Six On Saturday: Good things being delivered

It was the perfect week to be on holiday with nothing to do as it was too hot to do anything. The dead heading was left but there was no avoiding the need to water in the greenhouse. Tomatoes, melons, strawberries, lettuce and basil are all motoring along. Outside the green beans are being picked along with raspberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants.  Here’s the view of the garden this week.

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I have to share this view of the allotment end of the garden although it’s not to my credit.  I had a few calendula plants in the garden a couple of years ago and if they are not ruthlessly controlled they run riot! Beautifully so, but I need to fight back.  I’m enjoying the splash of colour for the moment but an afternoon spent pulling them out is on the agenda and next year I will be hoeing them off, immediately, no ground given.  Honestly. 

Two

It is now four years since the move to this house and the garden borders are transformed.  Each year a new corner or two comes under scrutiny.  This year it was the passion flower draped arch and trellis.  I could see that a honeysuckle also entwined its way around the uprights but it never flowered.  One side of the passion flower has been taken down and the honeysuckle probably got a bit of a cut back in the process.  Perhaps this is why it has flowered for the first time.  It’s a great addition.

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The scented leaf pellies are back in their summer pots and are decorating the patio.  The peat free compost does dry out quickly on the surface so daily watering was necessary.  This one is ‘Prince of Orange’.

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The cheerful Shasta daisies seem to be twice as high this year.  They were started from seed about four years ago.  They grow up into the wild blackberries that are another corner of the garden awaiting some attention.  It looks like there will be a good crop there too. 

Five

Most of the delphiniums are going to seed now and need to be cut back but this one came through a little later.  It was a pot luck buy at a plant sale, just marked delphinium.  I’ve had it for three years now but it always only puts up one spike.  Is that a thing for certain types of delphinium ?  

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To finish I offer this combination of blackcurrant sage and a penstemon  – could it be ‘Apple Blossom’?  The  sage looked a little sad after the winter but it responded well to a cut back and is now threading its way around the penstemon. 

Cooler temperatures for next week will see me back in the garden catching up on the dead heading.  The roses need to be fed to help them produce the next wave of flowers and I think I’ll have a nose around the late crop new potatoes.  If nosing around gardens is your thing then go immediately to Mr P’s he has the most divine photo of the rose ‘Generous Gardener’, it’s a must see! 

Six On Saturday: Pinky, greeny, white flowers

Around time of year I’m usually on my way to Suffolk with a stop off at the Beth Chatto gardens. The gardens are open now but the trip to Suffolk is off. Which is a shame because a week on the Suffolk coast next week might be a blessed relief. Temperatures here are forecast to make 30 degrees. At least the garden has had a very good soak and the water butts are almost replenished. Here’s this week’s six.

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I’m opening with this is mallow, or malva moschata.  I didn’t realise just how pretty it was until I took the close up.  Beautiful and it is a regular self seeder that fills a corner of the garden quite happily doing its thing with very little attention.

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The hydrangeas which were gasping for a drop of the good stuff are very happy now.  This one is hydrangea macrophylla ‘Blushing Bride’.  Being one of the Endless Summer ranges apparently it can flower on new and old wood. Something I did not know before today.  

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The lilies that are in a pot by one of the pergola legs opened up last weekend. Just in time to provide some scented evening distractions.

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From Cornwall to France the Yuccas have been flowering and here I offer a flowering cordyline.  Which by coincidence came all the way from Cornwall some twenty years ago.   It has lived in a pot for all those years, with a belated move to a larger pot about three years ago.  It has never flowered before and I don’t know if it will again but here it is for now. 

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This clear white geranium is sanguineum ‘Album’ used in the northern corner of the garden and is finally in flower.  

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And just around the corner is this inherited geranium.  White with beautiful pink veining. It was quite a large clump so I divided it up and dotted it around the garden on the shadier side and it has done well in all locations.  I wonder if it could be ‘Kashmiri White’.  

I’m going to be making the most of this cool weekend to get some gardening jobs done.  The last stragglers of the annuals to be planted out.  There are tomatoes to be looked over – those side shoots are sprouting fast and the second sowing of french beans to be put in the ground.  Enjoy your gardening jobs and look in at  The Prop’s Place for his six  (I have fallen for sidalcea ‘Rosaly’) and all the links to other good gardening blogs.

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.

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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.  

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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:

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  

 

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.  

 

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.

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Most of the tulips are going over but the camassias have opened up.  I see now that I Continue reading

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!

 

 

Six on Saturday: Stand back, tulips coming through

I’m still whirling round the garden like a dervish. So much weeding but also the first of the penstemons were cut back.  P. ‘Garnet’ was putting on new growth everywhere and it seemed rather cruel to cut most of it off but that’s what I did.  The other penstemons are only just putting on new growth from the ground so I’m leaving them another week or so.  I’ve also began staking the perennials and continue to tie in the clematis and climbing roses.  Seeds are being sown but I’ve given hope of seeing a dahlia or lupin seed germinate.  They have spurned the sunny windowsill in the kitchen and the increasingly hot greenhouse. Time to admit defeat.  However the tulips are coming along nicely.

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The real ‘White Triumphator’ tulips have shown up this week and have added Continue reading

Six On Saturday: A tale of two skimmias

There is a tale of two skimmias to be told but first the tale of the headless chicken.

Finding myself with some spare time I set off to do some weeding. Yep, I was definitely going to tackle the patch by the gooseberries. But on the way I walked past the borders where I spotted some ground elder. No, stay focused. Oh dear, there’s some enchanter’s nightshade running along the wall behind the roses. I’d better do that first. And then there was the creeping cinquefoil, leading on to creeping buttercup, which was nudging up nicely to the hairy bittercress and then the oxalis came into view. Celandine was popping up everywhere and I wasn’t anywhere near the gooseberries. In headless chicken mode I ricocheted from one weed to another, feeling determined and feeble in equal measure. A small dent was made and the fight will go on. But for now here are six delights from the garden.

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The first of the skimmias, ‘Kew Green’.  As far as I can understand this is a male skimmia, with no berries. Continue reading