Six On Saturday: Heat!

I can’t avoid stating the obvious: it’s been hot this week. I have resorted to hanging sheets in the greenhouse to try to provide some shade but there have still been some wilting tomato plants. The water butts are empty and I don’t see any rain in the forecast. Too hot to garden, too hot to write and so here is a quick six from the garden this week.

One

At least this part of the garden looks cool. Ferns and the ‘Kashmir White’ geranium make a great combination in a slightly shadier spot.

Two

My first foray into a dark leaf heuchera. This is ‘Grape Timeless’ which I always think should be ‘Grape Time’!

Three

The over-wintered salvia ‘Amistad’ has just begun to open out. A long laster, this should be in flower until autumn.

Four

Every year the astrantias burst forth and remind me of what an absolute dream they are. This one is ‘Roma’.

Five

Last winter I moved a climbing rose ‘Souvenir du Dr Jamain’. It was growing against a shady fence but not really enjoying it. It’s not in the best of health but amazingly it has produced a beautiful flower. I am nurturing it and hoping that this isn’t its last effort before a demise.

Six

And ending on an amusing note: This is the greenhouse. No matter how many times I check there is always a side shoot missed on the tomatoes. In addition to the sheets, I have been liberally throwing watering cans of water over the path to keep the humidity up and hopefully the red spider mite down. The marigolds are there to keep the white fly down and oxalis is there because I can never be rid of it!

For more hot gardens tune into The Propagator who hosts this meme. Stay cool, water wisely and as always, take time to enjoy the garden.

Six On Saturday: Extra time needed

One moment everything is under control, the next there is a long list of jobs to be done. A long weekend for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations should help. Yesterday I planted out the outdoor tomatoes and the courgettes. A first tray of zinnias went into the cutting patch. The cutting patch has itself been cut as half of it has been given over to a second attempt to grow asparagus and it seems more successful than the first. All four crowns have taken and now the long wait for a harvest begins. Here’s six from the garden for the first week of June.

One

Well this will make you laugh! After a whole year spent saying ‘No, I will not grow dahlias again.’ I was tempted by David Howard, an orange, shorter growing dahlia with dark foliage. I bought tubers, potted them up in April, greenhoused them through May, bringing them out on sunny days and now they have been sitting outside for about two weeks, waiting patiently to be put in the ground. Fingers crossed, David, I plan to plant you out today.

Two

There are more beautiful roses in flower. It seems to be such a good year for them. This one is the rambler ‘Wedding Day’. Beautiful small yellow buds which open to a creamy white with a crown of yellow stamens. It rambles along the back end of the garden fence, intermingling with the blackberries, which are also bursting with buds.

Three

Last year I divided the ‘Johnson’s Blue’ geranium. Two of these came with me to this house almost six years ago. I think I had about seven divisions from the plants and this one is doing superbly well. I may now have to modify the planting around it to balance the border out a little more.

Four

The purple foxgloves are truly in their stride now, of course they have almost completely taken over the white foxgloves that I had last year. In their defence they do very well at the shady end of the garden so I will let nature take the lead.

Five

The astrantias are now joining the summer party, this is a.major which self seeds prolifically here. I spread them around the garden but I am just getting to the point of maximum astrantia levels so the ruthless gardener will have to take over.

Six

Another self seeder is sisyrinchium striatum. I love its common name of pale yellow-eyed grass. These also came with me on the move. They took a few years to settle but now I have enough of them to begin to mix them in with digitalis lutea and the euphorbias.

So what needs doing this weekend? Roses to dead head, tomato side shoots to pinch out, nicotiana seedlings to plant out and of course the dahlias to free from the pots. I am also going to combine a collection of small herb pots into one large pot. With rain forecast for Sunday I will be busy today. Celebrating, gardening or reading SOS posts chez The Propagator, I hope you all have a good weekend.

Six On Saturday: Rain helps play

Suddenly the garden has burst into colour, no doubt helped by heavy rain that fell in the week. The roses are having a fabulous year and I can’t resist showing three more this week. Not doing so well is the box. So without further ado, over to the garden.

One

This is one of my favourite corners of the garden. A combination of thalictrum ‘Black Stockings’ and the rose ‘Jaqueline du Pré’. They just sit so comfortably together.

Two

I planted out the very back border a few weeks ago now. It’s a shady place until late afternoon so it will be interesting to see how everything settles in. More of that another week, but so far the luzula nivea has been captivating. The grass is quite coarse but the tufts of white flowers are magical. It gets my vote!

Three

Another rose to share. This one is ‘Wisley’. It will happily take some shade and flowers very well throughout summer.

Four

Time for the poor box. Buxus sempervirens (always vigorous) it is not. Box moth caterpillars have truly taken hold of it and it is time to take it out. The first picture was taken a few weeks ago and the second is its current sorry state. Quite shocking! The box sits under the very vigorous rhododendron, so finding a replacement will be interesting but I am currently thinking of a fatsia japonica.

Five

Another rose: The climbing ‘Blush Noisette’. This is about five years old and has successfully covered the wall. Deadheading it is a challenge and I am never quite ruthless enough in pruning it. But it doesn’t seem to care too much.

Six

Lastly some very pretty white aquilegias. These are also growing at the back of the garden in the shade. The sun arrives here some time around 4pm at the moment. They are looking so good now. They should then be followed by a white thalictrum – watch this space!

That’s the six for another week. Mr P’s pages will show you how to take part yourself or you can just wander through the SOS gardens and enjoy. Have a great gardening weekend.

Six On Saturday: Roses, pure and simple

After two threatened thunderstorms some rain arrived yesterday. What a relief. No relief on the slug front though. A promising cutting of a clematis was stripped bare. I found the culprit and removed it elsewhere. Good news: Blue tits feeding in the box bushes – they seem to have finally found the box moth caterpillars and there are plenty of them to find. In the garden the roses are triumphant: colour, scent and so many buds to open. It looks like being a great year for them. Here’s six of them for this week.

One

‘Madame Isaac Péreire’. This is an old rose, dating back to 1841. It’s not a repeating rose but the scent is gorgeous, the colour fantastic and it has beautiful flowers.

Two

‘Scepter’d Isle’. A relative new comer, dating from 1996. This is one of the classic English Roses with a repeat flower. Another one with beautiful scent.

Three

‘Natasha Richardson’ Oh, I think there is a pattern here – beautifully scented, fantastic repeat flowering. Wonderful.

Four

Some variation for you. This one is a climber. ‘James Galway’ A light pink flower with a beautiful scent! This one was introduced in 2000.

Five

Another climber, and one of my favourite dark red roses. This is ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’. Described as a compact climber, this one is in its second year of growing over an arch. Guess what? It has a wonderful scent!

Six

Another stunner in the red range is ‘Darcey Bussell’. I have three of these planted together to provide the summer back drop to a garden bench. The scent, in case you were wondering, is of course, beautiful.

Yes, I like to have roses in the garden. I keep thinking about adding more but bio-diversity is healthier methinks. Deadheading on a summer evening is one of my favourite garden jobs and an added bonus is that the slugs leave them alone. Perfect.

There’s plenty of lovely things on The Propagator’s page this week. There will be inspiration to be found in the links too. Have a look, join in, enjoy!

Six On Saturday: Pesky blighters

It’s moan time. I have given up shrugging at the munching of the thalia and now I’m pretty cross. Number one pesky blighter is of course the slug. I collected seed from the delphiniums, sowed them, saw them through to germination, nurtured them over winter, watered them through dry April and set them off into the world last week. Within a night they had been grazed to the ground. This season’s sunflower sowings have had their leaves turned to filigree lace. The one hosta I have in the ground, surrounded by 5cms of Strulch but has suffered similar munching. But I was truly enraged when I saw a squirrel about to eat a rosebud. The lilies are up so I am also on vigilant watch for a second wave of lily beetle. I am going to making up a garlic solution today and will be spraying it liberally. I can only try to make a stand. Fortunately there are six good things in the garden to cheer the mood.

One

The roses are beginning to open, which is always a joy. This one is Gertrude Jekyll. Truth told this did not seem to have settled well into the garden but this year, four or five years on, it looks full of buds.

Two

These are the white flowers of Libertia grandiflora valiantly standing up against the euphorbia melifera. I planted four libertias just as the melifera seedling arrived in the garden. The melifera has dominated the spot and the libertias are fighting for the sunshine. Only one has made it to flowering so I am going to live dangerously and move at least two of the libertias to a sunnier spot. Now. This weekend. They have no flower spikes showing so I am going to risk the upheaval. Fingers crossed, as usual. The foliage is evergreen and the white flowers are a beautiful strong white.

Three

The clematis on the arch is in flower. It’s a montana wilsonii, which has made it to the top of the arch and is now gracefully twining its way down the other side. There it will meet the climbing rose Madame Alfred Carrière. Let the battle commence!

Four

The second batch of camassias are in flower. I think this variety is cusickii. A delicate paler blue than my other camassias which are now almost over.

Five

And next to the camassias, the siberian irises are just opening. I think these are my favourite irises, which is a good thing because they do clump up very vigorously for me.

Six

The very reliable geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ is in flower which gave me the excuse to leave this corner of forget-me-nots for another week.

It’s in and out time for the trays of seedlings in the greenhouse. I have two more pot grown mange tout germinations which means I can claim to have been successful with successional sowing! The first strawberry has been picked so summer must be very close. Enjoy your gardening this weekend and if you can tear yourself away stop by at The Prop’s garden gate for a chat with the other SOSers.

Six on Saturday: Time to get going

As the garden gets going it is time for the gardener to step up the pace. The beginning of March has been cold and wet here but growth continues. It is time to give the fruit trees their quarterly feed of bonemeal and the roses will receive a handful of fertiliser to propel them into abundant flowering. Having spent a week away from the garden I came back to find a very soggy lawn and wet borders. I have snowdrops to divide and the last of the herbaceous perennials to cut back. Not a seed has been sown yet but this weekend I will start the tomatoes off. Here’s six from the garden.

One

I plant the David Austin rose ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ in 2020, in its climbing form. It has now made up to the top of the arch and the new growth is lining up nicely. I’m hoping for more of its lovely red flowers this year.

Two

I have been taking stock of what has survived the winter and I’m pleased to say that this salvia ‘Amistad’ planted against a south facing wall is just beginning to show signs of new growth. Here’s hoping it doesn’t get caught by a late frost. I have insurance in the shape of a cutting in the greenhouse which looks good too.

Three

The euphorbia oblongata has also come through unscathed. It’s described as a short lived perennial, so I should be prepared for it to fade away soon. It’s been with me for about three years, it will be interesting to see how short lived it is.

Four

No seeds sown this year but these are lychnis coronaria that I sowed last autumn. Lychnis are self seeders so these were a bit belt and braces. I will plant them out away from the parent plant, spreading a little more hot pink around the garden.

Five

I took some sage cuttings last year when the very old sage bush had a good cut back. The parent plant seems to be none the worse and the cuttings have taken.

Six

In June I will have been gardening here for six years. I inherited a large pot of strawberries that I transferred to the greenhouse in the hope of an early crop of fruit. But there they languished producing very little at all. I am finally about to dig them up and use the space for something else. The soil will need some improvement. In the meantime I have six new strawberry plants, three of ‘Cambridge Favourite’ and three of ‘Elsanta’, chosen from the limited selection available at the garden centre. Roll on Summer, I am ready!

More garden reports can be found on The Propagator’s site, where he hosts all the SOS links. Join in or simply read for pleasure. It’s a merry band.

Six On Saturday: Back in the garden

As I didn’t turn up last week let me start by wishing everyone a Happy New Year with much good gardening to enjoy and less and less of that covid stuff.

I used New Year’s Day to spend some time in the garden cutting back the autumn fruiting raspberries, sprinkling a light dusting of bonemeal around and then mulching with a layer of leaf mould. The fruit trees have had their quarterly dusting of bonemeal and soon the winter prune of the fig tree will be tackled. It felt like Spring already but a frost was to come with temperatures of -3 degrees centigrade recorded in the greenhouse. Now it seems we are back to a spell of warm and wet weather. In general the garden takes it in its stride. Here’s Six for the New Year.

One

I tweeted this frosted rose bub last week. This is the last rose I have to prune but it keeps on putting out new flowers. I think it is going to need a healthy dose of fertiliser come Spring to give it an energy lift. New buds or not it must be pruned soon.

Two

Also on the pruning list are the gooseberries, can’t imagine why I am putting this job off! But I have a new weapon in my armoury against those thorns. A much appreciated Christmas present of Gold Leaf gardening gloves which will offer some protection when I finally get round to tackling this task.

Three

I did grab a quick moment between showers to move a rose. ‘Souvenir du Dr Jamain’ had been lingering in an unhospitable corner trying to valiantly to put on a show for about three years. Not much progress had been made so I decided there was nothing to lose by digging it up and offering a slightly more hospitable spot. I confess to losing part of one root in the process which is a shame as there wasn’t much to start with. Clearly it was not happy where it was. I used mycorrhizal fungi and a helping of Fish, Bone and Blood to help the good Dr on his way.

Four

Some new seeds have been purchased. After the poor crop of ‘San Marzano’ this year I thought it was time to invest in new seeds. I also chose ‘Principe Borghese’ – sucked in by the shiny tomatoes on the packet! I haven’t grown Mangetout for some time but they deserve another go so a packet of ‘Snow Wind’ was thrown in for good measure.

Five

Seed potatoes have also been chosen but are yet to arrive – hence the vacant egg box! I was going to grow a French variety ‘Cherie’ this year but would you believe it, due to Brexit difficulties in sourcing and the high tariffs on things that can be sourced the supplier cannot provide them. Of course you can believe it! So it’s back to ‘Anya’ for me.

Six

The hellebores must get a look in. I’ve been cutting back old leaves here and there and enjoying the slowly developing show. These are ‘Pretty Ellen Red’ in the rain. They share a shady corner with some euonymus.

I have itchy fingers desperate to order new plants for the garden, a few more evergreens for structure and some herbaceous perennials for the border. In another month I hope it will be full steam ahead with more of the garden plans for the New Year.

I’ll be dropping in on The Prop host of SOS and other SOSers over the next few days. It will good to see everyone again. Happy gardening year to you all.

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: September sunshine on its way

There’s a week of good weather forecast which will lift everyone’s spirits. It’s a positive start to Autumn and I’m happy to say goodbye to that wet, grey thing that was optimistically called Summer. I’m adjusting to a new season and starting to forward plan. I’ve found a new (to me) variety of onion (Centurion) and an early potato (Cherie) to try out, I have good intentions to invest in some solid plant supports and for adding one or two more upright perennials to the border. Bulbs have been ordered and seed catalogues will be picked over. Even though Summer has wound down, there are one or two treasures in the garden to enjoy. Here are my choices for this week.

One

I had plans to plant a ‘Hawkshead’ fuchsia down at the far end of the garden and put in an order for one early this year. The nursery told me that they had had a poor start to the season and their plants in the polytunnels were a write off. They offered me a free twig of the fuchsia in with the rest of my order and I accepted. Six months on from its arrival it has been repotted twice and is flowering quite beautifully. I only hope that I can get it through the winter and then through another year or two before it becomes a properly grown up shrub!

Two

This is echinacea ‘White Swan’, a favourite of mine. I also have a couple of plants grown from seed that I hope will catch up with these purchased plants soon. I’ve sown a few more seeds this year, but just as I liberally covered them with vermiculite I re-read the sowing instructions – ‘Do not cover, needs light to germinate’. Have you every tried looking for seeds in vermiculite? Not recommended!

Three

I planted out some salvia ‘Nachtvlinder’ last year to fill up a space at the base of a climbing rose. So far these beautiful salvias haven’t quite climbed high enough to clothe the gap but I do like them. Maybe next year they will get a bit taller.

Four

And speaking of salvias, how about this for a surprise? I lost my main collection of salvia ‘Amistad’ over the winter so the ‘Darcy Bussell’ roses have been without their usual companions. This one is from a cutting I took two years ago and which also didn’t look like it was going to come to anything this year. It has suddenly shot up and produced flowers. I’ll try to get a couple of cuttings again for insurance.

Five

Not a treasure to enjoy but something that must be dealt with. There is always a problem corner in the garden and this is my current one. The rodgersias at the back failed to flower this year, most of the zinnias planted here fell prey to the slugs and although the fleabane looks happy it is camouflaging one of my most hated weeds – the cinquefoil. It sends out runners at an amazing speed and now has a strong grip on this corner. I pull it out as best I can but the plan is to dig out everything and try to take out every last scrap of cinquefoil too. I’ll do my best.

Six

The roses keep going and this deep magenta one is lovely and has a great scent. It’s ‘Madame Isaac Péreire’, a repeat flowering Old Rose. It doesn’t put out flowers all summer but after its first flush it starts again around now. It has the potential to be a mighty shrub in a couple more years, which will hopefully mean more flowers and more scent.

The Propagator hosts this meme and has kindly produced a participant guide in attempt to keep us all in good order, Take a look at the rules, then take part, the rules can be bent gently if you need to. Posts come in from all around the world so there is always a steady supply of garden colour.

Six on Saturday: The year is moving on

The apples are filling out and the hollyhocks are going to seed. There is definitely a feel of autumn in the air. I lifted the last of the potatoes this week and finally accepted that the onions are not going to get any bigger. They are pretty small in spite of the rain that we have had. But then it doesn’t feel like there has been enough sunshine. I am just keeping up with eating the courgettes but the cucumbers are out running me. The first pickings of the outside tomatoes have come through this week just as I bought some seed for next year. I also bought green manure seed which has been sown in the bare ground left by the potatoes. And so it all begins again. Meanwhile there are a few more months of flowers to enjoy. Here’s this week’s six.

One

It has been day lily time for a few weeks and every week I aimed to show my favourite white one ‘Gentle Shepherd’ but the rain turned each transient flower to a soggy mess. These ones, ‘Golden Chimes ‘ seem more resilient and do manage to put on a show despite their more shady location.

Two

I don’t usually see a second flowering from the weigela but this year’s weather seems to have suited it and I’m not going to object.

Three

This is very much a tale of two pots. Last year’s bulbs of gladiolus murielae were left in their pots and overwintered in the greenhouse. Wow, I thought, what a lovely show I will get from all these green leaves and what a shame that the other pot hasn’t done so well. But the reverse is true, not one flower stem is hidden amongst those leaves while the other pot has at least managed to flower.

Four

Something started for next year’s flowering. These are eurybia divaricata, or wood aster, sown from seed supplied by The Propagator himself. I have planted about half a dozen out in the garden already and I am planning to donate these to a local Horticultural Society Plant Sale. Always a satisfying part of gardening when you can pass on the good turn. Thanks Prop.

Five

The roses work so hard in this garden and although some have really suffered from black spot this year, ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ is holding strong.

Six

I am also enjoying the second, very generous, flush of ‘Blush Noisette’ growing along the wall. The gloomier days mean that the pink tinge stays a little longer. In bright sunshine they fade all too quickly to white. Every cloud has a silver lining!

My gardening jobs for this weekend will be to cut down the hollyhocks before they self seed too vigorously. And I’m planning out a new planting area for the very back border. It’s a difficult spot I think. Not enough sun to support my dream of an asparagus bed but, tantalising, it does seem to get a good amount of late afternoon sun. I want to grow tall grasses to hide the end of garden fence and so, throwing caution to the wind, that is what I am going to do. More to come on this one. More from other SOS gardens can be found at The Propagator’s site. Enjoy.