Six On Saturday: Busy, busy, busy

There is much going on at the moment.  Projects in the house and the garden are keeping me busy.  Last weekend was good gardening time.  The first and second earlies are now all in the ground.  The onions grown in modules were planted out and the hydrangea has been moved.  The choisya got a stay of execution!  It is in bud so how I could I chop it down?  It is definitely one plant with a split personality: one side healthy and one side poorly.  Here’s what else is happening:

One

I failed to get all my new tulip purchases in the ground last winter.  My bulb planter was reduced to a mangled mess, my hands hurt and I kept hitting the spots where previous tulips were lying dormant.  The surplus went into pots which were lined up against a south facing wall.  The warm weather has encouraged them to flower.  The purple ones are ‘Ronaldo’ which I was expecting to be a deeper red.  In the other pots are ‘World Friendship’.

Two

I am making progress on my lawn extension project.  In preparation for the new turf – which arrives on Monday – I set about digging up the hydrangea.  It turned out to be two hydrangeas, one very nearly dead!  Deep in amongst the hydrangeas were tulips.  I lifted these and very quickly planted them up again in pots.  I hope they won’t notice the disruption.  So far so good. I can’t wait for the new lawn patch to be laid!

Three

The two hydrangeas may eventually be recycled somewhere but for the moment they have been planted in the north facing border along with my overwintered foxglove seedlings.  This will do for now as next  door to this section is the doomed choisya.  More thinking needs to done for what goes in here when that finally comes out.  Current front runners are choisya ‘Aztec Pearl’, a pinus mugo and possibly a camellia.  But I’d also like to fit in a sarcococca confusa.  Any other suggestions for interesting north facing shrubs gratefully  received.  Ideas for smaller plants for the front are also welcome.

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The north facing border is getting most of the attention this year.  June 2016 is a memorable time as that is when we moved in – and I’ll leave it at that!  After nearly three years in the house I have worked my way round to this side of the garden.  This patch here is reserved for the deep shade white planting scheme by Joe Swift as featured in Gardeners’ World magazine August 2018.  The first planting has been made.  A local nursery was offering a good discount on Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris – the climbing hydrangea.  Two 10l pots were purchased.  More planting to follow but the Melica altissima ‘Alba’ is proving difficult to locate.

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The mahonia in the front garden is looking particularly fine this year.  I hope this is due to the meticulous prune I gave it last year – dead, diseased, crossing etc all done by secateurs rather than a chop over with the shears!

Six

The long border in March.  My monthly photographic update.  The tulips here will be out in April/May.  The delphiniums are shooting away so fast they have outrun the slugs.  Also racing ahead are the hemerocallis ‘Golden Chimes’.  I have new plantings of sanguisorba tanna and some extra alliums – but I can’t remember which ones, nor can I track down the order.  Another garden mystery to unravel.

I’m hoping to find time for some gardening this weekend and will no doubt be inspired by the garden reports of fellow sixers.  If you are looking for inspiration check out the links at The Propagator’s blog.

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Six On Saturday: A change of mind

There is so much gloom around at the moment, I need the garden to pick me up.  It is trying very hard, many things are on the edge of flowering, the perennials are forcing their way up through the mulch and the birds are singing.  I have much to do so the mojo just has to get going.  This was how I started out yesterday but an energising night out in Shoreditch – yes I know, too old for all that really! – has got me going again.  The potatoes are chitted and ready to go.  This is the number one job for the weekend.  If I do nothing else, this will be done!  Here’s what is happening in the garden without my help.

One

The Thalia are just opening out on the south side.  Those in the north facing border are about a week behind.

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The fritillaries  have joined the throng.  I did mean to plant more of these but I had such fun trying to squeeze in extra tulips that I just didn’t get round to it.  On to the list that goes.

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My primrose border is filling out very nicely and I planted some anemone blanda ‘white splendour’  in amongst them.  Just at the bottom right are the shoots of some white phlox warming up for later in the year.

Four

The onions started off in modules are going in the ground this weekend. The red ones have been slower to get going.  Not sure why! They have been coming in and out of the greenhouse all week so should be well acclimatised.   There are a few self sown cornflowers making themselves at home in the space allocated for onions.  It seems a shame to move them on.  Maybe they can grow companionably side by side?

Five

Pulmonaria ‘Sissinghurst White’.  I have nurtured this plant for three years.  It wasn’t doing very well in the first planting spot and so last year I moved it to a slightly shadier space.  It is still very small but I think I have to give more time in it’s new home before I uproot it again.

Six

The north border of the garden is the focus of attention this year.  There are two choisyas there which I have left alone until now, but the time for action has arrived.   One of them is poorly.   One side is yellowing whilst the other looks green and glossy.  The plant has been hacked about in the past, with evidence of limbs having been cut off.  As there is a very happy choisya not too far away I am not too sorry to say that this one is getting it’s marching orders.  I could just cut off the yellow side and see what happens but no, decision made.  Out with the old and in with something new.

I’ve also managed to throw out the new block editor and go back to the old classic editor.  Yipee! More reasons to be cheerful.  I hope you are feeling cheerful in your garden this weekend.  Don’t forget to see what fellow sixers are up to, go to  The Propagator for all the links.

Six On Saturday: Party time for Freya and Gareth

What a week of windy weather! Casualties have occurred but nothing too serious. A piece of the viburnum came down with Freya and Gareth took out a fence panel.

One

I was wondering if I could get six new things out of the garden this week. While the storms rage the garden is in a bit of a lull. Storm Gareth opened up a new vista for me. The fence panel is still in one piece and can be lifted back into place. It is my neigbour’s fence but reinstating it will probably be a joint effort. In the meantime I can enjoy an extended view. I am now doubly sure that the fence needs to be covered with some evergreen planting.

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Also being battered but still looking good is the front garden Magnolia. The buds opened just as the winds arrived and although some have been lost there are plenty remaining.

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The plum trees in the garden are slowly moving into blossom. Last year’s crop was very low but the year before was bumper. I am going to be rigorous in my thinning out to try and even out these ups and downs.

Four

Progress is being made on the lawn extension. The slabs have been moved to the compost area – you can see I didn’t do this, they are so neatly stacked! The hydrangea is going to be moved and the turf will be laid in the next couple of weeks. My job is to dig out the bindweed.

Five

Seed sowing has begun. The tomatoes sown a few weeks back are ready for potting on. This first batch will be planted in the greenhouse. I will sow a second batch for outdoor growing in a couple of weeks. I was much reassured by a tweet from Bob Flowerdew, who in response to the query when is the best time to do things in the garden said ‘it is always two weeks ago!’ I did get my lettuce and rocket seeds sown a while back and I’m now thinking about the hardy annuals. Thinking but not yet doing!

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Some spring daffodils to end on.

There are more gardening up-dates to be found on The Propagator’s site. I would be very grateful if anyone using the new block editor on WordPress can tell me how to rename links. Using the long form is driving me mad! https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/six-on-saturday-16-03-2019/

Six On Saturday: One thing leads to another

It’s funny how things work out. You start one thing, and before you know it something else needs doing. It has been cold, wet and windy but gardening jobs have been done. Some by me and some by the professionals.

One

I planted a cherry tree. Some time ago a dead diseased apricot tree was taken out and I ruminated for a long while on what could go in the space. The old tree roots and the stump are still in the ground but I squeezed in a rose nearby. Hawthorn and rowan were high up on my list of trees to put in a little further along but then as some wild blackberries were taken out the increase in space seemed perfect for a fan trained cherry tree. The cherry tree arrived this week and I set to work planting it. This is the first tree I have ever planted so it was a momentous occasion. I wish trees came with recipe-like instructions. Tools for job: stake, tree tie, fork for forking out inevitable roots of previous inhabitants, loppers for cutting those larger roots, spade for digging hole, fish, bone and blood for fertiliser, trug to put said roots in, mallet for banging in stake, compost for improving texture of soil and last but not least the actual tree. As usual I underestimated the time it would take – an hour, which included me digging it up twice to make sure it was facing the right way!

Two

The bbq went last week and the spotted laurel went this week. My professional with the chain saw said ‘it isn’t a spotted laurel it’s an acuba. I looked up acuba and was informed that it’s common name is spotted laurel. Well it’s gone. On looking at the empty space I decided that the paving slabs were not very attractive and might be just the thing for putting down in front of the new compost bins. So rather radically for a SOSer I am going to add in some extra lawn! The paved area will be turfed. I hear howls of anguish from some quarters but that is the plan. The hydrangea may also be on the move as I think I have found a spot for it elsewhere in the garden

Three

This year I decided to have the fig and apple trees pruned by a specialist. Most are quite young trees but there is a larger older apple tree that needed a reshape. It wasn’t long before disease or insect damage was found in the fig trees. The upper end of the central branches had died back and in some cases was hollowed out leaving a bark case. There wasn’t anything to match it to on the internet so it is a mystery. A larger than expected amount had to be pruned out so the fruit crop is in doubt for this year. I hope this action will save the trees though.

Four

The clematis armandii chose this week to open out into flower. It is lovely but I can’t help thinking it is like a wearing your best flimsy frock to a Christmas night out – absolutely freezing! I am battling against the odds to train it in the direction I would like it to grow and I am quickly learning that the stems are only flexible for the first few inches. After that they break.

Five

Its probable against all the rules, but this week I moved the winter spinach. I need to get a space ready for the onions and the rotation plan meant the spinach needed to be evicted. It looks very settled in it’s new home, due in no small part to the outer slug eaten leaves having been pulled off.

Six

It was a cold wet and windy week but there was a moment of sunshine and the euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii was glowing brightly. An uplifting moment to end on.

For more uplifting moments take at peek at the links available on https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/09/six-on-saturday-09-03-2019/

Six On Saturday: I was surprised!

Surprised like most of us in the UK to have such warm temperatures in February at the beginning of this week and surprised to find a few more plants in flower.  I thought it was all looking a bit dull out there.  I haven’t really got to grips with flowering shrubs and early spring bulbs for the garden yet. But all in good time.   Here’s what surprised me this week:

One

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I could have sworn that I didn’t have any early daffs, but this tiny group of ‘Tete a Tete’ have just sprung up under a rose bush.  They must be a relic from past plantings and they look very well.  I am persuaded to add them to my bulb order wish list.

Two

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These cowslips are from own planting.  They are in a sheltered corner and catch the morning sun.  I think they have been lured out by this week’s warmth.

Three

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The north facing border must also been catching a few sunny rays.  The pulmonaria have opened up.  I originally had them in a south facing border but they were uprooted in the autumn and moved to the dark depths of the other side of the garden.  The slugs don’t seem to like them and I find their uncomplaining nature very agreeable!

Four

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It’s a dangerous time to be out in the garden.  The bulbs are all coming through so I really must be careful where I put my feet as I try to keep on top of the weeds and slugs.  I’m also hoping there won’t be any casualties as a result of the dry summer weather.  I didn’t really think about the bulbs when I was mean with the watering.

Five

From a distance the clematis looked like a tangled mass of dried up browness.  Close up there was an impressive amount of new growth and it was quite clearly time for some pruning.  Job done!

Six

I have another skip on site.  For every project in the house there is the opportunity of sorting out something in the garden.   It’s curtains for the BBQ and the spotted laurel.  The laurel clearly got wind of its impending doom and put out some very attractive berries.  But my mind is made up – not a frequent occurrence – and the laurel will be gone by the end of the month.  The severely cracked BBQ has already been skipped and I have a larger seating area as a result.  Now I need to choose a garden bench.

I have a long wish list of plants that I have come across from reading the SOSs that get posted every week.  If you are looking for inspiration go to  The Propagator  for links to temptations for every season!