This is a fatal time of year for me. The Christmas break takes me away from the garden and usually cold weather keeps me away. But SOS calls and even the briefest of walks around the borders reveals that sitting with one’s feet up is not what is needed. Those weeds are looking smugly healthy whilst other more valued plants are in need of a trim or a primp. There are more leaves to be taken off the hellebores and I spotted one or two wayward rose branches that need to be taken out. I don’t have the excuse of cold weather, in truth it has been quite mild here but the ground is very wet so I will have tread carefully. Here’s what else I found.
The clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’ is fattening up very nicely. It is growing rampantly in one direction but is a little bald in the other. One side receives much more sun and it is the sunnier side that is worse for wear. Perhaps it will re-balance this summer.
A favourite photo for this time of year, the new growth of the sedum is pushing through. The old stems can stay on a little longer though.
A visit to the greenhouse paid some dividends as the overwintering pelagonium had put out new flowers. It was quite a timely visit as the pellie is clearly sitting below a leak point from the roof and some of its leaves were gently rotting away. On the downside all the salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ cuttings have rotted off.
There was some more joy in the greenhouse. Fred, a long time SOSer had sent me seeds of anchusa capensis back in September and I sowed just a few then. Three of them came good and are currently looking promising. I’ll be sowing the rest in the coming months. Thanks Fred.
That great herald of spring euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii is once again having mixed fortunes in the border. I have four of them planted centrally in the long border to give an early blast of lime green but one of them always plays up. These two plants are about a metre apart but something is having a dramatic impact on the growth of one of them. I will soldier on but I think they are not very fond of my heavy soil and the wet winter is doing them no favours.
Always reliable in providing a great mound of evergreen structure is this sage. It came with the garden and every year I give it a thorough prune. The compost heap smells wonderful for few days.
Happy New Year to everyone, the long month of January has arrived and we need to keep our minds focused on the impending arrival of beautiful things. Seeds to be sown, spring bulbs to be enjoyed and where we would be without a good moan about weeds, slugs and snails. I’m ready for it all and so is The Propagator, he’s already sown his chilli seeds!
I have not ventured out in the garden too much lately but one day this week there was a gap in the downpours and I managed to do some work. I have a very sodden garden and I was squelching around in the borders. I managed to divide some day lillies and a knautia. I relocated some sanguisorba ‘Tanna’ that had not performed at all well and planted ten of the hundred or so bulbs that I have left to plant. The borders are slipping into winter dormancy and I thought there would not be much to show for this week’s six. But it is surprising what can be found. Here they are.
By today this dahlia had finally opened up. Do I have the slowest dahlias in the UK? I’m hoping the first frosts are a few weeks off. To be fair, this dahlia was dug up and replanted in a pot after a slug attack had left it in tatters so I should be proud of its resilience.
The Orange Cushion dahlias that I am hoping to propagate from seed have put out a new flush of flowers and I do much prefer this size of dahlia flowers. Collecting seed has not been possible so far as the seed heads are a soggy mess. Dahlia lovers – should I be cutting the heads off and bringing them inside to dry? I have done this with my agapanthus and they did deliver some lovely black seed.
These beautifully coloured mushrooms are now an annual feature of the garden. I have quite a colony of them this year. I think they come with the mulch that I buy each year and I am very happy to have them.
This is my one flowering nerine for the year. It is bowdenii ‘Ostara’. I planted about ten in April 2018. I am having another go and as a result of special offer – end of season, we have so many we are giving them away – I now have 30 more. Total cost £5. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I’ve some in a pot now, hoping that they will be my insurance.
The fig leaves have yellowed so much more over the week. Sadly it is unlikely that the fruit that remains will ripen and I will have to pick them all off soon. On of my least favourite garden jobs.
The hylotelephium spectabile that I mentioned a few weeks ago have darkened to a good deep red. I did move a few round in the front garden and have some spare plants to over-winter in pots. As the garden matures my collection of plants in pots increases. The self seeding geraniums and alchemillia mollis are growing in number but there are always gaps to be filled and they will be put to good use next year.
I take my hat off to Mr P who manages this herd of SOSers. I had a busy week last week and didn’t get to read many of my usual SOS favourites. I will do better this weekend – after I finish planting the allium and daffodil bulbs!