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 – 09 March 2019

Hello everyone, welcome to my Six on Saturday. I’m not going to mention weather this week, save to say it’s been cold and very windy. Swiftly moving on, first we have:-

1. Seedlings

Last week I showed the tiny pepper seedlings. They are now growing well and in another few days will be ready to be potted up. It’s at this stage waves of guilt hit me. Do I pot up all the seedlings? Do I really need 24 pepper plants? Of course I can give away what I don’t want but everyone I know is growing peppers! I hate pulling out and discarding the weaker seedlings, it’s as though I am culling them because they are not as strong as the others.

Living in a flat, I don’t have a greenhouse but large white plastic boxes make for excellent substitutes on my patio. This deep one is especially good, because the sweet peas are romping along and getting tall, despite being pinched out. I also have some tomato plants, they are tiny but look healthy enough and should be quite hardy because they are not being cosseted on a warm windowsill.

2. Hyacinth ‘Woodstock’

I’m not sure why, but I usually grow white or pink hyacinths, always promising myself the fabulous purple of ‘Woodstock’. This year I actually did buy the bulbs and the flower and colour is everything it promises to be.

3. Dahlias

It may still be a little early but I couldn’t hold back any more and I’ve started off my dahlias. They are under cover on the allotment and I will check them regularly. The raised bed cloche consists of a mesh cover and topped with a pvc cover to protect and keep warm. As I mentioned earlier I don’t have the luxury of a greenhouse on the allotment, however this set up should be fine.

4. Rhubarb

I have not grown rhubarb before; this plant is inherited. It looks pretty healthy but I’ve noticed this week something is eating the leaves. Googling health of plants can be almost as dangerous as googling your own health. I’ve read the plant could have a disease called curculio and to remove damaged leaves but I’ve also read that it’s just slugs and as we don’t eat the leaves it’s ok. HELP!!

5. Emsworth Floral Boats

Emsworth has a large sailing fraternity and boasts two sailing clubs. It is no surprise therefore that throughout the village there are rowing boats planted up with seasonal plants. This one on the Mill Pond is looking very pretty, packed with wallflowers, pansies, bulbs and heuchera.

6. Finally – Crocuses

I showed this container in last week’s Six on Saturday. The crocuses had just come out and because I had forgotten I’d planted them, I also mistakenly called them Snow Bunting. Now they are fully open they are Joan of Arc. I think they are also called Jeanne d’Arc, there can’t be two identical crocuses with such similar names but I’m sure someone will put me right. These are planted with deep red wine coloured cyclamens and a skimmia, I love the contrast of colours.

Thank you The Propagator Blog for hosting this great weekly meme. Please peep over the fence and take a look at his Six on Saturday and the very many contributors to Six on Saturday. If you haven’t taken part, give it a go, here is the Participant’s Guide.