Six On Saturday: Ever changing moods

Forgive the earworm, or not if it doesn’t happen for you. Ever changing moods has been my state of mind in January. One week wanting to take down the eleagnus but then realising that it provides great cover for the birds. The next being absolutely sure that I must find room for a hamamelis but then sensibly realising that I just don’t have the right long term space for this desirable winter shrub. I’ve moaned about constant rain and grey days, haven’t we all? Then thrilled to glorious blue skies and winter sun. The garden catalogues have arrived and I am being pulled this way and that by their temptations. I’ve settled down this week. Accepting that January in the garden is what it is. I managed to prune back a good number of the rose shrubs but there are more to do. The climbing roses weigh heavily on my conscience but there’s still time. Raspberries and blackcurrants need to be looked at but they too can wait a little longer. This week I happily left the garden alone. The paths were slippery with frost and the ground is frozen once again. There’s not much to show but it is January and that is how it should be.

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The frozen ground and frost may seem inhospitable but the garden grabs each growing moment and gets on with it. These are day lily shoots and the first leaves of geranium phaeum. It will be some months before their time to flower comes.

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You can see why the climbing roses are on my mind. There is quite some sorting out to be done here. The ruthless gardener must be found and all these branches thinned out and the framework tied into the wires again.

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The hellebores will nod their heads downward so it was a little difficult to capture this ‘Pretty Ellen’ red against the sun. Here’s my best effort.

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Somewhere out in the garden are some foxgloves seedlings waiting to push through the mulch. Here, in the greenhouse, are two that didn’t get planted out. It looks like they will have a head start when the time comes to relocate them.

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At the end of October I planted some Japanese red onion sets. They seemed very slow to get started but week by week they are making progress. Could they be ‘Electric’? I really can’t remember.

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A month later at the end of November I planted out the winter bedding. I filled the pots with bellis daisies. They had a week to acclimatise before they were covered by six inches of snow and experienced minus 5 degrees Celsius for a week. They made it through that and have just experienced another week of minus degrees overnight. I am so impressed by their sturdiness and I know that they will just get more and more cheerful as the warmer weather creeps in.

It’s a weekend of cold weather here and I am not going to feel guilty about the garden. Far better to wait for a time when the fingers won’t freeze and the paths are safer. Happy guilt free waiting to you all. Happy gardening times are around the corner. Jim, our host for SOS, features the links to other blogs on his Garden Ruminations pages. He has some lovey photos this week. No wonder he is the leader of the pack!

Six On Saturday: Is it summer, winter or spring?

The season is clearly changing but the garden seems to be in a state of confusion.  Here are six things from my garden this week.

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Natasha Richardson rose, one of the English roses that just keep on flowering.  Lovely pink flowers and new buds still appearing.  It could be summer!

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Penstemon ‘Plum Jerkum’.  This suffered in the scorching sun of summer but it is happily putting out new flowers now.  It was a great companion to the Tithonia, which truly does know summer is over and is slowly curling up at the edges.

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There are one or two last flowers on the rudbeckia but most have gone to seed.  I will leave them standing through the winter to give some shape to the border.

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The agastache ‘Black Adder’ is also in its winter clothing.  This was an absolute winner this year.  Great colour and always thrumming with the sound of bees.

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Elsewhere in the garden there are signs of Spring.  The primroses are out and offering a reminder that the slugs and snails are still active.

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At the very back of the garden in a shady sheltered corner the hellebores are putting out new flowers.  I am sure these didn’t appear last year until January.  This one is Pretty Ellen.

I’ve got bulb planting to do this weekend.  The start I made last weekend resulted in only 18 bulbs being planted.  As usual I was distracted.  The dahlias needed cutting back, zinnias were pulled up and some of the foxglove seedlings were planted out.  This weekend I will be trying to put a few tulips in the border without crashing in on those that are already there.  Could be interesting.  Wishing you all well with your gardening pleasures. If you want to see what everyone else is up to visit The Propagator for all the latest links to other Six On Saturday posts.

Six on Saturday

I was going to dial in my apologies for this week.  There is much potential in the garden but could I really subject you to six photos of emerging shoots.  Could I cobble together something or would it end up a busted flush?  Well the social streak in me is strong and I enjoy being a part of the #SixOnSaturday meme so here I am again.

One

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As the new growth on the perennials comes through I cut back the old stems.  But the seed heads on these Agastache foeniculum can provide some winter interest in the border for a while longer.  They are  ‘Alabaster’ and give lovely white spires of flowers for the butterflies to feast on in the summer.

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Other plants do not fair so well over the winter.  Here are two plantings of Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’.  Those planted at the sunnier end of the border are holding their own but those at the shadier end are disappearing fast.  This is their first year in the garden so it will be interesting to see if they pull through.  But if not, I have the spot at the shadier end earmarked for some more hellebores.  It’s so important to have the right plant in the right place!

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Yes, here is another hellebore photo.  I am becoming a great fan of them and love it when the white ones catch the sun.

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There was a tweet in the week about a rosemary being in flower.  Yes, it is in my garden too.  This border has the sun from early morning to mid afternoon and with its back against the brickwork the rosemary does well here.

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Also doing well are the penstemons. Known for being on the tender side, the advice is not to cut them back until new growth starts to come through.  These penstemons have come through the winter in strong leaf but I won’t cut them back until the weather is warmer and then I will cut back to points of strong growth a couple of centimetres up from the ground.

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And here’s where I bust my flush!  It’s an emerging shoot.  No apologies for being excited to see so much new growth on this iris.  It is an allotment share from a well established clump and has a lovely tall stem with white flowers but I don’t know the variety.  I’m looking forward to the warmer weather and this shows that spring, although postponed for a week,  is on its way.

The Propagator is the place to go to read more #SixOnSaturday posts, just what’s needed after a chilly session in the garden.