End of week two of lockdown ….

…. and I think I have lost the plot! Yesterday I went out in the back garden and combed the grass!

Ok it’s not quite as loony tunes as it sounds! I didn’t comb the lawn (although it probably is currently long enough to style a Mohican!) No, I combed my grasses, which isn’t quite as odd, I think!

I have quite a penchant for grasses, in fact, I’ve just ordered three Imperata Red Baron (Blood Grass) from Blooming Direct when I went on there looking for Begonias (I did order the Begonias too) and after the dormant Winter, they just need a bit of a comb through to get the dead fronds out ready for them to regenerate and get beautifully willowy through the Summer. The green grasses above are my 50p Stipas and the pink one in the middle is a Cordyline.

The weather was so lovely yesterday, hence the social distancing breach in many parts of the country. I don’t understand why people don’t see that the more they flout the rules, the tougher and more restrictive the rules will get and the longer this awful period will go on! I drove hubby to and from work (he’s a key worker) and we were quite shocked by the number of people out and about on our local high street. In relatively close proximity, there’s a Tesco Express, Sainsbury’s Local and Nisa, a greengrocer, butcher and hardware store, two newsagents and a cafe that’s still doing takeaway so people were out shopping. Stay in people!

Anyway, I came straight home after dropping hubby and took advantage of the weather in a safe way and busied myself in the garden for the first time this year. I tidied up the greenhouse which, joy of joys, was over 23°, and I sowed my first seeds of 2020.

I sowed two different kinds of Sunflower, Teddy Bear which, as the name suggests has a round, fluffy flower, and Autumn Beauty which is tall with flowers in orangy Autumnal shades. These were a Christmas present.

I also sowed some Dutch Sweetpeas. These were a present given to my Dad at the Christening of my second cousin (or first cousin once removed or however it works! My cousin’s daughter). He doesn’t have a garden so gave them to me to grow on. Luckily the instructions were in English as well as Dutch!

The Sweetpeas are in the propagator, the Teddy Bears are in the green bamboo pots and the Autumn Beauty are in the black pots. I don’t have any labels so I’ve made a note on my phone.

After this I cleared a patch behind the greenhouse which gets a good amount of sunshine, and I exploded a seedbom which was also a Christmas present.

Fingers crossed we get some pretty bee-friendly blooms later in the year.

Next up, I prepared my raised bed and sowed my first veg seeds of the year. Lovely Petit Pois! I did two rows last year and got a decent crop, but this year I’ve sowed four rows so I’m hoping for double the harvest because I really do love Petit Pois. Through the Winter, whilst there’s been nothing growing in the bed, the local cats have been making use of it, so in an attempt to save my newly sowed seeds, I’ve improvised a cover.

I’ll have to sort out something more permanent sharpish to get in place when the seeds start to sprout. I’ll give it some thought because I don’t want a repeat of last year when a poor hedgehog got caught up in some stray netting (hedgehog was fine).

I came across a bag of Gladiolus bulbs in the greenhouse that I’d forgotten I was given free at Gardeners’ World Live last year. The bulbs didn’t look too healthy.

I planted them anyway – you never know. If they survive the squirrels we might get some Gladioli.

Back to Begonia! I went to empty last year’s Begonias from my hanging basket into the compost bin, but when I cleared the debris from the top, I discovered new growth on every single Begonia in there!

I’ve excitedly hung it back up and am now keeping everything crossed for another beautiful display in the Summer. If not, I have twenty four jumbo plug plants on the way in beautiful yellows and peaches. I’m planning to put some of these in my wheelbarrow planter and I also plan to add lots more pots to our garden (when I can get out to buy some!) so any surplus can decorate these.

After a bit of weeding and general tidying, I decided to call it a day and come in. We couldn’t have our usual Saturday night Chinese takeaway because they’re shut, so we had a yummy pizza and garlic bread from the freezer for tea and a couple of glasses of Sauvignon Blanc may have been consumed (for relaxation purposes, you understand), and I decorated our living room window.

Some of you may have seen the article in the press about putting teddy bears in your window to help cheer passing children, and I’m sure everyone (in the UK at least) will know of the growing movement to display a rainbow in your window in solidarity with NHS workers and other key workers who are working hard to keep us all going. I have the odd teddy bear living around and about our house, so I’ve relocated a couple to our living room window and I crocheted a rainbow to hang above them.

It’s hard to get a decent photo from outside because of the reflection so I’ve added a view from inside too. If it cheers one child, or child at heart, then it will be a job well done.

Back to work tomorrow (in the back bedroom), but only for four days this week. Let’s hope the weather’s kind for the four day weekend so I get some more work done in the garden.

Alternative Six on Saturday!

I was a really busy bee yesterday. I spent about five hours cleaning, tidying and generally organising ready for some friends to come over in the evening so our house is now sparkling, then I went over to Coventry to get my nails done.

… I went for green with glitter this time and I’m a little bit in love with them!

By the time I got home I just had time to have some tea before everyone arrived so I didn’t have chance to write a Six on Saturday post, even though I had managed to squeeze a photo mission to the garden in. Not to worry, it just means I’m not limited to six things to tell you about today.

First of all I’m going to wish our Welsh friends a very happy Saint David’s Day.

More and more daffs are popping up in the garden now and they do make my Winter-battered heart sing with hope. These ones are in the corner of my birthday planter.

There are definitely signs that Spring is in the air I the garden, apart from the daffs. My friend gave me a Crocus bowl for my birthday back in September. I planted the bulbs and then left the bowl in the dark garage as instructed. I have to admit, I had completely forgotten it was in there until hubby saw the bulbs sprouting and mentioned it to me. I took it out to the light and it’s gone from strength to strength.

There’s lots of new growth appearing around the garden.

My Hydrangea is growing little cabbages at the end of its arms.

My Dogwood is looking beautifully red and is growing lovely limey leaves.

And my Pink Damask in my birthday planter has got pretty big already. This dies down completely in the Winter and then shoots up in the Spring ready for its big blousy pink flowers in the Summer.

There’s actually some pink already doing its pretty thing out there. In the front my Camellia’s gearing up to flower already and I’m going to start appreciating it from now on because once those beautiful flowers bloom, they don’t stick around for long.

In the back the Pieris is already starting to develop its pink tips ready for the full on sunset that it will impress with soon.

And my sale table Erysimum which must surely be the most stoic plant in the garden, determined to shine even through Storms Ciara and Dennis, is waving a couple of flowers above its foliage.

Gorgeous!

The lawn is a little unruly because we weren’t able to give it one last mow at the end of the Summer because, would you believe it, it kept raining, and I noticed yesterday that the fox run is visible.

This reminded me to check the garden camera to see what the wildlife’s been up to recently. This was a mission! I hadn’t checked it since before Christmas so there were more than four thousand photos on the memory card. It took me hours to go through them all and get rid of the blurry ones, the hundreds of pigeons and the ones that were apparently triggered by the invisible man! Do you know how many actual decent photos I was left with? Twenty! I’ll just show you the best ones.

Bit blurry this one, but look at the date! Looks like it was the pigeon Christmas party!

Just Mr Fox enjoying some chips …

… and a squirrel chowing down on a prawn cracker.

We got another hedgehog too! So pleased with this one.

Finally, how do I know it’s Mr Fox and not Mrs? I’ll just leave this here!

Six on Saturday 7th December

I’ve been absent for a couple of weeks, and I’ve missed my creative blogging time. I’ve just had a lot on and haven’t found time to write. It also feels like I spend my whole life tired at this time of year so even when I have found myself with a few spare moments in which I could’ve shared what I’ve been up to, my brain’s been too sleepy to work!

I will try to find some time tomorrow to write a general catch up post of what’s been going on in the land of Green Girl Gardener over the past few weeks, although some of it I’ll have to tease you with because I have to keep some of my exciting news under my hat for now.

Anyway, enough of that and on to my first Six of December. It may also be the last of December – the impending festive season means a distinct lack of free time on Saturdays. We’ll see, maybe I’ll be able to squeeze one more in.

1. Hydrangeas

We have one Hydrangea in the back garden which was gifted to us by my in laws when we moved into our house. I finally planted it out at the end of Summer 2018 and it’s done well this year having more room to spread its roots.

However, when I checked it this morning …..

….. something has trampled it and broken off some of the faded flower heads. This, I think, is not good news. The old flowers protect the next year’s growth underneath so now I’m concerned that it might be damaged before the weather improves. Incidentally, please excuse the weeds – this area was almost inaccessible throughout the Summer because the Sweet Pea frame was in the way.

We have another Hydrangea in the front garden which I salvaged from a sale table this Summer, and it did really well and looked so pretty all Summer. I’m hoping it’ll get quite big and fill the corner of the garden.

I was really surprised to come out this morning and find some new growth on it.

I can’t remember what variety it is, but I’m sure it’s not supposed to bloom at Christmas!

2. Roses

We have lots! I love them!

This one is a patio Rose that’s in a pot on our bistro and it’s still valiantly trying to flower for me. There’s a teeny tiny spider currently making a home in its petals.

This one I think could be described as a mummified Rose! It’s my Rose Hot Chocolate which did really well this year. It’s become somewhat lanky so it needs a hard prune. I’ll have to check when to do it.

Finally, in the front we have beautiful Rose hips. This Rose was in the garden when we bought the house so I don’t know what variety it is, but it’s lovely.

3. Staying in the front garden, the Camellia has buds!

This also seems early. It flowers oh too briefly in very late Spring/early Summer and I’m always sad when the beautiful pink flowers turn brown and drop. I hope any potential cold snaps don’t ruin its chances of flowering next year.

4. Daffodils

Close inspection of the area in front of my birthday planter this morning revealed Daffodil shoots emerging. ALREADY! I’m sure they didn’t peek their heads into the world before Christmas last year. No sign of the Crocuses yet though. I wish I’d planted more Daffodil bulbs this Autumn. Last year I planted these ones in a row and whilst I loved their cheery yellow joy in the Spring, I think they’d have had more impact if I’d have planted them in clusters rather than a straight line.

5. There’s good news and bad news in the greenhouse. I always eat my sprout (singular!) first when eating my Christmas dinner so in a similar vein of getting the worst out of the way first I’ll show you the bad news first.

These were my cuttings, emphasis on the past tense! So disappointing. They were doing so well and now they’re really not! I don’t know what went wrong. Too cold? Too damp?

Anyway, sprout dealt with so on to the turkey and roasties.

The Fuchsias and Gazania seem to be coping ok with the cold. According to my thermometer, it’s been down to – 1.5° in the greenhouse. Let’s hope it doesn’t get any colder (for my sake as well as the plants!)

6. In case I don’t manage to squeeze another Six in before Christmas, I’m going to finish with Euphorbia ‘Rudolph’ for obvious reasons!

Unfortunately the reason for its seasonal moniker isn’t obvious during the festive season. You can just about see the pink tinge still but during the Summer it had bright red ‘noses’ just like Rudolph. This was from the sale table in Notcutts and I’m really pleased with how well it’s done.

I’m really late finishing this post this week (I started it at about half eleven this morning in the hairdresser’s) so if you pop over to the Propagator’s blog there’ll be plenty of other Sixes to catch up with in his comments. I’ll try to be back tomorrow with another post to make up for my extended absence.