Six On Saturday: The height of summer

It looks like last week’s prediction of beautiful weather after the summer solstice is coming good.  Of course it will be extreme, that is only to be expected these days! Greenhouse windows wide open and pots regularly watered.  Here’s hoping the garden stands up to the next onslaught.  The pests are increasing their attacks – sawfly on the gooseberries, slightly less than last year, slugs and snails everywhere, box moth caterpillar munching the box and whitefly in the greenhouse.  I am using encarsia wasps to combat them. But there is much to enjoy at this time of year.

One

IMG_3795
This is a side view of the long border.  It is now approaching its mad, chaotic crescendo.  Geraniums, knautia, roses, penstemons, astrantia and salvias all pushing and shoving to make an appearance centre stage.  I love this disorderly behaviour but every now and then creep in to put in a little essential staking.

Two 

IMG_3786

The sun was shining the wrong way when I took this photo but I hope you can get the sense of the lovely combination of salvia nemorosa and astrantia major. They are are dream together.

Three

IMG_3791

This is penstemon ‘Firebird’.  I like the penstemons for taking on the baton of flowering from the alliums.

Four

IMG_3792

In the greenhouse the first tomatoes have appeared.  But pride of place goes to the lettuce. Growing lettuce outside has always been hit and miss for me so this year I tried a few in the greenhouse.  I now have an awful lot of lettuce to eat, I am hoping the hot temperatures are not going to ruin it.

Five

IMG_3790

My salvia ‘Amistad’ did not survive the winter or so I thought. But just days after buying three new plants I spotted shoots on two of the old ones.  I dug those up and moved them to a nursery bed where they are making slow but steady progress.  I might have some flowers by August.  In the meantime the new ones romped away and are looking dramatically sultry.  As I planted the new ones I snapped a stem but encouraged by everyone’s advice that salvia ‘Amistad’ cuttings are easy peasy I planted it up.  It took almost immediately so now I feel awash with these wonderful salvias.

Six

IMG_3785

This fuschia is another small success.  It came with the garden and I spent the first few years saving it from the clutches of bindweed and couch grass. Once freed I gave it a judicious prune and this year it is flowering well and in much better shape.  Its a var. unk. to me but maybe someone can identify it.  I love the strong colours.

If you’d like to see some more Six On Saturday posts from other sixers then go along to The Propagator’s blog.  There is much that will inform and amuse!

 

 

Advertisements

Six On Saturday: Flattened

It was a week of hunkering down.  The water butts filled up impressively.  I then emptied them by filling up all the watering cans and then watering the greenhouse.  It was mad, crazy, wet.  I was happy from Monday to Wednesday, a little peeved by Thursday and downright fed up on Friday.  But the garden did need it.  I reviewed the damage: slugs and snails feasting on the lupins and flattened roses but most other things just soaked up the magic water.

One

The flattened and rain soaked ‘Scepter’d Isle’.  The petals just fell off them as I deadheaded them.  The alchemilla mollis underneath was cut and joined the forlorn rosa ‘Darcy Bussell’ in a vase.  I was reminded of some beautifully crafted staking of roses at Waterperry gardens and again made a note to do better next year!

Two

The collection of small plants I bought at the Finchley Horticulutral Society plant sale were short enought to withstand the rain, and positively thrived on it.  These are alchemilla mollis alpina, tellima grandiflora or fringe cups,  geranium ballerina and erinus alpinus, also delightfully known as fairy foxgloves.

Three

I was pleased to see a mistreated geranium had forgiven me.  ‘Ann Folkard’ was planted five years ago in the old house, moved around several times there, came to the new house and has been moved around several times again.  I hope it’s  in the right place now, I’m going let it stay for a while and see how it fairs.

Four

Just before the deluge arrived the ailing choysia left.  I now have that most desirable of garden commodities – open space.  I wish I had worked out the plan of what to do next first but the urge to remove the choysia was too strong.  Normally I would fill the space with annuals but I don’t think they will do well in this north facing border.  On the other hand it is at the western end and I do have two or three trays of annuals looking for a home.

Five

The much awaited melica altissima ‘Alba’ arrived.  The final piece in the shady north border planting.  Now it all has to knit together, the weeds are doing that rather better than the plants at the moment.  The climbing  hydrangea is making good progress but the first flowers on the geranium sanguineums were dashed to the ground by the rain.

Six

The small and dainty dianthus deltoides stood up to the rain.  They are about 18cms high and edge the border very well.

A little bit warmth would do very nicely now but dark clouds are looming again.  The weeds are growing upwards and the slugs are growing fat.  It is summer solstice next week so I am optimistically  expecting a change in the weather!  I think rain will be the word of the week for other SOSers.  Take a look at The Propagator’s blog to see how everyone faired.

Six On Saturday: Dad’s Delphiniums

To avoid charges of misleading posts, this is not a delphinium themed post but Dad’s delphiniums do get pride of place this week.  It is always good to have plants in the garden that hold memories of people and places and it seems particularly appropriate to share his delphiniums in this week of D-day memories.  Dad followed up the first D-day landings on Sword beach as a member of a tank regiment and went on to the battle for Caen.

One

IMG_3716

The delphiniums came from a division of the delphiniums that grew in the parental garden.  They came to the old house and settled in their for twenty odd years.  I divided them up when we moved and brought a clump with me.  They have always reached a good height but this year they have excelled themselves, I am estimating at least two metres.  I took this photo on Thursday as I was more than a little concerned for them suffering in the wet and windy weather that was forecast.  So far, they are still standing proud.

Two

IMG_E3717

I also have good memories attached to this geranium which came from Aunty Jen’s garden.  It also moved gardens when we came here and it’s settled in well.  I have a distant memory that it is ‘Johnson’s Blue’.

Three

IMG_3714

I do love a geranium and this one is ‘Brookside’. It’s a big sprawly one and beautifully grows around the roses, in this case ‘Wisley’.  I wish I could be cheesy and say I have fond memories of the Wisley gardens but I’ve never been there.

Four

IMG_3715

The sweet peas are flowering.  They were sown in February and have grown very chunky and strong.  This variety is ‘April in Paris’ and I can say I have enjoyed many good times there.  This is a beautifully scented variety with long stems.

Five

IMG_E3712

I also enjoyed a good day out Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire a couple of years ago and this cistus was bought there.  It’s  ‘Alan Fradd’ and is laden with flowers at the moment.

Six

IMG_3708

The rainy weather of the last few days has been a wonderful relief for the garden. The water butts are filling up again and I imagine the slugs and snails are partying like mad.  A few weeks ago I spotted this beautiful pot thrown out in a skip.  I called at the house and asked if I could liberate it.  I was amazed that anyone would want to throw it away but when I flexed the muscles to lift it from the skip I realised why.  It is plastic!  It fooled me but I was still happy to take it and give a new hosta a home.  I’ve wrapped copper tape around the pot and mulched the top with a layer of slate chips that were lurking at the back of the shed.  I’ve placed it on the wooden top of a raised bed.  What more can I do?  I’m pleased that I made a small contribution to plastic recycling and I now have another garden memory.

Mr P has a truly beautiful rose (I’m so envious) on show in his Six on Saturday and all the links to other sixes will appear in his comments section through the day.  If it’s raining where you are put your feet up and have a good read.

 

Six On Saturday: Roses, geraniums and more

The soft scent of the roses greeted me as I walked down the path to collect this week’s photos.  Yes, summer is arriving and it is time to enjoy what is on offer.  I still have work to do and ridiculously, given the dry weather, I have new plants to find homes for. Here’s this week’s collection.

One

IMG_E3686

The climbing rose ‘Blush Noisette’ is covering the wall with small blooms and buds.  This is a three year old plant and it is just about reaching its predicted spread of four feet.  It is billed as having a a rich musky clove scent, which is not so apparent,  but it does flower generously.

Two

IMG_E3687

Geranium psilostomen is just opening up, I bought this two years ago from the Finchley Horticultural Society (FHS) plant sale and the following year bought three more.  They are fabulous for a statement geranium, tall and covered in masses of magenta flowers with black centres.  They grow to 1.2m and are pretty much self supporting although I do stake one side of this to keep it up off the path.

Three

IMG_3685

Antirrhinum majus ‘White Giant’ F1.  I am so proud of these because I grew them from the tiniest of seeds last year.  They flowered well last summer and have over wintered and flowered even more vigorously this year.  They are annuals so I seem to have been very lucky to have them come through again.  I don’t think they are self seeders.  I have no idea how this has worked but I am thoroughly enjoying them.

Four

This week I made a start on one of the most terrifying jobs in the garden. Cutting back the flower stems of euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii.  They are just beginning to produce seed and are dominating the border so it’s time to cut them down and give everything else some extra space.  The foliage left after the flower shoots are gone continues provide some useful structure.  The white sap drips everywhere and can cause skin irritation so I tackle this job very carefully.  One down, three more to go.

Five

IMG_E3683

All is not as it should be in the north facing border.  I am still trying to track down the melica plants – I think I may be on to something but I have to wait patiently for another week before I know for sure!  In the meantime the 25 geranium sanguineum ‘Album’ are just beginning to flower and there are interlopers.  At least one so far but judging by the leaf I think there may three more.  I do like the new geranium but it cannot stay here in the clearly designated ‘white plants for deep shade’ space.  Well, not for long.

Six

IMG_3688

Last weekend I was helping out at the FHS plant sale.  I came back with a good haul of plants, some small and delicate for the half-thought out alpine corner and some more statuesque.  These two tall ones are veronica, pink and salvia microphylla var. microphylla or blackcurrant sage.  I must have a corner for them somewhere.

My fellow sixers will be sharing their gardens and all the links are collected together on The Prop’s blog.  Mr P does a sterling job of running the show for which we are all most appreciative.  Look no further for inspiration and helpful advice.  That’s enough sucking up, time to enjoy the garden.

Six On Saturday: Taking the rough with the smooth

It’s an emotional life being a gardener.  This week I have experienced frustration with the slow growing dahlias, sadness for the agastache that didn’t come through the winter and anxiety over the lack of rain.  Fortunately there have been plenty of joys too.  Here’s six good things from the garden.

One

IMG_3660 (1)

The monthly look at the border.  From this angle the delphiniums are blocking the view of the roses that are just coming into flower.  Everything is filling out very well and for the moment the water butts are providing enough water. As I enjoyed all the new growth I was struck by how I have, almost without exception, gone for height on this border.  Not much gradation going on here, but I like it.  The brown patch is still awaiting inspiration and so for the third year will be home to the annuals grown from seed. I’m thinking about trying libertia chilensis (grandiflora) here – more height.

Two

IMG_3646

Now for the detail of the main border.  This is allium ‘Mount Everest’ which in itself it lovely but there’s a little disappointment here as I planted 12 bulbs two years ago and topped them up with six more this year.  Flowering result this year: four.  They do grow tall but the flower heads are quite small.  I suppose any larger and they would wobble on their long stems.

Three

IMG_3659 (1)

Behind the delphiniums lurk rosa ‘Wisley’ and ‘Gertrude Jekyll’.  This week ‘Wisley’ gets to be the star.  The roses were planted three years ago and this year they are excelling themselves.

Four

IMG_E3643

Behind the ‘Wisley’ roses are a clump of ‘White City’ irises.  Again they have been in the ground for three years, having come to me from a division of a friend’s clump.

Five

IMG_3648

Climbing up the back fence, in shade in the morning but catching the sun by the afternoon is ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’.  This was planted out last autumn and I am impressed by it’s the speedy progress and generous flowering.  A winner.

Six

IMG_3637

The not quite open irises featured last week have burst forth and are stunning.  These also came from a friend’s garden and I have promised to pass them on again to two more friends.

So this week’s little homily is there’s good and bad in life and in the garden but keeping the good in focus is what’s important!  I looked up the meaning of homily and I rather liked this definition: advice that is often not wanted.

It’s another long weekend in the UK and I shall be helping out at a local plant sale on the Sunday. Also on the to do list are planting out the overwintered pellies into the summer containers and prepping the veg beds for the beans, courgettes and cucumbers.  I shall also be peering optimistically at the parsnip and carrots sowings, and undoubtedly doing some watering. Happy gardening to all.  For the links to more SOS postings go to The Propagator’s blog and feast your eyes on what’s on offer.

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

IMG_3609

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

IMG_3608

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

IMG_3610

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 

IMG_E3611

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

IMG_E3612

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

IMG_E3607

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.

Six On Saturday: The joy of small things

It’s a late post today, the forecast is for showers this afternoon and there were some gardening jobs that had to be finished off.  I was very happy to have plenty of rain this week and the water butts are now full again.  Everything is looking very lush and about to burst forth into a froth of colour.  I am becoming slightly impatient as the roses have been promising to burst forth for a few weeks now.  But I have managed to put that impatience aside and enjoy what is moving along in the garden.

One

IMG_E3598

I’m giving myself a little pat on the back for managing to overwinter the scented leaf pelagoniums in the greenhouse.  Probably not a difficult task in truth but when I tucked them away for the winter there was a great sense of trepidation.  Well they made it and the beautiful flowers are emerging.  This one is ‘Pink Capitatum’.

Two

IMG_E3601

Unfurling majestically in the garden is the geranium ‘Phaeum’ which I also noted is happy enough in its spot to start self seeding.  Self seeders are much appreciated when a new garden is being stocked.

Three

IMG_E3600

Also self seeding very happily is astrantia major.  I moved some of these over to the north facing border, amongst the geranium sanguineum ‘Album’ and had plenty left to share some with a friend.

Four

IMG_3595

One of the first plants I put into the garden was zantedeschia aethiopica ‘Crowborough’. A beautiful arum lilly that I was hoping to enjoy for many a year.  It came to nothing for two years.  Today I noticed these tiny leaves and also the most likely reason for its coming to nothing – slugs.  I am thinking I might dig this up and treat it to the luxury of a well protected pot.

Five

IMG_3596

Nearby I noticed the new leaves of rodgersia aesculifolia coming through.  It is being crowded out by a clump of siberian irises that need to be taken in hand once they have flowered.

Six

IMG_3586

The nasturtium seedlings are ready to be transplanted.  I’m not going to pot these on.  They will go straight into their own designated space in two batches, just in case there is a late frost.

Looking at the small things in a garden keeps us going until the big adventure of summer arrives!  To see what else is opening up in gardens around the world go to The Propagator’s page for all the links to this weeks #SixOnSaturday posts.

 

 

Six On Saturday: Views from the borders

I was belatedly staking plants last weekend in anticipation of Storm Hannah.  The tulips in the long border are sprawling around now but otherwise no damage to report.  Weeding continues, the greenhouse tomatoes were moved into greenhouse and a second attempt at a patch repair of the broken glass will have to do for a week or two.  The dwarf french beans have germinated, the second batch of rocket was planted out and this weekend the courgette seeds will be sown.   Here’s what is out and about in the flower borders this week.

One

IMG_3569

A last shout for the tulips.  Contrary though they are I do love them.  This is a second outing for ‘Spring Green’ and ‘China Town’.  Last year this planting was infiltrated by a rogue orange tulip and a ‘Queen of Night’.  I think some cross pollination must have occurred as ‘China Town’ has an orange tinge this year, instead of the pink tone of last year.  Fortunately the orange tone works well with the terracotta pot.  I’m happy.  This planting should also contain the lovely pink double ‘Angelique’ but she failed to turn up.  I was beginning to think ‘tulips, pah!’ but then I read this week’s Dig Delve, Dan Pearson’s blog, and I was smitten again.

Two

IMG_3574

This is an early morning photo of the North facing border, the sun will come around to this corner again in the afternoon.  I’ve lost the plot on the tulip varieties – I offer you ‘Flaming Spring Green’ – with no evidence of the flame, ‘Ronaldo’ – or not and ‘Jan Reus’.  The recently planted armeria maritima is fittinng in well with erigeron karvinskianus, and the osteospermum has just opened up alongside the bluebells.

Three

IMG_3570

Restocking the garden continues. The latest purchase was tiarella ‘Emerald Ellie’ which is lining the shady path to the compost heap.  This sounds a bit below the dignity of Ellie, but I think she will do well there.

Four 

IMG_3571

Another of the missing plants for the deep shade section of the north border arrived.  Three pots of pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’ will give some evergreen structure.  All that remains to be found is the melica which I hope will appear in nurseries later in the season.  This part of the border gets early morning sun but then is shaded for the rest of the day.

Five

IMG_3567

The sunny border is beginning to offer up the allium ‘Purple Sensation’ which takes over from the tulips.

Six

IMG_3566

The first flowers of geranium sanguineum var. striatum are opening up.  I keep moving this plant around but I’m hoping it is in now in its forever home.

It’s another bank holiday in the UK, this time cold and windy but I’ll find some time to garden, I hope you do too.  Check in with The Propagator  to see what else is going on in the varied collection of SOS gardens.

Six On Saturday: The borders take shape

This garden has a long history of growers. The very first owner here was a prize winner for a plate of three raspberries and the second owner was a committed fruit grower.  When I came along the fruit growing had taken priority and the borders were being taken over by weeds and grass.  There are still plenty of weeds and fruit bushes around but flowers are gradually being reinstated.

One


The monthly long border shot.  This year I have gone for two smaller wigwams of sweet peas.  I planted out the early sowings last weekend.  On the left  ‘April in Paris’, a white variety and on the right ‘Midnight Blues’.  I now have a gap where the large wigwam went and although I have some annuals lined up to fill the space I feel the need for an evergreen shrub to give more form to this end of the border.  The delphiniums are shooting away and with storm Hannah blowing through I need to get out there and do some tying in.  In case you are wondering, the bamboo cane is there to remind me not to step on the emerging echinacea ‘White Swan’.  Roses, geraniums and knautia are also making good progress, ready to take over from the tulips and euphorbia.

Two

The left hand end of the north border. This used to be home to a stand of blackcurrant bushes and in turning over the soil for the nth time I found a label: Ben Tirran.  Four of those bushes went on to new homes so I will pass on the information.  The others have been found temporary homes elsewhere here.  So this end of north border was ready to plant up this year.  First to go in were two hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris, climbing hydrangeas for the back fence.  Last weekend I planted 23 geranium sanguineum ‘Alba’ and six anemone ‘Honorine Jobert.  I have two more geraniums waiting to go in once the front row three of pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’ arrive.  I’ll fit the last two geraniums in around them.  The black pots along the back row are representing 10 melica altissima ‘Alba’.  These are proving elusive at the moment and I am hoping I don’t have to resort to a well known but more expensive on-line supplier.  I am following a plan from Joe Swift – Five plants for a deep shade border – as published in Gardeners’ World August 2018.  I also have some seedlings of astrantia major to fit in and finally I plan to add snowdrops for some early interest.

Three

At the other end of the north border the Choisyas are opening up.  This can mean only one thing.  The days are numbered for the ailing one.  For the moment I’ll enjoy the scent and the green and white colours.

Four

Patiently waiting to fill the space soon to be vacated by poorly choisya is a skimmia ‘Kew Green’.  Most descriptions use the very attractive phrase ‘no need to prune’.  The scent is described as’ lilly of the valley’ and it does well in shade.  Sounds perfect.

Five

I was lucky enough to inherit a greenhouse, old and needing some glazing repairs but it looked wonderful to me.  I put in some automatic openers but the frame on one side sticks in one corner and I haven’t solved the problem.  Last week the frame gave way at its weak point – the glass.  I made a temporary repair with some left over plastic and clingfilm but storm Hannah has curled her lip!  I am hoping the local company that helped out with the glazing last time will come to my aid again.

Six 

The sowing of tomatoes for the greenhouse are coming along well.  Time to move them on I think.  That will encourage me to get that window repaired.

The weather has changed dramatically.  Cold, wet and windy.  I am grateful for the rain as already the water butts were getting low.  Fingers crossed that the wind isn’t too damaging, there is so much blossom around now.  I hope your garden stays safe and don’t forget to take a look at Mr P’s blog for more news from SOSs around the world.

 

 

Six on Saturday: Hip hip hooray!

I’m cheering for the sunshine, the long weekend and the surge in growth that is taking place in the garden.  I’m getting a tingling feeling! For the full ASMR experience please read this post in a slow, gentle whisper.

One

IMG_E3506

Tulips, tulips, tulips.  These are planted out in blocks along the long border central path. There are four types: Queen of Night, Shirley, Violet Beauty, Barcelona.  Queen of Night comes along a little later which seems appropriate.

Two

img_e3511.jpg

This is the sunny end of the north facing border – which is in truth slightly angled east-west.  The iberis sempervirens is in full swing and the tulips here are just appearing.  I’m waiting patiently for the trachelospermum jasminoides to run riot over the back fence.

Three

IMG_3512

Down at the hedge border I have two groups of tulips comprising of Angelique, China Town, and Spring Green which are just waking up.  The shorter ones with the creamy edged leaves are China Town.  These are absolutely lovely!

Four

IMG_E3507

New to the garden this year is leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’. Billed as reaching 90cms in height, this hasn’t quite made it this year.  But I have high hopes!

Five

IMG_E3508

The apple blossom is opening out.  Such beautiful colours.

Six 

IMG_3513

Rosa Mdme Alfred Carriere was planted out last year on a shady back fence and it is running away very nicely.  After a week away I was very happy to find it  lush and full of buds.  I’m looking forward to them opening out.

I am now heading off to do some gardening.  Some more of the plants for the less sunny end of the north facing border arrived this week and I have 25 geraniums and 6 anemones to plant out.  I know it will take twice as long as I think so I’d better get started.  I’ll post on this new border next week.

I know someone else who will be out in the garden this weekend, but Mr P, host of this meme will find time to share the links to other SOSs for your enjoyment.  Have a great weekend.