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.


  1. Those caster seeds look interesting. Looking forward to seeing the new pear tree when it arrives. I think I'm going to have to look for some spare pots to plant up a batch of new tulip bulbs when they arrive.

    1. Was looking at my array of tulip pots in the front garden just this morning & thinking, I could fit 2 more pots in there . . .

  2. Those seeds are rather evil looking! I like the pot but I am pleased the magpie corpse has been relocated.

    1. Well . . . the magpie's still in the same pot as the jade plant. My son had the pot especially made as a tomb for his bird. Kraiak died over 4 years ago, so not really sure how much of him is left, though. I didn't investigate :-0

  3. This jade tree will become big! Don't hesitate to cut it from time to time. I have 3 and the largest has a trunk 5cm in diameter.
    Nice pictures, especially this 'Black Swan'! (I would also say beech because the leaf looks like it and looks smooth and not matte.)

    1. My brother's wife took a cutting from her mother's plant when she first moved out on her own & that cutting is as big as she is now. Her mother's original plant had been given to the mother as a present when my sister-in-law was born. Seems like they're hard to kill, too.

  4. You’ll start with a Jade Plant and soon you will end up with over 100 succulents like me. That is how it starts!

  5. I have a huge Jade plant and many, many offspring so not sure why a shallow pot is suggested. I'm assuming your son's dead magpie was not one of our native birds? Far too big to fit in that pot unless it was cremated first. I wouldn't fancy being a plant having to share a pot with it though. I also think beech is correct, the leaf edges are smoother. This site is good for IDing trees:

    1. Shallow pots for jade plants seem common, though I don't know why. Obviously the pot has to outweigh the plant so it doesn't topple. The magpie was found injured in our back garden & not cremated. I rather like having our departed animal friends in planters, but my particular subculture has a different relationship to nature than more urban ones. I accept defeat in the hazel/beech debate, but that was anticipated. Thanks for the link.

  6. Happy Thanksgiving Lora! I didn't get around to saving ricinus seed, will have to buy some more, I enjoyed having them. I'll probably find they self seeded about...

    1. The way the pods pop, you might find them anywhere!

  7. Some lovely frost pictures there...the end of the growing season, but bulbs are starting their underground activities.