Six On Saturday: Enjoying the change of season

On the third day of December two turtle doves came calling. The weather has turned cold and the light, oh so subtly, has changed to a wintery glow. Heavy skies and mists are to be enjoyed as the last of the gardening jobs are completed. Last year’s leaf mould was emptied out around the gooseberry bushes. The drop in temperatures encouraged a few more leaves to loosen their grip and also made it abundantly clear to me that the agapanthus really must be wrapped up this weekend. Here’s six things from the garden this week.

One

It was my ambition this year to grow some cyclamens from seeds collected from the garden. As always I completely missed the moment but nature has obliged with a few self seeders. I am sure they are doing better than any I might have collected. Once again I thank SOS for making me look closely at the garden every week.

Two

As you may have noticed a mushroom is photo bombing the cyclamen. Yet more were found in various spots around the garden. Nature does it own thing again.

Three

The pellies were despatched to their winter quarters last week, making space in the pots for some winter bedding. A layer of ‘Dolls Minuet’ tulips was the first step and then four bellis daisies topped off each pot.

Four

The last place in my grasses spotlight goes to hakonechloa macra, so much more easily remembered as hak mac. Again only planted out this year, so it will be a few years before they truly bulk up. This one is planted in a very shady spot and I have used others to fill pots that stand on concrete access points to the soak away that runs down the side of the garden. Those are an experiment, but I am persuaded that they will grow in pots for a few years at least.

Five

Last week I spotted a fox eating the windfall figs, but there will be slim pickings now. Here’s one that has rotted on the tree, looking rather like an early Christmas bauble. Taking off those that haven’t ripened is another job to do in the coming weeks.

Six

It seems to me that the leaves have stayed on the trees for longer this year. This week it was the turn of the oak leaves to fall and as the weather looks dry for the weekend there will be another sweep of the lawn with the mower to collect and shred leaves.

What a relief it is that the rain seems to have gone away. Cold weather and frosts seem much more preferable. I’ve dug out the winter gardening fleece and am set to go for a few more weeks. Who know’s what can be found for next week’s six but I’m sure there will be something to reflect on as the year winds down. I happily refer you to Garden Ruminations where Jim hosts the links to the SOS gardening blogs from around the world and inspires us all with such a variety of plants. For me, this week it is the marvellous pea seedlings!

Six On Saturday: Farewell November, farewell Autumn

Finally, the hose pipe ban has been lifted! I can’t think that I will be rushing out to water the garden any time soon, it has been drenched every other day throughout November. I have only just begun to plant a few tulips and a little tidying in the border has commenced. The regular downpours have served to show how infirm the potting shed greenhouse is. This one has a wooden frame and the apex has separated allowing rain to seep in. Sogginess abounds. Out in the garden things are pretty soggy too. Here’s six things I noticed this week.

One

I have just managed to complete a task that was long hanging over me. The scented leaf pelargoniums have been cut back, removed from their summer pots and moved to the potting shed greenhouse for the winter. I have overwintered these pellies for several years now and, dare I say it, I am just at the point where if they didn’t make it I wouldn’t be too sad. On the upside the potting shed and compost smell delightful at the moment.

Two

There are just one or two splashes of colour in the garden at the moment, this little ray of coreopsis continues to send out new blooms.

Three

The continual rain has more or less done for the roses. As each new flower arrives it is deluged by the next downpour. Here is ‘Gerturde Jekyll’ valiantly having a go.

Four

Strangely the seed heads of eurybia are holding up. They caught my eye during a spell of border tidying and were spared the chop.

Five

I may have mentioned that I’m just dipping my toe into growing grasses and this miscanthus sinensis ‘Silberfeder’ has done well in its first year. Slightly fuzzy flower heads as they are so difficult to capture. I’m looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

Six

Lastly arum italicum subsp. italicum ‘Marmoratum’. I’m guessing the ‘Marmoratum’ bit. I inherited this one. There were warnings that it was a thug and would spread uncontrollably. It must be in a very inhospitable spot because it has yet to move one inch. I like it, it even looks good after rainfall .

I’ve just received notice that I have one more green bin collection for the year. That gave me a wake up call. The gardening season is coming to a close. The last of blackberries need to be cut back and added to the green bin. That’s my next task and then there are more leaves to gather. No frost yet, but overnight temperatures have been as low as 2 degrees. December approaches.

Don’t forget to visit Garden Ruminations for all the links to other SOS posts.

Six On Saturday: Keeping my head down

It all feels a little grim out there so I’m focussing on the garden. Yes, pretty grim there too, at this time of year, but there’s always something to distract the attention from everyday life. The last of the tulip tree branches that landed in the garden a few weeks back have been shredded and the chippings were used to mulch the raspberries. Rain and foggy mornings have been the overwhelming features of the last week and those tulips bulbs are still waiting to be planted. The thin border seems to be missing some things and quickly the bare patches are being colonised by geranium ‘Gravetye Manor’. This will have to be taken in hand. I am thinking about planting some grasses along this border, something I didn’t think I would ever do here. But what is happening now? Here’s this week’s six.

One

These are the rain-soaked berries of sarcococca confusa, planted out to replace a box shrub. I’m very happy with this one and it’s doing well in the shadow, and dryness, of the front garden magnolia.

Two

I have dipped into planting grasses in a few spots in the garden. It was suggested to me that they combined best with plants with smaller flowers. But here I have planted them behind hydrangeas. This is calamagrostis × acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’. It’s difficult to show its true effect as it is still a young clump but the winter colour is wonderful.

Three

Winter structure is what a garden needs now, and I don’t have much of it! I used to have four euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii but three gave up the struggle to survive in a heavy clay border. For some reason this one battles on and is looking quite strong at the moment. There is always a seedling or two going spare so I have planted out one in a sunnier spot and I have one in a pot ready to drop into a suitable place come Spring. With free plants available I am happy to try them again.

Four

Lining up against a sunny brick wall suits the sage and rosemary shrubs. The rosemary is in flower again, something for the bees to enjoy.

Five

The seeds pods of iris foetidissima are splitting open and giving splashes of colour here and there. These come up underneath the rhododendron and viburnum trees, happily colonising difficult spaces. They are very happy in these tough corners and every now and then need to be thinned.

Six

I am just wondering if I am going to have a second crop of potatoes this year. These are the ‘left behinds’. Could there be a crop for Christmas? I’ll leave them in for as long as the green manure stays and then we’ll see.

There are some fabulous colours on show on Jim’s Garden Ruminations, plus some thoughts for future sixes. With some ingenuity we will get through the winter and keep our posting going. It could become bizarre though! Take a look at the links that appear throughout the day and see what emerges. Happy Gardening.

Six On Saturday: Mid November with a touch of Spring

How strange to be saying what a beautiful few days we have been having. Temperatures in the high teens, hardy geraniums still pushing out the odd flower here and there, no sign of frost and mercifully, some dry weather. The garden is moving towards Winter but slowly. The evergreen agapanthus leaves are just turning yellow so it’s time to wrap them in fleece. I have some tulip bulbs to plant and a few weeks back I did manage to plant out some ‘Electric’ red onion sets. The figs are still cropping but the size is diminishing. As the days shorten the garden will settle into its Winter phase. In the meantime, here’s this week’s six.

One

My go to autumn shot is the persimmon tree. Usually laden with fruit at this time of year. But what a strange year it has been, so much sun yet only two fruits. Was it the dry summer, or simply that last year was a bumper crop so this year is the famine year. The parakeets will have to find something else to feed on.

Two

The bergenia thinks it is early spring and is putting out fresh flowers, offering some late nectar for the bees that are still around.

Three

In a more seasonal vein, hesperantha are adding some autumnal colour. These are earmarked for lift and divide session in spring. This is partly to reinvigorate them and also another attempt to control the marauding cinquefoil weed that spreads through this corner.

Four

There’s a useful splash of lime green coming from the euphorbia oblongata, going great guns this year. I’ve talked previously about this being described as a short-lived perennial which continues to defy this description. Long may it continue.

Five

Liriope muscari. It should be a clump of three, but only one survives. It does get overlooked but grows in a shady place so I’m grateful for any display.

Six

Yes, another rose. This is rosa ‘Madame Isaac Péreire’, from the Bourbon rose group. One of my favourites for fragrance.

I need to spend some time in the garden this weekend. The ‘to do’ list includes tidying up soggy agapanthus leaves, there are hellebore leaves to be cut back, some planting out of tulips and yet more picking up glass from the old greenhouse. The site has been cleared now and I am surveying the foundations and wondering if they will do for the new greenhouse. They are, of course, not in brilliant condition. The foundations are not level and there are frost shattered bricks to be cleared out. But maybe a new course will sort things out. Over at Jim’s there is a beautiful rhodochiton plus all the links to other SOS posts for the weekend. Enjoy your gardening weekend!

Six On Saturday: Autumn or Summer?

It is definitely November. Several gusty and very wet days have brought down leaves from the trees and much time has been spent chopping them up with the lawn mower. This year’s leaf mould stack has been started and last year’s leaf mould is ready for distribution. Fungi are popping out all over the place and yet the snapdragons, astrantia and calendular putting on a fresh show. The roses continue to flower and mild weather is again forecast for next week. Here’s this week’s six.

One

The persimmon tree contributes some beautiful shades of red the leaf mould stack at this time of year. There are also the golden leaves of the tulip tree that landed in the greenhouse. The leaves are collected in chicken wire cage in the corner of the garden and at this point offer up a truly Autumnal glow to an otherwise forgotten place.

Two

Mushrooms are appearing on the lawn and in the borders, but here they are colonising an old fig tree log in a small stack that I keep for the local wildlife. I am just wondering if this is honey fungus. I think not, but please advise if you think otherwise!

Three

The astrantia major self-seeds rather prolifically here and needs to be relocated or pulled up. But it was a joy to find these in flower yet again.

Four

The antirrhinum majus ‘White Giant’ didn’t reach giddy heights this year. But after sulking through the summer the recent rain has provoked it into action. Not exactly a giant but rather pretty all the same.

Five

The humble calendula hasn’t featured at all in SOSs for this year but the sunny glow of orange in early November deserves a mention.

Six

And once again, I can finish on a rose. These are two shrubs of ‘Wisley’, planted at the shadier end of the long border, still pumping out new buds and in the foreground the seedheads of rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’, reminding me that it really is November.

Our new host, Jim, at Garden Ruminations is into his third week. Jim regularly delivers gardening knowledge and an eclectic mix of plants which frequently send me off on an internet search to far flung places. Take a look at his posts and don’t hesitate to join the other SOS contributors. See you soon.

Six On Saturday: Disaster

Let’s get straight to the point. Last Sunday a sudden and un-named storm hit the garden. The sky darkened, lightning flashed, thunder roared, rain stormed and winds swirled. It was impressive. We watched with amazement and then closed the curtains and settled down. The next morning disaster was revealed. Several large branches had been ripped from our neighbour’s tulip tree, some 20 metres away, and had been hurled into our garden. One was a direct hit on the greenhouse. Yes, the same greenhouse that only last week had been repaired. The newly rehung door stood smugly in place looking onto a scene of devastation. One branch of the tree was hanging on through the roof and back of the greenhouse. Large pieces of glass and tiny diamond like shards were scattered inside the greenhouse and outside throughout the gooseberry patch. Another large branch had just missed a young apple tree and the recently planted miscanthus. Miraculously it had only flattened some phlox which I am sure will survive. Clearing up the debris of the branches was relatively straight forward, although there are still four or five smaller limbs to deal with. The glass is another matter. What a pane it is! (Pun intended.) The frame has been distorted beyond repair. Project new greenhouse is back in play. Of course a slide show of the scene is number one of this week’s six.

One

The offending tulip tree is a rather striking tree. It is probably at full height and at this time of year is a glorious golden colour, a fabulous tree to be able to borrow. Locally the storm has been described as a mini tornado so I am hoping that this is a freak accident. For a brief moment I considered no greenhouse, then a polytunnel or a small tomato greenhouse but today I’m coming down on the side of a new greenhouse.

Two

In other news, the fig tree is delivering its second crop figs and this year it is quite a good second crop.

Three

I’ve tried a few times to grow nerines. You would think it would be simple. Buy bulbs, plant them and wait. Maybe the squirrels have them. Last year I planted a few in a pot so I could keep an eye on them. It sort of worked. I have one lovely flower.

Four

Honestly, I am not a dahlia fan but you could be deceived into thinking I was. I do like these. They are last year’s cacti dahlia, grown from seed and left in the ground to overwinter. They are looking pretty good now after a slow start in the dry summer.

Five

Six On Saturday is a great discipline for paying close attention to the garden. Without it I don’t think I would have really noticed the delicate white flowers of the ‘Hawkshead’ fuchsia. It’s a new addition and is currently nestling in amongst agapanthus leaves, almost hidden from view. There’s a few years to go before it achieves it’s final height of about a metre, then it should be a good focal point in the border.

Six

The roses are still blooming. I was thinking about their longevity and I put some of that down to the two feeds a year that I give them. One in March and the second sometime in July when the first flush is over. This one, which I may have featured already this autumn, is ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’. Forgive me, it was such a wonderful red colour I couldn’t not include it again.

Jim of Garden Ruminations is collecting the SOS gang together and sharing the first of his wonderful camellias this week. I will be back to picking up glass, gathering leaves and wondering where to store the scented leaf pellies until the new greenhouse is installed. The smaller potting greenhouse could be very crowded this year.

Six On Saturday: New projects

Misty mornings, rain, gusty winds. It really does feel like Autumn now. I have resisted buying bulbs this year but those end of season discounts are beginning to look tempting. I had two projects on my gardening ‘to do’ list. One was the new greenhouse and the other, a revamp of a corner of the garden. The greenhouse situation was speedily resolved when I discovered that the local fox had started excavating a rather large hole inside the greenhouse. Another attempt to re-attach the door was made and, no doubt also spurred on by the cost of a new greenhouse, would you believe it, it was a successful attempt. Infact the door is now moving better than it ever has done since we moved in here and so project New Greenhouse has been abandoned. The second project has been started and finished within the week. The new rose ‘Lady of Shalott’ arrived this week which kick started the clearance of the border. Phloxes were divided and re-planted. Kniphofia moved, tulips bulbs unceremoniously turfed out and the rose and a new shrub sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’ were added. The zinnias were dug up and optimistically re-planted on the veg plot. Two or three heavy downpours then followed which should give everything a good start. Onwards, now, to this week’s six.

One

The colours in the garden have begun to turn. The persimmon in front takes on reddish hues and behind it the large fig tree moves from green to yellow. Leaves are flying of the trees and sycamore seeds rain down from the skies. This stage just before winter arrives is truly a lovely time of the year. Next year as I once again deal with all those sycamore seedlings, I shall curse a little!

Two

The hydrangeas move into autumn colours at about this time. The effects of the summer drought are all too evident in the blackened flower heads but there are enough of the surviving flowers heads to present a generally appealing appearance – if I close one eye and squint slightly.

Three

The mexican daisy, erigeron karvinskianus, continues to froth its way through the year. This fronts up the border that I have just re-planted and one or two new seedling plants were moved further along to extend their exuberance a little further.

Four

I added in a new anemone to a shady corner at the back of the garden. It’s a smaller growing variety that just suits a front of border position, I wish I could share its name but where has the label gone?

Five

This week’s Six On Saturday links are being hosted by Jim at Garden Ruminations. Jim also posts on his allotment plot (amongst many other things). Recent discussions have included green manures and the benefits of keeping soil planted over the winter. I’m in the third year of sowing green manure seed. This year it’s a mixture of vetch and Westmorland rye grass. Here it is after three to four weeks growth. I have a row of parsnips left on this patch but unless I locate some veg plugs that will be me done for the winter.

Six

Lastly, as usual, a rose to finish on. This is Darcy Bussell, with some salvia ‘Amistad’ in the background. I love this combination.

I’ve a few phlox left over from the divisions, so I shall be trying to squeeze them into the borders somewhere. I’ve also moved some libertia to sunnier spots. At the beginning of the week the ground was easily workable, now it’s much wetter and moving plants will be harder work. It feels like this phase of the gardening year is coming to an end and the next few weeks will be about bringing in tender plants and gathering fallen leaves. I really recommend stopping by Jim’s garden in Cornwall, he’s a plantsman by any definition! Happy gardening everyone, it’s the best place to be!

Six On Saturday: Called back to the garden

Back after a week away in the sunny climes of Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. That’s two weeks away from SOS posts and the season has truly moved into Autumn. Benignly so far, some rain, some sun and generally mild temperatures. This causes me somewhat of a dilemma. The annuals are soldiering on but are occupying spaces earmarked for development. I’ll be busy moving things around. I have already culled the sunflowers and this weekend the zinnias are under threat. The greenhouse cucumbers that have delivered so well over summer are also going to the compost heap – the lack of a door on the greenhouse is beginning to take effect. Here’s six things that caught my eye on returning to the garden.

One

Before I left there was a new flower stem on the evergreen agapanthus. It has opened. It’s shorter than a summer stem but the colour is just as strong. I also spotted a couple of new flowers on the rhododendron and the clematis ‘Etoile Violette’.

Two

Also delivering on a promise to flower are the dahlias ‘David Howard’. Seriously late in my opinion but nevertheless much appreciated. I like the colour, height and foliage very much. Could this be a contender for a regular dahlia in the garden? There is one paler flower on the stems. Will the orange come through or is this a one off? I’ll keep an eye on it and let you know.

Three

I’m also impressed by the staying power of this heuchera. Lovely dark foliage and strong pink flowers. I’m hoping I can divide it soon and increase the display.

Four

The rose for this week is ‘Jaquline du Pre’. Really quite delicate, gently suffused with peachy pinks. Quite wonderful.

Five

The zinnias under threat are making a strong case for a reprieve. I’ll see if I can work round them for another week.

Six

Every year I grow some nicotiana ‘Whisper’ seeds, intending to have a solid block of colour. This year the drought really gave them a tough time and they struggled to get going. Some didn’t make it but those that did add a welcome splash of colour in a shady border.

At this time of the year the garden becomes very shady. The trees that surround the garden are still in leaf and the low sun doesn’t get above them until mid to late morning. The garden is wet with dew and overnight rain so it will be a soggy place in which to work. But the soil is workable now so I need to get out there and prepare for next year. Compacting the soil is a worry but needs must.

In other news: Mr P, who is to be eternally thanked for his hosting of this meme, is stepping down. Very many thanks Mr P for all you have done in developing this amazing group. The baton passes to Jim of Garden Ruminations, an amazingly generous garden blogger whose warm personality is so evident in his posts and comments. Thank you, Jim, for keeping us all going.

Six On Saturday: Beautiful times

It’s been a perfect week for sorting out the garden. Warm weather, some rain and more importantly some time available. My main objective was to sow green manure seeds on the veg plot. This year it is a mix of Westerwolds Ryegrass and Vetches (Winter Tares), courtesy of Sow Seeds and I thank fellow seasoned SOSer Garden Ruminations for this contact. This was much cheaper than buying packets of seeds from the local garden centre. Elsewhere I continued the fight against cinquefoil weeds, a thankless task, and I’ve started preparing the way for the renovation of two small corners of the garden. Here’s this week’s six.

One

I can’t believe I forgot to include this last week. The apples were juiced and the results have been collected. This year gave us 63 bottles which is double last year’s quantity. This is the output of six apple trees. Some of the apples were smaller than usual due no doubt to the low rainfall. Of the six trees, two are well established trees, the other four are more recently planted but are at least six years old.

Two

The roses are benefitting from the rain, this is ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’, which had a poor summer struggling with the drought. It’s good to see it putting on a late show. One of my renovation corners will feature a new David Austin rose, the sumptuous looking ‘Lady of Shalott’. I’m a creature of habit and can’t resist a new rose if a new space allows.

Three

The annuals also struggled to get going over July and August but they sat patiently waiting and are now filling up the spaces for an autumn finale. This is antirrhinum ‘Chantilly Velvet’.

Four

Drought has affected the height of the autumn stars. This sedum is about half the height it normally reaches but it did survive unwatered so I won’t complain.

Five

In a strange out of season quirk, also I suspect due to the summer weather conditions, I have a new flower spike on the evergreen agapanthus. It will be a late treat if it manages to open out.

Six

In more seasonal growth the cyclamen hederifolium have demonstrated their resilience. In a truly neglected corner of the front garden in dry shade they have produced these delicate flower heads. Small but perfectly formed. Lovely.

It looks like another blue-sky September day, I have one last courgette to pick before they are cleared. This will leave me with French beans, parsley, basil and the last of the cucumbers before the veg plot is wrapped up for winter. I’m not a grower of winter veg, just the parsnips to look forward to. Don’t forget to stop by Mr P’s plot/blog for his SOS and for all the links to other SOS posts. Happy Gardening.

Six On Saturday: Blue sky thinking

There’s a chill in the air and it’s a bit blustery but the sky is a brilliant September blue. Uplifting, encouraging and inspiring. Somehow it is this time of year that seems to be the best time to think about plans for the garden. I’ve been tidying up this week: courgettes culled and tomatoes collected in for ripening – the missing door on the greenhouse has pushed me into action a little earlier than usual. There has been just about enough rain to soak down a few more centimetres and encourage more flowers but the garden is still on the dry side. Here’s six for this week.

One

Whilst dahlias are the order of the day for this time of year, here it is the roses that are putting on a show. This one is a climber, one of the David Austin English roses, James Galway.

Two

And nearby another David Austin rose, Natasha Richardson. In previous years these roses have pushed on well into November.

Three

Another stalwart of late summer is salvia ‘Amistad’. I hope you will accept this slightly abstract version of the flower, the best of several blustery shots. This has been in flower for some time but it seems at its best in the autumn months, again lasting through until the frosts.

Four

This fuchsia is another late summer bloomer. An unknown variety, this one overwinters well but of course has gall mite. I nip off the affected parts and it battles on.

Five

The anemones that suffered so much in the summer heat have proved resilient and ‘September Charm’ that was flowering at the end of July suddenly looks much happier in the cooler temperatures.

Six

This hardy geranium is enjoying a second flowering. Lovely crinkly papery pink flowers of the bloody cranesbill, geranium sanguineum var. striatum, such a severe name for so delicate a bloom.

I’m thinking about a new greenhouse, there is a new rose to order and I have a new shrub to plant out. I’m going to sow green manure seeds on the veg patch and I have a tray of echinacea ‘White Swan’ that have been grown from seed. They have grown on well over the summer and the root system looks strong enough to cope with planting out in the big wide garden. Much to be getting on with then. Please take a look at other SOS posts as tended by The Propagator. And of course, enjoy your gardening.