Six On Saturday: Farewell old friends

For me November has been a sunny month but the mists of autumn arrived on Friday.  The softened light wrapped itself around the garden and the muted colours blended together like a good Harris tweed.  I loved it.  Today the skies are blue again, a brief respite as next week promises a good blast of winter chill.  The gardening year is moving on.

One

IMG_3069

I had the opportunity to be out in the garden this week and my bulb planting success rate increased.  I started out with 258 to plant.  I put away the ‘Mount Everest’ Alliums and Leucojum ‘Gravetye Giant’ last week, leaving me with 240 bulbs.  This week the extra Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ went in along with most of the Thalia. Planting the yellow tulip ‘World Friendship’ in the narrow border led to a little swearing as I encountered one or two of last year’s friends.  I took a rain check on them for another day.  So I have 106 tulips to go, 10 Thalia and 50 of the tiny allium sphaerocephalon. I plan to get them in before the cold spell arrives.

Two

img_3066.jpg

It was a week of tidying up and fond farewells were said to some old friends.  The last of zinnias and cosmos went to the compost heap. The verbena bonariensis were brought back in check with self seeders despatched to the heap or relocated.  I now have a clear patch in the south east facing border for 60 of those extra tulips and the remaining allium sphaerocephalon.  I’m feeling the need for an anchor plant in this corner, something that would work well with the trachelospermum jasminoides.  Suggestions welcome! It’s a sunny corner as it also picks up some afternoon sun from the west.

Three

img_3068.jpg

Most of the leaves have fallen from my trees and the leaf pile is growing steadily.  There are still plenty to come as the leaves on the trees in neighbouring gardens are still hanging on.  Whilst I am not a regular gardening diyer I did turn my hand and trusty staple gun to producing this leaf bin.  Say no more!

Four

img_3065.jpg

At this time of year my thoughts turn to plans for next year.  After two and half years in this new garden I am getting round to the north facing border.  This photo shows the section that is currently home to a stand of blackcurrant bushes.  I love blackcurrants but I do also have another stand in the veg plot so the ruthless gardener is going to make an appearance and these will go to be replaced by a planting of white shade lovers completely inspired by a Joe Swift article in the August edition of Gardeners’ world.  Watch this space.

Five

IMG_3063

Also on the project list is a new compost area.  The current heaps are in crumbling brick bays.  I’ve emptied out two sections and installed a builder’s bag nearby to take the new pile.  Once the other two sections are empty I will be calling in some muscle to knock down and wheel away the bricks. Then Father Christmas will bring me some new wooden bins – I’ve had an early word!

Six

img_3062.jpg
I’m looking forward to the bricks going as I will be getting a skip, which, perhaps sadly, I always find very exciting!  I am inspired by One man and his garden trowel, a fellow sixer to share with you ‘down the side of my shed’.  Hiding beneath those autumnal leaves is a great collection of old paving slabs and miscellaneous bits of metal excavated from the garden over the year.  Once the skip arrives it will indeed be farewell old friends!

Good luck with your garden plans.  Find out what everyone else is up to by checking in with Mr P.  All the links to SOS appear throughout the day.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Six On Saturday: Building up the layers

Another crazy week in the garden.  Doing the hokey cokey with the greenhouse plants: in, out, in, out and trying very hard not to shake them all about and the layers in the new borders are building up.  This week it is the turn of the alliums.

One

IMG_2276

These are Purple Sensation. I hope they stay around long enough to look good with the Rosa Blush Noisette which is just in bud behind.  Now the path is complete I need to find some low growing edging plants to drown out the weed seedlings.  Or maybe I move the geraniums forward.  Hhmm,  I think I’ll do that.

Two

IMG_2275

These are Allium Mount Everest, looking suitably tall.  The tulips are really past their best but there is enough life in them to make the border look quite colourful.  Some of the Mount Everests have done a disappearing trick, about six have gone awol causing me to set up a spreadsheet for the autumn bulb order.  Otherwise I am sure to forget that I need more.  I like the height they give to the border at this time of the year.

Three

IMG_2281
And the bonus tulip is …orange! These are in a border that only gets afternoon sun and they are lasting rather well.  I though Queen of Night was the lone gatecrasher in this border but this late arrival is a real stand out.

Four

IMG_2260

The pheasant eye narcissus have been a joy in the last few weeks.  Their scent drifts across the back of the garden and they are looking very happy in combination with the bluebells and pulomonaria.  This corner is going to look quite empty when the spring flowers finish.  More layering to be done.

Five

img_2278.jpg

This is geranium phaeum which came with me in pots from the old garden.  This is its second year in the new border and it has really established itself well.  It’s far more stately and elegant in this garden than it ever was before.  I do love a geranium and will be dividing this up and spreading it around.

Six

IMG_2283

And lastly, the dwarf azalea has revealed its true colour and I think it has earned the chance to move out of its pot and into the border.  It is just the right height for the front of the north west facing corner.  But there is work to be done on that border, currently the most neglected part of the garden, home to ground elder, geranium robertianum and the ubiquitous sherperd’s purse.  The RHS advice gleefully informs me that ‘a single plant is able to produce an average of 2-3000 seeds each, with three generations per year.’  Plenty still to be done there then.

Don’t forget to check in with The Propagator, host of the Six On Saturday meme for a mesmerising selection of gardening delights from around the world.  Happy gardening.

 

 

Six On Saturday: Branching out

I foresee blue sky photos for this week’s sixes.  And about time too!  Here are mine.

One

IMG_2252The trees in the garden are beginning to put on a show.  First up is the persimmon tree.  There was a bumper crop last year but I’m not a fan.  I inherited it with the garden and it does look fabulous in winter when the leaves have dropped and the orange fruits remain.

Two

IMG_2255I also inherited a number of apple trees and here is some delightful apple blossom from one of them.   Again, there was a bumper crop last year, we don’t store the apples and there are only so many we can eat so the majority of them are taken off for juicing.  We are still drinking the 2017 vintage.

Three

IMG_2258The leaves on the fig trees are just opening.  Not such a good year for figs for me last year and the squirrels always get the best of them.  I managed to bag a handful!

Four

 

IMG_2257And after my winter pruning efforts  it is always a great relief to see new leaves on the vine.  It does produce grapes but so far they have split before we get the chance to taste them.  The grape variety is Black Muscat, which I understand is also known as Black Hamburg.  Again, I was fortunate enough to inherit this well established vine which shades the pergola.

Five

IMG_E2256There is a great foaming wave of Choysia in one sunny corner of the garden.  It’s perfectly lined up with a view from the window.  Many thanks again to the previous owner.

Six

IMG_2250Finally, all my own work!  The white triumphator tulips are still hanging on and are a great companion to the irises that have just begun to flower.  There is also a glimpse of the almost open allium ‘purple sensation’ – something for next week!

Wishing you all a great gardening weekend – and the extra day in the UK.  More time to read all the sixes on show at The Propagator’s blog. Blue skies all the way.

Six on Saturday: The race is on

Aah, what a gentle occupation gardening is.  Full of quiet moments pottering among the flowers, pulling carrots, picking strawberries.  Or are you, like me, engaged in the mad dash to get it all done before June!

One

The cold and the rain delayed much of my gardening efforts but this week I finally finished cutting back the hydrangeas.  In my defence there are seven of them and only three have been waiting patiently.  Here you can see that the first flowers are forming.

Two

Seed sowing for vegetables is happening almost daily.  Leeks, carrots, red cabbage, spring onions, climbing french beans are all in the greenhouse. Some carrots have been direct sown along with parsnips, radishes and lettuce.  The rocket sown in February is now out in the ground. And the last of the potatoes – Sarpo Mira and Belle de Fontenay have finally been planted.  Phew!

Three

The onions and shallots planted out in November are enjoying some warmth.  I have been very interested to see that many people plant their onions in modules and don’t move them outside until later.  I am going to try this next year.  I did protect these against the birds but that was all removed this week.

Four

Seed sowing for flowers is ongoing.  The teeny tiny seeds of antirrhinum White Giant have produced teeny tiny leaves.  Tithonia and nasturtium look a little stronger, but does that mean finding time for potting on?  Zinnias and calendulars have pushed through.  But I have yet to sow any cosmos! How is this possible I ask myself?  I’m not panicking.  Last year I direct sowed some in early May and planted some in modules as late as the end of April . . . Ok,  brief panic!

Five

It has felt a little frantic but it is important that we take ‘time to stand and stare’ and I have really enjoyed the tulip display, the result of a mass November planting.  These are Queen of Night, Shirley, Barcelona and Violet Beauty.  I love them!

Six

And these are Angelique – a pink double, Spring Green – a viridiflora and China Town – a shorter viridiflora with white edged leaves, beautiful.  These were quite tightly planted in two groups in a new border to leave space for some bare root roses that were arriving later.  There is definitely room to spread them out a little, which is the plan, unless of course, I am tempted by some lovely perennials that I know will be featuring in a couple of local plant sales in May.  Have space, will fill it!

And whilst standing and staring I noticed the irises and alliums are just about to open, and the first strawberry flowers are showing.  Oh yes, we will soon be pottering!

If you’d like to stare at a few more Six On Saturday posts stroll over to The Propagator’s  blog for all the links.  Sit back and enjoy the display.

 

 

 

 

Six on Saturday: Counting the cost

I’ve waited hopefully, cut back hard, watered optimistically but the time has come to admit defeat.  Well almost – I will be making one or two last ditch attempts to prevent the inevitable flatline.  Okay, let’s reveal the damage caused by my neglect, lack of experience or possibly the oh so harsh winter.

One

IMG_2187

Fred, Fred, I think the lemon tree is dead!  The move to this new garden was all the more exciting because there was a greenhouse.  Oh what exotics I would be able to grow.  Fred will remember the melons that succumbed to red spider mite.  And now the lemon tree, after one summer of delivering beautifully scented flowers, looks very sickly.  It was stowed in the greenhouse for winter,  fleeced when the temperatures fell and an extra layer added when -7 degrees was imminent.  It was watered and fed but as the temperatures rose and the fleece was removed the outcome did not look good.  I am, on Fred’s advice, going to cut back all the brown leaved stems and I’ll wait a while to see if any new growth emerges.  But I have a feeling another lemon tree will be bought and perhaps a greenhouse heater!

Two

IMG_2183

Fred may have some advice for me here as well.  The French Lavender received as a housewarming gift also looks dead.  I am going to cut this back to the base of all the stems and do some more of that optimistic watering and waiting.  If not, another Lavender will be bought!  Or maybe this is this space for a small daphne?

Three

IMG_2186

For this one I am going for the very cold wet winter as cause of death.  But I suppose it also comes under the heading of right plant, wrong place.  These straggly stems are the last remains of Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’.  I don’t think they are going to  make it at all.  Perhaps this is the place for some hellebores.

Four

IMG_2188

A few more greenhouse deaths: a pelagonium cutting – underwatered, and a salvia cutting – I think, but of course I didn’t label it.  This was doing fine until I went away for a few days and the greenhouse temperatures hit 40 degrees.  At least I know the automatic vents work.

Five

IMG_2185

Yes there’s more.  This rose came with the garden.  I released it from bindweed, pruned it, fed it and enjoyed a profusion of pinky apricot flowers.  It really performed and then it died. I think I didn’t water it enough.  It takes a while to work out the intensity of the sun in a new garden.  I cut it back as ruthlessly as I could bear and waited but there is not a sign of new growth and it has to go.  This is quite an interesting opportunity as I plan to extend the other end of this border which will make R.Natasha Richardson the centre point.  Time to work out what will go either side, something that likes it hot and dry I think.

Six

I am being philosophical.  It’s all part of getting to know a new garden and understanding the physics of greenhouses!  I couldn’t bring myself to provide a completely dead six and of course the tulips are coming out. So here’s what is zinging in the garden (for now): Unknown tulip and Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii.  Perfect when accompanied by sunshine and blue skies!

 

I am sure there will be some more cheerful sixes in this week’s #SixOnSaturday collections.  All the links will be at The Propagator’s blog.  Take a look and be inspired, as I know I will be, to enjoy your garden this weekend.

Six On Saturday: Exciting times

Cold, wet and gloomy is the summary for this week but undeterred nature pushes on.  On a particular dull morning my eyes fell up on a treat.  A small twinkle at the end of the garden:

One

The first blossom has appeared on one of the plum trees. It caught my eye and also that of a passing ant!

Two

The magnolia tree also sprang into life this week.  It’s full of beautiful blossom and I love it but I think it needs to have someone who knows what they are doing come and prune it.  It is full of water shoots growing away from previous pruning cuts.  Something for me to research.

Three

The last time I had someone who knows prune a tree we talked about moving an apple tree that had been planted hard up against a fence in a dark corner of the garden.  The wet spring delayed the job but finally a moment was grabbed and the tree was moved to its new spot.  It’s in amongst the redcurrants which might be moved next year.  And for a bonus item, the patch behind is where the potatoes finally got planted.  First earlies Ratte and Arran Pilot went in this week.

Four

The first of the tulips came into flower this week.  Yippee! It’s Tulipa ‘Nicholas Heyek’, a
triumph tulip.  It’s not one of the many that were planted last November – I’m still waiting on those.  These were planted out in the first year in the new garden and left in the ground over the summer.  This is their second year of flowering.

Five

Not so exciting is the damage that comes with all the exciting new growth.  The slugs and snails are active and the Thalia that looked so lovely a week ago have been shredded.

Six

I too was stirred into life and began sowing some seeds.  This tube contained 30 seeds of Antirrhinum White Giant.  They were tiny.  Here’s hoping they love the warmth that’s heading our way next week.  I also sowed Calendula ‘Indian Prince’, Zinnia pale mix, Nasturtium Alaska, and Tithonia Torch.  Still more sowing to be done.  Yes, exciting times.

There will plenty more gardening life on show at The Propagator who hosts the internationally famed #SixOnSaturday meme.  Enjoy your garden.

 

Six on Saturday: Growing things

The work on the paths was delayed by the wet weather but finally it is finished. Sort of.  I have to add in soil where I have gained a few extra inches of border and of course sorting out one corner throws up uneven levels in another area.  But that is for another time.  I have got the garden back – just in time for the arrival of the mini beast from the east.  A cold weekend is expected.  Here’s what I spotted as I walked round.

One

IMG_2067So this is the path looking shockingly new but I will soon get that sorted out with a few trips up and down with the wheelbarrow!

Two

IMG_2054 (2)The clematis pruned before the last batch of cold weather has survived and is surging onward.  It will soon be covering the trellis again.

Three

IMG_2053A sure sign that everything is growing.  This is most likely an ash tree seedling.  Neighbouring gardens are well forested and every year I have to be super vigilant to pull up all the seedlings that come my way.  Ash and sycamore are the most common and then the odd oak courtesy of the squirrels.

Four

IMG_2060The tulips are coming through. This beautiful pink edged leaf could be from China Girl or Angelique.  These two were planted along with Spring Green in a mixed clump in November.   They should be in flower come April/May.

Five

IMG_2063Right plant, right place I think.  I planted half a dozen cowslips in a very wet border last year and this year there is a great crop of seedlings.  I shall gently separate them and spread them around this border and elsewhere.  Lovely free plants!

Six 

IMG_2055Don’t they look tempting.  The first lush shoots of the delphiniums.  I can just hear the slugs smacking their lips.  More vigilance required.

I am feeling excited and frustrated.  So much new growth but such a cold weekend forecast.  And I’ve still got the nerines to plant.  Patience is a virtue…

Check in with The Propagator to see what else is growing this weekend.  Gardeners from both hemispheres take part so there is always something to enjoy.  Happy gardening.

 

 

 

 

Six on Saturday

January.  The second month of winter and often the coldest.  A walk round the garden to collect this week’s six was pretty grim.  But these are the cycles of the year and just when you think it’s all weeds and brown stuff something comes along to cheer the soul.  Let’s deal with the weeds and brown stuff first.

One

IMG_1891

Here’s the celandine that insinuates it way into so many nooks and crannies.  It’s looking very comfortable at the bottom of the hydrangeas.  Much as I despair of it, I know that it is a sign of better things to come.  The cheerful yellow flower just about passes muster and in no time at all it will be hiding away until next year.  This is one I have learnt to live with.

Two

IMG_1897

More weeds.  This is ground elder corner.  I spent a great deal of time last year digging out ground elder by the bag full.  I then planted up the space with annuals because I know I will be digging it out again this year.  The annuals have been pulled up and of course the weeds have jumped at the chance to put on a display.  But any day now… Please note: the broken flower pot is my frog shelter and not my careless gardening!

Three

IMG_1888 (2)

Brown stuff:  My kerria is in a bad way.  Last year the RHS reported on kerria blight and  my kerria have it.  The RHS advice is that it is caused by the fungus Blumeriella kerriae and that it is best managed by removing all infected plant material and either burning it or disposing of it at a local council composting facility.  That’s a job to add to my lengthening list.

Four

IMG_1889

Good grief! The tulips planted in pots are just appearing.   I planted two layers per pot and it may be that the top layer is a little shallow.  I hope they manage to put on a good show when the time comes to flower.  Time for some finger crossing.

Five

IMG_1893

Can you date a garden by the plants that grow there?  When was the height of planting for Bergenia cordifolia?   It’s not one of my favourites but it is listed as a perfect pollinator; it’s hardy; good for ground cover and it flowers early.  The leaves have lasted all winter and spotting this emerging flower was a happy moment.

Six

IMG_1887

Another uplifting moment was achieved with some contortion.  Hellebores are so modest, their flower heads studiously nodding downwards, but getting down to their level is well worth the effort.  This one is Pretty Ellen, featured in an earlier six but now getting into its stride.  I have just about won the battle with the fox who was using hellebore corner as a route through the garden.  Repairing the fence panel saved the hellebores from further trampling and the fox simply found another rotting panel to wriggle through.  I’m happy to allow the fox that route as it is in the corner behind the shed.

Wishing you all good things in your garden, winter is half way through and spring is fast approaching.  For more gardening news and views visit  The Propagator my plant obsession for a great selection of links to gardens from around the world.

Six on Saturday

Some things on  the gardener’s to do list are there for several weeks.  My list has a few that have been hanging around for months.  I am pleased and relieved to present the first of my Six on Saturday for this week.  I have finally bought and planted out some onions.

One

Far from thoughtfully researching the most interesting, disease resistant and high yield bulbs I could find I simply bought what was in the nursery – radar, electric and jermor for the shallots.  The wire mesh and freezer basket are in place to keep the birds off until the onions are fully rooted.  I will leave these on for some months as I have learnt the lesson of taking them off too early.

Two

Still on the to do list is cleaning the inside of the greenhouse.  I promise you the outside did look wonderful about a month ago.  The ghostly apparition seen here is the lemon tree.  Having bought myself a  min max thermometer – another one crossed off – I could not avoid seeing the inside temperature fall to zero.  So I wrapped the lemon tree in 17gsm fleece.  The  top section has two layers of fleece and I have my fingers crossed.  Underneath the fleece I have decorated the tree with sachets of Amblyseius californicus mite.  These are a preventative control against spider mite.  And washing down the inside will also go some way towards eradicating those pests.

Three 

The leaves of Pulmonaria officinalis are looking fine at the moment.  This was a plant share and I am promised that the slugs avoid this one.  It has really bulked up from the tiny divisions planted earlier in the year.  You can also just spot a bit of new mulch.  Mulching is not complete yet but a start has been made.

Four

There is often a surprise to be found when looking for the six and this week it was finding a new flower on the hydrangea.  What a contrast the white makes with the pink of the autumn colouring

Five

Boxes of tulips arrived a while ago and planting up the borders has begun.  These Violet Beauty are joining Queen of Night, Barcelona and Shirley to form a line either side a path that runs through the border.  This border was first planted from about this time last year and it’s on the to do list to write up the story of its development.  I will. I will.

Six

There is one last shout of colour in the garden.  The container pelargoniums are stubbornly hanging on.  Cold weather is forecast for this weekend so its seems right to give them their five minutes of fame now.

Looking forward to seeing what’s going on in your garden.  Thanks to The Propagator for hosting the wonderful Six on Saturday.  Read his blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession

New border, next steps

Ingredients for the new border have been arriving and planting has begun.

One of these dumpy bags is topsoil and the three others are a mulch mix of composted bark, fine manure and leaf mould.  The bag of topsoil went down first followed by one of the mulch bags.  The plan is that these two layers will suppress the growth of the turned over turves underneath.  Optimism is always part of the gardener’s plan.  The next ingredients to be added were the large pot I already had and a box of tulip bulbs. The roses will come later.

The border looking neat and tidy after the topsoil, mulch and pot had been added

The first frost of winter arrived and tulip planting began.  For this year 90 tulips have been planted in two groups either side of a space left for a white rose.  The tulips are Spring Green, a viridiflora flowering in early May, white with green feathering;  Angelique, a double, pale pink with lighter edges, flowering late April/early May and China Town, another viridiflora flowering in early May, pink feathered with moss green. This one promises to have cream edged leaves.  They were planted on a layer of grit to improve the drainage.

The last job for this stage of the border work was to  move some of the existing phlox and geraniums forward.  Canes have been planted out to  mark the position of the roses.  These have been ordered as bare roots and delivery is due in the next week or so.  My next post on the border will reveal the choice of roses.