Friday, 24 April 2020

Garden Berserk

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.

The garden's gone out of control this week, & I'm loving its enthusiasm.

1.  To its own devices.

This bed hasn't been touched since last autumn & it's doing fine without me.  Keep in mind, this was lawn when I started last spring, which shows what plants'll do if left to it.

There's self seeded forget-me-nots in the back, a swath of yellow calendula to the left, self seeded from a few starters last year.  The foliage in front of them is allium getting ready to open, with the spirea to their right.  Along the bottom, a coupla dark orange calendula, again self seeded, & one red tulip photobomb.  That dot of pink among the bamboo sticks is the beginnings of the sweet stock.  Lastly, an achillea in front of the sweet stock & some type of iris below that.

Not garden show quality, but very nice to work next to while I'm . . .

2.  Fire pit bed.

. . . edging the fire pit bed.

Amazing how much the brickwork grows over in one season when you don't trim after each mow.

3.  Bargain basement acers.

The acers've been similarly low maintenance, beyond getting fed.  Here's the red one . . .

. . . and here's the whatever colour you might call this.  Neon fire, perhaps.

These were the 2 for £5 some of us got last autumn.  Really pleased with them.

4.  Pellies.

P. Aztec has begun its bloom cycle.

When re-potting the pellies a coupla weeks ago, I decided to put Aztec in with Lord Bute, as they bloomed at the same time last year.

Lord B's buds are just opening, so I do expect some dueling blooming.

5.  Queen of the mattress spring trellis.

The most exciting thing about getting a new mattress is being able to dissect the old one for the springs.  It stymied me slightly to learn that 10 years ago, mattress springs were individually packaged.

Un-pocketing them is nice mindless work that ultimately keeps the mattress out of the landfill AND provides trellis material for the berry wands.

I wasn't quite sure how to connect them, so made it a project to do between other more pressing things, trying out this idea, that idea.  Then the wands shot up & quick action was needed, so I've been trellising like mad.  The best trellis making method is as yet undiscovered.

6.  Doodle Pool plants.

Mlle DoodleFace's pool has always sported a bamboo rescue ramp for critturs that might fall in.  Last year, I planted Creeping Jenny & London Pride in it . . .

. . . both of which are looking healthy & colourful at the moment.  The basket is filled with miniature bullrushes.

Here's a close up of the little fuzzy cat tails, about the size of my pinky finger nail.

And that's my Six.

Hope this finds everyone well & able to source compost.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Happy Happenstances

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 good things in the garden, including a propagation boom.

The tulips keep flowering like mad.  A carer brings clients on their daily walk to see the ones in our front garden.  I clutch my rosary & throw holy water at them from the upstairs window.  Thanks to me, we're all still healthy.

There's been some other good tidings in the garden as well.

1.  Figs!

This fig tree has always been cantankerous.  It grew crooked, produced scant foliage & seemed disinterested in the delicacies fed to it.  It'd always given wonderful figs though, until the last 2 years when it didn't even do that.

It occupies a lovely large pot that other more appreciative trees would enjoy, but I don't throw any plant out until it's beyond dead & taken over by woodlice.  So it was safe.

Putting up with its snit has paid off.

It's possible the fig's troubles are caused by a fabric liner in its pot that's woven with copper, supposedly to stimulate root growth.  I tried these liners in several pots, & none of the plants did very well.  I got rid of the liners except for the fig's, as it's a beast to repot.  I may bite the bullet next year & get the liner out of there.

2.  Romanesco.

Surprisingly, we had another romanesco harvest this week, from a few straggler plants that last time I reported, hadn't produced anything.  The heads were smaller, but just as healthy as the earlier ones.

These were planted mid-summer last year, &'ve given us veg all winter.  We'll not be planting any this year, as there's plenty still in the freezer.

Well worth trying as a winter crop.

3.  O, those lavenders.

Some of you were surprised when I moaned about a free gift of 8 lavender plants.  The problem for me is that at this stage of the game, I have very little upper body strength.  Wherever they went would require digging - a project that would easily take a week or more for me.  A lot of work for 8 plants at a time when there's tons to do in the garden.

Then I happened upon a Twitter convo where Charles Dowding said even grass didn't need to be dug up.  I remembered that every bed in my garden was lawn only a year & several layers of cardboard ago.

So here's the lavender site before I started (with one last Romanesco amongst the garlic in the closest bed).

I mowed on the lowest setting in front of both raised beds, leaving the yarrow, as I like how it looked last year in front of the containers.  This done in full knowledge the yarrow may get unruly, after which I may decide I'm an idiot.

Next, 8 little holes made with the edging tool.

A coupla layers of fleece sheets from our weekly food box . . .

. . . which was then covered with home made compost.  They'll be slightly ugly for this summer but, based on how the other beds've developed, will look as if they've always been here by next year.

4.  Lucky dip clematis #2.

Last week's lucky dip clematis had been accurately predicted by Thorncroft to be c. Tae.  This week's was meant to be c. Carnaby.  I do believe that educated guess is also correct.

It's not as spectacular as c. Tae, but still very pretty & best of all, covered in buds & blooms.  They start out dark, like the ones on the right, then gradually become more white stripped as they open.  The first one to open is 2nd from the left.

5.  Fritillaria.

My shrub planter flooded during the winter, & I was pleased when a few of the bulbs survived.

I'd expected a slithering of snake heads, but half a dozen motley survivors will do.

6.  Surprise!

The bed that's only a few yards from the shrub planter doesn't seem to've minded the wet winter.  I've got 2 large groupings of these things.  From their head shape, I guess them to allium.  From their location, a type able to grow in partial shade.

I remember buying such an allium, but don't remember what they look like.  The answer lies in my receipt box, but I'd rather not spoil the surprise.  Possibly, we'll see them next week.

And that's a few of the happy events in my garden for this week.

So glad you stopped by.

Stay healthy.  Avoid humans - they're the worst.  Wash your hands & moisturise.

See you next time!

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Chocolate Weekend

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.

I quite like the art in our family calendar with its monthly witchy themes.

April, it alleges, is meant to overwhelm us with seasonal change.

Rather than being overwhelmed, I'm gleefully catching up on projects meant for last autumn.

So let's do this SoS thang.

1.  Clematis reveal.

Last week left you on the edge of your seats, wondering what the first of the Thorncroft Lucky Dip clematis would be.  Rumour has it, some of you've been driven to drink by suspense.

Clematis Tae, it is.  Sadly, it has only 1 flower.  Next year.  Next year.  Can you imagine the impact it'll have?

2.  Brunnera Jack Frost.

This guy has been blooming for weeks, but keeps getting pushed to the back of the SoS queue because my camera washes out the blue.  In this snap, some flowers around the edges show true.

I've got 2 of these in the garden.  Since coming to us 3 summers ago, they bloom like crazy every year.

For anyone not familiar with Jack, his leaves get much larger once he's done blooming.  He's great for shade, & looks fabulous under-planting shrubs.

3.   Salix helvetica (aka Swiss willow).

This old friend is bursting with new foliage & catkins.

The leaves are fuzzy at the moment, but'll turn a silvery green.

4.  Edging the walk.

One of those chores not done last autumn.

While I'm not overly keen on straight lines, I do like a tidy path.

5.  Weigela neglect.

When cleaning up a flower bed, I found this poor little guy.  He's got beautiful foliage & dark purple flowers when they come, so you'd think he'd've been better treated.

And indeed, he'd gotten planted in a nice, prominent place when we first moved in last year.  As the summer progressed & his blooms spent, my attention strayed to flashier, taller plants.  The bed got extended to accommodate them.  Next thing you know, weigela'd been forgotten at the back.

I'm just no good.

To prevent this happening again, I've lifted him until a more suitable spot is found.

6.  Scavenging.

Despite snatching a picnic basket out of the bin man's hands a few weeks ago, I don't usually sort through my neighbour's rubbish.  However, when I saw this poor fellow on the kerb, I stepped in.

It'd be easy to come up with a sorrowful tale about a Christmas tree in April, especially during a pandemic.  I'm going to believe this was left after a student flat got cleaned out.  In addition to the bulbs & that thin wire of lights, the tree's covered in gold glitter.  A bit blinding when the sun hits it.

The needles are incredibly fine & soft.  New growth is visible in the first photo, but the tree's also covered in little brown cones.  Perfect.

Here it is, re-potted in a spare bucket. 

Quarantine buds, El Punko & Mr BigNoseDog.

So that's my week.

My spidey sense tells me there's chocolate hidden somewhere in this house.  Wonder if I'll have to wait until tomorrow for it?

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Hope to see you again real soon.

Good health to you!

Saturday, 4 April 2020

5 Delights & 1 Doodle Remedy

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.

We're all still healthy & waiting for the wildlife to take over our neighbourhood.

In addition to enjoying the reek of fox musk each morning, we heard an owl the other night, a first since we've moved here.

Unfortunately, no sightings of goats or deer or wild boar.  A few bolshie cats, but of the domestic kind.

However, there have been other delights in the garden this week.

1. Pear update.

The Louis Bonne buds've opened.

His pollination mate, Invincible, is just in leaf bud.

Last year, Louis managed 3 pears on his own, so hopefully we'll see fruit without help from Invincible.

As to Invincible himself, I assumed one of his 2 bloom flushes would coincide with Louis for pollination purposes.  Since Invincible was bare root a short 6 months ago, perhaps that's behind his lack of flowers.

2.  Appletini.

Supporting this theory are the appletinis who came to us 2 winters ago.  They spent last year healthy enough but produced no flowers.  At the moment, they're both covered in buds.

Flowers've even opened on one of them at a place where the sun first hits it.  O, my heart.

The bronze foliage should turn green as summer progresses.

3.  Lucky dip.

Some time ago, I got 3 Thorncroft lucky dip clematis - clematis that'd lost their labels so were reduced in price.  Two of the three were in bud & one of those has begun to open.

Thorncroft suggested this might be early bloomer c. Tae.  You can see a tiny bit of pink inside, so they could be right!  Quite beautiful at the moment, whoever she is.

4.  Doodle path.

For reasons known only to herself, Mlle DoodleFace has changed her entry point into the Doodle pool.  Her new route takes her over the only Queen of the Prairie patch in the garden.

I replaced the Queen with bricks - they had to go in at an angle, due to the aster roots on either side.  The plan is that the mass of day lilies on the right & some bamboo sticks soon to be on the left will keep Doodle paws on bricks.

5.  Queen of resilience.

I moved the flattened Queen to a small meadow area near the compost bin where no Doodle ever strays.

Two days later, she looked almost normal again, except for the bit at 11:00.

6.  O, them boxes.

I was chuffed at being able to get those boxes into their brackets.  Delighted to find the missing thalia growing in them.  And now . . .

. . . the tulips are up!

So there they are, 5 garden delights & one Doodle remedy.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you're all healthy & coping.  Cake helps.  Drink, too, I suppose.  Our neighbours smoke a lot of dope, & I've begin to wonder if we aren't high all the time, as well.

At any hoot, see you again soon.