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.

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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: 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: 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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

Six On Saturday: Turn around time

Weekends and weeks have been busy and the garden has received only fleeting attention.  The forecast of heavy rain for Friday saw me up early to sprinkle rose feed around so that the rain would do the watering in job.  I managed one afternoon of ruthless cutting back and hardly made a dent in the job.  I need to clear the borders to allow the later performing flowers to have their space.  It’s easy to feel that there is a mountain to climb but even in that one afternoon there was so much loveliness to enjoy.

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I planted an awful lot of allium sphaerocephalon last year but I don’t quite have the affect I wanted #neverhappy! But of course I am happy – they are full of bees and are keeping the colour in the garden going.  I have no idea how the name is pronounced so I may be using the common name of round headed garlic.  Much simpler.

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The geranium’ Brookside’ are the biggest culprit for taking up space, stunning when they climb over the early roses but once the flowers go they have to be cut back.  They are well established and cutting them back is a major job.  My compost heap is heaping up.  Each year I dither about getting a shredder but as the garden has been restocked and matured it is obvious to me that this is my next purchase.

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I had to get my priorities right today.  The deluge of rain has filled the water butts again but with the forecast of more to come I needed to pump the contents of one butt down to the end of the garden to fill the large water tank.  I think it holds about 800 litres and is my go to for keeping the veg plot watered.  While that was filling up I took the rest of my photos, serendipitiously benefited from the combination of sun and raindrops. This osteospermum is a workhorse in a sunny corner and deserves a mention.

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I have given up trying to protect the soft fruits from the birds.  I have had a few good pickings of gooseberries, blackcurrants and whitecurrants and I have taken off the netting to share the rest with nature. The whitecurrants look beautiful on the branch but remind me of fish eggs once in the colandar.

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I managed to get the last tray of annuals in the ground this morning.  I sowed cosmos late so there is not a flower to be seen but the nicotiana also sown late have come in to flower and the combination of heat and rain will no doubt do them both some good.

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The rose of the week is Jaqueline du Pre.  I really enjoy this one for its difference.  It was flattened by the overnight rain but by crawling around on the grass and propping it up on some other branches I managed to get a half decent photo.  I spotted an interesting salvia this week – Salvia × sylvestris ‘Schneehügel’ –  a white variety. I am going to add this in around the rose.  Just can’t stop myself.

I know someone else who can’t be stopped, yes Mr P.  Go visit and see what’s happening there and around the world.  Seems like the rain can’t be stopped either, its just started again.  My empty water butt will be filling up nicely.  Happy days.

 

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.

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’.

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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.