Six on Saturday 1st June

1st June! Does that mean it’s officially Summer? It feels like it today and we’re off to my Dad and C’s this afternoon which, if the weather holds, means we can sit in their beautiful garden and get some tips.

Right, this needs to be a speedy six today because I’m writing it in the hairdressers whilst my hair ‘cooks’ and then I’ll be busy for the rest of the day.

1. Roses.

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The top picture is ‘Hot Chocolate’ and was a house warming present five years ago from my Mum. It lives in the shade, but seems perfectly happy and flowers every year.

The middle two were from a sale table last year and I watered them religiously while they were establishing and I’m so happy they made it through the hot Summer. One of them was called ‘Teen Spirit’ but I can’t remember the other. They could do with a prune to retain their champagne glass shape but I’m not chopping all those buds and flowers off .

The bottom one has just appeared in our rather unruly front garden. I don’t remember it in previous years. It looks somewhat Camellia-like (and is actually underneath our Camellia) but it’s definitely a Rose. I should’ve included some foliage to prove it.

2. Peonies

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We inherited these Peonies and they are absolutely beautiful. I’ll definitely include them in a future six once they’ve bloomed. It’s a shame they’re so short-lived. I should really stake them too because it only takes one heavy fall of rain and they flop! As you can see, they’re not far off revealing the gorgeousness inside.

3. Summer Bulbs

A couple of months ago I planted about twenty summer bulbs …. and then promptly forgot what I’d planted and where! D’oh! These two above are now emerging, but I’ve no idea what they are. There’s various leaves appearing around the garden that may or may not be other summer bulbs! While it makes it difficult to know where I can plant my new planty acquisitions because of the unknown bulb location, it is quite exciting wondering what’s going to appear.

4. Funky Veg

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These are the successes from my Funky Veg kit. Two Purple Carrot plants, which I’ve been advised to plant on keeping them in the cardboard pot, two Stripy Tomato plants which seem to be doing well. Not sure how big they need to be before I can plant them on and the Yellow Courgettes. These were very successful. I’ve gifted three plants and have another one to give away shortly and I’m keeping two for us. I bought new pots for them this week so I’ll plant them on tomorrow.

5. Diascia Cherry Blossom

I’ve been wondering what to do with this for a few weeks now. It was new last year so I wasn’t quite sure how it would cope with the Winter and how to care for it. You can see in the first pic that it’s got quite quite leggy but is well and truly still alive. The second pic shows some tiny new life appearing, so, I’ve decided that the best course of action is the Chelsea Chop on the rest of it. I’ll do that tomorrow.

6. Another Mystery Plant

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I wondered whether this was a Foxglove but now it’s started to develop a bud which doesn’t look very Digitalis to me (although I may be wrong). It could also be Dock because we do have lots of nettles (although not near here) but I’m not sure if Dock flowers. Or is it some sort of Primrose? I really don’t know but it’s not unattractive and is taking up space which otherwise could be filled with unwanted weedery, so I’ve left it and will eagerly await the bloom to try to identify it (unless anyone can do so already).

So there are my six. It was hard to narrow down. I could’ve talked Geums or Lilies or Euphorbia or any other number of garden wonders, but in the end I plumped for these and hope it makes for an interesting read.

I’m about to set off for Worcester now to deliver a special package to a special person who is having a round number birthday on Tuesday – keep your fingers crossed for light traffic.

Enjoy your weekends – TTFN.

 

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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 …..

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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