Six On Saturday: Delightful or dastardly?

December. What a month. Lulled into complacency, I had only just begun to tidy up the garden for its winter snooze. My last post hinted at cold weather and I had to decided it was not the weekend to do much in the garden. By the Sunday evening I had succumbed to the lurgy from hell and the garden was covered in six inches of snow that was to last the whole week. Temperatures were around minus four to five all week and my smugness at never lifting the dahlias may well be misplaced. I coughed my way through another week in the run up to Christmas and although an amazing turn around in temperatures had once again revealed the garden I was still not inclined to venture out. So far December was dastardly. Today, still with the remnants of a cough, I finally took a turn round the garden. I was inspired. Yes there is much soggy browness to be dealt with but bulbs are nosing through, new shoots are braving it and the birds were signing as if it were Spring. Delightful is the final verdict. Here’s my six.


The first of the hellebores are opening up. This one is ‘Pretty Ellen’ white. The snowdrops will not be far behind


Tucked away in a corner by the shed and a water storage tank another ‘Pretty Ellen’ is getting ready to shine. Of course this is PE red.


The melica altisssima ‘Alba’ really took a bashing in the snow but it’s not giving up and new shoots are pushing through. This means I have to get out there and cut back the old growth. I just need a dry day now.


This clematis was cloaked in snow for seven days. It’s an armandii with a rating of H4 which suggests it is hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5). I thought it would be a gonna but these fat buds suggest all is well. Flowers for February I hope.


Viburnums are reliable at this time of year. I wasn’t at all worried about this one surviving so I was surprised to see that it also has a hardiness rating of H4. This one is just beginning to open up and will look lovely in a week or two. I inherited this one so can only say that it is likely to be a tinus variety.


This viburnum is a pink variety with lovely shiny black berries after flowering. Also inherited, I have no idea what variety it might be. It could be another tinus.

I am also delighted to wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year. Let’s hope our gardens, pots, balconies, houseplants, whatever it is that we grow will work their magic next year and keep us all sane. Many, many thanks to Jim for taking on the SOS meme. Jim is posting sunny photos from Brisbane this week and hints at something interesting to come for the New Year. Many thanks, also, to all the SOSers who share their news every week. Roll on 2023, I think I am ready for you.

14 thoughts on “Six On Saturday: Delightful or dastardly?

  1. I’m delighted to see that the clematis armandii is doing well. I would have to add a new one in the garden because I lost a first attempt a few years ago. The cold and damp north wind had not pleased it. Very pretty first hellebore and this pink virburnum is really charming. Get over your cough and Happy New Year 2023 coming soon. All the best to you and yours.

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  2. I hope the little tour of your garden is helping in your recovery. It has certainly been colder up your way, what with snow lasting that long. What a treat to have such lovely hellebores so early. A Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

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  3. My hellebores are being somewhat reluctant this year, a couple with buds, but several haven’t even poked their noses above ground yet! Sorry to hear you have had the lurgy, seems to be a lot of it about, hope you feel much better soon and I look forward to sharing your garden throughout 2023, regardless of what nature has in store for us!
    HNY N20 (I don’t think I know your actual name)
    Jude xx

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  4. Sorry to read you have not been well, but you sound as though you’re on the mend now. Your Hellebore is a beauty as your clematis is sure to be also. Happy New Year to you, N20, and I look forward to seeing more of your sixes in 2023.

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  5. Gee, yours are oddities for us. Hellebores do not perform well for us, and no one knows why. Some species of Melica are native here, but are very rare within gardens. Melica altissima is one that I have never met. Clematis armandii is one of the more popular of the genus, but like hellebores, does not perform very well here. Viburnum tinus is underappreciated here for the opposite reason. It naturalizes.

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  6. Lots of loveliness there! Sorry to hear you haven’t been well, I’ve heard lots of tales of horrid viruses and they can really knock you back both physically and mentally. Then you went in the garden and got the lift you needed, they really are special places, if only more people realised. Lovely to see your hellebores (much further on than mine but I’m not bitter) and I remember your clematis, it is a beauty. Happy New Year to you, hope you are back to full health very soon x

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