Six on Saturday (15 January 2022)

The garden designers of yesteryear

Had never had to reason

Just where to hang out sodden clothes

In their vast expansive Edens.

‘Capability’ Brown et al had had it rather easy,

The thought of accommodating laundered smalls

Would probably have made ’em queasy.

One Man and His Garden Trowel

My nemesis, the rotary washing line, was the cause of some discord the other week. The whole garden is designed around the washing line to ensure unobstructed laundry drying. However, it appears that a mini quarter standard rose was planted a little too close, resulting in an incident whereby a sheet became repeatedly snagged on its thorns. There was damage, but thankfully not to the rose, which has since been pruned back a little. Now in my defense, it was blowing a gale at the time, but perhaps I should have factored in stormy sheet billowage (oh the joy of hindsight). The washing line is also indirectly responsible for my first Six on Saturday…

1. The sorry state of the lawn. There are some stepping stones across it to avoid setting foot on all the monocotyledons, but alas, the location of the pesky rotary washing line (slap bang in the middle of the circular lawn) often requires the large footed gardener to go cross country when damp garments are hung out to dry. Fine in the summer. Not so good at this time of the year when the lawn is decidedly squelchy. Miraculously some of the Crocus that were planted in it back in the autumn of 2020 have survived and come up again, although I suspect most will be stood on before the spring.

2. And there are more and more signs of bulby life to be found elsewhere in the garden. It’s rather cheering.

3. As is this new indoor addition: Primula obconica ‘Morrisons.’

4. Next up, a Christmas present. A wealth of information on all things pesky to plants, this is proving to be an interesting read, although it’s probably not a book to peruse when eating your tea or before heading to bed (some of the pictures of garden pests are a bit too up close and personal for my sensitive disposition).

5. This close-up won’t be putting me off my tea or causing nightmares though. Bolt has weathered nicely since he was acquire a few years ago.

6. And finally… a Viola, possibly the most cheerful plant you’ll find in the garden at this time of year.

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.

Six on Saturday (8 January 2022)

A blink and you’ll possibly miss it Six on Saturday today. And we’re diving straight in with…

1. The fragrant flowers of a Coronilla that are adding some cheer during the winter gloom. This is the paler yellow variety (subsp. glauca ‘Citrina’) that’s usually sold as a climber. What was that? Didn’t you show us this back in November? I did, and I suspect you’ll be seeing it again over the next few months.

2. Planted last September, these Cyclamen coum have been smothered by Foxgloves and were completely forgotten about until recently. Rounder of leaf than the Cyclamen hederifolium (although it took me a while to figure this out) the Foxgloves will be moved to another spot in the not so distant future. I’m hoping I haven’t missed the flowering stage.

3. Despite a very brief cold snap (still no frost mind you) it’s been a very mild winter so far down here. Quite a few plants have jumped the gun, including ‘Miss Belgium’ who was still sporting her old foliage until fairly recently. If frost doesn’t get these new leaves then the secateurs will come the spring.

4. It’s not the only plant that’s a little early. I’m assuming this is a Narcissi of some kind.

5. Next up, rose hips. I’ve taken a photograph of these most weeks but end up swapping them for something else at the last minute. Not this week.

6. And finally… another fragrant flowerer. The Lonicera fragrantissima is in full bloom and has been visited by the odd bee of late. I think that’s a tiny fly on the flower on the right.

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.

Six on Saturday (1 January 2022)

Will the relentlessly mild and miserable damp weather never end? Oh for some blue sky and winter sunshine to relieve the monotonous grey squelchfest of the past week or so. Oh for the chilly, sub-zero nights of this time last year to create some photogenic sparkly frost-tinged foliage to include in a Six on Saturday. Oh for… What was that? “And Happy New Year to you too?” Err… apologies. Happy New Year. On a more positive note, the days are getting longer (well, I assume they are, it’s been so dark and dank most days it’s rather hard to tell) and it’s the start of a new gardening year; time to start browsing the sites of online plant purveyors for seeds in readiness to sow this and that. Now there’s something to look forward to… and I’m sure all the slugs and snails that are enjoying this warm wet winter are thinking the same thing. Anyway, enough moaning. It’s time for Six on Saturday.

1. First up, a view of the garden in all it’s resplendent dreariness. However, there are a few ‘summer’ flowers to be found here and there, though just like the Christmas decorations once the festive season is over, they look a little sad somehow.

2. Like this Geranium sanguineum. Bloody Cranesbill, doesn’t it know what time of year it is?

3. The Lavender out the front also seems confused.

4. Rosa ‘Alec’s Red’ is still sporting the odd bloom.

5. As is Calendula ‘Snow Princess.’ She’s been flowering for months now and shows no sign of stopping.

6. Still, the Viburnum carlesii ‘Compactum’ has finally shed its leaves, festooning a nearby fern with its faded foliage. About time too.

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. Right, I’m off to make a cheese, Pastinaca sativa and Salvia officinalis roulade. Wish me luck with the rolling of the roulade stage.

Six on Saturday (25 December 2021)

A very brief, artificial Christmas tree themed Six on Saturday. Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and thanks for dropping by over the past year.

1. A glass Christmas tree in the bleak mid-winter.

2. What says Christmas more that a felted Westie wearing a red beret and scarf?

3. A Christmas sloth perhaps?

4. Next up, a knitted snowman.

5. Do reindeer really know how to fly? I like to think so.

6. And finally… a stained glass candle with holly.

Want to join in with Six on Saturday next year? Then take a look at the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday (18 December 2021)

A brisk Six on Saturday today without preamble/pre-ramble. We’re jumping straight in with…

1. The faded flowers of the Hydrangea ‘Miss Belgium.’ She seems to have put on quite a growth spurt this year and is doing a good impression of an evergreen.

2. Growing nearby is the Cotoneaster hortizontalis originally acquired as a seedling from the free nursery up in North Wales (my mum’s garden). The berries were polished off long ago but the leaves are adding a nice splash of colour.

3. While the stems of the Cotoneaster will soon be bare other deciduous shrubs, like this Sambucus nigra ‘Golden Tower,’ are already sporting the buds of next year’s foliage.

4. It’ll be another month or so until the dwarf Sweet Box (Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis) does its wafty scenty flowery thing. Yet this is a plant that provides interest all year round with evergreen foliage and berries that turn from crimson to purpley-black as the year progresses.

5. Next up, a winter pot. Planted last winter, the variegated Ivy, Fern somethingorotherus and a red Cyclamen are still going strong, although the latter is getting a little swamped by its companions.

6. And finally… Last week I casually mentioned a hideous watering can bauble that I’d purchased online and had banished to the back of the Christmas tree. While there were a few comments about the featured plants, there were far more requests to see the dubious decoration. Well, here it is in all it’s overly large, splodgily painted, glittery golden glory. Annoyingly, it looks marginally better in this photo than it does in reality, the camera failing to capture it’s true awfulness (although this is its best side). Attempts to convince me that it’s actually rather nice will be greeted with a “PAH!”

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. Have a very Merry Christmas.

Six on Saturday (11 December 2021)

Another week, another storm. Thankfully all the fences are still standing and the swing seat cover didn’t take flight. Now let’s see, what else has happened since last I wrote? Oh yes, those spur of the moment tulip bulbs I ordered weeks ago finally arrived on Wednesday together with a rather hideous watering can bauble (kudos to the photographer who somehow made it look rather charming in the catalogue). The decidedly dubious decoration will get hidden at the back of the Christmas tree, out of sight, out of mind, and the bulbs will get planted in a pot tomorrow. Talking of bulbs and pots…

1. I found this lurking behind a large terracotta pot last weekend. Initially I was stumped but I have a feeling these may be some Narcissus ‘Tête-à-tête’ that were purchased in bud to add some early indoor spring colour at the beginning of the year. I thought I’d planted them in one of the borders after they’d finished flowering. Apparently not.

2. Zinnia ‘Jazzy Mixture’ has proved to be surprisingly hassle free and low maintenance as far as Zinnias go. Two solitary flowers remain. I’ll miss them when they finish.

3. The strong winds have left the translucent silvery seed-heads of the Lunaria annua looking a little ragged in places. A biennial, it can get a little bit too enthusiastic with its self-seeding but is easy enough to pull up or move elsewhere.

4. Next up, Fuchsia ‘Army Nurse.’ It featured a while back but when a plant is still looking this good it seems a shame not to share it again.

5. Nearby, over in the patio border, there are a few Garlic Chive skeletons. I should probably collect some of the seed and have a go at sowing it next spring. It makes a rather lovely late summer flowering allium. Tasty too.

6. And finally… yes, it’s another Viola.

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.

Six on Saturday (4 December 2021)

How did we get to December so soon? I feel far less prepared for the whole Christmas thing this year than last. There are cards to write, the artificial tree and decorations to retrieve from the loft and presents to shop for. On the plus side though, the garden is pretty much ready for the winter. Last Sunday the swing seat was covered up and the folding garden bench put away in the shed (much to the dismay of the sparrows that perch on it while they await their turn to use the nearby bird feeder). The lawn was aerated, the Banksia Rose chopped back, dug up and given away (a spur of the moment thing – trying to grow it against a 5 foot fence was pure folly) and the borders were mulched. Apart from a pack of tulip bulbs to pot up (when they arrive) and a rose or two to prune, that’s pretty much it gardening-wise for a few months. Anyway, time for Six on Saturday.

1. Thankfully, Storm Arwen left the garden unscathed. The only casualties were the brown crispified flowerheads of the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise,’ most of which are now scattered here and there in the borders.

2. Talking of brown and crispy things, the other month I adorned the garden arch with an allium seedhead. Despite the strong winds such adornage has remained intact, as have the flowers of Clematis ‘Freckles.’

3. Continuing with the brown and crispy theme, the seedheads of the Caryopteris ‘Heavenly Blue’ are just as lovely as the flowers when you get up close to them. The shrub will get chopped right back come the spring.

4. There’s still some proper colour to be found in the garden though. The green leaves of this Hydrangea ‘Miss Belgium’ have become tinged with red around the edges.

5. And the Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) is about to burst into flower, providing a succession of fragrant blooms over the coming months as well as pollen for the odd brave bee.

6. And finally… A Viola. Last year they didn’t do very well, many succumbing to some leaf spot disease or other. I’m hoping they fare better this winter.

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.

Six on Saturday (27 November 2021)

Now the chore of bulb planting is over (well nearly, I ordered some more tulips earlier in the week; a special offer and t’would have been madness not to) I’ve almost finished putting the garden to bed for the winter. There’s just a spot of mulching to do, the folding garden bench to put away and the swing seat cover to deploy, although that might have to wait until a less wild and windy day. It’s blowing a gale out there. Thankfully, most of my Six on Saturday were taken earlier in the week when plants were less blurry.

1. First up… Pyracantha berries. Hang on. Where have they gone? I’ve not spotted a single blackbird in the garden for many a week so presumably they’ve been polishing them off while I’ve been at work.

2. There are still plenty of other berries to be found though. Back in July it was bye-bye standard buddleia and hello standard Ligustrum japonicum ‘Texanum’ (or Japanese/Waxleaf Privet). I felt strangely guilty at the time. A self seeded plant, I’d grown the Buddleia as a half standard shrub and kept it in check by pruning the branches right back each spring. Come late summer it could be a mass of blooms, visited by hummingbird hawk-moths and other nectar loving insects, including the odd butterfly… occasionally. However, the past few summers have been surprisingly breezy, snapping off stems before they could harden off, leaving the beleaguered Buddleia bare of both branch and bloom until much later in the summer. This year it was looking very sorry for itself indeed and a decision was made to replace it.

With flowers in early summer and berries in the autumn and winter, the evergreen Waxleaf Privet is proving to be a better shrub for my small garden. As for the butterflies, there are plenty of Buddleias growing nearby and a small Buddleia ‘Buzz’ in a pot for them to enjoy.

3. Up next is the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise.’ I have a feeling a few of the brown, crispified flowers will be found scattered around the garden later today.

4. Like the Hydrangea, the Sedums are also helping to provide some nice structure in the garden and will continue to do so until they get chopped back in early spring.

5. In early November 2019 I dug up an overly large Prunus cerasifera ‘Hessei’ and replaced it with an allegedly small Eucalyptus gunnii France Bleu. It’s grown quite a bit in the two years since it went in (I’m trying not to worry) but will be pruned annually to keep it reasonably compact and bushy and to produce vibrant fresh foliage.

6. And finally… It’s the return of the Hesperantha coccinea. It first flowered at the beginning of October but is blooming again. I hope it hasn’t been flattened by the wind.

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.

Six on Saturday (20 November 2021)

November is racing by and winter is fast approaching, although you wouldn’t really know it weather-wise. Last Saturday I donned my serious gardening get-up (torn trousers and ancient fleece) and set to work tackling those tasks that needed doing before bulb planting could finally commence. The Dahlias were dug up, a few phloxes were split and moved and most of the Zinnias were got shot of. Preparation complete, it was time to tackle my first Six on Saturday…

1. I thought I’d purchased far fewer bulbs this autumn but after checking an SoS from around this time last year I’m not so sure. Sunday was spent planting those that were going in the ground (including Narcissi, Crocuses and several varieties of supposedly perennial Tulips). I adopted a new method this year: the dig-the-holes-plonk-the-bulbs-in-leave-uncovered-until-all-other-bulbs-are-in-to-avoid-digging-them-all-up-mere-moments-later-when-planting-the-rest method. As dusk fell the first stage of bulb planting was completed, although by the time I’d got to the Crocus bulbs I’d adopted the usual scrape-a-shallow-ditch-and-throw-the-sodding-things-in-any-old-how method.

2. The rest of the bulbs are going in pots, hopefully a far less onerous task. Fingers crossed they’ll all be planted by Sunday, including these dwarf iris that were purchased last autumn, put in a draw for safe keeping and completely forgotten about until the summer.

3. To finish off the pots and provide some winter colour I need to acquire a few ‘essentials’ from the Plant Man in town this morning. Last weekend I bought this fragrant Cyclamen. I suspect some more will be joining it later.

4. While most of the Zinnias have been pulled up there are still a few blooming away, including these diminutive ‘Jazzy.’ They seem far tougher than the other Zinnias and will be grown again next year.

5. As will Calendula ‘Snow Princess.’ I must try and save myself a few quid and collect some seed.

6. And finally… An evergreen dangly winter flowering Clematis. I’m rubbish with Clematis as 8 out of 10 Clematis would tell you if they hadn’t joined that great big compost heap in the sky. However, there are two varieties that have survived. The first? An indestructible Montana. The second? This Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurascens ‘Freckles’ that’s growing up the garden arch that was installed last summer. It has reached the top already and is now headed down the other side. Apparently it appreciates shelter from strong, cold winds but it’s proving to be a pretty rampant variety (possibly the only kind I can grow).

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.

Six on Saturday (13 November 2021)

Let’s cut to the chase. I didn’t plant any bulbs last weekend. In fact, I ended up accidentally digging some up. What was that? That’s the complete opposite of planting bulbs? Quite. Unfortunately, two other garden related jobs ended up taking up far longer than anticipated. The first was a last minute, spur of the moment thing: digging up a Jasminum beesianum. More rampant than the Jasminum officinale (both of which were already growing in the garden when the house was purchased back in 2012) it was getting silly. Despite a severe chopping earlier in the year it was as tall and entwined as ever. It was time for it to go. I started enthusiastically enough, but over the course of 2 and a half hours (admittedly only marginally longer than it took me to figure out how to turn my laptop off after switching to Windows 11) enthusiasm was gradually replaced by regret at having started the task, soon followed by despair, bargainings with any potential deities that would listen and lots of dark mutterings. However, the surprisingly substantial stump and roots were dug up in the end. And the second job? Well, that leads me to my first Six on Saturday.

1. As soon as I’d put in the small pre-formed pond 5 or so years ago I wished I’d gone for something larger. This year it got rather swamped by neighbouring plants and the decision was made to expand it. The liner and protective fleece arrived the other week and I set about emptying and pulling out the pre-formed pond, a task made more complicated upon discovering overwintering tadpoles (rather a surprise but apparently they can delay becoming frogs if they want to) and 4 hibernating frogs at the bottom of the pond (another surprise, for all concerned). Nearby plants (and bulbs) were dug up, the hole extended, lined, filled with water and the edges adjusted, readjusted and then adjusted again. The tadpoles seem happy enough and hopefully the frogs nodded off soon after they were returned to their new home. I have but one concern; whether the roots of nearby shrubs will extend towards the pond and damage the liner. Time will tell I guess.

2. Not all that far away is the Digitalis x ‘Foxlight Rose Ivory’ that first featured back in July. It’s still flowering.

3. But it hasn’t been flowering as long as the honey scented Alyssum.

4. Next up is Coreopsis ‘Bengal Tiger.’ Planted last year, it hasn’t done quite so well this time (I suspect due to swampage by other plants) but it’s going out with a roar. Well, a loud miaow. Okay, possibly just a purr.

5. When the Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Profusion’ was first featured in October the berries were just beginning to turn purple. I wasn’t sure I was going to be so keen when they went full-on purple but now that there’s less colour to be found in the garden I rather like them.

6. And finally… The sweetly scented Coronilla subsp. glauca ‘Citrina’ that grows in the back garden has started blooming and will go on blooming into April next year. No garden should be without one.

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.