In a Vase on Monday – 28th November 2016 

Yellow flowers brighten even the gloomiest day in November. And my “Aunty Doris” chrysanthemum is still going strong. 

I would love to know more about Aunty Doris.  I’m searching family archives to find photos of her greenhouse and garden.  I’m sure we have a lot in common. We both love growing flowers and arranging them. And I think of her often. 

When I’m cutting and arranging these flowers, I think about her doing the same – only 40 ago. We would have taken cuttings, grown the plants and watered them. And would both be harvesting them at the same time of the year. 

I wonder if she loved them as much as I do. 

I’ve arranged my yellow chrysanths with dogwood stems, phormium and ferns from the garden. The creamy white button chrysanthemums are called Stallion and are growing through the sweet pea canes in the cut flower patch.  These flowers, as always, are for my wonderful MIL Joan.  She loves any signs of spring-  so I have added tiny hazel catkins. Together with the cheerful yellow chrysanths- they are guaranteed to make her smile. I just wish Doris could see them too. 

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this meme. Why not go over and see what the others are growing and how they are using  flowers from their gardens. Are you growing any plants passed down through the family, as I am? Or do any of your flowers remind you of friends and family? 

Wordless Wednesday 23rd November 

Cosmos seeds. Now safely gathered in.

And after Christmas I will start sowing again, for a summer delight of bees and blooms.

My cut-flower-patch kit cost me about £20 from Ben at Higgledy Garden, mail order. Great value, to get me started. I shall re use my saved seeds, but I’m looking on the website to add new varieties for next year. What are you planning to grow in 2017? 

Wordless Wednesday 

Still mild enough to sit in the summerhouse. Heaps of cosy woollen blankets to hide under. So I made an autumn wreath out of beech leaves, rosehips and cowparsley seed heads.

My wreath is made from a woven willow base. I learned how to make them from  Georgie Newbery at Common Farm Flowers. I can highly recommend the courses. I attended one for creating a cut flower patch and posy tying. I’ve never had to buy any flowers for my house and family since. I’m planning to attend one next year on growing flowers for weddings and special occasions. I’ve already bought my voucher for the course. It’s great to have something to look forward to as winter starts to bite.

The Persian ironwood shrub, Parrotia Persica still looks like a bonfire of colour.

Orange tulips, a present from a friend- the view inside the summerhouse today.

Have you got a favourite place you like to sit in the garden?

Down to Earth – 23/10/2016 – @bbcleicester

Whizz past the news to 44.00 on the timeline to hear me talking about my flower posies for mother in law Joan. I’m part of the garden question time team for local radio stations. Bit terrifying, as we never know what the questions will be. Lots of fun though. Programme starts at 7.00 on the timeline, just past the news and weather. 

In a Vase on Monday – 14th November 2016 

I can’t believe I turned my nose up at chrysanthemums. It might have been the huge Pom Pom flowers that put me off. Some the size of a head. All stiffly growing in rows, marshalled into line by an army of stakes and string. 

Not my kind of gardening- and I’d probably have composted any cuttings or plants that came my way.

But this year I’ve had a change of heart. My father in law handed over a cutting of a yellow spider chrysanthemum. It’s a plant that has been passed around the family and grown for over 70 years. My father in law is struggling with mobility now and can no longer garden. In fact this year we’ve been running two gardens- theirs and our own. We’ve all worked like demons to keep their immaculate garden up to standard. And the reward has been the smiles and comments  from every carer, nurse and visitor to the house. Their glorious flower-and veg- filled garden has been preserved.

And so has their much-prized chrysanthemum. I couldn’t be the one to let the side down. I couldn’t let the family chrysanthemum -known as Aunty Doris- die out. So it’s been potted on and watered and fed, and generally fussed over all summer.  And I’m surprised to find that I totally love it. It has personality. The glorious sunny yellow flowers open like a sea anemone. It’s fascinating to watch. As the flowers grow, the centres turn a beautiful emerald green. 

After all that nurturing – the flowers are returning to my mother in law, Joan. Just as her husband of 66 years  has always grown them for her,  I’m growing them now.  

Chrysanthemum known in the family as “Aunty Doris.” 

I love its rather messy flowers. Beautiful from bud to open flower.

Luckily I’ve got lighting in my potting shed, so can create my flower posies for Joan after work.

In the posy this week is Chrysanthemum Stallion Yellow and white Swan from Cheshire family nursery Chrysanthemums Direct. Bought as plugs from RHS autumn show. I think they cost around £1 each, and have made good strong plants in a year. I’m an organic gardener, and on my potting shed table is some natural fertiliser I’m trying out from PlantGrow. I’ll let you know how I get on with it. 

Chrysanthemum Swan in the centre, surrounded by rosemary, verbena bonariensis, pittosporum silver queen, rudbeckia grown from seed, violas and grasses. The orange balls are sprays of seed from crocosmia, and the grey foliage is Artemisia Powis Castle. 

The blue flower spikes are Plectranthus Argentea which is now sheltering in the heated greenhouse for the winter and will provide flowers right through until February. This and many other plants in my greenhouse came from The Herb Nursery at Thistleton. Another family-run business I like to support. 

The good news is, there’s about 6 more weeks of Aunty Doris chrysanthemums to come. I expect we will even have them on our Christmas table. A reason to celebrate- to be sure. 

Have you ever tried to keep a family favourite flower or plant in circulation? Thanks as always to Cathy for hosting this In a Vase on Monday meme. Do take a look and  see what gardeners around the world are growing. 

In a Vase on Monday 

Our mild and sunny autumn has been a bonus for gardeners this year. Flowers usually past their best by the end of September have carried on into November. Here I am continuing my tradition of running around the garden once a week and picking whatever is in flower for my Mother-in-law, Joan. It’s a flavour of my garden that I am after – now my in laws are too elderly to visit us and see the garden for themselves. The flowers are loosely tied with string- and not arranged- as Joan takes great delight in making her own floral creations and placing them on the all the windowsills in the house.  

In the centre of the bouquet is some Verbena bonariensis grown from seed. It’s flowered virtually all summer and been a magnet for bees. Seeds for cut flowers come from Higgledy Garden.

There’s some spikes of  Persicaria Orange Field and deep red Persicaria Firetail. These flower July to October and are long-lasting in a vase. The spikes give a contrast to the daisy- like flowers of chrysanthemum Mei-Kyo.

 Chrysanthemum Mei-Kyo is one of the last to flower in my garden. It’s totally hardy here and doesn’t need staking. Flowers last for at least two weeks in a vase. 

My chrysanthemums grow at the base of the sweet pea canes on my cut flower bed. They do best in full sun, but these are growing on the north side of the hazel rod trellis. They grow to about 60cm high with a 50cm spread. Good quality plants come from Woottens plant nursery. I’ve been looking at their on-line catalogue for new additions to my plot and I rather fancy a chrysanthemum called Aunt Millicent- just for the name itself!  It’s a very pretty pale pink flower with a greeny yellow centre. More like a daisy than a chrysanthemum.

Bright pink alstroemerias are growing in large 40cm plant pots in my poly tunnel. These provide flowers nearly all year round. Flower stems are pulled rather than cut, and this encourages them to produce new flower stems. Tall stemmed varieties suitable for cutting are sold by Viv Marsh Postal Plants. I’m hoping to add a white variety called Blushing Bride to my collection next spring. The poly tunnel, bought second hand for £20, needs a good clean. Another winter job. It’s much harder to keep the polythene skin clear of algae than for a greenhouse. But it gives me a 20ft space to work during wet weather- and provides winter protection for a mini orchard  of peach trees.

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden started this meme three years ago, and it shows how gardeners from  all over  the world grow cut flowers and use them to decorate their homes.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour around my garden and the flowers grown for Joan.