Six on Saturday (1 April 2023)

Enough of the wet and wind already! The photos for this Six on Saturday were mainly taken early Thursday evening during a brief respite from the rain. Plant supports/sparrow perches were then hastily deployed in readiness for the strong winds that were expected on Friday. As I write this (Friday evening, soon after eating a melted cheese on savoury hot cross bun toasted in the oven) things seem to have calmed down a little and thankfully most plants are still standing. Despite the gloom, the sweet peas that were sown a few weekends ago have begun to come up. I must sow some more seeds soon. And then there’s the front garden to tidy, the new fence to paint, the swing seat to uncover and possibly oil, and the overwintered dahlia tubers to inspect and re-pot. Hopefully the lighter evenings will provide more of an opportunity to get things done… if the weather improves. Anyway, let’s get on with it.

1. We start with Tulips, possibly ‘Apricona,’ which have returned for a second spring.

2. Continuing the Tulip theme is Tulipa sylvestris, the wild native tulip. This has returned for a third spring and has become a favourite with it’s curving stems and vibrant yellow flowers. These are poised, ready to open. I planted another bag of them back in November.

3. Growing in front of the Tulipa sylvestris are the Grape Hyacinths. I have some mixed varieties out in the front garden, one of which is pretty hideous, but the traditional variety are my personal faves.

4. Next up, Loropetalum chinense ‘Black Pearl.’ I suspect this will be featuring again in a week or so. These flowers are lurking around the side of the half standard shrub of dubious hardiness. It has made it through its first winter (down to -6 and wrapped with fleece when I remembered). I can’t get close enough to these to check whether they’re fragrant or not. It’s the dark ‘dry’ leaves though that I like the most. It’s made me think I need to add some more dark foliage somewhere.

5. Hang on a minute. I already have. Two Ranunculus ficaria ‘Brazen Hussey’ were acquired back in the spring of 2022 after seeing it featured in one of the Propagator’s Six on Saturdays. I moved this one several weeks ago when I was redoing the path. Where the second plant is I have no idea. I hope it turns up.

6. And finally… Narcissi. Working clockwise from the top left… ‘Part of that free Narcissi mix from J. Parker’s,’ ‘Charming Lady’ (which has returned for a second year and is described by Sarah Raven as having a “delicious stephanotis perfume”… one must assume she was stood next to an actual Stephanotis plant at the time as it has zero fragrance as far as I can tell), diminutive ‘Minnow’ and ‘Jetfire’ which has now developed its whooshy petals.

They were my Six on Saturday, a meme originally started by The Propagator. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, head over to the blog of the current Six on Saturday host, Jim.


Six on Saturday (25 March 2023)

Back in early March I seem to remember wishing for rain. Not heavy almost-every-day rain accompanied by blustery winds. Just some nice gentle H20 at night and sun and blue skies during the day. Alas, there rarely seems to be a happy in between when it comes to the weather lately. Still, last weekend I finally managed to get some seeds sown (only the Sweet Peas so far) and attacked the rather large ‘dwarf’ Eucalyptus gunnii ‘France Bleu’ (it won’t be featuring in any photos until it looks a little more picturesque). There was also time to do a spot of bargain plant shopping, which leads us reasonably swiftly to my first Six on Saturday…

1. I thought my quest for the perfect orange Rose was over last year, but ‘Simply the Best’ turned out to be more yellow than orange. I spotted a bare rooted ‘Joro’ on Poundland’s website and decided to pop into the store in town on Saturday to see if I could save myself some postage. They had one left; surely a sign? As it was only £2 I won’t be too disgruntled if it doesn’t survive.

2. Walking past the Country Market shop a little later I spotted this little fellow: Narcissus ‘Tête Bouclé.’ Having made such a saving on a bargain orange Rose t’would have been madness not to purchase it. What was that? Is that ‘Jetfire’ behind it? Err, yes. Another purchase from the same shop a month earlier. They’ve just come into flower.

3. Behold, a tray of Violas purchased at Hestercombe Gardens on a surprisingly sunny, rain-free Sunday. Though the planting schemes at Hestercombe rarely change, the whereabouts of the shop and café tend to alter on a regular basis for some reason. This time they’d moved the plant stall, causing a brief moment of panic. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to plonk these in the ground this weekend, although it’s not looking very promising out there at the moment.

4. Right, that’s the new plant purchases out of the way. Next up we have Hyacinths. They’re doing rather well this year, although the stripy pink lot required some support after all the rain and the slightly spindly dark pink lot (supposedly ‘Woodstock’) could do with planting in the ground once they’ve finished flowering.

5. They look rather good reflected in this small garden mirror that’s creating the illusion of a view through the fence. I’m pondering painting the frame white to match a garden mirror that hangs on the other fence.

6. And finally… The Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ has gone ka-bloom!

They were my Six on Saturday, a meme originally started by The Propagator. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, head over to the blog of the current Six on Saturday host, Jim.

Six on Saturday (18 March 2023)

While the rain we’ve had lately has been much needed, it hasn’t really inspired me to get out and do anything gardeny. But during a brief respite from the damp on Friday I felt suitably motivated to sort through numerous packets of seeds, working out what to grow this summer and what to get shot of. I’ve still kept far too many and I suspect a second ‘weeding’ session may be required, but perhaps now I may finally get around to sowing some, weather permitting. Friday was also spent cutting the front lawn (the first mow of the year), pulling up Cosmos and Zinnia skeletons, and searching for six photos to share for Six on Saturday.

1. We start with a Primrose and, rather miraculously, a mostly unnibbled one. Some others aren’t faring quite so well.

2. Growing above the Primrose is the half standard Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai.’ A few flowers have begun to emerge. It was originally planted with the intention of screening off the view of the houses behind the garden but I hadn’t realised it was such a slow grower. Every so often I’m tempted to move it and plant something taller, but I’ve decided to view this as a lesson in patience. It’s staying put.

3. Narcissus ‘Jetfire’ has begun to open. Possibly one of my favourites, it has yet to do its swept back ‘whooshy’ petally thing. I’ve bought a few more recently, in a pot, that will get planted later in the year.

4. More daffs up next, tall ones. I usually steer clear of tall daffodils fearing they’ll get flattened in the wind, but these must have been in the free bag of mixed Narcissus from J. Parkers that I planted back in November. They’ve survived the blustery weather we had earlier in the week and are looking rather nice in the border behind the garden bench. It’ll be interesting to see what other varieties appear.

5. The Aubrieta that was plonked in the new mini raised ‘water feature’ bed has begun to flower. Fingers crossed it survives longer than another one that was planted a few years ago.

6. And finally… a photograph that took me ages to take. Returning for a third year, I really should have planted Hellebore ‘Single white blotched’ in a more accessible spot rather than at the back of a border, perilously close to the wildlife pond with trip hazards aplenty. When I eventually got to it there wasn’t enough space to get down to flower level so there was a lot of holding the camera at funny angles and hoping for the best shooting. This was the best of the bunch.

They were my Six on Saturday, a meme originally started by The Propagator. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, head over to the blog of the current Six on Saturday host, Jim.

Six on Saturday (11 March 2023)

Well that was a fun week. As a Meteorological spring kind of guy it’s been rather tricky trying to ignore the wintry conditions out there and pretend spring has properly sprung. And that leads me swiftly to my first Six on Saturday…

1. Snow. Not a lot, although you don’t need much for things to grind to a halt these days (but I’ll spare you a “now when I was a lad” lecture). This photo was taken first thing Wednesday morning. Some more fell later but it had pretty much cleared by the end of the day. Compared to what they had up north later in the week this was but a very light dusting.

2. Last week I showed off a new Hellebore. Another one has arrived. Behold ‘Single primrose shades.’ In my defense I was ordering a white and red variety as a Mother’s Day gift for my mum and I’m rather baffled how this late winter/early spring nodding flowering beauty ended up on my doorstep. This is definitely the last plant purchase of the year. Well, the last online plant purchase anyway. Alas, one stem got snapped off in the snow; it’s now adding some indoor cheer.

3. Last summer my Roses were a bit of a failure. Some went to look decidedly ropey and flowers were few and far between. Fingers crossed they do better this year. ‘Chandos Beauty’ got moved to a new spot back in November and is sporting lots of fresh new foliage.

4. Now I’ve been umming and ahing about getting an outdoor clock for a while now. After scratching my watch on some terracotta pots the other year, I tend to remove it before doing any gardening these days to avoid any further damage. As a consequence I often loose track of the time, which isn’t good if I’ve been left in charge of getting the tea ready. Tucked out of the way in the newly refreshed seating area, I now have an outdoor (hopefully weatherproof) timepiece to refer to.

5. Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign,’ growing in a shady spot near the conservatory, has begun to flower. I think I’ve spotted a flower on ‘Sissinghurst White’ but have yet to venture deep into the border to investigate.

6. And finally… a Narcissus, possibly ‘Martinette.’ It’s had to be propped up a little after taking a bashing from the wind on Friday morning. As I type this I’ve just realised I forgot to check out whether it’s fragrant. I’ll have to remedy that later.

They were my Six on Saturday, a meme originally started by The Propagator. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, head over to the blog of the current Six on Saturday host, Jim.

Six on Saturday (4 March 2023)

Brrrrrr. And it’s set to get even more brrrrr early next week. Meteorological spring may have sprung but the garden seems to have stalled somewhat as many plants that were on the cusp of flowering (good word ‘cusp’) have thought better of it for now. Anyway, time for Six on Saturday.

1. The delivery of gravel I was waiting for last Saturday arrived just as I’d started eating some warmed up leftover macaroni cheese at 12.25pm. As feared, there was nowhere near enough, despite adding a few extra paving stones to the path to try and eke it out a bit. Feeling like I had to finish the job that very afternoon, I nipped to the garden centre and ended up buying the same quantity of gravel again, this time loading it into the little Suzuki, ignoring how alarmingly weighed down the back of the car looked. The gravel is still a little thin in places but it will do for now. The removable brick edging along the path and around the lawn has been raised to prevent the borders spilling over and hopefully the larger pebble-like gravel won’t get trampled into the lawn as easily as the old chippings.

2. The following day I decided to smash up the basin of the crumbling cement and stone bird bath and use the rubble, together with some other bits of old hardcore gathered from the garden over the years, to hide the water reservoir/pot of the solar powered water feature. The dry stone wall (filled with gravelly soil dug from the path to create a small raised bed) is rather precarious and I fear the neighbour’s cat may send it tumbling. Time will tell.

3. This Saxifraga ‘Pink Heart’ has been planted next to the water feature, together with an Aubrieta and another alpine, Erodium i’vealreadymislaidthelabelus. I tend to treat Saxifraga as annuals as they never survive here, although perhaps the improved drainage will suit it better.

4. Now this was a pleasant surprise. A returnee from a pack of mixed Wilko Iris reticulata that someone identified as ‘Clairette’ last year. Growing near a rock I put bird seed out on, miraculously it hasn’t been flattened by the wood pigeons.

5. The Irises seem to be lasting a lot longer in the cold weather, which is an upside I guess. However, they aren’t the main focus of this photo. Well, they’re not meant to be. The tulips have emerged! I suspect they might be ‘Violet Beauty.’

6. And finally… I’ve been pondering getting a yellow Hellebore for a while now and found myself ordering this one earlier in the week. It arrived within a few days. One of those less bashful Hellebores that hold their flowers up, it has a very Catchphrasey ‘say what you see’ kind of name: Helleborus x hybridus (Ashwood Evolution Group) ‘Yellow with golden nectaries and red flush’.

They were my Six on Saturday, a meme originally started by The Propagator. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, head over to the blog of the current Six on Saturday host, Jim.

Six on Saturday (25 February 2023)

I’m expecting a delivery of gravel today to help spruce up the path. What time will it arrive? Will there be too much? Will there be too little? Who knows. What I do know though is that I’m going to have to stay in and forego my ritual Saturday morning black coffee and slice of cake in town. <Sighs> Ah well, time for Six on Saturday.

1. Looking back at posts from February 2022 it’s apparent that the garden is a few weeks behind compared to last year. Not surprising given the prolonged cold spells we’ve had and it’s probably how things should be really. Back in 2022 some of the ‘Tête-à-tête’ daffs were out by the 5 February, which seemed ridiculously early. They’ve been more leisurely this year.

2. On the 5 February 2022 the first aphids were spotted, merrily reproducing on the Sambucus nigra ‘Golden Tower.’ They’re a bit later this time and have opted for the Helleborus niger, which has finally got into its flowery stride. Planted last month, it’s also proving popular with the bees.

3. Another Hellebore up next. Rodney Davey Marbled Group ‘Reanna’s Ruby’ was purchased back in 2021. Last year it did nothing and there were dark mutterings of the ‘you’d better buck your ideas up or else’ kind. They seem to have worked.

4. Now cast your mind back to the end of December and the new squirrel proof bird feeder that was proving to be bird proof as well. It took a few weeks but the sparrows have finally cracked it. Well, some of them have, and there’s been no sign of a squirrel for ages.

5. Now this is exciting. The Loropetalum chinense ‘Black Pearl’ has flower buds. Lots of them. It’s looking the picture of health (unlike the Bay tree which is rather scorched of leaf in places). In theory, the flowers are fragrant. I hope so.

6. And to end… a clump of Iris reticulata. Possibly ‘Pixie Gordon.’

They were my Six on Saturday, a meme originally started by The Propagator. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, head over to the blog of the current Six on Saturday host, Jim. Feel free to predict a delivery time for the gravel in the comments section below. I’m going to go for 10am. Hmm, that would still give me time to nip into town for coffee and cake…

Six on Saturday (18 February 2023)

All of a sudden there are flowers, and just enough for a full-on flower themed Six on Saturday. It came as something of a surprise as earlier in the week there seemed to be very little going on at all and I was doubtful I’d find anything floral other than Snowdrops and the Winter Honeysuckle. However, it appears the garden is beginning to wake up.

1. We start with Crocuses. The purple kind, although it looks like there’s a rogue yellow one in this clump growing near the wildlife pond.

2. On the opposite side of the garden is the Viburnum, grown from a cutting my wife took of a shrub in the tiny back yard of our old rented house, over 10 years ago. It finally seems to have perfected the whole flowery thing this winter and has started producing another mini flush of fragrant blooms which look rather nice against the fresh new foliage.

3. Nearby, the Snowdrops from the former Ancestral Home have finally opened.

4. Next up, Iris reticulata ‘Alida,’ which I very nearly missed as it was hidden amongst some Allium foliage. I’m hoping more will appear over the next week or so. Thankfully the slugs and snails haven’t found it yet.

5. I used to be rather anti-Hellebore, finding the flowers disturbingly out of proportion to the rest of the plant. However, I was won over by Helleborus liguricus back in 2021 and even ended up acquiring a few more varieties. I seem to remember it’s meant to be fragrant; I’ll have to try and get down to flower level later today and have a sniff.

6. And finally… some non-flattened white Crocus. It appears both myself and Mrs OMAHGT have been guilty of squashing them whilst walking around the washing line (and I don’t think the odd stampede of wood pigeons have helped either). Planting them in a tiny lawn occupied by a washing line was a foolhardy idea. I should have planted them in the large and less trampled upon front lawn instead.

They were my Six on Saturday, a meme originally started by The Propagator. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, head over to the blog of the current Six on Saturday host, Jim. Right, I’m going to head out into the blowy outdoors to see if that was a frog I just spotted in the pond. Could there soon be frogspawn? I hope so.

Six on Saturday: a catch up one (11 February 2023)

Right. Let’s see if I can remember how to do this Six on Saturday blogging thing. Yes, I have returned. I said I would. The first set of exams for this year have been sat (one was horrid, the other slightly less so) and after reaching the point of brain frazzleage earlier this week, it’s a relief to be done with them. However, despite taking a short break from blogging, I still found myself wandering around the garden during revision breaks, photographing six garden related things each week. As this blog has become a useful record of what was doing what when, I figure I should fill in the missing 5 weeks…

1. We start with the 7 January and the first of the flowers of the Coronilla in the front garden, rose hips on the ‘Little Rambler’ rose, the remaining flowerheads of a Hydrangea, some emerging bulbs, fragrant Winter Honeysuckle flowers and a slightly nibbled Viola.

2. Back on the 14 January Clematis ‘Freckles’ was doing its full-on fluffy seedhead thing (and still is), the first Snowdrop and Hellebore looked like they were about to flower (until the cold weather returned and put them into suspended animation), Sambucus leaf buds were forming nicely and Euonymus ‘Kathy’ was providing some variegated evergreen interest.

3. By the 21 January the first of the sweetly scented Sarcococca flowers were beginning to open, Hydrangea leaf buds were looking surprising advanced, a new Kalanchoe was adding some indoor cheer, an Allium seedhead had become ensnared in the Weigela, the Iberis sempervirens was thinking of blooming and the Winter Honeysuckle was still going strong.

4. On the 28 January the House Sparrows were keeping a wary eye on me, metal mushrooms were doing their rusty iron-worky thing, Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ was still flowering, an old Hellebore was looking quite promising bud-wise, a newly planted Hellebore was providing some instant floral gratification, and that Snowdrop from a few weeks back still hadn’t opened.

5. Alas, quite a few Cyclamen coum appear to have gone AWOL, possibly casualties of the new fence back in November. However, come the 4 February one of the survivors had finally produced a photo-worthy flower. The Winter Honeysuckle was still blooming away, that Snowdrop had finally ‘dropped,’ the Crocus in the lawn were looking quite promising and a flower bud on the dark red Hellebore was on the cusp of opening. Rather unexpectedly, I found myself acquiring a cast iron bird bath after the old concrete one disintegrated overnight, presumably due to the prolonged cold.

6. And that brings us up to date. After a few sunny days earlier in the week, a clump of Snowdrops from the former Ancestral Home have shot up. More of the Sarcococca flowers have opened and are doing their size defying wafty-fragrance trick. The daft Crocus flowers that looked so promising last week now resemble little Crocus corpses (I feel I should draw chalk outlines around them). Self seeders are appearing here and there (I suspect these may be Honesty) and Loropetalum chinense ‘Black Pearl’ has thankfully survived a few nights at -5 degrees Celcius without any protection.

Yet it’s the Winter Honeysuckle that continues to be the star of the garden. It has been flowering for a few months now and appears to have reached something of a floral crescendo which is going down well with honeybees and the odd large bumblebee.

They were my Six on Saturday, a meme originally started by The Propagator. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, head over to the blog of the current Six on Saturday host, Jim. Talking of memes, I’d always thought ‘meme’ was pronounced ‘me-me’ until my sister corrected me the other month, guffawing at my total lack of street cred. It was a tad embarrassing.

Six on Saturday: hopeful signs (31 December 2022)

At this time of year the garden can sometimes seem a rather dreary place, especially after endless days of rain. Although we’ve made it past the shortest day spring seems a long way off. The borders are sodden and bare, the gravel path has become both muddy and puddly and let’s not mention the lawn. Actually, no. Let’s mention the lawn because, despite resembling something of a quagmire in places, there are hopeful signs of brighter and more colourful things to come.

1. Behold… some of the Crocus that were planted in the lawn a few winters ago have begun to emerge.

2. And while it’ll be a little while until the Crocus go all floral, the first of the flower buds on the Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ have begun to open.

3. Over near the bird feeding station there are more signs of hopeful stirrings. After a slightly disappointing performance flower-wise last spring I’m hoping the Hellebores will put on a better show in 2023.

4. Talking of the bird feeder station, I purchased a new ‘squirrel proof’ feeder yesterday after growing weary of two grey squirrels polishing off the sunflower hearts. Alas, the sparrows aren’t impressed and have given it a wide berth so far. Hopefully they’ll brave it in time. And the squirrels? Annoyingly, they haven’t visited since it was put up, depriving me of any opportunity to (hopefully) gloat.

5. While squirrels can be a nuisance, they can also be irritatingly cute at times. However, they’re not as cute as a felted mouse tucked up in a walnut shell with a stocking. Yes, it’s another new Christmas tree decoration.

6. And finally… the Violas seem to be doing okay so far, with no sign of the black spot-like disease that a batch suffered from a few winters ago. I may have mentioned this before but Violas are my most favourite of plants, especially during gloomy winter days.

They were my Six on Saturday, a meme originally started by The Propagator. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, head over to the blog of the current Six on Saturday host, Jim.

I’m probably going to be taking a short break from Six on Saturday blogging to focus on studying and exam revision during January. However, I’ll still be stopping by and enjoying SoS posts and I’ll definitely be back in the second week of February. In the meantime, all the very best for the New Year.

Six on Saturday (24 December 2022)

A brisk Christmas Eve Six on Saturday before I head off to North Wales…

1. First up, Euonymus japonicus ‘Bravo’ doing its all year round variegated evergreeny thing.

2. Clematis ‘Freckles’ is still adding some interest, this time with fluffy, tassel-like seedheads.

3. Another variegated evergreen up next. A new addition to the garden in spring, the Photinia × fraseri ‘Louise’ tree is sporting new, bright red buds. I was always a bit anti-Photinia (I don’t really know why) but so far so good, I think.

4. Every summer I intend to chop a few stems of Honesty to dry indoors for a display of pristine silvery paper disks but never do. I tried it this year and ended up with sticky, aphid infested green seed pods that were thrown out after a few weeks. I’ll have to make do with these slightly battered lot outdoors instead.

5. The Cotoneaster that featured a few weeks ago is now bare of leaf but still sporting most of its berries. It looks rather festive but not as festive as my last SoS…

6. A new decoration has been added to the artificial Christmas Tree. Meet Little Sausage Dog who has joined a rather varied collection of festive ornaments, some of which featured this time last year.

They were my Six on Saturday, a meme originally started by The Propagator. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, head over to the blog of the current Six on Saturday host, Jim. Right, I’d better be going. Happy Christmas everyone.