Six on Saturday 2nd April

Here we are again, Saturday and time for Six on Saturday with our esteemed host, the Propagator. The weeks, and indeed months, are flying by! Maybe it’s because, unlike the past two years, something resembling normal life is possible again. Whilst I’m not grieving for the majority of 2020 and 2021, I would take the weather of two years ago over the Arctic excuse for spring that’s happening outside at the moment! It’s freezing!! Hardly any gardening has been done and I really need it to warm up so I can go and sow some seeds before it’s too late. Anyway, despite the polar bear climate, I braved the elements to take some photos.

My hydrangea is starting to fill out with leaves again. On the ‘Jobs to do this weekend’ section of Gardeners’ World last night, Monty suggested deadheading last year’s hydrangea flowers if the last frost has passed. According to BBC weather it’s going to be -4° tonight, so the dead heads can stay for another week or two.

Next up are my giant lilies – two weeks apart. I’m quite amazed by the spurt they’ve put on. I’m sure they were quite late last year, but, correct me if I’m wrong, I think that’s normal in their first year. These were from QVC last year and they look and smell delicious once they get going.

There are very few benefits of bad weather, in my humble opinion, but one of them is most definitely the appearance of diamonds in my sedums. Ok, I know it’s rain really, but don’t they look like little, sparkly gems nestling in between the leaves. Nature is beautiful.

Next I’m looking for advice. As you can see, my lovely cordyline suffered in the last bout of bad weather. We had a tiny amount of snow a couple of months ago and my cordyline literally bowed under the pressure! I was hoping it would spring back but it hasn’t. Do I just have to wait for new growth or is there some gardening magic that I can conjure? Next question, if I manage to restore it to its former glory, what do I do next year to prevent it happening again, short of running out there every time it snows and shaking it off?

I’m going to finish up with two colourful points. Firstly my two completely free cowslips that just appeared, the orange rimmed one last year and the yellow the year before. I’ve featured them both already since they woke up again this year, but they’re so lovely that I think it’s worth showing them off again.

Finally some daffs. They’re all coming to the end for another year now so I’m taking this opportunity to feature them for probably the last time, and I think these two are particularly gorgeous daffs to say farewell with (until next year, obviously!)

Right, now that’s done, I’m off to make myself a hot chocolate to warm me up and I’m going to binge the second half of Stay Close on Netflix whilst snuggled under a blanket!!

Six on Saturday 19th March

Today, the weather was finally warm enough for this fair weather gardener (and her less fair weather husband) to get out and get some jobs done. There are many, MANY more still to do, but at least we made a start. I got to use my new gloves and knee pads for the first time. These were a Christmas present from my Dad and C. and they were really good.

The knee pads, whilst not the stylist things I’ve ever sported, really made weeding easier without having to keep moving my old pad around with me, although I did forget a couple of times and go to move it before realising the pads were attached to me!!

I tackled the patio planter first. It was in dire need of some tlc and weeding. I had two stipas, that I got from the sale in B&Q years ago for 50p each, which I thought had died – they’d both worked themselves out of the soil somehow! One definitely was dead, but the other had a couple of vestiges of green so I divided it and replanted and now I’ll keep my fingers crossed – they really were gorgeous grasses. Then I moved on to one of the hebes at the end which had become very leggy. I’ve never pruned it, and I didn’t even look up what I’m supposed to do with it, but as you can see from the picture on the right, there is growth at the bottom, so I’ve pruned it pretty hard and will, as with the stipa, keep everything crossed.

Once I’d pruned it, it seemed a shame to just throw the off cuts away because they were covered in beautiful, delicate hebe leaves. There were also a couple of daffodils which had got bent so I liberated them along with some cosproma, hellebore and euphorbia and made an arrangement. It’s having to stay outside because the daffs are poisonous to our cats but at leave we can see it when we’re in the kitchen.

There was so much tidying to be done on the patio that I didn’t really make it further down the garden, but I did go and check to see if my eupatorium has thrown up any new shoots yet. It has!

Only a couple so far, but hopefully some more are on their way. I say this every year, but I’ll try to remember to take some cuttings this year and try to grow some more plants. It comes back every spring, but slightly weaker each year which would suggest it’s got a shelf life. I haven’t seen another one in any garden centre since I bought this one, so maybe they’re not that common.

I’ll finish with a couple of front garden photos because it’s coming alive as well. The first flower appeared on this azalea a couple of weeks ago but I decided to wait to share it until a few more buds had bloomed. This azalea is under a hedge (a rather unruly one that really needs to come down!) and I do nothing with it at all. It flowers every year and I love it (even though I don’t do pink!)

Finally …… drumroll!! First camellia has finally bloomed! Isn’t she gorgeous? I must make an effort to go out the front often in the next couple of weeks to soak up all the camellia goodness that I can before the flowers drop. It’s such a shame they don’t last longer, but I intend to appreciate them every day whilst I can.

I feel so much happier today for having been outside and got lots done. Also, because it’s finally warming up and all the happy months are stretching ahead of us with promise and hope.

Right, time for tea – don’t forget, as ever, to pop over to check out the Propagator. TTFN.

Long Overdue Catch Up

I was intending to write a Six on Saturday today given that the garden is waking up and there’s more to share, but then I realised I also wanted to write about our holiday so I’m combining the two (along with any other random thoughts that may enter my head!) But first, a holiday! Yes, that’s right, we actually managed to have a holiday, and in a different country at that!

Hubby was unexpectedly given three weeks holiday because the days needed using up, so we took the opportunity to book a short break in Gran Canaria. It didn’t turn out to be a simple as originally planned – we were due to fly out on 10th March (so we should be there now!) but a mix up in the holiday meant we had to bring it forward a couple of weeks. Much thanks to my boss for being so flexible in letting me change my holiday!

Anyway, Gran Canaria was the only one of the four main Canary Islands that we hadn’t been to, and we wanted somewhere with (pretty much) guaranteed sun. As it turns out, we pretty much could’ve been anywhere hot because we barely left the complex. After so long without a sunny break, we just wanted to chill out and recharge our batteries, and we were only there for four nights so we weren’t there long enough to get bored of lying around.

I just have to have a quick Brexit moan!

A stamp in my passport for an EU country. Honestly, it made me feel a leper! Anyway, it is what it is! I need to get over it, and currently there are far, far worse things happening in the world. As you can see, we flew out on 24th February which is the day that Putin decided that millions of innocent people needed to have their lives disrupted, at best, or ended at the other end of the scale. It was incredibly surreal to be lying on a sun bed in the sun with people going about their normal holiday lives around us, whilst a war was being waged a few hundred miles away.

I didn’t take many holiday photos because there’s only so many hotel photos you want/need, but I did snap some of the greenery around the hotel with a future Six on Saturday in mind.

There’s the obligatory palm tree and sun picture which I took as we were waiting for our tranfer back to the airport so I could remember the last bit of sun. Next to that, a beautiful bloom from around the pool. I don’t know what this is, but they were in pots all around the pool and in the sunlight the colour was amazing! Underneath that an impressive cactus and next to that, the olive tree of dreams. I have one in a pot that looks nothing like this at all!

On our first full day, we were treated to a visit from this beauty.

I tried really hard to get a photo that represented the vivid colours accurately, but I didn’t manage it, so I resorted to filters to get it to look something like an approximation of reality. The butterfly was beautiful, and huge! It was at least the size of an adult palm.

Typically for us on holiday, we managed to find a cat.

We joked that she looks like Tink’s grandma! Lovely as it is to find a cat to fuss, it’s still always good to get home to our girls waiting for us in their new basket.

It’s a month or so till our next holiday and we have to leave them again and I’ve recommenced my healthy eating and exercise regime. This week we discovered Pinch of Nom’s Diet Coke chicken, except we did it with Pepsi Max Cherry and Quorn pieces – absolutely delicious, full of veg and very low in calories – nutritious and delicious!

Back home, and spring has definitely sprung and what says spring more than daffodils?

Unfortunately the rest of my daffs have been flattened! Ordinarily this would really upset me, but, whilst I’m not happy about it, the reason for their flattening is good (and there are a few which look like they’ll recover). The week after we got back from Gran Canaria, our neighbour had the biggest of his trees chopped, most of which they did from our side, and the clean up involved a petrol powered leaf blower which caused the aforementioned flattening!

They chopped loads off, but I have to admit (especially as we contributed half to the cost) to being a little disappointed that they didn’t chop more. The height has been reduced significantly, but I was hoping they’d thin the trees out more too. However, it’s better than it was before, there’s already more light in the back of our house (and my home office is in the back bedroom that you can see so it’s not insignificant) and we remain to see how much more sun we get in the summer. Incidentally, I think I’ll look into getting a petrol leaf blower because our patio has never looked so clean, I’ll just be more careful around the daffs!

There are more and more signs that the garden’s waking up appearing almost every day. I always try to say to myself around this time of year, that I must appreciate the fact that we’re on the up again, days are getting longer, the sun is gearing up to shine on us and new shoots are emerging, because seemingly in no time, we’ll be past the longest day and heading back down. For now though, let us not think about that because it’s a long way off.

First is my polemonium which I bought to put in one of granny’s pots last year. I thought it had died so imagine my delight when I looked at it today and there’s new growth coming through. That’ll teach me not to read labels – I didn’t know it would die down and come back in the spring. Next to that is the cowslip that I rescued last year after it self seeded itself. It’s got such beautiful sienna edged petals – I’d never seen a cowslip that wasn’t bright yellow. Underneath that is one of my raspberries which has some leaves. Fingers crossed that I might get some fruit this year. Finally, beautiful flowers have appeared on my cherry thing! I got this from QVC last year, and I can’t remember what it is, but it’s some sort of cherry blossom,

Unfortunately, with flowers that you want, come plants that you don’t! The weeds have started growing again already!

There’s even some herb Robert growing on my little sleeping dragon!

Finally, I’m going to leave you with a picture of my latest cross stitch which I got framed recently, purely because I’m really pleased with it so I want to showcase it!! Indulge me if you will.

That was a lot of info in one post – hope I haven’t bored you all silly! I’m off to order a takeaway now – hope you all have a great weekend.