Six on Saturday 18th May

Evening all.

I wasn’t sure if I’d get round to doing a Six on Saturday today, but I find myself sat on the sofa at a loose end having spent the afternoon in the garden, so here I am.

I’ve had a productive few hours outside planting out my plants grown from seed and also a fun time taking photos. I was hoping to be able to make one of my points on garden critters, but the bees are so busy that none of them stayed still long enough for me to snap them. I’ll save that idea up for a future six.

So, number one – my Sunflowers, Sweet Peas and Cosmos are finally planted out.

They all seem to have coped ok with being left outside while I was away with work. Some of the Sunflowers are possibly slightly droopy so I’ve staked those that needed it using random sticks that I found in the garden. I’ve been thinking a lot about sustainability and reusing resources lately so I wanted to use what I had available to me.

9939F206-4EC4-4436-AC3B-85CD7C784A95

Here they are all in situ. The Sunflowers are in two (OCD inducingly wonky) lines behind my birthday planter with the hope being that they’ll get big enough to rise above the planter so we can see them from our back windows, the Sweet Peas are tied into the frame and seem reasonably happy (so far) and the Cosmos are dotted around in three clusters to the back left and right of the frame and the front right by my Eupatorium. It doesn’t matter if the Sunflowers obscure the view of the Sweet Peas because I’m intending to use them for steady supply of cut flowers for our house and work, if I get enough.

On to number two.

I’ve hardened off my Calendula as well, but I don’t think they’re quite ready to be planted out yet so I’ve repotted them individually as they were all bunched together in their former home. Hopefully they’ll all thrive and then I think I’ll put them in my wheelbarrow to replace the primroses which don’t seem to be doing too well.

Number three – Funky Veg and Chillis and Spice update.

If you read my last post, you’ll know I was on a work trip in Italy from Monday to Thursday. I watered my seedlings in the greenhouse before I went and thought they be ok while I was away so didn’t leave hubby instructions to check them. Rookie error – the UK had good weather while I was away (typical!) and when I checked on my return everything was looking very sorry for itself! Noooooooooo!!! I watered everything well and went to bed with crossed fingers.

When I checked in the morning most looked well improved, and the above photos are how they are now. The Coriander’s recovered completely and even has its first true leaves and most of the Jalapeños look to have survived but I think the Cumin’s had it!

It’s touch and go with the Funky Veg. I think the two Stripy Tomatoes, the Yellow Courgette and the Purple Carrots will make it, but the Red Brussel Sprouts and the Rainbow Swiss Chard may have deserted me.

I have several other Yellow Courgettes growing and they’ve all recovered bar one so I don’t think I’ll have any shortage of courgettes! They’ve grown their first true leaves as well. I’ll be able to give some away soon.

A2E6F421-DD7C-43CB-A82E-DA4FFBBBC58D.jpeg

Number four – out of the greenhouse to the raised beds.

78B79E40-1216-4641-9E92-D23D1C69F144355EAD52-9F63-4885-A499-FF4E55A188FA

The top photo is of the Strawberries and Raspberries. But it’s a mixed bag here. The Strawberry plants are flowering so I’m confident that they’ll fruit but the Raspberry canes are a whole different story. There are two different varieties and the ones at the top of the photo are supposed to be later fruiting, but they’re the ones with leaves. The ones to the right haven’t done anything at all! I planted them as soon as I bought them home so I’m not sure what’s gone wrong. I’m not overly confident about the ones that do have leaves because all the canes in the garden centres have lots more leaves. Very disappointing. Maybe I should bite the bullet and go to buy some more.

The bottom photo shows more success, thankfully. To the left are a couple of rows of Peas, in front of my feet are Carrots and on the right there’s a row of Red Onions and a row of Leeks, there’s not so many of them so it’s hard to see them. Apart from the Peas, they all look like wispy bits of grass but I’m hoping they’ll come good. Certainly the Peas and Carrots are going to need thinning out. I could do the Peas now, but the Carrots are so bunched up that I need them to grow a bit so there’s enough to get hold of.

Number five – Lunaria (or Honesty). It feels like it hasn’t lasted long, but I just looked back to when I first told you it was flowering and it was 6th April so I guess it’s not that short-lived. It just seems it, I suppose, because we’ve had a holiday and I’ve had a work trip during its flowering time.

7487AA92-619C-4BBD-B846-E05C0A3FEF4A

It does have a few flowers left but, as you can see, it’s covered in seed pods now. I must investigate how to harvest the seeds so I can grow a few more. It still looks impressive without flowers because it’s so tall.

Finally, number six – a new plant has grown itself. It appears to be some form of Geranium judging by its leaves, but it’s not the same as the other Geraniums in the garden, they have single, plain brightish pink flowers, but this one has these …..

E3933FBF-22CE-40F5-BCA9-ED59ADD299EC

It’s growing itself in a pot that was left in our garden when we moved in so it’s all entirely free! Good for my sustainability (and frugality, which isn’t generally my strong point!)

I have loads more to share in the garden so it was hard to narrow this down to six! I really wanted to show you all the colour that’s springing up so maybe I’ll do another post tomorrow because I don’t want to break the Propagator’s rules! Check out his page for more sixes.

Right now, I think I’ll pour myself a glass of wine and head over there myself. Happy Saturday all.

 

 

Six on Saturday 20th April

I won’t be able to do a Six on Saturday definitely for the next two Saturdays so I thought I’d better knuckle down and do one today. Next Saturday we’ll be on a plane on our way to Orlando (whoop) and the Saturday after we’ll be on a plane back (not so whoop!)

There’s so much going on in the garden at the moment that it’s hard to narrow it down to just six things but I’ll do my best to stick to the rules (see the Propagator’s page for these).

I’ll start at the beginning – sowing! I’ve done quite a bit, there’s a real ‘Good Life’ feel going on. Some of you may remember that I was given a Funky Veg kit and a Chilli and Spice kit for Christmas. I decided the time was right to sow these seeds.

The Funky Veg came with little compost discs that I had to put in water to expand.

There was peat in the compost discs which I would normally avoid for environmental reasons. I ummed and ahed about it, but then figured it would be more of a crime to waste it now it’s been harvested than to use it. The Chilli and Spice kit came with a little bag of compost so I sent a happy hour or so in my greenhouse potting everything up.

Hopefully soon I’ll have little seedlings of Purple Carrots, Rainbow Swiss Chard, Stripy Tomatoes, Yellow Courgettes, Red Brussel Sprouts, Cumin and Coriander and I suspect somewhat later the Chillis – Habanero, Jalapeño and Cayenne. The Chillis and Spices are currently inside next to the radiator (in a propagator so feline teeth can’t get to them!) although I may move them to the greenhouse over this weekend because it was 29.9° in there yesterday according to the thermometer, which it certainly isn’t inside.

I also sowed my veg seeds directly into my new raised bed.

I made a plea on Facebook a while ago for people’s used lolly sticks so I don’t have to buy plastic labels and here they are put to good use. I’ve sowed Carrot Nantes 5, Onion Red Baron, Leek Musselburgh and Pea (Petit Pois) Calibra.

We have a lot of wildlife in our garden, which I love, but when the bed was empty either next door’s cats or the local foxes had used it as a giant litter tray, so I’ve netted it  to allow the seeds to (hopefully, fingers crossed) germinate undisturbed.

8BAF586A-2CBB-4FF4-9BF1-A02EA0BF6DDC

You can see a slight glimpse of the potato bags on the end there too. All three are now sprouting and I need to go and put more compost on the top.

Next up are the seeds that I showed a few weeks ago in the greenhouse. With the exception of the Aquilegia which have done nothing (yet?) they’re all doing well.

Starting top left and working clockwise we have Sweet Peas, Sunflowers, Calendula and Cosmos. I’ve already pinched the middles out of the Sweet Peas to encourage them to grow side shoots for more flowers.

I’m not actually a hundred percent sure where I’m going to plant everything! I have over forty of both Sweet Peas and Cosmos and ten Sunflowers! I have plenty of space, but a lot of it isn’t ready yet! I’ll have to get planning, and quickly because I think they’re not far off ready to start hardening off to go out.

I guess next in the cycle are new shoots, so number four is my Giant Allium.

D018A3CF-7494-46BF-BDEB-1EE37F7DAA91.jpeg

I took this photo yesterday (Friday) and you can see the shoot on the left. I swear there wasn’t even a hint of growth on Thursday. I’ve been looking a lot wondering if I made a mistake putting Tulips, Snowdrops and Giant Alliums all in one container (with Cyclamen and Heather on top) because I only got one Snowdrop flower, the Tulips are being really slow and haven’t opened yet and, at previous time of looking, the Giant Alliums had thrown up A LOT of big leaves with no sign of a flower. I haven’t been out yet today, but when I do I’ll see if the other one’s grown a shoot overnight!

More new shoots, and very happy ones, on my Eupatorium. I reported a few weeks ago that the first shoots had just emerged which made me really happy because I was so worried that it hadn’t made it through the Winter, and it’s going from strength to strength.

4FB035CB-4D23-4472-9178-3918DE456EB2

Look at that! Discernible leaves! And with their trade mark hint of purple. Nature’s fab!

On to my wheelbarrow. I’ve planted it up again, this year I’ve gone for Ranunculus and Primroses. The Primroses were seventy five percent off, just because one plant in each trio was past its best. I’ve tidied each one up and they look lovely now. Such a splash of colour.

I got my new leaf blower out too and did my Ghostbusters thing and cleared the bistro of leaves. Then I went round and pulled up the few weeds that had forced their way through the weed control. It’s all looking pretty good now and ready to enjoy the Summer.

Let’s talk Wild Flower for my final point. This has now been identified for me by Tony Tomeo as Lunaria, also known as Honesty. Given that it started last Summer as a couple of unidentified leaves, it’s done amazingly well.

As you can see on the right, I’ve iMeasured it and it’s just over a metre tall at its tallest part! Wow!

So, there you go. Six for today. I’m really excited about our holiday (I’m almost down to counting down in hours rather than weeks or days!) and I have a feeling the holiday blues on our return will be eased by the changes in the garden. I should be able to plant out my Sweet Peas and Cosmos, hopefully all my veg will be showing signs of life, the Eupatorium should be well on its way to lofty gloriousness and, if yesterday’s progress is anything to go by, the Giant Alliums should be approaching total world domination, you may even be able to see them from space!

 

 

 

 

J

Six on Saturday 23rd March

Wow, ok, so this seems to be becoming a regular thing – this is the third consecutive Saturday on which I’ve joined in with the Propagator’s Six on Saturday. As ever, if you’re a gardening enthusiast do head over to his page to check out his and others’ Sixes. It really is a lovely community and as a newbie gardener, I’ve picked up some great bits of advice and info.

I’ve been a busy bee today. The weather was good so I headed out to the garden quite early to have a potter around, and speaking of bees, I saw my first furry bumble bee of the year. I could hear the neighbours’ children in the garden bouncing on their trampoline sounding full of the joys of Spring, as well they should given that this is the first weekend of Spring. It was nice to hear them out there again after months of cold weather and being cooped up inside.

First things first – greenhouse progress. I admit I have popped up there on a couple of days before work to see if I could see any little green shoots peeking up. There were a couple earlier in the week but today when I went up, I was pleasantly surprised to find quite a few shoots starting to appear.

Quite a few of the Sweet Peas have germinated …

… and the Cosmos in the top four rows have appeared where there was absolute nothing on Thursday. Just one little Aquilegia has poked its head through in the bottom two rows …

… and a couple of teeny tiny Calendulas have appeared.

Nothing showing on my Sunflowers yet but I have a confession to make ….. curiosity got the better of me and I dug around a little bit in the soil to see if anything was happening …. and it is! Yay! I’ve covered them back over and I WILL leave them be until they decide to grow.

Next up I moved the Cowslip which was kindly identified for me after last week’s Six (see what I mean, very helpful people in the Six on Saturday community). It was growing up in our wasteland and I moved in down to my planter.

This is even better than the sale table, a completely free plant that just appeared, and doesn’t it have a lovely pretty flower? Very Spring-like. Let’s hope it doesn’t mind being moved now.

Third is another bit of rejigging. My Dad and C gave us a lovely round planter already planted a couple of years ago. It mainly contained annuals, apart from one Heuchera which has survived a couple of Winters unscathed and is still quite happy in there. Last year I replaced the faded annuals with a Gerbera and a Fern. The Gerbera has survived the Winter which I didn’t think it would, but was a little raggedy and the Fern had really got too big for the planter.

I moved it to somewhere that it can multiply to its heart’s content if it so desires! I planted my Callicarpa Bodinieri in the same area today as well. It’s the thing that just looks likes a load of twigs behind the red Coprosma (LOVE my Coprosma). It’s lost all its purple berries but hopefully will thrive in its forever home.

Back in the planter, I tidied up the Heuchera and the Gerbera and added an Erica Cindy that I found on a sale table last year. It looks a little sad and sparse at the moment but the Heuchera and the Gerbera both have new leaves already growing and there are even a couple of buds on the Gerbera so hopefully it’ll fill out nicely over the next few weeks.

Number four took me back up to the greenhouse. Last week I bought twenty tiny plug Begonias to put in my hanging basket. I had yellow ones in it last Summer and it looked so pretty. I do think the Begonia has an unusual but really beautiful flower.

These ones are mixed colours. Hopefully there’ll be some yellow in there. I’m going to leave it in the greenhouse for a couple of weeks just in case we get another frost because the plants are so tiny and they were kept inside the garden centre so are probably going to feel the cold! I’ve got a few left so I’ll have to find a home for them – maybe in my daffodil trough when the daffs have faded.

My penultimate point kept me up by the greenhouse. Now that I’ve started to do the slabbing and I know my raised beds are in the right place, I filled them with compost. Last week I bought six raspberry plants and ten strawberry plants so I planted them. I’m going to have to rig up some supports for the raspberries and make sure they’re netted so the birds can’t get the fruit when it comes. I bought hubby a bird table for his birthday so we have a plethora of birds, which is lovely, but I want them to stick to their menu, not mine!

The canes along the left are ‘Autumn Bliss’ and along the top are ‘Ample Glen’. I like the idea of ample raspberries so that sold me on those. Seems slightly odd that the Autumn fruiting ones have leaves already whereas the mid-Summer ones are bare, but we’ll see. Half of the strawberry plants are ‘Cambridge’ and the other half are random ones that looked healthiest. Hope they’re not too close to the raspberries. This is all a learning game for me.

Finally I’m after a bit of advice from some more experienced gardeners.

What are these two weeds?

The bottom one seems to be the weed of choice in our garden – super prolific. Monty Don did an article a while back that said you can guess what kind of soil you have from the weeds that grow, and he went on to explain which weeds prefer which type of soil, but as I don’t know what these are, it didn’t really help me! They’re not unattractive as weeds go.

I’ve never seen the one in the top picture before, but I noticed today there are lots of them sprouting up all over.

Anyone got any clue?

I also planted out a Hollyhock, an Ox-Eye Daisy, a Honeysuckle, a Solanum Glasnevin and sixty Summer bulbs today. Unfortunately I’ve already forgotten where the bulbs are so I’m going to have to be careful not to try and plant anything over them! Let’s hope they start to come through quickly!

What to do tomorrow now then? Oh I don’t know, lay some slabs, plant more plants, do some weeding, mow the lawn, tackle the front garden? Green Girl Gardener’s work is never done and I wouldn’t have it any other way!