Six On Saturday: Flattened

It was a week of hunkering down.  The water butts filled up impressively.  I then emptied them by filling up all the watering cans and then watering the greenhouse.  It was mad, crazy, wet.  I was happy from Monday to Wednesday, a little peeved by Thursday and downright fed up on Friday.  But the garden did need it.  I reviewed the damage: slugs and snails feasting on the lupins and flattened roses but most other things just soaked up the magic water.

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The flattened and rain soaked ‘Scepter’d Isle’.  The petals just fell off them as I deadheaded them.  The alchemilla mollis underneath was cut and joined the forlorn rosa ‘Darcy Bussell’ in a vase.  I was reminded of some beautifully crafted staking of roses at Waterperry gardens and again made a note to do better next year!

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The collection of small plants I bought at the Finchley Horticulutral Society plant sale were short enought to withstand the rain, and positively thrived on it.  These are alchemilla mollis alpina, tellima grandiflora or fringe cups,  geranium ballerina and erinus alpinus, also delightfully known as fairy foxgloves.

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I was pleased to see a mistreated geranium had forgiven me.  ‘Ann Folkard’ was planted five years ago in the old house, moved around several times there, came to the new house and has been moved around several times again.  I hope it’s  in the right place now, I’m going let it stay for a while and see how it fairs.

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Just before the deluge arrived the ailing choysia left.  I now have that most desirable of garden commodities – open space.  I wish I had worked out the plan of what to do next first but the urge to remove the choysia was too strong.  Normally I would fill the space with annuals but I don’t think they will do well in this north facing border.  On the other hand it is at the western end and I do have two or three trays of annuals looking for a home.

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The much awaited melica altissima ‘Alba’ arrived.  The final piece in the shady north border planting.  Now it all has to knit together, the weeds are doing that rather better than the plants at the moment.  The climbing  hydrangea is making good progress but the first flowers on the geranium sanguineums were dashed to the ground by the rain.

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The small and dainty dianthus deltoides stood up to the rain.  They are about 18cms high and edge the border very well.

A little bit warmth would do very nicely now but dark clouds are looming again.  The weeds are growing upwards and the slugs are growing fat.  It is summer solstice next week so I am optimistically  expecting a change in the weather!  I think rain will be the word of the week for other SOSers.  Take a look at The Propagator’s blog to see how everyone faired.

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Six On Saturday: Roses, geraniums and more

The soft scent of the roses greeted me as I walked down the path to collect this week’s photos.  Yes, summer is arriving and it is time to enjoy what is on offer.  I still have work to do and ridiculously, given the dry weather, I have new plants to find homes for. Here’s this week’s collection.

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The climbing rose ‘Blush Noisette’ is covering the wall with small blooms and buds.  This is a three year old plant and it is just about reaching its predicted spread of four feet.  It is billed as having a a rich musky clove scent, which is not so apparent,  but it does flower generously.

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Geranium psilostomen is just opening up, I bought this two years ago from the Finchley Horticultural Society (FHS) plant sale and the following year bought three more.  They are fabulous for a statement geranium, tall and covered in masses of magenta flowers with black centres.  They grow to 1.2m and are pretty much self supporting although I do stake one side of this to keep it up off the path.

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Antirrhinum majus ‘White Giant’ F1.  I am so proud of these because I grew them from the tiniest of seeds last year.  They flowered well last summer and have over wintered and flowered even more vigorously this year.  They are annuals so I seem to have been very lucky to have them come through again.  I don’t think they are self seeders.  I have no idea how this has worked but I am thoroughly enjoying them.

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This week I made a start on one of the most terrifying jobs in the garden. Cutting back the flower stems of euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii.  They are just beginning to produce seed and are dominating the border so it’s time to cut them down and give everything else some extra space.  The foliage left after the flower shoots are gone continues provide some useful structure.  The white sap drips everywhere and can cause skin irritation so I tackle this job very carefully.  One down, three more to go.

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All is not as it should be in the north facing border.  I am still trying to track down the melica plants – I think I may be on to something but I have to wait patiently for another week before I know for sure!  In the meantime the 25 geranium sanguineum ‘Album’ are just beginning to flower and there are interlopers.  At least one so far but judging by the leaf I think there may three more.  I do like the new geranium but it cannot stay here in the clearly designated ‘white plants for deep shade’ space.  Well, not for long.

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Last weekend I was helping out at the FHS plant sale.  I came back with a good haul of plants, some small and delicate for the half-thought out alpine corner and some more statuesque.  These two tall ones are veronica, pink and salvia microphylla var. microphylla or blackcurrant sage.  I must have a corner for them somewhere.

My fellow sixers will be sharing their gardens and all the links are collected together on The Prop’s blog.  Mr P does a sterling job of running the show for which we are all most appreciative.  Look no further for inspiration and helpful advice.  That’s enough sucking up, time to enjoy the garden.

Six On Saturday: Taking the rough with the smooth

It’s an emotional life being a gardener.  This week I have experienced frustration with the slow growing dahlias, sadness for the agastache that didn’t come through the winter and anxiety over the lack of rain.  Fortunately there have been plenty of joys too.  Here’s six good things from the garden.

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The monthly look at the border.  From this angle the delphiniums are blocking the view of the roses that are just coming into flower.  Everything is filling out very well and for the moment the water butts are providing enough water. As I enjoyed all the new growth I was struck by how I have, almost without exception, gone for height on this border.  Not much gradation going on here, but I like it.  The brown patch is still awaiting inspiration and so for the third year will be home to the annuals grown from seed. I’m thinking about trying libertia chilensis (grandiflora) here – more height.

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Now for the detail of the main border.  This is allium ‘Mount Everest’ which in itself it lovely but there’s a little disappointment here as I planted 12 bulbs two years ago and topped them up with six more this year.  Flowering result this year: four.  They do grow tall but the flower heads are quite small.  I suppose any larger and they would wobble on their long stems.

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Behind the delphiniums lurk rosa ‘Wisley’ and ‘Gertrude Jekyll’.  This week ‘Wisley’ gets to be the star.  The roses were planted three years ago and this year they are excelling themselves.

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Behind the ‘Wisley’ roses are a clump of ‘White City’ irises.  Again they have been in the ground for three years, having come to me from a division of a friend’s clump.

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Climbing up the back fence, in shade in the morning but catching the sun by the afternoon is ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’.  This was planted out last autumn and I am impressed by it’s the speedy progress and generous flowering.  A winner.

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The not quite open irises featured last week have burst forth and are stunning.  These also came from a friend’s garden and I have promised to pass them on again to two more friends.

So this week’s little homily is there’s good and bad in life and in the garden but keeping the good in focus is what’s important!  I looked up the meaning of homily and I rather liked this definition: advice that is often not wanted.

It’s another long weekend in the UK and I shall be helping out at a local plant sale on the Sunday. Also on the to do list are planting out the overwintered pellies into the summer containers and prepping the veg beds for the beans, courgettes and cucumbers.  I shall also be peering optimistically at the parsnip and carrots sowings, and undoubtedly doing some watering. Happy gardening to all.  For the links to more SOS postings go to The Propagator’s blog and feast your eyes on what’s on offer.

Six On Saturday: Finally, flowers!

Last week the garden was lingering in cool spring mode.  This week some sunshine has persuaded a few more flowers to open out.  Overnight showers here have lent a few diamond drops to the photos this week.

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The dwarf pink azalea that came as present a couple of years ago is flowering.  I recently  received another one which I  may have done for already by forgetting to water it while it flowered in the house.  I’ll try to resurrect it and will see if it likes it better in the garden.  I could end up with the national collection of dwarf pink azaleas!

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I sprinkled the aquilegia seeds around and a few of them made it through to plants.  The flowers are just opening out.  I think this photo makes the colour more interesting than it is.  In reality it looks a rather muddy white.  I like them just as much for the foliage.

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The first of the roses to really open up.  This one came with the garden and was a bit spindly.  Three years ago I cut it completely to the ground.  It has climbed back up the wall and now has so many more flowers, which are a shade deeper red than comes across here – and therefore much nicer.

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This is weigela ‘Florida Variegata’.  It was new to the garden three years ago and has made it to about 2 metres.  So far I’ve not pruned it at all but now it is spreading out over the path so after flowering I will reduce the length of the side branches.

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I’ve been wailing for weeks that my geums had not flowered whilst everyone else’s were romping away.  Finally ‘Lady Stratheden’ deigned to put on a show.  She’s a bit of a sprawler but it works well as the plants around begin to fill out.

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Although these Siberian irises have not quite opened I had to give them a show.  The purple of the flowers just breaking through against the green of the sword shaped leaves is just perfect!

Mr Prop who hosts this meme has plenty more gardening delights and will no doubt be adding to his plant collection as I write. Take a look and investigate other delights from around the world.  Be warned: Six On Saturday is infectious.

Six on Saturday: Hip hip hooray!

I’m cheering for the sunshine, the long weekend and the surge in growth that is taking place in the garden.  I’m getting a tingling feeling! For the full ASMR experience please read this post in a slow, gentle whisper.

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Tulips, tulips, tulips.  These are planted out in blocks along the long border central path. There are four types: Queen of Night, Shirley, Violet Beauty, Barcelona.  Queen of Night comes along a little later which seems appropriate.

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This is the sunny end of the north facing border – which is in truth slightly angled east-west.  The iberis sempervirens is in full swing and the tulips here are just appearing.  I’m waiting patiently for the trachelospermum jasminoides to run riot over the back fence.

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Down at the hedge border I have two groups of tulips comprising of Angelique, China Town, and Spring Green which are just waking up.  The shorter ones with the creamy edged leaves are China Town.  These are absolutely lovely!

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New to the garden this year is leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’. Billed as reaching 90cms in height, this hasn’t quite made it this year.  But I have high hopes!

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The apple blossom is opening out.  Such beautiful colours.

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Rosa Mdme Alfred Carriere was planted out last year on a shady back fence and it is running away very nicely.  After a week away I was very happy to find it  lush and full of buds.  I’m looking forward to them opening out.

I am now heading off to do some gardening.  Some more of the plants for the less sunny end of the north facing border arrived this week and I have 25 geraniums and 6 anemones to plant out.  I know it will take twice as long as I think so I’d better get started.  I’ll post on this new border next week.

I know someone else who will be out in the garden this weekend, but Mr P, host of this meme will find time to share the links to other SOSs for your enjoyment.  Have a great weekend.

Six On Saturday: revelations

My inspiration for this week’s six comes from a ‘conversation’ with a fellow sixer on how nice it is see the garden as a whole as well as the splendid photos of individual flowers. So here we go:

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This is the western end of the north facing border.  I’ve been de-weeding it for about two years! It gets slightly more sun particularly at the right hand end where osteospermum flowers very happily in the summer.  Of course I haven’t managed to include that corner in this selection. But you can see the large healthy choisya on the right and the two tone unhealthy choisya on the left and the middle. Honestly, it is one plant.  When that’s flowered it’s going and this is where the wish list plants will go.  This week I added skimmia ‘Kew Green’ to that list.  In the middle I have planted the climbing rose ‘Souvenir du Docteur Jamain’.  I’m expecting great things as I need it to cover that fence fast.

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This is the narrow border against the wall and the border where I was trying to squeeze in more tulips last November.  I did succeed in getting some ‘World Friendship’ in, these are the yellow ones but I have two pots full that didn’t make it into the ground.  The climbing roses are ‘Blush Noisette’ and ‘Scepter’d Isle’ is just coming up to fill in the gap in the wall.  I’ve decided I need a clematis here as well, but which one?  The verbena bonariensis also grows up against the wall here.

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The short border that faces east.  This is a very wet border so the perfect place for cowslips, Siberian irises and the hydrangea ‘Blushing Bride’ which does need its annual prune.

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I call this the hedge border.  The hedge of box, bay, eleaganus and viburnum marks the change to the veg plot behind.  It’s slightly north facing at one end but enjoys the afternoon sun at the other end.  The soil is very heavy clay here and the wonderful salvia ‘Amistad’ have not survived the winter.  They did make the perfect backdrop to the three r. ‘Darcy Bussell’ so I am tempted to plant them again and take cuttings for insurance.

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The turf has been laid.  This is the top end of the south facing long border.  Previously shaded out by the large BBQ and the large laurel, I now have a planting opportunity for some sun lovers.  I may be in line for some crinum bulbs.  It’s not a plant I know but I’m told it likes the sun so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

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Tulips of course.  These are the ones in pots.  The orange ones, unknown,  were dug up with the hydrangea plants and don’t seem to have minded too much about being disturbed.  The purple were featured last week and I can confirm, once and for all, that they are ‘Ronaldo’ planted alongside ‘Flaming Spring Green’  and the yellow behind them are ‘World Friendship’. Which is a good note to end on!

More world friendship is on offer at The Prop’s blog.  Enjoy your garden this weekend, don’t fret about the weeds and feed the roses!

Six On Saturday: The first rule of gardening is…

Things always take longer than you think.  I could have shared six photos from the one gardening job I had to do this week but I didn’t have the phone with me.  It started well.  The two roses I had bought from Thomas Stone arrived.  Thomas had suggested Rosa Madame Isaac Pereire for a sunny south facing border.  I’ll just put them in before it gets dark I thought.  No need to change I thought, this won’t take long.  There were a few trips up and down the path to locate the fish, bone and blood and the spade, oh and the hand fork for a few weeds, and then the  trug for the weeds to go in but then I was ready.  Suddenly that space didn’t seem quite big enough.  The fennel had to come out and those penstemons.  Down the path again for the fork.  Two penstemons, the fennel and a hollyhock later the rose was ready to go in with a sprinkle of FBB and some mycorrhizal powder.  On to the next one.  Again the space didn’t seem quite big enough so there were more penstemons to be moved.  Two found places in a new location but one had to be heeled in.  The verbena bonariensis also looked a bit close so that came out too.  Time to dig the hole.  The rose was going into a spot that turned out to be quite near the dead tree (which has been cut down and buried by mulch).  So back down the path for the loppers to cut through various tree roots.  Turns out this spot is also where I squeezed in several spring bulbs.  So they were relocated.  Finally time to put the rose in.  Darkness is now descending.  Where is the mycorrhizal powder?  Oh yes, under the heap of soil I dug to create the hole.  Rose goes in at last.  Tools collected up and put away, shed is very dark now and clearly full of spiders.  Jeans are filthy.  Hurrah, the roses are in.  But in the night I think Tony Tomeo flew over from the West Coast (into Heathrow).  In the States they plant their roses differently – with the union at soil level.  Here, I do as I’m told and plant the union about 2 inches below soil level. The next morning this greeted me!

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My  heeled in plants joined several others in a spot I am trying to keep clear for onions.  It now houses several delphiniums relocated to make way for the gaura and penesetums, a hebe from the front garden, a polemonium – recovering from slug attacks, and now the fennel and penstemons.  They’ll have to find new homes in the New Year.

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In all the trudging up and down I did notice the first of the white hellebores – just in time for Christmas.  It is being photo-bombed by primrose leaves.

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Fat balls have been made for the birds. One part fat, two part whatever is around – dried fruits, bread and some oats.  Of course the squirrels get to them first!

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The blackcurrants have gone!  I kept four for myself – heeled in around the garden and the others have gone to good homes.  The smell as they were dug up was wonderful. Now I have a blank canvas on the north border for my white shade loving plants.

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Time to wish you all Happy Christmas.  Decorating the house has just begun and my small contribution to seasonal light pollution is the wrapping of a string of lights around a bay tree.

It’s a busy time of year but if you need a moment of peaceful relaxation then drop by at Mr P’s.  He maybe playing a bit of Slade but everyone is welcome!

 

Six On Saturday: frost arrives and a rose

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Six On Saturday: Is it summer, winter or spring?

The season is clearly changing but the garden seems to be in a state of confusion.  Here are six things from my garden this week.

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Natasha Richardson rose, one of the English roses that just keep on flowering.  Lovely pink flowers and new buds still appearing.  It could be summer!

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Penstemon ‘Plum Jerkum’.  This suffered in the scorching sun of summer but it is happily putting out new flowers now.  It was a great companion to the Tithonia, which truly does know summer is over and is slowly curling up at the edges.

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There are one or two last flowers on the rudbeckia but most have gone to seed.  I will leave them standing through the winter to give some shape to the border.

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The agastache ‘Black Adder’ is also in its winter clothing.  This was an absolute winner this year.  Great colour and always thrumming with the sound of bees.

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Elsewhere in the garden there are signs of Spring.  The primroses are out and offering a reminder that the slugs and snails are still active.

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At the very back of the garden in a shady sheltered corner the hellebores are putting out new flowers.  I am sure these didn’t appear last year until January.  This one is Pretty Ellen.

I’ve got bulb planting to do this weekend.  The start I made last weekend resulted in only 18 bulbs being planted.  As usual I was distracted.  The dahlias needed cutting back, zinnias were pulled up and some of the foxglove seedlings were planted out.  This weekend I will be trying to put a few tulips in the border without crashing in on those that are already there.  Could be interesting.  Wishing you all well with your gardening pleasures. If you want to see what everyone else is up to visit The Propagator for all the latest links to other Six On Saturday posts.

Six On Saturday: Summer is hanging on but autumn is settling in

Even though temperatures here today are forecast to reach 24 degrees, the nights are cooling down and summer is really over.  Its the end of the third summer in the new garden and progress is being made.  More bulbs have arrived and some more bare root roses will be ordered.  This week the plants for my small west facing borders have arrived:

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IMG_2950I’ve planted the same group of plants either side of a small path..  The Agastache ‘Alabaster’ were in the garden already and they have now been joined by Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’, Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ and Pennisetum villosum.  Fingers crossed for next summer.

Two

IMG_2952On the diagonal opposite to this area is what was fondly known as ground elder corner.  After three summers of digging it out I think I have the upper hand and so I am beginning to put in some permanent plants.  First to go in is Trachelospermum jasminoides, a firm six on saturday favourite.  I’m hoping it will very quickly cover the great expanse of unattractive brown fence.

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The nerines have just begun to open out.  They are a little depleted in number as I stepped on one and not all of them have flowered.   The variety is Nerine bowdenii ‘Ostara’.  This is their first year in the garden so I am hoping they will settle down and put on a good show next year.

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IMG_2947Also adding some late colour are these Lillies.  Yet more naming debates: are they now Schizostylis, or Hesperantha?  I know which one I prefer.  These came from the old garden and are bulking up nicely.

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IMG_2951And since repetition is allowed and because the late colour is so fabulous, I give you again the Salvia ‘Amistad’ and the Rose, Darcy Bussell.  The Salvias mooched along all summer but they have really established themselves in the last month.  Darcy Bussell just keeps on putting out new buds.

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The warmth of summer lingers on but autumn is settling in and mushrooms have started to appear in the garden.  I’m intrigued by the blue ones but  have no idea what they are.

Here’s hoping all is well in your garden.  Autumn brings the storms and while I am still finding the garden very dry I know others are suffering from high winds and heavy rain.  It’s a gardener’s lot! Find out more at The Propagator’s blog.  That’s where all the great Six On Saturday links are posted.