Six on Saturday – 30th April

I’m typing whilst sitting on my new egg swing chair (must feature it one week, perhaps when there’s a dearth of prettiness left to feature) and I’m being entertained by music from next door’s youngest’s fourth birthday party. There’s a bouncy castle for the little ones but the parents are enjoying an 80s playlist which suits me down to the ground. That’s my era!

This is the closest I’m going to get to gardening beyond a bit of watering this weekend. We’ve just got back from a lovely week in Lanzarote, during which I managed to go flying off an e-scooter landing (heavily) mainly on my palms and left knee so kneeling is out for a while and dirt in grazed palms I’m guessing wouldn’t be a good idea. We stayed in a lovely hotel which, informatively, named a lot of the plants in its grounds.

I presume most people would know even without the label that this is a geranium (or maybe not?) but there were lots of succulents and other plants and shrubs which I was interested to identify. I thought it was a nice touch.

I’d sowed some seeds in the greenhouse before we went and gave them a good soaking on our morning of departure hoping they’d make it through the week.

I checked yesterday and the cosmos in the little terracotta pots had sprouted but nothing else. I gave everything a good watering and left it up to the lap of the gods. This morning I checked and a few nigella have appeared and one petit pois. I really hope I get some more petit pois. I may sow a few more when my hands are healed.

It seems the garden didn’t mind us being away because it’s got on with the business of the season admirably on its own. A couple of the pots were looking a bit sorry for themselves, but a swift watering and they’ve survived. The rhododendron was looking like it was about to explode with colour before we left and I was worried that we’d miss it completely …

… but it waited for us. A couple of the flowers are out but most are still getting ready. Such a beautiful bloom, this one. I’m so glad I rescued it from the sale table when garden centres reopened in the first relaxation of covid measures.

This Welsh poppy self seeded itself this year in one of my pots and before we left it had lots of foliage but no buds. Yesterday I noticed a bud, and this morning it had opened!

Similarly, my clematis Montana had some leaves but no buds just over a week ago, but now she has lots of flowers. More than ever before, in fact. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may remember that she didn’t flower at all for a couple of years, then I got one or two flowers a year, but now there are quite a few. Lovely delicate linen coloured petals.

I’ll finish with geum Totally Tangerine. I thought I may have lost it this year, because an awful lot of the leaves were dead when I did some weeding and maintenance recently, but it’s just about hung on in there and now it has a flower. It’s definitely somewhat depleted from previous years, but let’s hope it picks up and gains strength through the summer.

That’s your lot for this week. It’s got to that time of year where I have to prioritise what to feature, rather than scrub around trying to find anything of interest. I imagine others are the same, so I’ll pop over to the Propagator to see what others have prioritised. I hope everyone has a great bank holiday weekend.

Six on Saturday 16th April

I’m writing this sitting outside drifting backwards and forwards on my new egg chair (thank you QVC) having spent the day getting stuck into some well needed gardening. I’ve decided to call it a day now, partly because I’m exhausted and partly because time’s getting on and I want to get a Six done today because this time next week we’ll be in Lanzarote (covid, security/check in delays and flight cancellation permitting!) so I won’t be writing a post then (although you could still pop to see the Propagator without me next Saturday and see what other treasures people are sharing).

Most of my points today relate to this photo taken yesterday as we left Dobbies with a fully laden boot.

My main purpose for going was to have lunch in their restaurant (check) and for compost (check) and bedding plants (check). However I also came out with several unforeseen purchases. Isn’t that always the way with garden centres?

So on with my first point (I’m counting the above as a preamble, not a point).

Most of the bedding plants have found a home, whether it be square, round or semi-circle. It was BOGOF on packs of twenty violas and pansies, so I got one of each. I’m so happy it’s finally warm enough to get on with the early summer planting. I don’t want to speak too soon, but I think we can be fairly confident that the final frost has been and gone. I had one cowslip in the wall basket from last year and I noticed another couple had self-seeded themselves halfway down the garden, so I dug them up and rehomed them, and added a couple of violas to make a pretty wall display.

I was intending to replace all my strawberry plants this year, but I decided to give the ones in our big planter one more year to see if they’ll perform so I just bought three new plants to replace the three original ones I had in a pot.

These are alpine strawberries and it says they’re perfect for pots so hopefully they’ll do well.

Somewhat dominating the space in my boot was a cotoneaster. I absolutely wasn’t intending coming home with a cotoneaster but, well, it happened!

I moved a couple of things around in the space behind my birthday planter and the cotoneaster fitted in perfectly there. It fills a space nicely. I also took the opportunity to deadhead last year’s flowers from the hydrangea that you can see in the background now the aforementioned frost has passed.

I sat down for a few minutes after planting the cotoneaster because it needed quite a big hole digging, and my back was complaining, and look who chirruped over to see if I’d turned up any worms.

Little beady-eyed robin red breast. He’s never far away when I’m out gardening.

I spent a bit of time in the greenhouse – 26.5° it was in there!

I sowed petit pois seeds in the green containers. I decided to try to start them off in the greenhouse this year because last year I sowed them direct and not a single one germinated. In the small terracotta pots are cosmos and in the bigger pot is nigella. I don’t know if either of these will grow because they’re old seeds that have been in the greenhouse since last year, but I thought I’d give it a go.

Finally, the first bluebells are opening their little heads to see the sun.

Aren’t they pretty? They seem to take so long to flower and then once the blooms have died you’re left with a load of unattractive leaves. Still, best to appreciate them while they last because there’s certainly no getting rid of the abundance of them in our garden.

I hope you’re all enjoying a relaxing Easter weekend with lots of relaxing, chocolate and maybe a bit of gardening. I’ll catch you all on the other side of our holiday.

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!!