Six on Saturday 13/08/22

There’s not a lot can be said about the weather here – it’s hot and very, very dry – 34C yesterday and forecast to be a little warmer today. Yesterday, despite shading on both long and one short side, four roof vents, five side vents and an open door the glasshouse peaked at 48.2C . Even with watering it’s a miracle anything is still alive in there. However, being a fairly optimistic person here are six things from the garden this week that, with the exception of one of them, look fairly alive and well.

  • The Dahlias are all together in a bed and I gave each plant a whole can of water earlier this week. The flowers are going over quicker than usual but there’s a lot of bee activity. A new one to me this year is D. ‘Night Butterfly’, a collarette variety.
  • As well as the ferns on the Fern Wall there are several in the bed below it. Athyrium niponicum pictum is always the first to give up and retreat back underground when the going gets too hot and dry. Once we’ve had some rain I’m sure that it will spring back into life again.
  • On the subject of the Fern Wall, the plants suffered in the short heatwave last month and were relocated to the front of the house for a couple of days. In a pre-emptive move we moved them back there again on Wednesday and they are looking very happy.
Empty Fern wall and a starting to wilt Hydrangea.
  • Another heat casualty, Geranium ‘Blue Sunrise’, was planted out many weeks ago and had settled in well. The latest heat has proved too much for it though and the top growth has completely crisped this week. I’ve cut it back, given it a can of water and the ‘you have one of two choices’ talk. Interestingly, at the same time I planted a spare Oxalis vulcanicola grown from a cutting next to the Geranium and it is looking very healthy. I’ve grown this Oxalis for a couple of years, overwintering cuttings in the glasshouse, and, unlike other Oxalis varieties, it doesn’t seem to set any seed so gives lots of pleasure and no problems 🤞.
  • After disappearing for several years a perennial Sweet Pea reappeared a couple of years ago and has gone from strength to strength. It’s a lovely softish pink colour but a few weeks ago a cluster of white flowers appeared. Maybe it’s a seedling?
  • I’m having to do a lot of supplementary watering of the patio pots (they’re on a solar dripper system connected to water butts) and some pots are faring better than others. This trough is in a semi-shaded position and I’m very pleased with the combination. All plants were overwintered as cuttings.
Solenostemon ‘Burgundy Wedding Train’, S. ‘Pineapplette’ and bedding Geranium.

The Geranium is a darker red that it looks here.

So that’s my six for this week but I’m going to sneak an extra in, maybe the Prop won’t notice or is in a generous mood. I used to grow many varieties of Fuchsias but ditched virtually all of them because of Gall Mite infestation. I’m hoping a couple of years off will help the situation. I now only have one unknown hardy variety and F. ‘Lechlade Gorgon’ that seem to be resistant 🤞🤞🤞. While watering this morning I saw the enormous caterpillars of the Elephant Hawk Moth had found ‘Lechlade Gorgon’. There’s three of them on the plant so I don’t think there will be a lot left by the time they move on. Sadly, I’ve never seen the moth.

I’m looking forward to being able to do some proper daytime gardening in the coming week, it’s even been a bit warm to quilt! Enjoy the rest of the weekend and thanks to The Prop for hosting at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 06/08/22

August started with some mizzly rain that brought a load of dust down with it but wasn’t enough to do anything for the plants. The Non-Gardener enjoys a bit of sailing but it’s always the wrong tide time or else the wind direction or speed is wrong. Gardening is very similar with not enough or too much rain, too hot, too cold or too windy. I’m definitely complaining about the lack of rain and the windy days at the moment. It’s not all doom and gloom though and there’s only one disaster in this weeks Six.

  • Let’s start on a positive note. The patio pots are connected to a solar-powered watering system that feeds from a water butt. Even though it’s only drip watering this regular application (plus an occasional top-up) means that they are coping with the conditions quite well. These pots by the back door are in full sun for a large part of the day.
The scented leaved Pelargoniums aren’t on the watering system.
  • I finally got around to tying in some of the new shoots of R. ‘Gertrude Jekyll’. Over the next two days Gertrude then had some visitors and now looks like this.
There must be a lot of leaf cutter bees in the garden

While taking the above picture I noticed several of these flies?? on the stems of the Rose. It’s not a great picture as it was rather windy (weather complaint again). Does anyone know what they are?

  • I always covet Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ but I really haven’t the space for it – that fact doesn’t always stop me acquiring plants – so have admired from a distance. At a Rare Plant Fair last autumn I came across H. paniculata ‘Bobo’, a cross between ‘Limelight’ and ‘Little Lime’. It’s supposed to have a maximum height of three feet (0.9 metres) as opposed to five feet (1.5m) and a maximum width of four feet (1.2m) against six feet (1.8m). I tucked the pot in a sheltered corner with a plan to plant it out by the arbour in the spring. Unfortunately, the spot where I wanted to dig a hole contained a long-forgotten large lump of concrete from a previous structure so ‘Bobo’ is remaining in a pot. I need a garden centre visit to buy a ceramic pot for it.
  • Let’s get the disaster over and done with. For the second year I have grown half hardy climbers in the glasshouse and moved the tomatoes outside. The tomatoes were reasonable last year and the plants have been growing and flowering well so far this year. However, in a very short period of time the foliage has taken on the appearance of lace curtains. As I usually start to remove the leaves at this time of year to help the fruit to ripen I wasn’t overly worried. With family staying I had a week ‘off’ of gardening (apart from watering) and have been catching up this week. As I started to remove some of the holey leaves I found that the tomatoes were full of caterpillars

I wheedled one out (above) and used Google Lens to try to identify it. Google told me it was a Bright-Line Brown Eye Moth caterpillar and that they like a range of wild and cultivated herbaceous and woody plants and tomatoes! After removing the affected fruit off of five plants I reckon I’ll be lucky to end up with a couple of dozen very expensive tomatoes. The joys of growing your own!

  • Agapanthus are looking so good at the moment. I only have one, small flowered, deciduous one (at the moment) in a pot. Last year it set a new record with 11 flower heads but this year it has 14.

  • Lastly, a quick peek in the glasshouse and the Achimenes are starting to flower.

I’m off to work now so I’ll be checking in at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ later. Thanks for letting me share my garden with you. Have a good weekend.

Six on Saturday 30/07/22

We’ve had family visiting from Belfast for the last week so, apart from some watering, I’ve not done any gardening – far too busy having fun. When I went out into the garden yesterday evening to look for six things to show this week Joseph and Orla decided that they would choose for me.

So I present Joseph and Orla’s Six on Saturday.

  • Orla’s first choice. The bulbs were ordered as Lilium ‘Apricot Star’ but they clearly aren’t. They are very pretty nonetheless.
  • Joseph liked the Dahlias and narrowed his choice down to these two
Dahlia ‘Moonfire’
D. ‘Honka Fragile’
Eryngium zabelii ‘Big Blue’ caught Joseph’s eye
  • Orla’s looking forward to some bananas! (I did explain).
Ensete maurelii
  • Final choice for Orla.
Geranium ‘Antik Series’

Maybe I’ll have to get other people to choose my Six for me again, it’s certainly quicker. Have a great weekend, we’re hoping to get to the Creating Spaces sculpture exhibition at The Garden, Miserden in Gloucestershire later today.

There’s lots more to see at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/


Six on Saturday 23/07/22

The heat at the beginning of the week certainly took its toll on some of the plants. The ferns on the Fern Wall were all moved round to the north-facing front of the house for a couple of days. There was some scorching of the fronds but they’ve all survived. On the plus side it rained yesterday for the first time in just over three weeks.

Enough of the weather, here are six things that caught my eye in the garden yesterday evening, all bathed in the setting sunlight.

  • The Lillies have started opening. I’ve had a few years without them so am really enjoying seeing and smelling them again.
L. ‘Montezuma’.
  • I have a few different Eucomis and this is the smallest one.
E. ‘Aloha Leia’
  • The Dahlia bed is filling out at last. The lack of rain has slowed their growth.
D. ‘Christine’ – a waterlily type.
  • The Hydrangeas have perked up after the rain and are looking wonderful again.
Hydrangea var unknown.
  • The heat/lack of water definitely got to this Kniphofia and it’s going over already.
Kniphofia ‘Timothy’
  • I grow Cosmos most years, mainly the taller varieties, but it’s the first time that I’ve grown the ‘Double Click’ variety and they’ve just started to flower. Although semi-double they are still attractive to pollinators and I’m quite taken with them.

A quick six this week as we have family staying. Have a good weekend and make time to check in with our host at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 16/07/22

Despite having a bumper crop of aphids in recent years I’ve been disappointed not to find many ladybirds. Last spring I bought some ladybird larvae and placed them in a few different areas of the garden so that they could feast on the various coloured aphids. I definitely saw adult ladybirds but wondered if other people were benefiting from my purchase rather than me. The Non-Gardener made some houses for the ladybirds to over winter in and I crossed my fingers. I saw a couple of ladybirds on the Roses a while back and hoped that there were more hiding in the plants. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve seen many, many larvae on the black fly infested Clematis that are growing through the Roses and now they’re pupating. The above photo shows just a few. Maybe they stayed in the garden after all.

I plant up two hanging baskets every year and they hang near the back door. They used to consist of a mixture of plants but in 2019 I bought some Begonia ‘Apricot Shades’ plug plants for one of them. They grew and flowered well and I was quite surprised to find reasonable sized tubers when I emptied the basket out at the end of the season. I over wintered them and replanted them back in the basket the following spring. This spring they went back into the basket for the fourth time and, after a slow start, are looking good now.

I acquired Kalanchoe tubiflora last year and it spent the summer on the patio and the winter in my frost-free (just) glasshouse. It’s gone back outside onto one of the succulent ladders and in the last couple of weeks has started producing it’s buds.

I planted Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Dancing Snow’ to, hopefully, bring some light into a dark shady corner under the Birch tree. I think it’s worked.

A recent acquisition is this beautiful plant – Digiplexis ‘Falcon Fire’. It’s a cross between Digitalis and Isoplexis, the Canary Island Foxglove.

I’ve planted it in a bottomless pot and sunk it into the ground as it’s not hardy. In the autumn I’ll lift it and overwinter it in the glasshouse.

It’s mid-July already and the Heleniums are starting to flower. Here’s a couple in the long border.

Choosing just six things is so difficult at this time of year but I thought I’d finish with the jungle in front of the shed.

It’s getting tricky to get to the door!

Work today and then out this evening and tomorrow so no gardening, just early morning watering of the pots in the morning. I’ve got solar powered watering systems that work off the water butts and they’re doing a great job in this hot weather but some supplementary watering is required.

Thanks for looking in, have a great weekend and don’t forget to check in with the Prop at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 09/07/22

And then summer suddenly arrived! A few glorious sunny days and warmer nights and the Dahlias have had a growth spurt (after mentioning (complaining) that they weren’t growing last week. Quite a lot to choose from but here’s this weeks six –

  • I have three varieties of Zantedeschia growing in pots on the patio.
Z. ‘Picasso’

From a distance the ‘flowers’ don’t look much but when you look into one…..

  • The second variety is Z. ‘Red Charm’

It’s a classy looking plant

The third variety is Z. ‘Mango’. No picture as it isn’t flowering and it didn’t flower last year either. It did flower the year before and the flower is a wonderful glowing mango colour. Any ideas how I can get it to give a repeat performance?

  • The Clematis have done well this year and the latest to join the party is ‘Aljonushka’. It’s an integrifolia variety and so needs a bit of assistance to climb. The large nodding flowers appear over quite a long period of time but, sadly, the seedheads aren’t as showy as some varieties.

  • Another Clematis, this time in the main border. I bought this mis-labelled as C. ‘Piilu’ so don’t know what its name is. It’s quite vigorous and swamps this obelisk every year. I added Rosa ‘Blush Noisette’ to the obelisk last year and it’s just starting to flower.
  • I’ve written in a previous Six about my love for Fuchsias but how, after many years of growing them, I’ve decided to take a break due Fuchsia Gall Mite appearing in the garden. I kept three varieties that didn’t seem to be affected – ‘Lottie Hobbie’, a hardy, semi-trailing variety who’s name has been long forgotten and this one
F. ‘Lechlade Gorgon’

I bought the original plant as ‘Lechlade Gordon’ but think it’s proper name is ‘L. Gorgon’. The plant at the base of the Fuchsia is Oxalis ‘Vulcanicola’.

  • It’s so hard to limit the choice to just six but my final choice is from the glasshouse. It’s my first time growing Gloriosa superba and it shares a pot with Thunbergia alata. The first flower opened yesterday and I hope there will be many more (there aren’t any more buds at the moment though).
‘Tomas de Gruyne’

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my garden. Have a good weekend and if the weather’s too hot/cold/wet then head over to https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ to peak into lots of other gardens.

Six on Saturday 02/07/22

I’m beginning to think that we’re not going to have a lovely warm, sunny summer this year. I’m making a temperature quilt this year and so I’m keeping a record of the daily highest and lowest temperature. In the last week the highest crept up to 20 degrees and the over night temperature was between 10 and 12 degrees. It’s been very windy most days but there’s been some rain (it’s pouring again as I write this) which has been much appreciated by the plants (and this gardener) and the water butts are full again. The Dahlias don’t seem to have put on much growth since I planted them out a couple of weeks ago which I’m sure is down to temperature/light levels but some of them have started flowering, including ‘Honka Fragile’ in the photo above.

  • Leucanthemum x superbum is a very reliable plant that doesn’t seem to be affected by the weather. This plant has been here in the border for quite a few years and so I lifted, divided and replanted it in the autumn.
  • In the same border is another Eryngium (I showed one last week). In front of it is the Nepeta I showed a few weeks ago. The staking seems to be working and it isn’t flopping around 🤞
Eryngium zabelii ‘Big Blue’
  • In the front garden the Roses are suffering with the wind and rain. On the other hand, the Clematis growing through them are enjoying the wetter weather.
C. ‘Jackmanii Superba’ growing through R. ‘White Swan’ and ‘Crown Princess Margareta’

At the far end is Clematis ‘Betty Corning’, a rather exuberant variety

Somewhere under there is R. ‘Graham Thomas’. This combination made a Six in the spring as the Clematis was growing rather too quickly for the Rose. It’s a problem that has happened before and so I decided to take some drastic action and prune the Clematis.

Before….
After pruning

The Rose had a good first flush of flowers but the cooler and wetter conditions have enabled Betty to overwhelm it again.

  • Back to the back garden and the Birch border is looking good. The tree casts shade and takes a lot of the moisture from the bed so I finally got around to mulching it with bark.
  • Just to the left of the Hellebore is one of the pergola uprights which supports a Trachelospermum jasminoides, now in full bloom.
  • To the right of the Birch tree and through an arch is a bed being taken over by Geranium ‘Orion’. Sadly, despite its beauty its days may be numbered.
There’s a Sedum under there!

Another Saturday and another Six completed (actually written on a Saturday though the photos were taken yesterday). The rain is still falling though the sky is lightening. I’ve succulents to pot up/on so hopefully it dries up soon. I hope the weather is good for you this weekend wherever you are and thanks for reading. There are loads of inspirational gardens and plants at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

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.