Six on Saturday 28/01/23

After nine nights of below zero temperatures we’ve had some slightly warmer weather to finish the week with. I’ve managed to get some clearing up done in the borders working from the stepping stones but there’s still a lot to do. Now that the weather is a bit warmer the bulbs will, hopefully, start moving upwards again. I’m still waiting for the first Snowdrop to open.

  • A few weeks ago I showed the seed head of Ricinus communis (photo at the top) that was in the glasshouse. We’ve had some sunshine this week and it’s caused the very hard seed cases to split open and expel the shiny black seeds. This can be quite an explosive action and I’ve picked up many seeds from the floor. I’ll wait until it’s a bit warmer before I sow them.
  • I overwinter a lot of the succulents in the glasshouse but I think there’s going to be few losses this year, particularly the Aeoniums. Most upsetting. However, others are doing well and Crassula perforata is starting to flower.

The plant in front of it is Crassula humulis.

  • Another casualty of the cold is Erysimum variegatum. I had three plants but only one came through Decembers cold but it has taken exception to the last week. There’s some shoots in the centre that haven’t collapsed but, based on the other two plants, I’m not holding out much hope. It’s a plant with a rather straggly habit but, usually, flowers for about eight months of the year.
  • On a happier note the Sarcococca is in full flower. It doesn’t seem to be very perfumed this year – lower temperatures maybe?
  • Also looking beautiful is Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’, next to Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’, especially against yesterday mornings blue sky.
  • I cut off the seed heads of the Hellebores to prevent self seeding and to deter the aphids that seem to be attracted to them. I was a bit late doing this to one of the plants last year and while the parent plant may be on a bit of a go slow the seedlings certainly aren’t.

Hopefully, I’ll have a bit more colour and some bulbs to show next week (I may have said that last week) but I’m sure there will be plenty in other Sixes. They can all be seen courtesy of our brilliant host Jim at http://www.gardenruminations.co.uk

Enjoy the weekend and thank you for reading.

Six on Saturday 21/01/23

It’s been a cold week with overnight temperatures going down to between -2 and -4 degrees. The compost in the patio pots has been frozen all week, I hope the bulbs are alright. I had a workshop yesterday and another today so the photos for this weeks Six were taken quite late yesterday afternoon.

  • When looking for candidates I noticed this Iris reticulata ‘Pauline’. It’s so keen to flower that it couldn’t wait for its stem to come up out of the compost. There’s no sign of any of the other bulbs in the pot.
  • Some of my Cyclamen coum seedlings are starting to flower. These were sown autumn 2020. I need to find somewhere to plant them out away from all of the C. hederifolium.
  • I’ve grown a Coronilla glauca ‘Citrina’ up a trellis, I didn’t have enough space anywhere else in the garden. It flowered quite well last winter and spring and put on a lot of growth last year – one of the plants that didn’t seem to mind the conditions last summer. Despite the freezing conditions flowers are beginning to develop.
  • Quite a lot of the herbaceous plants are starting to put out new growth and the feathery foliage of Cenolophium denudatum is starting to emerge.
  • The leaves of a variegated Ivy, variety unknown, have taken on a lovely pink colouring in the cold.
  • I grew Helleborus foetidissima in the front garden many years ago. It eventually disappeared but a seedling appeared last spring (or I noticed it then anyway). The leaves look a bit blotchy, I’m hoping it’s just the effect of the cold. The setting sun was catching the Sedum stems beautifully.

The forecast shows it warming up a little after tonight so hopefully some of the bulbs will start to make an appearance. I’m still waiting for the first Snowdrop to open.

Thanks for visiting, have a good weekend and enjoy the other Sixes courtesy of our host Jim at http://www.gardenruminations.co.uk

Six on Saturday 14/01/23

There’s been no real gardening done here this week thanks to the weather, although we did have a few hours of sunshine Monday and yesterday and I managed to steal an hour out there yesterday. It’s tricky enough finding six things at this time of year but when the garden is so wet and unkempt it’s even harder. Here’s what I have to offer this week –

  • The high winds of the last few days have broken off a lot of the Hakonechloa stems and so I cut them down yesterday. One clump of the grass is growing in an area where I had several clumps of single Snowdrops. I planted the grass in the area and have let it grow over the clumps. As the Snowdrops come up the grass is cut back and as the bulb foliage fades the grass comes up. Perfect solution for a small space. Before –

and after –

Except that last year there were definitely less Snowdrops and this year there seem to be even less. I’m wondering if they’re having trouble coming through the grass roots.

  • The weather hasn’t had a detrimental effect on the beautiful Cyclamen hederifolium leaves and they seem larger than usual this year.
  • Despite the cold and the wet some of the Sedum seem to be on the rise. Last week these shoots were tight little ‘cabbages’.

Sedum ‘Orange Xenox’

  • Most of the succulents are in the glasshouse but the Sempervivums are still outdoors. The pots are very wet but, so far, the plants seem to be alright. These are mostly offsets of an unknown variety that I potted up last year.
  • Ilex aquifolium ‘Handsworth New Silver’ still has a few berries on and lights up the front garden at this time of year.
  • While most herbaceous stems have been beaten down by the wind and rain these Papaver somniferum stems are slowly decomposing while standing upright.

I’m hoping to have a bit more colour in next weeks Six as there are a few Crocus showing some colour, along with a couple of Hellebores. Fingers crossed.

In the meantime I’m sure there will be some Sixers with bulbs out already so head over to Jim at http://www.gardenruminations.co.uk to have a look.

Six on Saturday 07/01/23

Happy New Year and here’s the first Six of a new year. It’s been a very wet start here in North Somerset (and currently pouring down), gardening days have been few and when I have been able to get out there I’ve only been able to work from the gravel. I hope we get a dry period soon as the main border and front garden are looking very messy. On the positive side the garden is starting to come to life again. There are bulbs coming through, some Hellebore buds showing their colours, Clematis shooting, some winter flowers (Viburnum, winter Honeysuckle, Sarcoccoca +) and new leaf buds forming on the Honeysuckles. Exciting!

  • While the flowering stems of a couple of Hellebores are showing some colour others are only just pushing through the soil.
  • It’s not all lovely out there though. The main border and front garden are mostly filled with herbaceous perennials. The wet weather has caused a lot of the stems to collapse and leaves turn to mush. I can’t wait to clear through and give the emerging bulbs some daylight but the soil is much too wet to work on.

Part of the very messy front garden.

  • While surrounding plants have collapsed Euphorbia characias ‘Tasmanium Tiger’ lights up this area of the border.
  • The leaves of Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Silver Queen’ develop pinkish margins in the cold weather.
  • In the glasshouse the Penstemon and Salvia cuttings all seem to have survived last months really cold temperatures.
  • Some of the succulents overwintering in the glasshouse haven’t survived and others are still deciding. Crassula perforata, on the other hand, is preparing to flower.

I haven’t ordered my seeds yet so I think that that will be a job for this wet weekend. There will also be time to see what other Sixers have chosen to show us, thanks to our new host Jim at http://www.gardenruminations.co.uk/

Have a good weekend and thanks for reading.

Six on Saturday 31/12/22

The final day of 2022 – a time to look both backwards and forwards. The high temperatures of the summer combined with the long periods of drought had me thinking that I should be growing more plants that can cope with those conditions. Then we had the very low temperatures earlier this month that make me think that I should be growing less of that type of plant – the usual gardening dilemma. I don’t have any great plans for next year – some plants to move, definitely some gaps to fill and I think it’s time to look at the front garden. I’ve managed to find six things for the years final post, there’s even a tiny bit of colour – at this time of year I do so look forward to next seasons colour.

  • Seed heads add a lot of interest but most, sadly, have collapsed with the recent weather. I pass the last remaining stems of these little stars on my way to the glasshouse.

This is Aster macrophyllus ‘Twilight’ – I’m fairly sure that this one is still an Aster 🤞

  • Another seed head. Ricinus communis didn’t do very well this year, too dry I think, but one plant defied the conditions and grew to over seven feet – here it is in September.

After the frost the plant collapsed and I cut the seed head off and have been drying the seeds. I don’t know if they’ll be viable but I’ll find out in the spring.

  • Many of the evergreen ferns on the fern wall aren’t looking their best but it beats looking at a couple of fence panels. The yellow stripe down the centre of the fronds of Arachniodes simplicior ‘Variegata’ make it stand out.
  • Back in the summer I showed the very spiky Eryngium pandanifolium that I had grown from seed. After two summers with no flowers I had given it the ‘perform or your days are numbered’ talk. It’s H4 on the RHS hardiness scale which is -5 to -10 C and it likes a moist but well drained soil (the holy grail of gardening). It’s seemed happy enough in the main border but when looking around for todays six I discovered that it has rotted out in the centre.

It must have taken offence and now I’ll never see its flower spike. I’m not sure I’d grow another.

  • The Violas on top of some of the pots of bulbs have taken a battering but nothing stops the bulbs pushing through.

The Pansies have fared slightly better though.

  • I planted a winter flowering Clematis ‘Lansdowne Gem’ over the new arch in the spring. It’s not been the best year for establishing a new Clematis but it has put on a moderate amount of growth and is flowering. A lovely splash of colour! Quite a large flower for a winter variety.

Thanks to Jim at http://www.gardenruminations.co.uk/ for keeping us all going and wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and looking forward to next years Sixes.

Six on Saturday 24/12/22

The garden has certainly appreciated the warmer weather this week with a lot of the plants showing signs of recovery. There are some plants that still look very borderline and only time will tell.

  • Here’s a plant that I’m not sure will survive the winter. It’s planted in a sheltered part of the garden and has come through the last two winters unscathed but Sollya heterophylla is not fully hardy, down to -5C. Hopefully the root won’t have gone down as cold as the top of the plant.
  • Most of the evergreen ferns continue to do well and Cyrtomium falcatum (I think) has seemed unaffected at all by the low temperatures.
  • Sarcococca confusa has glossy green leaves that have shrugged off the weather as well. The wonderfully fragrant flowers are beginning to appear alongside the last few of last years berries.
  • The flower stems are appearing on some of the Hellebores. This is H. x ericsmithii ‘Pirouette’ in a pot.
  • When I dug the Dahlia tubers up for overwintering I planted some mixed Narcissi in the bed. I’m not a huge fan of mixed bulbs as they don’t flower at the same time but these were free! I then topped them off with some wallflowers which looked awful after the cold snap but have improved through the week. It’s not a huge bed but larger than it looks in the picture.
  • I was clearing some leaves the other day and was very happy to see the Snowdrops starting to appear above ground.

The pinkish coloured shoots are Lamprocapnos spectabile. There’s no stopping some plants.

Thank you for reading my Six throughout the year. Not many people see my garden (my choice, I’m rather people avoidant ) but I enjoy sharing it through SonS. Thank you to the Prop who started this adventure and to Jim at http://www.gardenruminations.Wordpress.co.uk/ for taking over the reins.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year filled with perfect weather and very happy plants. Well, we can but dream.

Six on Saturday 17/12/22

It’s been cold – there’s not a lot more that you can say about this weeks weather. On Wednesday and Thursday night the temperature outside went down to -7C. I’m making a quilt that records the daily highest and lowest temperature for a year. So that I could work out the fabrics needed for the range I looked up the historic monthly highs and lows for my area. -7C is the lowest ever recorded for December and also for January. The lowest February temperature ever recorded was -9C. Let’s hope that that doesn’t get repeated. The garden hasn’t thawed at all this week so no gardening has been done. I ventured out into the cold yesterday to find this weeks six – it was tricky.

  • Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ has shrugged off the cold and frost and the catkins are starting to slowly lengthen.
  • Next to the Garrya is Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’. It was in full bloom when the cold snap arrived but now looks very brown.

However, new buds are forming and as long as the ‘warmer’ weather arrives as forecast it should be flowering again soon.

  • Nandina domestica ‘Obsession’ didn’t flower this year. The new growth is a lovely red colour but the plant has had this colour for most of the year. It has grown a bit but I think the colouring was mostly down to the challenging conditions of this year. The leaves looked lovely in the frosty sunshine yesterday.
  • For the last few years I have used a 50W tube heater with a thermostat plus horticultural fleece to keep the glasshouse above freezing. It hasn’t been enough this week and the nightly temperature has fallen below zero a few times. Time will tell if the cuttings etc will survive. There could be a lot of planting opportunities in the spring.

All tucked up in the glasshouse. This thicker fleece is supposed to be good down to -10C.

  • Luckily, I finally dug the Dahlias out a couple of weeks ago and they are all boxed up and in the loft. Regardless of the cold the Allium schubertii in the bed are ascending.
  • And finally, it may be cold and frosty but Rosa ‘White Swan’ has decided to flower. Okay, it normally has large clusters of these small flowers but it wins this weeks award for bravery in the garden.

Not a very exciting six this week but I didn’t want to walk on the frosty grass, though I’m not sure there’s much very exciting in the main border either.

One more Six before Christmas! Have a good weekend and don’t forget to catch up with the other Sixers courtesy of our host Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk/

Six on Saturday 10/12/22

It’s been such a cold week with the last four nights being below zero. The coldest, so far, was Thursday with an overnight temperature of -4C. We’ve not had lows like this for a few years now. I might lose some of the borderline plants that I grow but, on a positive note, maybe it will help on the pest front. The last few Cosmos plants have been knocked to the ground and, when conditions allow, there’s quite a lot of mushy plants to clear in the main border. I know the advice is to leave the herbaceous stems until spring but the pictures they show are always of upright, stood to attention plants. I must just grow the wrong type of plants. Anyway, it’s a bit of a mix for this weeks Six so here we go.

  • Euphorbia leaves always look good with an edging of frost.
  • The Blackbirds have started to eat the Holly and Pyracantha berries, several days of frosts making it harder for them to find food. The seed head is Clematis viticella ‘Alba Luxuriens’.
  • I bought some Cyclamen to finish off the tops of the last few pots. The others have a mix of Pansies, Violas, Bellis and Primroses in them. Underneath are some bulb lasagnes and Tulips. Here’s a few from the patio.
  • At least frosty mornings (usually) mean some sunshine and it brought the Hakonechloa to life yesterday morning. The seed heads are quite understated but persist well and move in the slightest breeze.
  • The summer drought didn’t suit the Ricinus at all and most failed. One plant defied the conditions and grew into a triffid. It got to just over seven feet tall and until Thursday nights hard frost had looked so good that I didn’t have the heart to cut it down. I shall definitely be taking the loppers to it on the weekend.
  • The seed heads on Clematis integrifolia are starting to break down now. Hundreds of seeds are produced each year but I haven’t been able to start a single new plant. Rather ironic, as I grew this one from seed.

Two more Sixes until Christmas! The cold snap is going to make it harder to find candidates but we’ll just have to look a bit closer.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to visit our host, Jim, at https://gardenruminations.co.uk

Six on Saturday 03/12/22

Winter certainly arrived this week with daytime temperatures only reaching around 5C and then falling down to near zero for several nights. At least it’s been dry with very little breeze. The big news from me this week is that I have finished planting all of the Tulips (plus a few other things as well). Between the weather and work it has taken a lot longer this year but, finally, all of the half hardy things are tucked up in the glasshouse and a lot of the Begonia and Eucomis corms are dried off and ready to go in the loft for the winter. This weeks main garden focus is to dig the Dahlia tubers up and get them dried off and packed away in the loft as well. In the meantime here are six things that caught my eye as I worked in the garden this week.

  • Impatiens auricoma x bicaudata has been flowering in the glasshouse since June. It suffered in the exceptional summer heat and lost a lot of its leaves but it still kept flowering. With more plants moving into the glasshouse I’ve run out of room for the large Impatiens and so I’ve cut it back to about 8″ high. I’m not sure if it will survive the winter (there are cuttings on a bedroom window cill) but it has two choices.
  • Next to the glasshouse is an arch with a Honeysuckle and Clematis ‘Margot Koster’ climbing up it. Margot is having a final flurry of flowers and the tiny snails are having a feast.
  • The other end of the arch has a piece of trellis attached to it and I grow Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ through it. It reaches over six feet tall and has been flowering for weeks and weeks.

I hadn’t noticed that the winter flowering Honeysuckle had started to flower until I took this photograph.

  • The weeks of rain destroyed the flowerheads on most of the Hydrangeas but H. macrophylla ‘Dancing Snow’ is still looking good. The flowers were white when they opened and then slowly turned lime-green. They are now this lovely soft pink.

The fern in front of it is Dryopteris sieboldii.

  • Mahonia aquifolium ‘Pamina’ was given to me as a small plant many years ago. It’s not the showiest of Mahonias and reaches for the sky regularly. I started cutting it back a few years ago in the hope that it would bush up. It grows back quite quickly but has no intention of thickening up. The berries from the spring flowers show how it got its common name of Oregon Grape.
  • Fatsia japonica is that lovely mix of an exotic looking yet really hardy plant. The bees have been enjoying the flowers for a couple of weeks. They’ve passed their peak (the flowers, not the bees) but stand out well against the glossy green leaves.

I think it’s going to start being more of a challenge to find candidates for SonS now that the weather has taken a turn for the worse but I shall keep trying.

Thanks to Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk/ for hosting Six on Saturday. Head over there to see what the other Sixers have found to show us this week.

Six on Saturday 26/11/22

On the local news the other day they said that we had had something like 130% of Novembers rainfall up to the 20th of the month. And it’s still falling! However, the sun was shining yesterday so that seemed a good opportunity to take this weeks pictures.

  • I’m going to start indoors this week as the Thanksgiving/Christmas Cacti are in full bloom.
  • A couple of weeks ago I showed a picture of Euonymus elatus in its full glory

Just before the leaves fall the red fades to yellow. Most of the leaves have come off in the heavy rain/strong wind but there’s a few left to show the effect.

  • The Alstroemerias seem able to take whatever the weather throws at them and keep flowering regardless. This is A. ‘Summer Lovely’
  • I’ve found it hard to find plants that will grow happily in the little froggy pond. It gets quite shady in the summer which doesn’t suit a lot of aquatic plants. Others just get too big and go for pond domination. I planted Scirpus cernuus in the spring and it’s done well. It’s common name is the Fibre Optic plant which suits it. The Duck Weed has also done well this year 😔
  • Hesperanthus ‘Ice Maiden’ has been flowering for weeks and, although a bit battered by the weather, is still flowering well. When it first comes into flower the blooms are very nearly white but, as time has gone on, they’ve developed a definite blush.
  • Yesterdays late afternoon sun made the Beech hedge look as though it was glowing.

A fairly quick Six this week as I’m off now to run my last workshop of the year.

Thanks to Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk for taking over the reins. That’s also where you’ll find all of the other Sixes. Have a great weekend.