Six on Saturday 7th September

I thought I should check in with a Six this week because we’re on holiday for the next two Saturdays so I most likely won’t get chance to do one, and then we’re rapidly approaching October which means fewer trips out of the back door and less exciting developments au jardin when I do brave the cold and dark.

I’ve been out there for half of today trying to tidy up and prepare for the colder months, so I took a few snaps that I thought you guys might like to see. Be warned though, random they definitely are, eclectic you might say since they all came from our garden, but that is the extent of their coherence.

Number one is an early birthday present from my in laws.

They’ve discovered somewhere that makes these in all sorts of different animal forms. I chose a kingfisher because I like the colours. I attached it to the fence in the middle of our garden today. It’s next to my raised beds so I’m hoping it might scare the birds away from my fruit and veg next year.

Speaking of fruit and veg, number two is potatoes. I finally got round to emptying my wheelbarrow which was full of the compost from the potato bags which I harvested earlier in the Summer. When I tipped it out I discovered that I’d missed some.

I assume it’s still ok to eat these. They look fine now I’ve cleaned them up, although I have no idea which of the three varieties which I grew that they are. I grew Maris Peers, Charlotte and another variety which escapes my memory for now!

I also planted more Charlottes today. I got them a few weeks ago but have only just got around to planting them, so they’ve chitted quite a lot so I hope they’ll still grow. They’re supposed to be ready in time for our Christmas lunch!

Moving on to number three, and following on from my garden wildlife post last week – cobwebs!

For some reason I ended up behind the greenhouse and the sun was shining right down the garden and was making the cobwebs twinkle.

It’s normally really difficult to get decent snaps of cobwebs, and these are still not great, but I was pleasantly surprised with how well they showed up in these with the sun highlighting them. I didn’t see the occupant of the webs. The poor spider is much maligned, but if I was one I think I’d still feel superior, I mean, can you spin your house and do your food shopping all out of your bottom? Nope, me neither!

Back to the home produce for number four. There’s not much left growing now but I do have these still to come.

I think they’re leeks, but it’s possible there might be a red onion in there. My lolly stick labels got bleached by the sun so I can’t see what I sowed in this particular line. If they are indeed leeks, then they’re supposed to be ready to harvest next month, which looks unlikely to my novice eyes! Everything seemed to either take longer to mature than the packets said, or didn’t grow at all so maybe they’ll be ready next Summer!

Number five is something I’ve been trying to identify for over a year, so far to no avail. I picked it up on a sale table in B&M Bargains for £1.50.

Not the best picture of it, but you can see the shape of the leaves. A couple of people have suggested it might be a Cotoneaster, but I’ve now had it over a year and it hasn’t produced any berries. I actually feel quite attached to it, despite not being on first name terms with it. It very loyally hung around in its pot whilst I tried to determine what it was so I knew whereabouts to plant it, and since I took the plunge and planted it out (still not having a clue how big it would get) it seems to very stoically deal with being surrounded by fallen leaves and living behind the raised beds receiving minimal attention. It looks healthy and it’s definitely grown so, even if it retains its John Doe status, it’s more than welcome in my garden.

Number six is one that I was waiting for completion to post, but now I’m concerned that completion might happen while we’re on holiday, so I’m posting now so it doesn’t miss out.

Sunflowers!

I’ve nurtured these since I sowed them in April! I sowed eleven seeds, ten of them germinated and were planted out back at the beginning of the Summer and since then they’ve got slowly picked off (by what means I don’t know!) so I’m left with these two.

The smaller one that has flowered is just under six feet tall. Its flower is a little raggedy Anne but I love it nonetheless because it’s the first Sunflower I’ve ever grown and it looks ever so cheerful out of our back window.

You can see the seeds starting to form in there.

The big ‘un is over seven feet tall! I was standing under it to take this photo and this is my view (I’m five foot four). We’ve had to tie it to the Sweet Pea wigwam to keep it standing because it’s so tall. You can see the bud forming up there, but we go on holiday in less than a week and I think we’re going to miss it opening. My Dad’s cat sitting so I’ve asked him to take a photo if it flowers while we’re away. I definitely think there’s some kind of time delay in our garden – everyone else’s Sunflowers flowered week’s ago. My theory is not enough sun due to next door’s forest!

There we are, I thought I might have to start up a Six on Sunday blogalong for a minute but I’ve made it. Check out the Propagator’s blog for more Sixes.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend lovely people.

Six on Saturday 3rd August

Evening all.  I’m a bit late to the party today! I spent the day sitting in the hairdressers’s chair, then perusing a garden centre and then lounging on what is one of today’s Six.

Unusually, four of today’s Six, whilst being in the garden, aren’t actually alive. Wait! Are bananas alive once they’re harvested? Hmmm ….

As I’ve mentioned it, we’ll start with the banana for number one.

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Despite planting as many butterfly attracting plants as possible, like the Buddleia above, we still don’t get very many butterflies fluttering into our garden, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I’ve been leaving some bananas to ripen in our kitchen for more than a week and today ….

…. I hung them in the garden. Anyone who’s ever been to a butterfly farm will know that butterflies adore bananas. This may be a really bad move and I might just be attracting flies or squirrels, but I thought it was worth a try.

Second inanimate object, that I mentioned above for number two, and one that I think necessitates an apology from me. We now have this luxury in our garden.

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The reason for the apology? It was delivered a week ago yesterday, I got it mostly put together and then it started raining …. and it pretty much hasn’t stopped since! It’s the universe punishing me for daring to purchase such an extravagance. Our gardens needed the rain though, right? It’s still not completely erected – it has a canopy to go over it. Assuming it’s dry tomorrow I’ll get that done. It’s so blissful sitting on it. It’s going to be my go-to Summer crochet/kindle/daydreaming location. Unfortunately it’s too far from the house to pick up our WiFi so I won’t be blogging from there.

Numbers three and four are some of today’s garden centre purchases. Firstly, we invested in a new bird bath. We had one already, but it’s tiny and we really don’t get many birds in it. In fact, the most popular visitor to it is next door’s cat to quench his thirst! It’s a small bird bath so is perfect height for a parched feline – we’re going to leave his watering hole in situ and hope the birds realise there’s a new public baths available for them. The new one is not only much more attractive than the old one, but it’s much taller so I don’t think the cats will bother with it.

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The second purchase I want to show you, I’m really pleased with. I’ve been eying up an ornament in Notcutts for a few weeks now that I’d absolutely fallen in love with, but on which I really couldn’t justify spending over a hundred pounds. It’s a little dragon and he’s having a snooze and his tail is draped over his nose to keep it warm just like our cats do. It’s so very cute, but really, over a hundred pounds for a garden ornament? So much money!

Anyway, I stumbled over one pretty much the same in Dobbies today for a third of the price, so hubby bought it for me (imagine happy face emoji!!)

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I haven’t decided where he’s going to permanently nap, so for now I’ve left him under the care of my little wellington-booted froglet.

I’m going to move on to living things now for my final two points.

First is a Calendula that I grew from seed that is also being supervised by my rainy day froglet.

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I don’t feel that these Calendula are particularly successful. I think maybe I left them in pots too long and they’ve gone really leggy. This pot doesn’t really fit in my straw sheep, but I shoved it in there a couple of weeks ago  just to fill a space and now it’s flowered for me.

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Although the whole plant is a bit lanky and awkward, the flowers are pretty. It hasn’t completely unfurled yet.

Finally, my Rose Hot Chocolate. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this one before. It was a gift from my Mum not long after we moved into our house.

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It had its first flower a few weeks ago and it’s been going strong ever since. In fact, it’s never been so prolific before! I normally get two flowers and then one more towards the end of the Summer if I’m lucky!

It’s not done yet either!

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I pruned it reasonably hard earlier this year, after it had flowered the first time which I thought would be detrimental to future blooming this year. Obviously I was wrong as it’s producing beautiful and fragrant flowers.

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Hope you enjoyed my mostly non-living Six (although the jury’s still out on the banana question). If you want to check out other Sixes, pop over to the Propagator’s blog for links.

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.