Six On Saturday: a few ups and downs

The view of the garden from the kitchen window gives a grandstand view of the antics of the squirrels.  This week they have been tracking down the last few tiny edible figs and often knock off some of the others in the process.  As does the wind and the rain, which is all very helpful as there are still a great many figs to be taken off.   In all the gloom of this week there have been a few spots of colour:

One

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I still have berries on the cotoneaster leading to me to conclude that there is still plenty of food around for the birds.  The combination of the red berries and leaves and the ivy strikes a perfect Christmas note.

Two

I tweeted this photo earlier in the week and unashamedly share it here.  For one of my twelve days of Christmas I have six paraqueets-a-nibbling.   This tree is a real bright spot in the winter gloom and looks all the crazier with the addition of some neon green.

Three

This sad looking skimmia is not providing the much hoped for winter colour.  It was planted out last year underneath the magnolia and I had lovely visions of masses of red berries which have come to nought.  The skimmia was dug up and potted again, pending allocation to a better spot. Some place with more light and not so dry I think.

Four

The aforementioned magnolia is beginning to do its stuff again –  these new buds were  cheering to see.

Five

I ventured into unknown territory awhile ago and planted up some hyacinth bulbs for forcing for Christmas.  At the appointed time they were brought into the warmth of the house.  But this week they were  banished into a cold exile outside.  Their crime?  Well the bulbs are innocent but the cloud of tiny black flies that came with them were not greatly appreciated.

Six

I’ve got a few things going on in the potting shed.  The scented leaf pelagoniums have been cut back, the last of foxgloves are going to overwinter there now along with a few cuttings of penstemon ‘Sour Grapes’ and pellies.  I am also trying to keep alive a few seedlings from euphorbia oblongata but I feel these are already slipping from my grasp.  I foresee causalities along the way.

Even though I may lose some seedlings over the winter the eternal optimism of the gardener continues.  New seed orders have been placed and the wish list continues to grow.  Enjoy your winter garden – plants and wildlife,  and if you are seeking inspiration look no further than The Propagator’s blog which will start you off on a world wide tour of gardens.

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Six on Saturday

It’s a busy time of the year but Six on Saturday’s siren call has been heard.  This week I’ve gone to the front garden.  Here are my six.

One

I went to to buy 12 brick pavers to finish off the edging on the new border and came back with no pavers but 12 half price cyclamens.  Here’s a little group of three I put together in the front garden.  The front garden is mainly north facing and is planted with evergreen shubs so these cyclamen are adding a little spot of brightness

Two

As I planted out the cyclamen I  noticed the magnolia tree was in bud.  It is a lovely sight when it flowers and seeing the buds is a great reminder of things to come.

Three 

A very large clump of carex pendula has been dug out recently.  I confess this plant was so well established that I couldn’t move the thing and had to call in some muscle.  I hope all traces of it have gone but it is thuggish so I shall be watching carefully for any signs of regrowth.  I will plant up this skimmia japonica  subsp. reevesiana in its place.  It is  hermaphrodite and will produce berries without a pollinating partner.

Four

The hydrangea has completed turned to its winter colour, the lovely teracotta shades perfectly matching  the brickwork.  I cut a few of these flower heads to bring inside for tying up with ivy and anything else I can find to decorate the house at Christmas.

Five

Flowers on the pittosporum.  I don’t know why, surely it is out of season?  This shrub is at least 4 metre high.  I don’t the variety, I will be delighted to hear from you if you have any suggestions.  This is  another inherited plant that earns its keep.

Six

Lastly, this is the sum total of my borlotti bean  crop this year.  The beans have been drying out for at least a month and I’ve just put them in the jar.  One jar.  I grew about 5 plants but they were against the back fence of the garden which only gets late afternoon sun.  Next year I am going back to wig-wamming them in the middle of a raised bed.

Thanks to The Propagator for hosting the wonderful Six on Saturday.  Every week I think I’ll never come up with six but there is always something to suprise me.  Read the Propagator blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession