Six On Saturday: Time for a rethink

Finally rain arrived.  Great for the garden, less good for other plans.  I’m having family over for lunch on Sunday, and rain is forecast all day.  Outdoor entertaining will have to come inside and someone will be cooking in the rain!  This week has been very hot. The plants in the garden are scorched, the veg plot is desiccated but I managed to find six things in the garden:.

One

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The lawn.  Quite an interesting view at the moment.  The crispy dry stripe is where, long ago, there was a path. The middle section is a mixture of green weeds and brown grass and the far corner is the part of the lawn that is always waterlogged through the winter.  There is local talk of underground streams but I think even these have dried up this summer.  The grass hasn’t been mown in months but a close look showed the creeping buttercup is, of course, creeping very nicely and the little acorns planted by squirrels are growing into mighty oaks.  The clover is mostly going to seed and providing food for the birds.  Such biodiversity.

Two

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The hydrangea in the front garden is usually uniformly pink but this year it is pink on the side that gets the sun and shades of pink, purple and blue on the less sunny side.  Curiously it is doing well in the heat.  The front garden is watered very sparingly – and this plant hasn’t been watered once.  I hope last night’s rain will keep it in good health.  It will probably die of shock.

Three

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The first ripened chilli in the greenhouse.  It’s a cayenne – looks pretty hot to me but apparently not a knock your socks off chilli.  Picked now and soon to be added to a tomato salsa.  The tomato crop is also ripening you can see a few ‘Golden Crown’ tomatoes in the background. Note for John K – I’m only up to four trusses.

Four

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The combination of tithonia and blackberries looks so autumnal to me.  There are lots of berries to pick and I haven’t watered these at all. Maybe they do have their roots down in an underground stream.  The tithonias have now made it to six feet and with the help of the magic water I think they may well make eight feet.

Five

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The shallots have been harvested. They were planted out in late November and again I didn’t water them so they are on the small side.  I have been so mean due to a  combination of lack of time and a short hose! Some of these are heading into a potato salad this weekend.

Six

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And finishing on a sort of ta-daa!  Work on the ‘ugly end of the garden’ project started. Temperatures were in the 30s and all was going well until the imminent thunderstorms meant the electrical equipment had to be packed away.  Now I  want the rain to stay away today so that the job can be finished.  Then I need to start planning again.  The beds get afternoon sun and I have asparagus on my wish list.  I’ve grown beans against the fence for two summers but I think it is too shady for a really successful crop.  More thinking to be done.

Who else is suffering and who is winning the rainfall lottery?  Those down under speak of cold winters.  Find out more by visiting The Propagator’s blog for this week’s links.

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Six on Saturday: Send in the locusts!

Don’t bother they’re here!  Well not actually locusts, the latest garden pest to arrive is the sawfly caterpillar.  I caught a crowd of them devouring my nasturtiums and radishes.  And following a tweet from Horti Hugo  I scampered off to check the gooseberries.  I couldn’t see a single caterpillar but the evidence was there:

One

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I’ve cut my losses on the gooseberries this year.  Life got busy at the wrong time and I didn’t get that netting done so I picked all that I could and I will have to wait for next year.  The blackcurrants have been netted and at least there are plenty of berries there for us all to enjoy.

Two

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Pottering gardener alert:  I decided there was far too much leaf on the tomatoes in the greenhouse and my goodness, turn your back for moment and those side shoots put on a spurt.  The side shoots were removed and some of the longer branches were cut back.  I know this is usually done as the tomatoes ripen but I decided that it needed to be done now.  I did find several green tomatoes hiding beneath the foliage so I think I did the right thing.  The long side shoot at the bottom has also gone now!

Three

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Still no rain here and the hydrangeas are wilting.  Here’s my favourite one which is framed on either side the by striking foliage of the siberian irises.  They did get a good watering after this photo was taken and picked up nicely.

Four

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I am delighted to report my first dahlia flower – not one of those bright stunners but a rather subtle white and green affair.  It’s blanc y verde from a Sarah Raven collection.

Five

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The penstemons are coming through now.  I thought I had carefully recorded the name of this one when it was purchased, but no.  I think it was firebird but could it be garnet?  Maybe there is a pot somewhere with a label on it!

Six

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It’s still June, so I’m still featuring roses.  I really like this one because it is so different to my other roses.  It’s Jaqueline du Pre, a semi double Harkness rose.  I love the stamens.

For all the links to sixes from gardens around the world go to The Propagator’s blog – all the ups and downs of gardening and gyo will be on display.

Six on Saturday

It’s a busy time of the year but Six on Saturday’s siren call has been heard.  This week I’ve gone to the front garden.  Here are my six.

One

I went to to buy 12 brick pavers to finish off the edging on the new border and came back with no pavers but 12 half price cyclamens.  Here’s a little group of three I put together in the front garden.  The front garden is mainly north facing and is planted with evergreen shubs so these cyclamen are adding a little spot of brightness

Two

As I planted out the cyclamen I  noticed the magnolia tree was in bud.  It is a lovely sight when it flowers and seeing the buds is a great reminder of things to come.

Three 

A very large clump of carex pendula has been dug out recently.  I confess this plant was so well established that I couldn’t move the thing and had to call in some muscle.  I hope all traces of it have gone but it is thuggish so I shall be watching carefully for any signs of regrowth.  I will plant up this skimmia japonica  subsp. reevesiana in its place.  It is  hermaphrodite and will produce berries without a pollinating partner.

Four

The hydrangea has completed turned to its winter colour, the lovely teracotta shades perfectly matching  the brickwork.  I cut a few of these flower heads to bring inside for tying up with ivy and anything else I can find to decorate the house at Christmas.

Five

Flowers on the pittosporum.  I don’t know why, surely it is out of season?  This shrub is at least 4 metre high.  I don’t the variety, I will be delighted to hear from you if you have any suggestions.  This is  another inherited plant that earns its keep.

Six

Lastly, this is the sum total of my borlotti bean  crop this year.  The beans have been drying out for at least a month and I’ve just put them in the jar.  One jar.  I grew about 5 plants but they were against the back fence of the garden which only gets late afternoon sun.  Next year I am going back to wig-wamming them in the middle of a raised bed.

Thanks to The Propagator for hosting the wonderful Six on Saturday.  Every week I think I’ll never come up with six but there is always something to suprise me.  Read the Propagator blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession