Six on Saturday

There was talk last week about growing plants in pots.  Was it really growing them or was it keeping them in a pot until the right spot was found.   I have had many a plant in a pot that has died through benign neglect while waiting for that perfect place in the border.  On moving house I decreed ‘no more plants in pots’.  My agapanthus and lavenders were planted out and their roots now have the freedom to roam.  I neglected the rosemary cuttings and they duly died.  Some plants have stayed in their pots and make an important structural impact and some need to be moved on or given up.  Here’s my six:

One

This phormium and its dragon pot have been together for 20 years.  There is no chance of me releasing it from the pot so there it will stay.  Every now and then it flowers but they are not significant.  It is the focal point of the leaves that is important.

Two

This cordyline had been in its pot for about 15 years.  It has recently been repotted and not a day too soon.  I use it to balance out the phormium on the other side.  Being smaller it needs help.

Three 

So I pair it with this yucca.  It came out of the old garden and into a pot.  The yucca rarely flowered in the garden and was getting congested.  I dug it up with the intention of throwing it out but decided to keep a few divisions in a pot to see if I could create another focal point.  The divisions took and they are beginning to establish themselves.  Paired with the cordyline they help counterbalance the phormium.

Four

Herbs are often kept in pots by the back door to be on hand when needed.  This thyme is in a sunny spot and has survived many periods of neglect.  There is a sunny spot in the border against a south facing wall now vacant after I managed to kill a well established rosemary.  My murderous gardening activities usually involve lack of water.   It might be safer to keep the thyme in the pot and in sight.

Five

I’m a little nervous about this one – I’m sure it won’t survive.  It was given to me as a present for the new garden.  It’s a dwarf azalea with a pink flower and until I see the colour I’m not sure where to put it.  For this year it is staying in the pot and if it is very dwarf it might stay in the pot for a few years.  This is how it starts…

Six

Saving the worst till last.  This box has been in the pot for about five years.  It was bought unshaped and my plan was to cut it into shape over the years.  I was not successful, the pot has cracked and neglect is setting in.  It has been demoted to that special corner of the garden  where  the broken pots are kept and the tumbleweed blows through.  Time for it to go … or shall I give it a new pot, some water and one more year?

That’s my pot expose  (add accent please).  Thanks to The Propagator for hosting the wonderful Six on Saturday.  Read his blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession

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Six on Saturday

Some things on  the gardener’s to do list are there for several weeks.  My list has a few that have been hanging around for months.  I am pleased and relieved to present the first of my Six on Saturday for this week.  I have finally bought and planted out some onions.

One

Far from thoughtfully researching the most interesting, disease resistant and high yield bulbs I could find I simply bought what was in the nursery – radar, electric and jermor for the shallots.  The wire mesh and freezer basket are in place to keep the birds off until the onions are fully rooted.  I will leave these on for some months as I have learnt the lesson of taking them off too early.

Two

Still on the to do list is cleaning the inside of the greenhouse.  I promise you the outside did look wonderful about a month ago.  The ghostly apparition seen here is the lemon tree.  Having bought myself a  min max thermometer – another one crossed off – I could not avoid seeing the inside temperature fall to zero.  So I wrapped the lemon tree in 17gsm fleece.  The  top section has two layers of fleece and I have my fingers crossed.  Underneath the fleece I have decorated the tree with sachets of Amblyseius californicus mite.  These are a preventative control against spider mite.  And washing down the inside will also go some way towards eradicating those pests.

Three 

The leaves of Pulmonaria officinalis are looking fine at the moment.  This was a plant share and I am promised that the slugs avoid this one.  It has really bulked up from the tiny divisions planted earlier in the year.  You can also just spot a bit of new mulch.  Mulching is not complete yet but a start has been made.

Four

There is often a surprise to be found when looking for the six and this week it was finding a new flower on the hydrangea.  What a contrast the white makes with the pink of the autumn colouring

Five

Boxes of tulips arrived a while ago and planting up the borders has begun.  These Violet Beauty are joining Queen of Night, Barcelona and Shirley to form a line either side a path that runs through the border.  This border was first planted from about this time last year and it’s on the to do list to write up the story of its development.  I will. I will.

Six

There is one last shout of colour in the garden.  The container pelargoniums are stubbornly hanging on.  Cold weather is forecast for this weekend so its seems right to give them their five minutes of fame now.

Looking forward to seeing what’s going on in your garden.  Thanks to The Propagator for hosting the wonderful Six on Saturday.  Read his blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession

New border, next steps

Ingredients for the new border have been arriving and planting has begun.

One of these dumpy bags is topsoil and the three others are a mulch mix of composted bark, fine manure and leaf mould.  The bag of topsoil went down first followed by one of the mulch bags.  The plan is that these two layers will suppress the growth of the turned over turves underneath.  Optimism is always part of the gardener’s plan.  The next ingredients to be added were the large pot I already had and a box of tulip bulbs. The roses will come later.

The border looking neat and tidy after the topsoil, mulch and pot had been added

The first frost of winter arrived and tulip planting began.  For this year 90 tulips have been planted in two groups either side of a space left for a white rose.  The tulips are Spring Green, a viridiflora flowering in early May, white with green feathering;  Angelique, a double, pale pink with lighter edges, flowering late April/early May and China Town, another viridiflora flowering in early May, pink feathered with moss green. This one promises to have cream edged leaves.  They were planted on a layer of grit to improve the drainage.

The last job for this stage of the border work was to  move some of the existing phlox and geraniums forward.  Canes have been planted out to  mark the position of the roses.  These have been ordered as bare roots and delivery is due in the next week or so.  My next post on the border will reveal the choice of roses.

 

Six on Saturday

There are some lovely bonuses to this meme.  Shared knowledge from around the world and the weekly deadline sends me out into the garden nosing around in every corner to find out what is new for this week’s post.  This also means I can’t avoid seeing the pests and  diseases to be tackled and the jobs that really must be done! Here’s the six.

One

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The first flowers on the viburnum have opened.  The poor tree is riddled with viburnum beetle but it doesn’t seem to affect the flowering.  Can anyone give a more specific identification on the variety?

Two

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I was also very pleased to spot this first hellebore bud.  It is Pretty Ellen Red which should begin flowering in February, so this is an unexpected early start.  I have planted a small group of these in a shady corner at the back of the garden.  The new growth is clearly providing a food source for the slugs.  Just wish something would eat the slugs. Job for the weekend: cut back the old foliage – looks like hellebore leaf spot has a hold.

Three 

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This is in its second flush of flowering, it’s a common border plant but I just don’t know its name.  It sprawls down a low wall.  Can someone put me out of my misery?

Four

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Apologies for the bright blue background.  I was using a plastic trug to collect any spilt compost as I potted up these tulips.  This year was the first time I have ever lifted and stored tulips.  These were grown in a pot, stored in the shed over summer and I have just spotted that they had begun to sprout.  Quick action required:  out of shed and into pots immediately.  Last year I used compost, this year it’s a mix of grit and compost.  This year’s new tulips for the borders will be planted out in the coming weeks.

Five

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The mulch has arrived.  Mulched borders are so lovely.  It’s like mowing and edging the grass.  Suddenly the garden looks tidier and healthier.  Some of this mulch is for the newly dug out border and the rest will gradually go to the other borders and the veg patch.

Six

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Speaking of vegetables, here is my last productive strip in the veg patch.  The parsnips.  I grew Tender and True, sown in May.  The weather is telling me that it is parsnip time and I’m looking forward to pulling up and roasting some of these soon.

I hope the weather is good to you and that there is some time, no matter how brief, for you to enjoy your garden this weekend.  Thanks to The Propagator for hosting the wonderful Six on Saturday.  Read his blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession

New garden, new borders, new optimism

In starting this blog site I wanted to record the progress being made on renovating the old borders and bringing the veg patch back into production.  As always I was over optimistic.  Three new borders were started before the blog came into being and tracking back to find all the photos and then producing the accompanying words has been a stop start process.  Now work has started on a fourth border so reports on those other borders and the veg patch will have to wait a while longer. It is time to sketch out the work for the latest project before I lose track of what is going on.

Here’s the border before work started.  It was a narrow strip running in front of a hedge of bay, viburnum and elaeagnus.  It is planted with geraniums and phlox which are all jostling for space and light under the hedging.  Something needed to be done but I’m the sort of gardener that never manages to lay down a paper plan.  The thought process was: this border needs to be wider, I saw a lovely rose at a garden I visited, I have a large pot that would look good there and those other plants can be brought forward to give them some space.  Oh and tulips are needed.  That’s a plan.  Let’s go!

The first stage has been completed.  The grass has been turned in on itself and will miraculously turn into loam.  I know, optimism.  It will soon be buried with a mixture of topsoil and mulch which will prevent regrowth and suppress weeds.  Even more optimism.  These ideas have been taken from the ‘no dig’ principles advocated by Charles Dowding.  I hope they will work.  There is a deadline for the work to be completed as the new rose and the tulips need to be planted during November.  Next post coming soon then!

Six on Saturday

There have been some warm autumn days in the last week and much talk about flowers that are still in bloom or putting on a second show.  My first is one of those.

One

Choysia ternata.  RHS advises that this often flowers fitfully into winter.  I’d say it was putting on a very strong show.  It is in north facing border at the end that catches a sliver of late afternoon sun from the west.  Its white flowers are lifting the autumn gloom.

Two

Iris foetidissima.  The seed pods are really popping and every now and then I help them along a little.  I am hoping I will be able to develop a colony of these under the rhododendron but having looked into their propagation it seems it may take a year or so.  I have taken a few berries to plant in pots and will see just how long it takes.  Of course the easier route would be to divide them now or in the spring.

Three

The persimmon tree is shedding its leaves quite rapidly now but the fruit are hanging on as they are supposed to.  Advice is to pick the fruit in late October and let it ripen on a sunny windowsill, so any day now I will be putting the advice into action.

Four

Borlotti beans.  I grew about three plants this year.  The site is against the fence, west facing but in reality very shaded until the late afternoon.  It took  a while for the flowers to appear and eventually bean pods followed.  Its only a small crop but they will be enjoyed.  I miss my full sun allotment plot but I on the positive side I am not getting so many gluts.

Five

The lemon tree with its one ripe lemon was moved into the greenhouse a week or two ago and this week I was pleased to see several of the new lemon fruits had grown in size.  This is my first year of growing lemons and the first year of putting the tree in the greenhouse.  I don’t know how low the temperature gets in the greenhouse over winter so this is going to be a learning curve.

Six

I do like finishing with a rose.  This week it is a beautiful spray from R.Natasha Richardson.

I hope your garden to continues to flower and be fruitful.  Thanks to The Propagator for hosting the wonderful Six on Saturday.  Read his blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession

Six on Saturday

Thanks so much to everyone who gave me advice on the Euphorbia.  The RHS thought it might be poorly because of root rot due to wetness and also suggested, as others mentioned, cutting back the sad stems when the new growth comes through in spring which might persuade it to regenerate.  I think it might have picked up a little in the past week so I am going to remain optimistic.  Here’s my six for this week.

One

Geranium sanguineum var. striatum.  These were making such a good show on a visit to Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire in June that I bought some for myself.  They have established well and this pink flower shone out on a gloomy day this week.  Don’t know why it’s also known as Bloody Cranesbill, seems quite inoffensive to me.

Two

Some small scale seed sowing and propagation has taken place.  I finally potted on some of the Nigella damascena seeds which were collected from plants growing at the allotment.  I also collected some sweet pea seeds from the summer flowering.  They have just germinated.  It was a spur of the moment thing as I unentwined them from their supports.  I put them in a pot and hoped.  So far so good. Next in the row are the penstemon cuttings taken in August.  I took four, four rooted and so far four are growing on.  One was a little thin on the root growth but it seems to be making progress.  I should have taken more cuttings as an insurance policy.

Three

This aster is eye popping in the border where the colour is actually a little more subtle than this photo shows.  It’s another purchase from the Finchley Horticultural Society plant sale.  Who needs Chelsea? The cosmos is still flowering but in preparation for storm Ophelia I did cut back some of the larger stems for flowers for the house.

Four 

Some autumnal mushrooms have arrived in the garden.  Plants for free, yes.  But I’m not sure about food for free.  I don’t know anything about mushrooms so I will leave them where they are.  Something seems to be enjoying them, I suspect squirrels but could it be the birds?

Five 

Some golden leaves from the fig tree.  The colours are turning and the leaves falling but these figs aren’t going to ripen in this garden.

Six

My last one for the week is this climbing rose, Blush Noisette.  Beautiful soft pink flowers and hopefully many more to come.  It is growing up a south facing wall and it will be interesting to see how long this micro climate will help keep it flowering.

I hope your garden to continues to flower and be fruitful.  Thanks to The Propagator for hosting the wonderful Six on Saturday.  Read his blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession

 

 

Six on Saturday

There’s some tidying up of the garden to be done.  Deadheading still, fallen leaves to  be collected, mulching and planting bulbs but close up there are some gems to be found.  Here’s my six for this week.

One

Schizostylis or, and much easier to say, Kaffir Lilly.  This came in a pot of something else when we moved house.  I  love the strong pink colour at the end of the season so I’m glad it stowed away and I’m hoping that it will settle into its new spot and send up more flowering spikes over time.

Two

R.Scepter’d Isle.   No apologies for showing this one again.  Mid October, still flowering and sending out new buds.  It seems happy in my demi paradise.

Three

But not everything in the garden is thriving.  One of the four euphorbia characias wulfenii that I planted to give structure to the border is failing dramatically.  The plants around it seem unaffected.  Possibly too wet in this particular spot?   The other three are still looking good.  Has anyone else experienced this?

Four 

Here’s an update on the persimmon tree.  The leaves are turning and amongst the beautiful copper reds the fruit is also changing colour.  There may be a chance that I will have some ripe fruit yet.

Five 

Geranium Brookside against a healthy euphorbia.  This was a new geranium to me and I love the way it sprawls around the roses and euphorbias.  The flower shines out and the leaves are beautifully cut. The plants have spread out much faster at the sunnier end of the border and so the two languishing at the shady end will have to be moved on.  Right plant, wrong place.

Six

Please correct me if I’m wrong but I think I am introducing Arum Italicum.  It’s an inherited plant.  It grows in a north facing border in a very shady spot.  Its bright orange seed berries have died back and the white veining of the leaves is particularly eye catching at this time of the year.  A good autumnal photo to end on.

I hope you are still finding good things in your gardens and let’s hope the less successful ones aren’t harbouring something nasty.

Thanks to The Propagator for hosting. Read his blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession

 

 

Six on Saturday

Oh Lordy. Late again.  But here are my six

One

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Jobs to be done.  My evergreen aganpanthuses were divided and repotted in spring.  They responded brilliantly, sending up multiple spires that burst into fireworks of blue in August.  This one in a long tom didn’t get treated so well and recently popped its pot in revenge.  I am going to repot this week.  Honest.  I promise.

Two

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The greenhouse. Dark and gloomy.  The last tomatoes have gone to the compost heap. Now the greenhouse needs a wash down, the moss scraped out of the frames and a bit of a weed.  I need to make room for Continue reading

Book review- The Garden Photography Workshop by Andrea Jones

Sounds like the ideal book for gardening bloggers who need a constant supply of good quality photos. Thumbs up

Thomas Stone MCI Hort MPGCA


ok I admit, I was very lucky to win a copy of this book from a twitter competition when the book first came out and I have to be honest and say I would of brought it anyway so it just saved me a few pennies. I have had a love of photography since I was about 16, when I brought my first SLR camera, a Canon. Many years of playing around, trying to get the photos right, I did take some good ones but never excellent. That passion has been relighted over the past 8years, my trusty film canon has been changed for one of the Canon Rebels but despite reading some books and magazines, I haven’t felt I have got to grips with my camera and indeed taking quality photos in the garden regularly. Nearly all the books I have read, focused more on the technical side which…

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