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: Glass half full thinking

I’ve had a spell of not gardening: either it was too hot or I was busy elsewhere. The UK Bank Holiday weekend offered up cooler weather and some precious time. The garden was looking scruffy and I thought I’d give an honest six this week showing it’s disarray. But this morning’s walk round revealed a few positives and I have been persuaded to look on the bright side. Here they are, mixed in with a some reflections on the less successful aspects of the garden.

One

The roses continue to push out new growth and are the mainstay of colour in the garden at the moment. This is ‘Madame Isaac Péreire’. Nearby there should be a pop of helenium ‘Short and Sassy’. Not a sign of it, eaten by the slugs in it’s first year in the garden. That’s heleniums crossed off the grow list.

Two

Sorry to be repetitive but not being a fan of dahlias I don’t really grow them. However I do recognise their valuable contribution to late season colour and so I try one or two here and there. This year’s trial was the orange flowering ‘David Howard’. I was going to kill two birds with one stone here, beautiful chocolate leaves giving me a break from green and ochre orange flowers for contrast. The aforementioned slugs got in first and nibbled down the top growth. The dahlias fought back and the foliage is lush, but as yet not a sign of flowers. I wait patiently, maybe they will come.

Three

The back border was newly planted this year with a selection of grasses and three persicaria polymorpha. The white frothy flowers are exactly what I had in mind, but the stems do not seem to be able to support the flower heads and I regularly find snapped stems languishing in amongst the froth. This is most strange as the description suggests it is a ‘bulky feature plant making strong stems’. Next year perhaps?

Four

Before the back border was planted up I used it as a heeling in space for various self seeders from the main garden. In one of those serendipitous moments this astrantia ‘Roma’ combined well with periscaria, survived the drought and has won a permanent place in the back border where I hope it will self seed some more.

Five

I’m definitely focusing on the positives in this photo. The hydrangeas are a sad scorched affair this year but with the help of a few showers of rain they have shown their resilience. There’s new growth to be seen and one or two heads of new flowers have appeared.

Six

Apologies for sharing more tomato photographs. The San Marzano in the greenhouse have been amazing this year. I was extravagant and bought new seed, then planted the seedlings in a new bed on the other side of the greenhouse and focused my watering attention on them. We’ve been eating them for a few weeks and have also frozen a batch of cooked up passata.

Oh the joy of selective photographs, my scruffy gone-to-seed garden offers up some gems and I can put together a positive viewpoint. My mind is racing with plans to replant certain areas and I have been sowing seed of echinacea pallida and e. ‘White Swan’ in preparation. I have not ordered any spring bulbs and have no plans to. Those late offers may tempt me of course but for now I am reviewing what I have and looking at how to rework plants to better advantage. It all begins again, another year, another chance.

For more gardening thoughts take a look at The Propagator’s site, he’s not in this week as there is another mammoth run to be completed but as always the links to other SOS posts will appear over the weekend. Happy reflections on your gardening year. I will soon be collecting the juice from this year’s apple crop. That’s one for next week already in the bank.

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: 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: Aspects of gardening

A glorious week in late September set me off puzzling on the layout of the garden. There’s not much I can do about it now, unless the premium bond ticket comes up big time, but I was struck by how the sunniest spot in the garden is occupied by the garden shed. The border that leads away from the shed is the thin border, less than a metre in depth and the long borders at this time of year are shaded by the fig tree. The problem is the garden is south east facing and is laid out as if it were south facing. Maybe there is some tweaking that can be done but I mustn’t get distracted from the immediate task of thinning the garden of self seeders and digging out some poor performers. Here’s the six things that had my attention this week.

One

The fig tree has been winter pruned for the last two years. Only belatedly did I realise that summer pruning the new growth back after five leaves is also recommended. I haven’t summer pruned because I was wary of the sticky sap the leaks from the stems. As a consequence I now have an enormous tree that needs taking in hand. The non-gardener votes for taking the whole tree down. I am having one last go at containing the monster I have created but given the impact it has on the flower borders, balanced with the quantity of fruit we manage to harvest I think I am at the start of a slippery slope.

Two

This is the last apple tree still bearing fruit and I think I am growing the smallest Braeburns ever. They have just started to drop a few windfalls which are miniature sized but very tasty. We will start picking a few next week.

Three

Having spent a massive amount of time digging out and dividing a poorly flowering agapanthus, I planted a clematis. It is ‘Madame Julia Correvon’, one that has been on the wish list for some time and when I came across it at a local garden centre I could not resist. It looks a bit mildewy already!

Four

I am ruthlessly pulling out the self-seeding astrantias, in particular astrantia major. I am trying hard not to pull out ‘Roma’ but it’s pot luck really. Here’s a. major in flower and for the moment staying in place.

Five

The battle against the slugs continues and delving around in the borders revealed a multitude of them. Far too fat to squish and I’m too squeamish to resort to the secateurs. They go into the green bin where they can feast themselves silly before being transporting to a nice hot compost heap far away from here. This year I am trying out the Strulch mulch, mineralised wheat straw, which apparently lasts in the borders for two years and deters slugs and snails. I love that word: deters. I wonder if my slugs and snails will be deterred from munching through the garden?

Six

Call me a liar. I did swear that I would not grow dahlias anymore because I didn’t really like them and of course they are a magnet for the slugs. But here I am tying a bit of twine around this dahlia in the cutting patch because I like the burnt orange colour and it might just possibly do well in a newly strulched border. Time will tell.

The Propagator invites us all to post each week and hosts all the links. Happy to oblige and happy to share in all the gardening news from around the world.

Six On Saturday: Flowers in the rain

Returning to the garden after a week in Suffolk was not a pretty sight. The roses were brown or balled up, never going to open and the slugs had been feasting on the young dahlias and china asters. The ailing anemones looked so bad they were swiftly dug up and disposed of. I suspect some kind of wilt disease, the treatment suggested by one website was solarisation of the soil. If only there was some sun to reach into the shady spot were the anemones grew. It feels like that time when early summer moves into late summer. It’s only the first week of July. Whatever happened to mid summer? I think there’s still time for a few lazy sunny days. In the meantime here’s this weeks six.

One

On a happier note. Last year I bought an achillea ‘Terracotta’ which flowered yellow and was not to my liking. This year it has come true to its name and I like it much more.

Two

The astrantias are in full flow now. These are ‘Roma’ which are self seeding. There will be some ruthless thinning at the end of summer.

Three

The hydrangeas seemed late into flower this year but they have come good in the last week or so and of course are happy with the rain. I resisted cutting them back in March, probably not doing it until late April as the weather was so unpredictable. These are variety unknown, a happy inheritance from the previous owner.

Four

It’s definitely a sign that summer is moving on when the penstemons start to flower. These are ‘Sour Grapes’.

Five

The clematis has been colonised by black fly this year but is flowering well. I have spotted several ladybird larvae on the plants so I hope they have been feasting away. There are hundreds of black fly on offer.

Six

A rose to end with. ‘Scepter’d Isle’. After a serious round of dead heading I was very happy to see that some blooms remained to enjoy a few days sun before the rain arrived again.

It’s a gloomy day here so I will have draw on memories of a week by the sea with two gloriously sunny days, a couple of windswept walks and fish and chips – the perfect British holiday. Now it’s back to some gardening – so much more deadheading of roses to be done. One of the plum trees is for the chop – this week or by the end of the month and, fool that I am, I will sow some more carrots – so far only a paltry few have germinated. Enjoy your gardening this week, drop by The Propagator’s place to see the links to all the other SOS posts, and of course there is some sport to be watched.

Six On Saturday: Seedlings

This is the sort of SOS that will separate the forward thinkers from the skin of the teeth types and I nailed my colours to the latter mast some time ago. The weather is atrocious here but there was a brief moment of less than torrential rain so I nipped out to the greenhouse and snapped this six.

One

Ignore the label – these are not Lutea!

Foxglove seedlings. Somehow, and much to my delight, I had one white foxglove among the forest of purple ones this year. I collected seed and will patiently wait to see if a) I can get them through the winter and b) if they come through as white foxgloves. Oh, the jeopardy!

Two

Fighting the damp conditions and the slugs

More collected seeds. This time from purple delphiniums. I think I am already in danger of losing some of these as the greenhouse has been rather damp of late and I fear the worst.

Three

Aquilegia seedlings, sown some time ago and I am already down two of them.

Four

Thalictrum delavayi seedlings, in need of potting on. Such delicate little things that will, if all goes well, grow on to make plants of over a metre tall. Possibly in danger of being overtaken by moss and algae. Oh dear.

Five

The astrantia major in the garden is really making itself at home and needs to be taken in hand from time to time. Some are pulled out but I have potted some on for next year to fill gaps in a shady border.

Six

A second sowing of basil has come good

I have a forest of basil plants that I hope will keep going for a couple of months longer. These have been one of the most enjoyable crops this year!

Well, I seem to have ended in in the new block editor this week. I have always failed to edit the link. Let’s see what happens. https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/six-on-saturday-03-10-2020/ No I can’t give it a short and snappy name – any ideas folks? As they say, a rose by any other name … so just follow the link to Mr P’s page of delights and take a stroll through the comments section to find your way to the SOS collection of gardens. Keep dry!

Six On Saturday: Looking good on the surface but work to be done

I like to think that by June I’m on top of the garden. That I’ll just potter around dead heading and pulling a few weeds but essentially I will be sitting back and enjoying the balmy days and sweet perfumes. Not last week. The temperature dropped, the winds blew and there was some entirely unsubstantial wet stuff that pretended to be light showers. This all amounted to enough to keep me inside but enough to turbo charge Continue reading

Six On Saturday: Beautiful blues (and pinks and whites and oranges)

Having had a few days off at Sofa-on-Sea, I am returning to the fold with six from a parched garden. So much promise of rain, so little delivered. The water butts, and I have several, have run dry, the lawn is cracking and yet the bindweed just doesn’t give up. The greenhouse has been emptied of seedlings and young plants and those not yet planted out are now finding cover under the pergola.

One

First something lovely in blue. The anchusas were grown from seed Continue reading

Six on Saturday: December delights

I had two incentives to get out in the garden today. Finding six gardening delights and collecting the greenery for decorating the house. I had a window of dryness this morning in what has otherwise been a very wet few days so armed with secateurs and the trusty phone camera out I went. The lawn is squelching and the borders are sodden. I hope the tulips can cope.

One

A wheelbarrow of wet ivy that has to dry out in a couple of hours so that I can start creating the annual stair banister decoration.  This is a combination of fake berries, ivy, lights and what ever else comes to hand.  Collecting the ivy involved pushing in around the blackcurrant canes which released their wonderful scent.  That made my morning!

Two

In a dark corner at the back of the garden I spotted that the ‘Pretty Ellen’ hellebores are in bud and looking full of promise.

Three

The background to these hellebores is a covering of euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’.  These are supposed to have pink tinged leaves in the winter but I’ve yet to spot them.  I’m not complaining though as the white tinged leaves were singing out from the gloom today.

Four 

More signs of things to come as the viburnums are coming into bud.  These are all very old shrubs, full of beetle holes but soldiering on nonetheless.  I’ve been snipping away at them for three years now, removing the dead branches and cutting back the shrubs around them, and I think I detect signs of stronger new growth and more flower buds.

Five

The first primrose has been out a few weeks now and really deserves a mention for reminding me that the cycle continues come rain or shine.

Six 

Winning a place this week for its longevity is this astrantia major, with new buds that are making into flower.  Testament to the general mildness of the winter so far.

This will be my last SOS for a couple of weeks.  I wish everyone a very peaceful and happy Christmas and I look forward to catching up with all the news in the New Year.  Many thanks Mr P for hosting this meme, keeping all the links in order and generally being an all round good gardening friend! Did you have any idea of what you were creating?