Six on Saturday: The calm before the storm (27 April 2019)

It’s Friday evening as I write this. After the warm and sunny Easter break it was back to work on Wednesday, just as the weather was on the turn. The rain was welcomed, replenishing an empty water butt and giving the garden a good soaking. But the gales that are expected in the early hours of tomorrow morning are triggering a sense of foreboding. The new plant supports have been deployed, prioritising the plants of the tall and floppable variety like the alliums, and some of the smaller pots of seedlings have been taken off the swing seat and tucked safely away in the mini greenhouse. Will there be casualties? Will the fences survive another battering? I’ll let you know next Saturday. For now let’s focus on the garden as it was towards the end of the week…

1. As welcome as the rain was on Wednesday it does have a major downside after a dry spell: it tends to encourage the garden riff-raff and hoodlums to visit. A few years ago I planted some Pheasant’s Eye narcissus bulbs. They weren’t very successful. Only one appeared the following spring and that was that, they were never seen again. Last Autumn I decided to give them another go. Five were planted and four came up (the fifth may have been one of the bulbs I sliced through with a spade earlier in the year). The flower bud on one of the plants near the bird feeder was snapped off a few weeks ago (I’m assuming by the squabbling wood pigeons) but the others have started to flower. And oh how beautiful they are. This photo was taken on Tuesday before the rain arrived.

And this photo was taken on Thursday.

Initially I thought the rain had flattened it but upon closer inspection it appears to have been nibbled. This was no accident. This was wanton vandalism. Wool pellets have now been deployed around the remaining two and the trowel has been wielded with murderous intent against the slimy plant assassins of the night. The innocent victim has been plonked in a bud vase.

2. Remember the new seeds I accidentally purchased last week? Well, the Cosmos ‘Fizzy’ and the Pink Dandelion are coming up already.

3. The sweet peas were planted in their final pots. These are a mixture of Heirloom Mixed and King Size Navy Blue. I re-used last year’s wigwam, though I probably should have redone the string as it’s looking a little slack (laziness on my part).

And these are dwarf sweet peas, sown from the left over seeds that came free with the Garden News Magazine last year.

4. The Clematis montana is in full flower and has also managed to escape into the neighbour’s Pyracantha. It has a lovely fragrance that reminds me of egg custards. Why? I asked myself that same question and then it dawned on me. Nutmeg. I always apply a liberal dusting of extra nutmeg to my shop bought egg custards and the flowers of this montana have that same nutmeggy scent.

It’s providing a rather nice backdrop to the deliciously scented Viburnum carlesii ‘Compactum’.

In an attempt to provide some extra support for the clematis and the new Gertrude Jekyll climbing rose (which you can just about glimpse to the right of the Viburnum) I added a few more vine eyes and wires, snapping the odd clematis bud off in the process. Like the narcissus, they were put in a bud vase. Let’s hope the fence is still standing by the end of tomorrow.

5. The rock rose in the front garden is in full flower. This came from a cutting from my mum several years ago. I attempted to take a cutting of it this last year but I’m not convinced it’s going to make it. I’ll have another go this year.

6. And finally… the perennial cornflower. Another plant that originally came from that free garden centre up in Wales. Over the past few years it has gone forth and multiplied. It has to be kept in check but the flowers are so lovely and exotic that I don’t care. The bees love it too.

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.

35 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: The calm before the storm (27 April 2019)

    1. Thank you. The Montana will probably get chopped back hard after it’s flowered. Half wondering whether to provide a ‘bridge’ so it can get to the shed but I’m not sure whether that would lead to issues when having to refelt the roof or repaint it.

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    1. Those cornflowers are in the sunnier front garden though a white version in the back has just started flowering. I’ll try not to think too much of the implications for my still leafless hibiscus if my cornflowers are ahead of yours! I’ve been talking to it lately, offering it words of encouragement. I’ll remain hopeful and patient…

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    1. Thank you. I think this is the best the Montana has looked so far. It seemed to benefit from a hard prune last year.

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    1. Yesterday I noticed there were a lot of white daffs growing in the landscaped area of where I work. I went to have a nose and they were all Pheasant’s Eye daffs. Seem to be thriving there growing in the grasses area. Not sure whether I’m allowed to dig a few up!

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    1. Thank you. I think the garden is a few weeks ahead compared to last year. The viburnum certainly is and I noticed one or two open flowers on the Korean Lilac yesterday.

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    1. I seem to have more varieties of seedlings this year than usual. Not sure where I’m going to out them all! 4am. That’s dedication! The wind hasn’t died down yet unfortunately.

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  1. I’ve a rogue clematis that I think is a white type of Montana & i hadn’t thought to check it for scent until I read about yours. Sadly disappointed there was no nutmeg smell. Don’t know how I missed your sweet pea wigwam from last year. Mine grow up the wall, but I always have a few plants left over & you’ve squeezed 8 into that pot. I shall be stealing your idea. All lovely blossoms, but particularly love your bud vases.

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    1. Thank you. That’s a pity about your clematis not having any scent. I’ve got a few more sweet peas that I’ve not planted yet. I’ll steal your idea and grow them up the fence!

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    1. Thanks. The buddleia’s looking a bit battered, I think some of the new growth has been broken and I’ve just realised I’ve not tied in the pink climbing rose! Trying not to look at the fences – they worry me too much in this weather. The wind doesn’t seem to be dying down yet.

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  2. It seems you weathered your storms well. Your C. Montana is miles ahead of ours here. Soon, though. I will watch for postings of your Gertrude Jekyll climber. I have three shrub type in their first year. Due to the promised size perhaps all should be called climbers? 😉

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    1. It’s still blowing a gale here. According to the weather for forecast it should die down at 5pm. Here’s hoping. I was a bit confused about Gerty. I accidently ordered both climber and shrub and contacted David Austin to cancel the shrub. They told me it didn’t matter which one was cancelled as they were both the same plant and it just depended how you grew it!

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  3. The clematis looks lovely. I have a new white one which I think is a montana that has produced flowers this year. I will cut it down after flowering to see if I can get it to bush out a bit more, I have a very old clematis on the opposite fence which is usually smothered in pink flowers in late May / early June that seems to have been blown over onto the other side of the fence! It is a messy, wild tangle and I am wondering whether to be ruthless and cut it right down to the very thick base after flowering this year. I do like your wigwam idea. Might have to give that a go next year.

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    1. I’m not usually very good with clematis. Most tend to disappear or fail to do much of anything. I don’t think I plant them deep enough. We bought a new one last week and I obeyed the planting instructions this time. The Montana seems very tough and has survived 6 years under my ‘care’ so far. It’ll get a good chop back after it’s finished flowering. My mum has white version that covers a low wall. I think that one’s scented too.

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      1. Scented ones are nice, but I don’t think any of mine are. I cut back a summer flowering one two years ago as it was very spindly. Last year it grew well, but no flowers. This year it has flowers. I think all types benefit from being cut back every few years, even those that don’t need pruning.

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  4. Lovely clematis – I bought a pink and a white montana last year for my shady border. Both have been full of buds for ages and the pink one opened just last week. To me, they always smell of vanilla ( so I agree with the ‘custard’ but not the nutmeg).

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    1. I’ve just been out to the clematis with a jar of nutmeg and a bottle of vanilla extract (as you do) to suss the scent out! Interesting. It’s great to have something so colourful in a shady border.

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  5. All the best flowers come from Wales. I would keep the Montana away from anything which has a roof. They have a habit of finding the tiniest hole and moving in! I hope you came through Hannah OK. I’d staked things but she managed to snap a lot of stakes. And three fence posts. With luck, she’d weakened by the time she got to you.

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    1. Oh dear. Thankfully our fences still standing. A few branches on the buddleia were snapped and a lupin took a battering which the slugs and snails seem to have noticed – it looked decidedly nibbled this morning. I’ll avoid growing the Montana over to the shed! Thanks!

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