Six On Saturday: I’ve got sunshine on a rainy day

Forgive the slight tweak of The Temptation’s lyric but it is definitely raining here. Fortunately I managed to get some gardening done yesterday, moving round one small corner border that had been niggling me for a while, sowing the second row of parsnips and radishes and direct sowing some seeds for the cut flower patch. I’m hoping to ride the wave of this weekend’s rain followed by warmth. The sunshine in this six comes from earlier in the week.

One

Sunny, bright and bold. These were not my choice of tulip combination, they came free with a bulb order. I can’t say I even wanted to plant them but I used them to line a short path to the veg plot and they haven’t done too badly.

Two

Much more in line with my preferred tulip is ‘Angelique’ a double which can sometimes be a little OTT but hiding in amongst the thalictrum it is just right.

Three

Last of the tulips for this week is one of my favourites. ‘Spring Green’. I have it planted with ‘Angelique’, with ‘World Friendship’ and in a trio with ‘Ronaldo’ and ‘Negrita’ Here the petals are just catching the light as the sun moves round the garden.

Four

Back into the sunshine. The camassias that were planted into very wet ground last autumn have pulled through. These are camassia leichtlinii caerulea, they should reach a metre high. I’d say they are a little off that at the moment!

Five

My one container of potatoes has come into leaf and so it is time for the first top up of compost. These were planted a few weeks after those that went in the ground but they have come through at the same time. Those in the ground may have been planted deeper.

Six

The onion sets started in modules went into the ground this week and are I’m sure they will be enjoying the steady stream of magic water that is forecast for this morning.

The water butts are almost full, the earth looks well soaked and warmer weather is on its way. The slow start to the growing season seems to be ending and summer lushness is on its way. Yes, we finally have the month of May.

Don’t forget to tune in to The Propagator’s page for more SOS posts from around the world. Happy Gardening.

Six On Saturday: Six good things

It’s a long weekend here in the UK although to be honest the surreal life of the last year has meant that it is all to easy to overlook these markers of time passing. The long weekend will be put to good use, the new shed has not been restocked yet so Monday is earmarked for moving things back. I will soon be able to lay my hands on the liquid feed, loppers and other essential paraphernalia with ease. In the meantime here are six things that have had me counting my blessings this week.

One

Apple blossom. This has been abundant this year, seemingly undaunted by the cold winds. Every tree is frothing with pink and white flowers and the bees have been humming their way around them. Here’s hoping for a generous crop.

Two

The first of the irises came through this week. They came from a neighbour’s front garden about six years ago and one patch is doing less than well so I shall replant them in the hope of provoking them into some better flowering for next year

Three

Tulips are opening up in the partially shaded part of the border. Somewhat patchy, and I may have been a little heavy handed with my replenishing of ‘Queen of Night’ but they have looked glorious this week.

Four

We gardeners sometimes, or is that often, need a good supply of patience and I really have gone above and beyond for this peony. I brought this with me when we moved and every year since it has put out some good looking new growth but it has never flowered in its new spot. And here’s the truth: it never flowered in its old spot! So it has had more than five years of my patience. I think this year maybe it’s last. I have told it so directly, the last resort for non-compliant garden plants. Last chance saloon. Honestly. Not another year will I wait.

Five

On the other hand, these tiny, tiny shoots have come through at the base of a very dead looking gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’. This is a great reward for a month’s worth of patience during April. I fear it has lost its planting companion pennisetum villosum but I am remaining patient just in case a warmer May encourages new growth.

Six

The iberis sempervirens (candytuft) had a difficult February during the frosts and had to have a severe cut back. The middle one of the three shown here suffered the most but is definitely making a come back.

Good things in the garden help us to keep a balance in our lives so I am hoping that everyone can find a happy moment in the garden this weekend – patience needed sometimes and sometimes good eyesight! I hope you also find the time to take a peek at The Propagator’s site for more Six On Saturday inspirations. Enjoy.

Six on Saturday: sunny thoughts

It has been a week of blue skies here and although the winds are still cold I have finally braved putting some new purchases outside to toughen up. Joining them has been a tray of dahlia seedlings and some climbing beans. There have been plenty of jobs to do – soft fruit netted, penstemons cut back and a tray of zinnias sown. Going against habit, I have not sowed cosmos or sweet peas this year. But I am going back to having a cut flower bed prompted by some tempting seed that came free with a magazine. I have an ever growing collection of free seed that rarely get sown. This year I’m going to use a up few packets. Here is this week’s sunny spring six

One

Cherry blossom for the second year in the garden. Last year’s few blossoms came to naught but there is a much better display this year. I am training the tree against a fence and will have some important formative pruning to do this year. I’ll have to read up on that. The cherry is netted now, which might give a little protection from the inevitable late frost.

Two

The tulips in the long border are opening up. These were planted four years ago to create an avenue of tulips along the edge. This worked well for the first couple of years but then became patchy. Last November I topped up the planting but this year there are more empty spaces. Time for a new plan. The tulips in this combination are ‘Shirley’, ‘Barcelona’ – not quite showing in its true colour and ‘Violet Beauty’.

Three

These dainty tulips are ‘Doll’s Minuet’. I have planted all of the patio pots with these this year, putting five or six to a pot. Clearly I could have squeezed a few more in. Once they go over I should be moving them on to make way for the scented leaf pellies, which are looking a little worse for wear in the greenhouse. Hopefully some judicious cutting back and a feed will improve things.

Four

I was also brave enough to unfleece the evergreen agapanthus and was very surprised to find a flower bud. A little pale from lack of light and curled up into the fleece, but as above, a clear away of the dead leaves and some liquid seaweed feed will get things going again.

Five

The warmer weather brings out the nasties. The lilies were barely above the ground before I spotted a crowd of lily beetles on them. They were despatched and the lilies were drenched in a spray of Grazer C4, a spray I am trying out for the first time this year. It should reduce the damage caused.

Six

It wouldn’t be Spring with out bluebells would it? Despite my efforts to remove an extensive spread of them from a corner of the garden they are very resilient. Here they have found their way out from underneath an old garden roller. What can I say?

Mr P, host of this meme, has tulips and blossom too. Plus an interesting looking seedling – curious? Stop by and have a look. There’s plenty more to see if you go to the comments section. Happy reading and happy gardening.

Six On Saturday: On the up

I have high hopes for the next few weeks. Temperatures look likely to be above freezing over night and although it all seems a little dry #neverhappy it does feel as though the growing season is underway. The self sown calendula seeds on the veg patch are germinating and so I have sown some outdoor carrot seeds. I’ve had a cloche tunnel on the ground for a couple of weeks now and will leave the cloche over them until they germinate. I am going to wait another week before I sow parsnip seeds outside. I’ve also taken up the suggestion from The Nostalgic Gardener to join in with Piglet in Portugal and Fred to grow the remainder of my potatoes in a container. They were the smallest of the lot so I have pushed my luck and planted four into a large pot. Here’s this week’s six:

One

Tree seedlings are also popping up everywhere and here’s any arty photo of the three main culprits.

Two

My favourite skimmia – Lime Green – is flourishing. This is a really good space filler on the north facing side of the garden, It is at the western end so it does enjoy some afternoon sun.

Three

In the front garden the mahonia is in flower. This one jostles for space with an hypericum and was in danger of being crowded out. With some gentle pruning I’ve managed to get it to stand a little stronger against the bolder hypericum. Who would have a thought a mahonia could be muscled out?

Four

I’m trying not to moan about the cold but really! The new growth on the Japanese anemone has taken a bashing. These are just behind the skimmia but clearly not benefitting from any shelter. This side of the garden is raised about a foot above the lawn and I wonder if that means it catches a little more wind.

Five

On the opposite side in the sunshine and at a lower level, this sanguisorba ‘Tanna’ has formed a good sized clump – after three years. I was on the verge of giving up on it and its nearby colleagues but perhaps this year there will be a strong display of flowers.

Six

I have to visit the cheery tulip/thalia border again. This week the white tulips have begun to open up. I really do enjoy this calming yet cheerful border. The white variety is ‘White Triumphator’.

Six on Saturday is a wonderful gardening meme hosted by The Propagator – I hope you can find a moment to stop by his site and see what’s on offer this week. Enjoy!

Six On Saturday: Cold April slows my progress

I’m not quite sure how but the garden seems to have been unscathed by the overnight minus temperatures of this week. The magnolia looks fine, the plum blossom seems intact and newly emerging perennials are undaunted. Another cold night is forecast for Sunday but then it looks like positive numbers for the rest of the week. I am still holding back on the seed sowing, but of course there is always an exception. I sowed a tray of nicotiana ‘Whisper’ yesterday. I think these are the smallest seeds I have ever sown, no wonder the guidance is not to cover them with any soil. Here’s six other things that feature in the garden this week

One

The tulips are appearing. I think these are ‘Negrita’. They are part of a mixed planting of ‘Ronaldo’ and ‘Spring Green’ which should be through in the next week.

Two

Forget-me-nots and tulips always seem to work well. I do let them self seed where they like but then I follow behind extricating them from the places that I don’t want them to inhabit.

Three

I think the removal of the willow tree from next door is going to give me some light on the corner of this bed so there will be some re-jigging this weekend to make room for a lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Alba’. The geranium will be thinned out again – Wargrave Pink I think, it spreads very easily.

Four

I have some grown from seed thalictrum delavayi still being nurtured in the greenhouse. Next week they will start spending the days outside in preparation for planting out.

Five

Already living outside and should have been planted out by now, but you know how it is…. are these seedlings of the perennial digitalis lutea. For some time now I have eyeing these suspiciously, wondering if I had been carefully growing weeds. But they have put on a spurt in the last week and I am convinced they are luteas. Don’t hesitate to correct me if you think otherwise! (They are definitely not helleborus niger – just recycling!).

Six

My plan to plant out the last of the potatoes has been thwarted. Whilst digging the second trench I came across some rubble. Unfortunately that was only a herald of things to come. The next discovery was a much more resistant obstacle. The muscle men were called in and after further excavation they decreed that mechanical equipment would be required to break up what looks like the very solid foundations of an Anderson shelter. Live with it or lose it? I am waiting for a quote. The top of the foundation is about a foot deep so I could section the corner off and live with it. We shall see,

Oh for some kinder weather so that I can confidently commit to the garden rather than tiptoeing around the edges worrying about frosts or freezing winds. I ventured out one day last week to tie in the summer fruiting raspberries but was soon back in the warm. The calendula seedlings are reappearing so, despite my hesitation, the ground must be warming up. Time to man up and get out there! I’m sure The Prop will be inspiring me, as will the other gardeners that take part in Six On Saturday.

Six On Saturday: Comings and goings

There’s not much coming and going from the house at the moment but the garden is constantly busy and the extra time spent at home has meant that I have been taking longer looks at the view. I’ve accepted that the snowberry is going nowhere but I have manged to reel in its sideways expansion and have once again reduced the height. Last week The Nostalgic Gardener was discussing Forsythia with The Prop and whilst I sympatfise whole heartedly with their views I know that mine are here to stay. This week my eyes fell upon the cotoneaster horizontalis. It does give a beautiful display of red berries in the winter but at the moment it is in danger of losing its place to a sarcococca confusa I rashly purchased a month back. I’ve potted on the sarcococca whilst I contemplate the cotoneaster.

One

The sarcococca has been potted on into the vacant pot left by the planting of this daphne ‘Eternal Fragrance’ in the border. Poor daphne had been in the pot for about two years and although the guidance is that it is suitable for container growing, once a space in the border became available a move was inevitable. One of the fig trees rotted away at the base of the trunk last year and had to come down. Last week I managed to dig out the last (I hope) of the large roots. Daphne now has a new home and so too does the sarcococca.

Two

The compost corner has been paved. I had forgotten just how much space those towers of two x two slabs took up. The paved area looks better suited to a performance space, a garden dance floor perhaps? But no, the bins have been reconstructed and now I have the job of refilling them. The extra space around the bins will come in useful, most immediately it has been dubbed ‘covid conversation corner’ as this is an ideal meeting place for a socially distanced chat with adjoining neighbours.

Three

Speaking of neighbours, there was some sad gardening news last weekend. The glorious willow tree in next door’s garden has to come down. The increasing lean and lack of leaf signalled a problem and the upshot of an inspection was that the tree is predominantly dead. It has been propped up until work to take the tree down can be started. Sad times, but that does mean new opportunities for the neighbours and perhaps for me. It might make a corner of this garden less shady.

Four

A new arrival to this garden came on Friday. The impulsively ordered arch has been delivered. Even in pieces it looks lovely. I hope to be able to put in place this weekend.

Five

The fritillaries have also arrived. These are on my list to look out for in the next autumn end of season bulb sales, but I may order a few in August to be sure I have more next year. The arrival of fritillaries is often swiftly followed by red lily beetles. Time to be vigilant and this year I am going to try Grazer’s Lily Beetle protection. It is to be used before the nasties are sighted so that is a job to do this weekend.

Six

Sunshine was another, albeit brief, arrival this week and the spring flowers shone. I couldn’t choose which one to include so here they all are. The first tulip – ‘World Friendship’, the first thalia, and the first cowslips. The cowslips are self-seeders relocated from elsewhere in the garden. Filling out the garden for free is one of gardening’s great joys.

As always there is more joy to be found at the aforementioned Prop’s site where all the links to other SOS posts can be found in the comments sections. Also a good place for gardening chat

Six On Saturday: The garden is on the move

I have spent every spare moment this week moving the compost and finally on Friday the bins themselves were dismantled. The space is ready and waiting for the landscaper. It is a little muddy underfoot, hopefully a few dry days will sort that out. I have two builders bags of compost, some of this will go to earthing up the potatoes later in the season and some needs a little more time decomposing. Two toads were carefully relocated in the process. All in all it was a good job done and I am giving myself a pat on the back. Meanwhile the garden is moving on a pace. Here’s what I spotted this week.

One

I was admiring via twitter the clumps of leucojum on display at St Timothees Garden and wondering when mine would put on a show. On Friday I saw the first flower. Not quite a clump yet but pleasing all the same. A note has been made to order more bulbs.

Two

The primroses that have been in flower for some time but they have really filled out this week. They are possibly my favourite spring flower, such a gentle yellow and yet still able to take centre stage.

Three

The clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’ enjoyed the sun on Friday. It is full of bud now and the flowers are just opening. A few gardens down from me I can see my neighbour has something very similar and it is full flower. What a difference aspect makes.

Four

The border delphiniums are pushing on and of course the slugs are not far behind. This tasty shoot is so far untouched, Long may it last. I checked the roots of the delphiniums in the potting shed this week and they are coming along nicely but who was also snuggled up nicely in the pot? A tiny slug of course.

Five

Beautiful tulip buds. Such a welcome sight in the garden, good things are unfurling and soon the colour pops will be bursting out.

Six

Another welcome sight is this wonderful green growth in amongst the dead brown matter of the erigeron karvinskianus. There are just one or two new stems so far. I’ll keep a close eye on them and over the next week or so I will start cutting away the dead stuff. This and one or two other losses in this border will provide an opportunity for a re-think.

The epoxy resin for the pot repair has arrived and it looks like next week will be dry so I might get the chance to see if a miracle can be worked. If not, thanks to Paddy’s suggestion, I will be using the damaged pot as a feature somewhere else in the garden – which is rather a tempting idea. The Prop will be around as usual, hosting the meme and running, running running. Happy gardening to everyone.

Six On Saturday: Time to be kind to ourselves

I’m giving myself a big fat gardening tick this weekend. Not the ones that bite and cause no end of problems but the ones that acknowledge a job done. Tick. Tulips planted. I really had been sinking under the weight of not having done this. The weather had been awful. I knew it was going to be a tough job. I definitely had other things to do, although truth be told, they too were strangely being put off in favour of, well, in favour of not much. Finally there was a dry moment between bouts of chilly damp fog and I ventured out.

The job was as difficult as I had imagined. Weeks of rain had taken its toll on the heavy clay soil. I gave up trying to plant out the pretty pink double ‘Angelique’ and ‘Spring Green’ in the clay border and found a home for them amongst the lavenders. I dug up a dahlia and threw in about 60 bulbs of ‘Queen of Night’, ‘Shirley’, and ‘Violet Beauty’ in the hole and then as the light faded and the fingers numbed I planted the remaining bulbs in a pot. Not even a special pot, just a plastic one that was to hand in the shed. But it was job done and I was euphoric. It wasn’t the carefully thought out scheme that I had in mind but those tulips are going to be very wonderful next year even if they are in all the wrong places.

So here are the photos for this week’s six:

One

The stunningly attractive tulip pot so full of promise of things to come. Tick. Bonus plant: rose still flowering.

Two

I have never lifted dahlias for the winter here so I quite amazed at the number of tubers that I discovered. Now stored away in a box in the garage I have no idea where this one is going come the end of Spring.

Three

I give myself another tick for getting round to spraying the allium heads I had dried over the summer. My first tip of the hat to Christmas. I shall artistically arrange them in a vase, soon.

Four

I’m on a roll now. Another tick for keeping the bird feeder topped up. This is the best I can do with an iphone (old version) through the kitchen window and sadly I cannot share a photo of the very charming one legged sparrow that comes every day to hoover up the spillage left by the other birds.

Five

And I did order new fleece. Last year’s purchases are flaking away with every new breeze. I am trying this rather posh version this year. Maybe it will last longer.

Six

A beautiful hellebore to end on. I’m pretty sure its ‘Pretty Ellen’ white. It is lovely to have white in the garden as December gloom settles in.

The shortest day is in sight. Not long to go before the early bulbs push through. We can do it! If you are in need of a tick, gardening or otherwise, please consider one duly despatched. Ticks for everyone! Well done. Much appreciation too for Mr P who little knew what he had started. He definitely gets a tick for his drawers!

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: Things I have learnt this week

It would be perfect planning to have six photos about six things I have learnt this week but I don’t. I have a few general observations and then six unrelated photos. First observation is that no matter how many tree seedlings I pull up there will always be another thirty ready to come through. Second observation: there is no rhyme or reason to what germinates and when. The gardener can only have a go – well that’s the decision I’ve reached. I was up to four lupin seedlings, now down three. Two courgettes have germinated, four are still lounging around. I could go on. Last observation: I am an impatient gardener and having more time on my hands has made me worse. The roses have been in bud for days, possibly even weeks now. Why haven’t they opened? Because it’s not time – in this garden. Here’s my six for the week.

One

Most of the tulips are going over but the camassias have opened up.  I see now that I Continue reading