Garden blogging

Six on Saturday – 10/11/2018

Thank goodness for memes, especially The Propagator’s Blog and his Six on Saturday. At the moment as I’m between allotments (take over new one end of December) I’m struggling to find much to blog about. With a box full of spring bulbs waiting the wings I am desperate to plant, my patio pots are loathe to throw in the towel and admit they’ve had enough. To be fair, the weather here has still been fairly warm for this time of the year, although we are experiencing heavy showers mixed with sunshine and strong winds at the moment.

I have planted up a coupled my patio posts and covered them with netting to prevent the squirrels from digging around. I do, however, still have a large number of tulip bags to put in but I know I have until December so all is not lost yet.

This morning I did my ‘gardener duties’ in daughter and SiL’s garden. Again there are still plants flowering happily. The Gerbera is flowering as are the Osteospermum. Although mildewy and flopping badly, the Cafe au Lait Dahlia is still going strong. I am wondering if I can leave it in situ as long as I mulch the top to protect from frost. Also I’ll have to watch it carefully in the spring to make sure slugs and snails don’t chop off fresh shoots at the pass. Usually I start tubers off in pots each year and only plant out when it is looking well established.

The Agapanthus is also still flowering! You might notice that some of the surrounding plants have died already. I am hoping they have died down, and will appear next year and they are not just dead. Whoops, I’ve just noticed some weeds in this photo 🤦‍♀️.

I love wallflowers, especially the bare rooted bunches which I think are a bargain. In mid-October I bought 3 bunches and find that although sold as 10 plants per bunch, you generally get more than that. Of course, there are always a few that don’t make it, generally the tiny ones. I planted a whole bed of wallflowers – Sunset Apricot, Sunset Bronze and Sunset Purple interspersed with a large variety of daffodil bulbs. It was a bit of a back breaking job, but will look a fabulous display next spring. I was pleased today to see that only 2 plants look as though they are struggling, but you never know they might just survive the winter.

There is a very large terracotta pot at the end of the garden, which I was asked if I would plant up for a good spring show. Buried deep in the pot, I planted 35 bulbs which are variety of red and white from the local garden centre called The Armistice Collection – A donation from the sale of each Armistice collection bulb pack will be paid to The Royal British Legion. I couldn’t resist buying them. Because it is such a big pot, it needed some height and I found a Photinia ‘Little Red Robin’ and filled in the surround with primulas and red cyclamen.

My sixth is of the gladioli I retrieved from the allotment to dry off. After taking this photo, I cleaned them off, removed the dried leaves and they are now stored in a box in the shed. They were really good this year and fingers crossed they are successful in 2019 on the new allotment.

That’s my 6 for this week. Please peer over the garden fence at other gardens you will find on Six on Saturday.

Garden blogging

Six on Saturday – Waiting For Frost (6/10/18)

I was surprised to watch the opening minutes of Gardeners World this week and see an autumnal steam of breath coming from Monty Don telling us he has had the first frost at Long Meadow. I’ve got to the stage in my daughter’s garden that I am tired of summer plants and want to move on now and have a good tidy up, dig up the dahlia tubers, cut down perennials and clear the beds to make room for all those enticing daffodil, tulip and allium bulbs sitting in the shed waiting to be planted.

The garden has different ideas, and stuff is still flowering! Here are my Six on Saturday hosted by The Propagator. Please pay a visit, after reading mine of course, to his blog and take a look at all the other great blog contributions.

One:

The dahlias in the garden have suffered dreadfully from mildew, a problem I never had in my old garden, but then this summer has been unusual. I’m not sure if it is the right thing to do, but those that have finished flowering I have cut down, leaving the tubers in the ground for the next few weeks. After looking and pondering for a long time, the Cafe au Lait dahlia has had a stay of execution because the flowers outweighed the mildew on the leaves. I am by no means an expert on dahlias so any advice would be welcome please.

TWO

Although they are supposed to flower spring and summer, this Primula Vialii has decided to carry on flowering, yet the leaves are beginning to look ragged and dying down. I saw that if they are happy where plants, they will spread their seed and more plants will appear next year, I do hope so.

THREE

Another plant which has decided to flower again, despite it being October, is the Callistemon or Bottlebrush Plant to you and me. It has certainly settled well into its home at the end of the hot flower bed.

FOUR

I can’t see this magnificent perennial Gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun’ ever wanting to stop flowering. Maybe it’s about time I stopped deadheading it! It does, however, produce wonderful colour into the border.

FIVE

Talking about colour, my Son in Law bought this fabulous Canna in the summer and it lives in a large pot on the patio. Can anyone tell me please how to look after it during the winter months? Do I just place the pot, complete with canna, into the shed?

SIX

My final six is a just small section of the end of the garden which is strewn with windfalls from an enormous apple tree. If you are not ducking to avoid being hit on the head as they fall, you are in danger of twisting your ankle by stepping on them. Far too many apples to be collected and made into pies, chutneys, juice and the myriad of other things you can do with apples. I am well aware that a lot of you may throw your hands up in horror at the waste of apples, sorry about that. However, I am hoping they will fertilise the soil well.

Garden blogging

In a Vase on Monday – Perfect Peonies

Ok, I’m going to be very honest these are Waitrose bought peonies. They are so beautiful I couldn’t resist. Although peonies in a vase may not last long it is wonderful to be able to have a week or two enjoying them.

I found a vase I don’t often use because of the narrow neck and wide top – not all flowers lend themselves to this design because they need more support or maybe it’s my poor floral design technique! However the peonies seem to suit this shape.

What I found of interest was that although all the buds were the same size at point of sale, they have all developed at different times. This was of benefit which has been great for this short post because I managed to take a number of photos of peonies at various stages of development.

Please pay a visit to Rambling in the Garden where you will see some inspirational posts for In a Vase on Monday.

Garden blogging

Restoring a Hampshire Garden – Chapter 3

I’ve just realised it’s been 5 weeks since I last wrote an update on my daughter and Son in Law’s Hampshire Garden. The last blog post, Chapter Two, was all about sorting out the heavy duty, overgrown trellis along the side of the garage. It is now festooned with lights and hanging pots, much nicer than overgrown ivy and unkempt honeysuckle.

The Heuchera really picked up after freeing it from the stranglehold of weeds and is looking rather splendid. The spikey plant is a donated impressive lime green Heuchera but had been left in a pot and dried out in the recent hot weather. To revive it I gave it a drastic haircut and it is slowly throwing out new shoots – phew!

The roses have responded well to their untangling and pruning last month. There are a few plants on the shopping list for the trellis to provide an evening floral fragrance, such as Jasmine Officinale.

The ivy covered hedge that divided the garden across the middle has been removed, opening up the garden considerably. Behind the hedge was a very neglected and overgrown area that had a few raised beds and once clearly was a productive fruit and vegetable part of the garden. This has now been cleared and will be laid to lawn with a variety of borders adding shape and interest to the garden, including a hot border with grasses, Rudbekia and Echinacea in the sunniest border.

I have been given the border on the left hand side of the garden as my own, which is really exciting. It is 10 metres long and full of roots from ivy and other shrubs that have been removed. The ivy is still a battle but having a 17 year fight in my Worthing garden I am used to dealing with it!

It is a challenge finding suitable plants for a North-West facing border, with a North facing corner and a large apple tree. Ferns and Hostas will be the order of the day for this far corner under the tree. It is a dry shade, and some careful planting is required – according to the RHS website Pieris Japonica, Skimmia, Viburnum and Sambucus Nigra are ideal shrubs.

The soil is fabulous loam which is not surprising since it was used for growing vegetables and fruit. It was an absolute treat to work after years of heavy clay. Some, and perhaps most, gardeners would dig over the whole border before planting anything but I am digging over one section at a time and getting some plants established as I go.

Today I dug in a couple of large bags of compost to enrich the soil which was dry and then I selected a few plants from the garden centre which all say will tolerate light shade but worryingly according to the RHS website most need full sun. The border does get full sun from mid afternoon so fingers crossed they will be ok:-

CaryopterisHeavenlyBlue‘; Veronica ‘Atomic Red’; Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’; Lobelia ‘Queen Victoria’; Salvia ‘Blue Mandalay’ x2; Geum ‘Sunrise’ x2; plus Dianthus x6, Achemilla Mollis and Campanula to fill in the gaps.

I am not an expert, only an amateur gardener but many years of having my own garden and experienced mistakes with just as many successes, I know that plants are adaptable and provide many surprises. I think I will repeat this planting along the border incorporating shade loving plants as I approach the fern/hosta corner.

Finally, have fallen in love with the very old cedar wood shed. There was electricity in there at one time and the roof is corrugated iron, but it is going to be very useful for pottering in and storing stuff.

Garden blogging, Garden Meme

Six on Saturday – 7th April 2018

I really should think carefully and plan when I’m going to blog to make sure that when I publish a post it doesn’t coincide with specific meme’s, such as ‘Six on Saturday’ hosted by The Propagator Blog. That is just what I have done – two posts in one day!

Nature has taken a bit of a battering this winter and is slow off the blocks. Not only is my heavy clay soil laying in water slow to drain, the snails are out in force and eating almost every young shoot in sight. There is life in the garden, apart from slimy critters and these are my Six on Saturday.

1. Ajuga ‘Chocolate Chip’ Planted last year as a very small plant, it has spread into a considerable sized clump and is going to look very pretty. Excellent ground cover!

2. Ribes – variety unknown I cut back what had become a large shrub dramatically last year to the point I thought I wasn’t going to see any flowers this year, but although it’s looking somewhat thin, there are some very pretty flowers – phew! I’m sure it is a darker pink than years before so maybe it has done the plant some good.

3. Peony I am so in love with the peony as it throws out spring shoots, almost to the point I prefer the dark burgundy to the actual flowers. Despite its age, about 7/8 years old, it only ever has a couple of blooms and for the rest of the year is always a disappointment.

4. Sambucus Nigra(Elderflower) Like the peony shoots, the elderflower at this time of the year fascinates me. From the gnarled old bare winter branches appear very dark maroon tiny leaves that in no time become long ranging branches. A magnificent tree to have in a garden.

5. Primroses I spied these right at the back of one of my borders, hidden in amongst the wood pile and ivy where they are at their happiest. So very pretty and along with daffodils and tulips are an iconic spring flower.

6. Chinodoxia (Glory of the Snow) Not sure why they have this name, mine are only just flowering and kept their heads well down during the snow. They are another delicate, delightful, spring flower. I’ve seen spectacular carpets of them at West Dean Gardens but mine are in containers nestled amongst the tulips and late narcissus all of which are about to flower and may well be ready for next week’s Six on Saturday.

Please take a look at the other contributions on The Propagator Blog it’s a great time of the year and a good yardstick as to how nature is behaving in other people’s gardens.