Six On Saturday: Comings and goings

There’s not much coming and going from the house at the moment but the garden is constantly busy and the extra time spent at home has meant that I have been taking longer looks at the view. I’ve accepted that the snowberry is going nowhere but I have manged to reel in its sideways expansion and have once again reduced the height. Last week The Nostalgic Gardener was discussing Forsythia with The Prop and whilst I sympatfise whole heartedly with their views I know that mine are here to stay. This week my eyes fell upon the cotoneaster horizontalis. It does give a beautiful display of red berries in the winter but at the moment it is in danger of losing its place to a sarcococca confusa I rashly purchased a month back. I’ve potted on the sarcococca whilst I contemplate the cotoneaster.

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The sarcococca has been potted on into the vacant pot left by the planting of this daphne ‘Eternal Fragrance’ in the border. Poor daphne had been in the pot for about two years and although the guidance is that it is suitable for container growing, once a space in the border became available a move was inevitable. One of the fig trees rotted away at the base of the trunk last year and had to come down. Last week I managed to dig out the last (I hope) of the large roots. Daphne now has a new home and so too does the sarcococca.

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The compost corner has been paved. I had forgotten just how much space those towers of two x two slabs took up. The paved area looks better suited to a performance space, a garden dance floor perhaps? But no, the bins have been reconstructed and now I have the job of refilling them. The extra space around the bins will come in useful, most immediately it has been dubbed ‘covid conversation corner’ as this is an ideal meeting place for a socially distanced chat with adjoining neighbours.

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Speaking of neighbours, there was some sad gardening news last weekend. The glorious willow tree in next door’s garden has to come down. The increasing lean and lack of leaf signalled a problem and the upshot of an inspection was that the tree is predominantly dead. It has been propped up until work to take the tree down can be started. Sad times, but that does mean new opportunities for the neighbours and perhaps for me. It might make a corner of this garden less shady.

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A new arrival to this garden came on Friday. The impulsively ordered arch has been delivered. Even in pieces it looks lovely. I hope to be able to put in place this weekend.

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The fritillaries have also arrived. These are on my list to look out for in the next autumn end of season bulb sales, but I may order a few in August to be sure I have more next year. The arrival of fritillaries is often swiftly followed by red lily beetles. Time to be vigilant and this year I am going to try Grazer’s Lily Beetle protection. It is to be used before the nasties are sighted so that is a job to do this weekend.

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Sunshine was another, albeit brief, arrival this week and the spring flowers shone. I couldn’t choose which one to include so here they all are. The first tulip – ‘World Friendship’, the first thalia, and the first cowslips. The cowslips are self-seeders relocated from elsewhere in the garden. Filling out the garden for free is one of gardening’s great joys.

As always there is more joy to be found at the aforementioned Prop’s site where all the links to other SOS posts can be found in the comments sections. Also a good place for gardening chat

Six on Saturday: Reasons to be cheerful

Ignoring the awfulness of Thursday when, here, it rained all day with a real insistence there are reasons to be cheerful. I feel there is a sense of spring in the air. The garden is giving me strong signs that it is time to emerge from hibernation, open up the seed packets and get growing. This week I’ve sowed lupins, dahlias, a first batch of tomato seeds and three pots of basil seeds. I even gave the autumn sown ammi a brief outing in the sunshine.  There isn’t much new on the flowering front but progress is being made.

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The clematis amandii ‘Apple Blossom’ has broken into flower.  This is it’s best side, further along there are one or two bald patches.  I hope these will fill out over the year.

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A small group of anemone blanda have deigned to push through again.  No sign yet of a new batch I planted in the north border.  I’m hoping a little more warmth will persuade them to show up.

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The fritillaries are dangling their lanterns again and reminding me that I must invest in a few more of these to make the impact stronger.

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The tulips leaves are marching on.  I particularly like these striped ones from ‘China Town’ 

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There is a rose to be seen! Battered by wind and rain but managing to look pretty even so.

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I was very happy to see some new growth on the alpine alchemilla.  I thought I’d lost this after the squirrels made short shrift of it when they planted a few acorns in the same spot.  Shame on me for being so despondent. 

The ground is still very wet, the weeds, particularly the bittercress, are enjoying the damp conditions and I’ll have to get to them soon before they find the energy to flower.  That means I’ll be in the garden which can’t be a bad thing.  And would you believe it, I’ve just had a delivery of 300 in-the-green snowdrops!  They are so late coming due to the poor conditions for lifting them from the fields.  That sorts out my morning.  Mr P has all the updates from other SOSers.  Plenty to admire and inspire! Cheerfulness all round I think.

Six On Saturday: A change of mind

There is so much gloom around at the moment, I need the garden to pick me up.  It is trying very hard, many things are on the edge of flowering, the perennials are forcing their way up through the mulch and the birds are singing.  I have much to do so the mojo just has to get going.  This was how I started out yesterday but an energising night out in Shoreditch – yes I know, too old for all that really! – has got me going again.  The potatoes are chitted and ready to go.  This is the number one job for the weekend.  If I do nothing else, this will be done!  Here’s what is happening in the garden without my help.

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The Thalia are just opening out on the south side.  Those in the north facing border are about a week behind.

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The fritillaries  have joined the throng.  I did mean to plant more of these but I had such fun trying to squeeze in extra tulips that I just didn’t get round to it.  On to the list that goes.

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My primrose border is filling out very nicely and I planted some anemone blanda ‘white splendour’  in amongst them.  Just at the bottom right are the shoots of some white phlox warming up for later in the year.

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The onions started off in modules are going in the ground this weekend. The red ones have been slower to get going.  Not sure why! They have been coming in and out of the greenhouse all week so should be well acclimatised.   There are a few self sown cornflowers making themselves at home in the space allocated for onions.  It seems a shame to move them on.  Maybe they can grow companionably side by side?

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Pulmonaria ‘Sissinghurst White’.  I have nurtured this plant for three years.  It wasn’t doing very well in the first planting spot and so last year I moved it to a slightly shadier space.  It is still very small but I think I have to give more time in it’s new home before I uproot it again.

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The north border of the garden is the focus of attention this year.  There are two choisyas there which I have left alone until now, but the time for action has arrived.   One of them is poorly.   One side is yellowing whilst the other looks green and glossy.  The plant has been hacked about in the past, with evidence of limbs having been cut off.  As there is a very happy choisya not too far away I am not too sorry to say that this one is getting it’s marching orders.  I could just cut off the yellow side and see what happens but no, decision made.  Out with the old and in with something new.

I’ve also managed to throw out the new block editor and go back to the old classic editor.  Yipee! More reasons to be cheerful.  I hope you are feeling cheerful in your garden this weekend.  Don’t forget to see what fellow sixers are up to, go to  The Propagator for all the links.

Six On Saturday: Never go to the garden centre on a sunny day and when there’s 10% off!

I only went for compost, honest.  But that Daphne had been on the wish list for a while.

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IMG_2963Daphne Eternal Fragrance.  I had resisted buying this all year on the grounds that I wasn’t sure I had the right spot for it.  But there it was on the bench in front of me with a label that said suitable for containers. I’ll find a space for it soon.

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IMG_2956I have moved the scented leaf pelagoniums into the potting shed and taken a few cuttings for insurance.  That meant two summer containers were sitting empty.  There in front of me was a tray of winter pansies.

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IMG_2958Recently added to the wish list was Brunnera macrocephala ‘Jack Frost’.  Described as good for shade and for ground cover, I thought it would be ideal for under the snowberry tree.  These were lurking just around the corner from the pansies.  Speaking of lurkers – do the slugs like brunnera?

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IMG_2957I was almost at the exit point when I spotted the pots of Gaultheria Procumbens ‘Big Berry’.  I’ve had these in winter window boxes before with some ivy.  The red berries are usually plentiful.

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IMG_2964I had to walk back to the beaming cashier past the bulb section and remembered just in time that I needed to top up the alliums and fritillaries.

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IMG_2959 I count myself as quite restrained – I can’t give you a full six from the garden centre purchases!  My last for this week is something that is giving me cause for concern.  These Liriope muscari ‘big blue’ went into the garden in autumn 2016 and have not flowered once.  The RHS site promises  ‘small violet-purple flowers carried in dense, erect spikes to 30cm in height in autumn, followed by black berries.’  To quote our esteemed leader ‘Nothing, nada, zilch.’  Any suggestions?

For more pithy observations from the leader visit The Propagator.  You’ll find much to inform and amuse plus a list of links to SOSs from gardens around the world.  Happy gardening.