Garden blogging

Six on Saturday – 24/11/2018

I’ve had a busy week tidying up my patio pots, throwing out the summer plants and potting up the Geum ‘Mrs Bradshaw’ and Achillea ‘Terracotta’ from the large containers into smaller pots to overwinter. I’ve put a variety of spring bulbs – tulips, daffodils, Muscari and crocus into the empty pots. A bit like seeing a blank piece of paper that needs to be filled in I have an aversion to pots with nothing but a gravel topping.

I took a visit to our local garden centre and had a spend up! We have an issue with squirrels here, hence one of the pots with pea and bean netting on it. I ran out of plants hence it just being gravel (for the time being). The Christmas shop was so full of goodies, I couldn’t resist buying a few little robins! They might not deter the magpies and pigeons, but they are fun. Above are just a few of my winter pots, there are another six on the other side, but they are still full of flowering geraniums so not ready for winter just yet.

My Six on Saturday are the components of three of the pots, which are now also draped in lights, in case you wonder what the green wiring is, making them look very pretty in the evenings – in my humble opinion anyway.

Pot one

1. Variegated Osmanthus

2. Hellebore Nigra

When hunting for hellebores I found it frustrating that the larger garden centres such as Wyevale and Hilliers sell them in large pots between £11-£13. All I wanted was a couple of small ones, and was delighted to find them in Keydell nurseries, in Hordean at £3 a pot. There I also found osmanthus at £2.80 and a couple of ivies for under £2; that is the difference between a local independent nursery and chains.

Pot Two

3. Winter cherry – Solanum pseudocapsicum

4. Gaultheria

5. Mini Cyclamen

The Winter Cherries look like mini tomatoes but give height and brightness to the display with contrast to the dark red cyclamen and gaultheria berries. None of the plants will fill out as much as summer bedding but I am hoping they will grow a little bigger.

Pot Three

6. Skimmia Japonica ‘Rubella’ and more cyclamen

There is always a plethora of red, white and pink cyclamens in garden centres but I fell in love with the unusual very dark red variety and they particularly go well with the Skimmia.

Please pay a visit to The Propagator’s Blog who not only hosts the weekly Six on Saturday, has lots of other really interesting and informative blog posts.

UPDATE … winter pots all lit up

Garden

Not My Front Garden

I live on the ground floor of a Victorian conversion. I bought it fourteen years ago this month, not only because of its good size and lovely high ceilings, but it came with the delight of a self-contained back garden just the right size for me to maintain. So many conversions have split back gardens with little or no privacy which it certainly not, in my opinion, ideal. The downside to owning the back garden is that the front garden belongs to the flat upstairs and my lounge looks out on to it.

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When I moved in it was just a patch covered in black plastic, topped with bark clippings. The whole area was a public toilet to every cat in the neighbourhood. The only saving grace was the colourful Skimmia and the Lilac tree in the corner. A year later the upstairs people put their flat up for sale and were astute enough to grass the front and make a path around the edge to my back gate.

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The subsequent owners were not gardeners or at all interested in the garden and kindly allowed me to tend to its care. After tidying up the Skimmia I discovered a hydrangea and, much to my delight, I also unearthed snowdrops.

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Several years ago, when the flat was on the market again I overheard, to my horror, the estate agent saying to a prospective buyer, “as you can see a lot of people have turned their front gardens into parking areas”. No way was I going to have someone else’s car, or God forbid, a Transit van parked up against my lounge window. Fortunately, working for a solicitor, I shot downstairs to the conveyancing department and investigated buying the freehold and was lucky enough that the freeholder was happy to sell. At least that guaranteed no one would ever be able to turn the front garden into a parking lot, not while I was the freeholder!

The flat was bought as a Buy to Let, (which has its own issues) and there has been a regular turnover of tenants in the last 9 years. Fortunately none of them have been interested in gardening and I have been able to continue as the ‘resident gardener’. I did try to buy the front garden but the owner was advised against it by his solicitor. That was disappointing and a little annoying but understandable as it would affect his lease.

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Yes, that’s right, you do see a For Let sign. The present tenant, after 2 years, is moving out. As usual the flat is advertised as a rental with a front garden and I have started the minor panic I experience every time I see this horrid board, hoping that the new tenants are not gardeners either. Selfish, I know! It means when I introduce myself I have to find a pleasant way of asking if they like gardening, if not would it be ok for me to continue to look after the garden. So far the tenants have been quite happy to relinquish the care. Although there was one lady who dabbled for a few weeks and pulled up all the Forget me Nots thinking they were weeds. I have to be honest I didn’t handle it too well and although I know she had the right to do whatever she wanted I did point out that they were not weeds, but she didn’t do any more ‘gardening’ after that!

Fully aware it is not my property, I don’t spend very much money, if any, on the front garden, taking cuttings and moving bits and pieces from the back garden. There are however lots of bulbs I have put in over the years. It is always so heartwarming to walk through the front gate and see these in the spring.

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This morning I was out there having a general tidy up before the new tenants move in, and contemplating if I was going to move the beautiful Day Lilies that I planted a few years ago, (one of the few plants it did buy for the front). The jury is still out on that one, mainly because I’m not sure this is the right time of the year to move plants.

I hope the new tenants don’t pick the tulips when they come through or cut down the pretty white rose by the front door. It can only go two ways, either they don’t like gardening and let me get on with it, or they do like to garden, care for it and I have something pretty to look at without the work.

That’s me trying to be positive, and I hope the little Robin who followed me around this morning thinks the same thing.

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Garden blogging

We Have Snow!

Here in the South of England on the Sussex Coast, we may get snow for a few days during the winter months.   The last heavy snow that hung around for days was in 2010.   Today, true to the forecasted weather (which we often take with a pinch of salt), it started to snow earlier this morning and now, mid-day, it is quite deep – for us anyway.  I suspect it is about 3 to 4 inches deep at the moment and it’s still snowing.

Fortunately I have the day off work, although my original plans have been scuppered.  It has meant though an opportunity to take some snow photos.  I didn’t take too many as  the camera was getting wet and I was getting very cold.

I love the way that snow changes the shape of things.  For example the bamboo cloches now look like little snow domes.

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The garden looks very pretty in its white snowy overcoat.

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Wallflowers:

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Skimmia berries:

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And of course, there has to be snowdrops:

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Whilst snow is great if you don’t have to get anywhere, I will enjoy it this weekend, but hope that it has cleared a bit before trying to get to work on Monday.   The problem is not during the time the snow falls, it is afterwards when it becomes slushy and then freezes, making it dangerous to get around.

However, I hope to be able to take some more snow photos soon, especially if the sun shines.  There is nothing more beautiful than a snowy landscape set against a blue sky.

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