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Sweet peas in a vase on Monday

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In a herby vase on Monday

In a herby vase this Monday I have parsley, sage, rosemary, (no thyme, before you all break out into song), white lavender, purple lavender, oregano, fennel, chocolate mint (courtesy of Alison at http://floralacre.co.uk/blog-2/), apple mint, nasturtium, calendula and rose geranium.  I hope you will agree that they make up a flavoursome bunch!
Not long after we first moved to our cottage I planted up an area on the outside of our garden wall, on the driveway, with lavenders, fennel and other plants that I hoped would attract as many pollinators as possible.  It has been a surprisingly successful exercise, bearing in mind there is absolutely no soil there whatsoever, just stones, stones and more stones!  The bees, butterflies, hoverflies and friends are all enjoying the flowers at the moment.  There is, however, one newcomer who I spotted yesterday, that I am not so keen to see.  A very handsome little bug which I had to look up.  The rosemary leaf beetle. I removed and relocated five. …

An orange vase on Monday

I have been trying to grow zinnias this year.  I thought I would plant up my young plants in the raised bed, forsaking vegetables for cut flowers.  So I did that.  Zinnias and cosmos.  However I hadn't accounted for the vigorous growth of self-seeded nasturtiums and calendula, which have almost completely taken over the whole bed!  Glorious though they are, in order to salvage something of the zinnias and cosmos I have cut back the marigolds and nasturtiums a bit, and because I can't throw a single flower away, if it is still in its prime, I have used some in my vase today!!

I have also added a few stems of parsley flower.  Those plants are about to be yanked out in favour of a new pot of supermarket flat leaved parsley plants. There are usually at least two dozen seedlings in each little pot, which always come on a treat once they have room to breathe and grow, going on to produce wonderful fronds for months for use in the kitchen.


Birthday brownies

It's my 70th birthday today.  I can hardly believe it!  When I was young anyone who was over 40 seemed old, but 70 ..... positively ancient.  But now I am here myself and I barely feel any different from the start of all the other decades which have gone before.

My daughter sent me these extraordinarily beautiful brownies, made by Sammi-Jo Gascoyne, the Blushing Cook!  They have arrived in the post and taken my breath away!  Delicious to look at, delicious to eat!  Happy day!

Thumbelina's vase on Monday

I have a vase in miniature today.  The flowers are tiny, the vase, made by potter John Maltby, is tiny and yet I think it has all the joy and presence of one of our usual Monday vases.  The flowers are yellow lady's bedstraw, blue germander speedwell, a single common bent grasss, pignut and the strange grey-white flowerhead of Calocephalus brownii, a member of the aster family and a native of Australia.  I have seen it growing wild along the shore in Melbourne, but this plant has been in one of my winter flower pots and has now stretched out to produce these curious pinhead shaped flowers.  They were the inspiration for this Thumbelina sized vase.
And because I can finally pick enough sweet peas to make up a small vase, here are a few fragrant beauties on Monday too.

Two summer vases on Monday

Nasturtiums and calendula make a return visit in my first vase this week.  Their strong colours were the best to bounce off the deep wine red of my first sweet peas.  I knew that my sweet peas were going to be a bit half-hearted this year.  They took for ever to germinate and have been slow to come to anything.  The plants are spindly and do not hold a lot of promise.  I seem to remember that last year they made repeated appearances in my Monday vases, right up until the first frosts.  All the seeds I have planted this year have been disappointing.  However, I am enjoying the vibrant colour of today's vase and may well call upon the nasturtiums and marigolds again over the coming weeks!
I picked the flowers in my second vase during a walk on Saturday afternoon.  Three different clovers - white, red and crimson, phacelia, hogweed and dainty fumitory.  The phacelia and crimson clover were growing along a field margin planted for pheasant cover, but for me they still count as wild fl…