Saturday, 26 June 2010

Plants for Free

I'm not a sports fan. Hubby is. If he's not tuned into the World Cup, he's watching Wimbledon. In fact he has been known to be watching one on the TV and the other on the laptop at the same time - quite often whilst listening to the radio too (who says men can't multi-task?!).

Anyhow, along with the fabulous weather we've been having this past week or so, it's given me a great excuse to spend more time in the garden. I've been taking cuttings of quite a few shrubs in the hope of furnishing my hoped for new garden with some much-loved plants, like the Cistus (rock rose) above - aren't these blooms just so bright and cheery?

...and the gorgeously-scented Philadelphus (mock orange). This plant was grown from a cutting that I took from a huge old shrub from our old garden in Glasgow and I'd love to plant a new specimen in our new garden too; the smell is amazing and it carries across the whole garden (such a shame they haven't invented scratch 'n' sniff computer screens yet!)

I've also taken a few cuttings from this Erysimum 'Bowles' Mauve' (perennial wallflower), not just because it's another plant that I want to take with me but because it gets quite leggy after a couple of years, so unless you want to buy a new plant it's best to reproduce it through cuttings. It flowers for weeks and weeks and it forms such a lovely colour combination with the silvery grey foliage of the Santolina (cotton lavender).

Two more plants which I propagated and moved from our Glasgow home are the Hypericum (St. John's Wort) and Hardy Geranium (cranesbill). Both have long seasons of interest: the Hypericum has pretty buds, flowers and berries and the leaves take on pink tinges in autumn; the Geranium has delicate, veined flowers, seed heads and beautiful leaves which also turn russet later in the year. They're both common plants but I think they look lovely, and no doubt I shall be taking their offspring with me as well!

I also love the combination of this deep purple Aquilegia (granny's bonnet) against the bright lime green Euphorbia (spurge). I grew these plants from seed so I'll do the same in our new patch and just leave these plants as they are, with the pale pink delicate flowers of London's Pride behind.

A few stems of the Euphorbia look fab in a blue vase too (though the sap can be an irritant for some people so be careful).

I love cutting flowers for indoors; they really brighten up a room and bring all of that lovely colour and texture (and often scent) inside to be enjoyed further. I enjoy having a play with different colour combinations especially, and I adore this bright and bold selection - it really makes my heart sing!

Arranging flowers in a vase has other benefits too: it gives me the chance to try out new plant combinations without actually moving any plants in the garden. It's hard to tell from photos in books what exactly goes with what, and of course the timing may not be quite right, but this way I can see which plants are in flower at the same time because they're actually doing so in my garden. However, the chosen plants may prefer to grow in different conditions (sun/shade, rich/poor soil, etc.) so they may only ever look good together in the vase.

I'd love to know what your favourite plant combinations are - and maybe it will give me a few more ideas for my dream garden...

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  1. lovely photos, you really know your stuff, dont think I can really add anything as you sound very green fingered. The vase of cut flowers are so pretty, keep up the good work !

  2. I'm really father haphazard with my garden, it is tiny so I've tried to concentrate on pinks and purples but have ended up with a few yellows and reds in there and it generally looks ok! (ok not helpful at all, sorry)

  3. Thanks for your input girls! I'm so excited about planning our new garden - I just hope we sell the house soon.

    I do love this garden but it's been a bit of an experiment for me, so hopefully I've learnt a lot and the new garden will be a bit better planned - I do like a bit of haphazard here and there though!

    Sharon x


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