Late again. Good excuse though – it was supposed to raining this morning but the sun came out. With a choice between battling with things technical to write my six or gardening you can guess which one won. Anyway, the rain is on its way now so time for another Six. Lockdown time seems to go so fast!
It’s been a mixed bag of weather this week but I have been able to get outside a bit and do some clearing up and cutting down. I grow mostly pruning group 3 Clematis – cut right back in March as all the flowering is on the current years growth. I tend to cut back much earlier than I used to as they seem to come into growth much earlier. I don’t see the point in letting the plants put a lot of effort into producing growth that will then be cut off. January has become my pruning month.
I’ve grown Melianthus major in a pot for a couple of years and it spent last winter in the glasshouse. It’s too big to do that this year and so I’ve got it tucked in a sheltered spot in the garden, up by the house. It seems to be having a growth spurt with new leaves emerging. The red in the stipules (?) really contrasts with the glaucous leaves.
The Hebe keeps on flowering. The flowers were hit very badly by last weeks frosts but they’ve made an amazing recovery.
I made a good start with the pot washing (how many can I use in one year? Answer – a lot!!!) I lost the motivation in the autumn and the remainder got stacked up behind the glasshouse and forgotten for a while. This week I finally got around to finishing them all and storing them under the staging. I had a bit of a sort through and have a fair number to rehome. I think I’ve kept sufficient though🤣. The larger pots live behind the glasshouse.
I grew Impatiens niamniamensis (the Parrot Plant) in the glasshouse in the summer then moved it into the house as the weather got colder. I’d planned to cut it right back but it won’t stop flowering. I’m not complaining though.
An indoor plant but I’m hoping it’s allowed Mr P.
Staying home and gardening, or thinking about our gardens, has to be the safest thing to do at the moment. It gives lots of time to catch up with all the other Sixers at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/
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It’s been so cold this last week with the frost remaining in the garden all day on several occasions. This means that there has been virtually no gardening done as there is a limit to what can be done in a small garden without venturing into the borders. More harm than good could be done due to my impatience. I decided yesterday that I wouldn’t post a Six this week as I’d spent so little time out there and the frosts have stopped things in their tracks but having read One Man and His Garden Trowel I felt enthused to go outside and have a look. Thank you and welcome to my Six.
One job that I did get done. A clump of Hakonechloa is underplanted with snowdrops. Neither, probably, perform to their best but it’s good use of a very small space. Although the winter stems of the grass are very decorative I need to remove them before the snowdrops get too high.
Just visible above is Coprosma ‘Lemon and Lime’ with lovely bright, glossy leaves. It struggles a bit as there is a large Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ behind it and a Garrya and a Pyracantha to it’s left. These cover the boundary fence so I can pretend I don’t live surrounded by houses.
Further along to the left again is a very shaded fence panel, under a very large Golden Privet. This is where the Green Man in last weeks Six resides. I’m trying, with partial success, to grow a variegated x Fatshedera lizei up this panel.
Around the garden the Hellebore flower stems are starting to rise. I’ve cut some of the leaves off but have yet to do the ones in the deeper borders. This one has more decorative leaves so I left them but the frost has caused them to splay out so I’ll probably remove them now. I’ve been gradually removing plants from this border as it’s having a makeover, mainly to try to beat back the bindweed that comes through from next door! I bet I still don’t manage to remove all of the Arum though.
To block the view up the side of the house from the road the Non-Gardener constructed a trellis/trough combo a couple of years ago. It’s a north facing, rather draughty, sunless spot (not really selling it, am I!) but by growing a small leaved variegated ivy through the trellis the whole area has been lightened. I had Fuchsias in the front of the trough but they have had severe Gall Mite infestations for two years so I’ve replaced them with Heucheras. This one is ‘Tiramisu’ and the red veining develops as the weather gets colder. No mites but the tiny snails love it!
I guess all gardens have problem areas and sometimes it can take a while (years in this case) to find a solution. The spot in question – north-west facing with a winter honeysuckle to one side, a short Beech hedge and Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ climbing up a trellis at right angles to that and a large Hylotelephium in front of it, all in front of a garage wall. The ground is bone dry in the summer and I have tried all sorts of things over the years. The height of the garage and shrubs makes spring flowering plants lean forwards and the Hylo….. won’t grow any further back. This whole border is very dry as I’ve grown a mixed shrub hedge alongside the drive so there are a lot of roots. The latest plan is a Sedum (there, I said it)/mixed grasses combo and I have planted a large pot in the troublesome corner. It’s planted with an Abelia and a Carex. I’m hoping that by being raised up the Abelia will be able to grow upwards and add summer interest when the Lonicera looks very ordinary. The Carex is to add interest until the pot fills out a bit. I’ve added some Crocus as well. Seems a good theory.
Slightly warmer weather is on the horizon so I have high hopes for lots of gardening next week. I’ve that border to dig over, plants to move, lots of cutting down. The list is endless, thank goodness!
Happy New Year! It’s turned a lot colder since last weeks Six on Saturday with several overnight frosts that have lasted well in to the next day. Sadly, there has also been yet more rain. This all means that I haven’t been able to do any work outside as even the gravel paths are waterlogged. I did manage an hour in the glasshouse the other day putting the last few bulbs into small pots. I’ll plant these out in the main border when I can get back on to it. In the meantime, here are six easily photographable things from my garden.
The temperature in the glasshouse has been at or below freezing for the last five nights and it went down to -2.7 degrees on New Years Eve night. I have a 50W tube heater underneath the longest bench and the plants are covered either with fleece or with a Celotex lid. The minimum temperature under cover was +3.2 degrees so I’m fairly happy with that. In the morning the inside of the glass was covered with beautiful ice feathers.
In the spring I planted up a container for the top of a water butt that is visible from the kitchen window. I replanted it with Primroses and Ophiopogan, underplanted with bulbs for the winter. The Crocuses are visible now.
The resilience of plants never fails to amaze me. Back in November I bought a new Hellebore for a winter patio pot. I’ll replace one of the self-sown Hellebores in the ground with it in the spring. With each hard frost this last week it has collapsed
then, as the temperature has crept up to between a balmy two and four degrees in the daytime, the flowering stems have risen again.
I need the soil in the borders to drain so that I can cut all of the leaves off the other Hellebores as the flowering stems are beginning to slowly rise. Sadly, H. niger doesn’t seem to be going to flower this year. I bought it as a flowering plant last winter so maybe it just needs a year off to gather strength.
The Green Man is, at last, starting to green up and silently looks over the garden.
When I looked at the weather forecast on Christmas Eve this morning was going to be cold and sunny. It was a great disappointment to wake up to rain (just for a change). This means that this year of Sixes finishes with some soggy photos. My garden has meant even more than usual to me this year and keeping an eye out for six things each week, without too much repetition, has also helped keep my sanity. I don’t think I’ve missed a week this year, though I may do so in the depths of the coming winter. We’ll see.
I rooted a lot of cuttings in the Hydropod this year but was a bit late taking the Penstemon cuttings. They rooted well but there wasn’t time to harden them off so they’re spending the winter in the glasshouse, along with many other plants.
Also under cover are most of my succulent pots. A lot of them are hardy but it’s too wet outside and I don’t have anywhere else undercover for them.
Going out into the rain, back in the summer I planted out a Pieris that has been in a pot for many years. It was a cutting that my dad had rooted not long before he died (16 years ago!) and it has slowly grown and been repotted several times over the years.
I decided to plant it out next to a larger Pieris ‘Forest Flame’ that has grown into quite a large shrub over the years. Pieris like an acid soil and mine is very alkaline. When I planted the original plant out I dug a hole, sank a large bag of ericaceous compost into it, having first pierced several holes into the bottom of the bag and planted into this. Each year I top dress the area with ericaceous compost and the plant has done well.
The never ending rain means that a lot of the grass seed heads have collapsed a lot earlier than usual but the Pennisetum varieties seem to be faring better.
Between Christmas preparations (still a lot to do for three) and the weather there’s not been much chance to get outside and garden this week. On a trip to the compost bin I was looking at the seed heads of Clematis orientalis ‘Bill MacKenzie’ thinking that they were past their best and noticed something red among the mass of tangled stems. The Clematis grows up a trellis that ‘hides’ the compost area and also has a Chaenomeles on it. I usually clear the Clematis in early spring and then the Chaenomeles flowers. It obviously couldn’t wait this winter and so I have now cut the Clematis down.
There are a lot of signs of new growth in the borders to take us into the new year, including the above bonus flowers. Fingers crossed tonights forecast storm doesn’t wreak too much havoc.
Thank you to Mr Propagator (https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/) for having the original idea of SonS which allows us to share our gardens with so many people. Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year that is filled with optimism. Ann
Very late to Sixland this week. It’s been such a wet week that photo opportunities have been few and far between so I decided to wait until this morning as the rain was forecast to stop fairly early. It did so and I went out, took some quick pictures with the intention of coming straight back in to write my Six but I spotted some weeds, a grass had succumbed to the wet and needed picking up and, and, and……. It’s now four o’ clock, rain has stopped play again so here is a very quick Six.
So much rain means that the herbaceous seed heads aren’t lasting very well. It also means that, like last winter, the Echinacea purpurea seeds are germinating in-situ.
Although some of the ferns are dying back now the fern wall still has plenty of interest.
I’ve been waiting for the Cobaea scandens that has been growing in a pot on the patio all summer to succumb to the frost as I wanted to replant the pot. It finally stopped flowering and has been replaced with Skimmia ‘Rubella’ for the winter. I’ll plant it out in the garden next year. The Primroses were all supposed to be pale yellow. Hmmmmm.
I also planted a C. scandens on the garage side wall and it has grown up through Solanum jasminoides ‘Glasnevin’. It has flowered quite well and has a lot of buds still to come. I’m going to leave this one alone and see if it survives the winter as this border is fairly sheltered.
I’ve grown this Antik Geranium for a few years now, starting from cuttings each spring. It grows 3 – 4 feet in the season and flowers fairly prolifically. I just wish I liked the colour of the flowers a bit more. I’ve composted the other pot but the leaves on this one coloured up well, although with the rain and wind this week it’s gone past it’s best.
The blue sky and sunshine didn’t last long but plants always look good in the low level sunlight. This is part of a border that I redid in the summer with, mainly, Hylotelephium (nearly wrote Sedum then) and grasses.
It seems to take me until around Wednesday to look at them all but I get there eventually. There are quite a few Sixes that I am unable to ‘like’ anymore and an increasing number that I am unable to comment on either but I love reading them all.
It’s been quite a wet week with very few opportunities to get out into the garden. On the plus side, that gave me time to make a 12 Days of Christmas calendar for the grandchildren and I’ve packed up the Dahlias, Begonias and Eucomis and put them in the loft for the winter. The temperature is coming up a bit for the next few days and today looks to be dry here with some sunshine (woohoo!) but it’s wet again tomorrow. That will give time to read the other Sixes at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/
All the damp weather means that some of the herbaceous seed heads are looking rather scruffy. I like to leave them standing for as long as I can but have already cut some down. This group doesn’t look too bad though.
This group planting has looked good all year and continues to do so, even when soaking wet.
As the weather cools the leaves of Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Variegatum’ start to turn red.
The birds have eaten most of the berries in the garden but don’t seem to notice those on the Sarcococca. Maybe they don’t stand out enough. This plant is only a couple of years ago so has some growing to do. The tiny white flowers open in the depths of winter and smell wonderful.
In the spring I took some cuttings of a variegated wallflower when I cut it back as it was looking very straggly. I haven’t got around to planting them out yet – maybe today? The original plant has rallied well so do I really need four more plants? Probably not, but that rarely stops me.
A few weeks back our esteemed leader showed flowers on his Rudbeckia ‘Short and Sassy’. I checked my plant at the time and it had well and truly finished for the year. Or so I thought. Most of the plant is still at ground level but this section has had a resurgence. Not much, but any colour is welcome at this time of year. I’m altering this part of the border and want to move this plant but don’t like to disturb it now.
The slugs and snails have been enjoying the new foliage as well.
The ground is too wet to work in the borders but there’s plenty I can do from the gravel paths. My garden is still preserving my sanity and it’s amazing how high maintenance I can make it. Have a great weekend, stay safe and happy gardening.
December! How did we get here so fast! I’ve still got a few bulbs to plant – only a few, honestly, but I need to clear some space for them, they can’t all go in pots. Or maybe they can. I’ve managed to start working in the herbaceous border this week but there’s still a lot to do so I hope it doesn’t turn too frosty for a while. I’ve finished digging all of the Dahlias up and have also emptied out the Eucomis pots and am drying them off prior to winter storage. Anyway, here’s this weeks Six starting with a sad story.
I unsuccessfully tried growing Begonia luxuriens a couple of years ago and decided to have another go this year. I bought a rooted cutting from Dibleys in the spring and grew it on in pots throughout the summer. It made a reasonable size and, as the weather got colder, I decided to bring it indoors rather than put it into the glasshouse (the downfall of the previous plant). It settled into its new surroundings well for a couple of weeks then last Monday morning I noticed that one stem was wilting. My immediate thought was vine weevils and a closer inspection of the compost revealed one of the beasties. I used the nematodes throughout the summer but I guess you can’t get rid of every weevil. I’ve cut the whole plant back, washed all of the compost out of the roots and repotted it. 🤞
On to happier plants. Despite the cold Clematis viticella ‘Margot Koster’ is still putting out new growth and flowering, along with the Honeysuckle that it scrambles through. The Clematis had all but died back and the old brown growth can be seen under the new shoots.
The fern wall that was built this year continues to fill out and the Non-Gardener has built the last section. Luckily, I had a few ferns to put on it!
The fern wall is behind a Betula jacquemontii ‘Snow Queen’ with more ferns planted in the ground. There is also an area of Waldsteinia ternata that I planted many years ago. This plant will, apparently, grow in partial to full shade in a north, east or west facing border. Mine is in full shade in a sheltered, north facing border. The foliage looks great but the plant has never, not once, produced a flower. Has anyone had any success with this? In the middle of the clump a rogue Cyclamen made an appearance last year and has reappeared again. I have a lot of C. hederifolium around the garden but is this C. coum? I don’t know where it has come from but it’s very welcome.
I added a few more grasses following a visit to Knoll Gardens (when we were allowed out!) and Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Red Head’ is still quite green, whereas most grasses are now in their winter colours. The seedheads looked lovely in yesterdays brief sunshine.
Another grass to finish with. This is Miscanthus sinensis ‘Silberfeder’. I’ll clear the leaves in the next few weeks but the seedheads will stand all winter.
It takes a little longer to find my Sixes these days but there’s still quite a lot going on, even in a small garden. It’s a cold, wet day today but dryer tomorrow. Those bulbs won’t plant themselves, not even in pots, so I’m hoping the forecast is right.
It’s been a mostly dry week with some very cold nights, frosty mornings, some bright sunny days and also some foggy days. Luckily, I had got the glasshouse winter ready just in time. Outside, I’ve been lifting Dahlia tubers and starting to dry them off for storing. After all of the rain some of them were starting to rot off in my clay soil so I hope I’ve got to them in time. I also planted some more bulbs this week and was so near to finishing the job when I was tempted by an email full of reduced bulbs. Before I knew what had happened I’d ordered some. Madness! There’s still a lot to see in the garden, I just have to look a bit closer.
The frosty mornings give a completely different look to the garden and also show how busy the spiders have been, especially in the Beech hedge.
With one of the frosts came a beautiful blue sky and the Birch tree looked great against it. The male catkins appear in the autumn with the female ones following in the spring. My tree doesn’t usually have many catkins but this year is an exception.
I’ve moved a lot of the succulents into the glasshouse to give them some protection from the wet, rather than the cold as I don’t have anywhere outside where I can provide overhead cover. I need another cold frame but where to put it? They’re not all in there yet (I’m running out of room). Still outside is Echeveria ‘Black Prince’
Also, Pachyphytum ‘Dark Red’
My soil is definitely on the alkaline side of the pH scale and so my Hydrangeas are pink. A couple of years ago I fell in love with a blue one at the RHS Spring Show. I’ve kept it in a pot of ericaceous compost, watered it with rain water (except during a prolonged dry spell when the water butts were empty) and fed it with acid plant food. It remained blue last year but…….
It’s definitely more ‘Pink Star’ these days. I thought it seemed too easy and obviously need to do some homework. Looking this good at the end of November though it more than earns its place in my garden.
Several of the Clematis are having a very late spurt of growth. This one has looked like a collection of brown stems for quite a while then a few weeks ago sprang back into life and has managed to flower, despite this weeks cold snap. It’s these unexpected things that add such pleasure walking around the garden.
It’s a bit murky out there this morning but the overnight rain is drying up so I’m going to try to find some more bulb room (more pots?). I’d rather a frost followed by the cold sunshine than the dreary day we have here today but at least I can get outside. Have a great weekend and stay safe.
Welcome to this weeks Six on Saturday. It’s been a fairly dreary week with a lot of drizzly, mizzly rain so there hasn’t been a lot of time spent in the garden. I’ve concentrated my efforts around the patio area. I planted several large pots with layers of bulbs weeks ago and have been waiting for the summer pots to finally go over so that the seasonal pot swap can take place. Lots of the half hardy annuals have been potted up to over-winter in the glasshouse. I’ve had quite a problem with Fuchsia Gall Mite this year, and Capsid Bug in previous years, both of which result in a lot of frustration and virtually no flowers on the Fuchsias. I had decided to ditch the plants and take a break so that the pests would, hopefully, go elsewhere. Easy to say, much harder to do. I used to have over 50 varieties and still have 25 – 30 and have compromised by getting rid of the worst affected and keeping the others. I’ve cut them back harder than usual and will be extra vigilant next year. Enough of the problems and on with my (slightly soggy) Six
Every year I plant half a dozen large pots with layers of Narcissi, Tulips and Crocus or Iris reticulata. This year I’ve topped them with Pansies and Violas. I love their cheery faces.
Most of my garden isn’t visible from the house so the small patio area is a real focus spot and I try to make the most of it. There’s a level change that is edged with sleepers and behind one of these I have planted Hakonechloa macro ‘Variegata’. This looks wonderful from April onwards and is still really attractive. It also adds movement to this corner as the leaves move in the slightest breeze. When it dies back the under-planting of Snowdrops takes over.
A Fuchsia I am definitely keeping is F. ‘Lechlade Gordan’. I bought this last year and overwintered the main plant and some cuttings in the glasshouse. The plants have remained in their pots this year, grown really well and, more importantly, have resisted the Gall Mites. I’m going to try one or two in the ground next year. They aren’t showing any sign of dying back yet.
Foliage comes more to the forefront at this time of year and Pulmonaria starts to stand out. I cut them back hard after flowering as the leaves tend to be suffering with mildew by then. I also cut them back again towards the end of the summer to get fresh leaves for the winter. Unfortunately, the common P. officinalis has worked its way into P. longifolia. That will take a bit of sorting out. I might try to start longifolia again from cuttings and then dig the patch over and replant. I might, honestly.
My plant growing/buying eyes are much bigger than my plant growing area so I have to get inventive. Persicaria microcephala ‘Red Dragon’ grows up a trellis and is still flowering well. So well in fact that I hadn’t noticed that its neighbour, Lonicera fragrantissima, has started flowering already. It’s been so damp that I haven’t noticed its beautiful fragrance yet.
A fairly newly acquired Hedychium gardnerianum was overwintered indoors last winter and planted out in the spring. It’s grown well and several weeks ago I noticed a couple of flower spikes starting to emerge. The relatively mild weather means that they’ve been able to grow and this week the first one has opened. It doesn’t seem to have any scent but I think that’s due to the dampness again. Bring on some sunshine!
If the weather allows I’m hoping to lift the Dahlia tubers asap as the ground is so wet that I’m worried that they will start to rot (a problem I had last year).
I went into the garden yesterday afternoon to take some pictures for todays Six, took a couple and then got distracted by something in the glasshouse. Next thing I know it’s too dark to take photos – where did that time go? Between this mornings cloud bursts I’ve found a few more things to make a Six so here we go.
Since a short, cold snap a couple of weeks ago it has been very warm for the time of year and quite damp (an understatement some days) and a lot of the plants are rallying back into growth, just as I want to cut them back/clear them away. My usual procedure is to slowly work my way through the (mainly) herbaceous borders, cutting back the untidier, floppier plants so that the stronger standing stems have more room. Some of them can last through to the beginning of the following year, it just depends how wet it gets. This year I want to have quite a shift around in the main border and some of the plants need lifting and dividing but a lot, like the Bidens, are still looking too good to cut down.
This plant was given to me just labelled as Bidens. I’ve tried to find the variety name but without much luck. It’s very hardy and is quite keen on colonising a large area of the border. It’s heading towards six foot tall and has pale lemon flowers. Can anyone name it for me? The flowers have a little more colour in the summer than now.
On the subject of cutting down – I have two compost bins, each just under a metre square. This system has worked well for years – fill the left hand one then, when full, decant it into the right hand one and start to fill the left hand one again. By the time it’s full again the right hand one should be ready for use. Most things are shredded prior to going on the heap so the bins hold quite a lot. However, (there’s always one of those, isn’t there) as I’ve planted up more of the garden (who needs grass) and have a passion for herbaceous plants there’s a lot more compostable material generated and I can’t bear to put it in the council green bin for someone else’s benefit. It all came to a head a couple of years ago when bin two wasn’t quite ready to use but bin one was reaching for the sky. Despite the Non-Gardeners best head scratching he couldn’t work out a way to put a third bin in that would still leave easy access to the other two. As a temporary measure I put a large dumpy bag, left from a delivery of something, in the corner at a right angle to bin two, emptied two into the new three, one into two and off I went again. This ‘temporary’ solution has now become a permanent feature and has worked very well. Crisis point was reached this week as bin three is ready for use and I want to use it on the main border. The main border is still jam-packed and needs the cutting down/dividing process to be started but bin one is full to overflowing. Hmmmmm. I spent a day emptying bin three into smaller, moveable bags etc ready to mulch when there is space (it seems so much compost but once I start spreading it I know it won’t really be enough) and then moved the other two bin’s contents across. Now I can start on the job I’d intended starting that morning.
I’ve shown several Heucheras recently and here’s another one. It’s a larger leaved one and seems very happy under the Amelanchier.
Last year I bought a new to me trailing plant to go in a patio pot. It was labelled Muehlenbeckia gigas and it thrived. It trailed down the pot beautifully and then continued on across the patio. I took some cuttings to try to overwinter it and the main plant also survived really well in the glasshouse. I can’t find much about M. gigas at all but my experience this year is that this is a plant that will grow in drought, sun, shade, wet conditions……. It has smallish, rounded, bright green glossy leaves. I planted one in a pot with an upright Fuchsia and it trailed about two feet down the pot side and across the ground. I cut it back in the week to move it into the glasshouse and found that a couple of the wiry stems had gone up the back of the Fuchsia and twined up through a Cobaea on it’s support. It’s about seven foot tall! I cut most of it out and then thought to take a picture.
On a visit to a garden centre just before the current lockdown I found a much smaller leaved version that is now in a winter pot. I’m going to see if it will survive outside.
I am so envious when I see large specimens of Aeonium ‘Schwarzkopf’ as I haven’t been able to get mine to any great size. Vine weevils have been quite a problem and so I end up having to start the plants again. Nematodes have sorted that problem 🤞 and at last they are growing well. I also think I have had them in too small a pot. I have high hopes for next year.
I have acquired a friend. He appears by my side virtually every time I start to garden. If I go to empty my bucket into the compost bin he usually flies behind me and then follows me back again. Beautiful.
The wind is blowing and the rain is pouring again so I think today is a day to be a gardening quilter. Have a great weekend, whatever the weather and keep safe and well. You can spend any spare time catching up with other Sixers courtesy of our esteemed host at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/