Six on Saturday (16 January 2021)

A wet and miserable day like today seems the perfect time to start planning and placing my seed orders. But before any hasty online purchases are made I’m going to spend an hour or so sorting through my leftover packets of seed, reminding myself of what grew well (Cosmos) and what was disappointing and will never be grown again (Rudbeckia ‘Cherry Brandy’ will top that list). I’m also going to ponder whether to have a third and final attempt at growing the “easily grown in a cool greenhouse or sheltered spots” (but apparently not for me) South African Foxglove. Anyway, time for Six on Saturday.

1. Last year’s crispified flowers of the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’ are still adding some structural interest in the garden, although I find quite a few of the flower heads on the lawn after a breezy day. I must look up how to prune this come the spring.

2. I spotted a goldfinch enjoying the seeds of a Verbena bonariensis earlier in the week. Those in the south facing front garden have started to sprout new growth. Although it readily self-seeds around the garden, I tried taking cuttings of these new shoots last year, without success. Undeterred, I’m going to give it another go.

3. There are signs of new life elsewhere in the garden too. The Black Lace Elder is covered in leaf buds. Alas, the Golder Tower Elder that I over zealously sprayed with a home made aphid-zapping soapy concoction last summer is not. Lesson learnt. There are plenty of buds lower down the 7 foot stems though. I’m considering chopping it right back to the ground in the spring in the hope of generating some vigorous new growth.

4. Next up is something of a panic buy. It seems a little early to be purchasing Dahlias but I spotted these in Wilko, there were only a few left and it would have been madness not to acquire a pack there and then along with another variety that I’ll share next weekend.

5. The Dahlias haven’t been the only plant purchases though, oh no! I had a £10 voucher from Sarah Raven last month and last Sunday, with just 1 day left before the voucher expired, I started making my way through her spring catalogue. Several plants and a packet of seed were ordered but before I knew it I had strayed onto the websites of other plant purveyors. Several more purchases may have been placed, most of which won’t be dispatched until March. However, one lot arrived on Friday, which took me by surprise. I’d not purchased online perennials before the first Lockdown. I quickly discovered that posted perennials can be somewhat underwhelming, so my expectations regarding the contents of this box were far more realistic than they would have been in 2020.

Hopefully these will one day become a fully grown Geranium of some sort, Anemone leveillei and Anemone ‘Wild Swan.’ I think I’ll leave them in their pots for now.

6. And finally… Around this time last year I bought a few pots of bulbs to create some early indoor pre-Spring cheer. I’ve done the same again. This photo was taken 2 weeks ago.

And this is it now.

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 Stay safe.


35 thoughts on “Six on Saturday (16 January 2021)

  1. Hydrangeas are pretty straightforward. Prune in late winter or spring. Vanilla fraise is a paniculata so cut back dead stems. Then cut back from the flowers to a pair of healthy buds. Worth doing as encourages more and usually bigger flowers. You want a low framework of stems. I give it a feed at the same time.

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  2. Ordering plants online has become a frustration for us. This is the season when snowdrops sellers advertise their sales lists and we are tempted to add a few more to the garden but we now cannot have them delivered from the UK to Ireland because of new regulations in place following Brexit. I shouldn’t say that we cannot have them but all companies that I know of have said they were unwilling to go to the bother and big expense of getting physosanitary certificate and Cites clearance. It would add about £70 cost to each order so out of the question

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      1. No, movement of plants between EU and UK is, really, out of the question at the moment which is a great pity. One supplier we used regularly, Farmer Gracy, is based in Holland but has a depot in England and distribution to Ireland has been via the English depot and they have advised us that future orders would require physosanitary certificates and extra paperwork and would add about €75 to each order so it is out of the question. They might supply directly to Ireland, I hope.

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  3. This morning I was just taking a picture of the dried flowers of the hydrangea ‘Vanille Fraise’ covered in snow. Maybe I’ll post the photos later. Good idea to have forced some bulbs and take advantage of them now. I think to do it every year but I forget… I will have to wait a little longer

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  4. The panic buying spree. Yep guilty of that myself but unlike you, I don’t do the planning and thought that goes with it. Love it though when they start arriving from.the post, like receiving a gift each time (most time can’t remember what I ordered, Mind you) Always love Hydrangea, I don’t prune them.just deadheading. Cosmos yes definitely a remainer. Spring in the house definitely, lifts the spirit up. 👍

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  5. That’s a lovely photo of the daffodil backlit with bright light. I’m very impatiently waiting for my Paperwhites to flower. With Verbena B. I just dig up seedlings around the plant that were selfsown and pop them into pots, then I’ll stick them in gaps in the border later. I already pruned my Vanille Fraise so that I could use the flowers indoors.

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  6. Do you feel better after your confessional? They say that the doctor always doubles the amount you tell him that you drink/smoke/eat, perhaps the same can be said for plant/seed orders. Of course I am far from sin free, in fact I am very sin-full in the on-line “oops did I really order all that?” department. There is little hope for us. Lovely daffs, full of joy. 🙂

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  7. Your narcissus cheered me up no end. So jolly. I too had the £10 voucher from Sarah Raven and before I knew it I’d spent it, and more besides, on seeds. I think your perennials will be just fine. I was a big buyer online even before lockdown as I kept discovering things I wanted to buy that just simply weren’t available locally. All those fabulous plants at your fingertips…

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  8. According to RHS: “To enhance flowering prune hard in early spring, cutting back the previous season’s shoots to within a few buds of the permanent, woody framework of the plant”. I did that to mine last year after flowering as it wasn’t growing well in the container. When I planted it in the garden in late autumn (2019) I cut the stems right back. It was slow to grow in the spring (2020) but finally caught up and was good. I will cut it back hard again in March to maybe 2 pairs of buds to try and keep a nice shape.

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  9. I love the Vanilla fraise flower heads – they have kept their shape so well so far. I haven’t been that successful with hydrangeas but i suspect it is the soil. We have sand basically and no matter how much compost I put in and around them, they don’t seem to survive.

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