Sweet Violets

Instead of a vase I have a tiny cup this week. It is one my grandmother used to give me with a rare cup of sweet tea when I was little, so I’ve placed it on a string table mat she made. The violets have such short little stems this cup is perfect for them.

Even this tiny cupful casts a strong scent.

I planted violets on top of my dahlias and put rocks around them to protect them from random spades and hungry pheasants while they are dormant in winter. As it happens, they are fairly obvious because they push up out of the ground, and I usually leave a bit of stem when I cut them back. The violets get enough sun to flower in winter, and shade all summer while it’s hot.

Violets growing over dahlias in winter

Luckily the pheasants don’t go to the lengths they will go to get sweet potatoes and don’t normally dig up a whole clump. They seem to be a handy starch in winter, not tasty enough to bother with in summer. Even so, they can do quite a bit of damage eating the above ground tubers, leaving a way in for slugs when they are finished.

Dahlia bulbs eaten by pheasants and invaded by slugs

This particular dahlia is big and bright crimson and incredibly prolific. (I got it originally from a big clump of tubers left at our local dump) I love it, but there are only so many places where a big red dahlia will fit in, so I don’t begrudge the pheasants if they do a bit of growth control on this one.

The dump dahlia in summer.

I love to see the big boy pheasant stalking around on the lawn, making a show of patrolling while the girls hide in the garden. He is shy, and walks quickly away, trying not to run, if I come out while he is there. So it may take a while for me to get a photo of him.

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this meme and here is the link to ‘Sunshine on a Cloudy Day’ in a vase on Monday.

Spring bulbs and Scabiosa in a vase on Monday

Scabiosa ‘Black Night’ is another summer flower which put on a growth spurt during the extra warm winter weather in June. Luckily it’s in a dryish sunny bed close to the house, so was sheltered from the frosts and cold rain which July has brought. I love this flower, and Penstemon ‘Raven’, which is growing in the same bed, along with Osteospermum ‘Buttermilk’ which is making a fairly unenthusiastic attempt at flowering. Crepuscule roses farther from the house are covered with drooping buds.

The first of the Dutch Iris has bloomed, and a dill is blooming in a well drained bed. Narcissi of all types are blooming in most places and smelling sweet.

It’s interesting to see that vases from all around the world today have calendulas – this one is a self sown one from an original sowing of ‘Snow Princess’. Osteospermum Buttermilk looks a bit the same in this photo, but it has the darker coloured back of the petals and a darker center which isn’t showing.

It’s another cold and rainy day today, and while I am shivering, it’s comforting to see Cathy’s Sizzling Vase and other hot weather flowers at Rambling in the Garden.

Salvia flower with Erysimum

Lots of scents in a vase on Monday

A mixture of strong scents are in my vase this week. One of the strongest and and a favourite of me and the bees is the yellow Erysimum, a shrubby perennial wallflower which flowers all winter.

Vase of cut flowers - narcissus

The Narcissus Earlicheer, Soleil d’or, and Grand Monarch all have strong scents, each a little different. The kniphofia is a small, fine leaf type, maybe poco yellow, or yellow popsicle.

The Salvia is either ‘Amore’ or Salvia sagittata. I’ve only taken a little of that as all the bees love it and I like to leave it for them when it’s warm enough for them to venture out. Thank you to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden who has Zinnias this week.

More sweet scents, Gladiolus murielae

I always think of these as Callianthus, and they are also known as fragrant Gladiolus, which makes total sense to me. Some people say the scent is like Gardenia; to me it smells like tropical evenings, a nice vision in this frosty weather.

The ones I planted years ago have been miserable and haven’t flowered since the trees around them grew big. This one popped up in a small terracotta pot on a sunny deck – a strong hint that I need to move them to a sunnier spot! They normally flower in autumn, but it’s been a warm winter until 2 weeks ago, and I suppose it’s been so dry in the little pot that it didn’t start to grow until late.

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden who has a sweet vase of Cornflowers today.

More Sweet Scent: Michelia Bubbles

I think this small tree is now classed as a magnolia, and the lemony scent is reminiscent of a Magnolia grandiflora but much stronger. The one near our front door is covered with bloom and gusts of scent come in every time the door is opened. Inside as cut flowers, the scent isn’t overpowering the way some strongly scented flowers can be. The only downside is that the blooms are often damaged by winter storms, browning and creasing the blossoms. My complaining about the unseasonably warm weather last week has been rewarded by just such a storm, finally giving us the needed frosty weather, but leaving me with flowers which are not quite perfect.

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, for hosting this meme, and for having a vase on Monday in addition to opening her garden to the public this week.

Scent of Spring on the Shortest Day

From this day on the days will get longer, thank goodness. On these dark rainy days I get the wood stove going to make sure we don’t need to use electricity for cooking or hot water, and hope we can get through to the next day without having to use the generator.

It’s a warm winter so far with no frosts as yet, so we have roses blooming at the same time as the earlier spring bulbs are starting to pop up.

Narcissus Soleil d'or, paper whites, and snowflakes in a beaker
Narcissus ‘Soileil d’or’ with Snow Flakes and Paper Whites
spring bulbs in a beaker by window
A tall beaker supports the long stems of the narcissus.

Please forgive the quick phone snaps. Life has been crazy busy and if I get the camera out I will never get to doing the post.

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for continuing to host this theme, even in the midst of getting ready for opening her garden to the public.

House and garden update

It’s the middle of winter and rain, wind, and rats invading the tiny house were on the menu this week, but it was nice to be back even after a wonderful weekend in Melbourne last week. Melbourne is one of my favourite cities, especially in winter – great galleries, food and drink to die for, interesting shops and nice gardens even in the middle of the city.
I’ve been spending a lot of time planning and planting the new septic tank drainage area. It’s large and covered with a deep layer of bark, with pressurised hoses underneath. Some areas are solid yellow clay under the bark, but most are are silty, so it requires a variety of different plants. It’s kind of slow to plant, but I am enjoying it and trying some new plants – (perennial borage, giant buttercups, new salvias, and more). It will be a bit of a lottery as to what survives – I’m not really clear on how wet it will be, and it sounds like it will be salty as well, which make sense if you think about what goes into the septic tank, the salt doesn’t get sieved out.
I thought I would include C’s update on the build as well:

Lots of progress this week on the shed.
Both ends are clad now. Just some trimming to do. Still waiting for the door sill then the deck. We will also wrap the posts in redwood. The fascia arrived so that will finish of the front roof nicely.
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The ceiling is just about finished now. This view is from the bedroom looking west to the sea. These posts will be wrapped as well and a beam will go along the top of the mezzanine on both ends. I still have the bolts to forge for these as well which should be fun. Lots of sanding to do and then oiling.
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Cath is still hard at it on the drainage field and we need more rocks…again.
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New turning circle out front is a huge improvement but still needs a little more metal to bring it up to the right height.
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The lining downstairs is just about done. Looking really good and makes the whole place a lot lighter. Electrical is mostly done and plumbing is done for the first fit. Taps, toilets, bath and shower next week hopefully.
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The wood shop side just needs the skylights cut out and framed. Stairs are next week as well as so that will make life a lot easier getting between floors. We went and saw the first of the Silver Beech timber being machined for all the window sills and surrounds and it looks amazing. Taking some down next week as well so it will be another big load.
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The Project Manager is Not completely happy with everything just yet…
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chrysanthemums salvia cut flowers

In a Vase on Monday, one month apart

It’s a month since I brought home flowers. Time is ripping past and there is so much to do on the house, in the garden, and at work that there just doesn’t seem to be time.
fruit and flowers with pumpkin
But yesterday I decided to pick some Mother’s day flowers for a close friend.
So here are last month’s flowers and yesterday’s flowers.
fall flowers and pumpkinsChrysanthemums are flowering now, the last of the pumpkins are inside, and the anemones are almost gone.
anemone roses and dahlias cut flowersWeirdly, I found the first of the Paper Whites flowering yesterday – although the weather is unseasonably warm.

vase of red and pink dahlias

Last Splash – In a Vase on Monday

The hot weather goes on and with it the dahlias. The bees are in the asters and the salvia, luckily there is a lot of it – this salvia leucantha grows willingly. I was going to say ‘like a weed’, but it doesn’t really, you have to plant it and then it grows where you put it.
dahlia akita
The dahlias are Akita, Profundo, the white and lemon grown from seed, and another pink one ‘Dark Horse’, which I thought I had lost.
dahlias akita and profundo
We are in the throes of harvesting, and have bottled another 19 pints of tomato puree tonight to add to the 3 or 4 dozen already put away, so it’s late and time to sleep. Congratulations to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for 6 years of blogging, and thank you for hosting IAVOM.