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: Spring delights

It’s mid-way through Spring and I am jumping forward to the next bulb order. Gardening does that to you. Always looking for the next excitement, it’s exhausting! I’ve made my notes on the calendar and settled the mind again to concentrate on what’s good at this moment in time. Here’s six from the garden this week.

One

I am sure it will be camassia week for many. These are my first to begin to flower against the trellis of an arch. I have these down as c. leichtlinii. But I am willing to be corrected!

Two

Last November I planted some ‘Cairo’ tulips to flower with the camassias. I think I planted about ten either side of the arch. They have come through just in time and once again I am thinking why didn’t I plant double the quantity?

Three

I’m coming up to completing six years in this garden and this combination of tulips was one the first planted here. Originally they ran the length of the long border but over the years they have become concentrated at the bottom, slightly shadier end. I have topped them up from time to time but now I am thinking it is time to replant the top end of the border with a new combination. This mix is ‘Queen of Night’, ‘Shirley’, ‘Barcelona’ and ‘Violet Beauty’. There are some ‘Purissima’ in the background

Four

Brought from the old garden these geranium phaeums have bulked up over the years and are now providing regular new stock for ground cover in shady corners. Solid, reliable and very lovely.

Five

The apple trees are all in blossom and as I was admiring the pretty mix of pink and white I espied the tell-tale fluff of woolly aphid. Just a few small patches so it was out with a spray of a dilute soap mix which I hope will do the trick before it gets a hold.

Six

Here’s a splash of sunshine to end on. Self-seeding welsh poppies are popping up everywhere. Entirely against my colour scheme but who could turn them out? I read that they can tolerate shade so I am thinking of re-locating a few to new spaces.

Vegetable seed sowing continues to be hit and miss, still no sign of later sown mange tout, but earlier sown cukes have delivered, and I have lettuces that have been hardened off for about a week so I may chance planting some of those out. I’ve seen the very first sign of carrot seedlings sown under cloches – I’m holding my breath and crossing my fingers. The soil seemed to be warming up so I’ve also direct sown some parsnip seed. Hope you are finding joys in your gardens. The Propagator will be sharing the news from fellow SOSers so do stop by for a read.

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: Green, green grass

I’m a little late to the grasses party. I’ve some melica and a couple of Karl Foersters but this year I’m planting up the difficult area against the back fence with a grass combination. Having taken the plunge and chosen the mix I added a few more essentials to the shopping basket and the pricey ‘little’ package arrived this week. Here they are.

One

This is a selection of the back fence mix. I will be planting three miscanthus giganteus, three persicaria polymorpha, five luzula nivea and six stachys hummelo. I’m very much hoping the miscanthus will grow to their advertised three meter height asap and cover up the fence panels. The panels give a rain shadow to the border and the trees that surround our garden give plenty of summer shade. The miscanthus should be able to cope with this. Likewise the luzula should also enjoy the shade. For everything else, I have my fingers crossed. There is some late afternoon sun to help things along.

Two

Having made the main selection, I added in hakonechloa macra. This can also take a some shade and I am using it to underplant the ‘Darcy Bussell’ roses. The roses suffered with black spot last year so I really should be using salvias as per Sarah Raven’s advice. I think that does work. But no, I’m going with grasses. I do have a couple of salvia ‘Amistad’ cuttings that I plan to sneak in at the back so perhaps they will deal with the black spot.

Three

Finally I added a euphorbia palustris. My e. ‘Wulfenii’ have suffered over the last two years. The magnificent four have dwindled to one and a half. The soil has been too wet and heavy for them. A shout out on twitter gave the suggestion of this euphorbia which enjoys damp conditions. Sadly not evergreen but it has lime green flowers and good autumn foliage so I’m giving it a go.

Four

Speaking of euphorbias. the e.mellifera seedling that blew in from a neighbour’s garden has flowered this year. It is just over a metre high and is doing a great job of filling the border.

Five

Oh my, the tulips took bashing in the gusty winds on Thursday but miraculously there were no losses. These are ‘Purissima’ among the hellebores. I had forgotten that these open creamy yellow and then fade to white. I was expecting pure white but the creamy yellow works well.

Six

The diminutive ‘Doll’s Minuet’ which I plant in pots have just opened. These are last years bulbs that I lifted and stored. Good to see them in flower again.

While I will be out in the veg patch this weekend The Propagator will be on his 50k run and then taking a well earned rest. Miraculously he will also be hosting the Six On Saturday meme. Good on yer! It looks like the overnight temperatures will be a little warmer so I will be planting out the potatoes and onion sets. Wishing you well with your weekend gardening.

Six On Saturday: April chills

What a week! From balmy spring warmth to icy snow showers and freezing winds. There was a slight frost this morning. This was also the week the pergola was installed and the foxes had a fight in the rosemary bush, I think the rosemary came off worse. There were some brave tulips on show and the plum blossom appeared. Here’s six from the garden.

One

The first tulips to appear in this garden are ‘World Friendship’. They’ve last well over about three years but I think this is the year to top them up. They have a softer yellow colour, not too bright and I think they work well with the thalia.

Two

The plum blossom opened up at the beginning of the week, only to be thrashed about by a vicious north wind. Here’s hoping some of the blossom makes it through to fruit.

Three

The glorious sunshine of last weekend saw me tackle two gardening jobs on the same day! A good clear out of the potting shed followed by a clear out of this end of the thin border. Previously home to rampant blackberries, generously giving too much fruit to use, a first thinning out was achieved. I know I said I wouldn’t, but I do have a few white dahlias that used to live in pots. They have overwintered and I think for this year at least they will go in here along with some summer annuals while I mull over a permanent plan.

Four

I am a purist for the simple yellow primroses, but somehow I have inherited this dark red one. It has made a successful appeal to stay in the garden.

Five

The new green growth of the grass melica altissima ‘Alba’ caught my eye this week. Fresh and vibrant, it adds a good band of colour to the back of a north facing border. In the summer lovely dancing stems of white flowers sway in the breeze. I can’t wait.

Six

The pergola was installed amid howling winds and snow showers. The guys very cleverly built the new one whilst using the old one to support the vine. I kept the warming cups of coffee going and marvelled at the progress from inside in the warm.

It’s a beautiful blue sky morning here, cold but bright. Let’s hope we have done with the cruel weather, no more frosts please, it’s time to will those seeds into germination. The Propagator hosts this weekly gathering, stop by and see if you can catch him in the garden.

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.