Six On Saturday: Summer’s lease is running down

This week has been a treat. Particularly so here as decorating has been the top priority and having the doors open to the sunny garden has lifted the spirits. Having neglected the garden over the last few weeks there were a few lovely surprises. Here’s this week’s six.

One

The autumn crocuses have pushed through the geranium phaeum foliage and for a few brief days were untouched by the slugs.  A neighbour has reported seeing a hedgehog in the garden and wondered what to do.  I immediately offered outdoor dining for the dear creature at my place.  I live in hope.

Two

It is the turn of the blue delphiniums to re-flower.  Slightly paler in colour, I think, than the first flowering but very welcome.

Three

The gaura is past its best but it has to be featured this week because it looked so lovely against the pennisetum villosum this morning.  

Four

This scabious was a new plant purchase last year but has only made it into the garden proper this year,  It is scabiosa caucasica ‘Miss Willmott’, bought on a visit to Beth Chatto garden in Essex.  This should flower on through October.

Five

Dhalia ‘Blanc y Verde’ from a Sarah Raven combination.  I grow them in pots and they used be accompanied by dahlia  ‘Furka’ but these have a been a no show this year.  I have to give this dahlia a pat on the back.  They have tolerated my erratic watering with amazing good grace.  As I notice their wilted leaves I drench them with a can full of water and a dose of Tomorite or Maxicrop and thankfully they re-hydrate.  

Six

Sorry to go about the cosmos again but really they have been stunning this year.  This crowd is ‘Dazzler’.  There are about three plants here that are pumping out the flowers week after week.  I am well and truly dazzled. 

I am sure The Propagator will have much to dazzle us with and of course there are the links to the other SOS posts to enjoy.  A beautiful weekend lies ahead here so let’s enjoy it while it lasts.  

Six On Saturday: Apples, plums, flowers and bees

It’s been harvest time this week. So without further ado I give you this week’s six.

One

All the apples from all the trees are picked in one go and are taken to an juicing farm.  This year’s crop seemed to be less than last year and when the juice was collected it was proved to be so.  Thirty five bottles against fifty one last year.  There has been some significant pruning undertaken for one of the trees to get it back into shape and this was where we noticed less apples.  Perhaps next year it will be back to bearing a higher crop.  

Two

As we had the apple picker out we decided to go for the plum tree too.  All the plums were gathered in and the fruit was halved and stoned before freezing.  I have never had much success with plum jam so the plan is make endless plum and frangipane tarts. 

Three

Cutting back the perennials promptly does pay dividends, the delphiniums have rewarded me with a second flowering.  

Four

Helenium ‘Short and Sassy’ is a good height for the front of the border and flowers well.  I have dead heading to catch up with which will keep it going. 

Five

The rain and occasional sun seem to be powering the garden on.  Last week’s flattened cosmos were hauled upright and staked to within an inch of their lives.  This revealed them to be nearly five feet high.  Impressive going when I think back to those tiny seedlings that appeared in spring. 

Six

Finally the bee, on a separate planting of cosmos.  The bees seem to be on a resurgence in the garden.  They float from these cosmos plants across the path to the agastache in great numbers.  Always fascinating to watch.

But I have much to do.  The hollyhocks are ready to be cut down and the roses need another round of deadheading.  I also have plans to move plants and the bulbs have started to arrive.  The ideas for next year are gently bubbling away.  

Mr P sets a good example as always, managing to file a SOS post whilst on holiday.  He has spotted nerines which sadly reminds me of the bagful of bulbs that I bought last year which I fear will come to nothing.  I have a few leaves poking up from some I put in a container but those in the ground seem to have failed. Hey ho! 

Six On Saturday: Storms

Ellen, Francis and next to arrive Gerda: I write this blog for you. Ellen and Francis have deluged the garden with rain, blown down my neighbour’s fence panel – again, flattened the ageing sweet pea wigwam and pushed everything else this way and that. It feels more like November rather than the last days of summer. When will Gerda arrive? Let’s hope there’s a break for a while as this week’s brief respites have not coincided with my gardening time. I need to do some end of summer sorting out.  Here’s six from a battered garden.

One

Low growing enough to be safe from the winds, these black and white dianthus grew from seed sent by Fred in France.   They are only now beginning to flower in some profusion so I hope there are a few more warm days to come to keep them going. Thanks Fred.

Two

I am not a great grower of dahlias but I do have one or two.  This one was a rogue in a batch of other dahlias that have since been passed on to a better home. I kept this one because it is simpler and smaller.  The dinner plate dahlias are not for me.  

Three

I cannot quite remember which variety of cosmos this is, it could be ‘Sensation Mixed’. It’s just come into flower and has been trampled by the fallen sweet pea wigwam. There is some sorting out to be done but I think the cosmos can be salvaged.

Four 

The coneflowers have twirled themselves around in the wind, just about remaining standing. They deserve a sunnier spot and I hope to oblige in this autumn’s re-think.

Five

Now as you know gardeners are not known for complaining: the weather is always reliable, everything grows well, pest damage is limited  and all is generally well in the world but occasionally things don’t deliver and the odd sigh can be heard among the shrubberies.  So it is with the autumn raspberries,  Lovely to see them fruiting but the volume looks to be well down on last year.  Mustn’t grumble though, it’s good to have them.  

Six

My main lavender plant finished flowering some weeks ago, but in a different corner this one keeps on going.  A little bit of summer remains.  

There’s a rather beautiful dahlia in the Prop’s six for the week.  Am I tempted?  Somewhat! I hope you find time to take a look.  All the links to other sixes are posted there throughout the day.   I’m hoping for calmer weather and then a few jobs can be done.  The alchemilla mollis is going over and I have some green manure seeds to be sown.  

Six On Saturday: Returning to the fold

I have climbed back up the slippery slope to not posting and made it to the top. I’d like to say that I have spent the last few weeks dining out, drinking in pubs and jetting off to sunnier climes, but no. The best I have done to kick start the economy is have a hair cut and make two visits to the garden centre. Compost and twine now purchased, garden blogging can re-commence.  Here are six things from the garden for your delectation.

One

Growing from seed is definitely a case of winning some, losing some. Here is a slow winner.  This is echinacea pallida.  I sowed seeds three years ago, probably a half tray full and managed to get three to 9cms pot sized plants.  They were planted out last year and this year I have the first flowers.  Very dainty.   I like them and would like more.  It could be a slow process. 

Two

Also grown from seed and happily in the garden for a few years now the ‘Black Cat’ scabious is back and looking velvety dark again.  I need a few more of these too, as a few a moved to a new location resented the intrusion and are no more. 

Three

Hollyhocks, from collected seed and now liberally spreading themselves around.  These I have to keep an eye on as they do get everywhere.  

Four

This year’s annual sowings have started to flower and first out of the blocks is cosmos ‘Dazzler’.  Always reliable but I am never happy with where I have planted them out.  

Five

The magenta phlox have taken up the baton for the second half of summer.  I always have a sinking feeling after the peak of the garden in June but the phlox opening up signals that the next wave has arrived.

Six

More mid summer magenta from the penstemons, this is ‘Plum Jerkum’.

That’s the six. I have been busy cutting back the June extravaganza of ‘Brookside’ geraniums and the delphiniums.  The g. psilostomen is trying to convince me that it has another few days of flowers to give but really it is past its best and has to be cut back too.  Nice to be back with The Prop, who has some beauties in his six of the week, all very colourful.  Much to be enjoyed. 

Six On Saturday: Stormy weather

The first storm of the winter arrived this week.  Some parts of the UK suffered more than others.  Here the weather was blustery and gusty for a few days but only minor damage occurred.  Here’s my contribution to the Six On Saturday meme:

One

IMG_2898Pride before the fall and fall the persimmons did.  Two branches came down, both  heavily laden with fruit.  They broke from the inside so nature has done a good job of opening up the tree.

Two

IMG_2905No sooner had the delphiniums put up their second flush of flower stems than the storm arrived.  Of course I hadn’t got round to tying in the tops but the ties at the bottom seem to have helped steady the stems enough to keep them safe.

Three

IMG_2900The stately cosmos that was just opening out its flowers was not so lucky.  I had tried to push a cane into the ground but there was no give at all. The plant snapped off at the bottom.  All was not lost as I cut back the side stems and brought them inside to fill a vase.

Four

IMG_2899The fruits of the passion flower are ripening and providing a focal point over the top of an arch.  These is the more common Passiflora caerulea and although the fruits are edible when very ripe I prefer to leave them be.

Five

IMG_2904There is a paragraph in the  participant’s guide  that encourages mention of gardening projects and time this week has been spent preparing the ground for some new plants.  It’s not a very exciting photo so here’s a link to the planting that inspired me:  Nice (no 3)  I was very taken by the combination of gaura and pennisetum, and I am going to try it out on a smaller scale here.  Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’ and Pennisetum villosum have been ordered and two corners have been cleared awaiting their imminent arrival.  Both should be shorter and smaller varieties of the original planting.

Six

IMG_2906Indeed the doorbell rang a moment ago and although it was not the aforementioned plants I was excited to receive the first of the bulb orders.  Excited on two counts: Yes! I had my six for the week (it was touch and go) and I could cross Colchicum speciosum Album off of the wish list.  I hope they are going to like the space I have ready for them.  Fingers crossed that it is sunny enough.

Six On Saturday: Scorchio again

Once again it’s very hot here with temperatures around 30 degrees plus.  The rain of last Sunday – really, the one day I have the family over and it rains – was welcome and filled two of the large water butts and one small one.  Total 868 litres plus some odds and ends from the greenhouse butts and I’m nearly through it already.  I am looking again at the garden to see what I can add in to extend the colour but planting will have to wait until September.  Here’s what’s happening at the moment.

One

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A melon update: My second year of growing melons and you would have thought it would be a bumper year.  There have been plenty of flowers but only one has come good as a melon.  Two or three other melons formed but then rotted off.  I’ve been hard at work cutting back the side shoots and stopping the main stem.  Now I have to decide when is the optimum time to pick this precious fruit.

Two

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The grapevine over the pergola regularly produces grapes but at this time of the year they split and never ripen.  The previous owner said it was a Black Hamburg, which, as many of you will know, is an indoor variety.  Today the wasps are having great fun and it makes sitting under the welcome shade a little nerve wracking.  I think in future I will cut off all the grapes and have beautiful shade and no wasps!

Three

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The Hollyhocks have been to be featured again. They just keep on growing.  There was a touch of rust on the lower leaves early on but the hot dry weather seems to have kept it at bay.  Reader, I measured this one. It is eleven foot six inches!  Does that sound like a challenge?  Bring on the hollyhocks.  This one is growing up into a dead fruit tree.  It never got to fruiting stage so I can’t identify it, other than to say that I suspect is was a stone fruit, maybe apricot, which succumbed to leaf curl and oozing this year.

Four

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Also doing rather well are the rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’.  I have my eye on these for dividing this year.  Spreading this wonderful colour around the garden will be a pleasure.

Five

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I was late sowing the cosmos this year but they have started to come into flower.  This one is Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Click Cranberries’.  I’ve planted them in a block but I think this one will look good dotted around the border next year.

Six

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Lastly a zinnnia.  This is taken as a close up because my planting scheme went awry.  I planned to mix the zinnias and some ammi visnaga together but the ammi germinated late and is only just looking good enough to plant out.  Without the ammi to add some froth the zinnias look like soldiers on parade.  Maybe it will look better in October.

From here it looks like crispy lawns and parched plants for a little longer.  See what else is going on at The Prop’s blog – there you can find links to all the other great SOSs.

Six on Saturday: The race is on

Aah, what a gentle occupation gardening is.  Full of quiet moments pottering among the flowers, pulling carrots, picking strawberries.  Or are you, like me, engaged in the mad dash to get it all done before June!

One

The cold and the rain delayed much of my gardening efforts but this week I finally finished cutting back the hydrangeas.  In my defence there are seven of them and only three have been waiting patiently.  Here you can see that the first flowers are forming.

Two

Seed sowing for vegetables is happening almost daily.  Leeks, carrots, red cabbage, spring onions, climbing french beans are all in the greenhouse. Some carrots have been direct sown along with parsnips, radishes and lettuce.  The rocket sown in February is now out in the ground. And the last of the potatoes – Sarpo Mira and Belle de Fontenay have finally been planted.  Phew!

Three

The onions and shallots planted out in November are enjoying some warmth.  I have been very interested to see that many people plant their onions in modules and don’t move them outside until later.  I am going to try this next year.  I did protect these against the birds but that was all removed this week.

Four

Seed sowing for flowers is ongoing.  The teeny tiny seeds of antirrhinum White Giant have produced teeny tiny leaves.  Tithonia and nasturtium look a little stronger, but does that mean finding time for potting on?  Zinnias and calendulars have pushed through.  But I have yet to sow any cosmos! How is this possible I ask myself?  I’m not panicking.  Last year I direct sowed some in early May and planted some in modules as late as the end of April . . . Ok,  brief panic!

Five

It has felt a little frantic but it is important that we take ‘time to stand and stare’ and I have really enjoyed the tulip display, the result of a mass November planting.  These are Queen of Night, Shirley, Barcelona and Violet Beauty.  I love them!

Six

And these are Angelique – a pink double, Spring Green – a viridiflora and China Town – a shorter viridiflora with white edged leaves, beautiful.  These were quite tightly planted in two groups in a new border to leave space for some bare root roses that were arriving later.  There is definitely room to spread them out a little, which is the plan, unless of course, I am tempted by some lovely perennials that I know will be featuring in a couple of local plant sales in May.  Have space, will fill it!

And whilst standing and staring I noticed the irises and alliums are just about to open, and the first strawberry flowers are showing.  Oh yes, we will soon be pottering!

If you’d like to stare at a few more Six On Saturday posts stroll over to The Propagator’s  blog for all the links.  Sit back and enjoy the display.