Six On Saturday: Bananas!

Or Bananarama to be precise. Cruel Summer to be even more exact. Perhaps I should be growing ensete. Too late now. The weather is going to be very cruel next week and we must all take care. I hope I don’t lose any plants and that the veg plot can subsist on the meagre amount of water I can give it. Here are six things from the flower garden this week.

One

The hydrangea in the front garden is a mass of blue, pink and purple flowers. It spends most of the day in the shade and I tend to take it for granted. Perhaps some water and a feed would give it a lift!

Two

The evergreen agapanthus that are wrapped up over winter should be at home in this heat but as they are in pots they do need regular watering. They are already on the turn. Every four years or so I take a saw to them and divide them up. This year a couple of the pots are only managing one flower stem so they will be divided next spring.

Three

The phlox are vibrant at the moment but I fear they will be drooping by next week.

Four

This is clematis viticella ‘Etoile Violette’. A favourite of mine and I do look after it with regular feeds of seaweed extract. It does get some shade throughout the day so I’m hoping it will not suffer.

Five

The day lilies are also basking in the sun. These ones, ‘Golden Chimes’, don’t have gall midge….so far!

Six

My recent purchase of ‘Lord Bute’ is back in flower again. Absolutely wonderful.

I hear Mr P is hanging up his running shoes for this weekend but is heading off to a festival. Even so he will be hosting the Six on Saturday meme as usual. Much respect! Don’t forget to stop by.

Six on Saturday: An interesting end to February

The last full week of February has been eventful but here the focus remains on the garden. Storm Franklin lashed a few more fence panels. Thankfully none of them are mine but there are some interesting gaps in neighbouring gardens. It has been a difficult week to find time to garden but a moment here and there was grabbed and the cut down of the herbaceous perennials continues. There is growth under the brown and the March surge is approaching. Here’s six from the garden this week.

One

The fig tree had a prune. Three or four of the larger branches were shortened and the overall height was taken down a little. Come the summer the longer thinner branches will be shortened. It is amazing that despite the high winds there is still a number of last seasons figs clinging on.

Two

Last summer saw us say goodbye to two box shrubs which had succumbed to blight and caterpillars. It has opened up this corner of the garden to a little more sunshine. It will be brief lightening of a shady corner that will be back in shade once the trees are in leaf. This is also a big tick for cutting back the old stems on the phlox.

Three

I do have some crocuses in the garden that have withstood the wind and rain. If I remember rightly these are ‘Ruby Giant’ – not so ruby in colour.

Four

New buds on the climbing hydrangea are encouraging. This is year three for this shrub and gradually it is making its way over the fence.

Five

I used to have four of these euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii which made a dramatic impact in early spring. I’m down to two now and they are looking a little thin. I think the soil here is just too wet for them. Evidence of climate change perhaps. I have a couple of seedlings in other parts of the garden so we’ll if they do any better.

Six

I feel sure the viburnum usually has more flowers than this by now. They are only just beginning to open, perhaps March will push them on to a better display.

I think the garden is the place to be this weekend. Things are looking a whole lot more positive there! Mr P will no doubt be out and about one way or another and yet always finds time to cheerfully host the SOS meme.

Six On Saturday: Reasons to be cheerful

It would be very easy to take a despondent tone at this time of year. Cold, drab days and a certain browness to the garden can cause the gardening sap to sink. The garden has other ideas though and regardless of the gardener the plants just get on with it. This week’s six shows signs of progress as well as the need for some jobs to be started.

One

First, one of my occasional moans about the local wildlife. It’s usually the fox but it could be the fat Persian cat that wobbles through every now and then, either way something has taken a branch out of the beautifully rounded daphne, leaving me with a hole in the middle.

Two

Then a job to be done. I got ahead with the pruning of the grape vine because the pergola is becoming unsteady and the plan was to deal with it over winter. Oh how time flies! This week I noticed that one leg of the pergola has collapsed down a few inches. This is a ‘must do soon’ job. But I shall need to find someone to install a new pergola. No doubt there will be a sucking in of the breath as I am told about the long waiting list I will have to join.

Three

But this is a positive post and it is most definitely cheering to see signs of new growth. The bergenia is in bud.

Four

I hope I am not alone in having one, possibly two, plants that generally get mistreated, left to their own devices, ignored. This is a very old cordyline. Left in a pot for well over twenty years. Poor thing. It doesn’t get protected overwinter, as you can see by the brown leaf ends, and occasionally it leaves a sign to say ‘Don’t forget me’. This year a leader has died away but two new shoots are coming through. Tough love seems to be working.

Five

More signs of growth and a call to action. The new growth on the phlox has started. This is always my cue to deal with the remaining browness of the garden. The temperatures seem to be slowly on the rise which is another encouragement.

Six

Snowdrops and hellebores continue to fill out. I spotted some leaves from the tête-à-tête daffodils and the odd tulip leaf is making an appearance. The primroses bear the promise of spring beautifully: cheerfulness abounds.

Don’t forget to take a peak at all the other SOS gardens. The Propagator holds the keys to the garden gates. All welcome!

Six On Saturday: The ruthless gardener stalled

For one brief moment the ruthless gardener was in full flow, cutting back hardy geraniums, pulling out surplus seedlings, felling a plum tree (well, not me doing that job) and condemning underperformers. Then some tennis was played and the left knee said ‘enough is enough’. On the upside the knee wrapped in ice felt wonderful when those temperatures were so high. Now the frustrated gardener is hanging around staring through the windows. At least the rain is taking one job off the ‘to do’ list and the garden is teeming with baby birds to offer distraction. Here’s six from the garden for this week.

One

The back garden white hydrangeas were well and truly scorched by the sun this week but in the front garden, with its all the more gentle aspect, the hydrangea was glowing vibrantly. I have no idea how this mix of colours has evolved, I am sure that on our arrival here five years ago this was universally pinkish.

Two

More vibrant colour coming through from magenta pink phlox, inherited and such a reliable steady performer at this time of year. I’ve started to move astrantia seedlings into this area along with some underperforming veronicastrums which were perhaps more in shade than partial shade. One to watch for next year.

Three

A plum tree has gone. A ruthless decision that took five years to make! When we arrived the tree had a nasty split in the trunk but it seemed be healing over the years. Sadly it then started to get die back from the new growth and despite beautiful blossom the fruit crop was minimal. It was just not worth the annual pruning so the tree surgeon was called in to do the deed. There is now a more open aspect to the border and the apple tree on the right hand side has room to breathe.

Four

This is a ‘Miss Wilmott’ scabious which is slowly bulking up and adding some airy height to this border. Miss Wilmott was a well known gardener in her day, contemporary with Gertrude Jekyll and is perhaps more famous today for the Eryngium ‘Miss Willmott’s Ghost’ also named after her.

Five

The hollyhocks have self seeded through the garden and in so many different colours. Here’s a small selection.

Six

Lastly the North facing border is bulking up well. The climbing hydrangeas on the fence are slowly climbing but they like to run up the fence panels rather sideways. I try to persuade them into the horizontal but I think nature will have its way.

Happy hols to The Propagator who presents a concise and colourful six this week. I had plans to visit an NGS garden but the weather does not look too kind. I am in search of inspiration for a small patch at the very back of the garden so it may be a case of wearing suitable clothing and going anyway. Enjoy your gardening time.

Six On Saturday: A happy garden

Contrary to the forlorn look of the garden this morning I am sure it is much happier. Some plants are weighed down by the rain that finally arrived. Verbena, cosmos and guara drop their heads but deep down their roots are sucking up some much needed moisture. Yes the rain came. Overnight thunderstorms on Thursday and then on and off showers since. My six for the week were snapped before the rain.

One

My favourite combination in the garden at the moment.  Echinacea ‘White Swan’ and pennisetum villosum.  The beautiful fluffy heads of the pennisetum are one of today’s droopers but I’m sure they’ll pick up.

Two

Day lilies.  These are in half sun, half shade so I may get another week of display from them.  They are ‘Golden Chimes’.  Planted in 2017 and I divided them last year, spreading their cheerfulness around the garden.

Three

I have a running-riot clump of Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ in the garden which was also divided last year.  I planted a few small pieces in some semi-shade hoping the growth would be slower.  They have taken to the new spot with as much enthusiasm as the original planting.  I can see I will have to be ruthless.

Four

One of my inherited plants is a group of white phlox.  I’d left my well established clumps behind when we moved house so I was very happy to see these come through in the first summer here.  These are in the shade of an apple tree and are one of the plants that I have faithfully watered, at the first sign of wilting, in the dry spell.

Five

These are my everyday agapanthus.  For unknown reasons this clump has flowered very well this year while about 4 feet away there languishes a clump of agapanthus foliage with not a sniff of a flower.  That clump will be dug up and divided, fed and given one more chance.

Six

There is one thing in the garden that does seem to have enjoyed the high temperatures.  The figs have ripened and the first to be picked were greedily eaten.  I just stopped  myself in time and took a photo of this one.  The best are high in the tree and as usual the birds get to those first.

The cooler temperatures will persuade me out into the garden again.  Even the early morning deadheading proved too onerous in the heat.  Now rain battered rose petals decorate the garden so there is extra snipping to be done.  Enjoy your gardening time  and for a break, stop by at The Prop’s place to see what goes on in the SOS world.

Six On Saturday: Returning to the fold

I have climbed back up the slippery slope to not posting and made it to the top. I’d like to say that I have spent the last few weeks dining out, drinking in pubs and jetting off to sunnier climes, but no. The best I have done to kick start the economy is have a hair cut and make two visits to the garden centre. Compost and twine now purchased, garden blogging can re-commence.  Here are six things from the garden for your delectation.

One

Growing from seed is definitely a case of winning some, losing some. Here is a slow winner.  This is echinacea pallida.  I sowed seeds three years ago, probably a half tray full and managed to get three to 9cms pot sized plants.  They were planted out last year and this year I have the first flowers.  Very dainty.   I like them and would like more.  It could be a slow process.

Two

Also grown from seed and happily in the garden for a few years now the ‘Black Cat’ scabious is back and looking velvety dark again.  I need a few more of these too, as a few a moved to a new location resented the intrusion and are no more.

Three

Hollyhocks, from collected seed and now liberally spreading themselves around.  These I have to keep an eye on as they do get everywhere.

Four

This year’s annual sowings have started to flower and first out of the blocks is cosmos ‘Dazzler’.  Always reliable but I am never happy with where I have planted them out.

Five

The magenta phlox have taken up the baton for the second half of summer.  I always have a sinking feeling after the peak of the garden in June but the phlox opening up signals that the next wave has arrived.

Six

More mid summer magenta from the penstemons, this is ‘Plum Jerkum’.

That’s the six. I have been busy cutting back the June extravaganza of ‘Brookside’ geraniums and the delphiniums.  The g. psilostomen is trying to convince me that it has another few days of flowers to give but really it is past its best and has to be cut back too.  Nice to be back with The Prop, who has some beauties in his six of the week, all very colourful.  Much to be enjoyed.