Six On Saturday: New purchases

A later six than usual as I have just returned from a week in sunny Suffolk. And a trip to Suffolk always means a visit to Beth Chatto’s nursery in Essex. We use it as a stop for lunch and then walk round the plants on offer. The famous gravel garden is mostly on view before entrance to the main garden and this year I spotted the poppy ‘Cedric Morris’ sprinkled through the planting. Onto the six for the week which are the six plants I bought.

One

I went to buy polygonatums but as they are a spring highlight I went with a back-up in case they had all sold. Sold they were, so ferns were purchased instead. This is polystichum setiferum plumosodivislobum! Or more simply a soft shield fern. This was described as frilly and fluted, I couldn’t resist it.

Two

Fern number two is dryopteris sieboldii with its rather unusual fronds. The are quite crispy with a tendency to snap if crushed into the back of a car.

Three

These two ferns will start off in a planter and alongside them goes this epimedium versicolor sulphureum. My first ever epimedium, which is strange given that there are many shady corners here. I am looking forward next year to the promise of pale yellow flowers. I have one thalictrum delavayi unplanted from a few I grew from seed so that will be the final component. The container then will fill a shady corner at the back of the garden.

Four

This is a pelargonium that I have much admired over previous SOS posts and when I saw it on the benches it just had to go in the trolley. It’s ‘Lord Bute’, full of flowers when I bought it but now I have to wait for the next flush. I thank all those who ever posted about it. This will go in a long tom terracotta pot for the terrace.

Five

I couldn’t resist this pelargonium either. This is ‘Tip Top Duet’ and will also go in a long tom pot.

Six

Lastly, one for the garden. I have been looking for something to sit behind a group of persicaria bisorta ‘Superbum’ – the common pink one, I’m hoping this frilly white monarda will do the job nicely. It’s m.’Schneewittchen’, flowers to come soon. I’m slightly nervous of the description ‘less robust than other monardas’ but I’ll have a go anyway.

I’ve broken a promise I made a while back – no more plants in containers. It means more watering over the summer. Oh dear, how weak I am. I’m off to fill the watering cans one more time!

As always, many thanks to The Propagator who hosts the meme. Take a look over the weekend – he has been buying roses.

Six On Saturday: Heat!

I can’t avoid stating the obvious: it’s been hot this week. I have resorted to hanging sheets in the greenhouse to try to provide some shade but there have still been some wilting tomato plants. The water butts are empty and I don’t see any rain in the forecast. Too hot to garden, too hot to write and so here is a quick six from the garden this week.

One

At least this part of the garden looks cool. Ferns and the ‘Kashmir White’ geranium make a great combination in a slightly shadier spot.

Two

My first foray into a dark leaf heuchera. This is ‘Grape Timeless’ which I always think should be ‘Grape Time’!

Three

The over-wintered salvia ‘Amistad’ has just begun to open out. A long laster, this should be in flower until autumn.

Four

Every year the astrantias burst forth and remind me of what an absolute dream they are. This one is ‘Roma’.

Five

Last winter I moved a climbing rose ‘Souvenir du Dr Jamain’. It was growing against a shady fence but not really enjoying it. It’s not in the best of health but amazingly it has produced a beautiful flower. I am nurturing it and hoping that this isn’t its last effort before a demise.

Six

And ending on an amusing note: This is the greenhouse. No matter how many times I check there is always a side shoot missed on the tomatoes. In addition to the sheets, I have been liberally throwing watering cans of water over the path to keep the humidity up and hopefully the red spider mite down. The marigolds are there to keep the white fly down and oxalis is there because I can never be rid of it!

For more hot gardens tune into The Propagator who hosts this meme. Stay cool, water wisely and as always, take time to enjoy the garden.

Six On Saturday: Wilful nature

Plan as I might nature always has the final say. This week a fond farewell was said to two box shrubs as caterpillars triumphed. White foxgloves have turned out to be purple. Salvia mainacht did not survive the mild winter and slugs have reduced the number of delphiniums this year. The result is gaps in the border and new planting opportunities. There are careful choices to be made. But there are still six things to enjoy in the June borders.

One

I stay with delphiniums in spite of the risk of slug demolition. Their stately spires are a sight to behold. My most slug resistant clump is one that came from a division from the family garden – Dad’s delphiniums. These are a mix of those and some grown from seed.

Two

The white foxgloves may be almost absent this year but the seeds of the Apricot foxgloves sown last year have come through to flowering and what a soft gentle apricot they are. I hope they can resist becoming muddied by the abundant purple foxgloves.

Three

Wilful nature loves to grow geraniums here. Several varieties self-seed with great generosity. This one is g.psilostomen which has appeared under the roses. Nature often knows best.

Four

This beautiful pink geranium is easy to divide and so there are several corners were its veined flowers give soft edges to the borders. This is geranium sanguineum var. striatum

Five

Nature has also decreed that the lovely daylily ‘Good Shepherd’ is on its way out. Gall midge struck last year. This year it looked so much healthier with a good showing of buds but the midge was lurking and within days the buds shrivelled and turned black. Those that did open are a shadow of the former selves. The advice is to pick of all the infested buds which I fear will leave me with none. Something else will have to be found to fill the space.

Six

So far the penstemons continue to reward without problems. This is a division of ‘Garnet’ (I think, or could it be ‘Firebird’) that I planted in a sunny spot. It’s looking fabulous although I may be in danger of overdoing the hot pinks here.

Nature has been sending in the squirrels to attempt to deconstruct the bird feeder and then to eat the unripe figs. Parakeets descended to take up where the squirrels failed. Fledgling goldfinches and blue tits came to feed but magpies have cruelly been taking baby birds from nests and the fox has appeared several times as I deadhead the roses. It’s all getting a bit much. A garden that looks so peaceful and tranquil is just jumping with action! But I guess that is what is so wonderful. It all takes place on the doorstep and keeps us on our toes. The veg patch has begun to deliver: lettuce and cucumbers and the first of the potatoes will be dug any day now. A sunny weekend beckons so I will be out again sharing ‘my space’ with who ever else is around.

Mr P shares his garden and the links to other SOS posts so stop by and enjoy more stories from June gardens. Have a fun weekend.

Six On Saturday: Extra time needed

One moment everything is under control, the next there is a long list of jobs to be done. A long weekend for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations should help. Yesterday I planted out the outdoor tomatoes and the courgettes. A first tray of zinnias went into the cutting patch. The cutting patch has itself been cut as half of it has been given over to a second attempt to grow asparagus and it seems more successful than the first. All four crowns have taken and now the long wait for a harvest begins. Here’s six from the garden for the first week of June.

One

Well this will make you laugh! After a whole year spent saying ‘No, I will not grow dahlias again.’ I was tempted by David Howard, an orange, shorter growing dahlia with dark foliage. I bought tubers, potted them up in April, greenhoused them through May, bringing them out on sunny days and now they have been sitting outside for about two weeks, waiting patiently to be put in the ground. Fingers crossed, David, I plan to plant you out today.

Two

There are more beautiful roses in flower. It seems to be such a good year for them. This one is the rambler ‘Wedding Day’. Beautiful small yellow buds which open to a creamy white with a crown of yellow stamens. It rambles along the back end of the garden fence, intermingling with the blackberries, which are also bursting with buds.

Three

Last year I divided the ‘Johnson’s Blue’ geranium. Two of these came with me to this house almost six years ago. I think I had about seven divisions from the plants and this one is doing superbly well. I may now have to modify the planting around it to balance the border out a little more.

Four

The purple foxgloves are truly in their stride now, of course they have almost completely taken over the white foxgloves that I had last year. In their defence they do very well at the shady end of the garden so I will let nature take the lead.

Five

The astrantias are now joining the summer party, this is a.major which self seeds prolifically here. I spread them around the garden but I am just getting to the point of maximum astrantia levels so the ruthless gardener will have to take over.

Six

Another self seeder is sisyrinchium striatum. I love its common name of pale yellow-eyed grass. These also came with me on the move. They took a few years to settle but now I have enough of them to begin to mix them in with digitalis lutea and the euphorbias.

So what needs doing this weekend? Roses to dead head, tomato side shoots to pinch out, nicotiana seedlings to plant out and of course the dahlias to free from the pots. I am also going to combine a collection of small herb pots into one large pot. With rain forecast for Sunday I will be busy today. Celebrating, gardening or reading SOS posts chez The Propagator, I hope you all have a good weekend.

Six On Saturday: Rain helps play

Suddenly the garden has burst into colour, no doubt helped by heavy rain that fell in the week. The roses are having a fabulous year and I can’t resist showing three more this week. Not doing so well is the box. So without further ado, over to the garden.

One

This is one of my favourite corners of the garden. A combination of thalictrum ‘Black Stockings’ and the rose ‘Jaqueline du Pré’. They just sit so comfortably together.

Two

I planted out the very back border a few weeks ago now. It’s a shady place until late afternoon so it will be interesting to see how everything settles in. More of that another week, but so far the luzula nivea has been captivating. The grass is quite coarse but the tufts of white flowers are magical. It gets my vote!

Three

Another rose to share. This one is ‘Wisley’. It will happily take some shade and flowers very well throughout summer.

Four

Time for the poor box. Buxus sempervirens (always vigorous) it is not. Box moth caterpillars have truly taken hold of it and it is time to take it out. The first picture was taken a few weeks ago and the second is its current sorry state. Quite shocking! The box sits under the very vigorous rhododendron, so finding a replacement will be interesting but I am currently thinking of a fatsia japonica.

Five

Another rose: The climbing ‘Blush Noisette’. This is about five years old and has successfully covered the wall. Deadheading it is a challenge and I am never quite ruthless enough in pruning it. But it doesn’t seem to care too much.

Six

Lastly some very pretty white aquilegias. These are also growing at the back of the garden in the shade. The sun arrives here some time around 4pm at the moment. They are looking so good now. They should then be followed by a white thalictrum – watch this space!

That’s the six for another week. Mr P’s pages will show you how to take part yourself or you can just wander through the SOS gardens and enjoy. Have a great gardening weekend.

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.