Six On Saturday: Br-r-r fr-r-r-osty

It’s the third day of frost here. Beautiful clear skies, frosted lawn and no doubt some amazing frosted perennials but I have not been down the path to take a look. I spent ten minutes in the garden yesterday afternoon. It was enough. Two bags of ornamental bark were emptied around the fruit trees and my toes and fingers were frozen. I quickly took my SOS photos and headed back to the warmth. Here’s this week’s six.

One

I’ve gone all abstract for this one. It is the solidly frozen bird bath testifying to the depth of the freeze. There are several more days of this to come. The birds are fluffed up against the cold. I broke the ice on the waterbutts and replenished the feeder. It was the least I could do.

Two

Berries are the order of the day. I hope the larger birds can forage enough to keep them well fed. These are from a cotoneaster that always gets a mention at this time of year.

Three

Cotoneaster horizontalis, the marmite plant. I know some who detest it. I inherited it here and wasn’t a fan, I have pruned it back into some sort of shape and it covers a fence and grows without further nurturing. That’s its clever plan. Keep your head down and I won’t really notice you and you get to stay forever.

Four

Leave your dahlias until they blacken in the frost – that is the oft repeated wisdom. Well here they are, well and truly blackened. I don’t usually lift dahlias. The ground is now frozen so I won’t be lifting these. I will cut them back and cover them with some mulch. Crossing fingers sometimes helps too.

Five

I added a cornus alba Sibirica to the garden last year. It’s had a tough year to deal with and hardly looks as if it has put on any growth at all. But the stems are wonderfully red. I will be patient.

Six

This was taken around 9am on Thursday morning. Thank you to my neighbours for having so many trees that I can borrow from time to time.

The last time I checked the overnight greenhouse temperature it was minus 2.7 degrees. I think it was colder last night. I won’t be doing any gardening this weekend. I might dwell a little on which variety of potato to choose for next year. I will be checking in with Jim at Garden Ruminations, there are beautiful colours on show in his garden and of course all the SOS links to other posts are there too. Wrap up well for the Northern hemisphere, bask in glory for Southern hemisphere.

Six On Saturday: Time to be kind to ourselves

I’m giving myself a big fat gardening tick this weekend. Not the ones that bite and cause no end of problems but the ones that acknowledge a job done. Tick. Tulips planted. I really had been sinking under the weight of not having done this. The weather had been awful. I knew it was going to be a tough job. I definitely had other things to do, although truth be told, they too were strangely being put off in favour of, well, in favour of not much. Finally there was a dry moment between bouts of chilly damp fog and I ventured out.

The job was as difficult as I had imagined. Weeks of rain had taken its toll on the heavy clay soil. I gave up trying to plant out the pretty pink double ‘Angelique’ and ‘Spring Green’ in the clay border and found a home for them amongst the lavenders. I dug up a dahlia and threw in about 60 bulbs of ‘Queen of Night’, ‘Shirley’, and ‘Violet Beauty’ in the hole and then as the light faded and the fingers numbed I planted the remaining bulbs in a pot. Not even a special pot, just a plastic one that was to hand in the shed. But it was job done and I was euphoric. It wasn’t the carefully thought out scheme that I had in mind but those tulips are going to be very wonderful next year even if they are in all the wrong places.

So here are the photos for this week’s six:

One

The stunningly attractive tulip pot so full of promise of things to come. Tick. Bonus plant: rose still flowering.

Two

I have never lifted dahlias for the winter here so I quite amazed at the number of tubers that I discovered. Now stored away in a box in the garage I have no idea where this one is going come the end of Spring.

Three

I give myself another tick for getting round to spraying the allium heads I had dried over the summer. My first tip of the hat to Christmas. I shall artistically arrange them in a vase, soon.

Four

I’m on a roll now. Another tick for keeping the bird feeder topped up. This is the best I can do with an iphone (old version) through the kitchen window and sadly I cannot share a photo of the very charming one legged sparrow that comes every day to hoover up the spillage left by the other birds.

Five

And I did order new fleece. Last year’s purchases are flaking away with every new breeze. I am trying this rather posh version this year. Maybe it will last longer.

Six

A beautiful hellebore to end on. I’m pretty sure its ‘Pretty Ellen’ white. It is lovely to have white in the garden as December gloom settles in.

The shortest day is in sight. Not long to go before the early bulbs push through. We can do it! If you are in need of a tick, gardening or otherwise, please consider one duly despatched. Ticks for everyone! Well done. Much appreciation too for Mr P who little knew what he had started. He definitely gets a tick for his drawers!

Six On Saturday: Stepping up a gear

Suddenly I have that feeling that I won’t get it all done in time.  But roses have been fed.  Seeds have finally been sown: Tithonia and nasturtium, carrots and leeks this week.  More annuals will be sown next week and those potatoes will be planted.  Here’s what’s in my garden today.

One

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A border was extended in November and I dug up a batch of bulbs to make way for the roses that will be the star attraction.  Impatiently I threw all in the bulbs in a corner of the border and forgot about them.  Of course with no care to the planting they have emerged as a perfect clump of colour.

Two

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Continuing the yellow theme, the cowslips planted in a damp corner last year  have spread themselves out and look very settled.

Three

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More spring colour on a subtler note comes from these Thalia narcissi.  I love the multi-stem format.  I’m mentally planning for next year and more of these are on the list.  I also want to plant some Paperwhite and White Lady narcissi together with a couple of clumps of Leucojum – now that I’ve perfected the planting in clumps technique.

Four

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I thought that I had lost these fritillaries when all the work on the path was done.  But the new path is slightly narrower and these were just outside the trample zone. The slightly wider border is going to allow me to plant more of these too.

Five

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The garden is full of birds and bird song at the moment.  I was planning to cut back the Verbena bonariensis but a charm of goldfinches were breakfasting on the seed heads this morning so I have been persuaded to leave that for another time.  Sadly  the free version of wordpress doesn’t allow video content so I can’t share the bird song, including the resident woodpecker, with you.  I’ll see if I can post to twitter (lol).

Six

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Back down to earth: the inside of my shed!  The blackcurrants and gooseberries are all in leaf and I need to start thinking about how I protect them from those wonderful birds.  My favourite netting is the twisted coil of soft net but my local nursery has stopped stocking this one.  Last year I bought lengths of semi rigid plastic net which was easy to cut and fix to bamboo canes to make something resembling a fruit cage.  What do you use?  Do you have a favourite?

It is so amazing that so many are sharing their garden news under the Six on Saturday meme.  Go along to The Propagator and feast your eyes.  And keep gardening!