Six on Saturday 28th March

Is it really less than a week since we were allowed out for non-essential activities! I’ve been working from home all week and am going slightly stir crazy, but, it’s got to be done and at least we’ve had a couple of nice sunny days this week and I’ve been able to wander in the garden (at lunchtime, not when I’m busy working!) I do feel for people who live in flats without balconies – they must feel so cooped up!

There’s loads that needs doing out there but it’s still too cold for me to be out there much. I do not do cold! There are leaves and pine needles everywhere that need sweeping up, last years dead stuff to clear, seeds to sow, weeds to pull, roses to prune etc. etc.

Anyway, on to this week’s Six.

I have two Euphorbias. The first was a gift from my Dad and C.

I planted this shortly before we got the jungle at the end of the garden chopped down and it got completely bashed by the guys dragging all the chopped trees. That was two years ago now and it finally looks like it’s starting to recover, although it is still tiny.

The second, Euphorbia Rudolph, was from the sale table in Notcutts last year and it’s done really well and has got pretty big.

Also from the sale table was my Buddleia which I bought in the hopes of attracting butterflies. It’s also got really big so let’s hope this year the butterflies find it. Here’s a before and after.

It’s got lots of new growth coming through. I’ll have to check what to do to stop it getting too leggy.

Next up is some grass (also sale table – do you spot a theme to my plant shopping?)

I planted this in the shade last year, not expecting it to do that well because it likes sun really, but it’s thriving and has thrown up some ears. It needs some combing through to clear the dead fronds – I’ll add that to my list of things to do when it warms up!

This morning I noticed my first lilies coming through. I’m sure these weren’t there earlier in the week.

See what I mean about needing to clear pine needles? These were a sale table find too, but this time from Homebase (I think). I think this is the beautiful yellow one. I have a white one and a purple one too, but they aren’t showing signs of life yet. I’ve a vague recollection that this one was first to flower last year. I’ll have to watch out for the dreaded lily beetle!

I’ve noticed a couple more Cowslips have appeared in odd places.

This one’s growing in the cracks in the path. I’ll relocate it to somewhere where it won’t get trodden on when I can brave the elements. I’ve a feeling I may end up with lots of these now I have a couple, so I may have to be ruthless about which I keep. I do like them though, so I’m happy for them to spring up with their lovely yellow.

I’m going to end with some daffs while they’re still there.

These are Tête-à-têtes that I planted the first Summer we were in our house. They bloom reliably every Spring, and this year I’m loving the contrast of the sunny yellow with the magenta of the Cyclamen underneath.

As ever, don’t forget to check the Propagator for more Sixes. Now I’m off to dream about spending my Saturday browsing a garden centre – that’ll be one of the first things I do after seeing all the people that I’m missing while we’re all confined largely to the indoors!

Six on Saturday 21st March

Amidst all the doom and gloom, scaremongering and genuine health and well-being issues abound at the moment, there are small glimmers of hope. One is that China is showing very positive signs of this nightmare abating which hopefully will mean, given the right measures, that there will be an end to all this and return to relative normality, and another is that it is now officially Spring!

Outside (in the garden you understand, on my own) plants, trees and shrubs are beginning to spring back to life. I find it reassuring that, despite this unprecedented situation, nature is still doing its thing in its own inimitable way. It doesn’t know that the rest of us sentient beings are self-isolating, socially distancing and, in a lot of cases, stockpiling.

I’ve been working from home since Wednesday, attempting to stay motivated and keep as close to normal as possible, whilst trying not to go stir crazy cooped up inside. Yesterday, after my long and tortuous commute down the stairs, I decided to pop into the garden to see what I could include on a Six today, and I was spoilt for choice.

I’m going to start with the photo that I’ve been waiting to be able to take for weeks, that made me gasp with delight.

It’s my Eupatorium coming back to life! Regular readers will know of my almost unhealthy attachment to my Eupatorium, and some may even remember that I shared a very similar photo, complete with little green arrows, around this time last year when it started throwing up teeny tiny shoots. I can’t wait for it to get all big and leafy and amazing again, and then, never fear, I will be sharing more photos of its lofty beautiful self.

The Pieris seems to have more and more pink tips every day. This is absolutely beautiful when it’s fully turned. We were on holiday last year when it reached its peak of amazingness so I couldn’t photograph it, but this year, well, even if we’d planned a holiday we wouldn’t be going, so I’ll be keeping careful watch out of the back window to snap it. I was advised by a fellow blogger last year that it has thrip, which I admit I’ve done nothing about, but it doesn’t seem to hold it back.

I made a purchase last week because Notcutts emailed me a 50% off voucher for any plant, shrub or tree. I fell in love with this Pussy Willow so it came home with me. Its little furry protuberances have changed since it came home. They’re now more fluffy than furry.

My lovely Osteospurmum which lives in a pot on our bistro has got buds! This is exciting! I have two Osteospurmums, a yellow one and a pink one, and I can’t remember which one this is so I’ll watch with interest. Whichever it turns out to be, I’ll be happy because the flowers are gorgeously sunny.

I posted about this Cowslip a couple of weeks ago. It appeared at the end of the garden last year and I rehomed it in my birthday planter, fully expecting it to be an annual, but it’s flowering again, and has even more flowers than it had last year. I don’t like its leaves, but the flowers are glorious.

Finally for this week is Sedum. I just love it when rainwater nestles in the leaves. I remember the first time I noticed it, I actually had to wobble the plant to check it was water because it so looks like little fairies have sprinkled diamonds over the garden!

Don’t forget to check the Propagator’s blog if you’d like to read more Sixes. I started with a glimmer of hope and I’m going to end on a positive too – Gardeners’ World is back!

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!