Throwback Thursday: Dahlia Fire in Berlin’s Britzer Garten

Orange Dahlia border

Orange border in the 2016 “Dahlienfeuer” exhibition

Sooo – it has taken me quite a while, obviously, to update this dormant blog. I did actually have some flowers in bloom on the balcony until December, but was lacking time/motivation to catch up. For the record, the longest continuous bloom on my balcony was a pale pink Matthiola incana from a “Cinderella” mix – it kept blooming until it was killed by minus 10 temperatures just this week.

Since there is nothing currently in bloom, crocuses won’t open for another two weeks or so, and I just sowed some Dahlias (“Black Beauty” and “Sunny Reggae”) I decided to share (and indulge in fond memories of…) fotos of a few trips I took to the “Dahlienfeuer” (“Dahlia fire”) exhibition in the Britzer Garten in Berlin last autumn. I visited the park a few times in September and October. Continue reading

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In a Vase on Monday: Antique pink

Zinnias, Summer Phlox, Stocks and Queen Anne's Lace

Zinnias, Summer Phlox, Stocks and Queen Anne’s Lace

Zinnia “Queen Red Lime” and Phlox drummondii “Crème Brûlée” are at their best right now, so I decided to show how they play off each other. I really enjoy combining somewhat unusual shades to bring out their uniqueness. Daucus “Dara” produces mostly burgundy blooms – but some blossoms turn out pale pink and provide a lovely “echo” for Gypsophila kermesina.

Phlox "Crème Brûlée" and Daucus "Dara"

Phlox “Crème Brûlée” and Daucus “Dara”

 

Matthiola incana “Cinderella Champagne” has a clear cream shade without the red untertones of the Phlox. And it brings a fantastic scent to the bouquet (which unfortunately lasts only about a few hours in a vase).

Zinnia Queen Red Lime

Zinnia Queen Red Lime

The Red Lime Queens are a florist’s dream. Every flower looks slightly different and they change over time.

Zinnia/Phlox bouquet in indirect daylight

Zinnia/Phlox bouquet in indirect daylight

If you are looking for fantastic bouquet inspiration from all over the world visit our “Monday vase” host Cathy.

 

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In a vase on Monday: Fillers in the centre & lush green

Dill "Mariska", Daucus "Dara", Ammi "Green Magic", Didiscus

Dill “Mariska”, Daucus “Dara”, Ammi “Green Mist”, Didiscus caerulea, Gypsophila Kermesina and some Cilantro blossoms.

Some of my favourite bouquet “fillers” are finally in bloom, so I decided to celebrate umbellifers with this simple airy contribution to Cathy’s fun meme.  That’s really all I can say about this one.

Lush green high summer bouquet.

Lush green high summer bouquet.

Another celebration: The return of Lathyrus chlorantus, a unique little neon-coloured species which is capable of surviving long gruelling heat waves. I combined them with various branches I picked up on a walk along the river Panke, plus “Green Envy” Zinnias, Hordeum jubatum, self-sown feverfew and Lathyrus odoratus “Baby’s Blush”, a pretty and fragrant grandiflora Sweet Pea which opened yesterday. That one acutally starts out with a hint of apple green on the wings.

Details of the green pallette

Details of the chartreuse/green pallette

What I love most about the whole range of lime green blossoms is how different they look under different light conditions and with different partners. Of course to a certain degree that is true for ALL colours – but I think that particular kind of citrussy tinge is really able to change character, from warm to cool.

The same bouquet without indirect daylight.

The same bouquet with indirect evening light.

That’s it for the 1st Monday of August.

 

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Schnapps glas with Lathyrus chlorantus, "Baby's Blush", Zinnia "Green Envy" and feverfiew.

Schnapps glas with Lathyrus chlorantus, Lathyrus odoratus “Baby’s Blush”, Zinnia “Green Envy” and feverfiew.

August is almost here and for the first time in years I don’t have loads of sweet peas blooming,  but just a few: The species chlorantus – a gorgeous neon yellow non-scented wild variety, which thrives even in extreme heat – Blue Wonder and Baby’s Blush, a nicely-scented modern grandiflora which opened just this morning and has a hint of apricot on the wings, which my camera did not really catch. After last year’s extreme heatwave in the first week of August I decided to sow my sweet peas late this spring. Not sure if that was such a great idea – a coldwave (can you actually say that in English?) stunted their growth in April. So I am still waiting for the main bloom to start, which should be in about a week. In the beginning of July I enjoyed the non-scented Lathyrus annuus (supposedly “Hotham Red”, but most likely the species) a lot. Its flowers are small but show an unusual shade of orange, which changes from copper to peachy.

Lathyrus annuus, probably not "Hotham Red"

Lathyrus annuus, probably not “Hotham Red”

Now is a good time to look back at the summer so far. The balcony was already covered on the 1. of July: Cathedral Bells (Cobaea scandens) never disappoint. I hadn’t previously grown them from seed, so that’s one success in a year of germination failures. Since people keep asking whether I grow all my flowers on the balcony I decided to give an overview of my gardening space:  This picture shows flat’s layout. Towards the courtyard it’s basically an “L” with several window fronts and a ledge that runs around it.

Balcony, seen from the kitchen window/door

Balcony, seen from the kitchen window/door in the beginning of July

This zoom (again taken from the kitchen) shows a bit more detail of the balcony’s outside. On July 1st it was dominated by Agastache cana and Borage in my herb garden containers. They also provided a bit of privacy. Once the Sweet Pea-cylinders are up, they take over that job.

Balcony, seen from the kitchen

Balcony, seen from the kitchen, on July 1st.

The same view 4 weeks later:

Balcony on July 31st.

Balcony on July 31st. My favourite umbellifers – Didiscus, Ammi “Green Mist” and Daucus “Dara”- are slowly turning into a romantic cloud on the outside.

In front of the kitchen I grow all kinds of herbs on the railing and two miniature meadows which stand on the ledge (secured with bricks from abandoned buildings, bungee cords and ropes). This picture is zoomed in from the balcony. It shows box 2, in the beginning of July dominated by Coreposis tinctoria “Roulette” and cornflowers.

Hot colour meadow, 1st of Juli.

Warm colour meadow, 1st of July.

 

L'Ami enjoying Saturday morning coffee on July 2nd.

L’Ami enjoying Saturday morning coffee on July 2nd.

Both boxes in the beginning of summer (1st week of June):

Meadow boxes in June, with Hordeum jubatum and Linaria maroccana.

Meadow boxes in June, with Cornflowers, Hordeum jubatum and Linaria maroccana.

View from (inside) the kitchen in June.

Kitchen doors in June.

Kitchen doors in June.

Right now, the meadows look a bit exhausted. After the window frames were painted last week, we changed their positions. The blue box currently contains loads of flax seeds (usefull for cutting), one Silene noctiflora, some self-sown Phacelias and an Achillea “Kirschkönigin”, which should bloom in a few weeks.

wiesen.31juli

Kitchen meadows on July 31st.

On to the actual balcony. This picture shows a rare glimpse of its complete size (it’s usually very full). It was taken last Monday late in the evening, after a painter who redid all the wooden window frames in our flat had left. Most of my plants were actually inside at that moment. Only the sweet pea cylinders, the perennial boxes on the sides and the railing containers stayed outside. L’Ami had taken of the trellis, which is why it looks like the climbers are moving up into nowhere. The cylinders normally stand right behind the windows, and the big blue plastic tub is usually in our storeroom – I only take it out for potting or collecting rain water.

Dismantled balcony on July 25th.

Dismantled balcony on July 25th.

A plant which ususally dominates the balcony will still stay inside for a bit longer, for its fantastic scent: Night Jasmine or Lady of the Night (Cestrum noctornum). It’s the biggest plant I grow. After the sun goes down pale green trumpets open and perfume the balcony (or the bedroom) with a delicious Marzipan/Jasmine scent.

This photo (taken this morning) shows what part of my garden normally looks like: Left left side of the balcony with the big cottage box. The other side still has to be reorganized, I will show some pictures next week.

Balcony on July 31st.

Balcony on July 31st: Zinnias, Echinacea, white and purple Heliotropes, Summer Phlox, Stocks, Statice and Delphinium.

The highlight of the balcony right now is the big “cottage box”: Delphinium “Blue Butterfly”, “Cinderella” stocks, Didiscus. In the back Daucus “Dara”, Ammi “Green Mist” and more Didiscus will soon form pretty little clouds. Gypsophila “Kermesina” is almost done by now. Originally it also contained dill “Mariska” and nigella sativa but those were eaten by something before they could bloom.

Cottage box in the hazy high noon light.

Cottage box in the hazy high noon light.

I will show my favourites from the last four weeks in a separate post.

 

 

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Warm pastel cloud and a silver blue lining

Bouquet in antique pink, featuring an older Zinna "Queen Red Lime"

Bouquet in antique pink, featuring an older Zinna “Queen Red Lime”

Since some of last Monday’s flowers still look great – or even better – a week later, I decided to re-use them for this week’s version of Cathy’s fun meme “In a vase on Monday”. The survivors of the ice cream-vase are: Zinnias “Queen Red Lime” and “Green Envy”, Daucus “Dara” and Scabiosa “Salmon Queen”. Five or six years ago I’d never guessed that one day I would grow any other Zinnia besides “Green Envy”. I felt about them as I still do about red container pelargoniums or blue hydrangeas: vulgar and loud. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the 80s, when all of them appeared in shrill colours and looked like tacky plastic flowers in an Imbiss/Chip Shop/Fast Food Place. (Totally Off Topic – If anybody else was in primary school in the 80s and is currently suffering from a summer flu or in need of a warm-hearted escape from the last few days’ depressing news storm: watch “Stranger Things” on Netflix)

Warm pastel bouquet detail, with Daucus "Dara", Matthiola "Champagne" and Zinnia "Queen Red Lime"

Warm pastel bouquet detail, with Daucus “Dara”, Matthiola “Champagne” and Zinnia “Queen Red Lime”

Back to the vase. “Queen Red Lime” differs very much from the Zinnias of yore:  From the same bag of seeds I have so far grown pale antique pink ones, green ones with a strong pink centre and a few truly mixed ones, like the ones you find when you google the variety. Some of them do continuously change colour when they age. This one has now turned into cinnamon with some strong peachy undertones. The subtlety of the flower is sooo far away from the ones I remember and even disliked throughout my “Crystal Barbie”-phase. And in those days I could not get enough of hot pink and neon colours! The scabious has meanwhile changed from light salmon to pure pale pink. Dara – new for me this year – turned out to be the biggest surprise: Its burgundy deepened over the week.  The other components are mostly younger versions of last week’s (“Cinderella” stocks and the gorgeous rich pink “Kermesina” baby’s breath), plus a mysterious feverfew/tanacetum (its grandmother was yellow-leaved and showed flat, more daisy-like blossoms) and the always beautiful florist dill “Mariska”.

Colour palette in the evening (room in natural light)

Colour palette in the evening (room in natural light)

This picture was the only one I managed to take for showing the colour palette in “real light”, on the balcony in the afternoon. As you can see, the yellow of tanacetum and dill is much clearer and less “chartreusey” when illuminated by daylight or bright lamp light.

Antique pink vase in the afternoon on the balcony.

Antique pink vase in the afternoon on the balcony.

The only other vase I put together today also features some candidates from last week: Eleagnus branches I picked up from the Panke river. (Thanks again Cathy for ID-ing it for me). The star-shaped blossoms are a Delphinium grandiflorum I raised from seed this spring. It’s supposed to be “Blue Butterfly” but looks much more purplish lilac than the pictures I’ve seen online. And I can’t recall if I have ever seen it in real life. Whatever it is, I like it a lot (as do the bumblebees) and will definitely collect seed from the unexpected bi-coloured beauty.

Silver-blue bouquet: Unknown Eleagnus, Delphiniums, Sweet Peas and a Love-in-a-mist

Silver-blue bouquet: Unknown Eleagnus, Delphiniums, Sweet Peas and a Love-in-a-mist

The other blossoms: More “Blue Wonders” (all my other Sweet Peas are still lagging behind) and the first Nigella from a “Persian Jewels” mix. Which turned out to be very small and not what I expected, colourwise – white with blue tips.

Nigella, Eleagnus, Delphinium and Sweet Peas.

Nigella, Eleagnus, Delphinium and Lathyrus “Blue Wonder”.

That’s it for this Monday. I will probably not be able to join next week, since the admin of this house has scheduled a painter to re-do all our window frames on Monday and Tuesday, which not only means that I have to dismantle/rearrange half of the balcony, but also everything currently standing on the ledge in front of my kitchen. Grrrrr! Oh well. It will take only two days (in working hours time) and will not cost me a cent. But since my little 5th floor cottage garden grows in all directions by now, cutting needs to be done and insect houses to be moved, which I seriously dislike.

Anyways: I wish everyone a great week of high summer!