Six on Saturday

This week has been absolutely manic and garden visiting is now in full swing. We are so lucky to have so many lovely gardens to visit here in the Cotswolds. Last weekend was Eckington Village with 30 private gardens and Barnsley Village including Rosemary Verey’s Barnsley House.

My garden is rather smaller and insignificant by comparison but still just as lovely at this special time of year. Delphiniums just opening and buzzing with bees, their tubular flowers drawing them in.

The Sweet Peas now coming thick and fast and will be cut every other day for the vase. I just adore their scent and so do my elderly neighbours who love it when I knock on their door with a bunch every few days.

Rose ‘Roald Dahl’ and what a stunner! He is a big boy, our Roald, so big that he needs a bit of support to hold him up. I pruned him quite hard this year but he has grown even bigger! Such gorgeous flowers, and such healthy foliage, a real tale of the unexpected!

Next to Roald sits ‘Isn’t She Lovely’, and she certainly is! Pure white elegance and a scent you could drown in. There is something rather exotic and erotic about these modern roses which makes them so delicious.

I have never been a fan of Dutch Iris and these freebies are not only in the wrong place, they are taking up space for something more to my liking. Definitely coming out this year!

Not often seen or sold but Neillia affinis is a hardy deciduous flowering shrub that deserves to be in more gardens than it is. Nobody in my circle of gardening friends has it and I don’t really know why, it is attractive and bombproof. A kind friend gave me a piece a few years ago since when it has done well in the shrubbery with the bonus of these delightful pink flowers in May.

Rose ‘Ghislaine de Feligonde’. This is a useful short rambler in that it is almost thornless, very healthy and not too vigorous. The orange buds open to small, pale apricot blooms with a yellow base, then fade to peach, pink and white. I have it covering a fence mixed in with Wisteria chinensis, hoping the two would be compatible and so far so good. The colour of the emerging and fading flowers look as if two different roses have been planted together.

Have a great weekend of gardening.

David

Six on Saturday

Just a pretty Poly to welcome you all on this dreary, windy and wet Saturday morning. Thankfully, my finger and toe crossing worked and we came off relatively unscathed after Eunice came in like a wrecking ball yesterday. Just one piece of broken glass, two lost floor mats and an upturned wheelie bin. All roof tiles intact, all fence panels still in place and, best of all, no lasting damage to my garden plants or greenhouse.

I am sure we are all familiar with emerging Delphiniums, the gourmet food of slugs at this time of year. I don’t have many for that very reason. I just can’t bear the sight of munched plants and try to avoid hostas and other such slug and snail delicacies rather than use chemical solutions. However, discussing this with a friend recently, I was presented with this:

Delphinium requienii, a hardy biennial form from the South of France with thicker shiny leaves which slugs avoid! It grows on my friends allotment and is a prolific self-seeder there. It might as well be perennial, she says, because its offspring come true every year from seed. Different flowers from both perennial Delphinium and a different genus from annual Larkspur, this should become a permanent resident of my sunny herbaceous border.

The tall, late flowering, dark blue Agapanthus, which was becoming swamped beside a burgeoning Pittosporum tenuifolium, has been lifted and divided into 4 quarters this week, each one now in its own large pot. It didn’t seem to notice being hoicked out of the ground, sliced up with a spade and moved to a new home. It has continued to put on new shoots and is apparently perfectly happy.

On Monday, my Valentine’s Day present to my darling wife arrived on a lorry. 1000 litres of beautiful, dark, crumbly recycled green waste soil improver. She was not impressed. I tried to explain that this was the ultimate eco friendly, recycled, low carbon footprint alternative to red roses flown in from Kenya but she was having none of it. Looks like I will have it all to myself!

If anyone is interested in treating the other half to a similar gift, it came delivered on a pallet lorry from Earth Cycle in Chichester and this is their website. https://earthcycle.co.uk/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Pure%20Brand%2BUK%2BAll%2BSPART&Campaign=Pure%20Brand%2BUK%2BAll%2BSPART&Source={Bing}&Medium={cpc}&msclkid=99a752d3052c147231bd30c3cc99b51d

That’s it for this week. Next week I will be sharing some information about my new website all about my Tradescantia Collection which you can follow if you wish.

Have a safe weekend

David

Signs of Spring

Front Garden in February It is still early in the year, cold and wet, but Spring is definitely just around the corner. The garden is slowly waking from its winter sleep, buds are breaking and shoots are stirring.

I am very behind with all the clearing and pruning jobs I had planned to have completed by now. The new weed-free turf I laid three years ago looks thin and scruffy with moss under the trees and daisies beginning to take hold. As soon as I can I will aerate and scarify it but currently it is too squelchy.

All around me, everywhere I turn at the moment, it’s all about snowdrops. I am not a ‘Galanthophile’ but I admire snowdrops for their guts and determination to make an appearance at the coldest time of year, sitting in frozen ground and often covered in snow, which just goes to show how tough these fragile beauties really are. One of my neighbours recently had their drive re-surfaced with tarmac but that wasn’t going to stop the snowdrops, oh no, they managed to push their way up between the tarmac and the wall!Strong Snowdrops!

The Hellebores are stretching their necks and unfolding their flowers ready to announce the arrival of March and longer days. My little patch is in the wrong place but they hate being moved once established so I have decided to work around them and to lift their seedlings each year to start a new colony under the trees where I would prefer them to live.Hellebores

Another sign that things are improving is the arrival of our slimy friends the slugs. I have found a few keel slugs venturing out from their hiding places to investigate my Delphinium seedlings, gourmet food if you are a slug. However, I was just about to reach for the slug pellets when my conscience got the better of me and I remembered a promise I made to avoid chemical controls and use an organic alternative. I recently heard about ‘Slug Gone’ wool pellets which have received good reviews and so this is the new deterrent.Wool Pellets

They look rather like rabbit food but smell dreadful, a bit like a dead rat. They are made from the fleece around the sheep’s bum area which absorbs the potassium salts from the sweat glands. When you wet them they go mushy and spread out. It is this wet smelly woolly consistency that the slugs don’t like and apparently go off in search of pastures new. Come to think of it, I have never seen a slug on a sheep’s bum so they must work.Delphinium seedlings with wool pellets

So far, so good. No slugs have returned to the Delphiniums and I am not concerned about the Labradors dying from chemical poisoning or the Blackbirds eating poisoned slugs.