Six On Saturday: Back to being a gardener

The comments on last week’s post were very reassuring.  We all have those moments of stepping on, cutting off or killing one plant or another.  I was most struck by the thoughts that this all about learning to forgive ourselves and that enjoying what the garden gives are the most important things.  So this week, as the days shorten and the leaves begin to turn, there are a few growing successes to share.

One

IMG_E2941

A few weeks ago it seemed that the figs would remain green and would all have to picked off.  Suddenly they started to ripen and each day brings more and more.  Most importantly I think I am getting to them before the squirrels!

Two

IMG_2935

More by the power of nature than my gardening skills I have managed to grow a strong crop of parsley from seed.  They were started of in a pot, transplanted into the greenhouse and a few more seeds were direct sown.  Having a steady supply of parsley is a first for me.

Three

IMG_2933

Also from the greenhouse is a photo of those peppers I was muttering about last week.  These are continuing to grow strongly and early problems with end rot seem to have disappeared.  The variety is supposedly Long Red Marconi, described as a mild sweet pepper.  But these have a bit of kick!

Four

IMG_2934

The basil growing in the greenhouse keeps on going.  I’ve made some brilliant pesto and it is regularly used for cooking.

Five

IMG_2932

My eye popping aster is in full bloom.  It grows at the shadier end of the border and even there I am beginning to find it a little too bright!  I namby-pambied about giving this the chelsea chop this year.  In the end I gave it a layered chop which has produced great flowers at about 50cms.  Those stems that were left unchopped must be at 150cms now and needed staking.  I had a nose around to see if I could identify the variety and came up against the great re-naming debate.  I name this one Aster ‘Tall and Bright Pink’!

Six

img_2936.jpg

Back to those squirrels again.  The recently completed wood facade to a breeze block structure at the end of the garden is a great place to perch and enjoy a different view.  Seems that the wildlife are also appreciating a new lunch venue and bring in their own food!  All our apples were picked and juiced a few weeks back.  Perhaps we missed one at the top of a tree.  The result of this year’s apple crop was 33 bottles of juice.  Last year we had 73 bottles.  I’m not complaining!

Mr P host of this meme, is having a busy weekend away from the garden and politely asks if someone could mow the lawn for him.  Sorry Mr P, I can’t help out as I will be too busy reading everyone else’s posts!

Advertisements

Six on Saturday

I was going to dial in my apologies for this week.  There is much potential in the garden but could I really subject you to six photos of emerging shoots.  Could I cobble together something or would it end up a busted flush?  Well the social streak in me is strong and I enjoy being a part of the #SixOnSaturday meme so here I am again.

One

IMG_1992

As the new growth on the perennials comes through I cut back the old stems.  But the seed heads on these Agastache foeniculum can provide some winter interest in the border for a while longer.  They are  ‘Alabaster’ and give lovely white spires of flowers for the butterflies to feast on in the summer.

Two

Other plants do not fair so well over the winter.  Here are two plantings of Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’.  Those planted at the sunnier end of the border are holding their own but those at the shadier end are disappearing fast.  This is their first year in the garden so it will be interesting to see if they pull through.  But if not, I have the spot at the shadier end earmarked for some more hellebores.  It’s so important to have the right plant in the right place!

Three

IMG_1985

Yes, here is another hellebore photo.  I am becoming a great fan of them and love it when the white ones catch the sun.

Four

IMG_1990

There was a tweet in the week about a rosemary being in flower.  Yes, it is in my garden too.  This border has the sun from early morning to mid afternoon and with its back against the brickwork the rosemary does well here.

Five

Also doing well are the penstemons. Known for being on the tender side, the advice is not to cut them back until new growth starts to come through.  These penstemons have come through the winter in strong leaf but I won’t cut them back until the weather is warmer and then I will cut back to points of strong growth a couple of centimetres up from the ground.

Six

img_1989.jpg

And here’s where I bust my flush!  It’s an emerging shoot.  No apologies for being excited to see so much new growth on this iris.  It is an allotment share from a well established clump and has a lovely tall stem with white flowers but I don’t know the variety.  I’m looking forward to the warmer weather and this shows that spring, although postponed for a week,  is on its way.

The Propagator is the place to go to read more #SixOnSaturday posts, just what’s needed after a chilly session in the garden.

Six on Saturday

Having spent the last few days wondering if three or three and half on Saturday would pass muster I finally knuckled down and came up with six.  It may sound as though it’s an onerous task to post weekly.  But no,  I am enjoying the discipline of looking at the garden in a focused way.  It may even be making me a more productive gardener!

One


A week or so ago I succumbed to this impulse buy from a supermarket.  Of course, when I arrived home I thought where on earth am I going to plant them?  Their pretty little viola faces seemed rather dwarfed once positioned in the garden.  This week serendipity struck.  I remembered I had three neglected terracotta troughs.  I think they will be just right for some block planting and then I can place them along one side of a raised bed.  Perfect.

Two

IMG_1935

Inspired by a tweet from Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire I am sharing with you my borders in February.  First is the border that was extended in November.  The line of snowdrops and emerging daffodils under the hedge shows where the old border ended.  They will be moved to the front after flowering.  The roses were planted in November: three Darcy Bussell and a Jaqueline du Pre.  Perhaps now I need an artistic rose to complete the cultural theme.

Three

IMG_1937

This is my long border. As you can see the foxes/squirrels love spreading the mulch around.  I have used roses and euphorbia as the framework and I am filling in around them with astrantia, gernaniums, scabious, penstemon and a variety of annuals. The borders at Waterperry are famous for their careful staking of plants.  Here’s a tip from Pat Havers, Head Gardener there.  They start staking their perennials in April.  I always leave my staking until it’s too late.  This year I will do better.

Four

IMG_1936

Hedges.  The background to the new border is a mixed hedge.  Elaeaganus, bay and viburnum.  I like the bay and viburnum but I would love to replace the elaeaganus with a darker green hedge to give a stronger background to the foreground plants.  Sometimes you have to garden with what you have.

Five

IMG_1934

Last week I mentioned that I prefer primula vulgaris to the stronger coloured primroses appearing in the nurseries.  The brightly coloured versions add colour at this time of year but the pale yellow of the common primrose is always the winner for me.  I grow them in my spring corner.  First the primroses and snowdrops appear, followed by anemones, bluebells and aquilegia and then I am hoping last October’s planting of pheasant eye narcissus will steal the show.

Six

And lastly, the February issue of Gardeners World came to my rescue.  Mint is beginning to come through now and they suggest breaking up small clumps of it to pot up for the greenhouse.   This will give an earlier crop.  The perfect job for the weekend.

There’s a cold spell ahead and it’s a gloomy day today, but there is always something to enjoy.  I hope you find time to garden or to reflect on your garden this weekend.  It’s a lovely thing to do.  More international gardening thoughts can be found at The Propagator who hosts this meme.

 

 

Six on Saturday

There was talk last week about growing plants in pots.  Was it really growing them or was it keeping them in a pot until the right spot was found.   I have had many a plant in a pot that has died through benign neglect while waiting for that perfect place in the border.  On moving house I decreed ‘no more plants in pots’.  My agapanthus and lavenders were planted out and their roots now have the freedom to roam.  I neglected the rosemary cuttings and they duly died.  Some plants have stayed in their pots and make an important structural impact and some need to be moved on or given up.  Here’s my six:

One

This phormium and its dragon pot have been together for 20 years.  There is no chance of me releasing it from the pot so there it will stay.  Every now and then it flowers but they are not significant.  It is the focal point of the leaves that is important.

Two

This cordyline had been in its pot for about 15 years.  It has recently been repotted and not a day too soon.  I use it to balance out the phormium on the other side.  Being smaller it needs help.

Three 

So I pair it with this yucca.  It came out of the old garden and into a pot.  The yucca rarely flowered in the garden and was getting congested.  I dug it up with the intention of throwing it out but decided to keep a few divisions in a pot to see if I could create another focal point.  The divisions took and they are beginning to establish themselves.  Paired with the cordyline they help counterbalance the phormium.

Four

Herbs are often kept in pots by the back door to be on hand when needed.  This thyme is in a sunny spot and has survived many periods of neglect.  There is a sunny spot in the border against a south facing wall now vacant after I managed to kill a well established rosemary.  My murderous gardening activities usually involve lack of water.   It might be safer to keep the thyme in the pot and in sight.

Five

I’m a little nervous about this one – I’m sure it won’t survive.  It was given to me as a present for the new garden.  It’s a dwarf azalea with a pink flower and until I see the colour I’m not sure where to put it.  For this year it is staying in the pot and if it is very dwarf it might stay in the pot for a few years.  This is how it starts…

Six

Saving the worst till last.  This box has been in the pot for about five years.  It was bought unshaped and my plan was to cut it into shape over the years.  I was not successful, the pot has cracked and neglect is setting in.  It has been demoted to that special corner of the garden  where  the broken pots are kept and the tumbleweed blows through.  Time for it to go … or shall I give it a new pot, some water and one more year?

That’s my pot expose  (add accent please).  Thanks to The Propagator for hosting the wonderful Six on Saturday.  Read his blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession