Six on Saturday 16th November 2019

Is it officially still Autumn? It doesn’t feel like it (especially not as I have a man in my porch fitting a smart meter meaning the gas is turned off hence no heating!) It’s soul destroyingly Wintery.

Anyway, I went wandering in the garden this morning to snap some pics for a Six and the sign in my greenhouse seemed very apt.

I think I’ll start in the greenhouse for number one. It’s chilly in there as is corroborated by both my posh and accurate thermometer …

… and my pretty but slightly less trustworthy thermometer.

The cuttings are having a very similar reaction to the cold as I am – a bit lacklustre and definitely not as happy as a couple of weeks ago!

A fellow blogger advised me a few weeks ago to keep them fairly dry but not bone dry, but, despite not having watered them for well over a month they’re just not drying out at all! I need a heated greenhouse, but that would send the new smart meter into spasms of panic I fear!

Conversely, the Gazania and the two Fuchsias (one hardy, one not but I can’t remember which is which) seem quite happy with their surroundings.

I’ll have to ask my Mum which is which when I see her as she took the cuttings. It’s not going to hurt having them both out of the cold given how small they are.

Meanwhile, back outside we have today’s number two, which is two Cordylines looking beautiful.

They’re both in planters, the green one stands proud at the back of my birthday planter and the pink one is nearer the house in my patio planter. They give some welcome interest and much needed colour to the sleeping garden!

There are still a few plants desperately soldiering on and producing colourful petals to cheer the gloom. For number three I’m going to share my Erysimum.

This was from the sale table in Notcutts in Summer 2018. I planted it out last Spring and it did well all through this Summer. I’m not keen on pink, but this pink is rich enough to delight the senses.

Number four was a recent purchase that was planted out towards the end of the Summer.

Fatsia Japonica, whose leaves have something of a look of a giant Marijuana plant! How do I know this, you may ask with a knowing smirk? Well, you try going to the Caribbean and not seeing Marijuana leaves depicted on every piece of tourist tat for sale! Anyway, there’s nothing illegal about this lovely specimen. It’s supposed to get pretty big and it’s grown quite a few new leaves already so here’s hoping.

For my penultimate point I’m using a photo that I took purely because I liked the way the rain looked on the leaf.

This is a cluster of leaves on my Scarlet Patio Rose. I love how the leaves are tinged with pink, picking up the pink of the emerging shoots below and the blurred Heather in the background, and the rain droplets that reflect the light and accentuate the leaves’ veins.

I’m going to end on a festive note which I think is acceptable given that the big day is only five and a bit weeks away.

Holly! We have an abundance of it in the garden which can be painful when it gets too big and requires pruning! None of the Holly bushes flower or get berries which I think must mean we only have one sex of Holly bush resulting in absolutely no copulation at all, and therefore no offspring.

Right, I’m off to do something that doesn’t require gas or electricity now I can see exactly what it’s costing us! While I’m freezing to death in the dark why don’t you pop over to check out more Sixes on the Propagator’s blog.

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.