Saturday, 30 November 2019

Tail End of November

Six on Saturday is a weekly garden diary hosted by The Propagator, & contributed to by folk all over the world.  For links to more SoS posts, check Mr P's comment section & the Twitter hashtag #SixOnSaturday.


Thanksgiving's behind us & Advent hasn't yet started, but there's always Six on Saturday to bring joy to the week.

We've got foliage.  We've got late blooms.  We've even got something about being untidy.  And then there's a new arrival!!!!!

So let's do this thang.

1.  Black Swan update.

In last week's post, the Black Swan's leaves were turning yellow/green & outlined with frost.  Quite a change from summer's dark purple foliage which presumably gives it its name.  This week, the leaves're copper with lightly purple veins.  This is one beautiful tree in all seasons.

The tree itself has been confirmed as a weeping copper beech.

2.  Smoke bush.

The smoke bush didn't flower this year.

But it's making up for that now.

3.  Expanding the not-so-shady border.

Last week, a few SoSers discussed making compost, most specifically tidy looking compost.  I figured I can't be the only person who doesn't have the health or <insert resource> to create fastidious gardens, so thought I'd share how  a few months of untidiness helps me get creative in the garden.

I mapped out the area using our ubiquitous wool sheets straight onto the lawn.  The original border ends about 12" in front of the hellebores (top of photo) & in front of them, the wool sheets are still visible.  On top of the sheets, I dumped fresh garden waste (the middle section of the bed), using anything that isn't prone to resurrection, including smashed bits of the white Halloween pumpkins. 

Once the garden waste looked properly dead, I then piled recycled compost on top of it (bottom of the photo).  I planted that section up as I went, but can take my time composting the rest, as it won't be planted until spring.

It actually looks worse in real life than the photo suggests.  Based on experience, though, the expansion'll look like it's always been there by next summer.  Might even be tidy!  😉

4.  Honeysuckle.

This honeysuckle grows up the wall behind the Japanese anemone, & is still small enough to be protected.

On the BigNose Walk, we see mature honeysuckle toppling over walls & unprotected yet still in bloom.  Guess the abundance of brick in this neighbourhood is well suited to giving honeysuckle a long season.

5.  Salvia Amistad.

One of the s. Amistad cuttings, all of maybe 4" tall, has produced buds.

It's doing really well or getting ready to die.  Either way, I thought it wouldn't hurt to give it a bigger pot.

I then put it in the newly bubblewrapped potting shed, hoping to slow down the growth until spring.

6.  Invincible Pear.

The pear tree is here!  According to both dogs, the packaging smells terrific.  The tree's called Invincible because it blooms twice in spring, which gives you insurance against late frost.  I love a pear tree in bloom, so this is double the pear blossom joy.

The nursery is Chris Bowers & Sons.  You can see the good smelling packaging is also mostly environmentally friendly.  The bare root was contained in a heavy plastic bag.

And here it is in its new home, the wisteria's old pot.

I can't wait to see both Invincible & my other pear, Louis Bonne, blooming next year!

Single flower.

That's my Six for the week.

Thanks for stopping by.  See you next time!

Saturday, 23 November 2019

A Cold Week

Six on Saturday is a weekly garden blog hosted by The Propagator & contributed to by gardeners all over the world.  Links to SoS posts can be found in Mr Prop's comment section & by following the Twitter hashtag, #SixOnSaturday.

Frosted creeping thyme.

We had our first hard frost this week, forming ice on the Doodle Pool.

I learned that 8C in the sun is brisk gardening weather while an overcast 7C is the 9th circle of Hell.

Nevertheless, we persisted.

1.  Final tulip bulbs.

Last week, I promised myself to rid the planters of those still-blooming begonias, come guilt or high water.  The frost damage made it so much simpler to cast them aside - the last 45 tulips got themselves planted.

So many SoSers featured their cyclamen last Saturday, I've left space in the planters for cyclamen plants that hopefully are winging their way to my door even as we speak.

2.  Black Swan, white outline.

The frost outlined all the leaves on my weeping Black Swan.

This tree was a present from so many years back, I don't remember for what.  I thought it was a hazel, but when I Google 'weeping Black Swan', (its name, which I do remember), it comes up as a beech.

To me, the leaves look more hazel than beech, but I'm happy to be corrected.

3.  Tithonia optimism.

There are always some plants that magically escape the frost, but the supple tithonia buds surprised me.  Not only are they in the middle of the lawn, away from shelter, but the rest of the plant looks dead.

Maybe the petals are just preserved by the cold.  Or maybe since they're planted with the castors, the tall guys gave them a bit of protection.

4.  Castor seeds.

As to the castors themselves, I wasn't sure how easily they could kill me, so dead headed them earlier in the summer.  The briefest of research soon proved it wasn't easy at all, but the damage had been done - only a handful of seed pods were produced.

I also learned (via direct experience, rather than research) that a small amount of pressure in the middle of the 3 connected pods causes a seed explosion!  For those with delicate fingertips, the spiky bits break off with a gentle side pressure.

5.  Indoor endeavours.

In early summer, one of our neighbours left some small jade plants at the end of her walk with a note asking folk to take them home.  My son adopted one for his office.  I'd never grown jade before, but the internet told me they didn't need much soil, so I put it into an old bonsai pot.

It's got tons of new growth since then, but recently it's been not quite its usual crisp self.  I moved it to a warmer room which seemed to help, but it still didn't look great.  I decided to re-pot it . . .

. . . in this hand thrown pot where my son's magpie is buried.  The pot's previous tenant, a viola, had a really bad summer living in it.  After several fruitless remedies & various comments from other SoSers, I decided the viola had outgrown the pot. 

So now both the viola & the jade have new homes, plus this lovely pot is on display inside the house, & the late great magpie takes his eternal rest in my son's office.

The same morning of the re-potting, I found an auricula that some crittur'd uprooted, so it got put into the bonsai pot with hopes it'll recover.

6.  They're up!

Some things haven't minded the recent cold.

I don't remember what these are, though I think they might be shade tolerant allium.  We shall see in due time.

Frosted castor.

Temps are supposed to go up this weekend & into next week, so I hope to get things ready for a new pear tree that's coming to live with us.

It's also the US Thanksgiving.  You can bet these resident aliens'll be cooking & eating & eating some more.

As ever, thanks so much for stopping by.  See you next time.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

More Chores

Six On Saturday is a weekly garden diary hosted by The Propagator & contributed to by gardeners all over the world.  Check out Mr Prop's comment section & the Twitter hashtag #SixOnSaturday for everybody's links.

Over the last few years, my ME symptoms tended to get worse as the days shortened.

This year, that's happening again, but to a lesser degree, which has me thrilled.

Thrilled to do chores?  You can bet your Aunt Lizzie's 3 legged hog on it.

Here's a few thrilling things that got done in the garden this week.

1.  Breakfast club.

I've spent half a century or more starting my day by feeding animals.  However, these morning silhouettes waiting on the neighbour's gable for me to give them brekky?  That's new.

When the sky's grey & wet, they look positively creepy.

2.  Wisteria.

The not-so-shady bed's been empty since the great plant rescue of Summer, 2019.  That's because the wisteria needed repotted, so better to keep the space in front of it empty than risk plants getting trampled.

Well, the new pot happened this week.

While the Possessors Of Brute Strength in my household willingly help outside, tasks involving live plants require the Great Triumvirate - Brute Strength's availability, good weather, & my energy level to be up.

In this instance, that didn't work out, so it took me 5 days to repot the wisteria on my own.  I don't regret a moment of it - just look how the turning foliage of the Japanese anemone loves that new pot.

Hopefully next week there'll be some plants in the not-so-shady bed to show you.

3.  Bulbs.

There's been planting in other parts of the garden though.  I started the week with 120 tulips bulbs & some leftover daffs that'd previously lived in the tree pots.

By the end of the week, there were 45 tulips left to plant, & that's because of the . . .

4.  Begonias.

They're wind & rain battered, but they simply won't stop blooming.  These were a free gift with an order a few years ago.  While most are o so gorgeous doubles . . .

. . . this single is pink on the back & yellow on the front.

Despite how much they delight me, they take up the planters where the 45 tulips need to live.  Next week, the begonias have to go.  Definitely.  Shoo!

5.  Hydropod clean up.

My first year using this, & 19 little plants have taken root, which is probably more than in my entire gardening career combined.  Of course, how many survive the winter is another question altogether.

But the hydropod's been cleaned & stored until next year's adventures.

6.  Bubblewrapping the shed.

This is my 2nd winter with this shed, but the first that I've used it for live plants - the hydropod success has taken over my indoor sills & ledges.  The wisteria pot came with tons of bubblewrap, so inevitably . . .

I found a YouTube video showing how to hang it like a curtain, rather than attaching it to the window - a real labour saver.  However, no one mentioned this should be done BEFORE the plants were inside.  You can see how big Choco Mint pellie has grown, so yes, it got interesting, especially with little plastic bowls of seeds drying everywhere.

And that's all from me this week.

There's a few dry days in our future, so hopefully the last of the last of the last'll get done by next Saturday.  (That means you, begonias.)

As always, thanks for stopping by.

See you next time!

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Clean Up

Six on Saturday is hosted by The Propagator.  For links to weekly garden diaries from around the globe, check out his comment section & the Twitter hashtag, #SixOnSaturday

Annual washing of the Halloween dead fingers.

It's the type of autumn where things are unexpectedly blooming, seeds & berries are being raided by wildlife.  The wildlife in turn sometimes escapes the cold by coming inside the house.

Time in the garden is spent tidying borders, packing things away.

And of course, there's the little discoveries.

1.  Carrots.

In the spring, I'd sprinkled last year's carrot seeds around the tomato plants.  In 7 of the 8 planters, the carrots were smaller'n an electrical cord.

And then there was planter #8.

2.  Pellie neglect.

Last week, the carving of the pumpkins made room in the potting shed for the pellies.  The chocolate mint pellie'd grown so large, the inside pots needed shuttled a bit for it to fit.  Something or other interrupted this process & Choco Mint stayed out all night.

Apparently his way of complaining about my oversight is to turn red around the edges.  Rather beautiful, but warning enough for me - he's now inside, all safe & snug.

3.  Corn seed.

The garden's corn stalks usually end their lives as Halloween decorations.  You may remember we had an abysmal corn experience this year with young plants dying & the few survivors producing tassels but not silk.  None of the dried stalks were worth putting on display.

There were, however, 2 tiny cobs which are now drying on the rake as next year's seed.

4.  Fennel flower.

The self seeded fennel in the fire pit cum flower bed has produced buds.

I'm wondering why I didn't transplant it when it first came up.  Maybe next year, if I'm careful . . . or maybe not.

5.  Mahonia?

I found these 2 little guys when cleaning out the corn & pumpkin patch.

If they're mahonia, I'm not a big fan, but they might convert me.

6.  Acer love.

Some nursery or the other (Thompson & Morgan, maybe?) had 2 acers for £5.

They're both so young that their trunks are about the size of my carrots from planters 1 through 7.  But o what a punch that colour packs.

Not even close to being the last rose.

That's my Six for the week.

The drop in temps makes being outside less attractive, but there's still tulips to be planted then more tulips to be planted, then after that, tulips . . . to be planted.

So maybe, just maybe, see you next time.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Between Showers

Six On Saturday is hosted by The Propagator.  For links to SoS blogs, check out his comment section & the Twitter hashtage, #SixOnSaturday.

Flowers & shrubs still bloom in our garden - even the pear tree's got a few blossoms.

But it's the last week of October, first one of November, clocks go back, winter's coming at us full throttle.

So for me, this week's been about getting things done during breaks in the rain.

1.  Faulty weather report.

We had our first frost on a night it wasn't supposed to get below 7C.

Fortunately, nothing was damaged.  This chocolate mint pelargonium's been waiting for the pumpkins to vacate his spot in the shed.  Now that the jack-o-lanterns've been carved, all is right in the pellie universe.

2.  Anemone coronaria.

With several bags of anemone to plant, I'd watched the forecast for dry days, so groups of bulbs could be soaked the previous nights.  The surprise frost made me realise this plan could have me planting bulbs in the rain.

The new plan is, if it's dry in the morning, I soak some of the anemones while walking the dogs, then plant a patch in the avoe.  So far, that's worked.  Only one lot of bulbs to go!

3.  Truly shady bed.

As to where the anemones are going . . .

This summer, plants from the oft mentioned not-so-shady bed got moved to the truly shady front garden.  The same front garden which had no available bed space.

I'm well passed being able to dig up large areas of sod for new bedding, so simply plopped each refugee plant into its hole, then covered the lawn around them with sheets of sheep wool that come as packing in our food boxes.

The middle section of the photo is what the whole bed looked like - pots held the wool sheets in place with small gaps for the refugee plants that've since died back.

The left side of the photo is what it looks like when the wool sheets've been lifted.  The grass is gone & the die hard dandelion're easily whipped out using a trowel.  A shallow skim of the top soil gets the last of the grass roots.

The right hand section has been planted with anemone & grape hyacinth, then covered with old compost from the tomato plants (grown in these green fabric planters below).

Not a method for those who suffer from critical neighbours - the wool sheets've been down for months, but the end result is going to be mighty fine.

4.  Winter colour.

I finally succumbed to one of those Winter Colour sales - stock, pansies & primula.

Once the summer plants in this area died back, the cat (mine or someone else's) claimed it.  These tiny new plants'd get dug up by any feline worth its salt, so out come the bamboo pole deterrents.

5.  Still in love.

There were those who said it wouldn't last, my love for the hops/bramble combo.  Now that the hops are turning colour, I love it even more.

If the bramble loses its mind next year, I'll cut it off at the ground & let the grieving hops cling to its skeleton.

6.  Neighbour's shrubs.

The landlord for next door doesn't trim his shrubs (or the brambles growing therein).  As the tenants are students, neither do they.  Believe it or not, I trimmed this fence line in the spring.

You might be able to see that the middle shrub is in bloom, so it got spared until next year.

A nice little sprig to enjoy during the work.

Louis Bonne pear blossom well out of season.

There's my Six.  It's supposed to rain again today, but so far, it's dry, so I'm outa here.

Thanks for stopping by.  See you next time!