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/

Six on Saturday 30/04/22

Yet another dry week here and cracks are appearing throughout the borders, especially in the front garden. Watering the pots has become a very regular job along with the contents of the glasshouse. It’s also been quite cold at night, just 2 degrees C last night and no higher than 4 degrees the rest of the week, and so I’m taking a lot of pots out of the glasshouse in the morning and then putting them all back in in the evening. I’m looking forward to it to warming up a bit so that I can empty the cold frame of the hardened off plants and start putting the next lot in. Hopefully, the night temperature should be more favourable from tomorrow – if the BBC weather app is telling the truth.

  • This weeks Six is going to start with Tulips, as I’m sure many other Sixes will also be doing, but you can’t have too many Tulips. I’ve grown a lot of mine in mixed pots this year. It’s worked well with bedding (Bellis, Pansies, Cyclamen and Primroses) colour since the autumn and bulbs since February but I don’t really like all of the old foliage with the Tulips so I think I’ll go back to Tulips mostly on their own next time.
Outside the back door from left to right – ‘Menton’ and ‘Sarah Raven’, ‘Queensday’, ‘Whispering Dream’ and ‘Royal Georgette’

Further along from ‘Royal Georgette’ is my new favourite, ‘Palmyra’.

  • Staying with bulbs – I planted N. ‘Bella Estrella’ in the Dahlia bed and they’ve finally flowered. Sadly, several flowering stems were broken off the other night – I’m guessing cats were fighting in the garden. It’s a split corona narcissus and has a lovely scent.
  • Clematis ‘Guernsey Cream’ opened its first flowers before Easter and then had a rest. The sun earlier this week finally persuaded the remaining buds to open.
  • On the subject of Clematis….. in the front garden I have five climbing roses on posts and each was planted with a Clematis. It can be very dry in this part of the garden and I don’t water out here at all so not all the Clematis survived. One that did was C. ‘Betty Corning’, although it struggled for many years. Then a couple of years ago Betty finally got her roots down and took off and there’s no stopping her now. The roses had a hard prune in February and R. ‘Graham Thomas’ was being overrun by Betty.

I want the Rose to get larger so that it doesn’t get swamped by the Clematis, as happened last year.

There’s a Rose in there somewhere. Taken last summer

Yesterday I decided to cut Betty back down by about two thirds. I think this could be a new pruning technique but it may not catch on. I often pinch out the tops of Clematis shoots. It delays flowering a little but results, I think (hope), in more shoots. Here’s the after picture. I’ll keep you posted.

  • The ferns are looking great with their unfurling fronds. The fern wall is greening up well but I’ll save that for a week or two yet. Last summer I bought a fern I had wanted for a long time. I first came across it in a garden I used to work in and fell in love with it. However, that garden was four and a half acres, my garden is very small and the fern is Woodwardia orientalis ssp formosana which can grow to over one metre. How long I can keep it will depend how well it grows. Two new fronds have recently emerged.
  • I thought I’d finish with a couple of pictures of the long border which has turned rather blue.
Looking along the border towards the shadier end
And looking back the other way.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend. I’ll be back later to see what’s looking good in other Sixers gardens at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 23/04/22

There’s not been much gardening done here for the last few weeks. It’s taking longer than I hoped to shake off the after-effects of covid and we’ve also been to Belfast to spend time with family. It’s such a joy to be able to do this with relative ease again. Despite my lack of attendance the garden has grown at quite a pace and I was amazed at how much things had come on in the six days that we were away – especially the Tulips in pots and the Clematis. The weed situation isn’t too bad as we have had very little rain recently but where are the April showers?

  • As I said, the Tulips are getting into their stride. This is the first time I’ve grown this one and I’m really pleased. It’s described as bright orange with raspberry pink flames in the catalogues and is a shade or two lighter than it looks in this photo.
Tulip ‘Queensday’.
  • I grew several pots of dwarf daffodils this year and the latest to flower is N. ‘Hawera’, a very dainty multi-headed variety. I’m going to try these in the ground for next year.
  • Behind ‘Hawera’ is Tulip ‘Hermitage’ which is tangerine-red with a purple flame. It and ‘Queensday’ are more alike than I was expecting/hoping them to be. If I had to choose I’d probably take the latter for its fuller flower.

  • This name-unknown Clematis was still in tight bud when we went away.
  • I have four Epimediums and wish I had room for more as they look so good for such a long time but especially so at the moment as they’re in flower and the new leaves are emerging. I hadn’t realised until recently that they are in the Berberidaceae family.
Epimedium x perralchicum
  • Variegated Honesty self seeds around the garden but not many seedlings make it to the second year thanks to the slugs and snails. Ones that escape the munching add a lovely splash of colour and height to the border at this time of year.
Lunaria annua ‘Variegata’

I’m hoping to get through a lot of dead-heading, tying-in and glasshouse work this weekend. I’ll also be looking at the other Sixes (sorry but I didn’t get around to reading them all last week) courtesy of our host Mr Propagator. Find them all at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 16/04/22

It’s Easter weekend and this is a quick six from my garden.

  • Last week it was a frost damaged Pieris and this week the frost has claimed the new shoots on the Parthenocissus henryana.
  • I’m not sure why but a lot of the biennial wallflowers haven’t survived the winter. It was exceptionally wet for quite a while after I planted them out and I think that the roots didn’t get a chance to develop properly. The variety ‘Fire King’ was the worst affected but this patch of yellow ones is a cheery sight and the scent is wonderful when the sun shines. Apologies for the fuzzy photo – it was windy.
Yellow wallflowers behind a perennial Erysimum.
  • The Narcissi continue to open. This is N. ‘Tresamble’ and I really like it. Despite several attempts I can’t get N. ‘Thalia’ to last from year to year in the garden. Although not as elegant as ‘Thalia’ this one would give the colour that I want.
  • I planted Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ last spring and it has grown really well. Almost too well (we gardeners are never satisfied) and I may have to move it.
  • In the glasshouse the recently potted up Dahlia tubers are showing lots of signs of new growth.

I mixed peat-free compost with some of my own sieved compost and leaf mould so weed seedlings appear quite regularly on the pots. ‘Weed’ is a loose term as most are things like Verbena bonariensis, Calendula, Digitalis, Atriplex and Cosmos. They’re all lovely plants but you can have too much of a good thing.

  • Also in the glasshouse are a few pots containing Maurandya. I grew this tender climber from seed last year and it grew and flowered fairly well in the glasshouse.
Taken last summer

As the plants grew they formed small tubers that I left in the pots and over wintered them in the glasshouse. They have come back into growth now and will, hopefully, make even better sized plants this year.

I can’t count as I’ve still got one more photo. It’ll have to wait until next week. Or maybe I’ll sneak it in at the end. If there isn’t a bullet point then it doesn’t count!

Have a lovely weekend, whatever you’re doing. With thanks to our host – the esteemed Mr Propagator – for letting us share our gardens.

It’s definitely spring in this part of the main border.

Six on Saturday 09/04/22

The weather has been throwing everything at the poor plants this week – brilliant sun, pouring rain, hailstones, thunder, 40mph wind and frosty nights. The frost brings me to the first of my Six

  • The new growth on the Pieris has been badly frosted for the second year following. There was no new growth made last year and a couple of branches have died back during the year. I’m not sure about its long term prospects but for now the bumble bees are loving the blossom.
  • The pots of bulbs continue.
Muscari ‘Siberian Tiger’
  • A couple of years ago I dug up Jasminum nudiflorum. It was growing up a trellis that covers a water butt visible from the kitchen window. It did the job a little too well and started coming up in places where it wasn’t wanted. I planted a Clematis there instead but it doesn’t provide enough cover so last spring I planted Coronilla glauca ‘Citrina’. The location isn’t as sheltered as the plant might like but it’s growing and is flowering well. Hopefully the water butt will disappear from view soon.
  • Continuing the floral theme Tulip ‘Angelique’ is one of the few that have returned successfully in the border for a few years.
  • With perfect timing the Amelanchier has decided to flower to coincide with the rain, sleet and wind.
  • It’s so difficult to limit the choice to six things these days but the emerging fern croziers are fascinating to look at so I’ll finish with one of my favourite ferns
Polystichum polyblepharum is a stunning plant 365 days of the year.

The forecast for today is good, if a little chilly, although it will be another frosty night. No gardening today though as I’m working but I’ve lots of gardening jobs lined up for tomorrow. Have a great weekend and thanks to our host at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 02/04/22

Not unexpectedly last weeks sunshine and heat didn’t last for long and has been followed by some frosty nights this week. There’s also been plenty of sunshine and here in North Somerset we even managed a couple of dozen flakes of snow on Thursday. I’ve called a temporary halt to moving things out of the glasshouse and have gone back to wrapping fleece around the residents at night. In the garden the Narcissi are going over quite quickly now and the first Tulips are out (I’m saving them for next week so that I can photograph them open in the sun 🤞), Forget-me-Nots are taking over the main border and the Clematis are growing upwards every day. I love spring – winter moves slowly, there’s plenty to see but change happens at a much slower pace. We get to the start of spring and the rate of change suddenly picks up, blink and you could miss it. Here are six things from the garden this week, including a few revisits.

  • This pot was in last weeks Six but it’s developed since then. When I planted it up there were a few too many N. ‘Eaton Song’ for the pot but not enough to fill another pot so I planted two layers of them. The first flush of flowers have now been replaced with the fresh blooms from the lower layer and Tulip ‘Black Prince’ has started to open.
  • As Pulmonaria officinalis and P. longifolia are starting to go over P. ‘Sissinghurst White’ has finally got going. This plant is several years old and has never really put on much of a show. Last year I decided to remove it but never quite got around to it. The plant obviously picked up the negative vibes and pulled it’s socks up.
  • Two weeks go I showed the emerging Lamprocapnos spectabile foliage. Look at it now!
  • Further to the left in the same narrow border as the Lamprocapnos is this Epimedium warleyense ‘Orange Queen’. Last week the new shoots were uncovered as I cut the old foliage off. This week they’re flowering. Sorry, it was quite windy when I took this picture.
  • I daren’t grow Hostas in the ground, I don’t think they’d make it above soil level, but they seem to be okay ish in pots. The new foliage is just starting to unfurl.
  • A first lockdown project was the construction of the Fern Wall so this will be its third year. The majority of the ferns are evergreen but they were starting to look rather untidy so I’ve cut them all back. It all looks rather bare at the moment and the labels are very prominent but the signs of new life are there.
Adiatom pedatum
Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’. The centre of the new croziers giving a hint of the colour the new fronds will be.

Is that six already? There are so many other things that I wanted to show you but they will have to wait until next week.

Our host can be found at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ Don’t forget to visit.

Six on Saturday 26/03/22

The weather this week has been unbelievably good – lovely warm, sunny days with the temperature reaching 20C on a couple of days. The nights have been rather chilly though, down to near 0C. I’ve had to do a lot of pot watering as they are full of bulbs at the moment. It’s reaching the time of year when the list of jobs to do grows at a much faster rate than the amount of time available.

  • I removed the boxes of over-wintering bulbs and tubers from the loft a couple of weeks ago but had struggled to find/make time to pot them up. Last Sunday I spent the day doing this, trying very hard to not get distracted by all the other jobs that needed doing around the garden. Now that they’re all potted up it’s nearly impossible to move in the glasshouse at the moment 🤣. I’ve started to move some of the winter occupants outside in the day but with night-time temperatures so low they are having to go back in the glasshouse every night for the time being.
The Dahlia tubers stayed lovely and plump in their winter boxes and some have visible shoots already
  • The unseasonal warmth means that things are growing at a rapid rate and I decided to deadhead the Hydrangeas (a job I normally leave until the second week in April) and also to cut down the Epimediums.
Last years Epimediums leaves behind Heuchera ‘Binoche’
Hiding under the old leaves the new flower stems are rising fast
  • The patio pots continue to perform well though I think the Narcissi are later than usual this year. This is a new variety to me.
Narcissus ‘Eaton Song’. Each flower stem has three flower heads. Tulip ‘Black Prince’ is following on a bit too quickly
  • In the Birch border a small group of Fritillaries are looking beautiful. They came from my dad’s garden and, sadly, don’t really multiply (this is 16 years worth of multiplying!) but they do come up every year.
I’ve since cut the Hydrangea heads off
  • I’m trying to establish various bulbs in the Dahlia bed but it’s looking a bit patchy at the moment to be honest. Taking an idea from Sarah Raven’s book, I intend to plant the Dahlia tubers back into the bed when it’s warmer and then they will stay there permanently and the bulbs, mostly deep planted Narcissi, will flower through them next spring. Sounds good, I’ll keep you posted.
Anemone blanda ‘Charmer’ at the edge of the Dahlia bed.
  • Mukdenia Rossi ‘Crimson Fans’ was planted beneath the Amelanchier the autumn before last. It flowered fairly well last spring and the lovely fan shaped leaves followed . A prolonged dry spell caused the plant to mostly disappear below ground so I didn’t really get to see the ‘Crimson’ part of its name in the autumn. Thankfully, it has made a reappearance this year.

The fine weather looks set for a few more days yet so I’m hoping to get on top of a few more things on my to-do list. I have to admit that I’m happier working in the garden than I am just sitting in it so it’s deliberately quite high maintenance.

Thanks for looking through my Six and enjoy your weekend, whatever you have planned. Here’s where to find our leader https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/