Six on Saturday

Not a particularly inspiring or glamorous opening picture I admit, but a bunch of Dahlia tubers washed, labelled and upside down drying off in the shed is all I managed in the torrential rain this week. A dirty job for a filthy day but at least that is one ticked off the list.

A few weeks ago, a local gardener called Dave Matthews contacted me via my blog to ask if he could take some scion wood from my Rose ‘Jude the Obscure’ for grafting purposes. I had no difficulty finding this rose 3 years ago but it it has apparently since disappeared from sale. Of course, I agreed, and this morning he came from Stroud to Cheltenham to take some prunings which he proposes to graft onto another modern rose (not wild rose rootstock) to propagate it. Watch this space!

Although I am trying to discourage the prolific self-seeder Centranthus ruber, commonly called Red Valerian, from the beds and borders, it is quite a useful plant for gravel margins and dry stone walls where it happily grows on fresh air. There is certainly no soil or nutrient for at least 30cm under the gravel so how it survives is a mystery. Still flowering in late November and showing no sign of giving up yet.

I encourage Ivy to clothe my boundary fences because of its value to wildlife. I always have at least one Robin’s nest and one Wren’s nest in the Spring, the flowers provide nectar for wasps and bees in Autumn, and now the pollinated berries will shortly provide food for hungry Blackbirds and Pigeons over the winter. One of the very best plants to have in the garden if you don’t listen to the myths!

The pastel pink shrub rose ‘Bonica’ which has flowered repeatedly since May and will continue as long as this mild weather lasts. Not the strongest scent nor the prettiest shape but recommended for it’s sheer flower power and persistence.

I have found that one of the best cottage garden hardy annuals which self seeds is Cerinthe major purpurascens or Honeywort. One plant, if left to seed, will produce hundreds of offspring which can be easily lifted and potted up rather than trodden on in the gravel path!

Well, that’s it for another Saturday.

Have a great weekend


10 thoughts on “Six on Saturday

  1. Thanks for some interesting comments, although you may be a little harsh on centranthus!! Not sure we’ve seen roses in England bloom until so late in the year. One positive aspect of the warmer seasons (assuming the phenomena persists!).

  2. I have a lot of gravel in my new garden & I like the idea of the centranthus seeding itself around, particularly as it’s also attractive to wildlife. I’ve always avoided ivy but maybe I need to think about it a go for the same reason.

  3. I think that ivy has its place, but is not for every situation. In Seattle, it was invasive and would cover large trees like Kudzu does in the US Southeast, crowding out native species. Here in Wisconsin, it gets too cold for ivy to be problematic.

    • It is certainly a controversial species and can be a problem in cultivation. However, it provides great habitat and food value for insects, birds and invertebrates that it should not be demonized as it often is. It is only the weight of ivy in the canopy that causes problems, it is not a parasite.

  4. Exactly – the weight of the canopy is the major problem if it colonizes in a place that is not maintained – our community plot in Seattle had an immense specimen that was growing up an equally immense cottonwood. We worried about the health of the tree and could never have removed all the ivy. The ivy had a “trunk” that was about two inches in diameter. I cut the plant down to the root, and removed what I could reach. The rest dried up and eventually fell away, but I saw small ivy leaves emerging from the bark! Not sure if a seed took hold there, or if the tree managed to lay down bark over ivy. In Seattle any unmanaged space will quickly be taken over by ivy and blackberry.

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