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.

Six On Saturday: Zoom, zoom, zoom

Five days of sunshine and a day of continuous rain does wonders for the garden. We are now in overdrive. Geraniums, astrantias, hollyhocks and roses are all jostling for space. There is a distinctly lush feel to the borders and the bees are humming. Here’s six from the garden this week.

One

The Siberian irises are in their stride now, they are so comfortable in the wet border that I need to divide them every few years. I am going to try them out in some other locations when the time comes for next division.

Two

The alliums ‘Mount Everest’ that were battered by strong winds a few weeks ago are open now and the bees are feasting daily. I am going to forgive the occasional disappearance of newly planted bulbs and will add a few more in for next year.

Three

Thalictrum ‘Black Stocking’ is eternally rewarding, copes well with half sun/half shade and is thoroughly recommended.

Four

A new rose for this year. ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ has turned out to be just the red I wanted to climb over this arch. I may have found a new favourite rose.

Five

Cistus × purpureus ‘Alan Fradd’ bought as an established plant in 2017 has put on a huge amount of growth this year and is taking over this corner of a small border. I was clearly too soft on it during last year’s prune. Note to self: be tough this year.

Six

Rosa ‘Natasha Richardson’ fights back against the cistus. A regular flowerer all summer so everything necessary will be done to give this rose its full entitlement to a good space.

It has been a good start to June, but I am, of course, a little behind with the garden. Last week’s long weekend was happily spent with family so this weekend is catch up time. Pellies to pot up in their summer containers, zinnias to sort out and the last of the tomatoes to send on to good homes or squeeze into a space in the allotment. Courgettes and cucumbers are in the ground, French beans are climbing but carrots have gone awol, a second sowing has been made but that’s it. If it’s a no show then something else can have the space.

I hope to have more time for SOS reading this week. The Propagator has an ever growing bunch of gardening friends who join this weekly gathering and it’s a shame to miss out on their exploits.

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: Cold nights and Crazy days

I can’t really avoid the c word this week. These past few days have gone by in a whirl and we are all coming terms with profound changes to our lives. The discipline of spending a little time to write about the garden is finding a new level of meaning and spring has arrived so it is all the more enjoyable. It it so good to focus on the new life that is appearing and the joy that comes with seeing the perennials push through again.  Here are my six delights for this week.

One

There have been some cold nights and cold windy days this week but the sun has some warmth and the garden is responding.  I’ve seen the tulips in bud and this week the Thalia opened up.  Must have more of them was my response.

Two

I know everyone has done daffs over the last few weeks but I’m going to tip my hat again to Tete a Tete.  When I planted this ring of them around the persimmon tree I thought there was a stronger danger of it looking a little twee.  Maybe it does but seeing this cheerful ring of them every morning makes my day.  I’ve gone for over-egging the pudding and have also planted an inner ring of snowdrops.  I can’t wait!

Three

It feels a little early to be cutting back the hydrangeas but the new growth is coming through strongly now.  I am going to resist for as long as I can.  April can be cruel.  The penstemons are also sending out new growth but they aren’t going to tempt into a cut back just yet. 

Four

The new growth on the roses has this lovely reddish colour.  In admiring this exuberance I also noticed that some tying in was needed, which was duly done.  It is at this time of year I realise that I could have been more ruthless with some of the climbing roses.  Some people never learn.

Five

More new growth coming from the weigela florida ‘Variegata’.  I bought it new for this garden so it is about three years old now.  I’m happy to let it have it’s natural height but I think I may need to contain the spread.  I’m looking forward to May when it’s pink flowers appear.

Six

I anticipate a sudden influx of bees as the rosemary comes into flower.  Yes, indeed gardening and all its side benefits will be keeping my soul healthy this year.  

Thanks to The Propagator for his admirable work in keeping Six on Saturday together.  I shall be sowing seeds this weekend, definitely some cosmos, perhaps some zinnias and probably some tellima grandiflora and the grass needs cutting.  Enjoy your gardening jobs, take time to appreciate what’s growing now and celebrate Springtime,  for it is officially here!

 

 

Six On Saturday: Finally, flowers!

Last week the garden was lingering in cool spring mode.  This week some sunshine has persuaded a few more flowers to open out.  Overnight showers here have lent a few diamond drops to the photos this week.

One

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The dwarf pink azalea that came as present a couple of years ago is flowering.  I recently  received another one which I  may have done for already by forgetting to water it while it flowered in the house.  I’ll try to resurrect it and will see if it likes it better in the garden.  I could end up with the national collection of dwarf pink azaleas!

Two

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I sprinkled the aquilegia seeds around and a few of them made it through to plants.  The flowers are just opening out.  I think this photo makes the colour more interesting than it is.  In reality it looks a rather muddy white.  I like them just as much for the foliage.

Three

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The first of the roses to really open up.  This one came with the garden and was a bit spindly.  Three years ago I cut it completely to the ground.  It has climbed back up the wall and now has so many more flowers, which are a shade deeper red than comes across here – and therefore much nicer.

Four 

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This is weigela ‘Florida Variegata’.  It was new to the garden three years ago and has made it to about 2 metres.  So far I’ve not pruned it at all but now it is spreading out over the path so after flowering I will reduce the length of the side branches.

Five

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I’ve been wailing for weeks that my geums had not flowered whilst everyone else’s were romping away.  Finally ‘Lady Stratheden’ deigned to put on a show.  She’s a bit of a sprawler but it works well as the plants around begin to fill out.

Six

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Although these Siberian irises have not quite opened I had to give them a show.  The purple of the flowers just breaking through against the green of the sword shaped leaves is just perfect!

Mr Prop who hosts this meme has plenty more gardening delights and will no doubt be adding to his plant collection as I write. Take a look and investigate other delights from around the world.  Be warned: Six On Saturday is infectious.