Brrrrrr, it’s been a cold and rather gloomy week. A frosty night should be followed by a clear and sunny day but the weather here hasn’t read the book. Sub-zero nights have been followed by overcast gloomy days. Not very inspiring. I’m still tucking things into the glasshouse for some winter protection and still trying to keep it a bit warmer in there which leads me into the first of this Six on Saturday
1. I’ve posted about trying to insulate cuttings etc in the glasshouse over winter in a couple of recent Sixes. It’s been an eye-opener. The Non-Gardener has now installed some power (yippee, finally!) in there and suspended an 80w tube heater below the staging. The pots on the staging are surrounded by a wooden frame and I’ve been putting the original Celotex box up the other way and using it as a lid (supported by the wooden frame) on the frosty nights. On not so cold nights I’ll just put horticultural fleece over the top. The wooden staging is covered with butyl liner so no water will get through to the heater (apparently water plus electricity not good). Last night the temperature outside the box went down to minus 2.8C but inside the box it was plus 3.9C! Nearly seven degrees difference! Toastie. The night before was minus 0.8C out and plus 4.8C in. The difference will depend on the temperature when I put the lid on but I’m really pleased. I have to remove the lid in the morning as it excludes all light. I’ve been propping it open slightly for a while to acclimatise the plants to the colder air before fully removing. It would seem to be a cheap way to heat my glasshouse (same as leaving an 80w bulb on). Another benefit seems to be that the overall temperature in the glasshouse is a degree or so higher than outside all of the time and there appears to be a lot less condensation. Hope it continues.
2. I have roses and Clematis on ropes and posts at the front of the house and the year before last a seedling of Helleborus foetidus appeared. It flowered last spring but I thought I’d lost it in the summer drought. I’m not sure that this is the original plant as it seems to be further behind the rose but a flower stem is rising upwards.
3. A more refined Hellebore for number three. This was a present last spring and came with no name. The long dry summer probably didn’t do it any favours and it appears there won’t be many flowers but it survived thankfully.
4. A few Primroses foolishly flowered in the autumn but this one waited a bit longer. It looks a bit tatty but is still a welcome sight. The nearby Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’ (is it Triteleia now?) have seeded prolifically. I have a love/hate relationship with this bulb.
5. Having very alkaline soil I grow a few acid loving plants in pots. At the moment they’re overwintering by the front wall of the house and looking full of promise for a floriferous spring.
6. My passion is for herbaceous plants but that leads to a lot of ‘empty’ looking ground through the winter. I use some evergreens in and on boundary hedges and fences and really appreciate them at this time of year. This un-named holly was a sale bench purchase many years ago. It’s a male, has quite small leaves and insists on growing at a ridiculously jaunty angle but it really brightens up a dull day so more than earns its keep.
The forecast is for frost again tonight but warming up a bit tomorrow so I’m hoping to get out in to the garden and do some tidying up. I just need to speak to the Non-Gardener about a couple of projects I’ve got planned that he might need to assist with……….
Have a great weekend whatever the weather does and enjoy reading all of the other Sixes at