Around this time last year the first of my outdoor daffodils had opened. Not this year. As daytime temperatures struggled to rise above freezing most days last week, things have stalled a little in the garden. Crocuses and irises that were about to bloom have thought better of it, the Sweet Box and Winter Honeysuckle have been bee free, and the frogs and newts that had emerged from hibernation have abandoned the small frozen pond. I’ve quite enjoyed this cold spell, it is February after all, but I got rather anxious when temperatures were predicted to fall to -5 one night. And that leads me to my first first Six on Saturday…
1. While the new Bay tree has shrugged off the subzero temperatures so far, it’s only classed as being ‘generally hardy’ to -5. Late on Wednesday evening I donned my beamy (a woolly hat with a built in LED light) and braved the cold to wrap up the Bay with some horticultural fleece. In a rare moment of genius I placed an insulated foam pipe protector around the trunk. It doesn’t look pretty but it’ll do.
2. My small collection of gardening books is gradually growing. This was received as a birthday present earlier in the month. I’ve only had a quick flick-through so far but it contains tips (and a few recipes) from loads of gardeners, including some green-fingered celebs such as Dame Helen Mirren, Julian Clary and Joanna Lumley.
3. Remember the first lot of seeds that were sown the other week? Well, the Morning Glory ‘Royal Ensign’ have germinated. There’s no sign of the white Black-eyed Susan yet.
4. Up next; a Viola. Several trays of these winter resilient plants were plonked in pots last autumn. Their cheerful floral faces usually help brighten up the patio during the winter and spring, but alas not this year. Most appear to have succumbed to some black spot-like fungal disease or other. Thankfully, a few have survived.
5. Another book, a Christmas present this time. Back in the autumn I ‘attended’ a Zoom talk by Nick Bailey on how to achieve all year round colour in your garden. His book was ordered post-haste. He’s doing a talk on planting schemes on Thursday that should be interesting. Hopefully I’ve cracked Zoom and won’t experience the same panicky heck-I’m-going-to-be-late-oh-blast-I-am-late log on issues as last time.
6. And finally… Yes, it’s a new Hellebore. One of two that arrived earlier in the week. It’s an Ashwood Garden Hybrid ‘Single white blotched.’ I vowed they would be my last plant orders of the year but I’ve spotted a yellow Hellebore that I’m trying my best to ignore.
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.