Six on Saturday (28 December 2019)

Well, that’s Christmas done for another year. Christmas Day dawned bright and frosty and most of my Six on Saturday selections were taken that morning, after taking a moment or two to enjoy the fragrant flowers of the Winter Honeysuckle.

It was a nice and perfectly timed respite from weeks of wet and gloomy weather. Alas, it was back to normal by Boxing Day as the temperature rose and the rain fell once more. However, while I’m bored of murky damp days, judging from my first SoS some of the garden residents have been thriving on them…

1. I’m not sure what has been nibbling on these Foxglove leaves. Initially I assumed it was the slimy plant assassins of the night but now I’m not so sure. A robin started chatting away while I was snapping this with my camera. Although not fluent in bird speak I think he might have said “Holy Digitalis leaves Batman!” (sorry). Although deadly to us humans the leaves are apparently harmless to whatever has nibbled on them, which is a pity. They’ve not touched my next SoS though.

2. I’ve not grown rhubarb before but I wasn’t expecting new leaves over the winter. Is it confused by the mild weather? Should I chop the new leaves back or just leave them be? Do I need to consider stocking up on tins of custard?

3. Next up, the skeletons of one of the small alliums adding a bit of structural winter interest.

4. A parcel arrived yesterday; a last minute compulsive pre-Christmas purchase of Iris ‘Alida (Reticulata)’ bulbs. However, I didn’t notice until after I’d planted the bulbs that the accompanying label was for a variety called ‘Joyce.’ So what had I planted? I contacted the supplier and they confirmed (with remarkable speediness) that they were indeed ‘Alida.’ Apparently they didn’t have any Alida bulb labels and had supplied one for a variety that looked similar (I was supposed to have received an email to explain this). There doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between the two but I think I prefer ‘Alida.’

5. Over the past few days I’ve noticed the blackbirds snacking on the berries of the Pyracantha and the Cotoneaster hortizontalis. However, one particularly leisurely female blackbird was perched on a plant support enjoying the dark berries of the dwarf Christmas Box. The flower buds are forming nicely and come February they’ll be releasing their sweet scent.

6. And finally… There are quite a few primulas flowering in the garden but most have been nibbled by the slimy so-and-sos . However, this one has escaped their attention… for now at least.

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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12 thoughts on “Six on Saturday (28 December 2019)

  1. I think the weather on Christmas day was superb…I too had a little tour of the garden. Your rhubarb looks magnificent and hope you enjoy your first harvest soon in the new year. Happy New Year.

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  2. If frosts are expected soon, cut the rhubarb leaves and enjoy a crumble … cutting them will not change the new spring growth. Or protect them from frost and you’ll get earlier rhubarb than everyone else, otherwise you’ll lose them.
    Very nice photo of the berries of Christmas

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  3. You’ve probably got an ‘early’ rhubarb, but it’s a bit too early to be safe from frost! You could cover it with a forcer and encourage more early growth and have really sweet, tender rhubarb or you could whip these off and wait for the new growth to come along. I made rhubarb gin in 2018 – it’s matured perfectly for this Christmas and has a lovely delicate flavour.

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  4. I have a winter honeysuckle but I don’t notice much in the way of scent unless I get very close, sort of sherbert lemon. Not my favourite shrub as it is very boring the rest of the year. The berries look lovely, do you need a male and female plant to get berries?

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    1. I have just the one dwarf Christmas Box (unless another variety I had but have since dug up cross polinated with it – I don’t think so though). The scent of the Christmas Box is very strong whereas you do need to get up close to the winter honeysuckle.

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  5. The nibbles on the foxglove are an interesting shape. If you find the culprit, let us know. I got a winter honeysuckle this summer & it’s about 12″ tall at the moment, no blooms. Nice to see what the end product is supposed to look like. At first, I thought, now I know why folk grow box, which I’ve thought a dull plant indeed. Then I thought, that looks mighty like my sarcoccoca – wonder if they’re related. Google search & voila! I’m no longer as ignorant as I was before. Mine don’t have berries this year, so very glad to know what I’ve got to look forward to. Good luck w/your rhubbarb!

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    1. Sarcoccoca, sweet box or Christmas box. It seems to have many names. I did have a taller variety but I dug it up in the autumn as it tended to sucker and looked a bit untidy. This dwarf variety seems better behaved. Looking forward to sampling the rhubarb at the first hint of frost!

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