Six on Saturday

Despite the showery weather, the temperatures are encouraging the garden to get up and go. Everywhere I look, things are gathering pace and I need to keep up! As usual, the weeds are growing even faster than the cultivated plants so that is my main priority at the moment. However, it’s nice look at pretty things too, like this Chionodoxa luciliae ‘Pink Giant’ even though the bittercress in the background annoys me!

I am never quite sure whether this is a pink Primrose, Primula or Polyanthus. It comes back every year and is spreading to different parts of the garden, presumably by seed, but I am happy to let it be. It is a cheerful little thing.

Millium effusum ‘Aureum’ or Bowles’s Golden Grass is something I spotted in a large manor house garden a few years ago and bought a small pot for £2. It was said to brighten up dark corners and is an unfussy plant which “gently spreads about”. In fact, it grows anywhere, spreads like mad and is becoming a nuisance! In late summer the waving seed heads are very attractive above the golden leaves but don’t be fooled, it is just looking for its next target. Every bed and border now has its own clump which will soon become a forest so be warned!

The Delphiniums are relishing the damp conditions and the 3″ of mulch I packed round them a few weeks ago. I got on top of the slugs and snails by applying ferric phosphate on Valentine’s Day (so romantic!) and they are untouched. Time to get the supports in place!

I think I might have overdone the Cosmos! Friends and neighbours will take a few but that still leaves far too many. However, the leftover mixed dahlia seeds are doing well and are ready to be pricked out today. I love a nice surprise!

The Sweet Peas will also get planted out today, but in the garden. I follow the old mantra of ‘sow when the clocks go back, plant out when the clocks go forward’, so today is the day! By sowing in October, pinching them out in January and overwintering them in a cold greenhouse, I get stocky plants with at least two side shoots and a healthy root system to give them a good start. They go into heavily composted soil with some chicken pellets and bone meal which I find produces good results.

That’s it for my Six. Have a great weekend


Six on Saturday

It has been so cold here in the Cotswolds that we still have the central heating on! Never known a cold spell last into early May before. Everything is at least three weeks behind where it should be at this time of year. This Euphorbia cyparissias doesn’t seem to mind the cold and is adding colour to an otherwise green scene.

The recent late frosts have killed all the emerging Wisteria flowers! Despite the plant itself being totally hardy, the flowers are not and are easily damaged by cold winds and frost. I am bitterly disappointed as it is usually a highlight of early May for me.

The Camassias have not performed as well as usual this year with far fewer flowers. I will feed the bulbs for a few weeks before the foliage dies down and will then lift and divide them because it may be due to the bulbs being too congested. The brown leaf tips are worrying too. Perhaps a lack of nitrogen??

This Genista ‘Porlock’ is probably an escapee from a local garden and is actually in the hedge outside my garden but it is so beautiful I thought it was worthy of showing in the blog. Obviously a member of the pea family by the labiate flowers, it is a type of Broom with a faint but pleasant scent. I might see if there is an ‘Irishman’s Cutting’ I can take!

It has fascinated me that some plants always flower before others of the same species. This Aquilegia next to the house wall is the first to flower every year, weeks ahead of all the other hundreds in the garden. No logical reason why it should but it always does.

Years ago, I discovered Bowles Golden Grass, Milium effusum ‘Aureum’, in a local garden and the kind owner dug up a piece and gave it to me. Slowly but surely it has colonised several areas of the garden but in a good way. It likes the shady spots in amongst other plants, below trees and bushes, where it lights up the gloom with its bright yellow leaves.

I kid you not, this Erysimum ‘Apricot Twist’ has been in flower constantly for 12 months! I cut back some of the straggly growth in February and the new shoots are flowering alongside the flowers on last year’s growth which shows no sign of slowing down. These plants literally flower themselves to death over a couple of years or so.

Have a great weekend