Six On Saturday: Time to stop dithering and do. Probably.

The trees that surround this garden have just started to change colour, there was a cold north wind for a day or two but in general the weather is still quite mild. I am dithering about whether to take things into the greenhouse this weekend or next. Dithering is one of my favoured gardening techniques, employed in every season. It’s just the way I garden. After some dithering this morning and several changes of plan, here’s this week’s six.

One

I’ve been dithering for some time about fumigating the greenhouse. I didn’t get on top of the whitefly this year. The encarsia wasps used a month or so ago made an impact but didn’t fully clear the infestation. As the temperatures were warm enough I finally deployed the ‘garlic bombs’ that had lurking around for some time. I don’t know what the whitefly made of it, but my stomach definitely heaved when I opened up the packaging. Of course I should have taken a photo of the smoke filled greenhouse, with the smoke gently seeping out of every opening. Far more dramatic. But I didn’t, so sadly this will have to do. Let’s hope the fumigation has had an effect and I promise to do better next year.

Two

I needed to get the greenhouse sorted out to make it available for some tender plants. The last of the peppers and chillies were picked before the fumigation and I had yet another go at removing the oxalis. There’s some mild weather forecast for next week but the lemon tree will have to go inside soon. It has had a good year outside and seems to have fully recovered from its near death a few years back. There are flowers, new fruits and some not quite ripe fruit. The greenhouse is not heated so when winter arrives the lemon tree will get a fleece wrap.

Three

This euphorbia mellifera has also done well this year. It arrived as a self-sown seedling about this time last year and Jim of Garden Ruminations identified it and warned me that it would grow and grow. How right, as ever, he was. It didn’t flower this spring, I’m hoping it will next spring and then I will do as Jim advised and cut it back.

Four

I have five pots of the large evergreen agapanthus that are tender here and need a fleece wrapping every winter. They are showing signs of needing it now. Last year I discovered that pegs are great for holding the fleece in place.

Five

The leaves of the trachelospermum jasminoides, star jasmine, have just begun to turn red. It’s making slow progress up the fence but year by year it is thickening up. I don’t have much in the garden that gives this darker autumn colouring, no Japanese maples, no cotinus and no dogwoods either. I just don’t seem to have the right spaces for them, so these red leaves will be especially enjoyed.

Six

Salvia ‘Nachtvlinder’. I’ve probably shared these before, but anything that looks this good in the last week of October deserves another mention. I planted three 9cm pots two years ago and they have filled up the space well this year. Such a rich colour.

I still have narcissus bulbs to plant and a few tulip bulbs lined up to go in the ground in November. The foliage of day lilies and the deciduous agapanthus is in need of cutting back before it becomes a soggy mess but there are plenty of plants that I will leave standing over winter. We can’t be too choosy about which wildlife we support in this way and from today’s walk round I can see that the slugs are enjoying the garden all too well at the moment. Yes, jobs to be done. It’s not hibernation time yet. Don’t forget that The Propagator hosts this meme and shares all the links to other SOS posts. Happy gardening.

20 thoughts on “Six On Saturday: Time to stop dithering and do. Probably.

  1. Dithering is one of my favoured gardening techniques 😂 – I totally get it! So many decisions to be made. The star jasmine looks lovely, a good way to get autumn colour in. Am impressed with your Salvia N, mine seems to just put out one or two flowers at a time which is rather underwhelming!

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  2. About euphorbia mellifera, Jim advised you to cut it in the spring to reduce it and force it to flower or only when it’s too tall and after it has flowered? Mine is young, I have time. (I’m making a roof for it for the winter so that there will not be too much moisture for the roots. Soon in a future Six )
    Well done for the lemons, I hope you can eat some (the one in the photo on the right is ready soon! February maybe?)
    Last thing about the fumigation, it must be drastic. Do you remove all the plants during the treatment? It does not matter?

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    • Mine is by a path so I can’t just let it grow as big as it wants. It flowers in April. In May I cut the flowered stems to the base, which leaves a few spindly shoots that were trying to grow but didn’t have enough light and haven’t flowered. By July, lots of new shoots are growing from the base so I remove the spindly shoots completely. The new shoots make growth the rest of the year and through the next year, then flower the year after that. Then it gets pruned again. So it gets pruned in alternate years.

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    • This is what Jim said about the mellifera this week – ‘Mine is by a path so I can’t just let it grow as big as it wants. It flowers in April. In May I cut the flowered stems to the base, which leaves a few spindly shoots that were trying to grow but didn’t have enough light and haven’t flowered. By July, lots of new shoots are growing from the base so I remove the spindly shoots completely. The new shoots make growth the rest of the year and through the next year, then flower the year after that. Then it gets pruned again. So it gets pruned in alternate years.’ I’ll have to print that advice and keep it somewhere safe! I was hoping I could have the lemon for Christmas! The fumigation canister was garlic based, said not to be harmful to plants but as most of my gh plants were finished I used it in a near empty gh, just some strawberry plants. So far no whitefly but I’ll keep watching.

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  3. I’m a ditherer too. I’m curious to know what star sign you are 🤔 Euphorbia mellifera grow pretty big here in Cornwall and they smell wonderful! You always know when there is one close by, the air is just scented with honey.

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  4. Do you get fully ripe lemons from your tree? The glossy star jasmine leaves are such a beautiful color and your salvia has delivered. I believe I have one of these, but it has been slow to grow through the summer drought and did not flower this year. Maybe next?

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    • After a terrible winter a few years back this is the first year lemons have come through to almost ripen. There was just not enough sun here this year to complete the process. I’ll keep an eye on them and I see if I can have an edible one for Christmas. The variety is Four Seasons. The salvias were slow for me in the first year but have really settled down this year, in a south facing spot.

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  5. Gee, I am glad that we need not contain our lemon tree within a greenhouse. That would be too much work. Agapanthus too. They are popular here because they are so undemanding. I would not want to protect them all.

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  6. I love the way that Euphorbia mellifera defies the seasons and looks fresh and perky all through the winter. I’m curious to hear how well the garlic smoke bombs work. Maybe you could dry garlic shavings and just burn them in the greenhouse?

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    • For a free plant I’m very happy. It gives some all important winter shape. Re the garlic smoke bombs – the garlic smell was so strong, must have been a good few cloves! John K suggested these to me a few years back. I’ll be watching to see if the whitefly are defeated.

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  7. I thought dithering was an essential part of gardening, I’m a dithering Scorpio. I’ve grown S. ‘Nachtvlinder’ for the first time this year with some others by the Roses to see if it helps prevent blackspot (discussed in Sarah Raven’s book). It hasn’t flowered much so I’m pleased to read your comments. 🤞for next year.

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