Six on Saturday 27/02/21

What a difference a week makes, weather-wise anyway. The last couple of days here in North Somerset have been lovely and sunny. This has meant frosty mornings but it has soon cleared. It’s also staying light later so more time outdoors. The birds are definitely behaving as though spring is coming and I’ve seen quite a few bees out and about in the flowers. The sunshine has brought the plants in the garden on well, especially the bulbs so I thought this weeks Six could be Six Spring Pots. If you say that quickly several times it turns into six pring spots, or is it only me.

The Iris and Crocus in these pots will be followed by Narcissi and Tulips
The bumblebees are enjoying the sunshine as well
I should have moved the pot with the dead Ficinia in out of the picture. It’s a borderline hardy plant and it survived last winter but not this one
These will be planted in the border when they’ve finished flowering
Iris reticulata ‘Eyecatcher’. There must have been a bit of mingling going on when they were packed. The Iris in the pots above were also a bit of a mix as well
Iris reticulata ‘Katharine Hodgkin’. I’ll definitely grow this variety again.
The Tulips are coming!

A short one this week but the bulbs go over so quickly in the sunshine I wasn’t sure that some of them would hang on for another week or two.

Have a great weekend, I’ll be in the garden trying to catch up after all of the wet, cold weather and then seeing what the other Sixers have posted at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 20/02/21

Saturdays come around so quickly! Yet again there hasn’t been a lot of suitable gardening weather but I did spend several hours in the glasshouse potting cuttings on, removing things that haven’t made it through the winter (very few of these, thankfully) and having a general sort out. Very satisfying. The main job outstanding in the garden is a border that needs stripping out, digging over to remove the bindweed that has made inroads from next door and then be replanted. I’ve removed and potted up most of the plants but the soil is still far too wet to work on. One day……. In the meantime here are six more positive things happening in the garden.

  • I have a little ‘Froggy’ pond in the front garden, under the wall by the pavement. During the first lockdown it became quite an attraction for local children as they watched the frog spawn develop into tadpoles and then into froglets. I had a bit of a clear out around it a few weeks ago as a Phlox and some Crocosmia had got a bit (lot) out of control so the pond is rather exposed at the moment. It was still frozen last Sunday but thawed throughout Monday daytime. It was very noisy out there Monday night resulting in a large clump of frogspawn by Tuesday morning. Another couple of clumps appeared Tuesday night.
  • Last week the Hellebores were flat on the ground for several days due to the cold. I’m always amazed at the way that they bounce back. This one is below the fern wall, under which I’ve put the pots of Sempervivums to keep them dry(ish).

I bought the above Hellebore three? years ago but most of mine are self sown seedlings that I’ve moved around. These are growing in a north facing border alongside the glasshouse and under the Amelanchier.

Self-sown Hellebores
  • The first of the Narcissi have opened this week
N. ‘February Gold’ in the herbaceous border
  • Despite the cold and wet there are signs of new life everywhere in the garden. I haven’t cut the old flowering stems off of the Hylotelephium yet but the new stems are emerging. The glaucous leaves hold raindrops for days.
H. ‘Red Globe’
  • Among some of the Snowdrops the dark red stems of Lamprocapnos spectabilis are pushing upwards.

A wet weekend is forecast so I’m going to sort through the seeds and start making sowing plans.

Thanks for reading my Six and don’t forget to read all of the others at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Have a great weekend.

Six on Saturday 13/02/21

There’s been no gardening activity here at all this week as it’s been so cold and the ground hasn’t thawed since Tuesday. I’m looking forward to getting outside next week as the forecast is for warmer (relatively) weather although some rain is also forecast. Can’t have it all, especially not in February.

  • The soil is very alkaline here so the couple of dwarf Rhododendrons that I have are in pots. The flower buds have been fattening up nicely but now some of the buds on one of the plants have stopped and are going black. Is this Bud Blast?
Problem buds at the bottom of the picture
  • With this prolonged (for here) cold spell the Pansies, Violas, Irises and Hellebores have been flat on the ground for days. I’m sure that the Hellebores will recover but I’m not so sure about the other less robust plants. A definite casualty is this variegated Erysimum. The grown on cuttings in the cold frame have also succumbed, sadly

  • I finished cutting virtually all of last years herbaceous stems down before this cold spell but left Chasmanthium latifolium as it holds shape well. Although the new growth is coming up when I want to remove the old stems they will just pull away at the base so there’s no worry about cutting the new leaves.
Flattened seed heads of Chasmanthium latifolium
  • In the glasshouse Echiveria ‘Black Prince’ isn’t fazed by the cold

  • I don’t have many evergreens within my small garden but there are several on the boundaries. When sitting in the front room I look out on a mixed hedge I planted between ourselves and the neighbours. By the house is Aucuba japonica. I cut it back hard every other year to keep it within bounds and at this time of year the foliage is very welcome. It also helps to ‘hide’ the dreaded wheely-bin
  • Although, it’s been bitterly cold there hasn’t been an awful lot of sunshine, sadly, but when it came out on Wednesday it was very welcome and the Birch tree lit up. I think it’s a pair of Blue Tits in the branches but birds haven’t been visiting the feeders much, despite the frozen ground. Have others found the same? We seem to have far fewer birds visiting this winter.

Hopefully, with a thaw and some warmer weather in the coming days I will have more signs of life for a Six next week. Time will tell which borderline plants won’t have made it through the winter but at least some gaps will give room to plant some of my online purchases made during gardening inactivity. Plus all the plants that are going to grow from all of the seeds that I’ve bought! Best not tell The N-G. Our secret.

I’m really looking forward to seeing some exuberant planting from Sixers in other parts of the world this week. Catch up with everyone at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 06/02/21

It’s been a mixed bag, weather-wise, this week and it has been lovely to see the sun a few times. It makes the world seem a better place when it shines. I have managed to cut some of the old herbaceous stems down as they are looking very bedraggled. It’s still too wet to do much else and the continuing heavy showers don’t help. Thankfully though, here in the south-west we won’t be visited by Storm Darcy. Having just read Jim’s latest Six I rushed out to check on my autumn sown seeds. They’ve certainly had the cold but there’s still nothing showing above ground so no late arrivals to the SonS party.

  • As I was cutting the stems down I was amazed at how many small slugs and snails there were. It might explain why the primroses all look like this (or worse)
  • While cutting down I dug up a nearby clump of corms/bulbs(?) that I must have planted in the past but can’t remember doing so. I noticed these growing a couple of years ago and they produce leaves but no flowers. After two years I’m guessing that they don’t like where they are. Can anyone help identify them? They have a very flat base. Gladious byzantinus?? I have a vague recollection of being given some of these but have never seen a flower.
Mystery plant
  • One bulb that does really well here is Allium christophii. I leave the giant seedheads in-situ through the summer and autumn and over the years they have self-seeded very generously and there are now several clumps in the border. I removed and gave away several quite large bulbs last year but there are hundreds of replacements germinating to take their place. I need to do a cull. It’s a nice problem to have, I guess. The SnS sadly don’t eat the germinating shoots but wait until the leaves appear on the larger bulbs then feast on those.
Newly germinated A. christophii among the Forget-Me-Nots
  • Another plant that seeds around is Crocus thomasinianus.
  • The wallflowers that I planted out in the autumn are being eaten, along with the primroses. A few are also starting to flower.
  • In a dark corner the dark leaves of Heuchera ‘Binoche’ are set off by some Snowdrops.

That’s my Six wet, muddy and somewhat eaten things for this week. It has to get drier soon, doesn’t it?

Find many more Sixes at https://thepropagaorblog.wordpress.com/

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading.

Six on Saturday 30/01/21

More of the wet stuff and so virtually no gardening is a fairly accurate description of the last week, sadly. Having not been able to work since the start of the pandemic, I’ve looked on the garden (small as it is) as my ‘job’ so not being able to get on with it is very frustrating. I don’t mind gardening in the rain but the ground really is too wet to work. The N-G was digging a hole to replace a rotten post the other day and the hole was filling up with water as he dug. I can’t remember that ever happening in all the years that we’ve lived here. Enough of the moaning Ann – on the positive side the days are definitely drawing out, bulbs are gathering momentum and there are lots of signs of growth visible. And it is only January, after all. So, let’s get on with this weeks Six.

  • The rain falling on the soil has given these (and many other) narcissi leaves an undesirable bi-coloured effect
Mud splashed leaves
  • Looking prettier, the Snowdrops are getting taller and starting to open. This little border is near the back door. The ones on the right are planted under Hakonechloa and are slightly behind the others. Sorry, it was blowy when I took my photos yesterday.
I must cut down the Japanese Anemone! The pink shoots towards the left are Lamprocapnos spectabile
  • Hellebores seem to have slowed down a bit this week. I bought a couple of new ones last year as mine are mostly self seeders that I’ve moved. This un-named double hasn’t done as well as I hoped it might. I’ve not tried Hellebores in this border before so maybe the location isn’t to its liking. I’ll give it another year then decide if it needs to join the plant merry-go-round.
I’m enjoying the beauty of the flower, other things are obviously enjoying the taste of the leaves
  • This young Sarcococca flowered really well last year as the berries show. However, there don’t seem to be many flowers in waiting this year, or maybe I’m too impatient
Sarcococca confusa
  • A project for last year was a fern wall and by choosing a good proportion of evergreen ferns there is still plenty to look out on. This was a new variety to me and it really stands out at the moment. The sedums at the bottom of the picture are sheltering from the rain.
Pteris nipponica

It’s interesting to see the difference a bit of shelter makes for the Doodia media on the shelf above. The fronds that are at the front have suffered in the cold but those further back, under the shelf above, are still green

  • The first of the Iris reticulata opened yesterday. I’ve not grown this variety before and they seem to have a longer throat than others I’ve grown. You’ll have to take my word for it as I wasn’t going to kneel down in the puddle to take a sideways shot!
Iris reticulata ‘Painted Lady’

I’m glad that I took the photo yesterday as last nights heavy rain beat the three brave flowers flat 😢. I know beauty can be fleeting but I was hoping it might last a little longer!

It’s raining again/still so there will be plenty of time to head over to https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ and see what everyone else is up to and, no doubt, add more plants to the ever growing ‘To Get’ list. Have a good weekend, stay safe and enjoy your garden (whatever the weather).

Six on Saturday 23/01/21

I can’t remember the garden ever being so wet and at the moment I’m avoiding walking on the lawn as it’s like a skidpan. This means that very little gardening has been done this week and that this weeks Six have had to be within reach of the gravel path. The Snowdrops and Hellebores are coming along well but are not quite ready for their moment in the limelight. Maybe next week.

  • The one thing I still do every day is to go to the glasshouse. Twice at least. There’s quite a lot of plants overwintering in there, cuttings growing on and some bulbs. The cuttings have a Celotex lid covering them most nights with a 50W thermostatic tube heater hanging under the staging beneath them. This keeps this section about five degrees warmer than the rest of the glasshouse. Everything else is covered at night with a double layer of fleece. I moved a lot of the succulents in there in late autumn to keep them dry. Mostly, they look alright but I think the last batch of really cold nights finally took a toll on Aeonium arnoldii. Fortunately, I have a small part of the plant indoors.
Aeonium arnoldii
  • However, in the pot next to it this Aeonium is thriving (apart from nibbled leaves). The clue might be in the name.
Aeonium ‘Ice Warrior’
  • Still in the glasshouse – I planted out Alstromeria ‘Dana’ last summer and at first it thrived but eventually the slugs and snails found it and so I decided to dig it back up and put it in a pot for the winter as I felt I’d probably never see it again otherwise. It’s tucked under some temporary staging but, despite the cold has decided to start growing.
  • As I came out of the glasshouse yesterday morning and looked across the lawn the sun came out and set the (young) Beech hedge alight.
Across the lawn to the herbaceous border
  • The wet weather has caused most of the herbaceous seed heads to collapse but it’s much too wet to get into the border. Very frustrating! In the front garden the Hylotelephium heads have weathered the conditions well though.
Lots of new growth at the base of the plant
  • I have a few terracotta pot feet for the patio pots but not enough for all of the pots. The N(on) G(ardener) made some wooden spacers from waste wood and they work just as well. This means that all of this excess rain can easily drain out of the pots, much to the relief of the plants I’m sure. One of the pots of bulbs outside the back door has Bellis plants for current interest.

Not wildly exciting, but Six accessible things in my garden yesterday. Today looks dry but there’s a heavy frost out there at the moment and it could be snow tomorrow. Hmmmmmm. Whatever the weather, have a great weekend and don’t forget to catch up with the other Sixers at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Six on Saturday 16/01/21

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.
New growth on C. viticella ‘Margot Koster’. I’ve now cut the plant back to the lowest growing points
  • 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.
Hebe ‘Sandra Joy’
  • 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.
It’s a shame that they’ll all get dirty again
  • 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.

Epiphyllum anguligar

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/

Six on Saturday 09/01/21

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.
H. x hybridus ‘Dorothy’s Dawn’
  • 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.
Carex oshimensis ‘Eversheen’

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!

Have a great weekend, within the limitations of what we’re able to do, but nothing can stop us catching up with other Sixers at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 02/01/21

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.
Feathers inside the glasshouse
Frosted Polystichum polyblepharum
Ice rimmed Heucheras
  • 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.

Hellebore x hybridus ‘Frostkiss Sally’s Shell’

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.

Even if it’s too cold (or hot!) to garden there’s plenty of inspiration to be had at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Enjoy the rest of the weekend and stay safe.

Six on Saturday 26/12/20

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.
Rooted Penstemon cuttings
  • 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.
The nursery section
  • 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.
Unknown Pieris
  • 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.
P. ‘Forest Flame’
  • 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.
P. alopecuroides ‘Red Head’
  • 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.
Chaenomeles x superba ‘Knap Hill Scarlet’

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