Six on Saturday 3rd April

Bank holiday has thrown me! I almost started to write this yesterday thinking it was Saturday, and today feels like Sunday. Oh well, it’s not, so here I am.

I’ll start with greenhouse progress and my seeds are coming along nicely. The only ones which are a bit reluctant to get going are my tomatoes. I didn’t take a picture of them – you don’t need to see what is essentially a pot of soil!

I don’t have labels, I have a note on my phone instead. I’d like to say that’s because I’m far too technologically advanced for labels, but actually it’s just that I’m not organised enough to buy any! So, in the green bamboo pots and the triple container there are Russian giant sunflowers, in the two six compartment containers are Pacino gold sunflowers and the tray and the teeny tray on the top right contain sweetpeas. Underneath that in the 99p tray are cosmos dazzler and the white tray middle bottom is nurturing zinnia orange king. Let’s hope they all survive the cold spell that is forecast over the next few days.

Next is an update on the suspected honesty plant that I posted last week. It has put on a huge growth spurt over the past week and now has tiny buds and I recognise them from when I grew honesty a couple of years ago so it is now a fully confirmed honesty plant. It’s a bit skewiff in the pot but I think a couple of carefully placed bedding plants will balance it out.

Next is my ‘new’ raised bed. I use inverted commas because I actually bought and assembled this last year but it was too late in the season to try and grow anything in it so it’s been sat there all winter patiently waiting. I have a bit of an issue because I can’t get the legs into the ground, but I also can’t get the screws out to remove them. I have attempted to recruit a bit of muscle (hubby) to either battle the screws or saw the bottoms off, but for some reason that I just can’t fathom, he doesn’t seem to share my enthusiasm for it! Don’t worry – I’ll wear him down in the end!

A raised bed needs compost so yesterday we popped to Homebase and picked up lots! I’m going to need more at some point, but this will keep me going for now.

Hopefully there will be enough left for me to pot this lovely lot up.

I ordered these from QVC weeks ago and they arrived a couple of days ago. I have two pots (also from QVC) ready and waiting for them. I actually expected the bulbs to be bigger, but we’ll see what happens.

Speaking of lilies, I noticed that these ones have started sprouting and here starteth my lily beetle watch! I think these are Asiatic lilies. I’ve bought so many that they all merge into one! I’m pretty sure these are the bright yellow ones. Time will tell.

See all the winter detritus covering the ground? This is all from next door’s jungle which means hardly anything grows on this side of the garden. I’ve got a plan hatching for this space though which hopefully I’ll be able to put into action soon and tell you about.

Until then, the Propagator’s blog is ready and waiting for you to peruse along with all the other Sixes for this week. I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend with lots of gardening and hopefully lots of chocolate.

Six on Saturday (except it’s Sunday)

I had some sad news on Friday night, so my head wasn’t in the game yesterday to write a post, but I had already taken my photos.

My sad news was that my Granny has passed away. She was eighty nine so you might think it wasn’t unexpected, but it was, and it was a real shock. I didn’t sleep much on Friday night, for obvious reasons, and yesterday as I was driving around everything felt really surreal. I think I expected the universe to know that it’s lost someone special and to be different somehow, but everyone else was just going about their business as normal (or as normal as current circumstances allow) and it felt weird. But maybe it knows something that I don’t, because it hasn’t really lost her, has it? She may have joined my Grandad in whatever’s next, but she will continue to impact our world through my mum, through my aunt, through my cousins, and through me. So I decided I would write today because this little blog is my small way of having an impact on life.

I’m going to stick by the six points rule, but I’m going to deviate from the content rules and make my first point, my Granny.

I found the photo on the left this morning taken at my wedding in 2008, and I couldn’t work out why Granny and Grandad are both looking away from the camera …. then I found the second photo. Clearly they were being snapped from two different angles! My Grandad was a gardener and Granny kept up with his garden after he left us and I did a Six on Saturday a couple of years ago about their garden. Feel free to have a look here.

Heading back to preset and my garden, and if you have just read Granny’s Six, you’ll see why this point leads on from that, my clematis Montana is starting to grow again.

It never does very well and in fact, I’ve had it three or four years and it had its very first flower last year. I was planning to try to find somewhere better for it this year, but I watched Gardeners’ World today and Monty said climbers really dislike being moved, so maybe I should reconsider.

All my remaining points are flowers! Finally, buds are starting to bloom and give me some colour. I need it now to remind me that life can be, and will be again, cheerful. First up is a single solitary grape hyacinth.

I did plant quite a few of these, and I was told that they multiply with gay abandon, but they don’t seem to do very well in my garden. I passed a garden down the road earlier this week and it was bursting full of grape hyacinths so unlikely to be the soil type. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a few more yet.

Next is my Prunus Kojo-No-Ma which arrived from QVC recently. The buds are starting to open and the flowers are so delicate and beautiful. They’re all facing down so far so I had to twist myself into all sorts of odd angles to get this photo.

Next is present from the birds probably. I think it’s a cowslip going by the look of the leaves, but the flowers aren’t the usual bright yellow, they’ve got these gorgeous orange edges. It’s growing in a strange place where it could easily get trampled, so I’ll move it soon.

Finally I’m going to finish with the cheeriest bloom (so far) in the garden. My camellia is in the front garden and it’s had buds since before Christmas but the first one only opened this week. I have to keep remembering to look at it out of the window. In previous years I’ve spent a couple of minutes every morning looking at it when I’ve left for work, but I’m still working from home and I don’t want to miss it because once the flowers bloom they fade disappointingly quickly.

So there we go, my little stamp on the world for another week that would never have happened if it wasn’t for the very special, strong, stoic lady at the top of this post. I’ll try my hardest to continue your legacy in the best ways that I can.

A to Z of a lockdown

Animals – as soon as we were able, we did our bit to support animal attractions that had been forced to close for months. All the animals still had to fed, watered and cared for during lockdown and some came close to having to put animals to sleep. Edinburgh zoo is currently considering whether they have to send their two giant pandas back to China as they’ve had very little income for twelve months.

Baking – I, along with most of the UK going by the empty flour and sugar shelves in the supermarkets, felt a need to bake. Very yummy it was, but unfortunately not good for the old waistline!

Crochet – I’ve never crocheted so much in my life! Lockdown made me feel that I needed to be productive and crochet was one of the ways I did this.

Dog bite – I got bitten by a dog on the beach in Norfolk in between lockdowns and ended up in A&E and on antibiotics.

Exercise – I managed to mitigate the baking a little with exercise. The gym was closed so I found other ways of exercising, enjoying the outdoors when the weather was good and building our home gym for when it wasn’t.

Fur babies – a massive upside to being home so much has been spending lots of time with Olive and Tinkerbell. It’s really comforting to look round during a day of working to see them snoozing on the bed.

Garden – I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve thanked my lucky stars that the pandemic didn’t happen when we were in our tiny flat with no outside space.

Harry Potter – bizarrely Harry Potter has played a big part in keeping me sane over the past year. I listened to all the books on audible and hearing those stories again was strangely calming. When I was furloughed we set the spare room up better for working from home and gave it a Harry Potter theme. I made 3D models and splashed out on Lego Diagon Alley which I love love loved building.

Improvements – we made several home improvements. Apart from the Harry Potter room, we also stripped the wood chip and redecorated our living room, built a catio so our furry girls can get some fresh air, had our loft insulation upgraded and replaced all our double glazing.

Jigsaws – I’ve done loads! My friend sent me this one which I really enjoyed.

Kindle – once I’d worked my way through all seven Harry Potter books on audible, I switched back to my Kindle and I discovered the Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley and read the six that are already released. They’re really good. I’ve got loads of books on there so I’m all set for the rest of lockdown.

Lego – hubby bought me Lego Hedwig for Christmas which triggered my Lego joy!

Masks – I was hesitant to start off with because BoJo was telling us that masks didn’t help with stopping the spread of covid, but once they told us we had to wear them I embraced it and made a few. It’s become almost a fashion statement. In Scotland I wore my Harry Potter one when we went to the Elephant House cafe where JK Rowling wrote some of the books and my dinosaur one when we went in search of wee Nessie.

Netflix – along with Disney+, Prime TV and iPlayer, Netflix has kept me entertained. I’ve watched Tiger King, Picard, Safe, Bridgerton, Mulan, Moana, the Stranger, Fleabag, Pete’s Dragon, Inside Out, Brave, It’s a Sin and goodness knows what else!

Online deliveries – many of them entirely superfluous to my needs! I ‘needed’ heart shaped cutters to make heart shaped sandwiches for Valentine’s Day and glitter for us to make Valentine’s cards so we could avoid shops. Our poor postman looked absolutely terrified every time he knocked on the door, which was almost as many times as the Amazon delivery driver.

Pooh bear memes – there have been loads of memes and funnies around. If anyone is yet to see David Attenborough narrating Boris Johnson cleaning a chair in a vaccination centre, I urge you to visit YouTube to rectify that. Anyway, me being me, I was drawn to the Pooh bear memes.

Quizzes – during the depths of lockdown we joined two friends every Sunday evening on FaceTime to do a quiz that their local pub quizmaster had moved online. I’ve been so grateful for technology during this time – I was able to virtually see more of some friends than I did before lockdown.

Rowena – this is my great aunt, Rowena. She passed away in February and I wasn’t able to go to the funeral because I was still in my isolation period after catching covid. I watched it online though, giving me another reason to be thankful for technology. It was hard seeing my family on the screen, but not being able to see them in person when it’s been so long.

Staycations – we were really lucky that we’d booked a foreign holiday at the end of January so we had the memories of that to keep us going, but we still felt the need to get away when we were allowed and we went to Norfolk in July for a couple of nights and Edinburgh for my birthday in September.

Tennis afternoon tea – I had tickets booked for the ATP Tour Finals at the O2 in London in November and that got cancelled so I made us a tennis themed afternoon tea as recompense.

Unbooked holidays – we should’ve been going to Jamaica in May and that was cancelled so we had a non-Jamaican party for two instead with Jamaican themed food and Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff playing all day. We swapped that holiday for Orlando in April this year, but that’s been cancelled too so, unlike the photo below, the adventure doesn’t begin, not just yet.

Virtual tours and shows – tour guides have become creative whilst they’ve not been able to offer physical tours and they’ve moved on line. The tour below took us all round the different Harry Potter locations in Scotland. I’ve also watched several West End shows on line, and Cirque du Soleil and next week I’m going to Iceland (virtually).

Working from home – this was my first day working from home when I actually bothered to get dressed before lunchtime and clearly made an effort with my breakfast. you can see why I had to rearrange the room – it was a bit depressing facing the wall all day.

Xmas – I don’t like shortening Christmas, my Grandad used to say that shortening to Xmas was crossing out Christ, but X is such a stupid letter and I couldn’t think of anything else. Despite the restrictions, we had a good day. We walked in the park in the morning with some family and then my Dad (who’s in our bubble) joined us for the rest of the day, the first time I’ve seen a member of my side of the family on Christmas Day for years.

Yawn – working from home has meant an extra hour of sleep each working day which I really appreciated through the Winter when I normally struggle with seasonal affective disorder and live in an exhausted fog for four or five months. I also appreciated it when I did succumb to covid because it really wipes you out and I needed sleep. Of course there’s no change for our Olive – she’s a gold medal snoozer!

Zoom calls – thank goodness for zoom, teams, WhatsApp calling and FaceTime. They’ve kept businesses going, but they’ve also kept friendships going and families together.