visited for some time, nice to read you have had some happy celebrations but sorry to read about the windy weather, i hope it is better now, your cutting beds are looking good and I imagine will get better and better, Frances

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