Six On Saturday: First Frost

There is nothing like the first frost to wake up this semi hibernating gardener. It was a light one but it had me scurrying to get the last of the pellies into the greenhouse. Not that my unheated greenhouse offers much protection, the thermometer recorded 1.3 degrees.  Winter approaches and six things in the garden becomes an interesting challenge.  Here’s my motley collection for the week.

One

The last vestige of summer – the second flowering of the delphiniums.  Hardly enough to make a show but such willingness to have a go must be admired.

Two 

Likewise for astrantia major.  This plant is happily self seeding in the garden.  There may come a day when I regard it as a thug but for now  I’m content to relocate the seedlings to other parts.

Three

The first of the hellebores has flowered.  This is a very early variety known as ‘Happy Day’.  I picked it up from a plant sale once upon a time and I’d like some more of them but I haven’t been able to locate them.  I never seem to be around when they are setting seed – note to self: must try harder.  It is time to have a look at the leaves of hellebores and remove last year’s foliage.  More advice on this can be found in this RHS article .

Four

All those good gardeners who have winter structure in their gardens will be smiling smugly now as I try to find the last three.  I don’t have much in the way of seasonal shrubs which I always mean to rectify but never quite get round to.  My long border winter structure comes from four euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii.  Every year they take it in turns to look unhappy.  Believe it or not, this is one of the healthier ones.  This year’s sad specimen is being closely watched but I now have two seedling understudies waiting in the wings.

Five

This is a part of the garden that’s waiting for some inspiration.  It is a narrow border and this half of it has been home to wild blackberries and a thornless cultivar since before we arrived.  This week’s job was to cut back last year’s fruiting canes and bring the whole thing under control again. The berries are welcome in the summer and no doubt some will be kept but each year I manage to get a little more this border turned over to flowers.  Maybe next year I’ll push on to the end of the path.

Six

Last week I borrowed a weeping willow tree from my neighbour and this week I am borrowing a gorgeous rose.  Who knows what it is, but it is leaning over into my garden and looks full of curiosity.  This weekend I will be browsing  rose catalogues from the comfort of an armchair in search for a new climber for this garden.  The passion flower is going and a new rose is coming.

Tulips and roses are in my thoughts for November.  The weather has been relatively gentle here so far.  That cannot be said for other parts of the UK.  I hope you are not suffering flooding or constant rain and that there is something still be found in your gardens.   All will be revealed in Mr P’s roundup and no doubt there will be blue skies from the other side of the world.

Six on Saturday: Resilient roses, asters, bulbs and froglets

The torrential rain of Tuesday gave the garden a welcome soaking. Unfortunately steady showers followed on and the week had a wet and windy finish. I start this week’s six by paying homage to the roses which flower, get soaked by the rain, are defoliated by rose sawfly, and yet flower again.

One

This white rose ‘Jaqueline du Pre’ flowers at the far end of the garden and spotting a new flower in the gloomy mornings of this week was very uplifting.

Two

At the opposite end, in  a sunnier spot, the climbing version of ‘James Galway’ is making steady progress up the trellis and keeps putting out new buds.

Three

Newly arrived in flower is Colchicum speciosum ‘Album’.  These were part of last year’s autumn bulb order and one or two of them sprang into flower immediately after planting.  This year I have more of a full presence but I feel the need for more impact.  I feel another top up bulb order coming on.

Four

A top up because the second order arrived today. I’m not such a prolific orderer of bulbs as our host Mr P but somehow I have managed to total 110 in this order plus 150 crocus bulbs and 60 ‘Tete a Tete’ daffodils from earlier temptations. In this batch are Tulips: Dolls Minuet,  Ballerina, Lasting Love, Mariette and Sarah Raven, Camassias and Acidanthera murielae.  The last is related to gladioli, and is sometimes known as Abyssinian gladiolus.  The recommendation is to lift over winter but I maybe tempted to leave them in.   I did lift some tulips this year so I will see how much success I have with replanting them first.

Five 

I have only one type of aster in the garden but I have two of them.  The colour is perfect but I have them in the wrong place and I’m not sure where the right place is.   The problem is they grow so high, easily outstripping any of my pathetic attempts at staking . This year one has remained fairly upright and the other has spiralled all over the place.  Belatedly I realised I could have tried a wig-wam support system.  The right place is probably somewhere sunnier and where their height can be enjoyed.  Still thinking.

Six

This little fella was trying to wriggle away from SOS fame and fortune but he just didn’t quite fit into the gap.  It has given me an extra nudge into finding a site for a pond.  I am going to go small and cheap,  buying a pond liner and an insulation liner.  I have in mind a small area at the back of the garden that is currently being used to heel in plants that I have been dividing or moving.  I might miss that luxury but this year the garden has been full of froglets, or possibly one very active one.  I’m hoping I can offer them a permanent home. If it stops raining and I can start digging.

More rain is forecast overnight so I have low expectations of any productive work in the garden.  I will be optimistically inspecting some sweet peas that were sown last week and thinking about seeds for next year.  I’ll be finding out about other SOSers and their gardening ambitions by checking in with The Propagator and all the links he shares.  Happy weekend whatever the weather.

 

 

Six On Saturday: Slow plants, rampant plants and the steady ones

This week was a game of two halves. A cold beginning and now a heatwave. I hope this will persuade a few more tomatoes to ripen. The courgettes keep springing surprises on me in the form of marrows and the french beans carry on being well behaved. The flower garden has seen a few rearrangements with more to come. The first of the six for this week is a welcome discovery.

One

A tiny spire of lirirope muscari ‘Big Blue’. Not quite living up to it’s name yet.  It has been three years in  development.  Billed as a perennial forming dense clumps it has just managed a clump of 10cms.  I think I have shocked it into doing something as a few weeks back I threw out two other sister plants on the grounds that they had done nothing at all.  Somehow I overlooked this one or perhaps it looked the stronger.  I’ll be watching it closely now.

 

Two

Also gaining a stay of execution is this unknown red rose.  It was here in the garden when we arrived and I have planted around it but always thinking that one day it would be moved or given up.  Every year it persuades me that it deserves to stay and it has twisted me round its little finger again.

Three

These were in the garden last weekend and have definitely gone now.  But they will be making a comeback as apple juice.  The apple trees all had a professional prune this year and look better for it.  The apples on the oldest tree were smaller but seemed to be just as plentiful.  I have 51 bottles of juice to collect.

Four

The passion flower (passiflora caerulea) has an incredible structure, fascinating to look at but it’s becoming too rampant.  I plan to completely remove it from the arch it grows over and see if it can be dug out completely.  I keep finding seedlings of it around the garden so I think I may be on the losing side.

Five

This blue scabious seems to have only just got into it’s stride, it was moved to a new location at the end of last summer so perhaps it took a while to really settle down.  Great things are expected next year though.

Six

Time for an experiment. I have sown some green manure seeds for the first time.  The onions came out and the seeds went in.  I have to remember to dig the growth over in 40 – 90 days.  I hope it does what it says on the packet.

That’s my six for the week.  To see more go to The Prop’s site.  His six and many more will  be revealed.

 

Six On Saturday: A supermarket rescue and other joys

August is the month for destruction at the supermarket flower section. Rows of sad, wilting plants reduced in price, past their best but holding out the glimmer of hope for a rescue. For a pound I was tempted and brought one home. It was submerged in water and left in a shady place to rehydrate. Thankfully it did and here it is.

One

Leucanthemum ‘Broadway Lights’. I would have taken more but the others really did look past all hope.

Two

August brings the arrival of the late summer flowers.  This year this includes some late sown plants, the first of which is this cleome.  I have about a dozen of these dotted round in the gaps that also seem to appear at this time of year.  Some I pinched out to achieve a bushier plant with more flower heads, this one was left to grow straight up.

Three

My zinnias, that have been promising to deliver for weeks, have finally made it into flower.  More much appreciated magenta pink, although it looks more red here.

Four

This year I dug up several bits of the rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ to give to friends and to plant elsewhere in the garden.  The main plant has responded with even more vigour and makes a striking focal point for the late summer border.

Five

I have been waiting for sometime for the supposedly thuggish anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ to live up to its reputation and spread itself widely over the shady end of the garden.  It’s in year three and finally looks as though it is about to make an effort.  Perhaps this year the weather has been a little kinder.

Six

Rose of the week is ‘Scepter’d Isle, every time it flowered this year the rains fell and its lovely flowers were ruined.  Finally it can show off its elegant form, but briefly I fear as the wind and rain of today is giving it a good thrashing.

The winds are picking up here, all the pots that stand on a wall have been moved down to the ground and the fig tree is swaying wildly in the winds.  I wonder what will be left standing for next week’s six.  Seems like the perfect day to catch with some SOS reading.  All the links can be found on The Propagator’s blog and reading his contribution is a good place to start.  Wishing you and all your gardens a safe weekend.

 

 

Six On Saturday: Too much of good thing?

I do like magenta pink. But truth be told I think I have too much of it in the garden. Lupins, geraniums, roses, phlox, salvias and more. A re-think is needed. The August garden is a bit patchy but the joy of Six On Saturday is that I get to show you the close up and can gleefully edit out the scruffy surroundings. Here are three magenta joys and a few others to break up the glare!

One

R. Gertrude Jekyll.  I hesitate to show the magenta pink flowers as the colour can look even more garish in a photo.  The colour doesn’t look too bad today, the rose is surrounded by astrantia major and Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’.  The salvia is a looking a bit scruffy now but the astrantia soliders on.

Two

R. Madame Isaac Pereire.  An old rose new to the garden this year, and supplied by occasional sixer Thomas Stone.  It’s a repeat flowering old rose and is doing very well in its first year.  Thomas recommend it for its ability to soak up the sun in a south facing border.  I agree.

Three

This is one of my grown from seed annuals – Malope trifida ‘Vulcan’.  If only you could see the chaos surrounding it.  This is meant to be a combination of the orange calendula ‘Indian Prince’ and the cosmos ‘Double Click Cranberries’.  All sown a bit late, so only just getting going, all flopping and falling everywhere – really should sow earlier, should sort out some gentle staking, should water more, in fact, should do better! But with selective vision they all look wonderful.

Four

Also in the should do better camp are my nasturtiums in a sink.  These are not they.  The sink based nasturtiums have given up, gone to seed most likely for lack of water.  These are in raised bed, in partial shade and have managed to survive on the rain water that comes their way.  They also have more room to trail and all in all this is a much more successful planting space for them.

Five

My other dahlia grown in a pot.  I’ve paid these a little more attention, feeding them with seaweed extract more or less once a week.  This is dahlia ‘Furka’ one of the cactus group.  Which sounds as though I might know what I’m talking about, but no.  I am still trying to decide if there is a place for dahlias in this garden, having just spotted some rather lovely bright red ones at Ulting Wick garden in Essex.  I have a plan to visit for their next open day especially to see them.  But then again, is it more of the same colour palette?

Six

My agapanthus are in full flower now.  These are the evergreen variety that I have to fleece up every winter.  They are tall, with large flower heads and I grow them in pots.  There are currently five pots of them dotted over the patio and they look especially good in the early evening light when the colour seems to intensify.  They work very well with my verging on magenta pink pelagoniums.

More delightful colours can be found on Mr P’s site.  There you will also find the links to the other SOSers that post from around the world.  I’m off to do some thinking, weeding and watering.  Enjoy your garden this weekend.

Six On Saturday: Turn around time

Weekends and weeks have been busy and the garden has received only fleeting attention.  The forecast of heavy rain for Friday saw me up early to sprinkle rose feed around so that the rain would do the watering in job.  I managed one afternoon of ruthless cutting back and hardly made a dent in the job.  I need to clear the borders to allow the later performing flowers to have their space.  It’s easy to feel that there is a mountain to climb but even in that one afternoon there was so much loveliness to enjoy.

One

I planted an awful lot of allium sphaerocephalon last year but I don’t quite have the affect I wanted #neverhappy! But of course I am happy – they are full of bees and are keeping the colour in the garden going.  I have no idea how the name is pronounced so I may be using the common name of round headed garlic.  Much simpler.

Two

The geranium’ Brookside’ are the biggest culprit for taking up space, stunning when they climb over the early roses but once the flowers go they have to be cut back.  They are well established and cutting them back is a major job.  My compost heap is heaping up.  Each year I dither about getting a shredder but as the garden has been restocked and matured it is obvious to me that this is my next purchase.

Three

I had to get my priorities right today.  The deluge of rain has filled the water butts again but with the forecast of more to come I needed to pump the contents of one butt down to the end of the garden to fill the large water tank.  I think it holds about 800 litres and is my go to for keeping the veg plot watered.  While that was filling up I took the rest of my photos, serendipitiously benefited from the combination of sun and raindrops. This osteospermum is a workhorse in a sunny corner and deserves a mention.

Four

I have given up trying to protect the soft fruits from the birds.  I have had a few good pickings of gooseberries, blackcurrants and whitecurrants and I have taken off the netting to share the rest with nature. The whitecurrants look beautiful on the branch but remind me of fish eggs once in the colandar.

Five

I managed to get the last tray of annuals in the ground this morning.  I sowed cosmos late so there is not a flower to be seen but the nicotiana also sown late have come in to flower and the combination of heat and rain will no doubt do them both some good.

Six

The rose of the week is Jaqueline du Pre.  I really enjoy this one for its difference.  It was flattened by the overnight rain but by crawling around on the grass and propping it up on some other branches I managed to get a half decent photo.  I spotted an interesting salvia this week – Salvia × sylvestris ‘Schneehügel’ –  a white variety. I am going to add this in around the rose.  Just can’t stop myself.

I know someone else who can’t be stopped, yes Mr P.  Go visit and see what’s happening there and around the world.  Seems like the rain can’t be stopped either, its just started again.  My empty water butt will be filling up nicely.  Happy days.

 

Six on Saturday: Flowers are hiding a multitude of sins

Continuing on from the theme of last week: losing the plot, all is still chaos in the garden. It’s been a busy week. The house is encased in scaffolding. Painters and roofers are everywhere. Good for them that it hasn’t rained, not so good for me.  There is watering to be done and weeds to be pulled.   It is time to cut back the hardy geraniums and delphiniums, which, once done, will definitely bring the garden back into some sense of order.  But then who wants order in the garden? Let the flowers rule!

One


I call these shasta daisies, but I have a distant memory that they have been renamed. Or maybe it is just that they have a formal classification name as well. Of course I didn’t get round to giving them a little bit of support so they have happily sprawled over the path. That path is getting hard to find these days. These have been in the garden, grown from seed, for three years now. Doing well I think.

Two

Suddenly the day lillies have burst forth.  I have ‘Golden Chimes’.  I can’t quite remember why  I chose these.  I really have a hankering for ‘Flore Pleno’.  But these will do – for now.  Day lillies are a sign, for me,  that the season is moving on.

Three

Sidalcea also indicate a change over is taking place.  This is ‘Stark’s Hybrid’.  This came to the garden last year and is beginning to clump up.  It should be very good next year.  It is in the mallow family and is not too dissimilar to hollyhocks but quite a bit shorter.

Four

Speaking of which, the hollyhocks this year are not quite at the giddy heights of last year but there is still time.  They seeded everywhere and I have realised that you need to be quick to pull out any unwanted ones. They develop very long roots that put up quite struggle.

Five

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ was a feature of SOS posts last year and after spotting it in a garden in France I was convinced that I had to have it here.  This is the first summer of flowering and it is not an established clump.  It does look beautiful swaying in a breeze, very summery.  I have high hopes of this making a bigger impact next year.

Six

There always has to be a rose at this time of year and this week it is ‘Darcey Bussell’.  Beautiful scent, fabulous colour and full of flower.  What more can you ask for?

For more summer highlights visit Mr P’s garden and you will find yourself meandering down garden paths from around the world.  Highly recommended.

 

Six On Saturday: Losing the plot

Aargh! It has happened. As is usual at this time of the year nature has got the better me.  Lilly beetles have been sneaking around doing their thing as evidenced by the grubs that are hatching. Black fly are colonising the clematis and little black beetles are feasting through the dahlias and sweet peas. The water butts would be empty again, if I had managed to keep on top of the watering. There is a serious amount of deadheading to be done. The only option is to sit back and enjoy the chaos that is the garden.

One

Some might say that I have literally lost the veg plot to the self seeded calendulas and I might agree with them.  In amongst all that orange there are dwarf french beans, potatoes, onions and last time I looked carrots and parsnips.  I have persuaded myself that at least the black fly are being kept away.  The lettuce has bolted, the rocket went to seed long ago but on the upside the first of the beans are ready for picking, new potatoes have been dug and gooseberries picked.  I will have to take those calendulas in hand though.

Two

Over in the flower garden there is a mad abundance of plants all crying out for a good soak.  I will get round to them all eventually.  This is penstemon ‘Apple Blossom’ grown from a cutting taken a year or so ago.  It seems to me that penstemons are very generous in taking from cuttings, which is encouraging for a novice in this area.

Three

Some of the roses are in that post June lull but ‘Natasha Richardson’ seems to flower non-stop through the summer.  Of course I have dead heading to do and I think it is time to give all the roses a second feed.

Four

The clematis is now in full flow and as I mentioned some stems have been colonised by black fly.  There seems to  be an excess of aphids this year.  The ants are doing their best but the soapy water spray may have to be put into action soon.

Five

This is scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Black Cat’.  Grown as a hardy annual from seed.  It overwintered and is flowering with avengeance this year.  More deadheading but also more flowers for the house.  A winner.

Six

I also sowed seeds of foxglove lutea two years ago.  I had good germination and gave some away to friends.  Yesterday one of the beneficiaries of my benevolence came to visit and showed me this photo of these perennial foxgloves in their second year.  I was gutted!  I had pulled all mine up as the delicate flowers didn’t seem so wonderful last year.  I can see now that leaving them to establish would have been thing to do.  Live and learn, live and learn.  She is now going to share some back to me.

For more sharing of good things in the garden take a trip over to The Propagator’s blog.  Summer fecundity everywhere!

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.

One

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!

Two

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.

Three

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.

Four

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.

Five

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.

Six

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.

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.

One

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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.

Two

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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.

Three

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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.

Four

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.

Five

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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.

Six

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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.