Six on Saturday 25/06/22

The blackly (and the green ones) have been growing in numbers over the last few weeks and finally the ladybirds have started to arrive. I hope that they eat quickly. We were away last weekend and, knowing that there would be a poor signal, I took a leave of absence for the first time in several years. The heat and a bit of rain certainly made the garden grow while I was absent and I’ve been playing catch-up this week.

  • The Hostas are starting to flower.
  • As is this Honeysuckle. I grew the original from a stray shoot that came from a neighbour’s garden about 30 years ago. At night, when I put food out for the hedgehog, the whole garden is scented by it.
I’m still waiting for the Ricinus (in pots at lower right) to grow large enough to plant out.
  • The glasshouse is just visible in the above photo. If you were to walk through the arch by it (not visible) and look back this would be your view.
On the left is Clematis ‘Justa’ and on the right is C. viticella ‘Margot Koster’
  • Turn 180 degrees and now you’re looking at the long border. Here’s a couple of todays favourites.
Eryngium bougatii ‘Pico’s Blue’

As you can see the Forget-me-Not seedlings are taking over.

  • And in front of the above is
Geranium pratense ‘Black Beauty’, I just wish it would spread a bit quicker – it doesn’t seem to have got much bigger over the last three years.
  • I haven’t shown any succulents for a while so here are the plants on one step of a succulent ladder (built by the Non-Gardener).
At the front is Echevira ‘Telstar’, back left is Aeonium ‘Cornish Tribute’ and back right is Crassula perforata

On the same step is

Echivera imbricata

Work today then some gardening time tomorrow (hopefully). The things to do list is growing much quicker than the things done one. I’m sure that the plants I really, really want if only I could find some space list will get longer as I catch up with other Sixers at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Thanks for looking in, have a great weekend.

Six on Saturday 11/06/22

I’ve not had a lot of spare time this week but when I could I’ve been planting things out into the borders, including the Dahlias. I’ve also been potting some things on that aren’t large enough yet to take their chances in the big wide world – the Cobaea scandens plants being a prime example. It just hasn’t been warm enough for them and they hardly seem to have moved upwards this last week. On the other hand the rain has enabled the herbaceous plants grow like mad and the garden seems on the edge of out of control, a state I quite like it in.

  • Rose Chafers! Is anyone else having a problem with them? I first became aware of a problem two years ago when emptying my compost bin and found it to be teeming with Rose Chafer larvae. This is a picture from a Six in 2020.
I started using an 8″ pot to collect them in but resorted to a bucket in the end as there were so many of them

Since then I’ve been having a battle to keep the numbers under control. There was a question on GQT a few weeks ago by someone having the same problem and the panel consensus was that the questioner was lucky to have them in her garden! While the beetles love the Roses they are also very partial to umbellifer type flowers and the favourite at the moment is Cenolophium denudatum which I grew from seed a couple of years ago.

One flowerhead, four beautiful beetles.
The whole plant. Only two beetles on here – later on there were 21! The bees have to fight for a space.
  • Enough bugs. I stopped growing Nepeta several years ago as I didn’t like the way it flopped over but then I was tempted by N. x faassenii ‘Junior Walker’. I surround it with the shortest Link Stakes as it emerges and then it behaves very well.
  • Also flowering well is Heuchera ‘Peach Flambe’
  • The hardy Geraniums are really starting to show their colours and I wish I had room to grow more. I would like to visit East Lambrook Manor soon to see more. It’s been on my to-do list for a few years and isn’t that far from me. One day…..
This is G. ‘Brookside’ and it will flower until the autumn. Some of the Foxgloves are very tall this year – over six feet.
  • I don’t know which Campanula this one is but it fills this shady corner with colour for several weeks at this time of year.
  • A bit further along the same fence is Clematis ‘Samaritan Jo’. It’s a shorter growing variety but is taking a while to settle in.

I’m at a workshop today as a student, which will make a lovely change and then watching our daughter in the Bristol triathlon tomorrow so gardening time is limited this weekend. As happens every year, I have too many plants and too little space but I will do my very best to shoe-horn every one in as I get time. Have a good weekend and thanks to our host at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 04/06/22

The daytime temperature has been reasonable this week with some lovely sunny spells but it’s been down to 8 degrees on several nights which is a bit chilly for the half hardies. I’d like the Cosmos to get a little larger before I plant them out (they might have a chance against the slugs etc then) and it’s definitely not been warm enough for the Ricinus as they don’t seem to have grown at all this week. Never pleased, that’s us gardeners. And then it rained most of yesterday afternoon and there’s more forecast for today. It’s a shame it’s in the daytime but the plants will appreciate it. Luckily, I took the pictures in the morning. After the spring bulbs the main colour in the garden has been green but other colours are appearing throughout now.

  • The Clematis are growing well and ‘Dr Ruppel’ is worth a second showing, especially as it’s obelisk mate ‘Black Tea’ is beginning to flower as well, although they’re rather hidden in this photo.
I still haven’t painted the shed!
  • The (mainly) herbaceous border is growing up well. There are gaps where the forest of Forget-me-Nots were and the Cosmos, Ricinus and some other half hardies will, hopefully, fill them.
The RH end of the border with the Dahlia bed in the foreground.

The Dahlias are waiting in the wings for when the Iris finish. The final ones to open are ‘Red Ember’

The LH end of the border. The grass needs cutting when it dries out. No mow May doesn’t really work when you’ve only got a little patch of the stuff.
  • On the far left of the above photo is a Golden Hop on an obelisk and there’s a Clematis battling up as well. Just out of shot is Clematis tangutica ‘Bill McKenzie’ which is just starting to flower and will continue until the first frost 🤞
  • Allium christophii is spreading through the border, unlike it’s cousin A ‘Purple Sensation’, and I pull out many, many seedlings every spring.
The leaves were buried beneath the FmNs and I’ll pull them off this week.
  • Out to the front garden now. This bit of the garden is left very much to fend for itself. Despite years of adding home made compost the soil is very heavy clay which already has large cracks in it. The Roses have been in for many years so have their roots well down. Although they flower well I find it quite hard to train them along the ropes and they tend to bolt upwards so I gave them a hard prune in February and added a solid strip along the bottom of the posts so that I could train them horizontally before they started upwards. It seems to be working.
The view from outside looking into the garden.
  • Back inside the garden Stipa gigantia (one of the best grasses) is flowering. I find grasses very difficult to photograph but liked this view.

That’s my Six, a couple of others have ended up on the cutting floor for these but, hopefully, they will still be around for next weeks Six. Don’t forget to check in with the Prop at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ to see the what the other Sixers have picked from their gardens this week.

Speedy Six on Saturday 28/05/22

I usually take my photos on Friday but was so engrossed taking out barrowloads of Forget-me-Nots yesterday (it’s only a small garden, how can there be so many?) that I forgot. By the time I remembered half of the garden was in deep shade and the other half was washed in evening sunlight. So here is a speedy, hot off of the camera Six.

  • I grew Incarvilla delavayi from a ‘borrowed’ seedpod a few years ago and have two healthy plants (was three but the usual suspects caused the demise of one) that I keep in pots. The flowers are beautiful but so fleeting.
  • The Dutch Iris are at their peak now. These are in the Dahlia bed which is nearly ready for the Dahlias to be planted in.
I. ‘Sapphire Beauty’ with I. ‘Miss Saigon’ behind and Allium ‘Schubertii’ between them.
  • Last spring I added a couple more climbing roses – ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ and ‘Blush Noisette’. The latter hasn’t started to flower yet but here’s Gertrude. You can’t really miss her!
  • I struggle with the darker coloured Astrantias but this unnamed white one (grown from seed many years ago) does well.
  • I started growing some Hostas again a couple of years ago. They’re in pots by the small froggy pond and don’t have too many holes in them (yet).
  • I’ve been hardening off the half-hardies etc for a couple of weeks now and made a good start planting up the summer pots for the patio. The Begonias spent the winter in the loft and the other plants were overwintered in the glasshouse as cuttings. Now they’re in place I can set the watering system up.

I’m sorry that a couple of photos are a bit fuzzy but it’s been windy here all week and is still blowing a bit this morning.

Thanks for looking in, have a lovely weekend and do make time to check in with the Prop at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 21/05/22

We’ve had more rain this week and as a result the garden is looking very lush. Gardening time has been spent emptying out the winter pots to make room for summer plants and I’ve also started removing some of the Forget-me-Nots.

  • Grasses start coming into their own at this time of the year and my favourite grass has to be Stipa gigantea. The leaves can look a bit messy but the long stemmed, oat-like flowering spikes make up for that many times over.
Stipa gigantea

I find grasses very difficult to photograph, they don’t seem to have enough ‘body’ to them but I suppose that that’s what makes them so beautiful.

  • Also in the front garden is Carex elata ‘Aurea’ whose foliage stays this bright all year round.
Carex elata ‘Aurea’ – Bowles’ Golden Sedge
  • It rained quite a lot at home while we were away for four days over last weekend and it gave the Clematis a real boost. The buds on C. ‘Dr Ruppel’ were quite small when we left and on our return I was amazed to see some of them open. There’s a Clematis ‘Black Tea’ sharing the obelisk but that one flowers a bit later.
Clematis ‘Dr Ruppel’
  • In the same small bed is Nandina ‘Firepower’ and it certainly lives up to its name with the sun shining on the new growth.
Nandina ‘Firepower’
  • Foxgloves seed themselves around and some years there are quite a few and other years not so many. I move them around in the autumn but didn’t get around to it last year. As a result there are too many in this small border but they’re having their moment. As soon as they go over I’ll remove most of them to give the poor plants underneath some daylight.
Digitalis purpurea
  • So many plants are coming into flower but foliage still plays an important role. As the flowers of Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ fade the foliage takes centre stage. This plant brightens the area beneath a Hydrangea. It’s quite a dry spot, not ideal for the Brunnera, but the combination of the dark Hydrangea leaf and this frosted leaf works well.
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’

Goodness – six already and I really want to show this pot of Tulips. As they were in last weeks Six I don’t think that they really count as an item in their own right this week so, here they are on the 14th of May

Tulip ‘Royal Georgette’

and here they are a week later

That’s quite a colour transformation.

The Non-Gardener is on an away-day tomorrow so I’ve planned a whole day in the garden – it’s definitely getting away from me at the moment. I will also make time to see the things other Sixers have chosen and so can you at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 14/05/22

Finally, we’ve had some proper rain. Enough rain fell Tuesday night and Wednesday morning to nearly fill the water butts and the plants look much happier. I’ve spent most of this weeks gardening time getting things ready to go away for a few days. What sort of gardener goes away in April and again in May? Madness! *

  • Although I felt I was quite late potting up the Dahlia tubers they have grown really well and have now been outside for a week hardening off. I’ve pinched them all out and they are mostly ready to plant out into the bed that was dug for them last year
Some of the Dahlias hardening off by the still unpainted shed

I dug the tubers up last autumn so that I could underplant them with Narcissi, an idea I read about in Sarah Raven’s book. That way the Dahlias can stay in the ground and the bulbs come up through them every spring. There’s just one problem …….

some of the Narcissi are still flowering and there’s no way the foliage can be left for six weeks to die back. Back to the drawing board I think.

  • I planted five Allium schubertii in the above bed last year but only three flowered so I added three more in the autumn. Seven have come up but one is blind. The flowers are just starting to open. I’m sure they will be appearing in a Six again soon.
  • The Tulips are going over now and the pink and green ‘ China Town’ will be the last but ’Blue Diamond’ fades beautifully, a bit like an old master tulip.

The multi-headed T. ’Royal Georgette’ is a new favourite and as the flowers age more red shows through.


The Melianthus in the background has been cut back as the lower growth was badly frosted. I’ve taken cuttings because I need more plants (haha! Why is it impossible to not take cuttings).

  • Spring bulbs are being replaced with early summer ones and the Dutch Iris are starting to open.
I’ve started putting the Link Stakes around plants and they will, hopefully, become invisible over the next few weeks.
  • The new growth of Parthenocissus henyrana has been frosted off twice but it’s third time lucky.

  • I was going to break with tradition and put a photo of a lovely garden that we visited a couple of weeks ago – Minterne Garden in Dorset – at the top. However, as I’m away I’m writing this on a tablet and it won’t let me set a featured image. Minterne is a Himalayan inspired garden and was full of colour for our visit. The tea and cakes are highly recommended as well.

Thanks for looking at my Six, there’s so many more to see at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

* The sort who is enjoying being able to see their family more!

Six on Saturday 07/05/22

It finally arrived! Rain!!! True, it was more of a long drizzle but wet stuff definitely fell from the sky. If nothing else, it washed the dust off of the plants and they looked much brighter the following morning. Sadly, it brought the slugs out as well. There hasn’t been any rain since and a lot of birds are visiting the water dish each day. I’m also putting out a dish of water for the hedgehog that visits most nights and the camera shows that he enjoys a drink.

  • The Tulips are, mostly, coming to an end. They’ve been a lovely shot of colour in the garden but I don’t think they’ve been as good as the last couple of years. Some varieties, ‘Slawa’ for example, have been weaker than before and the actual flower size of some seems smaller. Four of the pots have also had one or two flowers of a completely different colour from the variety planted. I know the bulbs all look quite similar but I find this disappointing. Anyway, enough of the moaning – I’ve still had an enormous amount of pleasure from them. Here’s a quick round-up of the best of the week.
T. ‘Cairo’ finally starting to open. In the background is T. ‘Moonblush’ (there were two pale yellow interlopers in this pot)

I’ve now bought the shed paint and just need to apply it to shed!

T. ‘Lasting Love’, a favourite from last year and will definitely be on the order form again.
T. ‘Aveyron’ – sadly four out of the ten bulbs have had small, incomplete flowers like the two below.
  • Two pots of Begonia luxuriens spent the winter in the glasshouse. One of them had flower heads forming but I didn’t think that they would survive. The plant in question is rather leggy so I thought I’d cut both plants back to, hopefully, make them shoot from lower down. I couldn’t bring myself to cut the potential flowers off though and they started to open yesterday. I’m a little underwhelmed though.
  • There’s so much new to see each day. The Foxgloves are rising as are the Alliums, seen here with Dicentra eximia.
  • While the lack of rain is keeping the slugs at bay other pests are not so shy.
  • The Amelanchier was covered in blossom a couple of weeks ago. It’s a very fleeting display and is followed by the emergence of the bronze coloured new leaves. There seems to be a problem this year though as the leaves on one half of the tree are very much smaller than on the other. Does anyone have any idea as to what could be wrong? I’ve always regarded this as a problem free tree.
  • Something happier to finish with. The Caltha in the little froggy pond in the back garden adds a real splash of colour to this part of the garden. But where does the duck weed come from?

The forecast is good, but still dry, for the next few days and I’m hoping to spend most of the weekend in the garden. Thank you for reading my Six and I’m sorry I didn’t read all of the Sixes last week but will do better this week. Promise. They can all be found at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 30/04/22

Yet another dry week here and cracks are appearing throughout the borders, especially in the front garden. Watering the pots has become a very regular job along with the contents of the glasshouse. It’s also been quite cold at night, just 2 degrees C last night and no higher than 4 degrees the rest of the week, and so I’m taking a lot of pots out of the glasshouse in the morning and then putting them all back in in the evening. I’m looking forward to it to warming up a bit so that I can empty the cold frame of the hardened off plants and start putting the next lot in. Hopefully, the night temperature should be more favourable from tomorrow – if the BBC weather app is telling the truth.

  • This weeks Six is going to start with Tulips, as I’m sure many other Sixes will also be doing, but you can’t have too many Tulips. I’ve grown a lot of mine in mixed pots this year. It’s worked well with bedding (Bellis, Pansies, Cyclamen and Primroses) colour since the autumn and bulbs since February but I don’t really like all of the old foliage with the Tulips so I think I’ll go back to Tulips mostly on their own next time.
Outside the back door from left to right – ‘Menton’ and ‘Sarah Raven’, ‘Queensday’, ‘Whispering Dream’ and ‘Royal Georgette’

Further along from ‘Royal Georgette’ is my new favourite, ‘Palmyra’.

  • Staying with bulbs – I planted N. ‘Bella Estrella’ in the Dahlia bed and they’ve finally flowered. Sadly, several flowering stems were broken off the other night – I’m guessing cats were fighting in the garden. It’s a split corona narcissus and has a lovely scent.
  • Clematis ‘Guernsey Cream’ opened its first flowers before Easter and then had a rest. The sun earlier this week finally persuaded the remaining buds to open.
  • On the subject of Clematis….. in the front garden I have five climbing roses on posts and each was planted with a Clematis. It can be very dry in this part of the garden and I don’t water out here at all so not all the Clematis survived. One that did was C. ‘Betty Corning’, although it struggled for many years. Then a couple of years ago Betty finally got her roots down and took off and there’s no stopping her now. The roses had a hard prune in February and R. ‘Graham Thomas’ was being overrun by Betty.

I want the Rose to get larger so that it doesn’t get swamped by the Clematis, as happened last year.

There’s a Rose in there somewhere. Taken last summer

Yesterday I decided to cut Betty back down by about two thirds. I think this could be a new pruning technique but it may not catch on. I often pinch out the tops of Clematis shoots. It delays flowering a little but results, I think (hope), in more shoots. Here’s the after picture. I’ll keep you posted.

  • The ferns are looking great with their unfurling fronds. The fern wall is greening up well but I’ll save that for a week or two yet. Last summer I bought a fern I had wanted for a long time. I first came across it in a garden I used to work in and fell in love with it. However, that garden was four and a half acres, my garden is very small and the fern is Woodwardia orientalis ssp formosana which can grow to over one metre. How long I can keep it will depend how well it grows. Two new fronds have recently emerged.
  • I thought I’d finish with a couple of pictures of the long border which has turned rather blue.
Looking along the border towards the shadier end
And looking back the other way.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend. I’ll be back later to see what’s looking good in other Sixers gardens at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 23/04/22

There’s not been much gardening done here for the last few weeks. It’s taking longer than I hoped to shake off the after-effects of covid and we’ve also been to Belfast to spend time with family. It’s such a joy to be able to do this with relative ease again. Despite my lack of attendance the garden has grown at quite a pace and I was amazed at how much things had come on in the six days that we were away – especially the Tulips in pots and the Clematis. The weed situation isn’t too bad as we have had very little rain recently but where are the April showers?

  • As I said, the Tulips are getting into their stride. This is the first time I’ve grown this one and I’m really pleased. It’s described as bright orange with raspberry pink flames in the catalogues and is a shade or two lighter than it looks in this photo.
Tulip ‘Queensday’.
  • I grew several pots of dwarf daffodils this year and the latest to flower is N. ‘Hawera’, a very dainty multi-headed variety. I’m going to try these in the ground for next year.
  • Behind ‘Hawera’ is Tulip ‘Hermitage’ which is tangerine-red with a purple flame. It and ‘Queensday’ are more alike than I was expecting/hoping them to be. If I had to choose I’d probably take the latter for its fuller flower.

  • This name-unknown Clematis was still in tight bud when we went away.
  • I have four Epimediums and wish I had room for more as they look so good for such a long time but especially so at the moment as they’re in flower and the new leaves are emerging. I hadn’t realised until recently that they are in the Berberidaceae family.
Epimedium x perralchicum
  • Variegated Honesty self seeds around the garden but not many seedlings make it to the second year thanks to the slugs and snails. Ones that escape the munching add a lovely splash of colour and height to the border at this time of year.
Lunaria annua ‘Variegata’

I’m hoping to get through a lot of dead-heading, tying-in and glasshouse work this weekend. I’ll also be looking at the other Sixes (sorry but I didn’t get around to reading them all last week) courtesy of our host Mr Propagator. Find them all at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 16/04/22

It’s Easter weekend and this is a quick six from my garden.

  • Last week it was a frost damaged Pieris and this week the frost has claimed the new shoots on the Parthenocissus henryana.
  • I’m not sure why but a lot of the biennial wallflowers haven’t survived the winter. It was exceptionally wet for quite a while after I planted them out and I think that the roots didn’t get a chance to develop properly. The variety ‘Fire King’ was the worst affected but this patch of yellow ones is a cheery sight and the scent is wonderful when the sun shines. Apologies for the fuzzy photo – it was windy.
Yellow wallflowers behind a perennial Erysimum.
  • The Narcissi continue to open. This is N. ‘Tresamble’ and I really like it. Despite several attempts I can’t get N. ‘Thalia’ to last from year to year in the garden. Although not as elegant as ‘Thalia’ this one would give the colour that I want.
  • I planted Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ last spring and it has grown really well. Almost too well (we gardeners are never satisfied) and I may have to move it.
  • In the glasshouse the recently potted up Dahlia tubers are showing lots of signs of new growth.

I mixed peat-free compost with some of my own sieved compost and leaf mould so weed seedlings appear quite regularly on the pots. ‘Weed’ is a loose term as most are things like Verbena bonariensis, Calendula, Digitalis, Atriplex and Cosmos. They’re all lovely plants but you can have too much of a good thing.

  • Also in the glasshouse are a few pots containing Maurandya. I grew this tender climber from seed last year and it grew and flowered fairly well in the glasshouse.
Taken last summer

As the plants grew they formed small tubers that I left in the pots and over wintered them in the glasshouse. They have come back into growth now and will, hopefully, make even better sized plants this year.

I can’t count as I’ve still got one more photo. It’ll have to wait until next week. Or maybe I’ll sneak it in at the end. If there isn’t a bullet point then it doesn’t count!

Have a lovely weekend, whatever you’re doing. With thanks to our host – the esteemed Mr Propagator – for letting us share our gardens.

It’s definitely spring in this part of the main border.