Six on Saturday 5th September

September … a bitter sweet month for me. It’s my birthday in September which is generally a positive, or at the very least conjures up memories of when birthdays were something that seemed to take an age to arrive but were worth the wait, and when becoming another year older was a good thing. However September also heralds the end of my favourite time of year. I’ll soon be swapping my Summer front door wreath for my Autumn one. I’ve worn boots for the first time since March. The heating’s been on and the Winter duvet is on the bed. I do not do cold! I haven’t had to turn the SAD lamp on yet, but it won’t be long.

Anyway, enough with the doom and gloom – maybe we’ll have an Indian Summer – and on with the business of the day

First up, an update on the tourniqueted Sunflowers and, well, you win some …

… and you lose some!

At least I tried to save them both. I’m pleased that one of them has thrived despite the squirrel assault.

Harvest time is coming to an end, but I did bring some produce back in with me after my usual Saturday morning potter around the garden.

These are my first ever peppers and I’m stupidly happy about them. The courgette is somewhat squat! I don’t know what I do wrong with my courgette plants. Most people get a glut of courgettes but this is only the second one I’ve had – all the rest have rotted. I have had loads of runner beans though, and the carrot crop will keep us going for a while. I’ve chopped everything up and frozen it so nothing gets wasted (apart from the courgette because they go mushy – we’ll have that next week in a stir fry most likely).

My lovely Berberis is getting its gold edging back for the first time since I bought it.

I bought this from Hop Pocket, a lovely shopping village near Worcester which is filled with crafty things, home baked goods and, importantly, a garden centre. However, when I planted it in the garden, all its leaves fell off and it really didn’t look happy, so I whipped it out again and kept everything crossed that it would recover in a pot. It survived but never returned to its former glory until now. It looks like it’s coming along in leaps and bounds.

My Pussy Willow is starting to lose its leaves.

I bought this earlier this year before lockdown and it’s done pretty well through the Summer. Sad as it is that it’s preparing for the cold weather, the skeleton leaves do look pretty spectacular.

We built a catio for our cats over the last couple of weekends. They’re house cats because we live on a busy road, so we thought they might like a little bit of outside space to smell the air and nose around. I decided to prettify the catio with some plants hanging off it.

This is my favourite one. I’ve coveted an ornamental kale for ages. I think they’re so pretty. The plants are all on the outside of the catio so there’s no danger of the cats ingesting something they shouldn’t.

Finally, I want to ask for opinions!

What on God’s green earth are these that have appeared in the soil at the base of one of my tomato plants? Some kind of spider egg? Apart from the usual arachnophobia worries, do I need to be concerned about this?

As ever, don’t forget to check out the Propagator for more Sixes.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Six on Saturday 29th August

I didn’t think I’d have time to write a Six today as we have a busy day ahead, but I’m awake earlier than anticipated so I took myself out in to the garden to see what delights I could share today. Would you believe it, it’s dry! Rather blustery, but dry. At last! I really thought I was going to need an ark at some point soon!

Anyway, on to my quick Six and first up, I think, an update on my tourniqueted Sunflower which I shared last Saturday. We now have two tourniqueted Sunflowers due to the squirrel’s obsession with climbing them (and, some may say, stupidity for not realising, if it didn’t hold it last time, it’s not going to hold it this time either!)

This is the flower, so it seems that my rather dubious first aid attempts are actually working! I have to admit, as I sat at my home office desk this week gazing out over the garden being buffeted and blown by the high winds, I didn’t think it’d hold, but it’s clinging on there. Hopefully next week I’ll be able to share a fully open flower.

Moving on up (moving on out, time to break free? Black Box anyone? No? Never mind!) to the greenhouse and my peppers are finally going red.

This is a definite red now. Last week you had to squint and look at the right angle to see it but now, yep, that’s red! There are two that are like this, and another five at various stages of green. I’ll call that a success for my first time growing peppers.

Next in the greenhouse are my tomatoes.

Last week I only had the ones on the left, but now there are some growing on a second plant as well. I think this is very late and I’m keeping everything crossed that we get enough sun over the next couple of weeks for these to continue maturing (also for the rest of the peppers to grow and ripen). Although I don’t actually like tomatoes, I LOVE the smell of the plants. I may have to rethink growing them in the greenhouse next year (or grow fewer plants) because the tomato jungle has meant I’ve had no space to try taking and growing cuttings which I really wanted to do.

Next for some colour.

I’ve shared these Begonias before, but they really are looking stunning. I think they’re my favourite thing in the garden at the moment. Although, oh, my Eupatorium, and, hmmmm, my Dahlias. Well, they’re definitely in the top three anyhow! These Begonias are in my wheelbarrow planter and they’re directly in my eyeline as I sit in my home office. They look beautiful and cheerful even in the rain and I think I’ll most likely plant these every year until I die! I can’t see me ever tiring of them.

Well, ok, if you insist, of course I’ll share another picture of my Eupatorium. It would be rude not to now I’ve mentioned it, wouldn’t it?

It definitely hasn’t got as tall this year, which I hope won’t be an ongoing trend. Maybe I really should try a cutting of it, just in case! I did take one last year, and it was doing ok until it got cold and damp and then it died. Maybe I could find somewhere cat-proof inside to nurture a cutting. It has lots of new growth coming through at the moment so it’s still got time to get taller. It flowers in the Autumn though, so not much longer probably.

Finally, in recognition of the rain this week, I’ll share a rainy grass.

This is one of my Festuca Intense Blue babies that self seeded on our bistro. I nearly pulled them up last year when they appeared, but decided to leave them to see how they looked growing higgledy piggledy around their mother, and I’m glad I did because they look lovely. This one particularly took my fancy this morning as the early morning sunlight glistened off the droplets nestling in its fronds. As ever, the photo doesn’t do it justice, but it’s still lovely.

There we go, that was a quick Six so now on with the business of the day – lunch at Webbs Garden Centre, followed by a browse of the plants (and most likely a purchase or three) and then off to meet my lockdown nephew for the first time. A coronial baby apparently is the newly coined term! Have a mosey on over to the Propagator’s blog for more Sixes.

Six on Saturday 25th July

Can’t remember when I last did a Six, and next weekend we’ll be (hopefully) sunning ourselves on a Norfolk beach, in a socially distanced manner, of course, so I won’t be blogging.

I just managed to pop out in between rain showers to take some photos to share, and decided that this week I’ll focus, again, on emerging flowers and veg. I’ve split it equally down the middle and gone for three floral treats and three edible delights. I think I may well have shared some, if not all, of these before, earlier on in their journey, but I find it interesting to see the progress. Hope you do too.

First up is Sunflower Teddy Bear. I’ve got several of these that I grew from seed in the greenhouse. Planted out now, they’re only about a foot tall, and this one looks to be the closest to flowering. Quite excited about these because they’re not your stereotypical Sunflower bloom.

I seem to have found a much more suitable place for growing Sunflowers this year. Last year I grew a really tall variety only, and of the fourteen that I planted out, only two made it as far as flowering. The others all got knocked down – I think I inadvertently planted them in a fox/cat run route and the poor things got bashed and trampled on. This year I’ve planted them next to a trellis-like fence and with additional supports for the tall ones and so far (touch wood) they’ve all made it with just the odd slug nibble along the way.

Next is a Zinnia, also nurtured from seed in the greenhouse. I did think to myself when I got the greenhouse, being somewhat fickle of nature, I hope I stick at this now I’ve gone this far. So far so good – greenhouse is now an essential part of my life.

My only knowledge of Zinnias prior to this venture was from the song ‘There’s a sucker born ev’ry minute’ from the stage show Barnum.

If I import at monumental cost
A lady, fair, whose head was lost
While crossing railroad tracks to pick some zinnias
Who has no ears or eyes or nose
And wears pink tights instead of clothes
If that ain’t worth a buck my name ain’t Phineas.

Well I’ve lost my head to these before they’ve even bloomed. Isn’t that bud pretty with the promise of something so special to come some time soon?

My final emerging flower is a Nigella.

Definitely not far off a blooming delight, and again, what an attractive bud. There’s something of a prehistoric look about it. I almost expect those little green hints to be the claws of a tiny dinosaur just clawing it’s way out into the world (although hopefully not – not sure the garden’s big enough for dinosaurs!)

Moving on to the edibles and my first courgette is tantalisingly close to being ready. I’ll keep an eye on it so I don’t get a marrow! There are another couple well on their way too. If anyone has any good courgette recipes other than stir fry and ratatouille, please let me know.

Next is a new one for me. I’ve never grown runner beans before but I’ve had some success with my first attempt. There aren’t hundreds of beans growing, but I do have a few. I’m looking forward to these – homegrown always tastes so much better than shop bought.

Now I know I’ve definitely shared my pepper plant before, but there’s progress! The first two peppers at the bottom seem to have halted so maybe they’re not going to get any bigger, but I’m leaving them because I prefer them orange or red.

I was excited to see this morning that there are at least another three peppers growing on there now too. You can see one top right at the back, one top left and if you look carefully another just below that one at the back. There are still flowers too so I may get even more. I’ll keep everything crossed that they ripen soon so I can harvest.

Don’t forget to check out the Propagator for more Sixes.

Until next time TTFN 👋🏻.