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.
The first of the skimmias, ‘Kew Green’. As far as I can understand this is a male skimmia, with no berries. Continue reading
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.
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.
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.
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.
Further along the wall the moss is doing a grand job of covering the stones.
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.
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.
I noticed that the leaves on the fig tree have just begun to turn yellow and so I am accepting that autumn is here. I’d love to be poetic about the gently falling rain but it’s seriously disrupting my gardening. I managed to plant out the Red Electric onion sets and some Jermor shallots last weekend but I don’t think much will get done this weekend. Time to focus on the positives.
I’m starting with some lovely greenhouse surprises. The Six On Saturday meme has gently persuaded me to do more propagation. These are my first ever root cuttings. I dug around the sides of the anemone ‘Honorine Joubert’ and found some thicker roots. I snipped off six cuttings and planted them up in September. The first signs of life have just appeared and it is all very exciting. Of course I now have to get them through the winter. I will resort to my usual tactic of crossing fingers.
As the outside garden dies back so plans take shape for next year. I sowed some ammi visnaga in September and a good number of these have germinated. This is my first successful autumn sowing of ammi. I’m already looking forward to the froth they will add to next summer’s garden.
The hesperantha was struggling to open up this gloomy morning but even its closed form adds a welcome burst of colour to this corner of the garden.
Some weeks ago I was tempted by some pots of salvia ‘Mystic Spires’. I was advised to treat them as annuals and I did feel it was slightly mad to be buying a plant that was only going to last a few weeks, but I did and I think it was worth it. There is a slim chance that it might overwinter and I could have a go at taking some cuttings. I’ve got nothing to lose.
Forgive me if I’ve said this before but I’ve been gardening here for three and bit years now. This colony of erigeron karvinskianus started out as three small pots bought from a plant sale in the early days. They have done their thing and spread out well. They have just begun to mask the stone wall that props up this part of the garden. I even spotted a few self seeders in the cracks which is just what I wanted. For me it’s a doer, flowering all summer. I know others find it thuggish but for the moment it can run wild here.
The skimmia ‘Lime Green’ that I added this summer has settled down very well and has just begun to flower again. This is in the north facing border in the space previously occupied by an ailing choysia. I have space for a few more plants here but I need something with height to cover the fence. I think one candidate is a camellia. Watch this space.
It’s time to bring the last of the tomatoes in, take the lemon tree to the greenhouse and, if it is ever dry enough, to prune the climbing rose, Mdme Alfred Carriere, on the back fence. Let’s hope there’s a small window of dryer weather soon. And if not, then there’s more time to read the links hosted by Mr P.