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/

Six on Saturday 19/03/22

We’ve had frost, fog, hours of rain and some glorious sunshine this week. It must be spring! I’ve made a start potting up the Dahlias, Begonias, Eucomis and Zantedeschia that overwintered in the loft. Still plenty to do. It’s a quick Six from me as I’ve another workshop today and wasn’t organised enough to write this earlier in the week.

  • The herbaceous plants continue to emerge and Lamprocapnos spectabile looked beautiful as it held onto the raindrops.
  • The patio pots have, overall, been quite successful. This year is the first one that I have grown Hyacinths in them. They smell wonderful as I walk out of the back door.
Hyacinth ‘Miss Saigon’ follows on from Iris ‘Alida’ and will be followed by Tulip ‘Hermitage’

The bright sun has made the flowers look rather pink whereas they have a lot more blue in them in real life.

  • In the main border the Forget-me-Nots are beginning to show their colour and Muscari latifolium have started to open. I pull quite a few of the Muscari out after they’ve flowered to stop them spreading too far. I ought to do the same with the FmeNs.
  • Persicaria microcephala ‘Red Dragon’ is quite a thug once it has settled in but the beautiful leaves earn it a place in my garden. I grow it up trellis which controls its spread.
  • Last autumn I bought some Wallflower ‘Sugar Rush’ plug plants, grew them on and then added them to some of the patio pots once the bulbs had been planted. I’ve found them to be very disappointing. They’ve not grown very much and have very few flowers. I also bought some end of season Tulip bulbs from Sarah Raven and they came with some ‘Sugar Rush’ plugs. As it was so late in the season and they were so small I potted them up and left them in the glasshouse intending to harden them off and plant them outside later on. Well, they have grown quite well and fill the glasshouse with their beautiful scent so I’m going to keep them in there.
  • It’s been lovely seeing the Magnolias coming into flower this week as I’ve walked around. I’ve nothing to match their showiness but the Amelanchier flower buds are swelling.
Blue sky!!! Perfect for showing off Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Ballerina’

There’s sunshine forecast for the whole weekend here so I’m looking forward to a long day in the garden and glasshouse tomorrow. Have a good weekend, whatever your plans. Be sure to make time to visit the other Sixers at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 12/03/22

I have always felt that the garden gives me peace and sanity, something that was certainly reinforced during the pandemic. I’m at my happiest when working in it and I quickly forget everything else, including time. We’ve had a strange week and, although there’s not been much opportunity to garden, I’ve made the effort to spend time out there losing myself looking at all the new growth and the bulbs. It may be a small patch but it certainly recharges my batteries.

  • On Sunday I decided it was time to get the boxes of over-wintered tubers and corms out of the loft. I opened the boxes and found that everything had survived the winter storage very well. I’m hoping to be able to start potting up any day now.
Begonia ‘Apricot Shades’ showing signs of new growth.
  • I grew Ensete maurelii and Colocasia ‘Coco’ for the first time last year and needed to over-winter them in a frost-free place. My first thought was in the glasshouse (with the half-hardy perennials and cuttings) but, having looked on You Tube as to how to prepare the plants for winter, I decided to try the Ensete in the loft with the Dahlias etc. I cut the leaves off and trimmed the roots right back then put it in a box, packed round with newspaper. This is what I took out the other day.
No root growth but definitely alive.

The Colocasia was put in the glasshouse and didn’t really die down – it’s been a fairly mild winter. On cold nights I wrapped the pot with bubble wrap and draped fleece over the top of the leaves. The leaves eventually looked rather scruffy so I then cut them off (I think I should have cut further down) and laid the pot on its side. Despite the soil in the pot being absolutely bone dry the plant itself still oozes water after all of this time.

  • Last spring I bought some Eranthis hyemalis in the green and planted them in a few locations in the garden to see where was best suited. I’ve tried growing them before, without any success and, to be honest, it’s a very rarely seen plant around here. As other Sixers were showing their Winter Aconites I was very disappointed not to have a trace of mine. However, one little clump has made an appearance this week so I’m hoping a few more might have survived.
  • Continuing the yellow theme – the Narcissi are coming on really well now.
The patio pots. The Irises and Crocus have gone over now it’s N. ‘February Gold’, ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ and ‘Tete a Tete’. Tulips next.
  • I used to grow Hyacinths indoors but the Non-Gardener isn’t a fan of the lovely scent so I’ve grown some in pots outside for the first time this year.
  • I’ve shown the mixed hedge alongside the drive before. I’m gradually planting spring flowering plants under the shrubs and this clump of Scillas is growing well.
The fencing is to keep badgers/dogs out.

After yesterdays incessant rain it’s supposed to be dry today then wet again tomorrow. Guess who’s working today!!! Don’t forget to keep checking our host’s site to see what everyone else has picked to show us this week. https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 05/03/22

I’ve a workshop today so this Six was written yesterday. The forecast was for sunshine with less than 10% chance of rain, perfect for taking some pictures. I guess that the 10% has to fall somewhere and it fell here nearly all afternoon. I had also planned to plant three climbers that I bought earlier in the week – two for the new arch and one for the side of the garage but it was much too wet so then I had to find something else to make up the numbers for this weeks six.

  • First is a bulb planting mistake. I planted a pot of Narcissus ‘Snow Baby’ and then for some reason decided to add some Crocus. To add to the misery the Crocus are supposed to be ‘Vernus Vanguard’ but are much too dark.
Both lovely in their own right, just not together.
  • I used to work in a garden that had a spring garden in an area that could then be bypassed for the rest of the year (it was a four and a half acre garden). It’s not something that many of us can do, sadly. I have a little corner in the front garden.
The Euphorbia keeps trying to escape.
  • Also in the front garden is a little froggy pond. Three clumps of spawn appeared overnight three weeks ago and it has now reached the messy, breaking down stage.

The ‘miniature’ waterlily was planted several years ago and hadn’t amounted to much then in 2020 it suddenly sprang into life and last summer filled the whole (tiny) pond and started to make a break for freedom. I’d intended to drastically reduce it before the frogs got busy but have missed the boat for now.

  • Back to spring flowers. I have several clumps of Pulmonaria, mostly P. officinalis, around the garden – it self seeds quite prolifically – and they’re all coming into flower. I also have P. longifolia which has (surprise, surprise) longer leaves and also darker flowers. P. ‘Sissinghurst White’ is always later.
The slightly bigger picture with P. officinalis to the left of P. longifolia.
  • The buds are swelling on the trees and this seed grown Acer has lovely pink new growth.
  • The rain was getting rather heavy so I came indoors for the last one. I thought that I had a keen Christmas Cactus but after reading explanations in previous Sixes decided that it must be a Thanksgiving Cactus. It’s only a couple of years old and flowered at the end of October last year. It flowered again just after Christmas and is now having a go at being an Easter Cactus.

The forecast looks good here for the weekend so I’m hoping to get climber planting tomorrow. I hope the weather is kind for you and thanks for reading.

There’s lots of inspiration at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/