Six On Saturday: One thing leads to another

It’s funny how things work out. You start one thing, and before you know it something else needs doing. It has been cold, wet and windy but gardening jobs have been done. Some by me and some by the professionals.


I planted a cherry tree. Some time ago a dead diseased apricot tree was taken out and I ruminated for a long while on what could go in the space. The old tree roots and the stump are still in the ground but I squeezed in a rose nearby. Hawthorn and rowan were high up on my list of trees to put in a little further along but then as some wild blackberries were taken out the increase in space seemed perfect for a fan trained cherry tree. The cherry tree arrived this week and I set to work planting it. This is the first tree I have ever planted so it was a momentous occasion. I wish trees came with recipe-like instructions. Tools for job: stake, tree tie, fork for forking out inevitable roots of previous inhabitants, loppers for cutting those larger roots, spade for digging hole, fish, bone and blood for fertiliser, trug to put said roots in, mallet for banging in stake, compost for improving texture of soil and last but not least the actual tree. As usual I underestimated the time it would take – an hour, which included me digging it up twice to make sure it was facing the right way!


The bbq went last week and the spotted laurel went this week. My professional with the chain saw said ‘it isn’t a spotted laurel it’s an acuba. I looked up acuba and was informed that it’s common name is spotted laurel. Well it’s gone. On looking at the empty space I decided that the paving slabs were not very attractive and might be just the thing for putting down in front of the new compost bins. So rather radically for a SOSer I am going to add in some extra lawn! The paved area will be turfed. I hear howls of anguish from some quarters but that is the plan. The hydrangea may also be on the move as I think I have found a spot for it elsewhere in the garden


This year I decided to have the fig and apple trees pruned by a specialist. Most are quite young trees but there is a larger older apple tree that needed a reshape. It wasn’t long before disease or insect damage was found in the fig trees. The upper end of the central branches had died back and in some cases was hollowed out leaving a bark case. There wasn’t anything to match it to on the internet so it is a mystery. A larger than expected amount had to be pruned out so the fruit crop is in doubt for this year. I hope this action will save the trees though.


The clematis armandii chose this week to open out into flower. It is lovely but I can’t help thinking it is like a wearing your best flimsy frock to a Christmas night out – absolutely freezing! I am battling against the odds to train it in the direction I would like it to grow and I am quickly learning that the stems are only flexible for the first few inches. After that they break.


Its probable against all the rules, but this week I moved the winter spinach. I need to get a space ready for the onions and the rotation plan meant the spinach needed to be evicted. It looks very settled in it’s new home, due in no small part to the outer slug eaten leaves having been pulled off.


It was a cold wet and windy week but there was a moment of sunshine and the euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii was glowing brightly. An uplifting moment to end on.

For more uplifting moments take at peek at the links available on

25 thoughts on “Six On Saturday: One thing leads to another

  1. Smartypants here. Your hollow fig branches are nothing to worry about. Indeed they are quite normal and the branches surrounding the emptiness are generally fine. I’m not sure if there’s a name for the process though there probably is. As tree branches/trunks grow, the wood in the centre dies. On many trees this hardens but in figs it softens. And organisms get into this and start eating it away naturally. This isn’t disease, it’s natural wood rotting and there’s no need to panic. Just remember that as the fig tree ages, it’s larger branches and, indeed, the main trunk may become hollow and so are not as strong as they look. I will refrain from commenting on your somewhat unusual lawn expansion plans. As they say, “There’s always one …..!” 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      • Entirely up to you. Although the cores are hollow, the surrounding wood is alive and kicking so could bear fruits. The only issue is that branches with hollow cores (and, of course, the main trunk could be hollow but you’d need to chop the tree down to find out) are more susceptible to breaking in storms and so on. If a branch looks dead, prune it out but there’s no need to carry on chopping more off until you get to a solid core bit. I’m not sure what “best practice” is but some advocate just leaving the hole visible whilst others suggest you cover the end of the cut branch with aluminium tape to seal the hole.


  2. Very nice last sunny picture, maybe the only time you had the sun this week? Here not much.
    About the cherry tree, is it a small or dwarf variety? Because, given the ones I had, the trunks were so big that I think yours may be too close to the fence … I’ll show one of the stumps next week because one of the future topics will be that I used a stump as support for a buddlheia. It also has the advantage of giving it nutrients ( well I think, even if buddlheia grows everywhere…)

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  3. One job always leads to another, you are quite right, that is why it is so dangerous to pop out into the garden for 5 minutes while the spuds finishing cooking. 🙂 Not a lawn fan myself, but I say each to their own. The more I get to know euphorbias the more I love them. And yours is helping the process!

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  4. Your euphoria are stunning. I have many varieties and they always bring a zing to the garden at this time of year. I’m thinking about getting my old apple tree pruned by a specialist too as it’s toohuge for us now.

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  5. I pruned fruit trees in home gardens in the Santa Clara Valley for a few years. Now that we are no longer able to do it, I can not find another arborist who can. They simply can not charge enough money to afford to live here. It is so sad. Orchards were the main industry of the Santa Clara Valley for so long. Horticulture was taken so seriously back then. Now, there are a million people just in San Jose, but no one knows how to prune fruit trees properly.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Proper pruning is SO beneficial to the health of fruit trees. People think that fruit trees should be able to grow well on their own, without taking into consideration that they have been bred to overproduce an unnatural quantity of unnaturally large fruit that such trees can not sustain.


  6. Your clematis armandii looks fab!I bought one a couple of years ago, but it died. I have left it in the hope that maybe one day a shoot will appear, but I think I have passed that point! And yes, the weather has been dire all week and set to continue here in the SW 😦


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