Six on Saturday

As I write the first real frost in the garden is being melted by the sun.  It is the third frosty morning  and this time the water in the bird bath has frozen.  The birds have been active in the garden foraging for food and my first six is on this theme.

One


This one is for John Kingdon at the Rivendell Garden blog The blackbirds have found my cotoneaster and the display of bright red berries is diminishing.

Two

There are still jobs to done in the garden and this is one I completed yesterday.  Cutting back the old and diseased foliage of the hellebores.  I only have a few so it wasn’t arduous and it enabled me to appreciate all the new flower buds forming. This is Pretty Ellen and the bud that I featured a week or so ago has opened beautifully.

Three


There have been plenty of posts recently about collecting leaves, so here’s my leaf mould corner.  Made from chicken wire and a few posts put together with a staple gun.  A varied collection of leaves blow in from neighbouring gardens.  My contributions are from the fig and apple trees.  I collect these mainly by mowing the lawn with the blades set high, shredding and collecting in one sweep.

Four


And here is the deleafed fig tree.  Only a few figs ripened and even the squirrels are turning up their noses at those that are left.  I now have the mammoth tasking of removing all but the very smallest figs.  A job for many Saturdays.

Five


I have recently extended a border and the first planting is complete.  The old plants have been brought out from under the hedge, tulips planted and lastly the roses.  A robin waited expectantly as I took this photo.  He’s pretending not to be looking. But I wasn’t turning over any worms that day. There’s more on the new border at New garden, new borders, new optimism

Six

Back to some of my favourites for the last one.  R.Scepter’d Isle is still putting out new buds and providing some late season colour.  I would also like to put in a good word for geranium brookside.  I have plans to divide this once it is well established and weave throughout the borders.  It definitely earns its keep.

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

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

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