Six On Saturday: Returning friends and small beginnings

I hope I’ve said this before because it needs to be said.  Thank you to  the Prop   for starting up this meme and for keeping us all in order.  There’s much to be gained from taking a look at all the posts that are contributed and there is a lovely supply of help and support on offer, so take a moment to stop by.  Thanks to everyone last week who pointed me in the direction of gauras and pennisetums.  I always thought that grasses were not for my garden but now I think I have the perfect place for them.  Time to move on to this week’s six:


IMG_2877.JPGCutting back plants after flowering really can work.  The alchemilla mollis which were sheared to the ground have come through again and at this time of year they look beautiful with their dressing of early morning dew.


IMG_2884This is Geranium ‘Brookside’.  It roamed through the garden in early summer, knowing no boundaries and so cutting it back when it finished flowering caused me no stress.  The plant needed to be tidied up.  This week I noticed it was flowering again.


IMG_2878Also starting up again are the seedlings of Nigella, love in a mist.  I have a carpet of them which I should probably be thinning out and sharing around the garden.  But I might just leave them all here to keep the weeds down and see how they come through next year.


img_2879.jpgIn the greenhouse I have managed to keep a tray of foxgloves and echinacea pallida seedlings alive and it looks like some potting on needs to be done.  Temperatures are on the up next week so they I hope they will put on some good growth once moved into a pot.


IMG_2880Encouraged by the good example of others I decided to try some winter vegetables. I rescued a tray of rainbow chard and perpetual spinach from certain death and planted them out a few weeks ago.  The pesky slugs made straight for them but they have pulled through and growth looks good.


IMG_2881Last November I planted out bare root roses in a new border and Darcy Bussell is still flowering.  I am impatiently waiting for the roses to become fully established but even in the first year the flowers have been rewarding.

I hope your garden or allotment is rewarding you and that we all manage to find a moment this weekend to appreciate them.

Six on Saturday

Having spent the last few days wondering if three or three and half on Saturday would pass muster I finally knuckled down and came up with six.  It may sound as though it’s an onerous task to post weekly.  But no,  I am enjoying the discipline of looking at the garden in a focused way.  It may even be making me a more productive gardener!


A week or so ago I succumbed to this impulse buy from a supermarket.  Of course, when I arrived home I thought where on earth am I going to plant them?  Their pretty little viola faces seemed rather dwarfed once positioned in the garden.  This week serendipity struck.  I remembered I had three neglected terracotta troughs.  I think they will be just right for some block planting and then I can place them along one side of a raised bed.  Perfect.



Inspired by a tweet from Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire I am sharing with you my borders in February.  First is the border that was extended in November.  The line of snowdrops and emerging daffodils under the hedge shows where the old border ended.  They will be moved to the front after flowering.  The roses were planted in November: three Darcy Bussell and a Jaqueline du Pre.  Perhaps now I need an artistic rose to complete the cultural theme.



This is my long border. As you can see the foxes/squirrels love spreading the mulch around.  I have used roses and euphorbia as the framework and I am filling in around them with astrantia, gernaniums, scabious, penstemon and a variety of annuals. The borders at Waterperry are famous for their careful staking of plants.  Here’s a tip from Pat Havers, Head Gardener there.  They start staking their perennials in April.  I always leave my staking until it’s too late.  This year I will do better.



Hedges.  The background to the new border is a mixed hedge.  Elaeaganus, bay and viburnum.  I like the bay and viburnum but I would love to replace the elaeaganus with a darker green hedge to give a stronger background to the foreground plants.  Sometimes you have to garden with what you have.



Last week I mentioned that I prefer primula vulgaris to the stronger coloured primroses appearing in the nurseries.  The brightly coloured versions add colour at this time of year but the pale yellow of the common primrose is always the winner for me.  I grow them in my spring corner.  First the primroses and snowdrops appear, followed by anemones, bluebells and aquilegia and then I am hoping last October’s planting of pheasant eye narcissus will steal the show.


And lastly, the February issue of Gardeners World came to my rescue.  Mint is beginning to come through now and they suggest breaking up small clumps of it to pot up for the greenhouse.   This will give an earlier crop.  The perfect job for the weekend.

There’s a cold spell ahead and it’s a gloomy day today, but there is always something to enjoy.  I hope you find time to garden or to reflect on your garden this weekend.  It’s a lovely thing to do.  More international gardening thoughts can be found at The Propagator who hosts this meme.



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.

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.


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.


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