Six On Saturday: May delights

It’s Coronation Day in the UK so I’ll have to start with some red, white and blue. A rainy day is forecast which will be good for the garden but may spoil things elsewhere. Here’s my six this week.

One

The camassias are in flower now so headline the red, white and blue section. Completing the colour line up are the bellis daisies and some dark red tulips. Hip hip hooray!

Two

I’m hoping this new euphorbia will cope with wet conditions. It’s e.palustris which seems to prefer damper conditions and is happy in part shade. I’m trying it out as a replacement for e. Wulfenii which I regularly lose over Winter. But of course this year the Wulfenii has self seeded itself in several interesting places, so I will see how they go.

Three

I’m also hoping that the red onions will enjoy the showers. I said I wouldn’t grow them again as they are usually so small. These are looking healthy but those bulbs need to grow.

Four

It’s May and on cue the narcissus poeticus var. recurvus or Pheasant Eye narcissus arrive. They will soon be found by the slugs so I will enjoy them while I can. They’ve been in border for about three years but struggle with the conditions. As yet I couldn’t honestly say they are forming clumps but I continue to hope.

Five

Down in the shady end of the garden the tiarellas have arrived bringing some frothy lightness into the space.

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‘Queen of Night’ tulips, the latest of those I grow, are here. They are so tall and stately. Always a sight to see.

Last week’s wail about slugs and snails struck a chord with everyone. Have I also mentioned the deluge of sycamore seedlings that I’m dealing with this year? I’ve been hand-pulling them in the borders which has got me up close to the soil and guess what lurks there? I collect them up and offer them to the toads in the compost heap. I hope the RHS will approve! Jim, our host of SOS, has been lucky enough to have extra help in dealing with the enemy – hedgehogs. Much envy! Happy gardening everyone.

Six On Saturday: That’s more like it

Just a few days of sunshine in amongst the cold winds and hail has pushed the garden forward once again. Now I feel that there is momentum. Pillows of new growth from the perennials are appearing everywhere and the birds are in full voice. The clematis armandii continues to do the heavy lifting but there is more and more to enjoy. Here’s this week’s six.

One

More tulips have opened up. ‘World Friendship’ mixes in the thin border with narcissus ‘Thalia’. I haven’t topped up the tulips for maybe two years now. There are just about enough to make a reasonable display but I have made a note for July to think about ordering some more. This week for the first time ever I noticed that aphids had taken a fancy to the tulips. They were swiftly despatched.

Two

The second narcissus ‘Actaea’ poeticus has opened. The first one presumably did get to open, but the slugs got there before me. These are sweetly scented, I haven’t noticed it yet but once a few more have opened I will pay them a little more attention. These are scheduled to arrive in late April so I am pleased to see them having a go at flowering now.

Three

I did mention last week that the scilla had opened up, but I lied! These are not scilla at all. They are ipheion uniflorum aka the spring starflower. I remember that I was trying to decide between the two, and eventually chose the ipheion. I can’t remember what the deciding factors were but I’m happy with them anyway.

Four

The blue anemone blanda were open several weeks ago, but in the last week the white ones have got into their stride. They were soaking up yesterday’s sunshine, providing a sparkling spot of white in the border. Acknowledgements also due to the photo bombing celandine!

Five

There are signs of growth even in the colder shadier parts of the garden. I planted a few erythroniums last year and I think they have all survived the winter. Now they have to survive the slugs. These are erythronium californicum ‘White Beauty’. They are billed as ideal for a north facing border and shadier spots so I am hoping they will settle in and in due course make some cheerful clumps of nodding flowers.

Six

The very first of the plum blossom appeared this week. All on the lower branches of the tree. That gave me a nudge to making sure the cherry tree growing against a wall was securely netted.

The long Easter weekend here is a great opportunity to finish the tidying up of the stems left over winter. The grass had its first cut this week and I am on the edge of planting up the potatoes. Some seeds have been sown, but there are more to start. I was planning to grow a selection of annuals to fill out the thin border this year but the thin border is really very thin (about 90 cms) and once I plant up the 16 echinacea ‘Pallida’ and some other perennials that I have been growing on I may well have filled the border. After six years of building the borders here I may be approaching capacity. But does that ever really happen? I suspect Jim, our host, would say no, never. His garden always has room for more. Take a look and see what Jim has this week. Happy gardening.

Six on Saturday: Nature’s bounty begins

Suddenly the garden is truly alive. Humming with bees, birdsong bouncing off the trees and butterflies flitting, as they do. Of course the nasties are out too. Slugs munching, things biting me and crowds of lily beetles arriving for the warm weather. Vigilance is required but beauty abounds too and last year’s new purchases are delivering.

One

I decided the hedge border was not much to look at in Spring so I invested in narcissus ‘Actaea’ to lighten the space. Yes I like them but of course so do the slugs. This year I am adopting the philosophical ‘what can you do approach’. I tried nematodes and last winter the border was mulched with Strulch. Possibly there are fewer slugs but their unerring sense for finding new delights is very strong.

Two

After many years of wondering what to plant in the shadier corners at the back of the garden I finally added in some erythronium ‘White Beauty’. Can’t think why I didn’t do this sooner or why I didn’t order at least double the quantity.

Three

The last of the trio of new bulbs was ipheion uniflorum. I can’t quite remember what sent me in their direction but here they are, also beloved by slugs but managing to fill the front edge gaps before the perennials come through.

Four

In 2019 I planted a ‘Stella’ cherry tree to grow against a wall in an espalier fashion. There is an abundance of blossom this year. Let’s hope the frost stays away and the fruits don’t get eaten by the birds!

Five

Of course there are more and more tulips. These are ‘Negrita’ which will be joined by ‘Ronaldo’ and ‘Spring Green’. I’ve decided this corner needs a revamp so it is on the list for a complete clearance as the end of the summer.

Six

Tulip ‘White Triumphator’, has been in the thin border since 2016. There are fewer of them this year and the size is diminishing. I like to mix them with ‘World Friendship’ and I’m still happy with this combination so I will be topping them up this autumn.

The weather has been glorious and I have been planting out the onion sets started off in modules. I have sown carrots under cloches and yesterday I sowed parsnip seeds. My veg patch is in part shade so it is always a little tricky to get the timings right. I have been sowing mange tout indoors every couple of weeks with very poor results. So far only four germinations. Let’s hope the current sunshine gives everything a boost. Mr P has also been busy so stop by and take a look over his fence and those of all the other SOSs. All welcome!

Six on Saturday: The first tulip is out and it is ‘World Friendship’

Cheerfully bright and looking very yellow in the sunshine, my first tulip of the year has arrived.  It is the aptly named ‘World Friendship’. A virtual high five to that! I’ve spent the week being very virtual – virtual meetings,  virtual events, virtual exercise and virtual language classes but I have also spent more time in the garden.   Here are six things that caught my eye.

One

The aforementioned World Friendship.  New to the garden last year and standing strong again this year.  Long may it last

Two

Narcissus ‘Bridal Crown’.  A few years back, when I was new to this garden, I squeezed a few of these into the border.  No real idea why and no particular plan.  They deserve to have had more consideration, either more of them or some other plants to work with.  On the ‘to do’ list.

Three

The first of the plum blossom is opening out.  This tree was in a bad way three years ago.  Oozing from a large split in the trunk.  The split is gradually healing and the oozing has stopped but last year the leaves withered, you can just make them out in the background.  I’m giving it one  more season to see if it can pull through.  I’ve lovingly fed it with bonemeal once a quarter and my fingers are crossed.  While it flowers like this there is hope.

Four

The tomato plants have been potted on.  I keep meaning to sow a few more seeds – some cherry tomatoes and some yellow ones.  That’s a job for the weekend then.

Five

During my morning fast walk round the garden I spotted a drop of pink under the rose bush.  Closer inspection revealed the first flower of geranium sanguineum var. striatum.  This seems very early and it is a little darker than usual, but hey, who’s complaining. 

Six

The online gardening community is doing a great job of keeping us all going. Thanks to Mr P for hosting the links to all the SOS posts.  I’d also like to give a thumbs up to twitter gardener @GardeningGent who is organising a Sow a Sunflower event.  I was very pleased to finally locate some seeds so that I can take part.  Sow seeds on April 1st – no joke- and post a weekly photo of progress.  I’ll  be there. 

Here’s hoping your gardening activities are helping you to spread seeds of happiness.  Cold weather forecast but I think it may be time to take the plunge and prune the hydrangeas. 

Six On Saturday: Building up the layers

Another crazy week in the garden.  Doing the hokey cokey with the greenhouse plants: in, out, in, out and trying very hard not to shake them all about and the layers in the new borders are building up.  This week it is the turn of the alliums.

One

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These are Purple Sensation. I hope they stay around long enough to look good with the Rosa Blush Noisette which is just in bud behind.  Now the path is complete I need to find some low growing edging plants to drown out the weed seedlings.  Or maybe I move the geraniums forward.  Hhmm,  I think I’ll do that.

Two

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These are Allium Mount Everest, looking suitably tall.  The tulips are really past their best but there is enough life in them to make the border look quite colourful.  Some of the Mount Everests have done a disappearing trick, about six have gone awol causing me to set up a spreadsheet for the autumn bulb order.  Otherwise I am sure to forget that I need more.  I like the height they give to the border at this time of the year.

Three

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And the bonus tulip is …orange! These are in a border that only gets afternoon sun and they are lasting rather well.  I though Queen of Night was the lone gatecrasher in this border but this late arrival is a real stand out.

Four

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The pheasant eye narcissus have been a joy in the last few weeks.  Their scent drifts across the back of the garden and they are looking very happy in combination with the bluebells and pulomonaria.  This corner is going to look quite empty when the spring flowers finish.  More layering to be done.

Five

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This is geranium phaeum which came with me in pots from the old garden.  This is its second year in the new border and it has really established itself well.  It’s far more stately and elegant in this garden than it ever was before.  I do love a geranium and will be dividing this up and spreading it around.

Six

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And lastly, the dwarf azalea has revealed its true colour and I think it has earned the chance to move out of its pot and into the border.  It is just the right height for the front of the north west facing corner.  But there is work to be done on that border, currently the most neglected part of the garden, home to ground elder, geranium robertianum and the ubiquitous sherperd’s purse.  The RHS advice gleefully informs me that ‘a single plant is able to produce an average of 2-3000 seeds each, with three generations per year.’  Plenty still to be done there then.

Don’t forget to check in with The Propagator, host of the Six On Saturday meme for a mesmerising selection of gardening delights from around the world.  Happy gardening.

 

 

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).

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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!