Six on Saturday (21 March 2020)

It’s been a funny old week. On Monday it was off to work as normal but at 5pm on Wednesday, having closed the doors to the public, my colleagues and I left the building with laptops and boxes of this and that to see us through potential weeks/months of working from home. I drove away feeling slightly bemused in the purely coincidental but rather eerie end-of-the-world like gloom.

I was originally due to be in London this weekend, taking in a play and visiting this and that while my wife attended another course. Instead I’ll be enjoying my happy place, the garden. There’s a climbing rose to prune, a Sedum to move, seeds to sow, seedlings to pot on, weeds to pull up and, if the lawn ever dries out a little, grass to mow. It’ll provide an opportunity to forget about the everyday and not-so-everyday worries for a little while and to appreciate the joys of nature. And at this time of year there’s plenty to appreciate as the garden begins to step up a gear.

1. The blossom of the Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ exploded into action last weekend, helping to brighten up what was a miserably wet Sunday. I hadn’t realised until this year that the flowers start off white but gradually take on a slightly pinkish tinge as they age. This is its second spring and I can’t help but wonder why I didn’t plant one years ago.

2. As the ‘Tête-à-tête’ begin to go over other Narcissus are taking their place. The fragrant ‘Falconet’ is is similar to ‘Jetfire’ colour-wise. It’s only negative is that it tends to look down at its feet, something a ballroom dancing teacher often used to tell me off for when my wife and I were taking lessons: “you won’t find any money on the floor you know” she’d say. I never did either.

3. Another Narcissus up next; ‘Minnow’. The slimy plant assassins of the night seem particularly fond of its petals and I was beginning to fear I wouldn’t find an unnibbled one to photograph. I don’t remember it featuring on the slug and snail menu last year. Even the ‘Jetfire’ in the bottom right picture looks perturbed.

However, one little plant has escaped their attention.

4. I have some new seeds to sow at the weekend. Once I’ve done that I really need to prick out these snapdragon seedlings. My Antirrhinums didn’t do very well last summer, succumbing to rust. Fingers are crossed that they’ll do better this year. The three Himalayan blue poppy seedlings growing in the pot at the front came up weeks ago but haven’t really done much since. Will they make it to flowerhood? Watch this space.

5. Ah, Grape Hyacinths. Not loved by everyone apparently, but I’m a big fan. For the past few years I’ve been splitting them and planting clumps elsewhere in the garden. I’m tempted to order some paler varieties next year.

6. And finally… Last Saturday afternoon I planted the new climbing rose, Teasing Georgia, in the small bed behind the swing seat. Despite knowing the weather was set to turn wet the following day, I didn’t fancy having to move the swing seat again in a few weeks’ time in order to take off the winter cover, treat the wood and replace the rotting willow screen canopy. So it was tackled there and then. All was going well until the old canopy slipped from my grasp, fell down the back of the swing seat and landed on top of the newly planted rose (you may have heard the cry of horror at around 3.30pm).

Miraculously, the rose survived completely unscathed and a coat of Danish oil was applied to the swing seat and myself just before tea. On Monday evening I set about attaching the new canopy, dropping it on my head this time rather than the rose. The swing seat is now ready to fulfil its purpose as a slug and snail free seedling sanctuary over the coming months. Until then, if the weather warms up a bit, it might get sat on.

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. Stay safe.

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41 thoughts on “Six on Saturday (21 March 2020)

  1. I really like your swing! It looks pretty solid. We use ours mostly during the warm morning in winter to sit and contemplate our gardening efforts. I haven’t thought to use it as a haven for seedlings! Good idea! The Prunus flowers are delightful, and so delicate, while the daffodils are cheerful.

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  2. You will be pleased your swing is ready for your working from the garden stint. Its the splitting, dividing and re positioning of your grape hyacinths that keep them strong and vibrant…looking forward to seeing your collection grow.

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  3. I understand your worry when your rose fell down….
    The sh… word was heard in the neighborhood I guess. Fortunately it’s solid and will recover!
    Kojo is a success right now. You must be delighted as I am.

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  4. Your ‘Kojo-no-mai’ is beautiful with the pink flush and I hope you manage to find and evict those slimy plant assassins from your garden.

    Love that little story about looking downwards – your dance teacher obviously made an impression with that comment.

    But the story of your near-disaster with Rosa ‘Teasing Georgia’ nearly made me gasp aloud – until of course I scrolled past the photo and got the rest of the tale. 😂 I’m pleased you got your swing fixed and that Teasing Georgia didn’t come to a premature end.

    I’m one of those who like Grape Hyacinth though mine are not in bloom yet and looking a bit on the small side.

    I hope the weather warms up soon so that you can enjoy your lovingly restored swing seat – it looks pretty good.

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  5. The cherry is beautiful! I’m a fan of muscari but have only planted some this year. Not sure why, but I am glad that I did. Funny story about the rose, glad she came out of it unscathed. Will cross my fingers for the poppies. 🙂

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  6. The swing seat is looking very smart after all your attention. I’m sure the seedlings will love it too. The snapdragon seedlings look very healthy and advanced. I will show the picture to mine and hope they take note.

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  7. The seat looks like a lovely spot to sit and contemplate the rest of the garden. But I know it soon becomes a plant stand 😂 Buy yourself some Muscari Valerie Finnis – very pale blue – looks gorgeous next to the deeper blue ones. I had some in a pot and planted them out in the autumn, pleased to say they are flowering now. N. Falconet looks very similar to Martinette – they are both fragrant too! I had some of the Falconet in a little barrel in the front courtyard last year, left them in the container, but not many have reappeared this year. I wonder if that is because the site never receives any sun. I’ll empty the barrel this year and plant new bulbs.

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    1. Indeed, swing seats are not for sitting on!

      We braved town this morning for some essentials and I passed by the country market shop. The plant section was off limits and you could only point at what you wanted. As luck would have it they had pots of white and pale blue muscari so I purchased one of each.

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  8. Nice to see so much enthusiasm for Muscari in the comments, I like them a lot, not least because the slimy assassins mainly leave them be. They had my Narcissus ‘Minnow’ in a pot in the greenhouse, I’d have been mortified if I’d been growing them for a show.

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  9. Weird times indeed – never a better time to focus on our gardens. I can just picture you working on your laptop from the bench in the garden!

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  10. The slugs’ve gone for my daffs/narcissus petals this year as well. Hadn’t noticed that before. So glad the rose survived your tender mercies. And that cherry tree . . . it really is a winner.

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  11. I was supposed to be going to London yesterday for a few days to explore the Southbank and go to the Andy Warhol exhibition and my phone duly reminded me of that yesterday I could even see the train go past from my garden! I didn’t lose that much. The prunus flowers are wonderful.

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