Six on Saturday 20th February

I have felt like a different person this week and it’s all because the days are getting longer and warmer! We’re self isolating at the moment pending the results of a Covid test so a wander around the garden this morning was a pleasant change from being indoors! The garden appears to be pleased with the change in weather as well and things are finally starting to show signs of Spring. So happy!!

First up is this pussy willow. I bought this last year, pre-lockdown when I was still in the office and, therefore, in Notcutts most lunchtimes. I’d definitely started my new job because I remember showing my new boss so it was sometime between 3rd February (new job day) and 18th March (last day in the office). It was covered in its little furry catkins when I bought it, so I have high hopes for the next couple of weeks. It’s currently trying to grow its first catkin for this year. I couldn’t get the camera to focus on it unless I put my hand behind it!

My next picture made me very happy. When I went out into the garden this time last week there was absolutely no sign of my crocuses so I assumed that one of our many squirrels had feasted on them, but I went out today, and what do you know? There they are!

Behind the newly discovered crocuses is a row of daffodils that have bravely faced the snow and come out the other side. According to Timehop, in the last two years we’ve had fully open daffs by now, but I guess the snow has slowed them this year because this is the stage we’re at right now. Not far off though, eh? Hopefully by next week’s Six I’ll be able to proudly show off a fully blooming daff.

Next up, another one that made me smile. Lupin regrowth! This was new last year and it looks like it’s going to grace us with its presence again this year. If I’m honest, I didn’t expect it to. I had a lupin before which died as soon as I planted it. I must’ve done something right with this one. I’m sure I bought two last year, but I didn’t see any sign of the other.

Last week I shared a photo of a skeleton pink damask flower, and this week I’m able to share a snap of the regrowth coming through. This will be tall and willowy in no time, but the flowers won’t appear for a few months yet.

Final point for today is another little surprise. I was worried that this hydrangea wouldn’t survive because all of last year’s dead blooms got knocked off somehow and I was concerned that the frost would get in it, but there are definite signs of new growth here.

All in all today’s wander around the garden was the most encouraging I’ve seen it for some time. I think I have lost some plants to the cold and snow, but not as many as I feared when I went out last week. There is a LOT of tidying up that needs doing, the weeds are starting to come through and there’s lots of winter detritus that needs sweeping and raking up. I was hoping to be able to do some of that today, but it’s been quite wet and wet gardening is miserable, so I’m going to leave it till things have dried out a bit. I feel like, now I’ve learnt a bit more about gardening, what works and what doesn’t, and I’ve learnt how our garden reacts to things, I need to sit down and plan it out a little bit rather than saving random plants from sale tables and plonking them in wherever they’ll fit. I shall head off to the Propagator’s blog now to check out some other Sixes for inspiration.

Six on Saturday 13th February

Gosh, I’m struggling to type this today. I went out to the garden to look for Six-worthy photos and it is bitterly cold out there and my hands haven’t thawed out yet! I was only out there for about five minutes and that was over an hour ago! According to the BBC weather app, it’s going to be in double digit figures, temperature-wise, all next week and I can’t flipping wait!!

It was quite a sad wander through the garden. It’s been so cold recently, for a prolonged period, and I don’t think the garden is very happy about it at all. It’s a good job I’m not spending much during lockdown, because, having looked at the garden, I think I’m going to have to invest quite a bit in new plants in the Spring/Summer because some of them definitely don’t look like they’ll recover.

One such plant is this Osteospurmum.

It’s made it through the two previous Winters without a problem. I even repotted it last year because it had done so well but, as you can see, it really hasn’t taken well to being snowed on and frozen for days! I’m annoyed, because, being in a pot, I could’ve moved it into the greenhouse for a bit of protection, but I didn’t think to.

There was proof in the greenhouse of just how cold it’s been – my thermometer shows the low and high temperatures and the low is now lower than it’s been since I got the greenhouse at – 4.8 degrees!

I left a half full watering can in there and it’s frozen solid! Unfortunately, a ladybird has fallen/landed in there and it’s frozen to death! Poor thing.

Back outside, I spotted a skeleton Pink Damask flower in my birthday planter.

Hopefully this plant will survive the elements. It dies down completely in the Winter before coming back in the Spring/Summer and with it being in my planter, hopefully it will have been kept a bit warmer underneath the soil.

I managed to find a bit of colour in the form of my Dogwood.

There are so many problem areas in our garden, and this is one of them. I’m sure this Dogwood would probably be doing much better somewhere else, but I’m limited in what I can grow because of next door’s jungle. At least it’s survived the arctic out there!

I’ve saved the best two photos for last! There is some regrowth happening! I really didn’t expect to see anything getting ready for Spring – even the daffodils have collapsed under the snow and now I’m not sure if they’ll bloom. However, there are some signs of Spring.

This Heuchera was given to us by my Dad and C when we first moved in and it’s survived every Winter so far, even this one! It has a beautiful delicate flower later on. I’m glad it’s stuck its middle stamen up at the snow and forged ahead to produce new growth.

The other bit of new growth I noticed is one of my patio roses. I have two of them, both from the sale a couple of years ago, and they could do with a bit of a prune. They’re also both leaning which I presume shows me which way the prevailing wind blows! I noticed the new leaves that have appeared, but what I didn’t notice until I got in and looked at the photo is that at the back there, there’s a rose bud. I hope that doesn’t try to bloom too early because it’s definitely still too cold for it.

I’m hopeful that soon there’ll be more signs of Spring for me to share, and if not, hopefully I’ll be able to get some new plants to replace the poor deceased ones.

I’ll sign off now but before I do, I’ll just remind you to check out the Propagator’s blog for other Sixes. People from all over the world join in, so there should be some colourful contributions from people living in different climates. Have a great weekend all.

Six on Saturday 6th February

Saturday again! The weeks are flying by which is odd because life is one long cycle of work, walk, Netflix, crochet and sleep at the moment – you’d think time would be dragging. Some positive news this week – over eleven million vaccinated but also, slightly concerning news that the South African variant has been found not a million miles away from home! Eek!

Moving swiftly on and pretending the bad stuff isn’t happening, and we find ourselves amongst Snowdrops! Hubby had to have a root canal filling on Thursday (considered setting up a crowd funding page – how can it cost so much to have pain inflicted upon oneself?!) and while I was waiting for him I decided to go for a walk and I found a lovely little park that I had no idea even existed. It had a couple of lakes, lots of ducks, geese and swans and millions of Snowdrops. Snowdrops are so pretty and delicate, but I don’t find them all that cheery because, to me, they symbolise Winter not Spring, the end of Winter maybe, but still Winter.

Now Daffs, on the other hand, are definitely cheery because they do offer me hope that Spring is on the way, bringing us warmer days and, most importantly, heralding the advent of Summer. Oh Summer how I do miss thee! Sadly, my Daffodil blooms are still a little way off bursting their bright yellow cheeriness out into the world, but they’re getting there and it surely won’t be too long till I look out of the kitchen window to see a pop of colour. Can’t wait!

Also looking good is my Rhododendron which was new to the garden during lockdown last year. I shared it in my final Six of 2020 and the buds are much bigger now. It’s been covered in snow and frost for much of the time in between its two starring roles, so I hope that hasn’t set it back. Time will tell.

Hubby’s at work today (hooray – finally he got some work again!) so I did my good deed for the day and got up early to drop him off and then decided to make the most of being up and about and took myself off for a walk in Sutton Park before the crowds descend. It was delicious me time, so rare at the moment for those of us who co-habit (the opposite being true for those who live alone). I wandered along the paths, listening to my audiobook and actually looked at my surroundings, which I tend not to do when I’m there with someone else chatting away. It was a very misty morning and the landscape looked quite stark – can’t you just imagine Heathcliff smouldering away somewhere amongst those trees?

Back home, and I popped straight out to the garden to complete my Six photos for today before I came to warm my bones next to a radiator.

This Clematis is acclimatising in the greenhouse at the moment. It arrived this week from Thompson and Morgan. I only went to their website to order raspberry canes because my Aunt told me now is a good time to plant them, but I ended up pre-ordering Begonias which will be despatched in May and a Sarcococca plant which my Aunt recommended for the scent, as well as the raspberry canes. Then this Clematis popped up as a special offer so it fell into my basket! I know exactly where I’m going to plant it once it’s warm enough. It’s Clematis Advent Bells which is, as the name suggests, winter flowering so hopefully next year we’ll have a bit of prettiness in the garden at Christmas. The raspberry canes have been delayed so I won’t get them till the end of February – hopefully they’ll still thrive, but I guess I probably won’t get fruit this Summer.

Finally as I was heading back inside I noticed the beautiful colour of one of my Hebes. I purposely planted this Hebe close to the house so that we could see some colour from our kitchen windows in the Winter.I don’t know what kind of Hebe it is because it came in a mixed pack of four just labelled Hebe variety pack (or some such generalisation). I don’t ‘do’ pink unless it’s really bright – can’t abide baby pink – but this is a gorgeously bright pop of colour to cheer even the dullest of days.

There we go, Six completed, so that’s one thing ticked off my to do list for today. What next? Clear some space for my newly completed Lego Diagon Alley? Watch episode three of Bridgerton? Clean the bathroom? While I ponder that, why don’t you check out some other Sixes at the Propagator’s blog?