I am a great admirer of Dan Pearson’s garden writing and have an email subscription to his online magazine, Dig Delve. Dan unfailing comes up with beautiful words to describe the progress of his garden and Huw Morgan supplies the stunning photographs. Last week’s edition A New Year was no exception. The very first sentence caught my attention: ‘Winter is a time to look.’ And so I did.
The seed head of Echinacea purpurea
Seed heads of Agastache ‘Black Adder’
Seed heads of Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’
The flower of Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’
I also managed to do some gardening this week. It was the coldest day of the week and I had some digging to do. I had been smugly admiring the newly cleared plot on the north facing border. It looked lovely but I know that soil can be deceptive and underneath lurk the roots of the very worst of weeds. One end of the plot turned over quite nicely. I only needed to remove the odd blackcurrant root that had been left behind. I gave the dug over patch a mulch of leaf mould and as the toes were tingling I retreated inside for some warmth. The next day I set out to tackle the second half. A different experience unfolded. The weeds were lurking at this end of the plot and as I dug the roots out I remembered the enchanter’s nightshade that loves this corner and then the creeping cinquefoil came to mind. I really don’t like that one. A couple of trugs full of roots were removed and I know I still haven’t got the upper hand.
The first rapid fluttering of a nearby robin’s wings always makes me jump out of my skin but we soon get used to each other and this robin seemed very happy to pose for the occasional photo. In return I turned over a few worms for him.
It’s been cold but beautifully dry here so I’m hoping to finish off my digging this weekend. I’ve then got roses to prune and some perennials to cut back. I’ll be leaving those seed heads standing until the new growth starts to come through. Wishing you all well with your garden jobs. To take a look at what has been occupying fellow SOSs this week stop by at Mr P’s blog and links.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Once again it’s very hot here with temperatures around 30 degrees plus. The rain of last Sunday – really, the one day I have the family over and it rains – was welcome and filled two of the large water butts and one small one. Total 868 litres plus some odds and ends from the greenhouse butts and I’m nearly through it already. I am looking again at the garden to see what I can add in to extend the colour but planting will have to wait until September. Here’s what’s happening at the moment.
A melon update: My second year of growing melons and you would have thought it would be a bumper year. There have been plenty of flowers but only one has come good as a melon. Two or three other melons formed but then rotted off. I’ve been hard at work cutting back the side shoots and stopping the main stem. Now I have to decide when is the optimum time to pick this precious fruit.
The grapevine over the pergola regularly produces grapes but at this time of the year they split and never ripen. The previous owner said it was a Black Hamburg, which, as many of you will know, is an indoor variety. Today the wasps are having great fun and it makes sitting under the welcome shade a little nerve wracking. I think in future I will cut off all the grapes and have beautiful shade and no wasps!
The Hollyhocks have been to be featured again. They just keep on growing. There was a touch of rust on the lower leaves early on but the hot dry weather seems to have kept it at bay. Reader, I measured this one. It is eleven foot six inches! Does that sound like a challenge? Bring on the hollyhocks. This one is growing up into a dead fruit tree. It never got to fruiting stage so I can’t identify it, other than to say that I suspect is was a stone fruit, maybe apricot, which succumbed to leaf curl and oozing this year.
Also doing rather well are the rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’. I have my eye on these for dividing this year. Spreading this wonderful colour around the garden will be a pleasure.
I was late sowing the cosmos this year but they have started to come into flower. This one is Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Click Cranberries’. I’ve planted them in a block but I think this one will look good dotted around the border next year.
Lastly a zinnnia. This is taken as a close up because my planting scheme went awry. I planned to mix the zinnias and some ammi visnaga together but the ammi germinated late and is only just looking good enough to plant out. Without the ammi to add some froth the zinnias look like soldiers on parade. Maybe it will look better in October.
From here it looks like crispy lawns and parched plants for a little longer. See what else is going on at The Prop’s blog – there you can find links to all the other great SOSs.