Six On Saturday: A glorious garden

I am behind with my virtual visits to the SOS gardens around the world but I do have a good excuse. I have spent a few days wallowing in the Sussex countryside in celebration of a wedding anniversary. We visited Charleston House near Lewes and Nymans gardens near Haywards Heath in West Sussex but it was the hotel garden that was photographed the most. So this week’s six is from that glorious garden.

One

I loved this combination of persicaria with asters and kniphofia. My guess is that this is p. Foxtail, but it’s just a guess. The kniphofia in my garden finished flowering in August, which just isn’t good enough! I am will have to look into some later/longer flowering varieties, suggestions welcome, and I’m definitely adding in some persicaria – somewhere.

Two

Dahlias were of course holding court and this one is ‘Magenta Star’. I managed to catch the gardener for a quick chat. She said that the dahlias are lifted every year.

Three

She also said they lift all the salvia ‘Amistad’. These are the cuttings in the greenhouses that were taken five weeks ago. I know mine would look nothing like this after five weeks. We bemoaned our shady greenhouses at home and I felt the guilt of one who has not yet taken a salvia cutting. It could be too late, but I might try.

Four

The squashes have already been lifted and are stored in a conservatory, also home to a peach tree, chilies and agapanthus.

Five

The sheltered walled garden had it’s own micro climate and felt almost tropical. I was a just a tiny bit pleased to see that the birds feast on these glorious apples just as they do on mine at home.

Six

Hydrangeas featured throughout the garden, now in their softening autumn colours. It’s another guess but I’m saying this is ‘Limelight’.

It’s been a long time since we headed to the South East of the UK and a note has been made to visit again. Nymans, a National Trust garden, has wonderful views over the countryside and I did take advantage of their garden shop to buy a new pot. Half price, I couldn’t say no, could I?

This weekend I shall be on the hunt for some corners of the garden to revamp, I hope to be spreading another bag of Strulch and undoubtedly will be disposing of more slugs. I hope you can find time to enjoy your gardens or find a beautiful one to visit, it does lift the spirits.

The Propagator, as ever, hosts this meme and all the links will be found on his site. Visitors always welcome!

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: Some things done but much still to do

There was not much opportunity for gardening this week, I had free time on Tuesday but the rain fell all day. I managed to plant out the actaeas late on Friday which gave a small sense of achievement. But I am frustrated in my early bulb planting as the long arm of Brexit has entangled itself in my order and I will have to be patient. Even as the garden falls away towards winter there is much to be done. Including finding six things from the garden each week. Here they are.

One

The rain brought down more of the persimmons and I doubt there will be many left to ripen but fortunately we had picked most of the apples over last weekend and they were taken off to the apple pressing farm on Monday. On Friday we collected the result which was 31 bottles. Slightly less than last year, possible due to us not picking from the Braeburn which looked as though it needed another month or so for the apples to get to a good size. We will taste the result today.

Two

Although I didn’t get the chance to garden much this week I did have the muscle in to deal with two variegated box shrubs that had lost the battle against box moth caterpillar. I can’t say I will miss them and I now have two planting spaces to fill. I am thinking hibiscus or perhaps an amelanchier. Suggestions welcome – something with white flowers would be ideal.

Three

Some plants are dogged survivors and although I dug out this aster last year I must have left a piece behind and it has duly fought its way through the echinacea to flower again. It looks quite good!

Four

This is an unknown hesperantha has made its usual re-appearance and reminded me how solidly reliable these are. I determined to invest in some more and have my eye on a pink variety called ‘Sunrise’.

Five

I really don’t grow dahlias in any great quantity but every now and then one makes an appearance in a SOS. This one grows in a pot and has done so for about four years. It’s ‘Blanca y Verde’ and is one of the few I have decided I like.

Six

Darcey Bussell rose has suffered very badly with blackspot this year and I worry for next year. But it has been in the garden for about four years so I’m hoping it is well enough established to cope with the attack. The flowers keep coming.

Jobs for weekend in this garden will be cutting back the agapanthus stems and calling time on the courgettes and cucumbers. The tomatoes have finally succumbed to blight so were culled last night. The empty spaces on the veg patch will give me a place for overwintering plants that are being dug up in the border rearrangement. I’ve decided that my grass border project will have to wait until next year as I fear I was being over optimistic about the amount of sunshine the chosen space received. I’m fine tuning my choices to ensure they are better suited to a shadier site. I doubt there will enough hours in the weekend for all I hope to get through and Sunday looks like being wet. My top priority is to sprinkle some bonemeal around the fruit trees and bushes so that it is watered in by Sunday’s showers. I hope you all have productive weekends whatever your tasks are. The Propagator shares his short but seminal thoughts as usual via his site and hosts all the links. Good on you!

Six On Saturday: Harvesting fruit and flowers

While it has not been a glorious year on my veg patch, we are enjoying some homegrown produce. Sadly the potatoes are all eaten and I need to consider growing more next year. The tomatoes in the greenhouse are ripening at a steady pace now, courgettes and cucumbers keep coming and the rather erratic strawberries seem to have finally found their fruiting time, clearly they are late risers. The figs are huge and too many for us to eat fresh, so I should be making jam, but I think the squirrels may get in first. I’ll gloss over the failures and enjoy the successes. This is the time of year for basil and tomato combinations: tarts, sauces and salads which are wonderful. But I should mention the excessive amount of whitefly in the greenhouse this year and give a nod to encarsia wasp cards as a bio control. I was late getting these going but they are in place and hopefully doing a grand job. Roses continue to do the heavy lifting for late summer here, ably supported by zinnias and a sprinkle of dahlias. Here’s my chosen six for this week.

One

Although I have sworn not to grow dahlias again, I confess that I am enjoying the cacti mix dahlias grown from seed for a cutting patch and so far, untouched by the slugs.

Two

I present this as a success but of course that’s only half the story, I should I say one twentieth of the story. Twenty tiny seeds of nicotiana ‘Whisper’ sown, three germinated and grown on, only one so far flowering in the garden. But it’s pretty!

Three

The autumn fruiting raspberries are just beginning to fruit. It doesn’t feel like as bountiful a crop as last year but they taste good.

Four

These are, I think, cox’s pippin apples. These don’t seem to have been affected by brown rot – long may that last. In a few weeks all the apples will be picked and taken off to be juiced. Last year’s juice ran out a little while ago and we are back buying supermarket juice which is so sweet in comparison.

Five

The scented leaf pellies were slow out of the blocks this year and this one ‘Pink Capitatum’ is only just putting on a good show. I grow them in pots, overwintered in the greenhouse. This year I took a few cuttings of this variety and they have really grown on well and are also in flower now. I use the pellies instead of buying in summer bedding for pots.

Six

My long struggle with the grapevine continues. I am always behind with the pruning and this year I discovered that I should be pruning back the long lengths from May onwards. I am usually thinking about doing this around July time, when they start to descend towards the ground. This year is the first year that some of the grapes look as though they might amount to something which given the amount of rain we have had this summer might suggest that I have underwatered in previous years. A crime I will readily confess to. The vine’s main duty is to provide some shade over the pergola so in truth I don’t worry about the grapes too much.

Forthcoming projects are bubbling away, some tweaking in the long border and the plan for the back border is coming together. There is always that moment when the grand scheme in the mind hits the reality of the limited space there actually is and everything gets scaled down. My plan is to buy the plants in the next couple of weeks so all will be revealed soon! More revelations will be found, as usual, on The Propagator’s site where he hosts the links to the SOS meme. I have plenty of reading to catch up with due to a spate of of dashing around with the family, which can’t be bad in the circumstances. For those in the UK, enjoy the long weekend!

Six on Saturday: catching up, looking forward and enjoying the present

I had some time to do a catch up in the garden and rather later than usual I have cut back the last of the delphiniums. I was showered with seeds as the stems were cut back. I doubt they’ll come to anything but it would be fun if they did! Having completed the cut back I can see that there are way too many astrantias, which do self seed very well. There has been some pulling up but there is more to be done. The garden has a scruffy feel at this time of the year but the roses are coming through again which helps hold things together. Here’s this week’s six.

One

The cutting patch is just beginning to deliver the goods. I planted half with seed tray sown plants and half was direct sown in May. The May sown seeds unfortunately had to compete with the verbena bonariensis seeds that came through in the home made compost. The verbena won hands down and so that half was dug over and given to some lettuce plants and some very late sown cosmos. These are the China Asters which I really do like. Now I just have to cut them, which of course I won’t as they look so much better here.

Two

The other side of the asters is a patch of dahlias grown from seed. This was ‘cactus mix’ and there does seem to be a good variety of shapes and colours. The bees like this yellow one.

Three

I have several large pots of deciduous agapanthus, the ones that need to be fleeced over winter. They flower on much longer stems and look fabulous at this time of year. I have a record nine stems in one pot this year and I try to remember to feed them once a week with a seaweed feed.

Four

All the apple trees were summer pruned for the first time this year. About three years ago I took the decision to bring in a specialist to prune the trees back to a good shape and I planned to take over again once that had been achieved. How weak am I? He makes such a brilliant job of it that I have decided to use him every year. And this year he did the plum tree as well.

Five

I could fill the late summer borders with this rudbeckia, it spreads that quickly. But I reign it in every other year. It does cheer the eye on a cloudy day though. It’s ‘Goldsturm’. This I would cut for the house as it is so floriferous.

Six

Yes, the roses are back so I am featuring Jaqueline du Pre again. So very pretty.

I have many plans to move plants around this autumn and will have to add some things in to take the place of some of the astrantias. I’ve made a start by, late again, dividing some bearded irises and there has been much reviewing of the wish list and checking of prices on the internet. I’m really trying to resist the sprawlers and go for more vertical height. Much more research to be done.

If you are also seeking inspiration then there’s nothing better than reading a few of the #SixOnSaturday posts. The links are hosted by The Propagator, who has got a very fab gladioli this week. Enjoy the weekend.

Six on Saturday: Harvest thoughts

Is it too early to call time on the veg plot for this year? I dug some more potatoes and the result was not wonderful. This year’s rotation finds the potatoes in the space under one the apple trees and there is a bit of a rain shadow there. I would have thought that the torrential rain we have had would have found a way through. Damn, I wasn’t going to mention the weather this week. The onions are just about still growing and don’t look too bad. Shallots harvested, French beans are coming through so slowly and the courgettes are being well behaved, always ready to deliver a good sized courgette when needed. The best deliverers this year are the cucumbers and the sweet peppers. Tomatoes might just come good if the ripening continues. Since the cucumbers have done so well they get to be first in this week’s six.

One

I grew ‘Burpless Tasty Green’ this year. A variety I have grown before and previously they have produced long cucumbers. This year I have had a steady supply of short cucumbers. I don’t mind that, in fact it suits me better but why, I ask myself? I have one plant in the greenhouse and one plant outside. If I leave them a little longer before picking they grow fatter but not longer. Curious, but not a problem.

Two

My last hurrah with dahlias. I lifted two dahlia clumps last year and overwintered them wrapped in newspapers. I don’t usually lift dahlias but I wanted the space for tulips. I didn’t have a space for the dahlias when the time came to replant so, as is the way here, they went to veg plot end of the garden, underneath another apple tree. Amazingly this seems to be the space for them, untouched by slugs they are flowering quite happily. Now I have a quandary. To leave them, to lift them again, to throw them out?

Three

The erigeron karvinskianus that suffered so badly over last winter has bounced back and nature has decreed that it should be more forward growing than before and nature is absolutely right, giving me the opportunity to fill the middle ground with new plants.

Four

I have to show the flower of ‘Madame Alfred Carrière’ rose growing on the new arch. I took a cutting from the one growing over the back fence and a year later planted it at the base of the new arch. I am, of course, completely mad to be growing such a vigorous rose over an arch but I am going to be ruthless with the pruning. Fingers crossed.

Five

This veronicastrum ‘alba’ was subject to some moving in spring. Half the group went off to a sunnier spot and this group was moved a little closer to the front of the border. This group have done the best, remaining upright in all the wind and rain. Still not the impact I was looking for but I’ll leave them and see if they get settled in.

Six

Lastly, hosta ‘Francee’, growing in a pot and for the moment moved from its usual place by the back fence. There are plans for the back fence area, more of which later. In the meantime ‘Francee’ adds beauty to the scruffy greenhouse entrance.

Thanks go as always to The Propagator who hosts #SixOnSaturday and to everyone who takes part, sharing, commenting and liking. I’m off to inspect the newly developing bog garden if there’s a dry spell!

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: Summer’s lease is running down

This week has been a treat. Particularly so here as decorating has been the top priority and having the doors open to the sunny garden has lifted the spirits. Having neglected the garden over the last few weeks there were a few lovely surprises. Here’s this week’s six.

One

The autumn crocuses have pushed through the geranium phaeum foliage and for a few brief days were untouched by the slugs.  A neighbour has reported seeing a hedgehog in the garden and wondered what to do.  I immediately offered outdoor dining for the dear creature at my place.  I live in hope.

Two

It is the turn of the blue delphiniums to re-flower.  Slightly paler in colour, I think, than the first flowering but very welcome.

Three

The gaura is past its best but it has to be featured this week because it looked so lovely against the pennisetum villosum this morning.

Four

This scabious was a new plant purchase last year but has only made it into the garden proper this year,  It is scabiosa caucasica ‘Miss Willmott’, bought on a visit to Beth Chatto garden in Essex.  This should flower on through October.

Five

Dhalia ‘Blanc y Verde’ from a Sarah Raven combination.  I grow them in pots and they used be accompanied by dahlia  ‘Furka’ but these have a been a no show this year.  I have to give this dahlia a pat on the back.  They have tolerated my erratic watering with amazing good grace.  As I notice their wilted leaves I drench them with a can full of water and a dose of Tomorite or Maxicrop and thankfully they re-hydrate.

Six

Sorry to go about the cosmos again but really they have been stunning this year.  This crowd is ‘Dazzler’.  There are about three plants here that are pumping out the flowers week after week.  I am well and truly dazzled.

I am sure The Propagator will have much to dazzle us with and of course there are the links to the other SOS posts to enjoy.  A beautiful weekend lies ahead here so let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

Six On Saturday: Storms

Ellen, Francis and next to arrive Gerda: I write this blog for you. Ellen and Francis have deluged the garden with rain, blown down my neighbour’s fence panel – again, flattened the ageing sweet pea wigwam and pushed everything else this way and that. It feels more like November rather than the last days of summer. When will Gerda arrive? Let’s hope there’s a break for a while as this week’s brief respites have not coincided with my gardening time. I need to do some end of summer sorting out.  Here’s six from a battered garden.

One

Low growing enough to be safe from the winds, these black and white dianthus grew from seed sent by Fred in France.   They are only now beginning to flower in some profusion so I hope there are a few more warm days to come to keep them going. Thanks Fred.

Two

I am not a great grower of dahlias but I do have one or two.  This one was a rogue in a batch of other dahlias that have since been passed on to a better home. I kept this one because it is simpler and smaller.  The dinner plate dahlias are not for me.

Three

I cannot quite remember which variety of cosmos this is, it could be ‘Sensation Mixed’. It’s just come into flower and has been trampled by the fallen sweet pea wigwam. There is some sorting out to be done but I think the cosmos can be salvaged.

Four 

The coneflowers have twirled themselves around in the wind, just about remaining standing. They deserve a sunnier spot and I hope to oblige in this autumn’s re-think.

Five

Now as you know gardeners are not known for complaining: the weather is always reliable, everything grows well, pest damage is limited  and all is generally well in the world but occasionally things don’t deliver and the odd sigh can be heard among the shrubberies.  So it is with the autumn raspberries,  Lovely to see them fruiting but the volume looks to be well down on last year.  Mustn’t grumble though, it’s good to have them.

Six

My main lavender plant finished flowering some weeks ago, but in a different corner this one keeps on going.  A little bit of summer remains.

There’s a rather beautiful dahlia in the Prop’s six for the week.  Am I tempted?  Somewhat! I hope you find time to take a look.  All the links to other sixes are posted there throughout the day.   I’m hoping for calmer weather and then a few jobs can be done.  The alchemilla mollis is going over and I have some green manure seeds to be sown.

Six On Saturday: Farewell to February

Thanks for the extra day. Thanks for more rain and wind. Thanks Jorge. It’s all a bit much and I’m not even flooded out. I am so sorry for those who are, the photos are terrible and the real thing must be so much worse. I am encouraged by the fact that this is the last day of meteorological winter and spring arrives tomorrow. In theory. Here’s six gardening related things.

One

March is the time to start a few seeds going.  First on my list and  a first for me, is trying to grow some dahlias from seed.  I collected the seed from ‘Orange Cushion’ that was new to the garden last year.  I liked it so I am having a go at growing from seed and if that fails I might have a go at taking some cuttings from the tubers later in the year.  If the tubers have survived.  I left them in the ground and although the weather has been mild the constant rain might have done for them,

Two

 

Lupin seeds collected from last year’s plants. I am starting these and the dahlia seeds off inside the house as the greenhouse has no heat or electricity supply.  Indeed the greenhouse is very leaky at the moment and I feel sure the pools of water on the floor can’t be the best environment for the overwintering plants.

Three

The sun is out so I’m off to the garden for more photos!  Some time later: The fig tree was pruned a few weeks ago but I was so excited by primroses, pulmonaria and such like that I didn’t show it.  Hey, Mr P I also have wood chip! This the large fig tree that shades much of the long border in the summer.  The height was reduced by a third and next year it will get another third taken off.  I’ll lose the fruit this year but it needed to taken in hand.

Four

The mild weather seems to have suited the salvia ‘Amistad’.  I took cuttings as a precaution against the garden plants dying off over winter but so far they have survived outside and are putting on new growth.  I think they will need a cut back to some strong growing points.

Five

The first cowslip is just about in flower.  These grow in the damp border. A small border that is guaranteed to be wetter than the rest of the garden and today there is standing water.  This should be perfect for the Siberian irises that grow there as well.

Six 

Oh dear. It looks like I’ve missed the moment to cut back the grasses.  When did they start sprouting? These are the melica altisssima ‘Alba’ that were planted in the north border last year.

I’m hoping for a dry day tomorrow as I have some free time.  Seeds to be sown, more FBB to be sprinkled around but it may be too soggy to tackle those weeds.  We shall see.  The Propagator will miraculously host this meme, comment on posts and have time to garden I am sure.  He may also throw in a long run.  All hail the Caesar!