Six On Saturday: frost arrives and a rose

The first lingering frost arrived this week.  A scraping the ice off the windscreen and frozen bird bath sort of frost.  A ‘don’t walk on the grass frost’.  But another of the bare stem roses arrived too.  So I did walk on the grass in order the plant the rose.  Here’s my six:



The frost came on a clear sunny day and as I was scanning the garden front and back for suitable greenery for the house I remembered that I have a rather large fir tree that sometimes deigns to drop a few fir cones.  I gathered two and looked longingly up at the rest.



I periodically wail about the lack of shrubs in the garden but whenever I get the chance to put something into a newly cleared space I choose a rose.  This week ‘Souvenir du Docteur Jamain’ arrived.  I must thank the good folk at Ulting Wick garden in Essex who tweeted about this rose for a north facing situation.  It’s a climber and I’m hoping it will romp away all over that brown fence of mine.



I just got my photo of the cotoneaster and the ivy into last week’s six in the nick of time.  This week the berries have been stripped and the leaves have all gone.  My festive offering for this week is holly.  But no berries.



I still have a drop of colour in the garden.  The hydrangea is turning down its bracts (I think I’ve got that right but please correct me if I’m wrong!) and showing off the pink undersides.



My neighbours’ viburnum are beginning to flower quite beautifully now.  Ours has one single solitary flower head.  All suggestions as to how get more will be gratefully received.



The buds on the rhododendron are forming.  This is a very large specimen on the north facing border.  The north facing border is the focus of my attention for 2019.  Watch this space for  indecision, digging  and hopefully, developments.

All the links to other SOSs from gardens around the world can be found at our genial host’s site The Propagator Blog.  If it’s cold outside stay inside and have a good read!


Six On Saturday: Trees

Trees are on my mind at the moment.  The death of a fruit tree in the garden is providing the opportunity to plant something new.   Also I visited the Beth Chatto garden last week en route to Suffolk and made a point of following their tree trail.  So here are five trees that will be unsuitable for my garden but which looked so good in the autumn sun that I am going to share them.  All the notes come from the tree trail guide. The sixth is from my garden.



Eucalyptus dalrympleana or the Mountain gum.  A quick growing evergreen. The white bark, its winter colouring, was glowing in the sunshine.



Koeltreuteria paniculata or Golden rain tree, Pride of India. The name golden rain refers to the thousands of small yellow flowers that hang above the foliage in July and August, as though about to pour down like rain of the tree.  A sight that surely justifies a visit to the garden in summer.  This tree in its golden autumn colours was beautiful.



Araucaria araucana or Monkey puzzle, Chilean pine.  Native to Chile and Argentina and much beloved in British suburban gardens.  Which is surprising since they grow so big.  But our suburban street conforms and there is a good specimen not too far from me.   I have memories of these as a child, fascinated by its common name, it was one of the few trees I could easily identify.



Malus hupehensis, Chinese crab apple.  Laden with beautiful red cherry like fruits in autumn and with white apple like blossom in May.  The crab apple tree is often put forward as ideal for the small garden but at a size of 5m x 4m it seems too big for the space I want to fill.


Taxodium distichum Swamp cyprus.  In case you can’t read the label: from the mangrove swamps of the Everglades, Florida.  The knobbly knees on the left are the above ground growth of the trees roots.  I love this view of the garden.



After those magnificent specimens here is my dead tree.  I didn’t get to see any fruit but I think it was an Apricot tree.  The tree was in poor condition when we arrived and the small amount of blossom produced this spring was swiftly devoured by pigeons.  It finally succumbed to bacterial canker over the summer.  I wonder if I am being over ambitious in wanted to replace it with a small tree.  I have a rowan or a hawthorn on my wish list but the location in a narrow border by the path may not be ideal.  I’ll be cutting it down next week and will see what the view looks like without it.

I hope the beautiful colours of autumn are shining through in your gardens – of if you are in the southern hemisphere that spring delights are on their way.  For a good look at both seasons stop by The Propagator’s blog where links to other sixes are added throughout the day.

Six On Saturday: Fresh eyes give renewed determination

There is nothing like visiting the garden of a friend or relative for giving fresh impetus to your own garden.  After spending time last Sunday dispensing words of wisdom: ‘that  achemillia mollis can be cut back now’, ‘don’t let that lemon balm seed everywhere’ and  ‘that’s a weed and this is a tree seedling’, I came back to my garden and spotted a large clump of achemillia mollis seeding itself everywhere, nettles quietly gaining strength under the shade of the geraniums and grass creeping into the borders. It was time for a midsummer clear up.  A frantic spurt of dead heading and weeding ensued and there was that alchemilla mollis to deal with.



The offending alchemilla mollis.  I wasn’t in a ruthless enough mood to start with so I just cut back the flowering stems.  The fresh new growth began to emerge from the shadows and I realised that if I had done this earlier and by ruthlessly cutting back the old growth by the handful those new shoots would have been taking centre stage earlier.  I know this but I rarely do it early enough!



Down at the allotment end of the garden I noticed that the autumn raspberries were ripening.  The plants came as runners from my old allotment raspberries and this is their first fruiting year.  I’m so glad they survived the low rainfall which I’m sure owes much to their shady position.



My clematis have all gone to seed now but I spotted one last flower valiantly soldiering on, thereby earning the right to be included in this six.



Also on the clear up list was the rambling rose I chose to train up the back fence. It is ‘Wedding Day’.  A mad choice I confess but I planned to train it into my neighbour’s trees.  ‘Wedding Day’ is rampant and I didn’t keep it under control the first year.  This week I took it hand and tied it in as best I could, rose scratched arms is not a good look! Half way through the job I consulted my RHS book of pruning which tells me that ramblers come in three groups and the pruning is slightly different for each group.  Now I just have to find out which group ‘Wedding Day’ falls into.



Since I have mentioned my neighbour’s trees, it is only fair that I show one or two.  This majestic willow catches the evening sun and is spectacular.



I also benefit from another neighbour’s elder tree.  The berries are ripe now and some may find their way into fruit pie.  The colour combination of stem, leaf and fruit is just sumptuous.

Sharing gardening experiences is a great part of #SixOnSaturday and an important part of gardening.  I hope my ‘advice’ was well received but I will also share by potting up some of the seedlings I discovered in my clear up.  There are a good number of astrantia major, hollyhocks and verbena bonariensia for a start.  And I thank my neighbours for sharing their trees and giving me a fabulous frame for my garden.

For the links to other sixes pay a visit to The Propagator the hard working host of this meme.  Now time to get back to that clean up!