Six on Saturday 9th March

I popped out in the garden one night this week to inspect Spring progress and said to myself, yup, definitely got to do a Six on Saturday this week. I was away last weekend so it was a couple of weeks since I’d properly seen the garden in daylight and so much had changed.

So, here we go with numero uno – Spring bulbs. Here’s my barrel planter two weeks ago.

Reasonably well defined – Heather in the middle surrounded by Cyclamen with the Giant Alliums coming though at the back, Tulips (I think) on the left and an at-that-point unidentified smaller bulb nearer the middle.

Here’s two week’s progress for you.

I think I made a school boy error with the Giant Alliums! They’re taking over the world! It’s like Little Shop of Horrors! I’ll see how they fare this year, and then I may have to relocate them to somewhere with more space for next year. I didn’t appreciate quite how giant Giant Alliums would be! The size of the bulb should’ve been my first clue really – mahoosive! I now know that the previously unidentified leaves are a Snowdrop, but I’m sure I planted more than one bulb. Maybe they were either dug up by squirrels or have no room to bloom due to the giantness behind! I think the suspected Tulips are struggling for space too! Oh well, you live and learn.

Sticking to the theme of bulbs for number two, the Bluebells are continuing to pop up all over the garden. I’m sure there are significantly more than there were last year.

You can see them pushing through all around the edge of the bistro, and even through the weed control fabric around my Festuca pot and in the middle of the gravelled area. We have them in pretty much every bed, and I noticed today that there are hundreds of them in what I lovingly refer to as ‘the wasteland’ at the top of the garden. That’ll be really pretty when they flower.

Number three is my Bergenia, or Elephant’s ears.

This was given to me by the cleaner at work from her garden. It was just in a plastic bag with no soil, and I planted it a couple of days afterwards, not really expecting much, but it’s thrived and has lovely pink flowers waving at me. Spot the Bluebells vying for its spot!

On to number four.

Beautiful pink Camellia in the front garden. We inherited the Camellia when we moved in and I don’t do anything with it, it just keeps going and stuns us with its gorgeousness every Spring. Doesn’t it look luscious with the raindrops nestling in its petals?

Number five is something special, not that bulbs, Bergenia and Camellias aren’t, but this is a project that’s been a long time in the imagination. Regular readers will know about my raised beds that I built last summer and my greenhouse that I got for Christmas. Here’s how they’ve looked since the new year.

On Wednesday we took delivery of thirty slabs, three bags of sharp sand and one bag of cement.

Very conveniently (for me) I was in Frankfurt on business when they arrived so hubby humped them all the way down the garden to the greenhouse. Must remember to be away whenever heavy goods are being delivered!

Today my Dad came over to help me lay the slabs. We were a bit will we won’t we to start off with because he lives fifty miles away and we couldn’t decide whether the weather was going to play ball and cause him a wasted trip (other than seeing yours truly obvious!) Eventually the blue skies won through and we were able to lay half the slabs and I’m so pleased with how they’ve turned out so far – much better than the picture in my head.

We ran out of sand and cement at this point, hence we stopped. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to finish it off because the forecast is for wet weather for the foreseeable future. Soon there will be strawberries, raspberries, carrots, potatoes, leeks and courgettes growing in those beds. How exciting!

I foresee more slab laying in my future because we have a LOT of space and don’t they look good? People are always trying to get rid of slabs on freecycle too so it can be a cheap, rewarding and fruitful project.

I also now have this hanging around the garden so I’ll be off to peruse Pinterest later to see what I can make with it.

I will finish and leave you with something for number six that made me very VERY happy this week when I spotted it. Sometime back towards the end of summer I wrote about my beautiful Berberis that lost all its leaves as soon as I planted it out. It really was beautiful when I bought it from Hop Pocket out near Worcester.

See its beautiful leaves that look like they’ve been gilded with gold? It is deciduous, so it may have been just coincidence that I happened to plant it out when it was time to lose its leaves, but they went so quickly that it just didn’t seem right, so I dug it up and put it back in its pot and whispered sweet nothings to it whenever I popped out over the Winter and look what’s happened.

It’s alive, it’s alive! I have some garden centre vouchers so I’m going to treat it to a nice pot and nurture it and love it on its own just in case it doesn’t like our soil.

So there’s my six for this week. Do pop over to the Propagator’s blog to check out his and others’ sixes.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Raincoats and rivulets

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It was this kind of day today! Apparently it’s all thanks to Storm Ali and, wet and windy as it is, we’re only affected by the fringe of it here in the Midlands. Northern Ireland, the north of England and Scotland have had it much much worse. I’ve just read that there’s been loss of life, so I’m grateful that we’re just a bit soggy and windswept.

I spent hours last weekend painstakingly picking up leaves from the gravel on our lovely bistro, if the neighbours spotted me, they must’ve thought I was a crazy woman, crawling around on my hands and knees! I’m proud of our bistro and I just want to keep it looking ship shape and Bristol fashion. Storm Ali, however, had other ideas and has blown and blustered its way through the garden leaving a trail of leaves, twigs and random garden debris in its wake.

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Sigh! Green Girl gardener’s work is never done!

My poor plants that are patiently waiting in their pots for me to decide where their forever homes are going to be haven’t escaped entirely unscathed either.

I think it’s a reasonably well known fact that Eskimos have many words for snow, the theory for this being that language is shaped by your environment.

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I was pondering this fact on my wet and windy drive to work this morning, and it occurred to me that the English language has also been shaped in this way. How many words and phrases do we have to describe rain?

It’s persisting down, chucking it down, throwing it down, lashing down, tipping it down, pouring down, even peeing it down if we want to be a little less polite. Precipitation, drizzle, mizzle, spitting are all words used to describe the wet stuff. We don’t just have a rain storm, we have a shower, a downpour or a deluge. It occasionally rains cats and dogs or comes down like stair rods.

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I just had a quick google (another example of the flexibility of the English language, google is now a verb!) to make sure I wasn’t missing any really obvious rainy words, and I stumbled across a fabulous phrase which the French apparently use – il pleut comme vache qui pisse, directly translated as it’s raining like a cow relieving itself!

There are suggested explanations for why we say it’s raining cats and dogs, the most common being to do family pets sleeping in the rafters of thatched cottages and slipping out when the roof got wet in the rain, but I wonder why the French picked on the cow in particular. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a cow relieving itself (and have no desire to). Does the phrase refer to a deluge or are French cows prone to prostate problems lending the phrase more to a frequent shower? I guess that would be a bull not a cow, but you get my drift. I work with some French people, I’ll have to ask them!

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Honestly, I do surprise myself with the randomness that drips out of my brain sometimes. I’ll try to be more sensible next time. I’ve got a few fun events coming up over the next few days and a super exciting bit of news that I have to keep on the qt for now, but I can’t wait to share.

Au revoir mes amis.

Green Girl Gardener does some gardening

Afternoon lovely people who kindly take the time to read my ramblings. I do hope you’re all having a good weekend.

I’m aware that I have probably written more posts not to do with gardening than I have that are to do with gardening, which may seem odd given the title of my blog. It seems that I have quite a few passions, and they’re all spilling out on to my blog. I didn’t really realise this until I started telling you all about the things that are important to me. Quite simply, I’m writing down what happens to be falling out of my head at the particular time that I come to write. Hope you don’t mind!

Today, however, I have been at one with nature, revelling in what is probably one of the last times I’ll be able to get out there without freezing my toes and fingers off. It did try to rain a couple of times while I was out there, but it must’ve got annoyed with me ignoring it and it took its rainy self off in a huff.

What I really wanted to do was tidy up our newly created bistro area.

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This is what it looked like in early June. Crazy huh! This is after we’d paid to have someone cut back all the trees too! It took a lot of hard work to clear this, but I had a vision of how it could look, so I ignored the back pain and forged ahead.

I haven’t done any maintenance on it for a few weeks so first thing this morning it had quite a few leaves on it and fox poo! The fox seems to regard it as a giant litter tray!

Not a major difference, but you can see it looks tidier. It took quite a while to do that, I wish it looked more impressive! There is a massive difference between June and now though.

I pottered around after this and did some deadheading and general weeding. We have a delivery coming next week (weather permitting) and I wanted to clear the area ready for it. More on that soon. As an aside, I bought a hoe earlier in the year and couldn’t work out how it was better than getting down on your hands and knees and pulling weeds, but today, when I had a reasonably big area to clear it really came into its own.

After I’d turned the soil, a chirpy chappy came down to inspect the work and check if I’d turned up some lunch.

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These photos are zoomed in, but he was pretty close to me. If I moved too quickly he flew off into next door’s trees and sang beautifully for me, but would come back down once I was still again.

Now I have to admit to having had a near failure in the garden. A couple of weeks ago I decided that, as the hot weather had passed, it would be safe to plant out my Berberis which I bought from Hop Pocket out near Worcester. It had beautiful red leaves edged with gold ….

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…… but something has gone wrong! I don’t know if it didn’t like the kind of soil we have or if it was still too hot for it or if I gave it too much water, or not enough water, but today I decided to dig it back up and put it back in a pot to see if I can revive it. It’s still really prickly so I think there’s life left in it yet.

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The poor thing looks really sorry for itself and I feel like I’ve let it down, but I hope I can show you another photo in a few weeks of it looking much happier. If I succeed in nursing it back to health I think I’ll keep it in a container.

Gardening brings me such happiness and peace, but this is the downside, when something doesn’t work. Keep your fingers crossed for it folks!