Six on Saturday (20 May 2023)

The mini-greenhouse has been fixed and operation ‘harden off seedlings’ has commenced. Some of the seedlings are doing well (the Marigolds, Clary Sage and Strawflowers). Others are doing less well (the Cosmos is remaining stubbornly spindly and the few Zinnias that have germinated appear to have stalled). There’s so much going in on the garden at the moment that it’s getting harder to select just six things for Six on Saturday. Tough decisions have had to be made but hopefully some of those that were dropped at the last minute will still be flowering next week. Anyway, let’s get on with it.

1. We start with a Philadelphus of extremely short stature. ‘Manteau d’Hermine’ has been flowering for a week or so now. It’s a lovely fragrant mock-orangey little thing.

2. Up next is Centaurea cyanas which has a tendency to take over a bit and needs pulling up from time to time. However, the flowers are stunning and the bees love them.

3. Back in November I purchased a pack of shade tolerant Alliums called ‘Cameleon.’ I was a bit puzzled by the name initially but now I get it! A few days ago these were all white but they’re gradually turning pink. A little bit Wild Garlicesque but hopefully not so spready.

4. I first noticed this plant in the garden last year but didn’t have a clue what it was other than it looked rather Geranium-like. I spotted it in someone’s SoS post a few weeks ago but naturally forgot to write down the name so have had to do a bit of googling (other search engines are available). I think it’s Geranium phaeum and it’s lovely. I just don’t remember ever buying one.

5. The surprisingly tall Aquilegia ‘Black Barlow’ has returned for a third year. It looks less dark and moody with the sun behind it.

6. And finally… The first of the Roses has begun to bloom. I wasn’t hopeful that the deliciously fragrant Rosa ‘Friesia’ would survive when it arrived as a poorly grafted quarter standard back in 2020. Now it’s one of the healthiest roses in the garden. I’ve yet to have any success taking cuttings from it though. I must have another go.

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. This may be my last full length Six on Saturday until after the 20 June. Exams are looming again and revision anxiety levels are beginning to rise. One day I think ‘yes I’m remembering stuff.’ The next day I can’t remember a thing. I think I’ve finally memorised some of the water plant names though. Stratiotes aloides, Aponogeton distachyos and (the worst of the worst) Hyrdocharis morsus-ranae (sounds like a Harry Potter spell). I’m struggling to remember Myosotis sylvatica though (I had to look it up just now to type it) – a bit ironic considering what its common name is.


Six on Saturday (13 May 2023)

It’s been a funny old week of triumphs and minor disasters. The triumphs? I managed to find room for two more 100 litre water butts in the garden, making a grand total six water-collecting vessels now, and just in time to make the most of the torrential rain we had this week. And on Friday I acquired a bargain Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ to help satisfy my current orange flowers thing. The minor disasters? When I was gleefully blasting the black aphids off the Sambucus with my water spray bottle (and getting a tad moist in the process as the wind was blowing in the wrong direction) the water-filled bottle fell off the nozzle and snapped a large stem off the Daphne beneath it.

On Wednesday evening, as dusk was falling, I went to close one of the sliding doors on the mini greenhouse after a successful search for slugs. What happened next is still a bit of a blur, but just as I started to pull the door shut I heard the sound of shattering glass and found myself staring, rather bemusedly, at a plastic door grip in my hand minus the glass. There had been a slight chip on the edge of the glass door for a year or so, but why it suddenly decided to disintegrate into a thousand pieces there and then I have no idea. I’ve taped up the gap with fleece for now, picked up as much of the glass as I can from the floor and surrounding gravel (my, what fun) and ordered a replacement door and handle. In the meantime, I’ve developed a mini-greenhouse-disintegrating-toughened-safety-glass phobia. Hmm, that’s turned into another overly long intro. Time for a brisk Six on Saturday…

1. Narcissus poeticus always takes me by surprise as it flowers so much later than the rest of the Narcissus/Narcissi/Narcissusses/Daffs (delete as appropriate). Despite all the rain of late, the slugs and snails have left most of them alone.

2. You may have noticed a few splotches of pink behind the Narcissus poeticus. Over the years the Red Campion has seeded itself around the garden a bit, mingling rather nicely with pretty much everything, including orange.

3. The flower buds of the Photinia × fraseri ‘Louise’ have opened, looking vaguely reminiscent of fluffy floral clouds against a blue sky.

4. Talking of fluffy, the powder blue flowers of the standard Ceanothus thyrsiflorus repens have opened.

5. As have the flowers of this Phlox subulata something-or-other. Unfortunately, they seem quite popular with the slimy plant assassins of the night.

6. And finally… Alliums of the ‘Purple Sensation’ variety. They’ve been dwindling in numbers over the years and I’d given up on them. However, they seem to have multiplied a bit this time which is a pleasant surprise.

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 (6 May 2023)

The new fence has been painted, the first batch of seedlings have been potted on and the Coronation bunting is up and looking a little soggy. All in all a rather productive week. As Mrs OMAHGT and I were painting the fence I began to have a rethink about getting another climbing rose or two. Rosa ‘New Dawn’ has bounced back after a severe pruning back in November and there were a few thorn related injuries as I tried to push back the stems to get to the fence. I also heard the odd ‘ouch’ from the other end of the garden as Mrs OMAHGT tackled the section of the fence behind the swing seat where I’d planted the ‘practically thornless’ climbing Rose ‘Waterloo’ back in December. Perhaps Clematis or Honeysuckle would be a better option? Anyway, time for Six on Saturday and it’s something of a pinky-blue theme today.

1. First up, ‘Mistress Mystic.’ I think Sarah Raven suggested these tolerated shadier situations and they seem to do just that. A number of them have returned for a second year and I added a few more in November.

2. Growing nearby is the Weigela florida ‘Variegata.’ I don’t think it’s ever been quite this floriferous before. I was talking to my mum about this shrub the other day. I knew she’d grown this one from a cutting taken from a plant at the former ancestral home/free nursery on Flint Mountain, North East Wales. However, it turns out that the shrub back there was grown from a cutting she’d taken from a plant in the garden of an earlier ancestral home, in Buckley, back in the early 1990s. And that Buckley plant had been raised from a cutting taken from an even earlier ancestral home at Llanfair D.C. (the first one I can remember) back in the late 1970s/early 1980s.

3. On the opposite side of the garden are the so-called ‘English Bluebells’ that I planted years ago. It soon became apparent they were a hybrid of the Spanish sort and despite my best efforts to remove them every year there are more than ever. Still, they’re mingling rather nicely with Tulipa ‘Ballerina.’ As soon as they’ve finished flowering I’ll deadhead them and pull up the foliage to provide the other plants some space. I’ve given up trying to dig up their small bulbs – it’s an impossible task.

4. While I was potting on the seedlings on the lawn yesterday evening I became aware of the heady scent of the Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin.’ The buds are just beginning to open but it only takes a few of these tiny flowers to do the wafty fragrance thing. Allegedly, there are other Lilacs of short stature that produce a second flush of flowers later in the summer. I’m tempted to seek one out, although I’m not sure where I’d put it.

5. Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Cherry Ingram’ is growing happily in the shady border (although not quite as happily as the Lamium maculatum ‘White Nancy,’ some of which has been pulled up and planted elsewhere). It has a very Forget-me-Notty flower.

6. And finally, the Clematis montana has begun to bloom. Despite my best efforts, it has somehow managed to make its way over or through the fence into the neighbour’s Pyracantha. I’ve been burying my nose in the flowers and enjoying their egg custard tart/nutmeg fragrance each time I walk past them.

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 (29 April 2023)

It’s been another mixed week weatherwise and decidedly chilly at times. Some more Cosmos has been sown (the RHS may no longer class slugs as pests but I beg to differ), the runner beans are up (my first time growing them) and some Strawflower seedlings could do with pricking out and potting on (I just need to create a bit of space in the mini greenhouse first). I was a lot later sowing anything this year, lacking my usual horticultural oomph for some reason. However, now that seedlings have emerged (something that never grows old) I’m feeling a bit more motivated. Whether I’ll feel quite so motivated once I start potting stuff on who knows. But enough preamble, ’tis time for Six on Saturday, and we start with…

1. A view of part of the garden. There’s a rather large Eucalyptus gunnii ‘France Bleu’ gap near the fence next to the shed. Having given the ‘dwarf’ Eucalyptus a severe pruning last month I pondered pollarding it so that the crown would begin below the top of the fence (rather than above it), providing a bit more privacy. Before I knew it, I’d chopped it down and dug it up. Truth be told I was never keen on the thing. Planted back in 2019 it didn’t seem to do much of anything for a few years and then last summer, rather suddenly, the trunk was surprising girthy and the branches increasingly towering-above-everythingy.

I bought it believing the hype that it would only reach an overall height of 2-2.5m. Last year I read an article that went something along the lines of “so far, indications suggest it will reach 3m in the medium term – we’ll let you know how it goes as trials continue…” Not very reassuring as it had already got to the 3m mark. While pruning it right back every so often would have ensured it remained suitably diminutive it would have rendered the thing rather pointless as a screening plant. So I’ve planted a Prunus lusitanica ‘Angustifolia’ in its place. True, that can get rather lofty if left to its own devices, but it can be pruned into a pleasing shape far more easily. I’m willing it to grow… fast.

2. Hmm, that first one went on rather. I’ll keep the rest of them snappy. Behold, Tulipa ‘Honky Tonk’ and ‘Peppermint Stick.’

3. Here’s Iberis sempervirens out in the front garden. It flowers for ages.

4. As does Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve,’ also out the front. It may well feature again.

5. The Box balls have that nice yellowy-green new growth thing going on at the moment. I’m keeping a close eye on these after Box Moths were spotted on them for the first time last autumn.

6. And finally… More Tulips. ‘Violet Beauty’ has begun to flower. I may try planting these in the borders once they’ve finished.

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 (15 April 2023)

Well, spring was nice while it lasted. The weather took a turn for the worse on Monday and has remained nasty, off and on, for much of the week.

Last weekend I finally managed to get most of the seeds sown (none of which have appeared at the time of writing this). That just leaves the packets of the scatter-and-hope-for-the-best lot to sow if I can find some soil that isn’t swamped by the foliage of Tulips and Narcissi. Talking of which…

1. Some of the earlier flowering Narcissi are starting to go over now. However, the paler varieties, most of which seem to flower later than the the yellow lot, are still going strong (apart from those that have been flattened by the wind and rain). On the left is a rather pretty variety that was in a free pack of mixed Narcissi from J Parker’s. On the right is ‘Sorbet’ which has flowered for ages.

2. Next up is Narcissus ‘Geranium,’ a deliciously fragrant variety that has returned for a second year. I must plant more of these come the autumn.

3. It’s not all Narcissi though. Oh no. The Tulips are managing to withstand the inclement weather. I think this one is ‘Burnt Sugar,’ planted back in 2020. I forgot to check out their scent when I took these photos.

4. Another Tulip planted back in 2020, ‘Green Dance’ appears to to be thriving in this spot. It’s an unusual looking thing. Sometimes I really like it. Other times I wonder why on earth I bought it.

5. I definitely like ‘World Friendship’ though. Tall yet surprisingly robust, it’s a lovely yellow.

6. And finally… Reading The Nostalgic Gardener’s SoS a few weeks ago I realised that my 10 year old Viburnum carlesii ‘Compactum’ was looking decidedly bare of both leaves and flower buds. Upon further investigation the flower buds (which tend to start forming in the autumn) had barely developed at all and newly emerging leaves had died. Chopping back a stem revealed a tiny bit of green, but it didn’t look hopeful. I’m not sure what went wrong: the drought last summer, the cold snaps during the winter, the deluge of rain? Who knows. When I dug it up the ground seemed very damp and cold. It’s not an easy shrub to find and even the nursery we bought it from originally (Triscombe Nurseries) no longer listed it on their website. However, undeterred, my wife gave them a ring and it turned out they had two left. We reserved one (hence the blue label) and headed off early last Saturday to collect it. It has been planted in a new spot and a Hydrangea has been moved to take the place of the deceased Viburnum. Order has been restored. A spring without these fragrant flowers just wouldn’t seem right somehow.

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. Hmm, it looks rather pleasant out there this morning. Sunny and calm. Perhaps spring has isn’t over after all.

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…