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.

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/