Six on Saturday 2nd November

I’ve a feeling Six on Saturdays will be few and far between for the next few months. It feels like we haven’t had a dry weekend for months so I’m not able to get out and do any proper graft, which means I’ve got very little gardening news to share. I wonder if the Propagator notices fewer people joining in over the winter, or if I’m the only fair weather gardener around.

Anyway, it finally stopped raining so I took the opportunity to squelch up the garden to see what’s going on.

1. Most of the annuals have resigned themselves to the fact that their season is over (which is more than I have!) and they’ve almost visibly breathed their last and deflated! The Coleus which looked almost regal all through the Summer is clearly a plant after my own heart and hasn’t taken kindly to the couple of frosty mornings this week.

It’s so sad because the colours were so glorious.

2. However, all hope is not lost! A quick peek in the greenhouse shows that my cuttings are coping ok with the downturn in the weather. My thermometer showed 9.2° in there today, just a slight change from the recorded high of 47.2° over the Summer!

Also in the greenhouse are two teeny tiny Fuchsias and a Gazania.

The two Fuchsias are cuttings that my Mum gave me last Christmas. They lived in our porch until we built my greenhouse after Christmas and then I transferred them there until it was warm enough to put them outside in the Spring. I remember Mum telling me that one of them is hardy and one isn’t ….. the problem is, I can’t remember which is which! I’ve played it safe and put both in the relative warm. The Gazania was from the sale table in Notcutts in Summer 2018 and I fully expected it to die before Christmas 2018 but half of it survived the Winter. It didn’t rejuvenate to its former glory so I’m hoping a Winter in the greenhouse might save it again for next year.

3. There are a few sun-lovers that are hanging on for dear life!

One of them is a Calendula that I grew from seed in the greenhouse.

All of the Calendula grew very lanky, not sure if it was something I did wrong, but they did, and still are in this case, produce beautiful blooms.

4. My Fuchsia Delta Sarah is out performing itself.

This was my favourite Gardeners’ World Live purchase. I bought the biggest one I could find after my previous one didn’t survive the Winter, despite it being hardy. So far so good, it’s still full of buds and is looking quite happy.

It’s really hard to take decent photos in this perpetual half light. With flash they look surreal but without you can’t see the colour at all. Roll on Spring!

5. Unlike me, my Eupatorium thrives in the Autumn. It shoots up in the early Summer and then spends August and September waving elegantly in the breeze, but by the end of October when everything else is preparing for a long snooze (at best) the Eupatorium comes into its own.

The jagged dark green leaves stand out against the purple stems and then, the piece de resistance, the fluffy, cloud-like flowers crown the shrub royally.

6. Outside our kitchen window I can see my beautiful Berberis. This time last year I thought I’d lost it. I planted it out in the garden and all its leaves dropped straight away leaving bare spiky twigs. I dug it back up and put it back in its pot and kept my fingers and toes firmly crossed and in the Spring it rewarded me with some fledgling leaves.

Through the Summer it thrived, although perhaps didn’t quite regain its former glory, but now that November’s here the leaves have turned autumnal.

I really wish Autumn didn’t make me so Eeyoreish because I’m so busy feeling gloomy that I forget to appreciate all these beautiful colours. I’ll try harder!

Dressing Room Transformation

I’ve had a productive weekend. Firstly I’ve deleted Candy Crush (again) so I haven’t wasted hours on that, and secondly, I’ve transformed my dressing room. That makes us sound really posh. We’re not, we don’t have a west wing or anything like that, I just commandeered the little front bedroom when we moved in and designated it my dressing room.

Our house is an old house, and ventilation isn’t great, and we compounded that a while ago by removing the extractor fan in the bathroom (because it leaked every time it rained and two roofers/builders couldn’t work out how to stop it) so in the colder months we have a condensation problem. As you can see, my wardrobe had no doors because I was going for a walk in wardrobe type of feel, but it meant that the condensation got into my wardrobe and occasionally I’d take an item I hadn’t worn for a while out and it would smell damp. I decided I needed doors so I took myself off to Ikea.

The room instantly looks twice the size because of the mirrors. It also means you shock yourself as you enter the room!

Obviously it’s completely impossible to leave Ikea with only what you went to buy so the room got a bit more of a transformation than I was planning!

This ……

….. became this.

It was all looking so much better and I decided I needed a change of window dressing and light fitting so I perused B&Q’s website and chose new fittings. I fell in love with a chandelier. I wasn’t sure if the new mirror doors would bash it, but I bought it anyway.

So, here’s the chandelier in our living room! It was too long but it looks better in the living room anyway. I put the one from the living room in my dressing room and I’m happy with how it looks.

I was quite sad to take the old curtains down because they were made by my own fair hand and I love the fabric, but they were starting to look a little shabby and they really didn’t keep any light out because I didn’t line them.

I’ve kept the fabric and I’m sure I’ll find a use for it at some point in the future.

Putting the new blind up was a little tricky, and I’ve already warned hubby to be really careful if he needs to open or close it. An old house means old plaster and bricks, and when you drill you can never be quite sure how it’s going to turn out! Three out of four of the rawl plugs are pretty secure, but the fourth is a bit dodgy and could easily come out. Luckily it’s not on the side with the drawstring so hopefully it’ll hold (at least until I can ask a certain DIY talented Dad if he thinks it will need looking at). Anyway, here it is.

I’m really pleased with the improvement.

It’s difficult to get a picture of the whole room because it’s so small, and practically impossible to avoid snapping myself in the mirror doors, but here’s my best attempt.

A successful weekend’s work I think!

I’m going to finish with a picture of a new acquisition. My uncle gave me Next vouchers for my birthday so I decided to pop out and see if there was anything I could get. I got a few bits and bobs, but my favourite was this bowl which I’m using as a fruit bowl.

I love it and it looks great on our white worktop. As you can see from this picture, as well as the last few of my dressing room, I like stars. I’m always drawn to them.

Well, early start tomorrow so I’ll finish here. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my transformation.

Six on Saturday 19th October

Here I am! I’ve been AWOL for a few weeks so I’ve made a special effort to take some pics to share. I find my enthusiasm for being outside wanes considerably at this time of year so I’ve spent next to no time in the garden recently. I wandered out this morning to check my cuttings (they’re fine) and had to avert my eyes from everything that needs doing.

Anyway, on to my Six. Don’t forget to check out the Propagator’s blog for more Sixes.

1. Fuchsia

The hardy Fuchsias are still going strong.

The top one is Delta Sarah and was new this year from Gardeners’ World Live. I had one last year which didn’t make it through the Winter, but this one’s bigger so hopefully it’ll cope better.

I’m not sure what variety the bottom one is. This did make it through last Winter and flowered beautifully all Summer. It’s in a pot outside our kitchen window so I can see it every day.

2. Autumnal Blueberry bush

The Blueberry bush had a very successful season. I got loads of yummy blueberries, which surprised me because the year before it did nothing! Now the season’s over its leaves have turned the most beautiful red. This is also outside our kitchen window so I see it every day.

3. Rose Hot Chocolate

This Rose did amazingly well this year too with loads of repeat blooming. It’s in the shade but it doesn’t seem to mind. It’s still trying to give me one last flower now. Don’t know if this will come to fruition – guess that’s all down to the weather in the next couple of weeks. Maybe I should chop it and bring it inside. I’m planning to prune it quite hard once it’s definitely finished because it’s got quite leggy so I guess it might not be happy with me next year.

4. Wet Marigolds

I hate Winter weather, but I do appreciate how pretty the rain can make the garden. I think these wet Marigolds, which are in my wheelbarrow planter, look almost like leather after a recent downpour. They’re all still going strong at the moment adding some brightness as I gaze out of our back windows.

5. Berry watch

Three different colour berries.

The top shrub we inherited with the house so I’m not sure what it is, but it has these lovely orangey berries every Autumn/Winter. Maybe it’s a Pyracantha?

The second is my Callicarpa Bodinieri that I bought about this time last year. I couldn’t resist the glorious purple berries so I had to have it. It doesn’t seem to have grown very much yet, but it could potentially get pretty big in time. I hope it does so I get even more of those beautiful berries.

The last plant is also reasonably new. It’s an Ilex Verticillata. It had red berries when I bought it sometime at the beginning of the year, it had them all through the Summer, and it still has them now! I think it’s a bit confused because it’s only supposed to fruit between October and November!

6. Patio Planter

Last but not least, an update on my patio planter with which I’m so in love! I’m so glad I made this planter to cover the ridiculous gap in the patio. As you can see, everywhere’s wet and the falling leaves make it seem so Autumnal and gloomy, but there are my Stipa, my pink Cordyline and the four Hebes just stoically getting on with the job of looking divine and cheering my day. There’s even a couple of Begonias in there that were left over when I planted my hanging basket that are still going strong. This is definitely one of this year’s success stories.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend folks. I’m off out later to catch up with a special friend who I haven’t seen for far too long.