Saturday, 28 March 2020

Good Mow-ntal Health

Six on Saturday is a weekly diary hosted by The Propagator & contributed to by gardeners all over the world.  For links to other SoS blogs, check out Mr P's comments & the Twitter hashtag, #SixOnSaturday.

First off, we're all healthy.

We went into self-isolation before the lock down (a friend got sick), so're old pros at this stage.  The streets are quiet, pets are delighted, & our spirits are mostly good.

Yesterday, though, that one sad story too many came up in my Twitter feed.

Get thee behind me, Social Media, & out the door I went to find the lawn had been mowed by some kind family member.  They even circumvented the crocus foliage.

Better'n Valium.

1.  Birthday rose.

Before our self-isolation, I had yet another birthday.  I've had so many already, but can't give them up as I do love cake.  So came the rose in a tiny zebra planter - 2 blooms, 1 bud.  (Unmown grass apparent in background.)

This week, it got a bigger pot.

Both flowers've gone & the bud's starting to open.  (And lawn nicely mowed.)

2.  Great expectations.

This dead stick cost £1.79, but I've got high hopes for it.

Two years ago, there I was, an old blow-in who'd never heard of a Tamarix tree.  Then this beautiful pink thing started flirting with me over the fence & ye SoSers willingly provided the requisite introduction.  Just goes to show, you're never too old for love.  Or perhaps obsession.

3.  Lavender. 

I got a couple of other things in the Tamarix sale, so the nursery offered me a choice of begonia or lavender as a free gift.  Begonias are coming out of my ears, so . . .

. . . what the hell am I going to do with 8 lavender plants?

4.  O my mahonia.

Last autumn, I found 2 mahonia seedlings when I cleaned up the pumpkin patch.  After getting potted up, one took off like a barn on fire.  The other looked like this.  Ok, it's dead, but I didn't want to pull it up & officially murder it.

So I brought it inside, sowed nicotina seeds in the pot (seen above).  If you look very closely, you'll also see . . .

. . . there's new growth coming up from the mahonia's middle stem.

5.  Volunteer clematis.

This clematis self seeded in one of my tree pots a couple of years ago.  Last year, it graduated to its own pot & had 2-3 flowers on it.  I was ridiculously excited about it.

This year, a lot more buds.  I am giddy for the show.

6.  Anemone coronaria The Bride.

I stole Sarah Raven's suggested planting of a. coronaria The Bride with a. blanda White Splendour . . .

. . . but added grape hyacinth to the mix.  Unfortunately, only about half The Brides came up, none of White Splendour.  The grape hyacinth are knocking it out of the park, though.

So, please imagine, if you will, all those empty spaces filled with large & small white anemone blooms.

Anemone coronaria Bordeaux, puckering up for a smooch.

That's it for this week.  I hope all of you stay well & haven't had to kill off any housemates as yet.  May they do nice things for you in the garden instead.

Thanks for stopping by.  Hope to see you again soon.

Saturday, 21 March 2020


Six on Saturday is a weekly diary hosted by The Propagator & contributed to by gardeners all over the world.  For links to other SoS blogs, check out Mr P's comments & the Twitter hashtag, #SixOnSaturday.

Our calendar declares March the month of promise - spring will come.

Here are Six promises from my garden.

1.  Big black planter.

Over winter, the small shrub planter flooded, causing worry for everything living there.  This week, I've got a better picture of the damage.

At top left, the very healthy loropetalum.  Moving right, only one epimedium survived, & several (but not all) of the fritillaria are pressing on.  In the middle, hosta Big Daddy unfurls from the stick of his 2019 self.  Near the dead leaf at the far end, those bits of straw are the gillenia who is hopefully only sulking.

2.  Tulips.

They're all right on the edge of colour.

I expect we'll be seeing a lot of SoS tulips in the coming weeks.

3.  Moss.

A few weeks ago, someone explained moss propagation.  Unfortunately, I don't remember whom to credit.

However, when the garden wall grew hair, I was so excited to know why.  So whomever you are, a big thanks for adding to my garden knowledge.  (Louis Bonne on the right, still full of promise.)

4.  Empress.

Last year, pots got shuffled in our move & identities lost.  I asked SoSers to ID the plant below which at the time, was only a clutch of leaves.  No one knew, but I eventually remembered . . .

. . . it's an Empress tree seedling cum sapling.  Ten were germinated from a seed pod collected in a public park a few years back when I didn't know they were invasive.

Four survived the Beast from the East, all of which are in dramatic reveals now.  They've never bloomed, but perhaps this will be the year.

5.  Hops.

This vine only came to live with us last year, so I didn't know what to expect in its spring awakening.

They look like languishing asparagus.  This didn't bloom last year either, but I am ever so hopeful.

6.  My promise.

This poor owl got battered by one of the storms.  I've promised to secure him more firmly but've only managed to set him upright as I walk by.  Inevitably, he falls down again.

He looks to be inspecting the akebia which is now opening, so perhaps he isn't too unhappy.

That's all the promises I've got for the week.  May this find everyone healthy & safe.

Thanks for stopping by.  Hope to see you again soon.

Saturday, 14 March 2020


Six on Saturday is a weekly diary hosted by The Propagator & contributed to by gardeners all over the world.  For links to other SoS blogs, check out Mr P's comments & the Twitter hashtag, #SixOnSaturday.

It's been a week of discoveries in the garden, including the misplaced Thalia
<= possibly being located.

O, the intrigue a faulty memory provides.

On to this week, so!

1.  Daffs.

These popped up in the akebia planter where they've lived for 3 springs, now.  They were a free gift for some plant order, along with a few other daff bulbs.

While I'm not sure the right one's good for pollinators, it's certainly a stunner.  The left one does all the things a daffodil should do, & with great style.

The discovery here (for me) is that both these fellas look good from behind, too.

The white against the peach & yellow & green . . . it takes my breath.

2.  My newest crush.

Every morning, Mr BigNose & myself hand Mlle DoodleFace over to her walker,  then sidle s-l-o-o-o-w-l-y back the way we came, taking the walk featured here last week.  Though you can't tell from the snap below, the plum tree at the far left is still very much in bloom.

The discovery, however, has to do with the large variegated holly in the centre of the photo.

Earlier this week, I caught a sweet citrusy scent just as I came up to the holly, so stopped & saw a bit of colour.

A camellia covered in buds & blooms.  Trust me, I'm coveting big time.

The folk living there are dog people we meet on the BigNose walk, so I might be able to beg cuttings.

3.  Appletini brown.

A pair of appletinis came to live with us two Christmases ago.  They didn't bloom last year, but end of summer, they were duly promoted to larger pots & fed like they were going to slaughter.

There's no sign of flower buds, but the leaves've begun to unfurl in the most delicious colour.  I didn't notice this last year, undoubtedly because we'd just moved & I had other things on my mind.  Absolutely adore the russet brown of that leaf on the right.

4.  Loro (petalum).

In a large planter out front are 3 small shrubs including the famous Loropetalum which blooms twice a year for me (& anyone else who has one).

Usually, I zoom in on her flamingo-pink witch hazel flowers, but thought this time I'd show her structure & varied foliage.  IRL, the red-purple leaves are slightly more intense in colour, a nice complement to the greeny-black leaves over the startling flecks of pink blossoms.

5.  Free planter.

One of the neighbours put this old picnic basket out for the bin men this week.

Looks like a great place to grow annuals.

6.  Pear worries.

We've 2 cordoned pears in the garden => Invincible on left & Louis Bonne on right.

Louis produces green pears great for cooking but not my preference for eating raw.  After 3 summers, I decided to leave him behind when we move, so planted him in the ground.  Full of promise at the moment, he's marvelous in bloom, which is why he's not been given away to some allotment holder.

Invincible came to us last autumn as bare root & was planted in a pot until his fate is decided.  His fruit will be blushed yellow, which I do prefer in a raw pear.  He's also alleged to have 2 spring bloomings as a protection against late frost.

He's alive, but doesn't look much like blooming, let alone twice.  His pruning from the nursery was much closer to the trunk than Louis, so perhaps next year'll be different.

And those are our discoveries for the week.

Thanks for stopping by.  Hope to see you again soon.

Saturday, 7 March 2020

The Big Nose Dog Walk

Six on Saturday is a weekly diary hosted by The Propagator & contributed to by gardeners all over the world.  For links to other SoS blogs, check out Mr P's comments & the Twitter hashtag, #SixOnSaturday.

At last, the shed's been re-felted.
Our younger dog, Mlle DoodleFace, has always needed to run with the hounds.  When she & her walker go off with the GSDs & Labs, Mr Big Nose & I do a more sedate sniff-&-lift kinda walk.  The stuff of terriers.

We used to go to the woods, but over winter, he's slowed down markedly, restricting us to nearby communal green areas.

The council does a great job with these spaces, & the neighbours've taken ownership of them.

Since the gardening week's been all about chores, I thought I'd show you six of the many things we see on our walk.

1.  Plum tree.

Directly across from the house is what I think's a plum tree, but tell me if I'm wrong.

The footpath underneath is littered in petals.  Over winter, it was slick with leaves until 2 neighbour women gathered them up in bags about a fortnight ago.

2.  Forsythia.

Said path's quite shady, which doesn't bother the ivy.  However, the viburnum growing there are always weakly scented, & the row of forsythia've been slower to bloom than others in the neighbourhood.

Even so, the forsythia do bring flecks of yellow to an otherwise dark spot.  Mr BN is unimpressed.

3.   Shrubs.

The path leads into a green area with a lovely collection of shrubs & trees, including a magnolia . . .

. . . and a standard cotoneaster.

Although the bottom half of the cotoneaster is heavy in berries, the top half has been totally stripped.

4.  Council or guerilla gardeners?

There's a new bee box staked next to one of the trees.

Since it's inside the tree's fencing, I'd assume it'd been put up by the council.  Then a precariously perched bird box appeared in another tree.  Not sure it meets council safety codes.

The neighbours do add flowers to the council beds, so perhaps some non-council worker put up the boxes, too.

5.  Plastic insulation.

One of the nearby front gardens has a large hydrangea in it that hosts a bird nest.

Various bits of plastic are woven with the sticks & moss.  The structure looks like it's had at least 2 seasons, so their system must work.

6.  Chaenomeles.

This flowering quince nearly covers the front of another house in the area.  Its colour always stops me, even now when it's lost about half its blooms.

IRL, the colour isn't the burnt orange I'm familiar with, but more coral than the pink in this photo.  I might have to overcome my misanthropy & ask for a cutting.

The old guy himself, Mr Big Nose Dog, curious to find me at eye level - be there treats?  If I'd sat like this in front of the DoodleFace, she would've flattened me with Doodle kisses.  Mr BN's reserve is greatly appreciated.

That's us for this week.  Perhaps our chores will produce some SoS results for next time.

Until then, thanks for stopping by.  Hope to see you again.

Saturday, 29 February 2020


Six on Saturday is a weekly diary hosted by The Propagator & contributed to by gardeners all over the world.  For links to other SoS blogs, check out Mr P's comments & the Twitter hashtag, #SixOnSaturday.

Shed felt.

The rain & wind've been relentless, with more happening today.

The whole world's now a quagmire, meaning Mlle DoodleFace (aka Mud Puppy) needs a daily bath.  Because of the weather, said bath happens indoors. 😱

The shed felt meant to replace the roofing lost pre-Ciara, sits by the back door.  Plants I'd hoped to've hardened off, are still inside.

Myself, I went from cabin fever to cabin despair after the hyacinth saga took an unexpected turn.

1.  Alas, poor Memory, I knew her well.

Recap => mystery blooms appeared in my pots a coupla weeks ago, both white & blue.  They looked like hyacinth, which I've never had in those colours.  The narcissus Thalia in the same pots hadn't made a showing, so I concluded there'd been an order mix-up until Mr P said his Thalia weren't evident either.

Then the 'hyacinth' opened into Russian snowdrops . . .

 . . . that had been purchased in the green & planted 3 short weeks ago.  Granted, they were more yellow than green at the time, but considering there are only 3 types of plants in these pots, one would think I'd've remembered them.

It's rare for me to feel disheartened, but rather than seeing any humour in this, I felt like the world's dumbest SoS-er.

Today, I feel there are worse things than not being good at what you enjoy.

2.  Peas, peas, peas.

I can't remember which storm thwarted my plans to harden off the sweet peas, but they've now grown into flimsy 8" stems, even after being nipped.

Sweet peas.

The edible peas'd been staggered to follow their sweet cousins in a week or so, but outgrew their tray instead.

Last week, Wild Parenting talked about planting in tins, so the edible peas got transferred into our ubiquitous pet food cans.  I juggled things in the potting shed, bringing in folding chairs for more surfaces, & now all peas, edible & sweet, are in the shed.

Edible peas.

Please God, the storms'll give me a week or 2 to get the peas out.

3.  Choco mint pellie blossom.

This pellie got featured here a fortnight ago when it came into bud for the first time ever.

My camera doesn't produce reds or pinks well w/o manual adjustments (which I haven't a clue how to do), but this bloom is bergenia pink.  The benefit to the colour being washed out in this photo, however, is that the markings show up better.  The pellie itself has become monstrous because I didn't cut it back last autumn.  I need to get a plan for it eventually, but at the moment, it's covered in buds

4.  Grape hyacinth.

The first grape hyacinth has arrived, only the one so far.

My neighbour's are guns a-blazing.

This planter stays in bloom nearly all year, self seeded nigella taking over next, then calendula in turn.

5.  Akebia.

My chocolate vine is in bud, some of which are nearly open.

This seems early to me.  What do the rest of you say?

6.  Clamour of Clematis.

I'm on a mission to get climbers up all the brick walls in the garden, hoping to cool it down in the summer.  Rambling in the Garden mentioned last week that Thorncroft Clematis had a lucky dip deal on vines that've lost their labels.  I got 3 for the price that one labelled clematis would've been.  The nursery sent suggestions as to what they thought the vines might be - all pretty stunning.

Like Mlle DoodleFace, they must languish inside until the current storm passes over.

That's me done talking for this week.

Thanks for stopping by.  Hope to see you again, soon.