Projects · The Garden

Hang It Up :: Autumn Hanging Baskets

I’ve always been one to shy away from the concept of hanging baskets.  I’m not sure whether it was the fact that I hadn’t stumbled across many that I loved or that the thought of something heavy, dangled above your head seemed a little dangerous.  Whatever my earlier views were, I can now say that I am seriously digging them!

These aerial gardens are perfect for spaces where lower pots or flower beds would otherwise be obscured and not enjoyed;  by having the plants lifted to head height allows you to create 360 degree designs that flow and trail.

autumn hanging basket close up

… autumn flowering pansies with a heather backdrop …

{As it was a typical September morning, the sun was streaming through slightly misty air, creating a very romantic light for the photos! I would have re-shot them later on, without the sunburst bits, but I came to really love the feel of them}.

I had to run a few of my potential designs past quality control (Mr D-F) before I was allowed to run free in the garden centre (picture here, slightly gangly woman running through the rows of potted plants, slalom-ing around the other eye-rolling customers, pushing an enormous trolley in search for the right plants, while muttering to herself).

We finally decided on a purple and silver theme for our first basket.

autumn-hanging-basket-3

… I was careful to choose different textures and heights …

The basket frame that I chose came with a coconut husk liner and as I had already blown my budget, I decided that it would be best to leave the sphagnum moss (my preferred liner) for when I re-do my basket in the spring.

After a bit of a jiggle on the trolley, placing plants next to each other, changing my mind a few times and then sitting back to look at them, I ended up choosing:

  • Pink heather
  • Autumn flowering pansies
  • Autumn flowering violas
  • Silver variegated ivy
  • Cineria silverdust

I also bought some hanging basket compost and the mechanics of my basket itself which was about 12 inches in diameter.

After covering the bottom of the basket with the compost, I began by underplanting with violas, ivy and the cineria (I had to cut holes in the liner for this) before filling up with a bit more compost. By using the heather as the height for the centre, I was able to fill up the top of the basket with a variety of pansies, ivy and cineria. Checking all the time that it wasn’t too symmetrical but had more of a natural feel.

autumn-hanging-basket-2

… ta dah …

Although it looks very new and ‘gappy’, I’m hoping that the ivy will start to spread and the plants will begin to dangle over the sides to create an all-round design.

Have you seen any wonderful hanging baskets recently? Please let me know as I’ve already spotted a little place on the Finca that’s perfect for another one!

x

The Garden

Dreaming of Summer

I’m not sure whether it is because the birds are starting to sing loudly in the mornings or that for the first time in months, I’m not in total darkness as I go about my early morning jobs but I’m already starting to think a lot about summer.  It might be that I’m also beginning to plant out some of the hardier plants which will really come into their own during June and July – therefore shifting my mind towards the warmer seasons.

I was looking through my pictures this morning and I remember taking this one distinctly…

generous gardener david austin rose

Oddly, last week I had just bought another one of these roses (The Generous Gardener – David Austin). It’s my all-time favourite and I was desperate to have one growing up the wall of my new garden. The blooms are large and plentiful throughout the summer and my last one was particularly good at resisting the advances of aphids and any other little invaders.  It also has an incredibly beautiful scent.

This photo really spoke to me. It reminded me of going out into the garden to pick herbs to use with supper and flowers to put on the table in the kitchen.  Those warmer days when so much time is spent outside.

Those days are just around the corner but for now, I’ll get back to my hot cup of tea, work out which variety of woollen jumper will be most suitable for the day and head on out into the chilly air.

Speak soon x

The Garden

Garden Colour Palette | White and Green

For the last few days I have been dreaming of white and green gardens. There’s something so calming and sophisticated about the coolness of white flowers teemed with different textures of green foliage.

I love the thought of big terracotta pots filled with rosemary and thyme, flower beds filled with pale astrantias and lime green hydrangeas.

Maybe… I am actually just longing for a holiday and am having visions of a tuscan townhouse garden! This, I think, is quite a possibility.

While in my recent reverie, I spent time looking around the Finca’s garden and realised that it is giving off quite a lot of the green/white vibe.  I expect my subconscious was directing me when I was planting earlier in the year.

garlic chive

Hydrangea Annabelle

I also had a bit of a surprise when it came to my ‘Black Knight’ Buddleia (a beautiful variety with deep purple flowers)…

As the flowers started to emerge I was so eager to see them in all their purply lusciousness.

‘They’re a bit pale,” I thought to myself.  “I expect they darken as they mature.” I concluded.

vanilla scented flowers

Buddleia white

Errr… no, that didn’t end up being the case.

Instead of the Black Knight purple wonder that I ordered. I instead have a white buddleia (as you can see above).

Hmmm..

As it happens, I am totally in love with it and it matches my need for all things green and white.  Bazinga!

Have a great day x

The Garden

Garden Mood Board | Purple

As the garden is filling out and starting to look like the best that it will get for the year, I have been spending some time sitting back and thinking about how I would like to tweak it for next summer.

Plants that I imagine will take up lots of space sometimes don’t quite fill out enough and I find myself rearranging and planning on how to fill up the gaps to create the over-flowing look that I love.

The other thing that I think about a lot is colour. I go through fads of wanting bright zingy greens or shocking yellow borders. What I have noticed about this year is the abundance of purple in the garden. Mauve, violet and aubergine colours peek out at me and really make an impact when mixed with limes and apple greens.

allium from above

… alliums, my utter, utter favourites …

allium opening

The lavender borders are looking their best ever after their springtime prune. Not only do the plants smell incredible and attract bees and butterflies, but Brinks enjoys hiding his favourite chewy toys in amongst the stems!

lavender borders

phlox

The phlox is a great space filler and often will continue to flower well into late summer.  It works well as a cut flower and isn’t fussy about being used in florists’ foam. I have kept it mainly to the edges of the garden so that it doesn’t overpower the more delicate plants.

watching sparrow

The resident family of Sparrows have been keeping an eye out for anything juicy emerging from the garden. They are busily feeding their hungry chicks in-between dust baths.

Do you have a predominant colour in your garden?  Are you one for planting plans or do you just plant what you enjoy? 

Have a great Sunday x

The Garden

Hedgerow Harvest | June

June is fantastic month for wild flowers.  As you walk, cycle or drive along, you can’t miss the colour popping out of the hedgerows.  Many of these little beauties make perfect, impromptu, relaxed arrangements back at home if you collect a little bunch, secure with garden twine and place in a little jug or vase. Nothing too serious.

So what is out there growing away happily at the moment? Which flowers can you cut and bring home? I thought I’d put together a little picture guide…

hedgerow harvest

The first thing I noticed when I was foraging, apart from all of the green, is the amount of flowers that are pink and purple. Maybe, as June has the perfect climate for bees and butterflies, the plants maximise on this pollinating opportunity and have adapted flower colours that drive these insects wild?!

geranium

Let’s start with the old favourites: Geraniums.  These tend to grow in bushy clumps and have lots of flowers. They are great in borders at home as they seem to keep coming back no matter how many times they accidentally get mowed over (thank you Mr D-F for that). Geraniums don’t last too long once cut, but would be fine as a relaxed, dinner centrepiece if they had been picked the same day.

grasses and chervils

Grasses, hemlocks and chervils are so often looked at as weeds. However, just because they tend to grow in places that you would rather they didn’t, it is hard to deny how brilliant they look in the hedges.

Up close, you can really see their amazing architecture.  I was in awe of this fluffy grass head… I originally thought that the hairs were green, but once I had brought it inside, I realised that they were in fact pink and purple!

Again, these won’t last you more than a day or two in water, but provide lovely movement and interest on the table.

aquilegia

Aquilegia is one of my all time favourites. I mean, look at those flowers – they look like they have been designed by a creative genius! These bad boys last a bit longer in water as their stems have better structure. They give any arrangement a more opulent feel. Mass loads together in a jug to really push the boat out!

campion and ragged robinLook at these two cuties! I love the way that Ragged Robin looks so bedraggled, like it couldn’t quite be bothered to brush its hair! I think I would be inclined to place one or two of these flower heads on a napkin that had been tied with ribbon or twine. You would need a lot of these in a vase to make an impact and they wouldn’t be too happy for very long. Best to celebrate the beauty of their individual flower heads.

So what is growing near you at the moment? Have I missed out one of your favourites?

Have a great and flower-filled day x

The Garden

How To Save Your Roses From Aphids

Judging by the number of buds on my plants, this year looks like it will be terrific for roses.  I know I write about the aphid situation almost yearly, but as I have already had lots of people asking me about this topic, I thought that it was worthwhile posting again.

This tried and tested aphid be-gone recipe has served me very well and if used, just as you spot the first signs of their little green antennae, it can save you a lot of hassle later on in the summer.  In an ideal world, I’d like to hand the whole job of aphid removal over to the ladybirds. However, aphid destruction can be so enormous when the rose buds are young that I worry about waiting for the odd ladybird to decide to make a pit-stop and usually resort to sorting the situation out myself.

how to save your roses from aphids

What you need:

  • Empty spray bottle
  • Two or three drops of washing-up liquid
  • A couple of drops of cooking oil
  • Water

It is as easy as that. Put in your washing-up liquid and oil, fill up to the top with water and there you have it.

The washing-up liquid is very drying and the aphids really don’t like it, whereas the cooking oil makes everything rather slippery and not very easy for the aphids to cling onto the rose.  The bonus is that the solution is nice and weak, which the roses don’t seem to mind. I’m sure that they would prefer a spray of this every now and again, rather than being chomped by aphids.

Happy rose growing! x

 

 

The Garden

Perfect Patio Plant | Salvia Hot Lips

I have decided to dedicate an entire post to this fantastic plant as it has totally won me over with its resilient nature, beautiful soft-looking foliage and vibrant flowers.

This particular salvia was bought for me as a present and at the time, I didn’t have a suitable place in the flowerbeds in order to show it off properly. It occurred to me that as we were in the middle of redesigning our outside sitting space, I could pot it up and have it as a patio plant to add softness to the edges of the fenced area.

salvia hot lips patio plant 95kB

The salvia has been in its large pot for about a month, it has already doubled in size and is producing flowers of the most incredible pink and red.  It gets the sun for the majority of the day but it enjoys the shelter of having the fence as a backdrop. During the winter, if harsh frosts are expected, I’ll put a section of fleece over it just to be safe.

salvia hot lips flowers 123kB

The lip-shaped flowers can be vivid pink, bright red or even two-toned with red and white. The foliage has a slight blackcurrant smell when you brush past it, which makes it even more perfect for a place where there are a lot of people moving around nearby…

… and because it is in a pot, I can move it about and create new interest points on the patio.

salvia hot lips in partial shade

Above is a photo of the flowers in partial shade… still pretty incredible, aren’t they?!

So this lovely new plant discovery got me thinking. What other exciting plants could I bring into the patio mix? I’d love to know your thoughts.

Have a great day x