Six On Saturday: Roses, pure and simple

After two threatened thunderstorms some rain arrived yesterday. What a relief. No relief on the slug front though. A promising cutting of a clematis was stripped bare. I found the culprit and removed it elsewhere. Good news: Blue tits feeding in the box bushes – they seem to have finally found the box moth caterpillars and there are plenty of them to find. In the garden the roses are triumphant: colour, scent and so many buds to open. It looks like being a great year for them. Here’s six of them for this week.

One

‘Madame Isaac Péreire’. This is an old rose, dating back to 1841. It’s not a repeating rose but the scent is gorgeous, the colour fantastic and it has beautiful flowers.

Two

‘Scepter’d Isle’. A relative new comer, dating from 1996. This is one of the classic English Roses with a repeat flower. Another one with beautiful scent.

Three

‘Natasha Richardson’ Oh, I think there is a pattern here – beautifully scented, fantastic repeat flowering. Wonderful.

Four

Some variation for you. This one is a climber. ‘James Galway’ A light pink flower with a beautiful scent! This one was introduced in 2000.

Five

Another climber, and one of my favourite dark red roses. This is ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’. Described as a compact climber, this one is in its second year of growing over an arch. Guess what? It has a wonderful scent!

Six

Another stunner in the red range is ‘Darcey Bussell’. I have three of these planted together to provide the summer back drop to a garden bench. The scent, in case you were wondering, is of course, beautiful.

Yes, I like to have roses in the garden. I keep thinking about adding more but bio-diversity is healthier methinks. Deadheading on a summer evening is one of my favourite garden jobs and an added bonus is that the slugs leave them alone. Perfect.

There’s plenty of lovely things on The Propagator’s page this week. There will be inspiration to be found in the links too. Have a look, join in, enjoy!

Six On Saturday: Pesky blighters

It’s moan time. I have given up shrugging at the munching of the thalia and now I’m pretty cross. Number one pesky blighter is of course the slug. I collected seed from the delphiniums, sowed them, saw them through to germination, nurtured them over winter, watered them through dry April and set them off into the world last week. Within a night they had been grazed to the ground. This season’s sunflower sowings have had their leaves turned to filigree lace. The one hosta I have in the ground, surrounded by 5cms of Strulch but has suffered similar munching. But I was truly enraged when I saw a squirrel about to eat a rosebud. The lilies are up so I am also on vigilant watch for a second wave of lily beetle. I am going to making up a garlic solution today and will be spraying it liberally. I can only try to make a stand. Fortunately there are six good things in the garden to cheer the mood.

One

The roses are beginning to open, which is always a joy. This one is Gertrude Jekyll. Truth told this did not seem to have settled well into the garden but this year, four or five years on, it looks full of buds.

Two

These are the white flowers of Libertia grandiflora valiantly standing up against the euphorbia melifera. I planted four libertias just as the melifera seedling arrived in the garden. The melifera has dominated the spot and the libertias are fighting for the sunshine. Only one has made it to flowering so I am going to live dangerously and move at least two of the libertias to a sunnier spot. Now. This weekend. They have no flower spikes showing so I am going to risk the upheaval. Fingers crossed, as usual. The foliage is evergreen and the white flowers are a beautiful strong white.

Three

The clematis on the arch is in flower. It’s a montana wilsonii, which has made it to the top of the arch and is now gracefully twining its way down the other side. There it will meet the climbing rose Madame Alfred Carrière. Let the battle commence!

Four

The second batch of camassias are in flower. I think this variety is cusickii. A delicate paler blue than my other camassias which are now almost over.

Five

And next to the camassias, the siberian irises are just opening. I think these are my favourite irises, which is a good thing because they do clump up very vigorously for me.

Six

The very reliable geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ is in flower which gave me the excuse to leave this corner of forget-me-nots for another week.

It’s in and out time for the trays of seedlings in the greenhouse. I have two more pot grown mange tout germinations which means I can claim to have been successful with successional sowing! The first strawberry has been picked so summer must be very close. Enjoy your gardening this weekend and if you can tear yourself away stop by at The Prop’s garden gate for a chat with the other SOSers.

Six on Saturday: On the cusp of good things

It really does feel like the garden is teetering on the edge of its summer explosion. A much needed shower of rain arrived on Wednesday. Brief, not enough, but gratefully received. There are rose buds everywhere, delphiniums have won past the slugs and the alliums have started to open. But it will be a few weeks before take off. Here’s six things from the garden now.

One

The front garden here really needs some attention. One side is almost permanently in shade and is very dry and I tend to leave this side to its own devices. This is the best time of year for it, the bluebells can cope with the conditions and over five years the sweet woodruff has also found its comfort zone.

Two

Also thriving in this difficult spot is Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’. Very tolerant of dry shade and a good deal of neglect!

Three

Last year I added a lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Alba’ to a shady spot in the back garden. Within seconds the slugs had devoured it and later in the year I ploughed through the spot to plant a heuchera. Amazingly this year it has arisen phoenix-like from the ‘flames’ and has flowered. Perhaps it has now settled in enough to enjoy its challenging space.

Four

I am always looking for things to plants to plant in shady corners and sometimes the answer is right in front of me. The tellima grandiflora does well in this shady spot and now its been in a few years I am going to try dividing it after it finishes flowering. Tellima is billed as a prolific self-seeder but I can’t say I’ve seen any evidence of this so far. Maybe dividing it will shake the seeds into life.

Five

The allium ‘Purple Sensation’ has just appeared. This has self-seeded in the borders but it will be a few years before those get to flowering size. I need something to follow the tulips that will flower with the alliums, maybe its more alliums in different shades. Suggestions welcome.

Six

The forget-me-nots are going to seed and I have been gradually clearing the borders. Here’s one last corner where they do a good job of filling in the space before the geums and geraniums take over. The ubiquitous bluebell, iberis and osteospermum also oblige with gap-filling.

I seem to have sown far fewer annuals than last year and two trays of cosmos are showing very limited signs of life. I have had more success with zinnias and calendulas and they will do the job quite well. I’ll be sowing more carrots and parsnips today, and the daily ritual of taking seedlings in and out of the green house has begun. On the cusp, teetering on the edge, can’t wait, but I will have to!

Don’t forget to join The Propagator for his weekly blog and to see over the garden fence into many other SOS gardens. Have fun.

Six On Saturday: Green is a good feeling

The week here has ended with a string of cold nights but thankfully no frost. The carrot and parsnip sowings remained under cloches, the potatoes are just peeking through and the onions are looking good. I have finally, after five sowings, managed to germinate two more mange tout seeds. Hopefully the May sowings will be more successful. French beans and courgettes have just been sown. Here’s six things I noticed in the garden this week.

One

The view from the kitchen was a very verdant green this morning as the rising sun shone through the persimmon tree. Just behind the persimmon the fig tree is just breaking into leaf. Further back the trees that surround this garden are also greening up. It gave an uplifting zing of freshness to the start of the day.

Two

One of the ‘Cairo’ tulips had been niggling away at me and I finally got round to sending off a photo to the bulb supplier with the question ‘Is this a healthy tulip’. The response was immediate. A phone call advising me that the stripes were due to tulip mosaic virus and I should remove the bulb and as much of the surrounding soil as possible. There is much to admire in the flower colouration but it is sensible to act on the advice to prevent the spread of the virus. Those darling aphids are to blame. The tulip stem will decorate the kitchen. The bulb will be disposed of.

Three

I am sure that if it wasn’t for SOS I would miss out on a number of things happening in the garden. I have admired the wood anemones that others have shown over the last few weeks but only yesterday did I remember that I too have some in the garden. It’s a small group that are almost hidden by the hellebores and the relentless snowberry. Here they are peaking through.

Four

As the tulips go over, so Irises should be filling in the spaces. But my division of last year has not been very successful. Thanks to Fred and to the good folk on twitter I have been reminded that these are I. germanica. I love them for their height and colour. I have now found a source for a restock and next year’s borders will be jammed with them again.

Five

Down at the veg plot end of the garden, on the way to the compost bins, I pass by a group of tiarellas. They rarely die down over winter and usually end up with a sprawl of scruffy untidy old foliage. I gave them a tidy last week and entirely by coincidence this week they have produced a flurry of flowers.

Six

More green to end on. While the mange tout have been frustrating the lettuce are chugging along very well. I have some in the greenhouse growing away, and two trays of potted on seedlings waiting to go outside when the night temperatures settle down. I can pick leaves now from these trays which is what I must do this weekend.

This weekend I will pulling tree seedlings out, cutting back tulip stems and beginning to pull out the forget-me-nots before they drop too much seed. The bindweed has appeared at the very back of the garden, a sure sign that the soil, even in that shady place, is warming up. Goody! Mr P will host as usual, probably run, and perhaps sow seeds. Rain, however, does not seem to be on the cards!

Six On Saturday: Spring delights

It’s mid-way through Spring and I am jumping forward to the next bulb order. Gardening does that to you. Always looking for the next excitement, it’s exhausting! I’ve made my notes on the calendar and settled the mind again to concentrate on what’s good at this moment in time. Here’s six from the garden this week.

One

I am sure it will be camassia week for many. These are my first to begin to flower against the trellis of an arch. I have these down as c. leichtlinii. But I am willing to be corrected!

Two

Last November I planted some ‘Cairo’ tulips to flower with the camassias. I think I planted about ten either side of the arch. They have come through just in time and once again I am thinking why didn’t I plant double the quantity?

Three

I’m coming up to completing six years in this garden and this combination of tulips was one the first planted here. Originally they ran the length of the long border but over the years they have become concentrated at the bottom, slightly shadier end. I have topped them up from time to time but now I am thinking it is time to replant the top end of the border with a new combination. This mix is ‘Queen of Night’, ‘Shirley’, ‘Barcelona’ and ‘Violet Beauty’. There are some ‘Purissima’ in the background

Four

Brought from the old garden these geranium phaeums have bulked up over the years and are now providing regular new stock for ground cover in shady corners. Solid, reliable and very lovely.

Five

The apple trees are all in blossom and as I was admiring the pretty mix of pink and white I espied the tell-tale fluff of woolly aphid. Just a few small patches so it was out with a spray of a dilute soap mix which I hope will do the trick before it gets a hold.

Six

Here’s a splash of sunshine to end on. Self-seeding welsh poppies are popping up everywhere. Entirely against my colour scheme but who could turn them out? I read that they can tolerate shade so I am thinking of re-locating a few to new spaces.

Vegetable seed sowing continues to be hit and miss, still no sign of later sown mange tout, but earlier sown cukes have delivered, and I have lettuces that have been hardened off for about a week so I may chance planting some of those out. I’ve seen the very first sign of carrot seedlings sown under cloches – I’m holding my breath and crossing my fingers. The soil seemed to be warming up so I’ve also direct sown some parsnip seed. Hope you are finding joys in your gardens. The Propagator will be sharing the news from fellow SOSers so do stop by for a read.

Six on Saturday: Nature’s bounty begins

Suddenly the garden is truly alive. Humming with bees, birdsong bouncing off the trees and butterflies flitting, as they do. Of course the nasties are out too. Slugs munching, things biting me and crowds of lily beetles arriving for the warm weather. Vigilance is required but beauty abounds too and last year’s new purchases are delivering.

One

I decided the hedge border was not much to look at in Spring so I invested in narcissus ‘Actaea’ to lighten the space. Yes I like them but of course so do the slugs. This year I am adopting the philosophical ‘what can you do approach’. I tried nematodes and last winter the border was mulched with Strulch. Possibly there are fewer slugs but their unerring sense for finding new delights is very strong.

Two

After many years of wondering what to plant in the shadier corners at the back of the garden I finally added in some erythronium ‘White Beauty’. Can’t think why I didn’t do this sooner or why I didn’t order at least double the quantity.

Three

The last of the trio of new bulbs was ipheion uniflorum. I can’t quite remember what sent me in their direction but here they are, also beloved by slugs but managing to fill the front edge gaps before the perennials come through.

Four

In 2019 I planted a ‘Stella’ cherry tree to grow against a wall in an espalier fashion. There is an abundance of blossom this year. Let’s hope the frost stays away and the fruits don’t get eaten by the birds!

Five

Of course there are more and more tulips. These are ‘Negrita’ which will be joined by ‘Ronaldo’ and ‘Spring Green’. I’ve decided this corner needs a revamp so it is on the list for a complete clearance as the end of the summer.

Six

Tulip ‘White Triumphator’, has been in the thin border since 2016. There are fewer of them this year and the size is diminishing. I like to mix them with ‘World Friendship’ and I’m still happy with this combination so I will be topping them up this autumn.

The weather has been glorious and I have been planting out the onion sets started off in modules. I have sown carrots under cloches and yesterday I sowed parsnip seeds. My veg patch is in part shade so it is always a little tricky to get the timings right. I have been sowing mange tout indoors every couple of weeks with very poor results. So far only four germinations. Let’s hope the current sunshine gives everything a boost. Mr P has also been busy so stop by and take a look over his fence and those of all the other SOSs. All welcome!

Six On Saturday: Green, green grass

I’m a little late to the grasses party. I’ve some melica and a couple of Karl Foersters but this year I’m planting up the difficult area against the back fence with a grass combination. Having taken the plunge and chosen the mix I added a few more essentials to the shopping basket and the pricey ‘little’ package arrived this week. Here they are.

One

This is a selection of the back fence mix. I will be planting three miscanthus giganteus, three persicaria polymorpha, five luzula nivea and six stachys hummelo. I’m very much hoping the miscanthus will grow to their advertised three meter height asap and cover up the fence panels. The panels give a rain shadow to the border and the trees that surround our garden give plenty of summer shade. The miscanthus should be able to cope with this. Likewise the luzula should also enjoy the shade. For everything else, I have my fingers crossed. There is some late afternoon sun to help things along.

Two

Having made the main selection, I added in hakonechloa macra. This can also take a some shade and I am using it to underplant the ‘Darcy Bussell’ roses. The roses suffered with black spot last year so I really should be using salvias as per Sarah Raven’s advice. I think that does work. But no, I’m going with grasses. I do have a couple of salvia ‘Amistad’ cuttings that I plan to sneak in at the back so perhaps they will deal with the black spot.

Three

Finally I added a euphorbia palustris. My e. ‘Wulfenii’ have suffered over the last two years. The magnificent four have dwindled to one and a half. The soil has been too wet and heavy for them. A shout out on twitter gave the suggestion of this euphorbia which enjoys damp conditions. Sadly not evergreen but it has lime green flowers and good autumn foliage so I’m giving it a go.

Four

Speaking of euphorbias. the e.mellifera seedling that blew in from a neighbour’s garden has flowered this year. It is just over a metre high and is doing a great job of filling the border.

Five

Oh my, the tulips took bashing in the gusty winds on Thursday but miraculously there were no losses. These are ‘Purissima’ among the hellebores. I had forgotten that these open creamy yellow and then fade to white. I was expecting pure white but the creamy yellow works well.

Six

The diminutive ‘Doll’s Minuet’ which I plant in pots have just opened. These are last years bulbs that I lifted and stored. Good to see them in flower again.

While I will be out in the veg patch this weekend The Propagator will be on his 50k run and then taking a well earned rest. Miraculously he will also be hosting the Six On Saturday meme. Good on yer! It looks like the overnight temperatures will be a little warmer so I will be planting out the potatoes and onion sets. Wishing you well with your weekend gardening.

Six On Saturday: April chills

What a week! From balmy spring warmth to icy snow showers and freezing winds. There was a slight frost this morning. This was also the week the pergola was installed and the foxes had a fight in the rosemary bush, I think the rosemary came off worse. There were some brave tulips on show and the plum blossom appeared. Here’s six from the garden.

One

The first tulips to appear in this garden are ‘World Friendship’. They’ve last well over about three years but I think this is the year to top them up. They have a softer yellow colour, not too bright and I think they work well with the thalia.

Two

The plum blossom opened up at the beginning of the week, only to be thrashed about by a vicious north wind. Here’s hoping some of the blossom makes it through to fruit.

Three

The glorious sunshine of last weekend saw me tackle two gardening jobs on the same day! A good clear out of the potting shed followed by a clear out of this end of the thin border. Previously home to rampant blackberries, generously giving too much fruit to use, a first thinning out was achieved. I know I said I wouldn’t, but I do have a few white dahlias that used to live in pots. They have overwintered and I think for this year at least they will go in here along with some summer annuals while I mull over a permanent plan.

Four

I am a purist for the simple yellow primroses, but somehow I have inherited this dark red one. It has made a successful appeal to stay in the garden.

Five

The new green growth of the grass melica altissima ‘Alba’ caught my eye this week. Fresh and vibrant, it adds a good band of colour to the back of a north facing border. In the summer lovely dancing stems of white flowers sway in the breeze. I can’t wait.

Six

The pergola was installed amid howling winds and snow showers. The guys very cleverly built the new one whilst using the old one to support the vine. I kept the warming cups of coffee going and marvelled at the progress from inside in the warm.

It’s a beautiful blue sky morning here, cold but bright. Let’s hope we have done with the cruel weather, no more frosts please, it’s time to will those seeds into germination. The Propagator hosts this weekly gathering, stop by and see if you can catch him in the garden.

Six On Saturday: It’s getting better

The garden has been surging forward in this last week of sunshine. But hold on, there is cold weather to come. April can be a cruel month. Even so, gardeners are getting busy and anticipation is high. Here’s six from this week’s garden.

One

The thalia have arrived, my favourites. But no sooner do they open out then the slugs slither up the stems and nibble the flowers. Sad, but I have learnt to shrug my shoulders, sigh and move on.

Two

I am showing the muscari again! I had some left overs in pots, awaiting an opening in the garden. I have now put them into a shadier border and the colour looked so strong in the shadows. I’ll get away with it this year because they benefited from the warmth of a sunny corner before I planted them out. Next year I might find that this spot is just too shady for them.

Three

The perennials are really bulking up and the lovely leaves of thalictrum ‘Black Stockings’ look great. The dark stems are already quite striking. These are in a shady spot too and do very well.

Four

The seed potatoes are chitting away but back in February I planted up three or four in an old compost bag and left them in the greenhouse. The top shoots have just come through so another layer of compost will be added. I might have some early new potatoes in April.

Five

The tomato seeds sown in early March have been potted on. These are destined for the greenhouse. For the moment they are in the spare bedroom.

Six

The pergola project is moving forward with very little sucking in of breath! There is a possibility it will be done next week. In anticipation of a smart new pergola, a smart new garden table was purchased. The old pergola is doing a good impersonation of being a solid structure, but the truth is hidden. All four support legs are rotting away. Now I am anticipating the sunny months to come. In my dreams I also see a trachycapus fortunei swaying in the breeze. Does anyone have experience of growing those in pots?

I am, as always, delighted to compliment The Propagator on his dedication to SOS. All the links to this joyful meme will be found there. Wishing everyone a great gardening weekend.

Six On Saturday: The sun and the moon

I have fallen under the spell of a full moon! The March full moon has just filled the night sky and it has been impressive. Apparently it is known as the worm moon because around this time in the northern hemisphere the soil is warming up and the earthworms are more active. It is the last full moon of the winter. So there’s no more dithering. It is spring. By coincidence I planted out asparagus crowns, an auspicious time to do so! More regular sighting of the sun also encourages us gardeners to get outside and enjoy our gardens. Here’s six from a sunny end to the week.

One

The front garden magnolia has just burst into flower. Such a lovely sight against the blue sky

Two

The first of the cowslips are up, these have generously self seeded over the last few years and now I have enough to divide and dot them around the garden.

Three

On a walk yesterday I spotted white anemones under the trees looking so fresh in the sunshine. In the afternoon I was dazzled by a small group under the apple tree in the garden here.

Four

The lockdown purchased rose arch is supporting a clematis montana Wilsonii which has just leapt into life; new tendrils and green leaf in abundance with eagerly anticipated flowers to follow soon. It is destined to go crazy but for the moment the coverage is within acceptable limits!

Five

I still have a little of last week’s impatience left! The leucojums have produced one single flower stem. Now come on you guys, more effort please!

Six

A few years back I couldn’t resist planting a ring of tête-à-tête around the persimmon tree. One half of the gardening brain said ‘no, that will be too twee!’ The other half said ‘go for it.’ Over a couple of years they seem to have multiplied incredibly well and twee or not, they do cheer me up!

The seed packets are being rustled, seed trays dusted down and the greenhouse glass is due a clean up. Yes, it is time to think about sowing some annuals and onions sets have been started off in modules in the greenhouse. No need to rush, as the soil here is still quite cold. Mr P invites everyone to join in with SOS so stop by and take a look. Happy gardening.

t is the last full moon of the winter.