In a vase on Monday – homage

It feels good to be back posting a vase on Monday for Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Today my vase has turned out to be an homage to my fellow bloggers who have inspired and encouraged me with growing flowers to cut for the house and/or have been generous enough to share plants with me.  So this is a thank you vase to you all. Continue reading

In a Vase on Monday – Zinnias are the stars


Yes, the first rains of autumn arrived on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and possibly through Sunday night too; in no way did it spoil the weekend, rather I felt more alive than for a while; the garden heaved a gentle sigh and already there are new shoots on plants that had been hibernating. Continue reading

May 17th 2016 – Stormy skies

Another weekend when the weather was not being kind to anyone who is only at home and able to enjoy their gardens at the weekend.  There was some sun, but also stormy skies and thundery showers.  Interesting light for photography though so I thought I’d share a few general views of the garden under leaden skies. Continue reading

The West View from the Terrace

The main difference in the view this week is the distant view outside the garden. The hay has been cut and wound into huge rolls; the uncut grass is now golden yellow – the colour of the countryside in summer.

Inside the garden Stipa tenuissima is also showing its golden locks. Continue reading

May feast – visitors to the garden

Scarce Swallowtail

Shield bugs mating on rosa Rhapsody in Blue

There are always a lot of this beasty

Wasps make their nests all over the garden

I used to be terrified of wasps but now, in the garden, I’m happy to see them – they eat aphids, here on Sedum, and butterfly eggs and cabbage white butterfly eggs and small caterpillars.  The sedums looked really sick, ants were milking the aphids until the wasps arrived to clean things up.

This green caterpillar’s days were numbered when I found it on a Heuchera bud.

The stripy bug again, this time on Allium

Sharing a meal; pollen seekers on thyme

Red Admiral

A pollen seeking fly? there were lots all on the same plant

And there are always lizards who don’t usually wait around to be photographed!

in the greenhouse

in the triangular rose bed

May feast – The supporting cast

In our gardens we all treasure its stars, the plants that we patiently wait to flower, enjoying every bud about to open and every falling petal as it dies; roses are perhaps one example of this but we all know which these plants are for us.  It might be a tiny treasure, almost hidden from view that we search out and sigh over or a difficult-to-grow plant that isn’t really suited to our conditions.

However there is a large supporting cast to these stars that we don’t always give a second glance, but without which our gardens would be diminished.

Today I would like to share some plants with you that I wouldn’t want to be without but that are rarely mentioned.  Some are beautiful for a brief moment, others seem to flower for ever, creating a background for the stars, others fill gaps between shrubs making the garden feel full and bountiful.

Erigeron karvinskianus

Erigeron karvinskianus begins to flower in March and continues throughout the summer and into winter, only stopping when the weather is really cold.  It will cover a large area and smother weeds.  It can be invasive but is not difficult to pull out.

I grew these aquilegia from seed

They are such a pretty pink

And it flowers so profusely


Philadelphus may only have a short flowering season and it isn’t the prettiest of foliage plants, but who would be without its wonderful fragrance.  In wetter areas they are good with a large flowered clematis climbing over them but it’s too dry for that here.

Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’

Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ has been slow to establish and maybe once it has established itself well and produces more abundant leaves it will become one of the stars of the garden instead of one of the supporting cast.

Gaura lindheimeri has begun its long period of flowering

Rosa rubrifolia glauca

Rosa rubrifolia glauca is versatile taking on the role of provider of beautifully coloured foliage and exquisitely simple coloured, but it is most appreciated in autumn for its wonderful hips.

Hemerocallis ‘Stella d’Oro’

Hemerocallis ‘Stella d’Oro’ is another tolerant plant that has a long presence in the garden.  A tough plant that withstands all the gardener can throw at it, flowering in sun or shade and not minding too much drought or flood!

Knautia macedonica – a new addition this year and an up and coming star

I don’t turn away the wild poppies that germinate on bare soil

A narrow leaved sage adds a splash of colour now and can be used in the kitchen to add flavour to port dishes like saltimbocca

In close up its flowers are a delight

Verbena bonariensis is one of the signature plants of my garden, maybe it really deserves a post of its own but for today serves to show that without the supporting cast the stars would have no show to star in.

What are the supporting players in your garden, what wouldn’t you be without?