Six On Saturday: Sun and rain

Definitely a week of two halves. Glorious sun, soaring temperatures followed by torrential rain and tumbling temperatures. The magic water was much needed though and I managed to give the apples trees a dressing of bonemeal which is now well watered in. The zinnias are all planted and the last of the tomatoes are out. My bête-noire, the fox, snapped a beautiful cucumber plant but luckily I had a spare. Here’s this week’s six, mostly taken when the sun was shining.

One

The garden was filled with the scent of roses on those sunny days. Here is Darcy Bussell. I usually have a row of salvia ‘Amistad’ running behind these which looks glorious late in the year. The salvias have not survived the winter so I set about a re-think. I was dissuaded from my first choice of verbascums after a conversation with The Quilting Gardener – who warned of mullein moth caterpillar attack and of course slugs. I’ve decided to leave the space free this year and give the roses room to roam.

Two

The euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii seed heads were popping on Monday so it was time to pull on the protective clothing and cut back the flowering stems. Here the sisyrinchium striatum works well against the background of the euphorbia. There’s a cheeky photo-bomb from geranium ‘Brookside’.

Three

The delphiniums are towering high this year, and only just about surviving the heavy rainfall. I collected seeds from these dark purple ones last year and now have new plants that will add more colour to the garden for next year.

Four

This tiny plant lives at the front of a banked up part of the garden so even though is small it is high enough to be enjoyed. It’s ‘Ballerina’, a dwarf geranium with beautiful veining.

Five

A combination of self-seeded knautia ‘Macedonica’ against a wall of climbing ‘Blush Noisette’ roses. A happy chance.

Six

Oh dear me. Not everything is glowing. The cutting patch which was topped up with home compost has just revealed what was in hiding: thousands of baby verbena bonariensis seedlings. I do not need more of these so they will be ruthlessly culled. I will use some more of the dahlias and asters grown from seed to fill the space.

Don’t forget to visit The Propagator’s site for all the SOS posts. More rain forecast here for the beginning of the week but then perhaps we will be into a settled patch again. I will just enjoy the thought that all that water must be good for the potatoes!

Six On Saturday: Spoilt for choice

The garden is in its stride. Roses unfurling in every corner and perennials jostling each other to claim their spaces. Aphids and ladybirds are fighting it out, the bees thrum busily in the borders and birdsong fills the air. It must be summer. Here is six from this week’s garden.

One

The foreground is taken up by persicaria bistorta ‘Superba’. It spreads, so far quite reasonably but it’s one to watch. Behind is Rosa ‘Jaqueline du Pré and behind that the thalictrum ‘Black Stocking’ from last week, all combining to fill a shadier area.

Two

On a sunnier fence the rambling rose ‘Wedding Day’ is opening up. The first buds are yellow turning briefly to apricot before settling into white. Only flowering once, it’s important to enjoy every moment.

Three

The final rose for this week is ‘Wisley’, chosen because it tolerates some shade. Here it is probably in the shade for about the half the day. It does well, the colour stays true and does not fade away as it might in areas of stronger sunshine.

Four

On to more prosaic elements of the garden. The potatoes in a container are romping away in terms of foliage. I hope this translates to a good crop. They look better than those in the ground, they are certainly receiving more watering.

Five

Aah, sad times now. Earlier in the year I thought the Japanese anemones had caught the frost. But now I think it may be more serious. Some searching suggests crown rot. The leaves are crinkling up at the edges and new shoots are wilting away. I have cut out all the damaged foliage but it seems to be spreading through the plant. Looks like I will have to say goodbye to this one and sadly to the one next to it. Any advice gratefully received.

Six

Apples are forming and falling as the June drop takes effect. All the apples from the garden are made into apple juice. This year our supply of juice has already run out and we are buying from the supermarket. Even though we are choosing English apple juice the taste is nowhere near as good. Roll on harvest time when we can go back to raising a glass of the home grown again.

We are heading for a heatwave on Sunday and Monday. The weekend will involve watering, especially the greenhouse tomatoes. The coriander looks ready to bolt, but mint and basil look sturdy. I still have annuals to plant out, but it feels like the garden is moving into a stable period when deadheading and watering are the most important jobs. But most important of all is taking some time to sit and enjoy it all. Keep cool and enjoy your weekend and perhaps take a moment to chat with other SOSers on The Propagator’s site.😎

Six On Saturday: Zoom, zoom, zoom

Five days of sunshine and a day of continuous rain does wonders for the garden. We are now in overdrive. Geraniums, astrantias, hollyhocks and roses are all jostling for space. There is a distinctly lush feel to the borders and the bees are humming. Here’s six from the garden this week.

One

The Siberian irises are in their stride now, they are so comfortable in the wet border that I need to divide them every few years. I am going to try them out in some other locations when the time comes for next division.

Two

The alliums ‘Mount Everest’ that were battered by strong winds a few weeks ago are open now and the bees are feasting daily. I am going to forgive the occasional disappearance of newly planted bulbs and will add a few more in for next year.

Three

Thalictrum ‘Black Stocking’ is eternally rewarding, copes well with half sun/half shade and is thoroughly recommended.

Four

A new rose for this year. ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ has turned out to be just the red I wanted to climb over this arch. I may have found a new favourite rose.

Five

Cistus × purpureus ‘Alan Fradd’ bought as an established plant in 2017 has put on a huge amount of growth this year and is taking over this corner of a small border. I was clearly too soft on it during last year’s prune. Note to self: be tough this year.

Six

Rosa ‘Natasha Richardson’ fights back against the cistus. A regular flowerer all summer so everything necessary will be done to give this rose its full entitlement to a good space.

It has been a good start to June, but I am, of course, a little behind with the garden. Last week’s long weekend was happily spent with family so this weekend is catch up time. Pellies to pot up in their summer containers, zinnias to sort out and the last of the tomatoes to send on to good homes or squeeze into a space in the allotment. Courgettes and cucumbers are in the ground, French beans are climbing but carrots have gone awol, a second sowing has been made but that’s it. If it’s a no show then something else can have the space.

I hope to have more time for SOS reading this week. The Propagator has an ever growing bunch of gardening friends who join this weekly gathering and it’s a shame to miss out on their exploits.

Six On Saturday: Free gifts

Finally it is happening. The garden is creeping into colour. The weather has had an interesting effect. Some tall plants are not as tall as they might be, others are racing away. Some plants grown from seed are sulking in the cold and yet seedlings in the garden are popping up everywhere. I remember receiving a gentle warning via Twitter that astrantia major would run riot and this year it has. Seedlings in every corner. Yet parsnip seedlings that I swear I saw two weeks ago have disappeared. Eaten by slugs I wonder? Geranium phaeum has done very well this year and I will have plenty to relocate to other corners. But on to the free gifts and colourful arrivals.

One

Warmed by a few days sunshine, the roses are beginning to unfold. This is r. ‘Madame Isaac Pereire’ and was planted out in the winter of 2018. It is full of bud and I can’t wait to see it in its full glory in the coming weeks.

Two

Several weeks after many SOSers were showing the geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ mine have finally flowered. I acknowledge they are in cooler part of the garden, which unusually still has a few tulips just about in flower.

Three

Free gifts is the theme for today and this aquilegia ‘Lemon Sorbet’ came from a free packet of seeds. Being a double it’s not pollinator friendly but there are plenty of self seeded single aquilegias in the garden.

Four

A few weeks back I was asking the twitter community what my coarse geranium look-alike plant might be. It arrived from nowhere and quickly took hold. A wild geranium was the speedy reply. I left in it place and have been rewarded by a wonderful spread of flowers. One day it will be moved to a wilder part of the garden.

Five

Definitely pretty in pink is this bloody cranesbill, geranium sanguineum var. striatum. A low growing perennial for the front of the border with delicate darker veining.

Six

This is the area set aside for a cutting patch. I have planted out dahlia cacti mix and have some china asters – free gift seed packet – to go in this weekend. I have direct sown calendula ‘Indian Prince’ and malope trifida ‘Vulcan’, also a free seed packet. Unfortunately the seedlings hell bent on growing are those from a packet of radish seeds that I knocked over and the thousands of seedlings that didn’t get killed in the less than hot compost heap. I spread a good thick layer of said compost over this bed for the winter and this week the seeds have surged into growth. I doubt they will be anything to be welcomed.

I have a few trays of seedlings doing the in/out routine this week but the root develop has been quite slow. Hopefully this spell of warm weather will move things along. The sad looking tomatoes in the greenhouse have picked up and those set aside for the outside will go in this weekend. The kitchen grown cucumber is in the greenhouse, the courgettes might go out this week depending on root growth, the chilli peppers have finally moved from the kitchen to the greenhouse and the bell peppers are in a grow bag. Enjoy the long weekend in the UK and much kudos to The Propagator, host of SOS. He completed his 100K run last weekend, a fund raiser for Macmillan Cancer and now intends to garden all weekend! Happy gardening to everyone.

Six on Saturday: Some like it wet

But not me. I’ve tried to maintain a sense of optimism for May but it is failing. Only one week to go and the weather is still unseasonably cold, wet and windy. I have barely been in the garden lately, fortunately last weekend I staked the majority of plants that need support. This week was a week for watching the garden through the rain and wind and hoping I had done a good enough job.

One

The hosta ‘Francee’ is unfurling beautifully. This one seems to survive slug attacks quite successfully. It’s in a pot on a raised bed away from any lush foliage that might be harbouring the little vandals.

Two

I am amazed that the heat loving aganpanthus has opened out a first flower, fully a month earlier than expected. It’s small but it’s a promise of things to come.

Three

Safely wrapped up in the warm the one cucumber that I kept on the kitchen windowsill is putting out tendrils. Night time temperatures in the greenhouse are still only around seven degrees but I think the time is coming for the cucumber to be moved.

Four

Last weekend the lemon tree came out of the greenhouse to make way for the tomatoes. Poor thing. What a shock it must have been. Cold winds, rain and then blustery gales. Amazingly there are three lemons that are nearly ripe. I wonder, if after a long time on the tree, they will be edible.

Five

The scented leaf pellies and the dahlias had a few days outside this week but went back inside as the high winds arrived. The pellies did not have a good winter but they have had a cut back and are sending out new growth and one or two flower buds were spotted. A trailing geranium looks quite good too. Strange to think that normally I would be thinking about moving these outside for the summer soon. Let’s hope they can have a few more days outside to become acclimatised.

Six

I was certain my allium ‘Mount Everest’ would succumb to the high winds but they held their ground and stood tall. Well done!

A quick note on the tomatoes. My first sown seeds for the greenhouse looked pretty feeble so only half the San Marzano went to the greenhouse. My second sowing of the free seed ‘Red Choice’, intended for outside planting, looked so much stronger so they have been promoted to the greenhouse. The second half of the ‘San Marzano’ and the ‘Tigerellas’ have been potted on again and will stay in the potting shed until things warm up a little more outside. I don’t know if these changes will make any difference to the plants but I felt better for doing it!

I’m not one of those who enjoyed this week’s weather but in general the garden is greening up well, spaces are being filled and flowers buds are waiting to burst open. Six on Saturday, as hosted by The Propagator, will be buzzing with excitement so if your garden is suffering from soggy patches drop by and be cheered up.

Six On Saturday: Wildlife, don’t you just love it?

I do love the pair of goldfinches that come regularly to the bird feeder now, and the nuthatches that remind me of Robin, the boy wonder. But don’t get me started on the squirrels who run along the top of the garden wall and perch there so cutely whilst eating the rosebuds. But worst of all is the fox. A regular visitor to the garden who feels so at home that when, last week, our paths crossed he merely looked briefly in my direction, seemed to nod politely and strolled on. Clearly he was soon back again for a night out in the garden, not managing to find the gents loos and so pooing randomly in several spots and then using the back newly planted flower bed as the dance floor. The hydrangea ‘Limelight’, so carefully nurtured from a dead looking stick in March to a lush and verdant shrub in May was decimated. Bah! Humbug! I say. Extra security has been put in place.

One

The poor ‘Limelight’ is now fenced in until it gets a little sturdier, perhaps the fox will find a new route home. I am on the verge of ordering a generous helping of Scoot which may or may not deter the fox. I fear the route through the garden is a favourite one as he is regularly spotted strolling through the veg patch and nimbly jumping the fence.

Two

Once I had recovered from that outrage I discovered a further disappointment. The ‘Mount Everest’ alliums are looking very shabby. This happens every year but this clump looks very sad and without any sign of a flower spike. Luckily others in the border have sent up stems otherwise it really would have been a bad week.

Three

On to happier sights, the geranium phaeum is romping away. Now happily seeding itself, perhaps to such an extent that I may need to do some thinning. But for now I’m enjoying the deep purple flowers.

Four

Even after four years in this house I am still a little neglectful of the front garden but glancing out of the window one morning I thought this sweet woodruff and bluebell combination looked particularly fine. These are on the dry shady side of the front garden where only the strong survive.

Five

Next door to the sweet woodruff I am trying out geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’. Planted out in 2020 and so far so good. Billed as spreading to half a metre – one metre I shall be very happy if it achieves that.

Six

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ is just opening out. The die back on these leaves is less noticeable as the foliage of other plants disguises it. Gradually the garden moves on towards summer.

In other news, the San Marzano tomato plants look as though they have caught cold, they may not survive. The courgettes and extra cucumbers have germinated, and the carrots are a no show so far but I think I have spotted one or two parsnip seedlings. I have spotted flower buds on the Totally Tangerine, whilst the Prop’s (our delightful host for SOS) continues to shine brightly. All other SOS posts can be found on the Prop’s site, stop by and enjoy the ever more colourful gardens on show.

Six On Saturday: I’ve got sunshine on a rainy day

Forgive the slight tweak of The Temptation’s lyric but it is definitely raining here. Fortunately I managed to get some gardening done yesterday, moving round one small corner border that had been niggling me for a while, sowing the second row of parsnips and radishes and direct sowing some seeds for the cut flower patch. I’m hoping to ride the wave of this weekend’s rain followed by warmth. The sunshine in this six comes from earlier in the week.

One

Sunny, bright and bold. These were not my choice of tulip combination, they came free with a bulb order. I can’t say I even wanted to plant them but I used them to line a short path to the veg plot and they haven’t done too badly.

Two

Much more in line with my preferred tulip is ‘Angelique’ a double which can sometimes be a little OTT but hiding in amongst the thalictrum it is just right.

Three

Last of the tulips for this week is one of my favourites. ‘Spring Green’. I have it planted with ‘Angelique’, with ‘World Friendship’ and in a trio with ‘Ronaldo’ and ‘Negrita’ Here the petals are just catching the light as the sun moves round the garden.

Four

Back into the sunshine. The camassias that were planted into very wet ground last autumn have pulled through. These are camassia leichtlinii caerulea, they should reach a metre high. I’d say they are a little off that at the moment!

Five

My one container of potatoes has come into leaf and so it is time for the first top up of compost. These were planted a few weeks after those that went in the ground but they have come through at the same time. Those in the ground may have been planted deeper.

Six

The onion sets started in modules went into the ground this week and are I’m sure they will be enjoying the steady stream of magic water that is forecast for this morning.

The water butts are almost full, the earth looks well soaked and warmer weather is on its way. The slow start to the growing season seems to be ending and summer lushness is on its way. Yes, we finally have the month of May.

Don’t forget to tune in to The Propagator’s page for more SOS posts from around the world. Happy Gardening.

Six On Saturday: Six good things

It’s a long weekend here in the UK although to be honest the surreal life of the last year has meant that it is all to easy to overlook these markers of time passing. The long weekend will be put to good use, the new shed has not been restocked yet so Monday is earmarked for moving things back. I will soon be able to lay my hands on the liquid feed, loppers and other essential paraphernalia with ease. In the meantime here are six things that have had me counting my blessings this week.

One

Apple blossom. This has been abundant this year, seemingly undaunted by the cold winds. Every tree is frothing with pink and white flowers and the bees have been humming their way around them. Here’s hoping for a generous crop.

Two

The first of the irises came through this week. They came from a neighbour’s front garden about six years ago and one patch is doing less than well so I shall replant them in the hope of provoking them into some better flowering for next year

Three

Tulips are opening up in the partially shaded part of the border. Somewhat patchy, and I may have been a little heavy handed with my replenishing of ‘Queen of Night’ but they have looked glorious this week.

Four

We gardeners sometimes, or is that often, need a good supply of patience and I really have gone above and beyond for this peony. I brought this with me when we moved and every year since it has put out some good looking new growth but it has never flowered in its new spot. And here’s the truth: it never flowered in its old spot! So it has had more than five years of my patience. I think this year maybe it’s last. I have told it so directly, the last resort for non-compliant garden plants. Last chance saloon. Honestly. Not another year will I wait.

Five

On the other hand, these tiny, tiny shoots have come through at the base of a very dead looking gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’. This is a great reward for a month’s worth of patience during April. I fear it has lost its planting companion pennisetum villosum but I am remaining patient just in case a warmer May encourages new growth.

Six

The iberis sempervirens (candytuft) had a difficult February during the frosts and had to have a severe cut back. The middle one of the three shown here suffered the most but is definitely making a come back.

Good things in the garden help us to keep a balance in our lives so I am hoping that everyone can find a happy moment in the garden this weekend – patience needed sometimes and sometimes good eyesight! I hope you also find the time to take a peek at The Propagator’s site for more Six On Saturday inspirations. Enjoy.

Six on Saturday: sunny thoughts

It has been a week of blue skies here and although the winds are still cold I have finally braved putting some new purchases outside to toughen up. Joining them has been a tray of dahlia seedlings and some climbing beans. There have been plenty of jobs to do – soft fruit netted, penstemons cut back and a tray of zinnias sown. Going against habit, I have not sowed cosmos or sweet peas this year. But I am going back to having a cut flower bed prompted by some tempting seed that came free with a magazine. I have an ever growing collection of free seed that rarely get sown. This year I’m going to use a up few packets. Here is this week’s sunny spring six

One

Cherry blossom for the second year in the garden. Last year’s few blossoms came to naught but there is a much better display this year. I am training the tree against a fence and will have some important formative pruning to do this year. I’ll have to read up on that. The cherry is netted now, which might give a little protection from the inevitable late frost.

Two

The tulips in the long border are opening up. These were planted four years ago to create an avenue of tulips along the edge. This worked well for the first couple of years but then became patchy. Last November I topped up the planting but this year there are more empty spaces. Time for a new plan. The tulips in this combination are ‘Shirley’, ‘Barcelona’ – not quite showing in its true colour and ‘Violet Beauty’.

Three

These dainty tulips are ‘Doll’s Minuet’. I have planted all of the patio pots with these this year, putting five or six to a pot. Clearly I could have squeezed a few more in. Once they go over I should be moving them on to make way for the scented leaf pellies, which are looking a little worse for wear in the greenhouse. Hopefully some judicious cutting back and a feed will improve things.

Four

I was also brave enough to unfleece the evergreen agapanthus and was very surprised to find a flower bud. A little pale from lack of light and curled up into the fleece, but as above, a clear away of the dead leaves and some liquid seaweed feed will get things going again.

Five

The warmer weather brings out the nasties. The lilies were barely above the ground before I spotted a crowd of lily beetles on them. They were despatched and the lilies were drenched in a spray of Grazer C4, a spray I am trying out for the first time this year. It should reduce the damage caused.

Six

It wouldn’t be Spring with out bluebells would it? Despite my efforts to remove an extensive spread of them from a corner of the garden they are very resilient. Here they have found their way out from underneath an old garden roller. What can I say?

Mr P, host of this meme, has tulips and blossom too. Plus an interesting looking seedling – curious? Stop by and have a look. There’s plenty more to see if you go to the comments section. Happy reading and happy gardening.

Six On Saturday: On the up

I have high hopes for the next few weeks. Temperatures look likely to be above freezing over night and although it all seems a little dry #neverhappy it does feel as though the growing season is underway. The self sown calendula seeds on the veg patch are germinating and so I have sown some outdoor carrot seeds. I’ve had a cloche tunnel on the ground for a couple of weeks now and will leave the cloche over them until they germinate. I am going to wait another week before I sow parsnip seeds outside. I’ve also taken up the suggestion from The Nostalgic Gardener to join in with Piglet in Portugal and Fred to grow the remainder of my potatoes in a container. They were the smallest of the lot so I have pushed my luck and planted four into a large pot. Here’s this week’s six:

One

Tree seedlings are also popping up everywhere and here’s any arty photo of the three main culprits.

Two

My favourite skimmia – Lime Green – is flourishing. This is a really good space filler on the north facing side of the garden, It is at the western end so it does enjoy some afternoon sun.

Three

In the front garden the mahonia is in flower. This one jostles for space with an hypericum and was in danger of being crowded out. With some gentle pruning I’ve managed to get it to stand a little stronger against the bolder hypericum. Who would have a thought a mahonia could be muscled out?

Four

I’m trying not to moan about the cold but really! The new growth on the Japanese anemone has taken a bashing. These are just behind the skimmia but clearly not benefitting from any shelter. This side of the garden is raised about a foot above the lawn and I wonder if that means it catches a little more wind.

Five

On the opposite side in the sunshine and at a lower level, this sanguisorba ‘Tanna’ has formed a good sized clump – after three years. I was on the verge of giving up on it and its nearby colleagues but perhaps this year there will be a strong display of flowers.

Six

I have to visit the cheery tulip/thalia border again. This week the white tulips have begun to open up. I really do enjoy this calming yet cheerful border. The white variety is ‘White Triumphator’.

Six on Saturday is a wonderful gardening meme hosted by The Propagator – I hope you can find a moment to stop by his site and see what’s on offer this week. Enjoy!