Six On Saturday: Green is a good feeling

The week here has ended with a string of cold nights but thankfully no frost. The carrot and parsnip sowings remained under cloches, the potatoes are just peeking through and the onions are looking good. I have finally, after five sowings, managed to germinate two more mange tout seeds. Hopefully the May sowings will be more successful. French beans and courgettes have just been sown. Here’s six things I noticed in the garden this week.

One

The view from the kitchen was a very verdant green this morning as the rising sun shone through the persimmon tree. Just behind the persimmon the fig tree is just breaking into leaf. Further back the trees that surround this garden are also greening up. It gave an uplifting zing of freshness to the start of the day.

Two

One of the ‘Cairo’ tulips had been niggling away at me and I finally got round to sending off a photo to the bulb supplier with the question ‘Is this a healthy tulip’. The response was immediate. A phone call advising me that the stripes were due to tulip mosaic virus and I should remove the bulb and as much of the surrounding soil as possible. There is much to admire in the flower colouration but it is sensible to act on the advice to prevent the spread of the virus. Those darling aphids are to blame. The tulip stem will decorate the kitchen. The bulb will be disposed of.

Three

I am sure that if it wasn’t for SOS I would miss out on a number of things happening in the garden. I have admired the wood anemones that others have shown over the last few weeks but only yesterday did I remember that I too have some in the garden. It’s a small group that are almost hidden by the hellebores and the relentless snowberry. Here they are peaking through.

Four

As the tulips go over, so Irises should be filling in the spaces. But my division of last year has not been very successful. Thanks to Fred and to the good folk on twitter I have been reminded that these are I. germanica. I love them for their height and colour. I have now found a source for a restock and next year’s borders will be jammed with them again.

Five

Down at the veg plot end of the garden, on the way to the compost bins, I pass by a group of tiarellas. They rarely die down over winter and usually end up with a sprawl of scruffy untidy old foliage. I gave them a tidy last week and entirely by coincidence this week they have produced a flurry of flowers.

Six

More green to end on. While the mange tout have been frustrating the lettuce are chugging along very well. I have some in the greenhouse growing away, and two trays of potted on seedlings waiting to go outside when the night temperatures settle down. I can pick leaves now from these trays which is what I must do this weekend.

This weekend I will pulling tree seedlings out, cutting back tulip stems and beginning to pull out the forget-me-nots before they drop too much seed. The bindweed has appeared at the very back of the garden, a sure sign that the soil, even in that shady place, is warming up. Goody! Mr P will host as usual, probably run, and perhaps sow seeds. Rain, however, does not seem to be on the cards!

Six On Saturday: Still flowering

The cold weather has arrived, the first storm has blown through and the first frost lightly touched the garden. Now I feel the push to finish the tulip bulb planting. ‘Cairo’ are in with the inevitable disturbance of the neighbouring camassias. I have about 40 ‘Purissima’ to plant amongst the white hellebores. That’s the top priority for this weekend. In the meantime here are six things that caught my eye today.

One

A few weeks back a variegated hebe was moved from an overcrowded spot in the front garden to the space behind the lawn roller. It’s leggy from past efforts to reach out for some light but it has immediately responded to it’s new location by putting out a flower. It’s always exciting to liberate overcrowded shrubs and give them a new chance to thrive.

Two

I have a small patch of tiarellas lining a path on the way to the compost heap and they are impressively flowering on. They work hard to keep the weeds in this area at bay and cope well with the shade.

Three

Speaking of compost. The compost bins have been turned. One emptied out onto the veg patch, just waiting to be spread around. I’d like to think of this as black gold but it will be rife with seeds. I am sure to have a good crop of verbena bonariensis seedlings if nothing else. The first bin has been turned out into the middle bin and can sedately rot down over the coming year. The first bin, briefly empty, has now begun to fill again and so the cycle continues.

Four

I nearly missed the first hellebore flower of the year. This is always the earliest and starts of thoughts of the spring to come.

Five

The orange berries of Iris foetidissima give a welcome splash of colour underneath the rhododendron. It’s a scrubby space and these fill it well. I was surprised to see that the RHS has awarded it an Award of Garden Merit. But why should I be surprised? It grows in inhospitable places, the flowers, while not showy are quite pleasing, the berries are bright and cheerful and it really is low maintenance.

Six

I inherited a large choisya which gets larger every year. It gives me valuable evergreen structure during the winter months and fragrant white flowers in Spring. And now in Winter. I have had a second flowering in other years but this one is quite impressive and long lasting.

Temperatures will remain low over the weekend so planting the bulbs will be a cold business. I have a little more mulching to be done and the rose pruning to start. But there is a sense that the garden is being put to bed for the winter despite those flowering anomalies! The Propagator leads us on through winter, a challenge here but those in the southern hemisphere fill the Six On Saturday blog space with sunshine.

Six On Saturday: Exuberance begins

Ping! Pow! Pop! That is what the garden has done this week. Sunshine and showers (and a small amount of hail) have turbo-charged the growth of the perennials. All is looking good for the summer time splash. The rainy days were a welcome change from April’s drought and gave me time to plan a tulip buying extravaganza to rival that of the seventeenth century. Forgive me, I am getting over-excited. Here’s my six.

One

Geranium phaeum.  One of my favourites for this time of year.  It reminded me of the move to this house four years ago.  The borders were empty and I brought with me a small selection of self seeders and spreaders to give me some bare bones to build on.  The velvety phaeum was one and it has done its job, I divided them last year and have a decent sized number now.  A reliable doer.

 

Two

I couldn’t bring it with me, but I always enjoyed the weigela that came with the old garden.  I didn’t know the variety but I thought weigela ‘Florida Variegata’ looked a good match and it is.  

Three

The plum trees have been pruned, one by myself and one by the expert.  Here they are.  Ailing plum is doing okay at the moment, the second one looks much better for the prune.  The photo is taken from the other side to give a better view of the open structure of the middle.  I can confidently say the blackbirds can swoop through the middle any time they want.

Four 

The Prop’s tiarella from last week prompted me to search out mine.  They are in a dark corner on the way to compost heap, squeezed in between the gooseberries and the blackcurrants.  What a delight, they shone through the gloom.  This is ‘Emerald Gaiety’.

Five

When I say the borders here were empty when we arrived I should say there was plenty of weed clearing to be done.  Amongst the weeds was a self sown aquilegia vulgaris, the common columbine.  I left it there and over three years it has settled itself into a very happy clump about a metre high.  It’s now too dominant for my liking and  distracts the eye from the nearby irises.  It’s time to find it a new home. 

Six

The last of the tulips have opened.  These grow in a corner that heads towards the shady cold north border so they are always the last to show up.  There should be a good show of ‘Angelique’ combined with ‘Spring Green’ and ‘China Town’.  But the combination is thinning out and needs revitalising.  Hence the great tulip search.  For this year there are just enough coming through to make a good display.  

Like Mr P I shall be potting on some seedlings this weekend.  Also on the to-do list is planting out the dwarf french beans, some more lettuce and rocket and the February sown sweet peas.  I shall continue to urge the three remaining lupins on to their next stage and take a look at the no-show Californian poppy seed tray, again.  Happy gardening to you all, I hope you get some time to catch up with the links on Mr P’s site.  It’s going to be a busy weekend.  

 

Six On Saturday: Views from the borders

I was belatedly staking plants last weekend in anticipation of Storm Hannah.  The tulips in the long border are sprawling around now but otherwise no damage to report.  Weeding continues, the greenhouse tomatoes were moved into greenhouse and a second attempt at a patch repair of the broken glass will have to do for a week or two.  The dwarf french beans have germinated, the second batch of rocket was planted out and this weekend the courgette seeds will be sown.   Here’s what is out and about in the flower borders this week.

One

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A last shout for the tulips.  Contrary though they are I do love them.  This is a second outing for ‘Spring Green’ and ‘China Town’.  Last year this planting was infiltrated by a rogue orange tulip and a ‘Queen of Night’.  I think some cross pollination must have occurred as ‘China Town’ has an orange tinge this year, instead of the pink tone of last year.  Fortunately the orange tone works well with the terracotta pot.  I’m happy.  This planting should also contain the lovely pink double ‘Angelique’ but she failed to turn up.  I was beginning to think ‘tulips, pah!’ but then I read this week’s Dig Delve, Dan Pearson’s blog, and I was smitten again.

Two

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This is an early morning photo of the North facing border, the sun will come around to this corner again in the afternoon.  I’ve lost the plot on the tulip varieties – I offer you ‘Flaming Spring Green’ – with no evidence of the flame, ‘Ronaldo’ – or not and ‘Jan Reus’.  The recently planted armeria maritima is fittinng in well with erigeron karvinskianus, and the osteospermum has just opened up alongside the bluebells.

Three

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Restocking the garden continues. The latest purchase was tiarella ‘Emerald Ellie’ which is lining the shady path to the compost heap.  This sounds a bit below the dignity of Ellie, but I think she will do well there.

Four 

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Another of the missing plants for the deep shade section of the north border arrived.  Three pots of pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’ will give some evergreen structure.  All that remains to be found is the melica which I hope will appear in nurseries later in the season.  This part of the border gets early morning sun but then is shaded for the rest of the day.

Five

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The sunny border is beginning to offer up the allium ‘Purple Sensation’ which takes over from the tulips.

Six

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The first flowers of geranium sanguineum var. striatum are opening up.  I keep moving this plant around but I’m hoping it is in now in its forever home.

It’s another bank holiday in the UK, this time cold and windy but I’ll find some time to garden, I hope you do too.  Check in with The Propagator  to see what else is going on in the varied collection of SOS gardens.