Six On Saturday: New projects

Misty mornings, rain, gusty winds. It really does feel like Autumn now. I have resisted buying bulbs this year but those end of season discounts are beginning to look tempting. I had two projects on my gardening ‘to do’ list. One was the new greenhouse and the other, a revamp of a corner of the garden. The greenhouse situation was speedily resolved when I discovered that the local fox had started excavating a rather large hole inside the greenhouse. Another attempt to re-attach the door was made and, no doubt also spurred on by the cost of a new greenhouse, would you believe it, it was a successful attempt. Infact the door is now moving better than it ever has done since we moved in here and so project New Greenhouse has been abandoned. The second project has been started and finished within the week. The new rose ‘Lady of Shalott’ arrived this week which kick started the clearance of the border. Phloxes were divided and re-planted. Kniphofia moved, tulips bulbs unceremoniously turfed out and the rose and a new shrub sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’ were added. The zinnias were dug up and optimistically re-planted on the veg plot. Two or three heavy downpours then followed which should give everything a good start. Onwards, now, to this week’s six.

One

The colours in the garden have begun to turn. The persimmon in front takes on reddish hues and behind it the large fig tree moves from green to yellow. Leaves are flying of the trees and sycamore seeds rain down from the skies. This stage just before winter arrives is truly a lovely time of the year. Next year as I once again deal with all those sycamore seedlings, I shall curse a little!

Two

The hydrangeas move into autumn colours at about this time. The effects of the summer drought are all too evident in the blackened flower heads but there are enough of the surviving flowers heads to present a generally appealing appearance – if I close one eye and squint slightly.

Three

The mexican daisy, erigeron karvinskianus, continues to froth its way through the year. This fronts up the border that I have just re-planted and one or two new seedling plants were moved further along to extend their exuberance a little further.

Four

I added in a new anemone to a shady corner at the back of the garden. It’s a smaller growing variety that just suits a front of border position, I wish I could share its name but where has the label gone?

Five

This week’s Six On Saturday links are being hosted by Jim at Garden Ruminations. Jim also posts on his allotment plot (amongst many other things). Recent discussions have included green manures and the benefits of keeping soil planted over the winter. I’m in the third year of sowing green manure seed. This year it’s a mixture of vetch and Westmorland rye grass. Here it is after three to four weeks growth. I have a row of parsnips left on this patch but unless I locate some veg plugs that will be me done for the winter.

Six

Lastly, as usual, a rose to finish on. This is Darcy Bussell, with some salvia ‘Amistad’ in the background. I love this combination.

I’ve a few phlox left over from the divisions, so I shall be trying to squeeze them into the borders somewhere. I’ve also moved some libertia to sunnier spots. At the beginning of the week the ground was easily workable, now it’s much wetter and moving plants will be harder work. It feels like this phase of the gardening year is coming to an end and the next few weeks will be about bringing in tender plants and gathering fallen leaves. I really recommend stopping by Jim’s garden in Cornwall, he’s a plantsman by any definition! Happy gardening everyone, it’s the best place to be!

Six On Saturday: A new season rolls in

A new month and a new season, Winter is with us. There were some gloriously sunny days this week which was a great opportunity to plant the last of the tulips: fifty or so ‘Purissima’ bulbs. This is an early white variety which I managed to infiltrate among the white hellebores with not too much collateral damage. My next outing was Friday afternoon which provided a gloomy backdrop for this week’s six.

One

I think this is the cheeriest of the six! The annual reveal of the persimmons. I was surpised to have any this year after the number that dropped in September. But here they are again and the parakeets have been squawking around letting me know that they are almost ripe.

Two

The first real frost arrived last week and the last of the dahlias has duly blackened. This is the first year I have lifted all the dahlias. They may be planted out again, but there’s a strong chance that they won’t! For the moment they are loosely wrapped in newspaper in the garage.

Three

I had a cutting patch this year, China asters were my favourites but I couldn’t bring myself to cut very many of them. I used, for the fourth year, a wide spaced jute netting to help support the flowers. It looks like it’s time to admit I’ve had my money’s worth!

Four

The vast majority of the leaves are down now, thanks in part to Storm Arwen which blew through last week. The leaf cage is full and these leaves will sit here for a year. They will be just about ready to use as leaf mould by next Winter. It is used to mulch the blackcurrants and raspberries.

Five

Moody skies, moody mood! I still have hundreds of small figs left on the fig tree. The storm helped shake a few to the ground and I have been picking off the lower level ones for some time. More to do but some will be unreachable.

Six

This is the green manure that has been growing for about 3 months. It’s time to cut it down and dig it over into the ground. This mix contains crimson clover, broad leaf clover, white tilney mustard and westerwolds rye grass. The informative seed packet tells me that the clover will fix the nitrogen in the soil and the rye grass and mustard will improve soil structure. I cut down now so that the mix doesn’t sneakily set seed when I’m not looking.

There are a few jobs to be done before a tactical retreat from the garden is made. Rose pruning has been started and must be finished. The autumn fruiting raspberry canes need to be cut back and after the frost there are a few soggy plants in the border that need to be cleared away. Here’s hoping there are a few more crisp sunny days to come.

Six on Saturday is the creation of The Propagator who handily provides a helpful guide for participants. Thanks to Mr P for hosting the links every weekend.

Six On Saturday: buckets and spades

Having just returned from the perfect UK beach holiday: a week of beautiful weather with a sturdy on shore breeze off the North Sea to keep things comfortable, it was something of a shock to find the garden in total chaos. Despite a good round of dead heading before departure the roses were jaded and a heavy downpour of rain had brought down apples and persimmons. Picking the plums before we left was a job that didn’t get done and a week of sunshine seemed to have pushed them over the edge. There was not a plum left on the tree. On the veg patch there was of course the marker of the season – an overgrown courgette and the cucumbers had excelled themselves. I will need the garden bucket to collect all the windfalls and the spade will be put to use as I hope to make a start on a revamp of the borders. Here’s six this week from a challenging garden.

One

The most joyful sight was the Japanese anemones growing in the North facing border. They have performed superbly this year. They are, of course, ‘Honorine Jobert’. I was curious to see if I could establish who Honorine Jobert was but drew a blank. French no doubt as the flower was discovered in Verdun in 1858. Many thanks to whoever discovered her.

Two

Having finally understood that the lovely ‘Terracotta’ achillea doesn’t maintain its colour through the season but always fades to a mustardy yellow I invested in ‘Walther Funcke’. A variety with a hint of red among the orange, this one fades to a creamy yellow which I am hoping will look a little softer. And no, I couldn’t find out who Walther was either.

Three

Before I left for the week I sowed some green manure seeds on a empty veg patch. These clearly enjoyed the conditions and have come along well. I’ll leave them be for a couple of months and then dig them in as winter sets in. In the meantime they’ll keep the weeds down.

Four

On the return journey from the Suffolk coast a stop was made at the Beth Chatto Garden to buy one or two plants for the borders. I had decided to grow actaea ‘Brunette’ behind the roses for next year and so made my purchase. On returning to the garden I found the ‘Darcey Bussell’ roses virtually leafless due to blackspot. Previously I have grown this rose with salvia ‘Amistad’. The gardener Sarah Raven advocates rose and salvia combinations as protection against blackspot and I think she may have a point. Last winter the salvias failed and the roses have battled on without their support. It could be this year’s weather that has encouraged the disease or it could be the lack of salvias. I’ll give the actaea a go but I may be returning to the salvias soon.

Five

I didn’t sow the usual trays of cosmos this year but was lucky to have enough self seeders to sprinkle around the garden. They’ve done better than anything I’ve ever sown so I’m hoping they will self seed again. It saves all that potting on! This is ‘Dazzler’. Sadly the sage is in better focus!

Six

The final six for this week is a sneaky return to my daily view from last week, marram grass helping to stabilise the sand dunes, with sunshine.

This weekend I will be trying to re-establish some sense that this is a cared for garden and will stop by the links posted by other SOSers, hosted as always by the indomitable Propagator. He’s running again!

Six On Saturday: The veggie report

The harvest is in and it’s time to plan for next year. My SOS usually features the garden but there has been some action on the veg patch this year. Onions: fail. Dwarf green beans: not bad. Carrots: a handful. Tomatoes: slow to ripen but the outdoor ones have done well and no blight! Strawberries: better than last year. New potatoes: not many. Courgettes: just enough. Each year the list of what to grow gets smaller. No more leeks for me, no more swede and no broccoli, psb or otherwise. I had a go at red cabbage again this year and the slugs have stripped every last leaf from all six of my seedlings. That could be a last outing for cabbage. Enough words, time for some photos.

One

San Marazano tomatoes, which are delicious for making a passata. A regular favourite for growing in the greenhouse.

Two

Parsnips growing for later in the year. These are ‘Tender but True’.

Three

These are Pink Fir Apple potatoes, another great favourite and the crop wasn’t too bad.  Last night they were cooked jacket potato style and Sunday night they will be roasted as wedges.  

Four

I have two patches sown with Green Manure this year.  Both sown in September.  They will stay in the ground until November.  My plan is to dig them in just as the manure for feeding the veg plot arrives.  

Five

Carrots.  WilI I, won’t I grow again.  These are Nantes, they have a fantastic carrot smell and taste very good too, so on balance I will grow again.  Perhaps I will sow later in the season so that they are ready for eating now.  The danger is that the slugs start nibbling away at them underground.  

Six

This is as far as the melon got.  I tried hand pollinating this year to get some to grow before the bees arrived to their job.  It was not successful.  I am going to accept that my greenhouse, which is in shade until the afternoon, is not the best place for melons to grow.  

Six On Saturday: Slow plants, rampant plants and the steady ones

This week was a game of two halves. A cold beginning and now a heatwave. I hope this will persuade a few more tomatoes to ripen. The courgettes keep springing surprises on me in the form of marrows and the french beans carry on being well behaved. The flower garden has seen a few rearrangements with more to come. The first of the six for this week is a welcome discovery.

One

A tiny spire of lirirope muscari ‘Big Blue’. Not quite living up to it’s name yet.  It has been three years in  development.  Billed as a perennial forming dense clumps it has just managed a clump of 10cms.  I think I have shocked it into doing something as a few weeks back I threw out two other sister plants on the grounds that they had done nothing at all.  Somehow I overlooked this one or perhaps it looked the stronger.  I’ll be watching it closely now.

 

Two

Also gaining a stay of execution is this unknown red rose.  It was here in the garden when we arrived and I have planted around it but always thinking that one day it would be moved or given up.  Every year it persuades me that it deserves to stay and it has twisted me round its little finger again.

Three

These were in the garden last weekend and have definitely gone now.  But they will be making a comeback as apple juice.  The apple trees all had a professional prune this year and look better for it.  The apples on the oldest tree were smaller but seemed to be just as plentiful.  I have 51 bottles of juice to collect.

Four

The passion flower (passiflora caerulea) has an incredible structure, fascinating to look at but it’s becoming too rampant.  I plan to completely remove it from the arch it grows over and see if it can be dug out completely.  I keep finding seedlings of it around the garden so I think I may be on the losing side.

Five

This blue scabious seems to have only just got into it’s stride, it was moved to a new location at the end of last summer so perhaps it took a while to really settle down.  Great things are expected next year though.

Six

Time for an experiment. I have sown some green manure seeds for the first time.  The onions came out and the seeds went in.  I have to remember to dig the growth over in 40 – 90 days.  I hope it does what it says on the packet.

That’s my six for the week.  To see more go to The Prop’s site.  His six and many more will  be revealed.