Six on Saturday: Shady facts

I was a little down on the garden a week or so ago. I’ve been planting up from scratch for about three years and the first plantings are filling out now. Some are doing well but I have to face up to reality. At this time of the year the main border is in the shade of a large fig tree. This seems to create the perfect environment for mildew. I’ve spent some time spreading things out a little more and I pulled up the sweet peas. The border is a bit patchy now but I feel happier.  Now I have to plan for a few more late summer shade lovers.

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The long border minus the sweet peas.  It’s not too bad at the far end where the shade is less dense and there are a few sun spots but the top end under the fig needs a rethink.  The day lillies have finished flowering.  They can stay as they sneek into a little sun spot by mid afternoon and I have identified a branch of the fig tree that can go and the space will open up a little more.  Every challenge presents a new project so I am in excited mood.

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Down at the far end of the long border behind the rudbeckia lurk a few dahlias.  They are only just about to open.  I hoped they would be able to make use of the sun spot that the rudbeckia enjoy but it’s just not quite enough.  This year I will be lifting the dahlias and finding a sunnier spot for them.

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Further round the corner a small border that backs on to the veg plot is shady for the morning but catches the afternoon sun.  It seems just enough for the echnicea ‘White Swan’ to get by.  This is their second year in the garden and they have bulked up quite well.

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Moving further round, this year’s planting of  salvia ‘Amistad’ catches the same afternoon sun and has been magnificent this year.  Some of last year’s salvias did over winter,  I dug them out of their original position and moved them to  a nursery bed when I spotted the new shoots coming through.  Those ones have only just really got going and are about half the height.  Next to the salvias are three plants of Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Album’.  Planted in 2017, they have just made it to a reasonable height this year but clearly they would benefit from less shade.  They are just far enough into this border to see a little less of the afternoon sun.  I am going to leave them where they are for one more year.

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Coming right round the garden, the north facing border begins to take on a western tilt and manages to catch some early morning sun and a good bit of late afternoon sun.  The fence line casts shade at the back edge.  I am optimistically growing r. Souvenir du Dr Jamain as a climber against the fence – slow going so far.  In front, I cleared away the unhealthy choysia and threw in some annuals to cover the ground while I did some thinking.  I had a trayful of nicotiana ‘Lime Green’ and n. alata ‘Grandiflora’ to use up so in they went.  At the time I did not know that the white variety likes a little shade so I struck lucky with the result.  What was a stop gap may now be part of the long term plan.  Anemone ‘September Charm’ and a white hardy geranium are also in this mix.

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Lastly coming round to the truly sunny all day long border, which is quite small, I have the lovely rose ‘Natasha Richardson’ planted up this year with salvia microphylla var, microphylla – the blackcurrant sage. I have tried every week to post a picture of this salvia but the vibrant magenta just floods the image.  I hope you can get a good sense of it against the rose.  It’s a stunner.

It’s going to be a stunning long weekend here, probably too hot to garden so I shall be thinking.  There will also be some SOS reading to be done.  Plenty of ideas to be gathered at the links that Mr P hosts each week.  Read them and if you are tempted join in!

 

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Six On Saturday: A supermarket rescue and other joys

August is the month for destruction at the supermarket flower section. Rows of sad, wilting plants reduced in price, past their best but holding out the glimmer of hope for a rescue. For a pound I was tempted and brought one home. It was submerged in water and left in a shady place to rehydrate. Thankfully it did and here it is.

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Leucanthemum ‘Broadway Lights’. I would have taken more but the others really did look past all hope.

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August brings the arrival of the late summer flowers.  This year this includes some late sown plants, the first of which is this cleome.  I have about a dozen of these dotted round in the gaps that also seem to appear at this time of year.  Some I pinched out to achieve a bushier plant with more flower heads, this one was left to grow straight up.

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My zinnias, that have been promising to deliver for weeks, have finally made it into flower.  More much appreciated magenta pink, although it looks more red here.

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This year I dug up several bits of the rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ to give to friends and to plant elsewhere in the garden.  The main plant has responded with even more vigour and makes a striking focal point for the late summer border.

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I have been waiting for sometime for the supposedly thuggish anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ to live up to its reputation and spread itself widely over the shady end of the garden.  It’s in year three and finally looks as though it is about to make an effort.  Perhaps this year the weather has been a little kinder.

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Rose of the week is ‘Scepter’d Isle, every time it flowered this year the rains fell and its lovely flowers were ruined.  Finally it can show off its elegant form, but briefly I fear as the wind and rain of today is giving it a good thrashing.

The winds are picking up here, all the pots that stand on a wall have been moved down to the ground and the fig tree is swaying wildly in the winds.  I wonder what will be left standing for next week’s six.  Seems like the perfect day to catch with some SOS reading.  All the links can be found on The Propagator’s blog and reading his contribution is a good place to start.  Wishing you and all your gardens a safe weekend.

 

 

Six On Saturday: The borders take shape

This garden has a long history of growers. The very first owner here was a prize winner for a plate of three raspberries and the second owner was a committed fruit grower.  When I came along the fruit growing had taken priority and the borders were being taken over by weeds and grass.  There are still plenty of weeds and fruit bushes around but flowers are gradually being reinstated.

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The monthly long border shot.  This year I have gone for two smaller wigwams of sweet peas.  I planted out the early sowings last weekend.  On the left  ‘April in Paris’, a white variety and on the right ‘Midnight Blues’.  I now have a gap where the large wigwam went and although I have some annuals lined up to fill the space I feel the need for an evergreen shrub to give more form to this end of the border.  The delphiniums are shooting away and with storm Hannah blowing through I need to get out there and do some tying in.  In case you are wondering, the bamboo cane is there to remind me not to step on the emerging echinacea ‘White Swan’.  Roses, geraniums and knautia are also making good progress, ready to take over from the tulips and euphorbia.

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The left hand end of the north border. This used to be home to a stand of blackcurrant bushes and in turning over the soil for the nth time I found a label: Ben Tirran.  Four of those bushes went on to new homes so I will pass on the information.  The others have been found temporary homes elsewhere here.  So this end of north border was ready to plant up this year.  First to go in were two hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris, climbing hydrangeas for the back fence.  Last weekend I planted 23 geranium sanguineum ‘Alba’ and six anemone ‘Honorine Jobert.  I have two more geraniums waiting to go in once the front row three of pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’ arrive.  I’ll fit the last two geraniums in around them.  The black pots along the back row are representing 10 melica altissima ‘Alba’.  These are proving elusive at the moment and I am hoping I don’t have to resort to a well known but more expensive on-line supplier.  I am following a plan from Joe Swift – Five plants for a deep shade border – as published in Gardeners’ World August 2018.  I also have some seedlings of astrantia major to fit in and finally I plan to add snowdrops for some early interest.

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At the other end of the north border the Choisyas are opening up.  This can mean only one thing.  The days are numbered for the ailing one.  For the moment I’ll enjoy the scent and the green and white colours.

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Patiently waiting to fill the space soon to be vacated by poorly choisya is a skimmia ‘Kew Green’.  Most descriptions use the very attractive phrase ‘no need to prune’.  The scent is described as’ lilly of the valley’ and it does well in shade.  Sounds perfect.

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I was lucky enough to inherit a greenhouse, old and needing some glazing repairs but it looked wonderful to me.  I put in some automatic openers but the frame on one side sticks in one corner and I haven’t solved the problem.  Last week the frame gave way at its weak point – the glass.  I made a temporary repair with some left over plastic and clingfilm but storm Hannah has curled her lip!  I am hoping the local company that helped out with the glazing last time will come to my aid again.

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The sowing of tomatoes for the greenhouse are coming along well.  Time to move them on I think.  That will encourage me to get that window repaired.

The weather has changed dramatically.  Cold, wet and windy.  I am grateful for the rain as already the water butts were getting low.  Fingers crossed that the wind isn’t too damaging, there is so much blossom around now.  I hope your garden stays safe and don’t forget to take a look at Mr P’s blog for more news from SOSs around the world.

 

 

Six On Saturday: A change of mind

There is so much gloom around at the moment, I need the garden to pick me up.  It is trying very hard, many things are on the edge of flowering, the perennials are forcing their way up through the mulch and the birds are singing.  I have much to do so the mojo just has to get going.  This was how I started out yesterday but an energising night out in Shoreditch – yes I know, too old for all that really! – has got me going again.  The potatoes are chitted and ready to go.  This is the number one job for the weekend.  If I do nothing else, this will be done!  Here’s what is happening in the garden without my help.

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The Thalia are just opening out on the south side.  Those in the north facing border are about a week behind.

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The fritillaries  have joined the throng.  I did mean to plant more of these but I had such fun trying to squeeze in extra tulips that I just didn’t get round to it.  On to the list that goes.

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My primrose border is filling out very nicely and I planted some anemone blanda ‘white splendour’  in amongst them.  Just at the bottom right are the shoots of some white phlox warming up for later in the year.

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The onions started off in modules are going in the ground this weekend. The red ones have been slower to get going.  Not sure why! They have been coming in and out of the greenhouse all week so should be well acclimatised.   There are a few self sown cornflowers making themselves at home in the space allocated for onions.  It seems a shame to move them on.  Maybe they can grow companionably side by side?

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Pulmonaria ‘Sissinghurst White’.  I have nurtured this plant for three years.  It wasn’t doing very well in the first planting spot and so last year I moved it to a slightly shadier space.  It is still very small but I think I have to give more time in it’s new home before I uproot it again.

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The north border of the garden is the focus of attention this year.  There are two choisyas there which I have left alone until now, but the time for action has arrived.   One of them is poorly.   One side is yellowing whilst the other looks green and glossy.  The plant has been hacked about in the past, with evidence of limbs having been cut off.  As there is a very happy choisya not too far away I am not too sorry to say that this one is getting it’s marching orders.  I could just cut off the yellow side and see what happens but no, decision made.  Out with the old and in with something new.

I’ve also managed to throw out the new block editor and go back to the old classic editor.  Yipee! More reasons to be cheerful.  I hope you are feeling cheerful in your garden this weekend.  Don’t forget to see what fellow sixers are up to, go to  The Propagator for all the links.

Six On Saturday: Changing seasons

It was a busy gardening weekend last week.  The extra day, a bank holiday in the UK, was spent helping out at the Finchley Horticultural Society allotment NGS open day.  Fortunately after the wash out that was Sunday, Monday remained dry and the allotment looked verdant.  Of course I was tempted by the plants the growers had for sale and I came away with this:

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IMG_2810A persicaria – labelled as ‘pink’ so I can’t add any further information.  It goes some way to my getting persicaria into the garden but I am on the hunt for some of the dark red ones.  I planted it next to the salvia ‘Blush Pink’ bought earlier in the summer and I hope they will be happy soul  mates.

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IMG_2808I singularly failed to record the other great gardening activity of the weekend which was the apple picking.  It was a smaller crop this year, both in numbers of apples and size.  Some were little bigger than a golf ball but as they all go for juicing they were all picked.  In about a week I will know how many bottles this year’s harvest produced.  The bent double apple tree of a few weeks ago is now nearly horizontal so I took a picture of that!

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IMG_2819Every week I think about including this Cleome ‘Senorita Carolina’ in the six but for some reason it stays on the sub’s bench.  This week it makes it into the team.  I really don’t know why it has taken me so long, it’s been flowering like this all summer.  The real colour is slightly less vibrant than captured here.  It’s a tender plant so if the winter is anything like last year I shall probably lose it.

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IMG_2812Just coming into flower is the Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’.  Earlier in the year its poor leaves were scorched by the sun but as the season moves on it’s site is more in the shade where the splash of white shines through.

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Also adding some brightness are the self seeded calendulars that spring up around the garden.  The insects seem to like them too.  The ones on the veg patch are dropping seed and new plants are already growing.

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IMG_2817Given the size of the apples this year I was surprised and impressed by the persimmon fruits.  They are much larger than last year and although I am not a great fan of the fruit I do enjoy their orange colour as they ripen in November.

That’s my six for the week.  There are plenty more to view at The Propagator.  If you stop off there I recommend you also read his Garden Blogger’s Hierarchy of Needs a brilliant summary of what gardeners do and why they sometimes post and sometimes don’t. I hope you all find time to garden this weekend – that’s the important bit.