Six On Saturday: Taking the rough with the smooth

It’s an emotional life being a gardener.  This week I have experienced frustration with the slow growing dahlias, sadness for the agastache that didn’t come through the winter and anxiety over the lack of rain.  Fortunately there have been plenty of joys too.  Here’s six good things from the garden.

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The monthly look at the border.  From this angle the delphiniums are blocking the view of the roses that are just coming into flower.  Everything is filling out very well and for the moment the water butts are providing enough water. As I enjoyed all the new growth I was struck by how I have, almost without exception, gone for height on this border.  Not much gradation going on here, but I like it.  The brown patch is still awaiting inspiration and so for the third year will be home to the annuals grown from seed. I’m thinking about trying libertia chilensis (grandiflora) here – more height.

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Now for the detail of the main border.  This is allium ‘Mount Everest’ which in itself it lovely but there’s a little disappointment here as I planted 12 bulbs two years ago and topped them up with six more this year.  Flowering result this year: four.  They do grow tall but the flower heads are quite small.  I suppose any larger and they would wobble on their long stems.

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Behind the delphiniums lurk rosa ‘Wisley’ and ‘Gertrude Jekyll’.  This week ‘Wisley’ gets to be the star.  The roses were planted three years ago and this year they are excelling themselves.

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Behind the ‘Wisley’ roses are a clump of ‘White City’ irises.  Again they have been in the ground for three years, having come to me from a division of a friend’s clump.

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Climbing up the back fence, in shade in the morning but catching the sun by the afternoon is ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’.  This was planted out last autumn and I am impressed by it’s the speedy progress and generous flowering.  A winner.

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The not quite open irises featured last week have burst forth and are stunning.  These also came from a friend’s garden and I have promised to pass them on again to two more friends.

So this week’s little homily is there’s good and bad in life and in the garden but keeping the good in focus is what’s important!  I looked up the meaning of homily and I rather liked this definition: advice that is often not wanted.

It’s another long weekend in the UK and I shall be helping out at a local plant sale on the Sunday. Also on the to do list are planting out the overwintered pellies into the summer containers and prepping the veg beds for the beans, courgettes and cucumbers.  I shall also be peering optimistically at the parsnip and carrots sowings, and undoubtedly doing some watering. Happy gardening to all.  For the links to more SOS postings go to The Propagator’s blog and feast your eyes on what’s on offer.

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Six On Saturday: Views from the borders

I was belatedly staking plants last weekend in anticipation of Storm Hannah.  The tulips in the long border are sprawling around now but otherwise no damage to report.  Weeding continues, the greenhouse tomatoes were moved into greenhouse and a second attempt at a patch repair of the broken glass will have to do for a week or two.  The dwarf french beans have germinated, the second batch of rocket was planted out and this weekend the courgette seeds will be sown.   Here’s what is out and about in the flower borders this week.

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A last shout for the tulips.  Contrary though they are I do love them.  This is a second outing for ‘Spring Green’ and ‘China Town’.  Last year this planting was infiltrated by a rogue orange tulip and a ‘Queen of Night’.  I think some cross pollination must have occurred as ‘China Town’ has an orange tinge this year, instead of the pink tone of last year.  Fortunately the orange tone works well with the terracotta pot.  I’m happy.  This planting should also contain the lovely pink double ‘Angelique’ but she failed to turn up.  I was beginning to think ‘tulips, pah!’ but then I read this week’s Dig Delve, Dan Pearson’s blog, and I was smitten again.

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This is an early morning photo of the North facing border, the sun will come around to this corner again in the afternoon.  I’ve lost the plot on the tulip varieties – I offer you ‘Flaming Spring Green’ – with no evidence of the flame, ‘Ronaldo’ – or not and ‘Jan Reus’.  The recently planted armeria maritima is fittinng in well with erigeron karvinskianus, and the osteospermum has just opened up alongside the bluebells.

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Restocking the garden continues. The latest purchase was tiarella ‘Emerald Ellie’ which is lining the shady path to the compost heap.  This sounds a bit below the dignity of Ellie, but I think she will do well there.

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Another of the missing plants for the deep shade section of the north border arrived.  Three pots of pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’ will give some evergreen structure.  All that remains to be found is the melica which I hope will appear in nurseries later in the season.  This part of the border gets early morning sun but then is shaded for the rest of the day.

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The sunny border is beginning to offer up the allium ‘Purple Sensation’ which takes over from the tulips.

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The first flowers of geranium sanguineum var. striatum are opening up.  I keep moving this plant around but I’m hoping it is in now in its forever home.

It’s another bank holiday in the UK, this time cold and windy but I’ll find some time to garden, I hope you do too.  Check in with The Propagator  to see what else is going on in the varied collection of SOS gardens.

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:

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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!

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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!

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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.

Six On Saturday: No rest for the gardener!

This six thing is a good discipline for me.  At the first sign of cold weather I am very tempted to hunker down but I know there is plenty to do and walking round the garden this morning was a good reminder to get on and do it.  Here’s what I found.  Be warned: there’s a bit of a brown theme.

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I have been mulching and manuring this week and the less than productive veg beds were beneficiaries.  I still have more to empty out, but the calendulas need to be pulled up first.

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The gooseberry bushes need to be pruned.  I have watched the RHS video three times now and so I should be fully qualified to be let loose on them.

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A week of cold weather, rain and a light frost has moved the garden firmly into winter.  It now looks soggy, brown and collapsed.  It’s about now I start having ‘the cutting back’ debate.  Does it get done now or in the spring? I will try to do it now as I am always surprised by how early the garden comes back to life and I inevitably end up cutting back both the dead and the emerging shoots in spring.

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This is one of the allium heads I missed in the summer cut back.  I have managed to get all the alliums for next year planted but I still have about 75 tulip bulbs to put in the ground.  I overestimated the numbers for one grouping and the extras will be planted up in pots, which is on my list for this weekend.

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Whilst most of the garden is shutting down some plants do manage to keep up the show over winter and even look good in the rain.  This is euphorbia characiassubsp. wulfenii.

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There’s also some colour in the front garden coming from the cream edged leaves of this variegated pittosporum.  Thankfully I can just enjoy this display.

I hope there is something to enjoy in your garden at this time of the year and also that we all get some time to be getting our (northern hemisphere) gardens ready for next year.  The Prop’s blog will give the links for today’s SOS and there’s sure to be some colour from gardens in the southern hemisphere if your soul needs an uplift!

 

 

 

Six On Saturday: Never go to the garden centre on a sunny day and when there’s 10% off!

I only went for compost, honest.  But that Daphne had been on the wish list for a while.

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IMG_2963Daphne Eternal Fragrance.  I had resisted buying this all year on the grounds that I wasn’t sure I had the right spot for it.  But there it was on the bench in front of me with a label that said suitable for containers. I’ll find a space for it soon.

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IMG_2956I have moved the scented leaf pelagoniums into the potting shed and taken a few cuttings for insurance.  That meant two summer containers were sitting empty.  There in front of me was a tray of winter pansies.

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IMG_2958Recently added to the wish list was Brunnera macrocephala ‘Jack Frost’.  Described as good for shade and for ground cover, I thought it would be ideal for under the snowberry tree.  These were lurking just around the corner from the pansies.  Speaking of lurkers – do the slugs like brunnera?

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IMG_2957I was almost at the exit point when I spotted the pots of Gaultheria Procumbens ‘Big Berry’.  I’ve had these in winter window boxes before with some ivy.  The red berries are usually plentiful.

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IMG_2964I had to walk back to the beaming cashier past the bulb section and remembered just in time that I needed to top up the alliums and fritillaries.

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IMG_2959 I count myself as quite restrained – I can’t give you a full six from the garden centre purchases!  My last for this week is something that is giving me cause for concern.  These Liriope muscari ‘big blue’ went into the garden in autumn 2016 and have not flowered once.  The RHS site promises  ‘small violet-purple flowers carried in dense, erect spikes to 30cm in height in autumn, followed by black berries.’  To quote our esteemed leader ‘Nothing, nada, zilch.’  Any suggestions?

For more pithy observations from the leader visit The Propagator.  You’ll find much to inform and amuse plus a list of links to SOSs from gardens around the world.  Happy gardening.

Six On Saturday: Building up the layers

Another crazy week in the garden.  Doing the hokey cokey with the greenhouse plants: in, out, in, out and trying very hard not to shake them all about and the layers in the new borders are building up.  This week it is the turn of the alliums.

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These are Purple Sensation. I hope they stay around long enough to look good with the Rosa Blush Noisette which is just in bud behind.  Now the path is complete I need to find some low growing edging plants to drown out the weed seedlings.  Or maybe I move the geraniums forward.  Hhmm,  I think I’ll do that.

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These are Allium Mount Everest, looking suitably tall.  The tulips are really past their best but there is enough life in them to make the border look quite colourful.  Some of the Mount Everests have done a disappearing trick, about six have gone awol causing me to set up a spreadsheet for the autumn bulb order.  Otherwise I am sure to forget that I need more.  I like the height they give to the border at this time of the year.

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And the bonus tulip is …orange! These are in a border that only gets afternoon sun and they are lasting rather well.  I though Queen of Night was the lone gatecrasher in this border but this late arrival is a real stand out.

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The pheasant eye narcissus have been a joy in the last few weeks.  Their scent drifts across the back of the garden and they are looking very happy in combination with the bluebells and pulomonaria.  This corner is going to look quite empty when the spring flowers finish.  More layering to be done.

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This is geranium phaeum which came with me in pots from the old garden.  This is its second year in the new border and it has really established itself well.  It’s far more stately and elegant in this garden than it ever was before.  I do love a geranium and will be dividing this up and spreading it around.

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And lastly, the dwarf azalea has revealed its true colour and I think it has earned the chance to move out of its pot and into the border.  It is just the right height for the front of the north west facing corner.  But there is work to be done on that border, currently the most neglected part of the garden, home to ground elder, geranium robertianum and the ubiquitous sherperd’s purse.  The RHS advice gleefully informs me that ‘a single plant is able to produce an average of 2-3000 seeds each, with three generations per year.’  Plenty still to be done there then.

Don’t forget to check in with The Propagator, host of the Six On Saturday meme for a mesmerising selection of gardening delights from around the world.  Happy gardening.

 

 

Six on Saturday

The fair weather gardener in me has  been dominant this week.  The temperatures are low and the lawn and borders are still squelchy and sticky.  I did refill the bird feeders, pull a few weeds and tie in a stem here and there but very little else was done.  Here’s my six:

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The new borders are going into their third summer.  The first was spent weeding, digging, suppressing weeds and feeding.  The second saw some perennial planting with annuals.  This year it is the turn of bulbs.  A mass planting of tulips and alliums took place in autumn and, with no apologies, I was very excited to see the first emerging shoots of allium Mount Everest pushing through.

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The last of the cutting back was done recently.  The sodden brown remains of iris siberica were removed and there was more delight to be found in seeing the first signs of the new growth.

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Over on the veg plot the onion and shallot sets are progressing.  I’ve kept the covers on to protect them from the birds but it is good to see there is strong growth.

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Every March I settle down to watch the new series of Gardener’s World and every year Monty brings out trays of seedlings he has sown in the depths of winter.  They are all ready to drop into the beautifully prepared soil for early harvests. This year I have got wise and I check in with Monty’s website each month.  Eureka!  Now is the time to plant your rockets seeds.  I’m going to put mine into modules so that I too will have a tray of plump rocket seedlings ready to drop into my beautifully prepared soil!

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My tray of violas from last week’s six was planted up and they are smiling away at the bottom end of the garden.  A good enticement for me to get out and about.

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Gardeners are generally sharing souls and this little pot of persicaria red dragon was given to me by a friend.  I’ve just got to find the right place in the new borders for it.

That’s my six.  For the links to a great many other sixes go to The Propagator.  You will find a treasure trove of good gardening from around the world.