Six On Saturday: Creeping towards spring

The joys of sixing! Thanks to our host The Propagator I get to really notice when things start happening in the garden and what a difference a week makes. Second joy of sixing – the front garden gets a tidy up: this week’s haul: three aluminium cans, a plastic bag and several pieces of polystyrene blown over from a neighbour’s skip. Not much storm damage to report here, just a few twiggy branches and a sodden lawn. Let’s see what Dennis dumps this week. On to the six:

One

The vinca that never flowers has flowered!  And this is not the only one, I’ve spotted at least four more.  It’s a start.  The flowering period for most vincas is given as April – September, this one is early but no complaints. Judging by the height I think this is a vinca major of some sort.

Two

A few more of the front garden crocuses have opened up and these are a good purple colour.  Thumbs up for these too.

Three

Until now there was not a sign of a daffodil but the sunny skies of last week have enticed the tete a tete to flower.

Four

Round the corner from the daffs I came across a very healthy clump of pulmonaria officinalis.  Flowering period March to May, so just a few weeks early.

Five

The primroses have been slowly opening up over the last few weeks but now they’ve decided to go for it.

Six

Lastly the front garden virbunum tinus, often maligned for not flowering very strongly is having a real go at it, mainly on the sunnier side of the shrub. There are two in the front garden and both were given a good prune last year.  They also received a good mulch for the second year running. so perhaps that has helped to move things along a bit.

All in all, a much easier six this week.  Things are definitely looking up.  The greenhouse felt positively warm this morning.  This can only mean one thing: it is time to start gardening again.  Time to finish all that soft fruit pruning and time to pull off the dead stems from the phlox as I’ve spotted the new shoots coming through.  Due to impending storm Dennis it won’t get one this weekend.  Time, I think, for an indoors sort through of seeds to be sown for week four of February.  Yes, time to be organised.

Six on Saturday: snowdrops before the storm

Ciara is heading our way and it sounds pretty bad. I’ll be lifting all the pots down to the ground and finally getting round to picking up a few empty flower pots that always seem to lurk in the corners. The week has had a cold and frosty appearance and the beautiful blue skies tempted me out to the Hertfordshire countryside to view a snowdrop garden. I have one exciting non-snowdrop jewel from my garden but the other five are from the gardens at Benington Lordship.

One

I am always over-excited by the first flowers from any new planting in the garden and this week the newly planted Iris reticulata bulbs opened out.  I chose a single variety – J S Dijt and once again realise I should have bought many, many more.  The colour is stunning.  Allegedly there is a scent but so far I cannot vouch for that.

Two

Now on to the snowdrops. First, galanthus ‘Primrose Warburg’.  I completely fell for this one and if there had been any pots of these for sale I would probably have paid whatever the price was.  Online nursery price is £25 per pot.

Three

Galanthus elwesii ‘Comet’.  Retails at £20 per bulb.  But oh so pretty.

Four

Galanthus plicatus ‘Diggory’ Retails at £25 per bulb. Very distinctive with its textured petals  and curved shape.  Lovely.

Five

Galanthus  elwesii Jessica. Pretty green markings on the inner leaves.  Retail price £20.

Six

Galanthus Wasp. A snowdrop with such long slender petals deserve a more beautiful name but there it is.  The green inner markings are not quite visible but an internet search reveals them to be quite intricate.  Price £20.

My visit to Benington Lordship was a mid week treat and I felt like I was truanting but I could so I did and it was well worth it.  There were hellebores and aconites too and in a week or so I am sure there will more spring bulbs on view. The garden is open now until 1st of March but not on Sunday 9th February due to the weather warnings.

More from my garden next week and more from other gardens this week by visiting The Propagator for his cheery update and the links to other SOS posts.  Batten down the hatches and stay safe.

Six On Saturday: Something old, something borrowed, something blue

The bulbs are popping up all over the place.  A ring of tete a tete around the persimmon tree, thalia in the front garden, and signs that the tulips planted a few years ago are still willing to have a go. Today the sun is shining and once again that promise of spring is in the air. Here’s my six for the first week of February.

One

Something borrowed and something blue in the same photo.  The blue is the wonderfully uplifting sky.  The borrowed is the winter flowering honeysuckle from my neighbour’s garden.  The scent from it wafted over last weekend as I relocated a blackcurrant bush.  Yes, I have finally done my first bit of real gardening for the year.  The heady perfume was an unexpected and very welcome treat.

Two

Something new are these alliums.  This year I am trying out allium nigrum.  After a few years of growing Mount Everest I decided to add these into the mix.  The Mount Everest have a habit of disappearing for me.  Possibly due to the heavy clay soil.  I’ll see if these fare any better.

Three

Something old.  The north border has a wall that runs along its length.  At the bottom end it is about 30cms high climbing upwards to the top end where it is about a metre high.  It’s a higgledy-piggledy mixture of  all sorts and not very attractive.  At the bottom end I am persuading the ivy to entwine around itself along the wall rather than out into the very tempting lawn.  Or back into the borders.  Ivy twining patrol is a regular task but I am gradually achieving my aim.

Four

Further along the wall the moss is doing a grand job of covering the stones.

Five

I’ve not starting sowing seeds this year but the autumn sowing of ammi visnaga is coming along nicely.  I have a plan to under-plant the wild black berries with these.  Isn’t it wonderful how brilliant these ideas look in the imagination.   We’ll see.

Six

For February I have to include snowdrops.  Many gardens will be holding snowdrop days this month.  The NGS offers a list of gardens open for snowdrops and I hope to find one near me that I can visit.

Yes, gradually the gardening sap is rising, a gentle limbering up is called for and new inspiration propels me onward.  More inspiration will be found at Mr P’s site.  Links, comments and general good gardening cheer for all.