First blog post

This is the post excerpt.


This is my first attempt at a Six on Saturday (also first attempt at a blog!). It’s all plants this week

My first plant is Schizostylis coccinea ‘Ice Maiden’ (I think we’re supposed to call it Hesperantha coccinea now). I have a three varieties of Schizostylis in my garden, all in various shades of pink. I found this one at a local garden centre a couple of weeks ago and have eagerly awaited the first flowers. It’s very nearly white! Just a touch of pink.

IMG_2016Number two is Begonia sutherlandii. I bought some as small plugs back in April and they have flowered non-stop ever since.

IMG_2020My third choice is Salvia patens. I haven’t grown this for many years and had forgotten what a beautiful colour it is. It’s taken a while to start flowering but is well worth the wait. IMG_2022Number four is another blue flower – Ipomoea tricolour ‘Heavenly Blue’. I sowed the seeds quite late as the plants don’t like the cold and have planted them to grow through many of my climbers. It’s a shame the leaves don’t last. The photo doesn’t do justice to the colour!

IMG_2035A couple of weeks ago I went to Picton Garden and nursery where they hold the National Collection of Michaelmas Daisies. It’s a beautiful garden and, needless to say, I came away with a couple (maybe slightly more) of plants. This is a photo of an unnamed variety of Michaelmas Daisy that I have had for a few years  it doesn’t seem to succumb to the slugs either


Plant six has to be Cyclamen hederifolium. It’s taken me years to get a decent show of these and now the seedlings are popping up all over the place. This particular one is a seedling from a large corm I bought in Amsterdam several years ago

IMG_2044That’s my six for this week. Happy gardening.

Six on Saturday 20/04/19

It’s feeling like summer here at the moment with the temperature due to reach around 23 degrees today and even warmer tomorrow. The garden is responding with a huge amount of growth and is filling out really well. The only slight downside is the lack of rain – a few April showers (preferably at night) would be very welcome, I’m having to water all of the pots as they’re drying out so quickly. I’ve been able to spend some time in the garden this week and have been busy planting out plants that have spent the winter in the coldframe and also pricking out seedlings in the glasshouse. It’s at peak capacity in there. As the weather has been so warm for a while now I’ve been putting the larger Fuchsias, Salvias etc out in the daytime to start hardening them off. On Wednesday evening I made the decision to start leaving them out overnight and their space in the glasshouse is now filled with seedlings so I hope it doesn’t turn too cold again. That’s enough rambling, here’s this weeks selection – it was quite hard to keep to just Six!

1. The Tulips seem to have ignored the Early, Mid, Late labels and flowered whenever they’ve felt like it this year. This has led to interesting mixed displays in the bigger pots. They’ve worked better when planted on their own. I’m sure I put a label in the pot of these orange tulips but it’s vanished. They are much oranger than they look in the picture and contrast well with the dark foliage.



I don’t think Tulip Purissima like the heat as they’re going over very quickly. I was going to save them for next week but I think they’ll be gone by then.


2. Acid lovers have to be grown in pots here. This Rhododendron was an unnamed supermarket (the plant not the supermarket) purchase several years ago. It is so over the top but also so beautiful. The problem is that the ‘branches’ aren’t strong enough to support all those flowers so I’ve put a ring of Linkstakes in the pot.


3. Clematis alpina ‘Francis Rivis’ has been growing up a narrow trellis by my north facing porch for years. It’s a lovely colour for this time of the year and is followed by beautiful seedheads that last well into winter.



4. Another Clematis that is flowering now is C. Koreana ‘Brunette’. It’s quite a new plant and had a dreadful accident last spring when I cut through the stems at ground level! In my defence I was clearing some Japanese Anemones that were taking over the area. After a prolonged sulk new shoots appeared but they suffered quite badly in the heat and drought of last summer. This means that there’s not a lot of flowers but they are beautiful (if you ignore the holes – snails I think).



5. Variegated Honesty seedlings have made a comeback in the borders in the last couple of years.


6. The, mainly, herbaceous border is filling out and up. Technically, this is my back garden but it’s at the front of the house as I have a corner garden. All I need is for the Beech hedge to grow a bit taller and thicken out to set it off. The hedge is in its third year so, hopefully, it won’t be  too much longer until I can hide away again. The canes mark Dahlias that I left in the ground over winter. I did 50/50 leave and lift. I know all the books say to plant in large drifts so that a border doesn’t look bitty but if you’ve a small garden and love plants it’s the only to go.



Garden today, Easter family gathering tomorrow. I hope you get to spend some time in your garden this weekend, whether working or just relaxing. Then pop over to our host’s site to catch up with all of the other Sixes.


Six on Saturday 13/04/19

I love this time of year, seeing new leaves, shoots and  flowers every time I go out into the garden. I’ve run out of room in the glasshouse but it’s too early to start hardening plants off yet so I put lots of them outside in the day and then cram them all back inside for the night. We’ve had some sunny days this week, one very wet day and some near freezing nights so fairly typical for April.

1. The Amelanchier lamarckii ‘Ballerina’ blossom has been stunning this year, especially against the blue sky. I just wish it would last longer.



2. More Tulips are coming out. Several years ago I planted some species ones and they come back every year but don’t multiply sadly. They are a bit wayward in habit.



3. Having alkaline soil I have to grow Rhododendrons etc in pots. I was given this dwarf variety last year, managed to keep it alive through the heat and drought (it didn’t protest too much at having to be watered with hard water) and it’s stunning at the moment.


I hadn’t realised how bad the Corydalis lutea seedlings were until I saw the photograph. I’ll leave them to get a bit bigger then they’re easier to pull out.

4. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had planted Erythronium dens-canis in a pot as I didn’t have anywhere to plant them at the time. The flowers have opened this week. I was expecting them to be pink so have had a quick look on-line and this might be ‘Pagoda’? Will they survive in a pot or am I best to plant them out and cross fingers? Any suggestions welcome.



5. I had an Epimedium that had slowly disappeared over several years. After removing a Griselinia a couple of months ago a few Epimedium stems emerged near to the dug area. The flowers opened this week, they’re on 18” stems and are stunning. The next task is to identify the variety.



6. And finally, Lamprocapnos spectabile. This has shot up in the last couple of weeks and is so elegant. The one in the front is a self-sown seedling that’s come up in the gravel and I can’t bear to move it, even though it’s somewhat in the way. Quite a few seedlings come up each year and I either pot them up to give away or weed them out. This one missed the cull somehow.


Work today and stewarding at an exhibition tomorrow so not a lot of gardening this weekend but I’ve a couple of days off next week to make up for it. Enjoy your garden this weekend and have pen and paper ready to write the names of all of the desirable plants featuring in the other Sixes at




Six on Saturday 29/03/19

It’s been an absolutely beautiful week weather-wise here in North Somerset. The temperature has dropped to near freezing most nights but the daytimes have been mostly clear blue skies and sunshine. It certainly lifts the spirits. The plants have appreciated it as well and I’m sure you can almost see the leaves unfurl. I was certain that the Amelanchier would be featuring in this weeks Six but the flowers aren’t quite open yet. That’s one of next weeks Six sorted then. In the meantime this weeks Six features the good, the bad and the beautiful.

1. I finally got around to cutting Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diablo’down. I do this every year to keep it in check size-wise. The down-side is that I don’t get flowers but the up-side is that the new leaves are much larger and the growth is more upright. I then mulched the bed with home-made compost. It wasn’t quite as composted as I’d hoped it would be but I need the room to turn number two compost bin into so that number one bin can be turned into number two so that I can start a new heap in number one! It’s still good stuff though!


2. I had planned to split several clumps of Snowdrops but the job always seems at the bottom of the list. I finally got round to doing some yesterday and found several of these bad things in the clumps.


It’s not a great photo but I didn’t want this one to escape. I then had to go and check a clump of nearby Fritillary meleagris but they haven’t found them – so far.

3. A couple of years ago I decided to stop growing pots of Oriental Lilies because of the Lily Beetle problem. However, I haven’t quite managed to stop! After checking the Fritillaries I thought I’d better check the over -wintered pots of Lilies. They’ve been tucked into a corner by the coldframe and have put on a lot of growth already. Foolishly, I thought it was too early for the beetles to find them but luckily there only seemed to be one. I’ll have to be more vigilant from now on.


4.  Another baddie that has plagued my pots for years is Vine Weevil. I knock out the pots of Fuchsias etc in the autumn and pick through the roots, killing the beasties (or putting them on the bird table) before re-potting the plants to spend the winter in the glasshouse. Come the spring I always find that I’ve missed some and some Fuchsias etc have died due to lack of roots. The grubs also love burrowing into Begonia corms and I’ve had very little luck keeping them from one year to the next (the corms, not the grubs). Last summer I decided to try the nematodes and treated all of the pots twice. What a result! I did find a couple of grubs in the autumn but they were in a plant that I’d bought since the second watering. I haven’t lost a single Fuchsia this winter and they’ve got off to a flying start. When I tipped the Begonia corms out this week they’re so healthy with roots and shoots. Ok, I’m easily pleased! I’ll definitely be using nematodes again this year.


5.  Along the edge of a narrow border near the house I grow Hackonechloa macro ‘Aureovariegata’. Once it’s died back though there’s an ‘empty space’ so I planted Snowdrops in the same area. I suspect neither plant grows to it’s full potential but it’s working so far (six yearsish). The Hackonechloa is starting to reappear.


6.  The pots of beautiful spring bulbs are still going strong.


So that’s my Six for this week. I hope you’ve enjoyed them. Check out all of the other Sixes courtesy of our esteemed host at


Six on Saturday 23/03/19

We’re in (so far) sunny Belfast this weekend where gardens seem to be at the pretty much the same stage as at home despite the fact that there was some snow here very recently. I thought the plants might be a bit behind being a bit further north. One difference I’ve noticed though is how many Berberis there are here and all looking so beautiful at the moment. I used to have a couple but got so fed up with the sawflies defoliating them that I finally gave up and dug the last one out last year. Maybe the sawflies haven’t got this far north?

Here’s a quick six from my garden which, thankfully, has had some time to recover from the recent storms and high winds and is looking very much like Spring has arrived.

1. One of my Sixes last week showed the new x Fatshedera lizei that I’ve planted to replace a Griselinia littoralis. Many years ago there was an Epimedium in the same bed but it had gradually disappeared. Since clearing this little bed these two flower stems have shot up! I can’t remember the variety but may be able to identify it when the flowers open.


2. My soil is very alkaline so acid lovers need to be grown in pots. One exception is this Pieris japonica ‘Forest Flame’. I got fed up with watering pots so, many years ago, dug a very deep hole, punched holes in the bottom of a large bag of ericacious compost which I then buried in the hole and transplanted the Pieris. It’s thrived, although the original compost must be long depleted but I do top dress it each year. It grows by an Amelanchier so is rather one sided but looks beautiful at the moment. Needless to say my resolution not to have so many pots has long been broken.



3. The Euphorbias are starting to flower. Along with many other plants I’ve lost track of the variety.


4. My dad used to grow a small patch of Fritillaria meleagris and when I was sorting his garden after he died I transplanted a few to mine. They come up every year but don’t increase as I don’t have an area damp enough for them in my garden. Annoyingly, cats seem to like scratching and digging here and a few have met a sad end this year.


5. I managed to spend a couple of hours in the glasshouse this week, mostly potting things on. I bought some Zantedeschia aethiopica rhizomes (according to Google) last year and they made a good contribution to the patio display. I dried the pots out as the foliage died down in the autumn and they’ve been in the glasshouse all winter. I tipped the pots out the other day and found lots of reasonable sized rhizomes with new growth points and roots. This one is ‘Mango’ and they’re larger than they look here. The pot saucer is for a large pot.


6. There’s not a lot of room left in the glasshouse and I’m launching into major seed sowing after Belfast so need to clear the staging of some of the overwintering Fuchsias etc. The Non-Gardener put up the temporary seedtray staging that he built last year and I’m going to stand some of the smaller pots in the trays until they’re needed for the transplanted seedlings. Hopefully, I’ll be able to start hardening some things off by the time I need the trays.



Phew, this is a very late Six but it’s still Saturday. Don’t forget to check out all the other Sixes at


Six on Saturday 16/03/19

It’s been such a windy week and the leaves of some of the plants in the garden are showing signs of windburn, especially the new Clematis growth. I know they’ll recover but it’s a hard start for them. Despite the blowy conditions the temperature has been fairly steady and quite warm at night (given that it’s March) and there’s signs of life appearing daily. It’s such an uplifting time in the garden at the moment. Apart from a few things that take a long time to germinate, main seed sowing is delayed until after a visit to family in Belfast next week but my fingers are itching to get started.

In the meantime here is a very quick and possibly slightly out of focus Six. It’s tricky timing photographs between the wind gusts.

1. The pots of bulbs continue to flower but the stems are struggling to stay upright.


2. The bulbs in the borders aren’t faring much better but these little dwarf tulips are fine.


3. Whilst photographing the little tulips I noticed that the Forget-Me-Not is starting to flower. The long border was a sea of blue last year but I’m trying to show a little more restraint this year and have pulled a lot out.


4. Behind the garage and to the right of the recently replaced arch is a little border. It’s very well drained as many years ago the rubble from an old path was buried under it and there is also a Pyracantha trained against the end wall of the garage. It faces south and is in quite a sheltered spot. This border has never really had an identity and is an area I hope to improve this year as I’m sure more should be made of its location. Meanwhile, the Arabis procurrens ‘Variegata’ is flowering alongside an unknown variety of Parahebe which hardly ever stops flowering.


5. I keep a very tight rein on the Muscari but love their flowers at this time of the year. I think this is M. latifolium.


6. In the autumn I cut down an elderly and not very healthy Griselinia littoralis ‘Variegata’. This morning I  dug down around the root stump, cut off as many roots as I could then spoke nicely to the Non-Gardener who took the chain saw to it and managed to remove a good chunk of it. I couldn’t dig out wider as it was in a narrow border against a fence. Most of the roots seemed to have disappeared either under the fence/gravel board or forward under the gravel path. This spot is north facing, quite shady and between a very large Golden Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium ‘Aureum’) and (another) Pyracantha. Perfect growing conditions! I’ve planted a x Fatshedera Lizzie ‘Variegata’ against the fence but haven’t decided what to plant in the front. All suggestions welcome.


We’re forecast a lot of rain through tonight but tomorrow is supposed to be drier and calmer so I’m hoping to spend the day outdoors. I hope you get to spend some time in your garden this weekend and then spend time envying other Sixers their plant choices courtesy of our host at


Six on Saturday 09/03/19

It’s been quite an unsettled week weather-wise here in North Somerset with a frost on Thursday night. The early tulips have been fairly well ruined by the strong winds so fingers crossed that the next ones to flower have kinder conditions. I’ve been watering the pots on the patio for the last couple of weeks so they’ve benefited from a natural watering by this weeks rain and all of the water butts are full again. I’ve had a busy week so no gardening at all, just a quick trip to the glasshouse each morning and evening. I put the fleece over the residents each night, just in case. Anyway, let’s get down to business – here’s this week’s Six on Saturday with some rather damp plants as the stars.

1. I sowed Bellis perennis seed last June but not many seedlings survived the heat and drought of last summer. However, those that did are beginning to flower now. I like them in pots with bulbs coming up through them.


2. The wallflowers are starting to show their colours as well. They seem very early, I guess that’s down to the recent very warm weather.



3. Another Lamprocapnos has put its head above the ground this week. This one is spectabile and it is quite an old plant now. It gently seeds around, coming true from seed.


4. I used to grow forced Hyacinths in pots for indoors but, it turned out, the Non-Gardener didn’t like their scent (cats apparently). Several years ago I was given a pot of three which I planted out in the border so that no ones nostrils were upset. They come up every year, they’ve never increased in number and I think they look rather out of place but I love the colour!


5. Just along from the Hyacinths the bronze fennel is growing rapidly. I love the feathery foliage and the flower and seed heads attract so many insects and birds. It’s too far forward in the border though and I meant to dig it up and replant some of it further back last autumn. Obviously I forgot. It needs to go to the top of the To-Do list.


6. We went to Falmouth a couple of weeks ago and visited the lovely Tremenheere Garden. Although very early in the season there was still plenty to see. It’s a shame I left the camera behind! I’ll have to visit again.  On the way back to the car I had a ‘quick’ look around Surreal Succulents and found some more potential residents for my succulent stack.


Have a great weekend, hopefully in your garden but if not then enjoy all the other gardens courtesy of our host at



Six on Saturday 02/03/19

The recent weather has been glorious and the garden has responded with a surge in growth. There are shoots appearing on so many plants and I t’s reassuring to see that so much has come through the winter safely. However, it’s all change this weekend with rain and strong winds forecast, especially tomorrow.  On the positive side, there shouldn’t be any frost. It’s a working weekend so my photos show, strictly speaking, Six on Friday. Do I need to say some Hail Marys?

1. I’m gradually edging the borders with stones to keep the gravel on the paths. I bought some new ones a couple of weeks ago and have now finished the border by the new arch. I haven’t planted anything on the arch yet as I can’t quite decide what I want here. I don’t want to replace it with the same, but I really liked what was there!


2. I was beginning to worry about my Sweet Peas, they were taking so long to appear. I’d soaked them overnight as usual then read that we’re not supposed to do that any more. They went in to the root trainers on the 8th of February and I think the warmth made me expect them through quicker. The first ones appeared on Monday and there’s no stopping them now. Matucana is the slower one.


3. The new leaves of Lamprocapnos (I nearly wrote Dicentra then!) formosa ‘Langtrees’ are so beautifully glaucous and, like a lot of things, seem to be up rather earlier than usual. This clump has been slowly spreading by the froggy pond for many years. It’s very dry in the summer which  inhibits it’s growth I think.


4. The metal spike on the left of the above photograph belongs to my beautiful kingfisher. I bought him at the RHS Malvern Spring Show last year. A Clematis grows up through the Pyracantha and he gradually disappeared last summer!


5. I’ve always struggled with Delphiniums, mainly due to the slugs eating them as soon as they stick their noses above ground (the Delphiniums, not the slugs). I decided to try again last year and grew the plants on to a reasonable size before planting them out. The hot, dry weather made the slugs hide away and there was a good display from the Delphiniums. I wasn’t very optimistic about seeing them again but here they are.



I just need to keep the slugs off of them now.

6. I grew Eccremocarpus scaber from seed last year. They aren’t reliably hardy, not here anyway, but this plant has come through the winter in good shape and has decided to flower. There’s a lot more buds as well. Madness.


Between the weather and work I don’t expect to get a lot of gardening done this weekend but will get my fix by reading all of the other Sixes, courtesy of our host The Propagator at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Happy gardening to you all.