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!!

Six on Saturday 19th March

Today, the weather was finally warm enough for this fair weather gardener (and her less fair weather husband) to get out and get some jobs done. There are many, MANY more still to do, but at least we made a start. I got to use my new gloves and knee pads for the first time. These were a Christmas present from my Dad and C. and they were really good.

The knee pads, whilst not the stylist things I’ve ever sported, really made weeding easier without having to keep moving my old pad around with me, although I did forget a couple of times and go to move it before realising the pads were attached to me!!

I tackled the patio planter first. It was in dire need of some tlc and weeding. I had two stipas, that I got from the sale in B&Q years ago for 50p each, which I thought had died – they’d both worked themselves out of the soil somehow! One definitely was dead, but the other had a couple of vestiges of green so I divided it and replanted and now I’ll keep my fingers crossed – they really were gorgeous grasses. Then I moved on to one of the hebes at the end which had become very leggy. I’ve never pruned it, and I didn’t even look up what I’m supposed to do with it, but as you can see from the picture on the right, there is growth at the bottom, so I’ve pruned it pretty hard and will, as with the stipa, keep everything crossed.

Once I’d pruned it, it seemed a shame to just throw the off cuts away because they were covered in beautiful, delicate hebe leaves. There were also a couple of daffodils which had got bent so I liberated them along with some cosproma, hellebore and euphorbia and made an arrangement. It’s having to stay outside because the daffs are poisonous to our cats but at leave we can see it when we’re in the kitchen.

There was so much tidying to be done on the patio that I didn’t really make it further down the garden, but I did go and check to see if my eupatorium has thrown up any new shoots yet. It has!

Only a couple so far, but hopefully some more are on their way. I say this every year, but I’ll try to remember to take some cuttings this year and try to grow some more plants. It comes back every spring, but slightly weaker each year which would suggest it’s got a shelf life. I haven’t seen another one in any garden centre since I bought this one, so maybe they’re not that common.

I’ll finish with a couple of front garden photos because it’s coming alive as well. The first flower appeared on this azalea a couple of weeks ago but I decided to wait to share it until a few more buds had bloomed. This azalea is under a hedge (a rather unruly one that really needs to come down!) and I do nothing with it at all. It flowers every year and I love it (even though I don’t do pink!)

Finally …… drumroll!! First camellia has finally bloomed! Isn’t she gorgeous? I must make an effort to go out the front often in the next couple of weeks to soak up all the camellia goodness that I can before the flowers drop. It’s such a shame they don’t last longer, but I intend to appreciate them every day whilst I can.

I feel so much happier today for having been outside and got lots done. Also, because it’s finally warming up and all the happy months are stretching ahead of us with promise and hope.

Right, time for tea – don’t forget, as ever, to pop over to check out the Propagator. TTFN.