Six On Saturday: a few ups and downs

The view of the garden from the kitchen window gives a grandstand view of the antics of the squirrels.  This week they have been tracking down the last few tiny edible figs and often knock off some of the others in the process.  As does the wind and the rain, which is all very helpful as there are still a great many figs to be taken off.   In all the gloom of this week there have been a few spots of colour:

One

G

I still have berries on the cotoneaster leading to me to conclude that there is still plenty of food around for the birds.  The combination of the red berries and leaves and the ivy strikes a perfect Christmas note.

Two

I tweeted this photo earlier in the week and unashamedly share it here.  For one of my twelve days of Christmas I have six paraqueets-a-nibbling.   This tree is a real bright spot in the winter gloom and looks all the crazier with the addition of some neon green.

Three

This sad looking skimmia is not providing the much hoped for winter colour.  It was planted out last year underneath the magnolia and I had lovely visions of masses of red berries which have come to nought.  The skimmia was dug up and potted again, pending allocation to a better spot. Some place with more light and not so dry I think.

Four

The aforementioned magnolia is beginning to do its stuff again –  these new buds were  cheering to see.

Five

I ventured into unknown territory awhile ago and planted up some hyacinth bulbs for forcing for Christmas.  At the appointed time they were brought into the warmth of the house.  But this week they were  banished into a cold exile outside.  Their crime?  Well the bulbs are innocent but the cloud of tiny black flies that came with them were not greatly appreciated.

Six

I’ve got a few things going on in the potting shed.  The scented leaf pelagoniums have been cut back, the last of foxgloves are going to overwinter there now along with a few cuttings of penstemon ‘Sour Grapes’ and pellies.  I am also trying to keep alive a few seedlings from euphorbia oblongata but I feel these are already slipping from my grasp.  I foresee causalities along the way.

Even though I may lose some seedlings over the winter the eternal optimism of the gardener continues.  New seed orders have been placed and the wish list continues to grow.  Enjoy your winter garden – plants and wildlife,  and if you are seeking inspiration look no further than The Propagator’s blog which will start you off on a world wide tour of gardens.

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Six on Saturday: Shamed into action

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:

One

img_3032.jpgI 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.

Two

IMG_3034I 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.

Three

IMG_3033The previously sun scorched hydrangeas are also taking on their winter hue.

 

Four

IMG_3031But 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.

Five

IMG_3036The 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.

Six 

img_3035.jpgI 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….

 

 

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: Changing seasons

It was a busy gardening weekend last week.  The extra day, a bank holiday in the UK, was spent helping out at the Finchley Horticultural Society allotment NGS open day.  Fortunately after the wash out that was Sunday, Monday remained dry and the allotment looked verdant.  Of course I was tempted by the plants the growers had for sale and I came away with this:

One

IMG_2810A persicaria – labelled as ‘pink’ so I can’t add any further information.  It goes some way to my getting persicaria into the garden but I am on the hunt for some of the dark red ones.  I planted it next to the salvia ‘Blush Pink’ bought earlier in the summer and I hope they will be happy soul  mates.

Two

IMG_2808I singularly failed to record the other great gardening activity of the weekend which was the apple picking.  It was a smaller crop this year, both in numbers of apples and size.  Some were little bigger than a golf ball but as they all go for juicing they were all picked.  In about a week I will know how many bottles this year’s harvest produced.  The bent double apple tree of a few weeks ago is now nearly horizontal so I took a picture of that!

Three

IMG_2819Every week I think about including this Cleome ‘Senorita Carolina’ in the six but for some reason it stays on the sub’s bench.  This week it makes it into the team.  I really don’t know why it has taken me so long, it’s been flowering like this all summer.  The real colour is slightly less vibrant than captured here.  It’s a tender plant so if the winter is anything like last year I shall probably lose it.

Four

IMG_2812Just coming into flower is the Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’.  Earlier in the year its poor leaves were scorched by the sun but as the season moves on it’s site is more in the shade where the splash of white shines through.

Five

IMG_2816
Also adding some brightness are the self seeded calendulars that spring up around the garden.  The insects seem to like them too.  The ones on the veg patch are dropping seed and new plants are already growing.

Six

IMG_2817Given the size of the apples this year I was surprised and impressed by the persimmon fruits.  They are much larger than last year and although I am not a great fan of the fruit I do enjoy their orange colour as they ripen in November.

That’s my six for the week.  There are plenty more to view at The Propagator.  If you stop off there I recommend you also read his Garden Blogger’s Hierarchy of Needs a brilliant summary of what gardeners do and why they sometimes post and sometimes don’t. I hope you all find time to garden this weekend – that’s the important bit.

Six On Saturday: Branching out

I foresee blue sky photos for this week’s sixes.  And about time too!  Here are mine.

One

IMG_2252The trees in the garden are beginning to put on a show.  First up is the persimmon tree.  There was a bumper crop last year but I’m not a fan.  I inherited it with the garden and it does look fabulous in winter when the leaves have dropped and the orange fruits remain.

Two

IMG_2255I also inherited a number of apple trees and here is some delightful apple blossom from one of them.   Again, there was a bumper crop last year, we don’t store the apples and there are only so many we can eat so the majority of them are taken off for juicing.  We are still drinking the 2017 vintage.

Three

IMG_2258The leaves on the fig trees are just opening.  Not such a good year for figs for me last year and the squirrels always get the best of them.  I managed to bag a handful!

Four

 

IMG_2257And after my winter pruning efforts  it is always a great relief to see new leaves on the vine.  It does produce grapes but so far they have split before we get the chance to taste them.  The grape variety is Black Muscat, which I understand is also known as Black Hamburg.  Again, I was fortunate enough to inherit this well established vine which shades the pergola.

Five

IMG_E2256There is a great foaming wave of Choysia in one sunny corner of the garden.  It’s perfectly lined up with a view from the window.  Many thanks again to the previous owner.

Six

IMG_2250Finally, all my own work!  The white triumphator tulips are still hanging on and are a great companion to the irises that have just begun to flower.  There is also a glimpse of the almost open allium ‘purple sensation’ – something for next week!

Wishing you all a great gardening weekend – and the extra day in the UK.  More time to read all the sixes on show at The Propagator’s blog. Blue skies all the way.

Six on Saturday

There have been some warm autumn days in the last week and much talk about flowers that are still in bloom or putting on a second show.  My first is one of those.

One

Choysia ternata.  RHS advises that this often flowers fitfully into winter.  I’d say it was putting on a very strong show.  It is in north facing border at the end that catches a sliver of late afternoon sun from the west.  Its white flowers are lifting the autumn gloom.

Two

Iris foetidissima.  The seed pods are really popping and every now and then I help them along a little.  I am hoping I will be able to develop a colony of these under the rhododendron but having looked into their propagation it seems it may take a year or so.  I have taken a few berries to plant in pots and will see just how long it takes.  Of course the easier route would be to divide them now or in the spring.

Three

The persimmon tree is shedding its leaves quite rapidly now but the fruit are hanging on as they are supposed to.  Advice is to pick the fruit in late October and let it ripen on a sunny windowsill, so any day now I will be putting the advice into action.

Four

Borlotti beans.  I grew about three plants this year.  The site is against the fence, west facing but in reality very shaded until the late afternoon.  It took  a while for the flowers to appear and eventually bean pods followed.  Its only a small crop but they will be enjoyed.  I miss my full sun allotment plot but I on the positive side I am not getting so many gluts.

Five

The lemon tree with its one ripe lemon was moved into the greenhouse a week or two ago and this week I was pleased to see several of the new lemon fruits had grown in size.  This is my first year of growing lemons and the first year of putting the tree in the greenhouse.  I don’t know how low the temperature gets in the greenhouse over winter so this is going to be a learning curve.

Six

I do like finishing with a rose.  This week it is a beautiful spray from R.Natasha Richardson.

I hope your garden to continues to flower and be fruitful.  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

Six on Saturday

There’s some tidying up of the garden to be done.  Deadheading still, fallen leaves to  be collected, mulching and planting bulbs but close up there are some gems to be found.  Here’s my six for this week.

One

Schizostylis or, and much easier to say, Kaffir Lilly.  This came in a pot of something else when we moved house.  I  love the strong pink colour at the end of the season so I’m glad it stowed away and I’m hoping that it will settle into its new spot and send up more flowering spikes over time.

Two

R.Scepter’d Isle.   No apologies for showing this one again.  Mid October, still flowering and sending out new buds.  It seems happy in my demi paradise.

Three

But not everything in the garden is thriving.  One of the four euphorbia characias wulfenii that I planted to give structure to the border is failing dramatically.  The plants around it seem unaffected.  Possibly too wet in this particular spot?   The other three are still looking good.  Has anyone else experienced this?

Four 

Here’s an update on the persimmon tree.  The leaves are turning and amongst the beautiful copper reds the fruit is also changing colour.  There may be a chance that I will have some ripe fruit yet.

Five 

Geranium Brookside against a healthy euphorbia.  This was a new geranium to me and I love the way it sprawls around the roses and euphorbias.  The flower shines out and the leaves are beautifully cut. The plants have spread out much faster at the sunnier end of the border and so the two languishing at the shady end will have to be moved on.  Right plant, wrong place.

Six

Please correct me if I’m wrong but I think I am introducing Arum Italicum.  It’s an inherited plant.  It grows in a north facing border in a very shady spot.  Its bright orange seed berries have died back and the white veining of the leaves is particularly eye catching at this time of the year.  A good autumnal photo to end on.

I hope you are still finding good things in your gardens and let’s hope the less successful ones aren’t harbouring something nasty.

Thanks to The Propagator for hosting. Read his blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession

 

 

Six on Saturday

I was musing on what would be the six for this saturday.  The garden is going into autumn and the newly planted border doesn’t have that extended season content in it yet.  The veg patch has some parsnips, a second sowing of carrots and the very shabby end of season cukes and courgettes.  A brief glimpse of sun enticed me into the garden and suddenly the six came into focus.

Erigeron karvinskianus

Erigeron karvinskianus or Mexican fleabane .  I’d always hankered for a crop of this spilling through the rocky walls of a border.  And the new garden had just the right spot.  Three small plants purchased from the good growers at Finchley Horticultural Society have spread out this summer to cover a bare patch.  They have dropped seeds and I am hoping these will have tumbled into the nooks and crannies of the border walls and that new plants will weave their way around the stones for next summer’s display.  They are looking just perfect right now.

R.Natasha RichardsonOn the opposite side of the garden, the very lovely R. Natasha Richardson is still sending out new buds.  This was also acquired through an FHS sale, it was a donation from one of the society’s twitter followers.  It has flowered all summer long.  The bed is south facing and was mulched with horse manure last autumn. The rose was fed with Toprose after its first flowering and then recently with Fish, Bone and Blood.

cowslips
And surprisingly, to me at least, the cowslips have been flowering on and off all year. They are nestled in amongst some Japanese irises in a damp border.  The irises have become a little thuggish and I am admiring this cowslip’s resilience as it holds onto its ground.  It’s only the first year in the border for the irises and I will let them flower again before I thin them out.

Passion flower

This is an inherited plant and a bit of an attention grabber.  It is a passion flower, passiflora caerulea, that grows up and over an arch.  At this time of the year some of the flowers are turning to fruits.  Their soft orange skins open to reveal a raspberry like fruit inside.  The fruit can be eaten when it’s really ripe but its not a patch on the real passion flower fruit.  I just enjoy those orange yellow bursts of colour amongst the greenery.

Persimmon

And here is some more fruit from the garden.  This is from the persimmon tree.   Although some fruit has dropped there is more on it than last year.  If I am lucky it may ripen for October or November.  I have my fingers crossed.

And lastly. More fruit that really doesn’t look as though it will ripen.

Figs

Last year we managed a small crop of figs in August.  This year although there is plenty of fruit, none of it has ripened.  From experience there is very little ripe fruit to gather in November and the squirrels always seem to get up earlier anyway.  I have been told to wrap plastic bags around the branches to help the ripening process but so far I have resisted.  The view from the kitchen window would just be too weird.

That’s my Six on Saturday. Thanks to The Propagator for hosting. Read his blog posts and Six on Saturday at The Propagator my plant obsession