Six on Saturday (6 February 2021)

The frogs have returned. A newt too. Late on Tuesday evening, armed with a torch, I decided to take a nose at the pond to see if there was any sign of amphibian activity and lo and behold there was: two frogs and a male common newt in his wavy crested ‘look at me ladies aren’t I something?’ breeding getup. It prompted me to order some new bare root aquatic plants (hopefully more suitable for a tiny pond than past plant purchases). They arrived yesterday and were promptly potted up in some pond compost and gently lowered into the water. And it was while I was readjusting a submerged brick to alter the depth of an iris that my respect for amphibians grew. The water was flippin’ freezing. Potting up pond plants wasn’t the only bit of gardening I did last week, oh no. And that leads me to my first Six on Saturday.

1. I’ve been on something of a perennials spending spree of late but I think I’m done now. Possibly. One online order arrived last weekend and on Sunday I did my first spot of proper gardening of the year. ‘Verona,’ ‘Venice’ and ‘Washfield’ Astrantia and Astilbe ‘Rock and Roll’ have all been potted up until they get going, as has this bargain Geranium ‘Splish Splash’ from Wilko.

It felt good to get my hands in some compost, although I have to confess I struggled to work out which way was up with the ‘loose root’ Astrantia. They’ve all been labelled using sticks saved from frozen yoghurt ice lollies that have proved popular whatever the season.

2. I also sowed my first lot of ‘early’ seeds on Wednesday: a white Black-eyed Susan and a Morning Glory ‘Royal Ensign.’ They’re sat on a window sill in the spare bedroom. After a troubled year with seedlings last year, possibly due to the New Horizon peat free compost, I’ve splashed out on some Dalefoot this year, including a bag of their wool seed compost.

3. Next up, snowdrops. Last February there were but two solitary snowdrops in the garden, the only survivors from a pack of bulbs planted way back when. I planted some more bulbs in the autumn and a few were purchased ‘in the green’ back in March. I think these were acquired from the old ancestral home in North Wales last summer. It’ll be a while until I have a carpet of snowy white but perhaps I’ll have a small rug in a few years.

4. The primroses are starting to get into their flowery stride. The native variety have a simple elegant beauty.

5. Now I have a confession to make. While I love close up shots of Hellebore flowers, when confronted with a real life Hellebore an ‘oooh’ has turned to an ‘eeew.’ The flowers seemed freakishly out of proportion to the rest of the plant. What was that? You Hellebore heretic! Steady on. The other week I spotted a tweet regarding a fragrant Helleborus liguricus and decided “what the heck.” I think I can detect a faint fragrance from its stripy green flowers, though at the moment the heady scent of the Sarcococca is filling the garden, making it tricky to smell much else. I’ve been studying it from all angles and I’m getting used to its proportions. Have I become a Hellebore convert? Well, more have certainly been perused online over the past few days.

6. And finally… I was wandering around the garden yesterday and spotted an iris in bud. Half an hour later it had opened.

Here’s a compulsory close up.

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


34 thoughts on “Six on Saturday (6 February 2021)

  1. Snowdrops purchased a dry bulbs regularly fail to grow – one of the reasons that planting “in the green” is recommended so often. Those from the old home in Wales are thriving. It’s so often the way – a piece of a plant from another garden will regularly romp away while purchased plants will struggle.

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  2. Isn’t it lovely to go outside and see something new appearing? Some of my irises have been flowering since mid-Jan and are now over, but others are taking their place along with the usual suspects (snowdrops, aconites, crocuses, hellebores, daffs) I wish my snowdrops would bulk out, but despite planting 25 singles and 25 doubles in the green a few years ago, I have the grand total of around 8 doubles and 4 singles! Oh, well, I’ll just let them get on with it.

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  3. Your Photo of hellebore is a success! and your iris is just as beautiful as mine! Maybe a little brighter blue !.
    This idea of using the yogourt /ice cream sticks to make the labels is a good idea. For my part, I use what I buy in the GC but they are out of stock at the moment. I used wooden clothespins instead …

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  4. Oh I do like the Hellebore. I ordered my first one last year, and it grew nicely, and is still going strong, as we move into late summer. I really hope that it will flower this spring, so I will be very disappointed! The geranium looks really delicate! You have some lovely spring colour shining through!

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  5. I’ll have to start eating ice lollies! Good idea. Beautiful pictures – hope you’ll be featuring more of your hellebore purchases. That iris truly lifts the heart. You should see the horrible light outside my window in the mist today, I needed it.

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  6. Lovely, striking photo of the iris. I’m waiting for mine to flower in their pots. Your hellebore looks very much like my H. argutifolius (the Corsican hellebore). Like you, I am somewhat immune to Hellebore charms, because unless you get down in the mud and take a photo, you don’t see much! Happily H. argutifolius is nice and upright.

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  7. Your frozen yoghurt labels look slightly larger than my mini magnum ones….maybe I should change my desserts? That iris is stunning. I think I have some yellow ones, but I don’t know where. I often wonder whether I should get a small pond to encourage frogs etc. but I am afraid they would be an extra entertainment and hors d’oeuvres for our cat.😼🐸

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  8. Lovely upbeat Six today, not that you are usually downbeat, you are just particularly “up” today. Love splish splash, I wonder if they have any left. Not that I am going anywhere near a Wilko for a while, or should be buying any more plants. New Horizon was also prime suspect in my garden crimes, will be trying something else this year. Lovely iris, good strong finish!

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  9. Very exciting to see the amphibious inhabitants of your pond. I admire your commitment; not sure I could persuade myself to venture out in the colddark with a flashlight, no matter the inducement. The markings on the petal of your iris are so lovely. Thank you for sharing.

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  10. Hi Graeme, I like your approach to gardening – do a bit when you can and then you look back on the week and see you’ve achieved allot. I loved hearing about your frogs and newts and new pond plants – what did you choose? Your snowdrops will get better as they expand and you plant more but without you they wouldn’t be there at all. I love that about gardening.

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