Six on Saturday 5th June

This week’s Six comes courtesy of RHS Wisley. I was finally able to go and stay with my mum last weekend now that lockdown restrictions allow overnight stays outside of your household, so last Friday I trundled down to Hampshire with much excitement. O

On the Saturday, I’d requested a trip to Wisley, having never been before, and there we also met my aunt, uncle and cousins and their families. A very special day being the first time I’d seen them all in a very long time, and, in fact, in the case of my oldest cousin’s baby and youngest cousin’s partner, the first time I’d met them at all! We were really lucky that the weather behaved and was glorious all day.

Before the troops arrived, mum and I wandered around the tree section of the gardens. It was nice to see some more unusual trees, and it’s from here that my first point comes.

I completely forgot to take a photo of the label so I can’t tell you exactly what this is, but it’s some sort of pine. If you would care to zoom in on the photo, you’ll see that it looks like it’s made of hundreds of palm trees.

The next thing to catch my eye as we strolled round the pond, was this rhododendron.

It’s hard to see without much for perspective in the photo, but it was huge! At least ten feet tall I would guesstimate. Such a cheerful pop of colour as you exited the predominantly green tree section.

As we continued, we came across the shady garden and we wandered around looking for ideas for the dry and shady part of my garden. There must’ve been some sunny areas because I snapped a pic of this beautiful peony.

We have peonies in our front garden which gets direct sunshine for a good proportion of the day, however ours are herbaceous peonies and this was a tree peony. Ours are late this year because of the cold April and May but they’re about the burst open any. minute. now! I think tree peonies can cope with less sun than herbaceous, but not the complete absence of sun that our shady patch receives.

The next two pictures are from the glasshouse. Phew, it was hot in there. Perfect for the exotic, tropical plants that reside under its glass roof, but not so good for us humans, especially not when you still have to wear a mask inside! Still, it was worth it to see the unusual plants from far flung lands.

The first is a succulent called Setosa Minor.

A relatively standard, non descript succulent looking at its leaves, but just look at the gorgeous flaming flowers. Stunning!

Next up is plumeria Pele Firestorm that was always going to catch my eye given my propensity for grasses and grass-like plants.

Just beautiful. I’d love one of these in my garden but it likes it hot hot hot which here, unfortunately, it isn’t! I can’t even have one indoors, because it would inevitably suffer from feline chewage!

Finally we strolled out of the glasshouse, via the ice cream van, and took in the rest of the gardens. My final point is this lovely fluffy specimen.

This is Pulsatilla Vulgaris. A most unfortunate name, although, apparently vulgaris means common and not, as it sounds, vulgar. It has purple flowers, but I think these seed heads (I assume that’s what they are) are just delightful.

So there you have it, a round up of my day at Wisley. I could’ve taken millions of photos, but I preferred to just soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the plants without looking at them through a screen. With that in mind, I shall finish here and step away from the screen for now. All that remains, is point you, as ever, in the direction of the Propagator, and wish you a very pleasant weekend.

Six on Saturday 22nd May

I thought I should definitely include the date in the title, just in case anyone thought it was actually March! Seriously, how is there this much rain in the clouds? There’s no rain falling at the moment but everything’s soaking from a week of almost constant wet stuff so I won’t be getting any gardening done this weekend. Apparently it should be cheering up as we move into June so hopefully I’ll be able to get out there and start making some progress.

Speaking of progress, there is some going on out there and there are some splashes of colour appearing here and there.

Much as I don’t appreciate constant rain, the plants needed it, and it does seem to make their colours more vibrant. This beautiful sale table erysimum caught my eye this morning. Such a happy colour.

Also starting to bloom is my rhododendron that I snapped up in the post-lockdown sale last year from our local garden centre.

I was starting to worry that the buds would never open and reveal the gorgeousness inside, but finally I have my first pop of shocking pink. Although I always think I don’t like pink, it’s actually baby pink I don’t like. Who wouldn’t like vibrant colour like this?

In the front garden we have an azalea that completely looks after itself.

This one is dangerously close to the baby pink that I don’t like, and I probably wouldn’t have chosen it but we inherited it and, actually, I think it’s rather pretty. Very delicate petals which seem to lend themselves well to their subtle colouring. I’d quite like to move it because it’s hidden under a hedge but I don’t want to upset its independence.

Also giving the garden some subtle colour is this ajuga.

This was a gift from my Dad and C when we moved in. It took a couple of years to settle in and I think last year was the first time it flowered. It’s created a good bit of ground cover and this year lots of flowers are springing up. I’ve got a second one now in a pot hanging from our catio which is also flowering.

Back in the front garden and the peonies have really appreciated the rainy spell. I’m sure they’ve more than doubled in height in about a week and they’ve all got buds just biding their time before they burst out.

Every year I think to myself, must get some supports for the peonies but yet I still haven’t. The flowers are so huge when they emerge that it only takes one downpour for them to collapse.

I’m going to finish with a photo of a sedum which I think really illustrates why these are called succulents.

Just look how lush and, well, succulent, this lovely specimen is! As succulents don’t like to have wet feet I was concerned that all this rain might be detrimental but I think it likes being in the pot because it drains well. This is hanging off the catio and I just love it. It’s trailing out of the container beautifully which was exactly my intention. Ooh I do love it when a plan comes together!

There we are, that was a quick Six today. What to do with the rest of my day? I’m not used to having choices! We’ve been asked to ‘stay home to save lives’ for so long and now I’m actually allowed out I don’t know what to do! I found out yesterday that I have antibodies from when I had covid, so I feel somewhat protected with that and having had my first jab (although I will, obviously, still follow the rules) but I don’t know where to take me and my antibodies! If you’re also at a loose end, why not check out the Propagator for more Sixes whilst you ponder your next moves.

A weekend in the garden – finally!

I haven’t done a Six on Saturday for a couple of weeks, partly because the weather’s been so rubbish that I’ve barely been able to get out in the garden, and partly because due to said pants weather nothing’s really been happening out there other than weeds growing! I’ve also been speed crocheting a secret present which has taken up every spare moment, but is now almost finished (more on that when it’s been gifted).

However, despite a terrible weather forecast this weekend, I have managed to get out there in between showers and downpours. Yesterday I spent a bit of time in the greenhouse. I have lots of happy places, but one of them is definitely in my greenhouse with a compost filled table, some bits of paper (last year’s Gardeners’ World calendar) a trowel and some seeds.

I noticed in the week that something had started to eat my seedlings!!

How annnoying is that?! They’ve chewed my sunflowers, decimated my cosmos and absolutely obliterated my zinnias. I found the culprits – nestled underneath my seed trays were two snails and a slug! All three were swiftly disposed of down the end of the garden where they can eat weeds to their hearts’ content for all I care!

I do have some have intact seedlings/plants left and I decided that some of them were big enough to move to the new cold frame to start hardening off. First of all I had to remove the biggest herb Robert I think I’ve ever seen! This weed thrives in our garden, and especially, it would appear, likes the heat of the cold frame!

It would seem that the slimy things don’t like sweetpeas because they’re largely unscathed and three sunflowers look to be redeemable. I must remember to go out this evening to lower the lid.

Back in the greenhouse, I did some replacement sowing and some later seeds that needed doing. I sowed my petit pois in my raised bed a good couple of weeks ago, and absolutely nothing is happening! I don’t know if there’s any hope or if they’ve been eaten and/or dug up by animals but in case I don’t get any from the direct sown seeds, I sowed some in pots to transplant (hopefully) so I at least get some petit pois. I also sowed some more cosmos, because out of twenty that I sowed (most of which were growing nicely) I now only have three that haven’t been chewed! Then I decided it’s finally warm enough to sow my runner beans.

Then I potted up some pansies and begonias that have been patiently waiting for some time.

I did actually still have a couple of pansies in the pots which had managed to survive the winter. The begonias in the wheelbarrow are a yellow and orange mix again. If they turn out like last year’s did, then they’ll be beautiful all through the summer (if we ever get one) and into the autumn. I’ve ordered these from Thomson and Morgan the last couple of years because you don’t seem to be able to get yellow and orange from garden centres very often and they are just so pretty. I hope there are enough in the planter. I ordered fifteen, but a couple didn’t survive the post and three went in my hanging basket. We’ll see.

I decided to try something a bit different for my other hanging basket.

I bought this grass Nigrescens a few weeks ago intending to put it in one of Granny’s pots, but I changed my mind. I think it’ll be ok in here, and it’ll be nice to have something in there all year round. I can always pot it on if it gets too big.

Just before I headed in, I decided to go and dig up the euonymous that I noticed at the end of the garden. It was quite tricky to get up because it seemed to be in several pieces all surrounded by nettles and borage (work in progress!) but hopefully the bits I got will thrive.

Today I headed back out there not sure how long the rain would stay away, but apart from one brief shower, it stayed away until well into the afternoon.

Our garden can be quite daunting because there’s still so much to do, and I’ve found that it’s best to pick a small area or job and concentrate just on that, otherwise you run the risk of coming in feeling overwhelmed and a complete failure. Today I picked this area behind my birthday planter.

I think I did a pretty good job getting the weeds up. I’ve learnt not to be too precious with gardening. It’s never going to be perfect, so it’s best to just accept that from the get go. There were some giant stinging nettles that did their best to sabotage me. There were right in the corner behind the hydrangea, next to a holly bush and some brambles! A somewhat spiky area to tackle.

You can’t see the bramble, but I decided to leave it in the hopes that we might get some blackberries. If it gets too wild in the meantime I can always change my mind. You can just see on the left that the rhododendron is teasing me with pink flowers. Hopefully they’ll pop out soon. Bottom right is my much-loved eupatorium. It’s taking it’s time (as is everything else given the cold spring) but it’s slowly getting there.

Towards the back, in the middle is a new addition. My Mum gave me this grass from her garden when I saw her briefly at Granny’s funeral. Driving back from Surrey with it in the back of the car was like having someone dancing in a hula skirt in the boot all the way home! I’ve been trying to decide where to put it, and Mum said it needed somewhere where it can go crazy, so I settled on here. Hopefully it won’t mind the shade of next door’s jungle.

I made two discoveries in this area. One is a fern in the back corner. Hopefully it’ll grow nice and big.

The second has self seeded from a Juncus Spiralis grass in my birthday planter.

As you can see, I’ve dug this one up and potted it on to get a bit bigger before I decide where to put it. It’s also called corkscrew rush, and you can see why.

This is exactly the look I was aiming for when I practised curling my hair yesterday ready for my first proper night out out post lockdown in a couple of weeks. Nature does it much better than curling tongs!

Sticking with the self seeded plants, I decided to fill my new wall basket with beautiful self seeded cowslips.

Since the very first cowslip appeared at the end of the garden, we’ve had a few more appear each year. Good job I like them, but then, you probably can have too much of a good thing. I’m not there yet though. I’m going to put something floral on the bird table on the left but I haven’t decided what yet. Probably something trailing would be good.

It was somewhat muddy out there, given all the rain we’ve had recently. I was very grateful for two things: first, my rubber gardening gloves that you can see in the corkscrew photo. They were much better for pulling up wet weeds and scrabbling in mud than the fabric ones that get all soggy and second, my new doormat to stop our kitchen getting mud trailed through.

Two family members were very pleased when we came back inside.

They’re really not used to being on their own anymore since we’re nearly always at home in this new covid lifestyle. Now, I think I’ll go and do some more crochet and play with these lovely little girls. Hope everyone has a good week.