Six on Saturday (9 March 2019)

It’s been a wet and windy week and there have been a few casualties. One or two hyacinths have been flattened (they’re not as sturdy as they look once in full flower)

While others appear to have had second thoughts about braving the elements.

Last weekend I managed to do a bit of grass cutting, pruning and seed sowing. The big job for this weekend? Pruning the Prunus cerasifera ‘Hessei’. I last tackled the tree two years ago when it received a rather severe chopping. It soon recovered. Still, I’m feeling (I initially typed felling – I hope that’s not a premonition) a little apprehensive. Fingers are crossed things will go okay and it’ll still look vaguely tree-like by the time I’ve finished. Anyway, on to my first Six on Saturday…

1. Tomatoes. In the past I’ve sown Sweet Aperitif but last year I wasn’t very organised and decided to purchase some tomato plants instead. I went for red and yellow Tumbling Toms, grown outdoors in pots. They did well and didn’t succumb to the dreaded blight as the Sweet Aperitif did in 2017.

 

This year I’ve got my derrière in gear and sown my own tomatoes and, rather excitingly, they’ve started to come up. I’ve gone for Wilko’s Minibel that, according to the blurb, ‘have a neat dwarf habit ideal for containers’, and Johnson’s Tumbling Tom Yellow. They’re starting their life indoors on the window sill in the spare bedroom. Watching seeds germinate and seedlings grow never gets old. Interestingly there also appear to be some rogue plants, presumably weeds, that were lurking in the compost.

2. Next up, saxifraga. I really like these but they never survive the winter. I’ve tried them in a few locations (including the gravel path) but with zero long-term success. This white one has gone in the newly extended bed next to the patio.

As has this reddy-pink one. I’ve decided to treat them like annuals.

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3. Some more daffodils have started flowering. I think this one is Little Witch. A daff of short stature that has usually proved to be sturdy and reliable, although this year it seems to be a bit lacking in buds. They were planted several years ago but have yet to spread.

I’ve no idea what variety this daffodil is. It’s another dwarf one.

4. The Buddleia that was grown as a standard from a self-sown plant 4ish years ago has been pruned back. I never cease to be amazed how much new growth this puts on each year. The poor old Daphne on the left is still hanging on… just.

5. The Primulas are coming into their own. Despite the gloom the native primroses still manage to look cheery.

And there are a few wishy-washy pink ones that may or may not be the result of a bit of cross-pollination of the promiscuous primula kind.

6. And finally… Grape hyacinths (or Muscari). I’m a big fan (I know some gardeners aren’t).

They’ve never really attempted to make a bid for garden domination, staying put in the one spot near the back door. When I re-did the gravel path last August I dug them up and dotted them here and there. I think it’s done the trick. They have a lovely fragrance too if you get up close.

And they were my Six on Saturday. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, take a look at the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

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37 thoughts on “Six on Saturday (9 March 2019)

  1. I love grape hyacinths (and your pictures are beautiful!). Growing saxifraga as an annual is also my solution here. The whites are very pretty, I had only dark pink but add an extra color would be good, thanks.

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    1. I’m glad I’m not alone with having limited success with saxifraga. Reading the comments it seems to be a common problem and there appears to be a feeling that the variety sold these days aren’t as hardy as they used to be.

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    1. There are a lot of muscari fans! The pruning didn’t go well. The poor tree looks a bit of a mess. Not my finest work!

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    1. I must admit I haven’t crouched down to appreciate their scent this spring. I must do that tomorrow.

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  2. I’m in the Muscari fan club too. I have a couple that spread themselves about and have steadily added new varieties which I hope will do the same. As a kid the mossy saxifrages grew as great big carpets in our Surrey garden, they seem to have lost something over the years.

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    1. A few folk have commented on saxifrages of old being made of tougher stuff. I must look into getting a few other varieties of Muscari.

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    1. I’ll have to split the primulas when they’re finished flowering. Not sure about the pale pink ones though!

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      1. Pale pink ones are natural in the wild too, as are white ones. I actually think they look lovely mixed with the yellow. In the garden I visited last week they had hundreds of primroses flowering – all native ones.

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  3. Well I’m not in the “fan club” though there are varieties of Muscari which are not as invasive as others.When I finally cleared the mob from the garden I made a list of the ones I should get. Then I lost the list and have never managed to rebuild it. A lot of the modern Saxifraga seem to be weaklings. It’s the “older” types like the ubiquitous Saxifraga x urbium, aka London Pride, that seem to get through whatever is thrown at them. I stick to the rosette-forming types now as it’s easy to pick off some of the bits and grow on through the winter in the cold frame to replenish in the spring.

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  4. Count me in as a grape hyacinth lover! Mine haven’t formed even buds yet. You have such lovely flowers in the garden right now.
    I’m jealous of the sunny window for seed starting! I have windows, yes, but zero are sunny! Oh, my daughter’s is, but she doesn’t want starter trays of soil on her dresser top! A cactus, snake plant, and an aloe are all she allows there, and she still worried about slugs getting in! Those three spend springs and summers outdoors.

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    1. The window sill in question is okay at this time of the year but gets way too hot as the year goes on. I’d not thought of slugs lurking in the soil! That could cause sleepless nights! I’m hoping the new mini greenhouse will start to get a bit more sun as the sun gets higher.

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  5. I also love Muscari, although I don’t yet have any in my gardens. They are on the list to plant in the Fall. Your Hyacinths fought a great battle, poor things, yet they still look pretty even sideways.

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    1. The hyacinth does seem perfectly happy despite its horizontal position. More blustery conditions over the next few days.

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    1. Saximawhatsits are lovely even if they are a bit short lived in this garden. I’m admiring them now!

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    1. Thanks. I’ve got around to sowing a lot earlier than I normally do. Did some more this afternoon and nearly ended up with frostbitten fingers!

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  6. What a shame about the hyacinth. We spend months waiting in anticipation and then thwarted by the elements.

    As for your tomatoes you have given me an idea. I always grow the same varieties: Rosa and cherry toms which I buy from the local farmers’ market. You mention blight so I wonder if I can buy blight resistant varieties?

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    1. The latest Garden News has an article on blight resistants Tom’s. They recommend Crimson Crush, Summer Last (new compact variety with small, sweet cherry fruit sold by Suttons), Mountain Magic (possibly the most blight resistant tom) and Crimson Blush.

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  7. Muscari and dwarf daffs look lovely planted together in the Cornish hedges (walls to you and me) I do have some in pots that I shall transfer to my wall hedge as soon as they finish flowering. And I also lost saxifraga over winter several years ago, but they are so lovely. I might try some London Pride (Saxifraga x urbium) which I had growing in Doncaster and thrived there, but then again the soil was very different to what I have here – that was light and sandy and free-draining. This is heavy and moisture retentive,

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    1. I’m going to look into the London Pride variety. At the moment they’re looking great but we’ll have to see what happens. They’re in a different spot to normal so maybe this time they’ll pull through… or not. I spent 14 months living in Cornwall. Lovely place. We visit most summers. Many great gardens.

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      1. And did you like Truro? We think we will have to move to a town or city in a few years where we will have access to amenities without having to use a car all the time. We almost bought a new-build in Truro.

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    1. They’re still flowering away. I nearly bought some white ones the other day but resisted.

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