Six on Saturday 16th July

Has anyone seen Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix? It starts in the summer holidays with Harry sat on a swing in suburban Little Whinging, Surrey with normal summer activities going on around him in the park, and a radio somewhere is discussing it being the hottest day of the year. Well it feels like that today! I’m sat on my egg chair in the garden and I can hear normal family life going on in one neighbour’s garden – the kids on the trampoline, the dog wanting to jump over and kill me and the parents discussing what to have for dinner. On the other side our solitary neighbour is whistling to the birds, and someone somewhere is playing summer tunes. Back to Little Whinging, and soon Harry’s cousin Dudley turns up and starts taunting him, but then the sky turns black and the calm is shattered as the pair are forced to run for their lives when the dementors of Azkaban swoop in. It seems to me that the forecasted heatwave for the next three days is the real life version of the dementors waiting to swoop in and end the current summer happiness on my street!

Anyway, at least it’s only three days till normal British summertime is resumed, and in the meantime, here’s some pictures of pretty garden regalia to occupy our time until the heatwave sucks all the joy out of us.

First up, here’s one of the few inhabitants of the garden that might actually thrive in the heat, my olive tree. It’s covered in flowers, but I’m not holding my breath because although it’s had flowers before, it’s never produced any fruit.

My hebe Purple Pixie is flowering nicely. It looks bluey-purple in the photo but is a deeper purple in reality. This was my first ever hebe which I rescued from the sale table at Notcutts several years ago. It’s doing well even though I’ve moved it a couple of times and it’s in complete shade.

I’m glad I nipped out on my lunch break earlier in the week and took photos of my pink damask flowers which emerged all of a sudden, because, as I’ve lamented before, they’re beautiful but barely last more than a couple of days. They’ve pretty much done their thing already for this year. The remaining ones are certainly not going to survive 40° on Monday.

I found half a packet of nigella seeds in the greenhouse earlier in the year and decided to sow them without really expecting much success, but now I have a pot of them! This was the first one that opened. I really love their layered petals and the delicate blue hue.

This gerbera has unexpectedly survived two winters. I didn’t even notice a bud this year but one day this week I went outside and found this flower. Lovely surprise!

Finally another discovery this week. I pulled out some dreaded herb Robert that had managed to find its way into my hanging basket that houses my nigrescens and found that said nigrescens is flowering. This is the first time it’s done that, so now I have high hopes that I may get some berries on it in the autumn. How exciting!

So there we are for another week. I’m off to think happy thoughts to summon my patronus (which, by the way, I’m pretty sure would be a cat, but I can’t be sure because I didn’t get my Hogwarts letter) to banish the heatwave and save my pots from death by dementor’s kiss! For anyone who doesn’t obsess about Harry Potter like me, apologies because that will make zero sense to you, but hopefully you’ll have enjoyed the flowers. Why not pop over to the Propagator to check out some more?

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.