I thought about pulling a ‘dog ate my homework’ one this week. I had a good excuse – the lightning cable has disappeared and downloading the photos looked distinctly unlikely. But I did have six photos on the phone and I know the Prop expects every man to do his duty and so a spare was found. Here’s my six.
The Christmas break offered a few days to explore some culture and a visit to Tate Modern for the Burne-Jones exhibition provided unexpected inspiration for this week’s six. The paintings on display featured many beautifully painted plants: irises, dianthus, lillies, pansies and sweet peas, all with their own significant meanings and truly I was going to give you six insights into flowers and art but I know this will resonate much deeper – Leopard slugs.
These are slithering around the main entrance to the museum. They are by Monster Chetwynd who is fascinated by the idea that ‘light emitting organisms may one day power street lights.’ Now I did not know this, but leopard slugs emit a blue glow when they mate and so Chetwynd’s slugs come adorned with blue LED lights. When you next go late night slug hunting spare a thought for what you may be interrupting!
Back to things that really are in my garden now. My front garden hydrangea continues to give me joy. Yesterday the brown flowers were caught by the late afternoon sun giving them a bronzed look. The photo doesn’t do it justice, you will have to trust me on this one.
The back door pot of thyme also caught my eye in a silvery way.
And more silvery colour came from the lamb’s ear, Stachys byzantina. Tiny signs of new growth are pushing through. Very encouraging.
The Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii is also developing its lime green flower heads. These were one of the first plants to be put into the new border two years ago and they look wonderful now they are reaching their full size.
When I started the hunt for six to feature this Saturday I thought the garden was looking pretty grim. But there is always something to enjoy as plants work their way through their life cycles. The Cotoneaster that was resplendent with berries a few weeks ago is now a skeleton, indeed looking very much like a fish skeleton. The geometric spacing of the branches is worth taking a moment to stop and admire.
Phew! Made it! The first six of the New Year. May 2019 bring us all a bounty of beautiful things in our gardens. To take a look at what is happening in gardens elsewhere call in at The Prop’s place – there’s some LED action going on there too!
The first lingering frost arrived this week. A scraping the ice off the windscreen and frozen bird bath sort of frost. A ‘don’t walk on the grass frost’. But another of the bare stem roses arrived too. So I did walk on the grass in order the plant the rose. Here’s my six:
The frost came on a clear sunny day and as I was scanning the garden front and back for suitable greenery for the house I remembered that I have a rather large fir tree that sometimes deigns to drop a few fir cones. I gathered two and looked longingly up at the rest.
I periodically wail about the lack of shrubs in the garden but whenever I get the chance to put something into a newly cleared space I choose a rose. This week ‘Souvenir du Docteur Jamain’ arrived. I must thank the good folk at Ulting Wick garden in Essex who tweeted about this rose for a north facing situation. It’s a climber and I’m hoping it will romp away all over that brown fence of mine.
I just got my photo of the cotoneaster and the ivy into last week’s six in the nick of time. This week the berries have been stripped and the leaves have all gone. My festive offering for this week is holly. But no berries.
I still have a drop of colour in the garden. The hydrangea is turning down its bracts (I think I’ve got that right but please correct me if I’m wrong!) and showing off the pink undersides.
My neighbours’ viburnum are beginning to flower quite beautifully now. Ours has one single solitary flower head. All suggestions as to how get more will be gratefully received.
The buds on the rhododendron are forming. This is a very large specimen on the north facing border. The north facing border is the focus of my attention for 2019. Watch this space for indecision, digging and hopefully, developments.
All the links to other SOSs from gardens around the world can be found at our genial host’s site The Propagator Blog. If it’s cold outside stay inside and have a good read!
I have been shamed by my fellow sixers! The shorter days and colder temperatures have me reaching for the blanket, the gardening books and a cuppa. I was even considering not posting a six! But reading Mr P’s links to today’s sixes have encouraged me to get out in the garden. I have not sown my sweet peas seeds, planted any bulbs and only just in time did I fleece my tender agapanthus plants. But then none of us are perfect are we? The very least I could do was to share six from my garden this week:
I garden in London and so get a little complacent about frosts. But this week the lawn has had a light frosting and it was clearly a sign that cold weather gardening had to start. Last year’s fleece was in shredded tatters in the shed and I hate all those white flaky bits. I hot footed it to Homebase and found some delightful green bags of 35gsm fleece with very handy draw string pulls. I usually fleece up the agapanthus armed with a stapler but these jackets were easy to pull over the plants and the fetching shade of green is slightly less obvious than white. Job done.
I was certainly lulled into complacency by the balmy days I experienced in Suffolk last week but the cold evenings are changing the colours of the garden. The persimmon tree is looking beautiful even as the leaves are falling.
The previously sun scorched hydrangeas are also taking on their winter hue.
But elsewhere the summer container plants are still in good health and I will leave them out throughout the winter. In mild years I have been able to carry the geraniums over into the next summer.
The white antirrhinum sowed from seed is still in flower at this end of the garden but elsewhere I have collected seeds from another plant that has done its bit for summer.
I recently planted out some gaura and pennisetums in a west border and alongside them I put in some Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’, which still thinks there’s time to put on a display. Thank you!
Thank you too, to everyone who shares their gardens on a Saturday. You provide inspiration, support and encouragement and always make me laugh! What more can you ask for? Well, if anyone’s free to plant a few hundred bulbs….