Six on Saturday 15th January

I was up early for a Saturday, to watch Andy Murray play in his first final since his return. Unfortunately that didn’t go my, or probably more accurately, his way, so I took myself off out to the garden in a mild huff to see if summer had arrived early. Spoiler alert: it hasn’t as demonstrated by my first photo – frost edged hellebore leaves. I tried to take the leylandii detritus off the right hand leaf for improved aesthetics, but it was frozen solid! The air must have been warming up slightly though because the whole garden sounded alive (which, of course it is) as the frost thawed and dripped through the trees in the gardens either side of ours.

Summer may still be some way off, but spring is definitely trying its hardest to out trump winter. In addition to the daffodil shoots that I shared a couple of weeks back, I noticed this morning that the bluebells have also made an appearance. I don’t know how they manage to push their way through the weed control under this gravel, but manage it they do, every year.

There are more signs of spring springing in my birthday planter in the form of my pink damask, again covered in frosty winter detritus. I don’t recall these shoots peeking through quite this early in previous years. I wonder if the mild weather over the festive period woke it up too early. According to BBC weather, there are likely to be a fair few more frosts for it to endure.

From my birthday planter I crunched over the grass to see what’s happening in the other big planter. I’ll tell you what’s happening! Squirrels (I assume) are digging in it and disrupting my careful planting. The oxalis that I bought from Osborne House looks to have gone but I’ll have to wait for warmer weather to properly assess the damage. Anyway, my sarcococca which was new last year and hadn’t really had time to establish is looking like it’s gearing up for great things. Apparently this smells amazing so I’m looking forward to its assault on my nostrils.

I’m finishing with a smattering of colour. My cowslip which was a present from the birds or the neighbours has a flower! This is one of my favourite plants and it was completely free. I just love the colour. it looks a bit raggedy, I don’t think it likes the cold. I completely understand!

Finally, I bring you one of my erysimums. It literally never stops flowering! It’s covered in flowers in the summer but it manages to have a couple of flowers all year round.

I hope everyone’s having a good start to 2022 and let’s hope we’re turning a covid corner, to coin a phrase. Right, I’m off to read the Propagator’s Six for this week before nipping round to Boris’ for a party. *

* only one of those is true, I don’t fancy going to a ‘work’ event and the wine’s on Fridays anyway (allegedly).

First Six on Saturday of 2022 – 1st January

I’ll start by thanking the Propagator for publishing his Six today, because without that I would’ve had absolutely no idea what day of the week it is! Secondly – happy new year everyone! I started the day fed up (isn’t that obligatory on 1st January?) For me, rather than a chance to start afresh, it always feels like anything good that I achieved in the previous year is null and void and I’ve got to start from the beginning again! As if the whole point of the year is to get to the end, only once you do, it just starts again and you’re back to square one. Of course that’s not true and once I’ve given myself a good talking to, I get a grip and the eternal optimist in me wins out.

As part of my getting a grip, I decided to go out into the garden and see what’s going on. I have to say, I could’ve come back in thoroughly depressed because it’s a mess! A combination of a bad back, the weather and the time of year means that nothing’s been done out there for some time (other than hubby taking it upon himself to clear a load of leaf fall) and you can tell. However, my back’s starting to feel a bit better and the weather will improve soon so I’ll be able to crack on and get a lot done before too long. In the meantime, here’s what caught my eye today.

I’ve got a little ahead of myself because my first picture is actually inside the back door. I got this lovely little cactus from my brother, sister in law and niece. Isn’t it cute in its little teacup? Perfect colour to brighten up a dreary winter’s day too. Cacti are one of the few plants I can grow inside because our cats have learnt not to go near them!

Continuing the yellow theme next is this lovely biden bloom. I’ve featured my bidens a couple of times over the summer but didn’t think they’d still be going now after a couple of coverings of snow and several frosts. Admittedly there aren’t many flowers left, but this one is certainly not too lonely. The plant does look a little straggly now so I’ll have to see how it goes and whether it will revitalise for the summer.

Speaking of snow covering, my poor cordyline suffered a bit, as you can see! The fronds have bent down under the weight of snow. It seems to be recovering a bit already so hopefully all is not lost. Maybe next year I should put some protection around it.

As I wandered behind the squished cordyline I noticed this grass. This was a freebie from my mum when I visited last May when restrictions were finally lifted. It’s doing really well. I obviously managed to (accidentally) plant it somewhere that it appreciates. Actually, despite being on the shady side of the garden, things planted here do, on the whole, thrive. There’s still a bit of space here so I’ll have to find something to fill it this year.

I’m going to finish with two photos of good things to come! Firstly you can see the daffs are already pushing through with their promise of gorgeous yellowy hope in a few short weeks. I can’t wait – I feel so cheered when the first daffs bloom because then warmth and light stretches out ahead of us for months!

Moving to the front garden and the hope is continued there in the form of camellia buds! This is a beautiful deep pink camellia and, although the blooms only last a couple of weeks before they drop, during that fortnight they make my heart happy

Right, nearly time for tea, and it’s kind of a last supper before the new year healthy eating regime starts (again!) I’m remaining positive that the sunny holiday that we have booked in April IS going to happen, unlike the last two that we’ve had booked, and I’m determined to feel comfortable in swimwear!

Hope everyone still off work enjoys the rest of their holiday, and for those who have had to work throughout, like my hubby, you can feel smug in the knowledge that you don’t have that sinking ‘going back to work’ feeling to come! Having said that, I’m hoping I don’t have that – my new year’s resolutions are mainly work related so I’m going to make this a positive career year.

Six on Saturday 13th November

Some of my Six points today don’t look particularly Novemberish because, although I have been complaining quite a lot about the advent of winter, I guess even I have to concede that it’s not actually that cold yet. I’ve only worn my big coat once, and that was only because I was walking round a steel works.

Anyway, on to my points, and I’m starting with a transformation. Our neighbour has had some tree surgery work done and it’s made a massive difference to us both in terms of light.

I can’t imagine how dark the back of his house must’ve been before the tree was felled. My home office is in the back bedroom and it’s made my work space much lighter, and we actually get sunshine in the kitchen now. I can’t wait to see the difference in the summer. We’ve offered to go halves with him on getting some more huge trees reduced in size and that should be happening in February, so watch this space!

Next up are some impressive fungi. These are so big that I can see them from the aforementioned home office and I decided they needed to be featured here. I went down the garden to photograph them this morning and they’re really quite spectacular. I’m never sure whether you should get rid of fungi or not. I guess I should google whether they do any harm.

I featured these nerines in the last Six I did before they’d opened up. They’re new to me so I didn’t know what to expect but I’m delighted with them. They’re such a welcome splash of colour when most of the rest of the garden is snoozing away. They came from granny’s garden, so wherever she is, I hope she can see them and they make her happy.

I included this in my last Six as well but I thought it was worth including an updated photo because the flowers have emerged and they’re really something quite special. They look like they should have fairies sitting on toadstools underneath them sheltering from the cold.

I’ve included a glorious splash of purple in my last two points. First is the last remaining verbena flower. They’ve got such cheerful colouring and, continuing the fairy theme, can’t you just imagine a fairy wearing these as a hat? What a beautiful fairy hat that would be. That fairy would be the toast of the town sitting on her toadstool underneath the fatsia Japonica wearing her exclusive verbena bonnet!

Whereas the verbena is clinging on to its final flower, the erysimum is still covered in flowers waving around in the November breeze. This was a sale table find and it flowers reliably, and beautifully, every year.

I won’t be doing my gardening today, but if it’s dry I might try to get out tomorrow to do some last minute tidying and make use of the last green bin collection of the year. I hope you all have a fabulous fun filled weekend, but maybe you’ll find some time to check out other Sixes on the Propagator’s blog.