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!

Six on Saturday 28th September

It feels like a very long time since I did a Six on Saturday. I was away on holiday in Spain for a week, and then I had a day to catch up, then had to jet straight back off to Spain for a work trip, then it was my birthday the day after I got back, so it feels like I’ve had a hectic couple of weeks. It felt really luxurious to have a lie in this morning.

The weather at home while we were on holiday was pretty good so the garden didn’t look too bad when we got back, but then while I was away for work there was a day of heavy downpours and, going by the look of my bistro ……

…… it was somewhat windy too! Unfortunately my leaf blower died on me last time I used it, so I may have to sort this out longhand (so to speak!)

Anyway, on to today’s Six. Don’t forget to pop over to the Propagator’s blog if you want to check out more Sixes.

Number one.

I’m far too embarrassed by the state of our front garden to show you the whole thing – suffice it to say, there’s somewhat of a dandelion party going on! I would like to show you my Hydrangea though.

This was an acquisition earlier this Summer from the sale table at Notcutts and it’s done really well. I wanted something that will grow quite big so it’ll take up lots of space and make maintaining the front a bit easier (hopefully!) so I jumped at this as soon as I saw it. Its flowers have been the palest of green through the Summer, but now they’re morphing into this beautiful pink.

Number two.

Into the back garden for the rest of my points, and I think I’ll start with my Sunflower which is almost properly open.

I was worried it would open while we were on holiday, and then while I was away for work, but it’s held on to save the best for my return. Probably tomorrow or Monday it’ll be at its full glory.

Just to give you an idea of how tall it’s grown, that’s the top of my head, and I’m five foot four. I’ll measure it later, but it’s got to be eight feet tall.

Number three.

The Coleus and Eupatorium cuttings in the greenhouse look to be doing quite well.

The purple Coleus and the Eupatorium are both starting to grow new leaves, which seems like it should be a good sign, but as this is my first time taking cuttings I might be wrong! Hopefully they’re growing roots as well as leaves. Maybe I should pinch the new leaves out so they focus purely on the roots. Any words of wisdom on this?

The red Coleus doesn’t look as happy, but I found the slithery perpetrator of that nibbled leaf still in the pot, so that explains it! He got unceremoniously chucked up the garden!

Number four.

I’ve still got some veg on the go.

Charlotte potatoes which have started to sprout nicely. I’ll get out later to cover as much as I can with compost to try to encourage more spuds. These are supposed to be ready for our Christmas lunch.

There’s a few leeks growing as well. These were supposed to be ready in October, but they look a way off yet, so maybe we’ll be able to have these for Christmas lunch too in a nice cheese sauce. Yum!

Number five.

The plants that continue to delight through Autumn are coming into their own.

The Eupatorium is starting to flower. They look pink to start off with and then when they open they’re a lovely bright white.

The Heather is showing off beautiful bright colours ….

…. as is the Cyclamen.

Finally the Callicarpa Bodinieri is starting to grow its purple berries, which is precisely why I bought one after falling in love with the berries this time last year.

Number six.

The trusty Cosmos.

Still going strong, as you can see.

The poor things are in desperate need of some deadheading though so I’ll do that over the weekend to try to prolong their pretty blooms.

That’s it then for this week. I’m off to the shops soon on a birthday shopping trip so no doubt I’ll tell you all about that soon.

Have a great weekend folks!

September Little Box of Crochet

Good evening all!

I’m just quickly checking in because I’ve finally finished September’s Little Box of Crochet which I told you about here.

Oh my goodness I found this one hard, and it took a good deal of grit and determination not to have a hissy, stampy feet fit and give up!

As a quick reminder, September’s project was Gareth the Sleeping Fox.

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Gareth is crocheted entirely in waistcoat stitch which is how he got his name. Gareth Southgate, England Manager, became one of the most talked about men in the country when he dressed so snappily during every game that England played at the World Cup, always including a waistcoat.

I’d never heard of waistcoat stitch before I received my box, much less attempted it. Having googled it, I’ve discovered that it’s often called knit stitch, and it really does look like knitting rather than crochet.

The effect is achieved by inserting the hook in a different part of the stitch to normal crocheting. For any crocheters out there I’ve tried to illustrate the difference in the following photos.

The arrow on the first photo is pointing to where you insert the hook to create waistcoat stitch, right in the v of the knit like stitch. On the second photo the arrow points to the very top of the stitch and this is where the hook goes in regular crochet.

You wouldn’t think this would make much difference to the actual crocheting, but gosh it did! I almost had to resort to using a thimble because it’s so much harder to push the hook through.

Anyway. Enough of that. On to Gareth!

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Here are all his body parts before they were foxed up!

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Tail and body now attached.

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Slightly out of focus. Whoops! Foxy face stitched on.

…… and, drumroll!

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Rubbish lighting! Couldn’t decide whether he looked best with the flash, without the flash or just with the big light on! I had to go rootling around in the garden with the torch on my phone to find some nice leaves for staging purposes! Quite creepy I have to say with ghosts and ghouls still lurking around the corner from Halloween and fireworks banging around me! The things I do to try and get a good photo!

I can see a couple of little errors on the Fairisle parts (the bits with white and orange together) but on the whole I’m pleased with how he’s turned out and I’m glad I persevered.

I can’t say I’ll be rushing to do waistcoat stitch again, but I’m happy that I mastered it and have an extra string to my crocheting bow. I might find it easier using acrylic yarn since it’s not as rigid as cotton, but the downside to that is that the stitches wouldn’t look as defined.

So, onwards and upwards to October’s box and another new technique – Tunisian crochet. This one’s coming on holiday with me in four days, twelve hours, five minutes and forty two seconds. Forty one … forty … thirty nine … thirty eight …

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