Six on Saturday – 16 March 2019

I am getting stir crazy with this March weather! Apart from visiting the allotment regularly to check everything is intact and not blown away, I’ve not been able to make any progress, but then I am sure I am not alone.

My Six on Saturday is home based. Let me give you a bit of my background. Following retirement, I moved in April 2018 leaving a lovely garden into a small flat with only a patio to its name. All is not lost though, I am very lucky to also have a small allotment plot and a large garden owned by my daughter and son-in-law but this post is about gardening from a flat.

1. Planning and reading

This is my coffee table from where I read garden magazines and allotment books making copious notes in my floral covered notebook from Paperchase. Thanks to Storm Gareth I have spent a lot of time this week planning my cottage garden and veg beds on the allotment, searching planting ideas for my patio summer containers, and not forgetting plants for my daughter’s garden. Whilst writing this post the white hyacinth is filling the room with its fragrance.

2. Window decoration

There are no windowsills in my lounge so I have had to improvise. The little table was full of seedlings, some have been moved outside, more about them later. At the moment the table has peppers and Geums both due to be potted up, and a small tray of leeks. I have my potatoes chitting in front of the patio door making entry and exiting slightly hazardous.

There appear to be a couple of dates in the gardening calendar for planting potatoes. One school of thought is Good Friday, but Easter is a moveable feast which is confusing. The other date is St Patrick’s Day 17th March – tomorrow. We are promised better weather from Monday so I may plant my First and Second Earlies next week.

The dead looking plant below the table is a small orange tree I retrieved from my daughter. It had been left outside believing it to be dead and I am going to try and revive it.

3. My Gardening Corner

I have a shed on my allotment but that is about a 5 minute drive away. When starting off seeds, repotting and nurturing, all that is needed has to be nearby. I do have a brown storage box outside with bags soil, pots and small tools to enable me to tend to my containers but I think the Managing Agents might have something to say if I was to install even a small PVC greenhouse on my patio. This is my overflow garden corner tucked down the side of the sofa.

4. Improvised Greenhouse

Not having the luxury of a greenhouse outside I have copied an idea from Higgledy Garden. Due to his lack of space he uses deep plastic storage boxes, I have used these in past years, and find they are invaluable. The lid goes back on overnight. My sweet peas are thriving outside and have been joined with some small hardy perennials ordered from a company called The Secret Gardening Club which arrived a few days ago. In the back of my car I have a boxed cloche and boxed plastic greenhouse waiting for the winds to die down and they will be erected on the allotment.

5. Seedling update

Now the seed potatoes have been moved to the lounge, my bedroom windowsill is packed with seed trays. The growing of seeds, the daily watch and wait for signs of germination is addictive. I always have a sense of excitement and relief to see tiny signs of life. From left to right my seedlings are:

– Euphorbia ‘Summer Icicle’;

– Echinacea ‘ Pallida’;

– Rudbeckia ‘Cherokee Sunset’.

6. Seed tin

I belong to a flower gardeners’ FaceBook page and it was interesting last week to see what people store their seed packets in. I use an old Quality Street tin, but it is now full to overflowing so I am going to have to buy more sweets to eat!! I’m not sure why I have so many packets, many are freebies from magazines but a lot are ones I’ve seen and thought “I’d like to grow that” but never got around to it.

That is my Six on Saturday, hosted every Saturday on the Propagator Blog. Please take time to pop over and take a look at the very many contributors showing what is happening in their gardening lives this Saturday.

Six on Saturday – 02/03/2019

Did you know there are two dates that herald spring? Meteorologically, because the year is split into 4 seasons, every year spring starts on 1st March. Astronomically, spring depends on the spring equinox which can vary from year to year. This year it is 20th March. This is confusing, to me anyway, because the ‘planting season’ for early spring is March, the 1st or 20th, I suppose depends on the weather. What’s your take on this?

Last week we had an unusual heatwave and everything came on by leaps and bounds. Today it is much cooler, wet and windy with the prospect of Storm Freya about to arrive. Fleece is still at the ready.

Now on to my Six on Saturday.

1. The warm weather has woken up my seeds.

Leeks – I was beginning to give up on my leeks and delighted when the shoots appeared.

Peppers – Also a little slower than expected, all of a sudden tiny pepper seedlings have popped up.

Geum – These are my Geum ‘Lady Strathenden’. I’m going to under plant them with the Alliums, the gold of the Geums should look great with the Allium purples.

2. Making a strawberry bed.

The previous owner of my allotment plot allowed strawberries to do their own thing and they have made their way across several beds and paths. I decided I would put a stop to their rampant behaviour and make one bed. I’m beginning to select tiny plants that have rooted from runners and put them in a new bed with manure.

At the moment they are randomly planted and when I have enough I’ll put them into orderly rows. Then I will make a cage with a lid I’ve seen on another blog using chicken wire.

3. Wildlife pond in the making.

Made using a washing up bowl, my wildlife pond is almost finished. I tried so hard to make the hole level, but after filling the bowl with gravel and rainwater from the water butt to my annoyance it is not level, so I’m tempted to lift it out and realign it.

I bought a selection of 5 wildflower plants, Red Campion, Ragged Robin, Selfheal, Valerian and a Foxglove to plant surround the pond. My next job is to buy some slate to put around the edge (and hide the blue rim!). Aquatic plants are not on sale at the moment but when they are I will buy a few oxygenating plants.

4. Spring Container plants

I am very chuffed with my patio containers which are beginning to look very springlike. I always surprise myself when I see stuff coming through that I wasn’t expecting. I thought had a small trough with pansies, but clearly it is also planted with anemones.

Being a person who is very remiss at labelling, I had also completely forgotten that I had planted Snow Bunting crocus and they are looking striking against the Skimmia and dark red cyclamen.

5. Wedding flowers

Last Saturday was my nephew’s wedding and I have to share the beautifully decorated barn with you. Jess (his new wife) is very talented and has a marvellous eye for detail. The barn was breathtaking, and the air was filled with the perfume of Narcissi Paperwhite adorning the tables. UPDATE: those sharp eyed readers will realise they are not Paperwhite but the aptly named Bridal Crown.

Roses and hops, (not to mention the chandeliers), were used to adorn the beams and pillars. It looked truly magical.

6. And finally…

If you have not already seen this, just a little funny to make you smile. It is very apt at the moment with our odd weather is at the moment. Non-sensible people have been rushing to the garden centres to buy plants for their gardens not realising it’s far too early.

A big thank you to The Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday where you will find lots of other contributions, not just from the U.K.