Six on Saturday

Finally, some good weather! It may only be a brief respite and I am not counting any chickens, but I had a really productive few days in the garden this week. It was positively warm in the sunshine and no wind chill to spoil things, so I started clearing, weeding, cutting back, propping up and making plans. Iris reticulata ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ as reliable as ever and multiplying well in the leafy border under the Silver Birches.

February is my ‘weed, feed, mulch’ month and I took delivery of 1500 litres of composted fine bark/mushroom compost from my local nursery. That should keep me busy for a few days!

Although I compost as much as I can, I never produce enough of my own mulch to do the whole garden which is why I always have to buy some in. However, the good stuff I make is going on the roses this weekend after a dressing of Toprose.

Talking of roses, only a few short weeks after pruning, new buds are shooting away promising a wonderful display in June.

The Hemerocallis cultivars are totally unfazed by cold, wind and rain; in fact they seem to revel in all weather conditions. They are one of the most bombproof plants in any garden, almost thriving on neglect. Just a handful of granular fertiliser about now, a good mulch with compost and that’s it for the year.

It looks like I am going to lose the top growth on my dark leaved Pittosporum tenuifolium after it was hit by the severe December snow and bitterly cold temperatures. It is a coastal plant in its native New Zealand and is slightly tender in the UK. However, I will cut it back and I am confident it will regrow from the lower branches.

Had to finish with a double flowered snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’ which I have popping up all over the garden. Always brings a smile to my face and cheers me up!

Have a great weekend


Six on Saturday

The debate rages on about Spanish Bluebells and whether, rather like the Grey Squirrel, they are driving out the native English version. Recent research suggests this is not the case and that the native Bluebell has a genetic advantage which makes them tough and resilient. So let’s just enjoy the beauty of Spanish bluebells, despite their tendency to invade and spread alarmingly!

We have Blue Tits in the posh new nest box! He or she had just gone in with a mouthful of something when I took this shot. Unusually, our old nest box on the shed, which has been occupied every year since 2010, is unoccupied for the first time. That’s the housing market for you, the lure of the new and untouched!

Talking of Bluebells, lurking beneath the beech hedge is a small clump of white ones which flower every year but don’t seem to increase; just the same small clump every year.

Early morning shot of the front garden today. Comments seem to suggest that followers like to see gardens as well as plants and flowers so I thought I would periodically bare all.

The middle garden this morning. I call it the rose garden but in all truth, it is mostly patio!

And the back garden minus the shed and greenhouse on the left. What you see are 20L pots of Tradescantia virginiana hybrids sunk into raised beds, the beginning of my National Plant Collection. Lots more to do, including a new website to go live shortly, but it’s a start!

I am always impressed with the sheer exuberance of Daylillies. The ability to go from nought to this in a matter of weeks in cold, wet weather is remarkable and a reminder that a colourful summer is just around the corner!

Enjoy your weekend.


Six on Saturday

Not everything in my garden is rosy! My purple sprouting broccoli outgrew it’s Enviromesh covering and a plague of Cabbage White butterflies descended. I checked for eggs and destroyed many clumps but obviously missed a lot because the entire crop has been ruined by thousands of voracious caterpillars.

Oddly, the other bed of the same variety which was sown later and kept covered for three weeks  longer has no damage. The Cabbage Whites are now dancing around but not laying eggs. Phew!

I am pleased I had the patience to grow this Gladiolus papilio ‘Ruby’ from seed three years ago. They have rewarded me with several spikes of beautiful rich velvet red flowers for the first time this year and hopefully for many more years to come.

Some gardeners are a bit snooty about yellow but I love it. To me, it’s the colour of sunshine, chucky eggs and happiness. Consequently, I have yellow everywhere and now is it’s time. Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’, Helianthus ‘Happy Days’ and the tall spectacular daisy flowered Silphium perfoliatum.

This little Aster is an ideal front of border plant and gradually spreads but not in an invasive way. It also has the attribute of hiding it’s spent flowers with new ones avoiding the usual browning and decay. A magnet for pollinators and butterflies too. Pretty and clever, the ideal combination!

It may be common Myrtle but any plant included in Royal bouquets is good enough for me. Grown from a single tiny cutting in a 9cm pot just three years ago, it has literally blossomed into a substantial and much admired shrub.

An impulsive £2 supermarket purchase of a ‘white’ hemerocallis has turned out to be a beautiful lemon yellow and scented to boot! A fortunate stroke of serendipity!

So there you have my six for this Saturday.

Enjoy your weekend.