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!

Six on Saturday 15th February

This is only my second Six of 2020! I’ve been absent since the very first Saturday of the new decade so I steeled myself and headed out into Storm Dennis to see what was occurring in the garden. As Winnie the Pooh would say, it is a rather blustery day!

I’m itching to get out there and do some tidying and general maintenance, but I’m a fair weather, well everything really, but especially gardener, so I’m spending most of my free time cowering inside away from the cold, wind and rain!

I am, however, cheered when I look out of the window, by the sight of Spring bulbs starting to push through so I’m going to start my Six with two of these.

Daffodils! This is one of the ones that my Dad bought me for my birthday from wonderful Webbs a couple of years ago. They are beautiful, but I planted them in a row in front of my birthday planter (designed and built by my other Dad) and I now realise that they’d have looked much better in clumps, but hey, a daffodil’s still a daffodil in any order, and it still means the end of Winter is nigh!

Bluebells! We have THOUSANDS of bluebells in our garden, probably literally, and we didn’t plant a single one of them! They’re starting to push up all around the edge of our gravel bistro already. They always seem to take forever to go from this stage to actual flowers, and then all too soon they fade and I’m left with the less attractive foliage.

Here’s something else that I didn’t plant. I found this at the far end of our garden last year, presumably a gift from the birds, and included it in a Six back then. I was reliably informed by Jim of Jim’s Camelias that it’s a Cowslip. I relocated it from the end of the garden to the aforementioned planter where it thrived and flowered beautifully. I assumed it would be an annual but luckily didn’t resign it to the compost bin at the end of the Summer because I noticed today that it’s coming back.

Bergenia! I have regular chats with our cleaner at work, Debbie, about gardening and over the last couple of years she’s been kind enough to bring me several plants from her garden that have self seeded and multiplied too much for her to keep on top of. One of them was this Bergenia which has started flowering again. This didn’t look too happy towards the end of last year so I wasn’t confident that it would survive, but I’m delighted that it has. You can see more bluebells sprouting up underneath it too – told you we have thousands!

Hellebores! These are two separate plants, both from the sale table at Notcutts last year. They’ve come into their own now and are looking beautiful. I have another sale table Hellebore which is white, and lovely as that one is, it isn’t a patch on the pretty purple of these two. I had no idea these would be purple so it was a really lovely surprise.

Finally I wanted to share my joy that my Fuschia Delta Sarah has survived the Winter! It was really hard to take a decent photo of this because it’s a little bit bare, but it is most definitely still alive, unlike its predecessor which, despite promises of being hardy down to something silly like minus twenty, succumbed to the cold last year. I got this one from Gardeners’ World in June and I got the biggest one they had in the hopes that it would be better able to withstand the Winter weather. I can’t wait for it to fill out and start producing those beautiful purple flowers in the Summer. It is, after all, named for yours truly!

If you’re interested in reading other Sixes from around the country and the world, do check out the Propagator’s page.