Versatility

I’d really like to thank The Amateur Weeder, who has very kindly awarded me a Versatile Blogger award. I’m honoured, but I do have a bit of problem when it comes to responding. I try (despite my last post) not to reveal too much personal info – enough is fine – and one of the main reasons is that I’ve had a few problems online and I’m always aware that this could be true of other people… So please forgive me if I don’t respond in kind – but thank you very much, and I do appreciate it.

One of the things you’re supposed to do with a VB award is share seven things about you, but I thought I’d have a little snapshot of my seven favourite plants in the garden instead. That’s favourite this minute, mind, not tomorrow or the day after, or even yesterday, and not just those in flower now. And, in the spirit of the thing, I’ll try and vary the pics as much as possible…

First, the birch trees:

Beautiful even in winter, magnificent in autumn or when the little baby leaves are first uncurling. Delightful to sit under on a hot day. Please let’s have some hot days in 2012. Pretty please.

Then lilies. I adore lilies and their decadent scent.

The white ones almost light up in the evenings; they seem to hold some of the sun even after it has gone down and this shot was taken late in the evening. I have to grow them in pots, though – I’ve tried putting them in the garden, but they don’t do well. I keep expecting mine to deteriorate because I don’t repot them enough, but they seem to thrive on neglect.

Now for the best leaves in my garden:

Melianthus major. Mine even flowered the year before last, but it may have knackered itself by doing so, because I lost it in the hard winter (well, I suspect it was the slightly more prosaic bad weather that did for it). I have got a replacement, and the old one did throw up a couple of shoots. Not completely dead, then.

Next, and rather more ordinary – calendulas, good old pot marigolds.

Uncomplicated, but I defy anyone to be anything other than jolly in their presence. There’s such a range of colours available now, and almost any mixed packet of seeds will throw up some wonders. I even had stripes last summer.

Sunflowers. They’re often a favourite round about now, but I also often forget to plant any. But this year I will remember.

A few years ago one of my neighbours commented on my huge sunflowers. She’d had some bad news and had been feeling low, but she saw my giants grinning at her over the wall and they quite cheered her up, so I will sow more this year. And the birds like them too.

I must have irises, too.

I’ve just been looking at the iris bed, and all this rain seems to have left me with a bit of rotten rhizome syndrome. I think they’ll be fine – they’re tough buggers, mine – and I’ve got some new ones to introduce. We’ll see.

Finally, and this is a bit of a cheat, the meadow. All of it.

I have a tendency to ignore sound in my garden, so here I’ll make a plea for including the noise of the meadow in high summer (assuming we have one – ed.). The birch leaves rustle and the small branches rub against each other in the wind, the grasses whisper and the whole place is full of crickets. I must add, in the interests of truth, that there are also rowdy birds and passing walkers, plus the sound of the sea, trains and a coast road in the background.

In case that lot isn’t versatile enough, here are my seven favourite things to do in the garden (other than weeding), in no particular order: reading, eating with friends, spinning wool, planting new things, indulging my obsessive photographic tendencies, drawing / painting, and washing fleece. Really. Well, you certainly can’t do the latter – effectively – indoors.

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14 thoughts on “Versatility

  1. islandthreads

    Kate I like your plant choices, the birch photo is beautiful, I love lilies and they usual grow fairly well here, last year the mixed seeds I scattered produced a marigold I hadn’t seen one in years and I’m hoping there are seeds quietly waiting for warmer weather to start growing, your meadow looks wonderful and I can hear it in my imagination which cuts out all the other stuff, I tried sunflowers for the first time last year but they didn’t germinate I’m thinking of trying again this year, congrats on receiving the award, Frances

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Hi Frances – go on, give those sunflowers a go (it will soon be planting time….) I find my marigolds always self-seed prolifically and last year, despite all the snow and ice, loads and loads surfaced, so hopefully yours will be fine. I did some specific seed selecting, last year too though, trying to keep my stripy ones going, and it will be interesting to see if they come true…

      Lovely sunny day here so not hankering after the summer meadow too much – anyway, it’s filling up with snowdrops. And loads of primroses are coming out – pity about that, the temp is supposed to go down to -10 tonight. Hopefully that’s inland…

      Reply
  2. Dobby

    A well deserved award. Congrats. I lifted my lily’s this year as the ground is so wet. Unfortunately the squirrels have found a couple of them. Little buggers!
    Have just read your post on washing the fleeces. The cat was not amused (you will be pleased to hear) as I laughed so much she fell off my lap!!

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Oh, thank you – and how sensible of you with the lilies. I think I should have lifted my whole iris bed!

      (Your poor cat – hang on, what am I saying? Due to Madam I’m out of sympathy with all cats and bracing myself for her assault on the May fleece washing this year. I once found her trying to get into my hanging-fleece-drying-thingy when it was suspended in a tree. She’s as bad with wool as I am with chocolate.)

      Reply
  3. wellywoman

    Congratulations on the award. Loved the montage of photos. Birch are one of my favourite trees. Unfortunately we had to have ours cut down 2 years ago and I still miss it. I used to love how the winter light made the white trunk gleam.

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Thank you – and how sad! One of my birches has put on so much growth so quickly that I’m a bit worried about it, and it would break my heart if lost it. I agree – the winter light on the bark is just gorgeous. And mine gleam pink in the sunset… sigh…

      Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Thank you – and how good to know there’s another lily-in-the-ground failure. I think that when you see them in all those garden glamour shots (and you do), they’ve been planted five minutes before the photographer got there. Or the pot is hidden in undergrowth. Now there’s an idea!

      Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Thank you – and it’s a difficult one, isn’t it? While you’re grateful and glad, you’ve got a tightrope to walk (at least you have if you’ve got a bit of a cyberstalker; you just have to be careful. As indeed should we all be, I daresay…).

      Reply
  4. Lyn

    Kate, I really like your idea of sharing 7 favourite plants instead of 7 things about you. The birch leaves against that blue, blue sky is just the most beautiful image.

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      It’s a difficult one, isn’t it – but plants are just as personal, or at least they are for me!

      I can’t wait for the birch to be in leaf and the sky to be blue… sigh…

      Reply
  5. Janet/Plantaliscious

    I definitely think you are right to include the meadow, and the sounds associated with it. And birches are my favourite trees, in fact I have no argument with any of your plant choices. As to versatility, your choice of 7 things to do in the garden demonstrate that rather beautifully I think!!

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      It’s funny how infrequently I think about the sounds of the garden. One evening a couple of summers ago I sat down and, for half an hour, just wrote down what I heard. I’ve some frequency-loss deafness and have had for ever, so I miss some things – Friend: ‘If that chiffchaff doesn’t shut up, I’m going to find it and strangle it!’ Me: ‘What chiffchaff?’ – but it was an interesting exercise…

      (Washing fleeces is a little specialist as a garden activity – but you can’t really do it in the house! I do know some who’ve tried…)

      Reply

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