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: 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.

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: Progress on the to do list

There is always a job to done in the garden and I admire those who systematically list them and then work through the list. But I suspect many gardeners set out to do one thing and get waylaid into doing something else. Fortunately, sometimes it is possible to do the original task and the silence the siren call of the new job. Last week I set out to pot on the tomato seedlings, the sun was shining and it was impossible to avoid noticing the shabby state of the potting shed. The five minute job I set out to do became a mornings’ worth of sweeping, sorting, reorganising and throwing out the debris of last season. But it was one job done from my mental list and the seedlings were potted on.

One

Here are those tomato seedlings which will eventually go into the greenhouse. I shall be sowing some extra seeds for a few outdoor tomatoes in the next week or so. This first set have moved on from the sunny windowsill above the radiator and are now colonising a sunny spot on a bedroom floor. I was a day behind in my plan to pot them on and I swear they grew at least an inch taller in that day.

Two

I’m a little shamefaced to show you this one. It is remarkably similar to a photo that graced this blog a year or so ago. The slabs were from removed from another spot in the garden and were stacked in front of the compost bins waiting to be used to even off the site. The end of the wait is in sight. I now have someone lined up to do the work. I have spent the odd moment here and there this week turning out the contents of the bins into builders’ bags so that I can move the bins and leave the builder with a cleanish site to work with. I have one more bin to empty. Two jobs for the price of one. Compost gets a turn and the site is cleared.

Three

It may have been cold and windy this week but when the sun did shine there was some warmth to it. The anemone blanda are just opening up here and are filling in the gaps among the primroses.

Four

The warmth seems to have finally encouraged last autumn’s planting of camassias to make a showing. These are camassia leichtlinii caerulea. I heave a great sigh of relief here. Autumn was so wet and when I planted them they were pretty much sitting in water. Winter continued to be wet and I thought they may well have rotted away. Some camassias like it damp and I am hoping I chose the right ones for this patch of the garden. The camassias elsewhere in the garden are already several inches taller.

Five

In the now pristine potting shed there remain two trays of foxgloves. I use the potting shed as a cold frame over winter, this year home to delphiniums, aquilegia and several trays of foxgloves. Two trays have gone out into the garden already and these apricot ones will go out next week if all goes to plan. The delphiniums are staying inside for a little longer but they have enjoyed a few hours outside on the warmer days.

Six

Last November I bought up half a dozen packs of tête-à-tête daffodils as an end of season bargain. I planted them all in pots so that I could move them out into those empty spaces that become all too apparent in Spring. They are just coming into bud now, well behind my older plantings of tête-à-têtes. I have put a couple out into the land grab border and I’m pleased to say they came out of the pots very well. At least half of the remaining pots are destined for the front garden. The rest will probably go into the western end of the north facing border but I have to keep their cheerful yellowness well away from the apricot foxgloves that are destined for the more eastern end. This will be my conundrum for next week’s gardening.

I suppose the upside of these strange times is that there is a little more flexibility in my week which does allow me to fit in a few gardening jobs. I am not sure that today’s sunshine and showers will fall at the right time but I am waiting with trowel and spade to hand! Happy gardening to you all, and to The Prop who manages to garden and run with great abundance. Take a good look at his website this week as it also holds the link for his fund raising for Macmillan, the cancer charity. As usual the links to other SOS posts will appear on his website.

Six On Saturday: Things I have learnt this week

It would be perfect planning to have six photos about six things I have learnt this week but I don’t. I have a few general observations and then six unrelated photos. First observation is that no matter how many tree seedlings I pull up there will always be another thirty ready to come through. Second observation: there is no rhyme or reason to what germinates and when. The gardener can only have a go – well that’s the decision I’ve reached. I was up to four lupin seedlings, now down three. Two courgettes have germinated, four are still lounging around. I could go on. Last observation: I am an impatient gardener and having more time on my hands has made me worse. The roses have been in bud for days, possibly even weeks now. Why haven’t they opened? Because it’s not time – in this garden. Here’s my six for the week.

One

Most of the tulips are going over but the camassias have opened up.  I see now that I Continue reading

Six on Saturday: Stand back, tulips coming through

I’m still whirling round the garden like a dervish. So much weeding but also the first of the penstemons were cut back.  P. ‘Garnet’ was putting on new growth everywhere and it seemed rather cruel to cut most of it off but that’s what I did.  The other penstemons are only just putting on new growth from the ground so I’m leaving them another week or so.  I’ve also began staking the perennials and continue to tie in the clematis and climbing roses.  Seeds are being sown but I’ve given hope of seeing a dahlia or lupin seed germinate.  They have spurned the sunny windowsill in the kitchen and the increasingly hot greenhouse. Time to admit defeat.  However the tulips are coming along nicely.

One

The real ‘White Triumphator’ tulips have shown up this week and have added Continue reading