Six on Saturday (13 February 2021)

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


47 thoughts on “Six on Saturday (13 February 2021)

  1. Aargh, you put me to shame with your pro fleece installation: I forgot to protect my little bay…I will let you know if it makes it (we were down to minus 11 here). Looks like you’ve got some interesting gardening books there, great for a cold winter’s day. I love the colour on the viola.

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  2. You have a star of a hellebore there, just the thing to have received for Valentine’s day! Gardening books are always an interesting reason to settle down and have a good read.

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  3. I’ve been thinking of getting both those books! (My book habit is almost as bad as my plant habit). I have to bring my bay tree in every winter but always wonder….may be time to take a few cuttings to test hardiness. And i really would like a standard bay or 2….

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  4. A headlight! What a good idea, it’d be perfect for my evening slug killing forays. All our violas were wiped out by the same black spot, as they have been the last few years. They’ve been so good in the past too.

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  5. I will sow my Morning Glory seeds once I have replenished my stock of compost. I will venture out to B&Q once my 3 weeks have elapsed since my first jab, still with face mask, rubber gloves and hand sanitiser. I brought my bay trees into the garage last weekend since the large polythene bags covering them were only thin. Pretty Six-on-Saturday again.

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  6. Those Hellebores are a little more-ish aren’t they? I have a hat with a light on. Amusingly it has a red one on the back too. It came free along (along with a knife) with some waterproofs I ordered from a fishing outlet!

    The seedlings are looking good, as are the Violas.

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  7. Love the colour book! I have just been reading through some of my book collection, some of which I have had for nearly 40 years. I’d like a yellow hellebore too, but they are expensive. I bought seeds a couple of years ago, some fancy ones and some mixed and some white. The fancy ones mostly didn’t germinate because it rained so hard that I think most of the seed washed out. Should have constructed some kind of cold frame. And of course you have to wait about five years before they actually flower! Patience is a gardener… oh, and my bay seems pretty hardy, I know we don’t usually get minus temps here, but we have this week, and in 2018, and it survived fine.

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  8. Great idea with the insulated pipe protector for the bay tree. I usually bandage the trunks of mine as in the past I’ve lost a couple to frost, but I think I’ll try your method this winter.

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  9. It’s a weird feeling being in the zoom waiting room and wondering if you’ll be allowed in isn’t it? I have Nick’s book and got to meet him last March just before lockdown when he spoke to our club. I do like that book as it has some good ideas and celebrates some plants that are otherwise overlooked.

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  10. While you are protecting your trees from the cold, we’re protecting ours from fruit sucking moths! Our trees are not a pretty sight either, being covered with exclusion nets! Hope your tree survives the cold. Both of the books look interesting, particularly the one on cuttings. You have some good reading material there. The Hellebore is beautiful.

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  11. Wow, the hellebore is amazing. I so want one or even two for my garden. I have searched for seeds, just placed an online order with a Portuguese company, and nothing. Trouble with lockdown is that the big commercial garden centres are in a different municipality, plus they are In COVID hotspots, so unless travel is urgent we stay at home. I guess the police would not understand my need for a hellebore 🙂

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