Six On Saturday: I was surprised!

Surprised like most of us in the UK to have such warm temperatures in February at the beginning of this week and surprised to find a few more plants in flower.  I thought it was all looking a bit dull out there.  I haven’t really got to grips with flowering shrubs and early spring bulbs for the garden yet. But all in good time.   Here’s what surprised me this week:

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I could have sworn that I didn’t have any early daffs, but this tiny group of ‘Tete a Tete’ have just sprung up under a rose bush.  They must be a relic from past plantings and they look very well.  I am persuaded to add them to my bulb order wish list.

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These cowslips are from own planting.  They are in a sheltered corner and catch the morning sun.  I think they have been lured out by this week’s warmth.

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The north facing border must also been catching a few sunny rays.  The pulmonaria have opened up.  I originally had them in a south facing border but they were uprooted in the autumn and moved to the dark depths of the other side of the garden.  The slugs don’t seem to like them and I find their uncomplaining nature very agreeable!

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It’s a dangerous time to be out in the garden.  The bulbs are all coming through so I really must be careful where I put my feet as I try to keep on top of the weeds and slugs.  I’m also hoping there won’t be any casualties as a result of the dry summer weather.  I didn’t really think about the bulbs when I was mean with the watering.

Five

From a distance the clematis looked like a tangled mass of dried up browness.  Close up there was an impressive amount of new growth and it was quite clearly time for some pruning.  Job done!

Six

I have another skip on site.  For every project in the house there is the opportunity of sorting out something in the garden.   It’s curtains for the BBQ and the spotted laurel.  The laurel clearly got wind of its impending doom and put out some very attractive berries.  But my mind is made up – not a frequent occurrence – and the laurel will be gone by the end of the month.  The severely cracked BBQ has already been skipped and I have a larger seating area as a result.  Now I need to choose a garden bench.

I have a long wish list of plants that I have come across from reading the SOSs that get posted every week.  If you are looking for inspiration go to  The Propagator  for links to temptations for every season!

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Six on Saturday: Ready, steady, go!

Life became busy last week and the balance tipped away from things gardening focused.  These times come along and all will pass – soon I hope!  It was good to feel the warmth of the sun again but the sunny days were followed by cold nights and the greenhouse temperatures were down to -1.  The garden is straining at the leash, the March surge is coming and I still have winter jobs to do.

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The grapevine over the pergola must be pruned this weekend.  It’s a job I normally do in November.  What was I doing then? Or in December or January?

Two

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The tulips and bluebells are coming through well.  I spotted this bulb strangely lying on the surface.  I bent to pick it up, cursing squirrels, but no.  It was well rooted into the ground.  I don’t have an explanation.  Could it be an allium bulb that didn’t get planted deeply enough and has wriggled its way upwards?  I decided to bury it rather than dig it up and plant it deeper as I didn’t have the time to sort it out.  Maybe a job for the weekend.

Three

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The onion sets are in their modules in the greenhouse.  I am hoping to have the time to plant the shallots out this weekend.  That ‘to do’ list is getting longer.

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The garden doesn’t have a single crocus or iris reticulata in it, something to be rectified in the next bulb buying session but the primroses look cheerful enough for now.

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And the first flowers of pulmonaria officinalis planted in a north facing border are coming out.  It’s also good to see their spotted leaves.  The common pulmonaria doesn’t seem to fall prey to attack by slugs.

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The lovely leaves of aquilegia are unfurling.

I have some final preparation of a bed on the north facing border to finish off ready for the March plant out.  Plants have to be ordered and I know I will be tempted to add in a few extras for elsewhere in the garden.  I’m getting ready but need to be steady for a while longer before it’s all go in March.

I hope your garden preparations are going well.  Mr P is, as usual, hosting this group and all the links to gardens around the world can be found on his site.

 

 

 

 

Six On Saturday: Farewell old friends

For me November has been a sunny month but the mists of autumn arrived on Friday.  The softened light wrapped itself around the garden and the muted colours blended together like a good Harris tweed.  I loved it.  Today the skies are blue again, a brief respite as next week promises a good blast of winter chill.  The gardening year is moving on.

One

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I had the opportunity to be out in the garden this week and my bulb planting success rate increased.  I started out with 258 to plant.  I put away the ‘Mount Everest’ Alliums and Leucojum ‘Gravetye Giant’ last week, leaving me with 240 bulbs.  This week the extra Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ went in along with most of the Thalia. Planting the yellow tulip ‘World Friendship’ in the narrow border led to a little swearing as I encountered one or two of last year’s friends.  I took a rain check on them for another day.  So I have 106 tulips to go, 10 Thalia and 50 of the tiny allium sphaerocephalon. I plan to get them in before the cold spell arrives.

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It was a week of tidying up and fond farewells were said to some old friends.  The last of zinnias and cosmos went to the compost heap. The verbena bonariensis were brought back in check with self seeders despatched to the heap or relocated.  I now have a clear patch in the south east facing border for 60 of those extra tulips and the remaining allium sphaerocephalon.  I’m feeling the need for an anchor plant in this corner, something that would work well with the trachelospermum jasminoides.  Suggestions welcome! It’s a sunny corner as it also picks up some afternoon sun from the west.

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Most of the leaves have fallen from my trees and the leaf pile is growing steadily.  There are still plenty to come as the leaves on the trees in neighbouring gardens are still hanging on.  Whilst I am not a regular gardening diyer I did turn my hand and trusty staple gun to producing this leaf bin.  Say no more!

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At this time of year my thoughts turn to plans for next year.  After two and half years in this new garden I am getting round to the north facing border.  This photo shows the section that is currently home to a stand of blackcurrant bushes.  I love blackcurrants but I do also have another stand in the veg plot so the ruthless gardener is going to make an appearance and these will go to be replaced by a planting of white shade lovers completely inspired by a Joe Swift article in the August edition of Gardeners’ world.  Watch this space.

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Also on the project list is a new compost area.  The current heaps are in crumbling brick bays.  I’ve emptied out two sections and installed a builder’s bag nearby to take the new pile.  Once the other two sections are empty I will be calling in some muscle to knock down and wheel away the bricks. Then Father Christmas will bring me some new wooden bins – I’ve had an early word!

Six

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I’m looking forward to the bricks going as I will be getting a skip, which, perhaps sadly, I always find very exciting!  I am inspired by One man and his garden trowel, a fellow sixer to share with you ‘down the side of my shed’.  Hiding beneath those autumnal leaves is a great collection of old paving slabs and miscellaneous bits of metal excavated from the garden over the year.  Once the skip arrives it will indeed be farewell old friends!

Good luck with your garden plans.  Find out what everyone else is up to by checking in with Mr P.  All the links to SOS appear throughout the day.