Six On Saturday: Roses

The ‘moderate’ breezes of the last few days have scattered rose petals across the garden. There is dead heading to be done and a little extra support to be put in here and there but the fragrance of a good scented rose more than makes up for that. This week is all about the roses in my garden.

One

I am fortunate to have a walled boundary for about half the length of the narrow border and two ‘Blush Noisette’ climbing roses are beginning to cover a good part of it.  The flowers come in clusters and it is not my favourite to dead head.  The pink flowers fade away to a vintage white but there are always new clusters coming through.  

Two

The long border is in shade for parts of the day and so I chose ‘Wisley’ for it’s ability to survive on four to five hours of sun a day.  It is really in its stride this year.   When the growing notes say ‘elegantly arching stems’ be prepared to put supports in place.  It was one of the first roses to be planted about four years ago and is comfortable at its expected height of four to five foot. 

Three

The ‘Wisley’ roses flank either side of two ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ roses.  The middle of the long border has a sunnier aspect and the punchy pink of Gertie is a great centre point.  Gertie also smells divine.  It grows to a more compact shape than ‘Wisley’ coming in at a height of three foot.  I love it with the lime green of the euphorbias and the white alliums. 

Four

Down along the hedge border I planted three ‘Darcy Bussell’.  This is a truly sumpious red and also beautifully scented.  These roses are strong enough in colour to shine through the morning shade.  Later in the year salvia ‘Amistad’ will provide a dark purple backdrop.  

Five

Just a little along from Darcy grows ‘Jacqueline du Pré’.  I’m pushing my luck a bit here as the planting guidance recommends full sun and this end of the border is in shade until early afternoon.  Last year I was beginning to take pity on Jaqueline and was considering trying to move her but this year she has flowered well.

Six

 

Going back to the narrow border the centre space has been given to ‘Scepter’d Isle’. I do enjoy the shape of the flowers on this rose.  This is another rose that I use supports for, mainly to keep it from spilling out onto the path.  It does have good strong stems and is now at around four foot high.  

These roses were the among the first plants to be added to the garden in the winter of 2016. They’ve come along way and I’m so pleased to be enjoying them now.  Challenging times ahead for us gardeners though – drying winds, more sunshine and no rain forecast for my part of the country.  I’ve got to keep on my toes to keep the roses happy.  

Mr P has a colourful six this week and if that is not enough there will be plenty more gardens to take a tour round if you take a browse among the links.  Happy gardening. 

Six On Saturday: In the sweet shop

I seem to remember being a little excited over recent weeks, contrary to national sentiments at this time. This week I’m in the sweet shop anticipating a sugar overload whilst of course maintaining social distancing. The garden is throwing out new delights at every turn and some of the sulkier seeds have come through. I will definitely have enough courgettes – how could I have doubted that? The Eschscholzia have germinated and even though I am on the third hopeful sowing of parsnips I am optimistic. Here’s my six for the week.

One

I love it when the Siberian irises open up.  The combination of purple and green is just perfect. I divided these last year and spread the joy to friends.  They came to me from a division and it is only right that tradition continues.

Two

The first clematis flower arrived.  I have no idea which one it is, it came with the garden and this year I am very thankful for it.  I was a little tardy in cutting the clematis back so the bottom half is a bare but fortunately hidden by geraniums.  Must do better.

Three

Going back to reluctant seeds, two years ago I sowed an entire packet of euphorbia oblongata.  Four germinated, three survived and last year I squeezed them into small space in the border.  They looked pretty feeble and I did not expect them to survive a winter.  Well they did.  It was a lovely surprise to see them even though they are in the ‘wrong place’ in terms of the border layout. Perhaps they are in the right place for them.

Four

Dazzling away in partial shade is thalictrum ‘Black Stockings’, one of the Prop’s recommendations.  Good sir, I thank you for mentioning it.  This is its second year and it has definitely got its feet in the right place. 

Five

The just about to unfurl, perfectly curled, rose bud of r. Jacqueline du Pré.  When open the rose reveals beautiful golden stamens.

Six

Oh how I wish I could share the scent of this rose with you.  It is  ‘Madame Isaac Péreire’.  I also wish I could capture the rich shade of pink that this rose truly is but you will have to make a mental adjustment to compensate. I confess that I often walk down the garden just to inhale its fragrance.  Bliss. 

I hope you are finding bliss and a kaleidoscope of delights in your gardens this week.  It was a cold one with the early part of the week best forgotten.  Here’s hoping we are on the up from now on.  Mr P will have all the links to the SOSs of the week and of course his own inimitable gardening highlights.  If you have a moment stop by. 

Sunflower Challenge: Week 6 May 13

This has come from a great idea put forward by @GardeningGent.  Sow sunflower seeds on April 1 and then report weekly updates. Mine are from a variety unknown seed packet left from last year.  All seeds were sown in peat free compost.

This photo is from a seedling that grew las year from a seed that came from the bird feeder.

It was definitely time to move the seedlings to a pot.  The decision to use the homemade compost had been taken. Now the pots had to be found.  On rummaging for a pot it became clear that 2l pots were not going to do it.  What was I thinking.  But somewhere I had some 10l pots.  

The shed had to be unpacked, swept clean, put back in better order but the pots were found.

The compost was transferred from the heap to a wheelbarrow and a trowel full of fish bone and blood was mixed in.  It is not the finest crumb compost but it will have to do. 

Seedling number one did not like the move to a pot and for several days it looked like it would be no more but it seems to have pulled through. Seedling number three seems okay. 

 All the seedlings have suffered in the icy cold winds of recent days.  Seedling four was so battered by the wind that it was taken back to greenhouse and supported with a stick.  It’s straightened up again and is now back outside, even though the temperatures are still quite cold.  The tallest seedling has made it to 40cms, the others are more or less at 30cms.  The seedlings were planted a little deeper in the pots so a few centimetres have disappeared underground. 

I’m sorry to say that seedling number two which miraculously appeared is no more.  It was not nurtured.  The peat free compost dried out and that was the end of that.  

More to come next Wednesday. 

Six On Saturday: Some shady specials and some for sun

I don’t know why it took me so long to discover the first plant in my six for today. I saw it an NGS garden visit and serendipitously spotted two small pots of it for sale at the Finchley Horticultural Plant sale last year. It has come on in leaps and bounds so without further ado here it is:

One

Tellima grandilfora aka fringe cups.  It is an absolute winner for the dry shade in my garden.  This version has pinkish flowers that fade to greeny white.  How clever is that?  There is another version, tellima grandiflora odorata, that is scented but I didn’t stumble across that one.  I could easily be tempted to track one down for another shady corner though. 

Two

I’m also enjoying geranium macrorrhizum in the very dry shade in the front garden.  The bluebells there are just going over but that blue and the magenta of the geranium has looked good over the last few weeks.  This is a space where only the strong survive, and this geranium just gets on with it.

Three

In the sunnier long border the ‘Mount Everest’ alliums have appeared.  These were much complained about for putting on a poor show and last year I decided to add in some allium nigrum.  It seems the threat of being usurped has spurred ‘Mount Everest’ on and they are making a go of it this year.  The nigrums are some weeks behind and are much shorter at the moment.

Four

 

I had to feature the sun loving osteospermums this week because I had never noticed their blue centres.  Shame on me and thanks to Off the Edge Gardening for pointing this out.  Apparently this is a sign of a hardier osteo.  

It’s May, the roses are popping out everywhere and filling the air with beautiful scent.  So the last two spaces go to them.

Five

An unknown red climber that I inherited.  It was a weak and straggly specimen that I cut completely to the ground three years ago.  It put on the growth again quite quickly but this is its most floriferous year so far.  It does battle with the alkanet – which I am going to try to dig out very soon.  Again, that is.  Last year’s half-hearted attempt just didn’t do it.

Six

Madame Alfred Carriere.  Another climbing rose that is making good progress over the back fence. It is in shade for the most of the day but catches the late afternoon/evening sun from the west.  This is it’s second year and it is beginning to live up to its nickname of ‘Mad Alf’.  I am very happy for it to go as mad as it likes.  There is plenty of fence to cover.

There is some wonderful weather for today and perhaps early tomorrow but cold air is coming.  There may be a need to fleece some things and it is definitely not time for the pellies to leave the greenhouse but I think another week might bring us into more consistent temperatures.  Wishing you all perfect gardening weekends. I am late posting today but I see I am in good company.  Mr P was distracted by having Friday off but he managed to get a post in on time and will be marshalling all the links to other SOSs.  

 

Sunflower Challenge: Week 5 May 5

This has come from a great idea put forward by @GardeningGent.  Sow sunflower seeds on April 1 and then report weekly updates. Mine are from a variety unknown seed packet left from last year.  All seeds were sown in peat free compost.

This photo is from a seedling that grew las year from a seed that came from the bird feeder.

Who would have thought that the sunflower challenge would throw up so many dilemmas?  This week I struggled with my plan to plant out the seedlings in the border.  The border contains a beautiful pink rose.  Sunflowers are (generally) yellow.  Pink and Yellow is not a combination I favour.  So I considered pots.  Pots require compost, which is in short supply here.  I nosed around my compost heap and I think the sunflowers could probably cope with the mix that’s available.  It will be full of all sorts of interesting seeds, verbena bonariensis for sure, but I’m going to try it.   My plan has changed.  I’ve yet to put it into action but it’s on the list for this week – again.  

Here’s this week’s update: 

Amazing news of number two seed.  This was the seed sown outside in a sunny corner.  It did nothing and was never going to be mentioned again.  This week I decided to up-end the pot and tidy it away.  There it was, the seedling just emerging from the seed case, in week 5 of the challenge.  I am nurturing it.  

Third seed: Roots are much stronger after an extra two weeks in the pot.  The pressure is on to get the plants in the ground.

First seed and third seed together: Now at 30cms and about 25cms.  

Fourth, fifth and sixth seeds: At the same height, with the middle one still a little behind.  

I sense they will make faster growth once they get their roots into the ground and after 5 weeks of the challenge, there can’t be many nutrients left in the compost and I haven’t fed them.  Planting them out is top of the to-do list, well almost top. 

More to come next Wednesday. 

 

Six On Saturday: Exuberance begins

Ping! Pow! Pop! That is what the garden has done this week. Sunshine and showers (and a small amount of hail) have turbo-charged the growth of the perennials. All is looking good for the summer time splash. The rainy days were a welcome change from April’s drought and gave me time to plan a tulip buying extravaganza to rival that of the seventeenth century. Forgive me, I am getting over-excited. Here’s my six.

One

Geranium phaeum.  One of my favourites for this time of year.  It reminded me of the move to this house four years ago.  The borders were empty and I brought with me a small selection of self seeders and spreaders to give me some bare bones to build on.  The velvety phaeum was one and it has done its job, I divided them last year and have a decent sized number now.  A reliable doer.

 

Two

I couldn’t bring it with me, but I always enjoyed the weigela that came with the old garden.  I didn’t know the variety but I thought weigela ‘Florida Variegata’ looked a good match and it is.  

Three

The plum trees have been pruned, one by myself and one by the expert.  Here they are.  Ailing plum is doing okay at the moment, the second one looks much better for the prune.  The photo is taken from the other side to give a better view of the open structure of the middle.  I can confidently say the blackbirds can swoop through the middle any time they want.

Four 

The Prop’s tiarella from last week prompted me to search out mine.  They are in a dark corner on the way to compost heap, squeezed in between the gooseberries and the blackcurrants.  What a delight, they shone through the gloom.  This is ‘Emerald Gaiety’.

Five

When I say the borders here were empty when we arrived I should say there was plenty of weed clearing to be done.  Amongst the weeds was a self sown aquilegia vulgaris, the common columbine.  I left it there and over three years it has settled itself into a very happy clump about a metre high.  It’s now too dominant for my liking and  distracts the eye from the nearby irises.  It’s time to find it a new home. 

Six

The last of the tulips have opened.  These grow in a corner that heads towards the shady cold north border so they are always the last to show up.  There should be a good show of ‘Angelique’ combined with ‘Spring Green’ and ‘China Town’.  But the combination is thinning out and needs revitalising.  Hence the great tulip search.  For this year there are just enough coming through to make a good display.  

Like Mr P I shall be potting on some seedlings this weekend.  Also on the to-do list is planting out the dwarf french beans, some more lettuce and rocket and the February sown sweet peas.  I shall continue to urge the three remaining lupins on to their next stage and take a look at the no-show Californian poppy seed tray, again.  Happy gardening to you all, I hope you get some time to catch up with the links on Mr P’s site.  It’s going to be a busy weekend.  

 

Sunflower Challenge: Week 4 April 30

This has come from a great idea put forward by @GardeningGent.  Sow sunflower seeds on April 1 and then report weekly updates. Mine are from a variety unknown seed packet left from last year.  All seeds were sown in peat free compost.

This photo is from a seedling that grew from a seed from the bird feeder.

It had to happen.  Somehow Wednesday has morphed into Thursday.  Photos taken on Wednesday, words written on Thursday.  Here’s this week’s update: 

After a long period of dry sunny weather the rain arrived.  The temperatures plummeted to around 9 degrees.  All the seedlings stayed outside in preparation for a move to the garden which I plan to do this weekend.  

IMG_5013

First seed and third seed together: I/S is the one from the sunny window sill above the radiator.  G/H is the first seed to germinate in the greenhouse.  No 1 leggy seed with the support has straightened itself out this week and is about 22cms high.  It’s companion is a little behind but making good progress.  

IMG_5014

Fourth, fifth and sixth seeds have fully moved out of the greenhouse and are making variable progress.  Maybe the middle one will catch up after a good drink of the magic rain water.  Those on the ends are at roughly the same height as the one started off in the kitchen.  

More to come next Wednesday. 

 

Six On Saturday: Things I have learnt this week

It would be perfect planning to have six photos about six things I have learnt this week but I don’t. I have a few general observations and then six unrelated photos. First observation is that no matter how many tree seedlings I pull up there will always be another thirty ready to come through. Second observation: there is no rhyme or reason to what germinates and when. The gardener can only have a go – well that’s the decision I’ve reached. I was up to four lupin seedlings, now down three. Two courgettes have germinated, four are still lounging around. I could go on. Last observation: I am an impatient gardener and having more time on my hands has made me worse. The roses have been in bud for days, possibly even weeks now. Why haven’t they opened? Because it’s not time – in this garden. Here’s my six for the week.

One

Most of the tulips are going over but the camassias have opened up.  I see now that I need a good late tulip in pale pink or possibly apricot to work with them.  Suggestions very welcome. These are, I think, camassia leichtlinii subsp. suksdorfii caerulea group.  (I’ve also learnt that I don’t keep perfect records, I will live with that).  I think I chose these because they are the tallest.  This is their first year in the garden and I think they’ve made a good start.

Two

I do still have tulips in the garden, these are the ones that edge the potato patch and a few more colours have through.  ‘Sarah Raven’ has now been joined by ‘Ballerina’ and I think ‘Lasting Love’.  Which leaves ‘Mariette’ to come.  The colour combination is very unlike anything I have in the main garden and although ‘Ballerina’ is so popular I think I prefer ‘Hermitage’ an orange tulip that was featured on the Prop’s site last week. 

Three

As day follows night so alliums follow tulips and ‘Purple Sensation’ is just beginning to open. 

Four

This geranium is in a very sunny spot.  It’s an unknown variety that came into garden with a batch of Geranium sanguineum ‘Album’.  Clearly not ‘Album’ but still welcome.

Five

Some straight forward seed sowing success.  Fred’s dianthus seeds.  I sprinkled them on a half tray of peat free compost, lightly covered with vermiculite and they germinated.  Soon I will have fun potting them on.  Thank you Fred. 

Six

The roses are moving in the right direction and, truth be told, there have been one or two heralds of the joys to come.  Here’s ‘Natasha Richardson’.  She’s in the border that needs a makeover but she will definitely be staying. 

Sunny skies have given way to cloud here today, which is some relief.  I was ferry trays of seedlings in and out of the greenhouse all week.  Some will still come out to harden off but the new seedlings can probably stay inside.  For more gardening news, so much more preferable to the other kind, take a trip to The Propagator’s blog and have an enjoyable read. 

 

Sunflower Challenge: Week 3 April 22

This has come from a great idea put forward by @GardeningGent.  Sow sunflower seeds on April 1 and then report weekly updates. Mine are from a variety unknown seed packet left from last year.  All seeds were sown in peat free compost.

This photo is from a seedling that grew from a seed from the bird feeder.

 

 

Here is the progress so far:

 

IMG_4937

First seed and third seed together: I/S is the one from the sunny window sill above the radiator.  G/H is the first seed to germinate in the greenhouse.  No 1 leggy seed has been given a support but I don’t think it did much good in this week’s windy weather.

Second seed: I’ve given up on this one.  It will not be mentioned again. IMG_4942

Fourth, fifth and sixth seeds are still mainly in the greenhouse but temperatures there are often reaching 39 degrees plus so they do get to step outside for part of the day.  

 

IMG_E4941

The roots are coming through the bottoms of all the pots. Here is one I up-ended.  The root system is becoming developed but I am going to leave them all in the pots for at least another week to allow those roots to grow on more.  I don’t know if this is good practice but it is what I am going to do! 

I need to decide whether to plant all the seeds out in the ground or whether to keep one back to try in a pot. I am hoping a 2 litre pot will do.  I’m sure to have at least one of those at the back of the shed.  I am being strict with the compost supplies so it may be that they all go in the ground. I have space in a sunny border that is in line for a make-over.  A group of sunflowers could be just the thing for this summer while I do my thinking.  

More to come next Wednesday. 

 

Six On Saturday: The tulips are marching on

Yes I have more tulips and great news: the elusive Ronaldo has appeared and not by zoom from Italy – or maybe he’s in Portugal now. I digress. Here’s what’s lifting the spirits this week

One

The holy trinity of tulips: Ronaldo, Negrita and Flaming Spring Green as they were intended to display.  I still only have two Ronaldo on show, but I have time, I can wait. 

Two

Speaking of waiting, I plan to have the poshest potato patch in N20. Following a tip from Tea Break Gardener I dug a trench along the edge of this year’s potato patch and planted it with a tulip collection.  The first of four to appear is this lovely red one, ‘Sarah Raven’.  They will be joined by ‘Mariette’, a brilliant pink lily shape, ‘Lasting Love’, triumph group, a pinky red and ‘Ballerina’ lilly flowered, orange of course. 

Three

Elsewhere the tulips have been joined by irises.  These came from a friend when we moved here so have been in the ground for four years and I have an urge to divide them.  That’s going on the jobs to do list.

Four

Yes, more tulips.  Those along the inner edge of the long border have come into flower this week.  This is a mix of ‘Shirley’, ‘Queen of Night’, ‘Barcelona’ and ‘Violet Beauty’.  They’ve also been in the ground for four years and are beginning to show their age.  They flowers are not so large and one or two clumps are thinning out.  I have a dilemma: to lift them all and start again with another combination or to add in new bulbs.  Just don’t expect me to make a decision any time soon.  

Five

The beautiful apple blossom has stolen the show in the sunshine.  Even the apple tree that was moved about a year or two ago is laden with blossom.  The result of some expert pruning by a man I know.  This week the ailing  plum tree was pruned by me. It took hours! I decided that the other plum could have the benefit of an expert’s touch.  When it’s done I’ll share the photos of both trees and you can see if you can tell the difference. 

Six

This is so out of season, but in the north facing, deep, dark corner of my garden the hellebores and anemones have just come into flower.  These brave plants deserve to be featured for overcoming the hostile conditions.  I’d love to hear any recommendations for cold, dark, and I should say dry corners.  I’m looking for ground cover suggestions.  

I’ve been sowing more seed, planting the main crop potatoes and celebrating the appearance of three lupin seedlings that were sown on the 29 February.  I’ve noticed a few dead bodies in the borders and I am pondering on a plan to re-plant a small border that’s a bit of a mish-mash at the moment.  This lockdown is giving me time to daydream and rather dangerously there are opportunities to buy plants on line.  For more news on our lockdown gardens take a look at The Propagator’s site.  He corrals all the links for the SOS meme.  Great job!