Six On Saturday: Idle thoughts

Thwarted from posting last week and with the garden frozen over this week, I am going with last week’s intended post with a few updates: Good news that February is here and because it is such a short month there are only 22 16 days to go before March arrives. This week Last week I was happy to see the very first tops of the chilli seeds pushing through and although I said I wouldn’t I did, sow sweet peas that is. One lost packet from who knows where was found and sown. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Three have germinated. So much rain fell this the week before last that most gardening was done by staring out of the windows giving the thumbs down gladiator style to plants that offended the eye. Here are the top contenders and some stayers.

One

The snowberry that had a mention a few weeks back is in a direct site line from the kithchen window and does nothing to enhance the view. I leave it because I don’t think I can successfully rid myself of it and what else would grow in this dark corner? I hanker for hamamelis but would it thrive? At the moment the snowberry is in line for the chop. And a week on, still is.

Two

Out the front the dry north facing border is host to bluebells, forsythia, and that shrubby honeysuckle with the tiny leaves. Underneath that the periwinkle runs riot. It is gradually spreading along the border. encouraging because at least something will grow there but actually getting out of hand. I will definitely be trying to confine this to a smaller space.

Three

The front garden is also home to a mahonia which was slowly being suffocated by an hypericum. The hypericum has been cut back several times now and gradually the mahonia is re-establishing itself. This has given a bit more interest to this border and the reddish foliage is looking pretty good now. More nuturing to be done here.

Four

While the parsnips were a little erratic in their germination last year some late sown parsley took very happily to a spot in the greenhouse and has been providing a generous supply throughout winter.

Five

Last week so many SOSers were presenting stunning sarcococcas. This week I can sort of join in. Sarcococca hookeriana, planted up in Februrary 2020, has opened its flowers and if I get really close I can smell the scent. I think it needs some time to establish.

Six

Its time to give some love to the primroses, steadfastly fighting off the slugs and providing a sunny smile in so many corners of the garden. I’m going to move some of these out front to go with the bluebells.

The early sun has gone and with it that uplifting sense of warmer times to come. The temperature is falling and there maybe snow here again tomorrow. Snow came, not as much as before but it has been a week of cold weather with temperatures in the greenhouse falling to minus 4.8 degrees. All change for next week and then surely it will be downhill all the way to Spring! For now it’s time start enjoying the inventiveness of fellow SOSers as we meet the command of Mr P to find six things in the garden this week. It’s a wide brief – it could be anything! All welcome to join in.

Six On Saturday: Happy New Year

It’s hard to keep the mind on a positive track in this chaotic world and the garden that provides much enjoyment through the year can feel, well, rather uninspiring in winter.  But the Prop does not offer winter breaks and SOS continues. After a few mornings of looking at the frosty garden from a distance I went out on a recce. Here’s what I found.

One

First a surprise.  The vinca is in flower again.  One brave soul sheltering among the leaves.  It lifted the spirits.

Two

The viburnum in the front garden that flowers only on one side is true to form this year.  But there is promise for the future as there are definitely more flowers than last year. 

Three

More encouraging signs.  Primroses have been spotted over the last few weeks, just one or two small ones here and there. 

Four

Winter berries on a cotoneaster.  This has always been a mystery plant in the garden.  Variously thought to be villosus or possibly moupinensis,  I really have no idea but the black berries look rather bewitching. 

Five

While much of the garden is showing off various shades of brown the variegated leaves of euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’ fill a dark corner of the garden.  Sometimes known as winter creeper, which seems to be an entirely appropriate name. 

Six

Snowberries.  Not mine, because my snowberry does not seem to keep its berries.  I hope this is because the birds eat them, but it is possibly because every year, several times a year, I go at it with the loppers trying to make some sense of the thicket of stems.   I would have dug the snowberry out by but I doubt you can ever dig out a well established snowberry.  

Positive vibes restored, it is a Happy New Year.  I wish you all happiness and health in the year to come.  I’m going to top up the good feelings with a dose of Nina Simone – it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me and I’m feeling good!  There is also some blue sky showing through the window so perhaps a spot of rose pruning would be a sensible job to get on with. Happy gardening. 

Six On Saturday: Creeping towards spring

The joys of sixing! Thanks to our host The Propagator I get to really notice when things start happening in the garden and what a difference a week makes. Second joy of sixing – the front garden gets a tidy up: this week’s haul: three aluminium cans, a plastic bag and several pieces of polystyrene blown over from a neighbour’s skip. Not much storm damage to report here, just a few twiggy branches and a sodden lawn. Let’s see what Dennis dumps this week. On to the six:

One

The vinca that never flowers has flowered!  And this is not the only one, I’ve spotted at least four more.  It’s a start.  The flowering period for most vincas is given as April – September, this one is early but no complaints. Judging by the height I think this is a vinca major of some sort.

Two

A few more of the front garden crocuses have opened up and these are a good purple colour.  Thumbs up for these too.

Three

Until now there was not a sign of a daffodil but the sunny skies of last week have enticed the tete a tete to flower.

Four

Round the corner from the daffs I came across a very healthy clump of pulmonaria officinalis.  Flowering period March to May, so just a few weeks early.

Five

The primroses have been slowly opening up over the last few weeks but now they’ve decided to go for it.

Six

Lastly the front garden virbunum tinus, often maligned for not flowering very strongly is having a real go at it, mainly on the sunnier side of the shrub. There are two in the front garden and both were given a good prune last year.  They also received a good mulch for the second year running. so perhaps that has helped to move things along a bit.

All in all, a much easier six this week.  Things are definitely looking up.  The greenhouse felt positively warm this morning.  This can only mean one thing: it is time to start gardening again.  Time to finish all that soft fruit pruning and time to pull off the dead stems from the phlox as I’ve spotted the new shoots coming through.  Due to impending storm Dennis it won’t get one this weekend.  Time, I think, for an indoors sort through of seeds to be sown for week four of February.  Yes, time to be organised.