Six on Saturday 29th January

Whoop! Last Six of January! I know February’s not much better than January in terms of gardening, but it’s next to March and that is definitely spring and therefore better all round!

I struggled to find six things worthy of posting today, hence my last two photos are more garden hardware than software, if that analogy works? My first two points though, are thanks to a trip to the garden centre this morning to buy the hardware in the final point. I couldn’t resist saving them from the sale table.

First is a buddleja. I now need to find somewhere big enough and sunny enough to plant it. The buddleja we already have was a sale table find and that’s done really well so I have no doubt that this one will thrive too, if I can find the right home for it. It will probably have to be at the end of the garden.

The second find was this hebe. Now, I know I already have loads of hebes (probably about six) but as far as I’m concerned there’s no such thing as too many hebes. I love them, and they do seem to do well in our garden. I may put this one in the border that you can see behind to the right of it.

On to a couple of established plants. I thought it was about time I gave my mystery plant that no one seems to be able to identify some airtime. It’s still lovely and is still doing well. Not bad for a 50p bargain find! It’s very forgiving – I literally do nothing to it other than smile at it!

Next is my rose ‘Hot Chocolate’. It needs pruning but as usual I haven’t got round to it and now it’s already produced new growth.

Now on to the hardware. We have a little black cat who visits us every day and, although I’m sure he has a home because he’s well groomed and very friendly, I think he wants to live with us. That can’t be because our furry girls aren’t keen on him, but he does insist on sitting in our garden even in the most inclement of weather so we got a little house for him so he can sit in it out of the snow and rain if he doesn’t want to go home.

Finally, the reason for our trip to the garden centre this morning. We’ve been talking about having a pond for years but have never got round it it. Now we’ve at least made the first step. Just got to dig a big hole now!

I’m off to see what delights the Propagator has posted today. Have a good weekend all.

First Six on Saturday of 2022 – 1st January

I’ll start by thanking the Propagator for publishing his Six today, because without that I would’ve had absolutely no idea what day of the week it is! Secondly – happy new year everyone! I started the day fed up (isn’t that obligatory on 1st January?) For me, rather than a chance to start afresh, it always feels like anything good that I achieved in the previous year is null and void and I’ve got to start from the beginning again! As if the whole point of the year is to get to the end, only once you do, it just starts again and you’re back to square one. Of course that’s not true and once I’ve given myself a good talking to, I get a grip and the eternal optimist in me wins out.

As part of my getting a grip, I decided to go out into the garden and see what’s going on. I have to say, I could’ve come back in thoroughly depressed because it’s a mess! A combination of a bad back, the weather and the time of year means that nothing’s been done out there for some time (other than hubby taking it upon himself to clear a load of leaf fall) and you can tell. However, my back’s starting to feel a bit better and the weather will improve soon so I’ll be able to crack on and get a lot done before too long. In the meantime, here’s what caught my eye today.

I’ve got a little ahead of myself because my first picture is actually inside the back door. I got this lovely little cactus from my brother, sister in law and niece. Isn’t it cute in its little teacup? Perfect colour to brighten up a dreary winter’s day too. Cacti are one of the few plants I can grow inside because our cats have learnt not to go near them!

Continuing the yellow theme next is this lovely biden bloom. I’ve featured my bidens a couple of times over the summer but didn’t think they’d still be going now after a couple of coverings of snow and several frosts. Admittedly there aren’t many flowers left, but this one is certainly not too lonely. The plant does look a little straggly now so I’ll have to see how it goes and whether it will revitalise for the summer.

Speaking of snow covering, my poor cordyline suffered a bit, as you can see! The fronds have bent down under the weight of snow. It seems to be recovering a bit already so hopefully all is not lost. Maybe next year I should put some protection around it.

As I wandered behind the squished cordyline I noticed this grass. This was a freebie from my mum when I visited last May when restrictions were finally lifted. It’s doing really well. I obviously managed to (accidentally) plant it somewhere that it appreciates. Actually, despite being on the shady side of the garden, things planted here do, on the whole, thrive. There’s still a bit of space here so I’ll have to find something to fill it this year.

I’m going to finish with two photos of good things to come! Firstly you can see the daffs are already pushing through with their promise of gorgeous yellowy hope in a few short weeks. I can’t wait – I feel so cheered when the first daffs bloom because then warmth and light stretches out ahead of us for months!

Moving to the front garden and the hope is continued there in the form of camellia buds! This is a beautiful deep pink camellia and, although the blooms only last a couple of weeks before they drop, during that fortnight they make my heart happy

Right, nearly time for tea, and it’s kind of a last supper before the new year healthy eating regime starts (again!) I’m remaining positive that the sunny holiday that we have booked in April IS going to happen, unlike the last two that we’ve had booked, and I’m determined to feel comfortable in swimwear!

Hope everyone still off work enjoys the rest of their holiday, and for those who have had to work throughout, like my hubby, you can feel smug in the knowledge that you don’t have that sinking ‘going back to work’ feeling to come! Having said that, I’m hoping I don’t have that – my new year’s resolutions are mainly work related so I’m going to make this a positive career year.

Six on Saturday 19th June

My offering is late this Saturday because I’ve spent all day in the garden, mainly focused on one particular project and finishing off with a little bit of general gardenkeeping (is that a word? Housekeeping is, so why not gardenkeeping?)

Anyway, this week I’m mainly talking about my new planter which I have bought in an attempt to fill the problem space alongside our lawn and underneath part of next door’s jungle which gets no sun (literally none) and is zapped of all goodness and moisture due to the aforementioned jungle. I figure a planter will be easier to maintain since I can control the soil and the watering much easier. That’s the idea anyway. Who knows if it’ll work. Here’s hoping because the planter was flipping expensive and backbreaking to put together (although I am suffering with my back at the moment, so it may not be so bad for a healthy backed person!) and I had to put A LOT of compost in it!!

Here is it with hubby valiantly brandishing the screwdriver as if he did the whole lot!!!! To be fair, he was at work when I put the majority of it together and I’m too impatient to wait for help unless absolutely necessary. Each of those half moons of timber was separate and had to be joined, and they didn’t have pre-drilled holes! I just needed help to put the panels together once I’d constructed them because it was pretty unwieldy because of the size.

I decided to fill some of the bottom with various paraphernalia to use up some space because I’d calculated that it would hold 1000 litres of compost. It was quite good actually to get rid of some of the rubbish lying around the garden and put it to good use (and save me some money!) As it turns out, either my calculations were wrong, or the dimensions given were wrong, but it actually took 1350 litres of compost, even with the detritus in the bottom, which involved two trips to Homebase. Luckily hubby wasn’t working this morning so I didn’t have to carry it all from the car to the garden because that really wouldn’t have done my back any good! It’s already complaining about the amount of lifting and digging that I did actually do.

Eventually, after that second trip to Homebase, I managed to get it filled and, what do you know, it stayed together and I think it looks pretty good, even before the plants were added.

In the lefthand side of the planter we have, back left, my very first sale table plant that I’ll be really upset at if it doesn’t tolerate being moved, my hebe Purple Pixie. It’s one of the few plants that actually has managed to compete successfully with the jungle. In front of that, the pinky thing, is a weed I think, but it’s a pretty weed so I kept it and in front of that is a hosta which is a shade-lover anyway so has managed to stay alive there for a couple of years. Next to the hosta is a sedum which self-seeded itself elsewhere in the garden. Also a shady lady so should be fine there. Behind that is my fuchsia Delta Sarah which also prefers some shade. It’s a couple of years old now and has come back to life this year. I pruned it quite significantly back to the regrowth so hopefully it won’t object to the upheaval. Behind Sarah is a new plant that I picked up a couple of weeks ago at Dobbies. It’s a nepeta and it should be ok with shade as long as I keep it topped up with water until it establishes. Nestled next to the nepeta is an Asiatic lily. I really don’t know how that will take to the movement, but I thought I’d try it – you never know. In front of that I added some white begonias because they’re pretty tolerant of anything that you do to them and they brighten up a darker spot.

Moving to the back right of the other end of the planter we have acer Butterfly. This is also new so I’ll make sure it gets everything it needs to thrive. In front of the acer is my coprosma. This is the third time the poor thing’s been moved because it wasn’t doing well in it’s first two spots. I talked nicely to it and promised never to move it again if it can do its best to settle in well here. Next door to the coprosma is a plant that my in-laws bought for me and I can’t remember what it is! Having just consulted google, I think it may be a Japanese laurel. Back and left from there is another new plant. I ordered this one from Thomson and Morgan in February and it only turned up a couple of weeks ago! It’s a sarcococca which I got because my aunt told me that they smell amazing and should be ok with shade. Immediately in front of that is fuchsia Snowcap. This is one of the six that I ordered from QVC which got turned upside down by Hermes and arrived in a bit of a sorry state! I’ve been tending to them carefully ever since and I think I’ve managed to save them all (although one is still a bit touch and go – it’s in one of Granny’s pots for good luck). Goodness knows where the other four are going to go, but I really should decide before they get pot bound! At the very front is another sale table find and I can’t (even with the help of google) remember what it is. It has a really odd flower that looks like some kind of alien, however it didn’t look very happy before I moved it so I’m not expecting it to survive, but, again, you never know! I’ve left a bit of space at the front because I’d like a couple of heucheras there but I don’t own said heucheras yet and I think I’d better wait till pay day to make any more purchases!!

I’m really pleased with the way it’s turned out and it looks so much better than the mostly empty space before did. I’ll have to keep on top of the maintenance because most of the jungle is made up of fir trees which like to drop their needles in abundance. This is good sometimes because I think it does help to keep moisture in, but it’s not good when it covers the poor plants just trying to survive underneath. I hope I haven’t planted things too close together – I’ll just have to see how they get on as they (hopefully) get bigger.

I’m going to finish up with another raised bed that I’ve been tending today and over the last couple of weeks.

I’d already planted out the marigolds, sweetpeas and runner beans and they seem to be doing ok despite being trampled on by any number of neighbourhood cats, foxes, squirrels and magpies! The runner beans and sweetpeas are all starting to wind their way up the wigwams and all the marigolds have buds waiting to spring forth with orangy gorgeousness. Today I added four sunflowers (short ones) that have been growing in the greenhouse. They got attacked by slugs so were somewhat put back in their growth but I’m hopeful that they’ll survive. I also planted out my second batch of cosmos after the first lot also fell foul of the slimy critters. You can’t really see them, but they’re in the middle. I don’t normally stake cosmos, but they were all looking a little droopy so I decided to give them a little helping hand, especially as we’re expecting rain again tomorrow which might batter tiny plantlets (I’ve made that up, but they’re more than seedlings, but not quite plants yet).

All in all it’s been a most satisfying (if expensive) day of gardening and I’m feeling happily accomplished. I’m off to check out some of the other Sixes now that I’ll be able to find on the Propagator’s blog – why not join me? Enjoy the rest of the weekend – happy gardening!