Six on Saturday 28th March

Is it really less than a week since we were allowed out for non-essential activities! I’ve been working from home all week and am going slightly stir crazy, but, it’s got to be done and at least we’ve had a couple of nice sunny days this week and I’ve been able to wander in the garden (at lunchtime, not when I’m busy working!) I do feel for people who live in flats without balconies – they must feel so cooped up!

There’s loads that needs doing out there but it’s still too cold for me to be out there much. I do not do cold! There are leaves and pine needles everywhere that need sweeping up, last years dead stuff to clear, seeds to sow, weeds to pull, roses to prune etc. etc.

Anyway, on to this week’s Six.

I have two Euphorbias. The first was a gift from my Dad and C.

I planted this shortly before we got the jungle at the end of the garden chopped down and it got completely bashed by the guys dragging all the chopped trees. That was two years ago now and it finally looks like it’s starting to recover, although it is still tiny.

The second, Euphorbia Rudolph, was from the sale table in Notcutts last year and it’s done really well and has got pretty big.

Also from the sale table was my Buddleia which I bought in the hopes of attracting butterflies. It’s also got really big so let’s hope this year the butterflies find it. Here’s a before and after.

It’s got lots of new growth coming through. I’ll have to check what to do to stop it getting too leggy.

Next up is some grass (also sale table – do you spot a theme to my plant shopping?)

I planted this in the shade last year, not expecting it to do that well because it likes sun really, but it’s thriving and has thrown up some ears. It needs some combing through to clear the dead fronds – I’ll add that to my list of things to do when it warms up!

This morning I noticed my first lilies coming through. I’m sure these weren’t there earlier in the week.

See what I mean about needing to clear pine needles? These were a sale table find too, but this time from Homebase (I think). I think this is the beautiful yellow one. I have a white one and a purple one too, but they aren’t showing signs of life yet. I’ve a vague recollection that this one was first to flower last year. I’ll have to watch out for the dreaded lily beetle!

I’ve noticed a couple more Cowslips have appeared in odd places.

This one’s growing in the cracks in the path. I’ll relocate it to somewhere where it won’t get trodden on when I can brave the elements. I’ve a feeling I may end up with lots of these now I have a couple, so I may have to be ruthless about which I keep. I do like them though, so I’m happy for them to spring up with their lovely yellow.

I’m going to end with some daffs while they’re still there.

These are Tête-à-têtes that I planted the first Summer we were in our house. They bloom reliably every Spring, and this year I’m loving the contrast of the sunny yellow with the magenta of the Cyclamen underneath.

As ever, don’t forget to check the Propagator for more Sixes. Now I’m off to dream about spending my Saturday browsing a garden centre – that’ll be one of the first things I do after seeing all the people that I’m missing while we’re all confined largely to the indoors!

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!

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.