Friday, 6 December 2019


Six on Saturday is a weekly garden diary hosted by Mr Propagator.  For links from gardeners all over the globe, check out Mr P's comment section & the Twitter hashtag, #SixOnSaturday.

Doodle Pool plants.

It's been a week of surprises in the garden - yes, can you believe it?  Garden surprises in the middle of winter.

Some were merely disappointing.  Some were rather ugly.  And some were most welcomed.

So let's do this thang, starting with Disappointment.

1.  Saffon.

Two winters ago, I planted 30 saffron bulbs in October & by November, had 30 blossoms to harvest from.  Last year, the bulbs multiplied well, but only 3 - 4 of them bloomed.  And now there's this year.

As you can see, there are a few more than 30.  But nary a bloom.  Some research is in order.

2.  Paper whites.

Last year's Paper White narcissi were absolutely delightful in bloom & smell.

I replanted them several weeks ago, & this is how they repay me.  Mega bummer.

Now, from the Disappointing to the Ugly.

3.  Nettles.

When we moved here in February, a single nettle grew just behind where we put the Doodle Pool.  Since nettles're supposed to add goodies to the compost, I let it stay.

And here we have my nettle crop with the trowel on top for scale.  All this from one tiny plant.  Not pretty but hopefully nutritious.

4.  Speaking of compost . . . 

The last few months, I've neglected harvesting the hot bin because there was so much tomato plant compost to recycle.  This time of year, about the only thing that goes into the bin are coffee grounds & kitchen waste (plus the occasional nettle crop), so it gave me a bit of a surprise when the lid wouldn't close.

The bottom hatch opened up on some seriously compacted compost.  The photo below was taken after it'd been hacked at by various sharp garden tools - a delicate process in itself as the bin is made of thick styrofoam.

Lesson learned.  Do not ignore the hot bin.

Let's end on the Most Welcomed.

5.  Strawberries.

A few weeks ago, some SoSers were raving about a strawberry called Summer Breeze Rose.  Their praise didn't tempt me because, although I like strawberries, I don't like them enough to make space for them.

And then Summer Breeze went on sale.  An SoS recommendation being on sale.  I didn't stand a chance.

When they arrived, one of them was in bloom with more buds, which made me think they'd been in a tunnel or glass house somewhere.  I potted them up & put them in the potting shed where no pollinators'll be visiting, but at least I'll see the buds open.

Don't they look like hirsute hula dancers?

6.  Romanesco.

The romanesco was meant to be one of my Disappointments, but when I pulled back the leaves, look what I found.

That's the knuckle of my index finger in the left side of the photo, so you can how teeny it is.  Will there be romanesco for Christmas, do you suppose?

Brass buttons, frosted.

And those are my surprises for this week.

As always, thanks so much for stopping by.

See you next time!


  1. I must show my husband your saffron - he has this mad plan (he's good at them!) that we should plant hundreds of saffron and then harvest and sell the produce! Hopefully your experience will put him off. The bulbs possibly just need time to build up to more flowers? A fascinating six - love that strawberry and your perfectly formed romanesco!

    1. Saffron harvesting on that scale would be incredibly labour intensive! I think my problem may be the wrong fertiliser. Better luck next year, hopefully.

  2. I've read that the Saffron must be lifted, divided and replanted. The small bulbs on division need space to grow and build up energy to flower the following year. I think it has been a strange season in any case. Should you play the bumble bee with something soft like a makeup brush you may have strawberries for Valentine's day...but I really do think you will be able to enjoy Romanesco for Christmas.

    1. The bulbs have been lifted each year but no joy. It might be the soil needs more potassium. I'll try it out for next year.

  3. I have never tried saffron bulbs but I'm curious to see and know why yours didn't bloom ... let us know.
    Your strawberry flower is very pretty and promising.
    Romanesco at, maybe at Valentine's Day ....??

    1. Whatever day the romanesco is ready, that'll be a great day. I'm thinking soil for the saffron. I've had this trouble before, too much nitrogen & not enough potassium so plants are all foliage & not much flower. They're certainly propagating w/o flowering, tho!

    2. I read that adding potassium can improve the future flowering (ashes?) But the reason is related to the size of the young bulbs:
      Perimeter less than 7: doesn't bloom the first year, will bloom the second year
      From 7 to 8: 40-50% flowering the first year
      From 8 to 9: 50-70% of flowering the first year
      More than 9: 60 to 90% bloom the first year..

  4. The strawberry flower is such a lovely colour that I think I would plant it even if I didn't want strawberries. I'm impressed by the romanesco too - but I've found that many bulbs after the first year are a disappointment.

    1. The strawberry does have a lovely flower, but I won't turn down any strawberries next year from it. From Fred's comment, I suspect my saffron aren't as easy to grow as daffs & tulips.

  5. Pity about the paper whites. That strawberry flower is a stunner. We have free range strawberries that roam about the garden. We never really get to enjoy any fruit from them as the slugs usually get to them first. I never cease to be amazed by the intricate patterns of the romanesco.

    1. I may resort to buying some already forced paper whites, they were so nice last year. When I had beds of strawberries, it was the blackbirds that were our nemesis. They'd always figure out how to get under the netting. I hope the romanesco gets big & delicious.

  6. Beautiful strawberry flower and Romanesco, fresh produce soon!? I never had any luck with Paperwhites.

    1. Then I'm in good company, re: paper whites. Nothing tastes as good as what your grow yourself.