6 – on – Saturday 14.9.19 The New Garden

I thought I’d post 6 pictures of the new garden this week for your interest.  We have been here a month now, and are starting to get a feel for the garden and where the good and not so good spots are.  We are also beginning to identify the issues that need sorting.  Readers who are new to 6 – on – Saturday can join in easily – If you want to get a glimpse of lovely gardens from across the world, and chat to lots of lovely gardeners, then go here https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/  and join in!!

When we first saw the house we loved these two mid-century planters.  They are outside the front door and we plan to fill them with seasonal bulbs and bedding through the year.  At the moment they have some pretty grim begonias in there and a few cyclamen, but given time we will clear them out, get some drainage and some decent compost in there and away we go!  These count as one thing!IMG_1122

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These Japanese anemone are putting on a show.  They are ‘Honorine Jobert’ and I think will probably stay in that spot.  They have popped up around and about, so I’ll pull up what I don’t want, or where it’s in the ‘wrong’ place, but they are lovely at this time of the year and I can see this view from the bedroom window when I’m putting on my make-up and drying my hair.

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This is a cotoneaster that has had the base pruned out of it so the foliage and berries are on stems about 3 feet high.  It makes a rather pleasing short stretch of ‘hedge’ across the path in front of the sitting room window.  I’m not that keen on cotoneaster but I like this. It’s covered in berries and I hope come next spring it will be covered in lovely tiny flowers that the bees love.

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We have been testing out whether or not to have the sundial or this big pot in this space at the top of the garden.  It faces south, but it’s quite shady and jungly at the moment.  I think I shall open it out a bit so that the agapanthus can be better enjoyed.  That hypericum on the left will probably have to go and the monster hebe behind it needs seriously taming.  I’m not sure what the tree on the right is, but lower down on the right is a camellia.  One of a pair in this part of the garden, I’m not sure what colour they are.  I am hoping for white or pale pink.   One of these seems to have a few things on it that look like galls.  I don’t have a picture, but unless camellia fruit then I am assuming they are some sort of gall.  They are dark red and shiny and about the same size as a small crab apple.  Can anyone offer any insight?

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This is a messy area next to the decking and in front of the shed.  It is really overgrown.  The lollipop shaped tree at the back is, believe it or not, a pittosporum.  It is huge, probably 20 feet tall.  Who knew pittosporum could get so big?  Who knew they could be trees?  When I think of the pathetic specimen we had in the old garden – spindly, sparse leaves, fragile looking, about 2 feet tall – and then look at this, it’s astonishing!  In front of it is another large hebe that needs taking out, and then a cistus (I think) and another really big clump of agapanthus, and right in front is a block of bergenia that has really got too big for the space.  Also I suspect between that thick ground cover and the shed there may be a comfortable spot for unwanted creatures….So all of this is likely to go, including the shed!

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Here is another shady patch where I am trying out some fatsia plants.  So far they seem to be happy there, but I’m not sure they’ll stay happy out of their pots and in the ground.  There are a lot old tree roots in this part of the garden so it will be interesting to see if I can even get them into the ground!  I love the fern on the right, but on the left there is more of the dreaded hypericum.

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And that’s my six for this week, hopefully giving you at bit more of a look at the new garden.  So much to do, but it’s very exciting!

The O.G.

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Pastures new…

We are finally in the new house and settling in a little.  I haven’t had time to fiddle about changing the header pic on here, but maybe it will be done for next blog.  It is three week since moving day and things are feeling a bit more organised.  For the first time ever we have a ‘wrap-around’ garden and it feels a little daunting but we are really looking forward to making it ours.  There are some interesting things in it, but it looks as though most plants and shrubs have been in for a very long time and are overgrown or past their best so I foresee a whole lot of work.

Here’s a bit of a walk around:

The ‘road’ side boundary is well hedged with a mix of pittosporum, griselinia and laurel which have merged together and been clipped closely. It’s dense and looks pretty healthy.  it’s been clipped into little castellations which some would think rather naff, but I think is rather cute and retro.  Inside the hedge are some rather desperate rose beds.  The roses are old (and not in a good way) with huge thick stems at the base and spindly little stems supporting the odd flower. I suspect they are hybrid teas from years ago.  In more optimistic moments I plan to take them all out, but I suspect they may defeat me.  The beds are perfectly placed to become veg beds so I aim to persevere over the winter.  I don’t have pics yet, but they will come.IMG_1089

The ‘front’ garden has the path to the front door and has been well laid out with a sloping curved pathway with low stone walls and beds behind.  This the view from the sitting room window and where our view of the sea is which persuaded us to buy the property.  That conifer hedge belongs to our opposite neighbours (their back garden).  The beds have old, but decent shrubs – I can recognise a hydrangea, a couple of hypericum (which I dislike), a couple of interesting low growing conifers that I need to identify, a cotoneaster, some really good hardy fuchsia bushes and the biggest clump of crinum I have ever seen!  There’s some very leggy santolina and something that looks like a variegated wiegela.  There are  underplanted bulbs here too, but they are overcrowded and I’m not sure what they are – skinny, strap like leaves – maybe crocosmia of some sort but no flowers to help identify.IMG_1098

On the other side of the path there has been an attempt to create a sort of woodland shrubbery.  There are two large conifers – real trees.  I don’t know what they are – one is triangular in shape  with pale green foliage, maybe 25 feet tall, and next to it is some sort of dark green fir with needles, maybe 25 feet tall and not in the best of health. Alongside this is a coppery acer maybe 30 feet tall.  They do provide good screening from neighbouring properties down the hill.  Around them are shrubs that were originally an understory but they are very overgrown.  A couple of abelia, a cotinus, I think an olearia, some small azaleas, berberis (green and purple) that have seen better days and a ground cover at the front edge of bergenia.  This is the part of the garden that needs a lot of renovation.  I am slightly daunted by it. IMG_1091

Beyond this is the bottom of the ‘side’ garden which is laid to a small lawn with borders which have, again seen better days.  This is the main ‘pleasure/leisure’ garden and although it faces east, it gets sun for most of the day.  It’s overlooked by a big raised deck which is in pretty good condition – big enough to take a six seater table and chairs, plus a couple of loungers.  I’m looking forward to next spring and summer here!  The deck is sheltered from the easterly breezes by an eleagnus hedge which must be 12 feet tall and about 8 feet long.  We also have our very own palm tree!  The borders were probably once very interesting – there are a number of tree stumps where trees or large shrubs have been cut down and the stumps left in situ.  Some of them might be useful for standing pots on, but it looks like getting someone in to grind some of them out.  The borders have camellia, pittosporum (a huge tree), azalea, maybe an amelanchier, more hypericum (shudder), a good stand of white japanese anemones so possibly Honorine Joubert- actually threatening to take over – lots of crocosmia, agapanthus and euphorbia and those huge hebes ?andersonii with purple flowers. IMG_1096

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At the ‘top’ end of the side garden is a very dilapidated shed, just about functional, and a really overgrown shady area that I think might be worth a closer look.  There are very overgrown and huge hebe andersonii, a rampant patch of solidago, a cornus, more hypericum, very sturdy and massive agapanthus, cistus, crocosmia, a frail looking fatsia, and something else that has grown and monstered the whole patch – possibly another amelanchier. Whatever it is it has been coppiced and has about 15 ‘trunks’. At the front of this bed is a big patch of very healthy bergenia and some weak and spindly hardy geraniums.  Underneath all this foliage I can see a path and what looks like stone bed edges and maybe a  paved drainage channel.  It’s quite intriguing!

And then we turn the corner of the house into a small backyard with paving slab paths surrounding a small square lawn.  The lawn is divided diagonally by paving slabs (handy for hanging out the washing without getting muddy feet) and has narrow borders on two sides. there is a wiegela hedge  about 10 feet tall on one side screening the shed, and the borders have euphorbia, hardy fuchsia, some horrible spindly roses and a worn out old jasmine officianalis which I shall try to save.IMG_1107

So that’s the first tour.  It sounds big – it’s really not that big but it is more garden than we had previously.  Funnily enough, the moving plan was to keep the same house size and downsize the garden, so that’s a fail there!

More soon, as we progress.

The O.G.

6 – on – Saturday 27.07.2019

Good morning everyone.  A little cooler here in south Wales this morning with overcast skies.  It’s bright though, and there will be more warm sunshine by lunchtime.  I seem to be getting into a once a month rhythm with the blog at the moment.  We are moving house (I hope shortly, but I don’t like to talk about it for fear of it all going t*ts up) so I am in that bewildered state of looking for stuff that has possibly already been packed and dreaming about logistics disasters, but handily am able to make up a flat cardboard box at Olympic speeds.  The garden is a saviour under these circumstances even though it is being a little neglected.  I have missed growing my own veg this season and am certainly regretting  not keeping on top of the weeding.  Anyhow, here is my six for this week. Soon we will all have a new garden to talk about!

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  1. Remember the 15 cherry harvest from last time? Well here it is safely captured in good brandy.  I have resisted opening them for two weeks, but it has been a near thing once or twice.  Hoping to keep them until Christmas to plop into glasses of champagne.

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2. This is Rosa Mundi with hardy geranium ‘Red Admiral’ growing through it.  Isn’t it a lovely combination?  I’d like to say I planned it carefully but it was pretty much accidental.  The Rosa Mundi is almost over but this is definitely a pairing for the new garden.

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3.  These lilies have been stupendous.  I don’t know what they are called – I think I ordered them from the back of the Radio Times or something.  They’re supposed to be six feet tall but they’re maybe four.  The flowers have been huge and intoxicatingly scented.  In the evening it drifts all across the garden and into the house.  And only one lily beetle seen and dealt with.

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4.  This is Persicaria.  Not sure of it’s name, we have this red one and a slightly coarser pink one. The bees, wasps and hover flies love it.  It also attracts lots of hens  (hens?? Damn you autocorrect!)  honeybees which is thrilling to see as not much else seems to.  I’ve been counting butterflies for the annual big butterfly count too.  We don’t get so many as we used to, but bothering to count them means I notice them more.  That thick green stem poking through is a rogue fennel.

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5.  This funky little chap is the caterpillar of the Vapourer moth. The moth itself is rather dowdy and boring, but this adolescent makes up for it.  They don’t seem to do much harm so I leave well alone.  It’s good to see insect lifecycles going on in the garden.

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6.  And last is this weed that comes up all over our lawn (well, as you can see, it’s not really a lawn, more a collection of rough grasses and weeds).  It’s not the best of pictures but I think it is ground ivy.  If any one can formally identify it for me, that would be great! It’s a lovely deep purple and the flowers are held about one or two inches above the ground.  Again, the bees adore it so we need to be careful where we step!

Those are mine for this week.  If it’s another month before I blog again, there will be fresh fields and pastures new to photograph!

June. The O. G.

If you want to get a glimpse of lovely gardens from across the world, and chat to lots of lovely gardeners, then go here https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/  and join in!!

6 – on – Saturday 29.6.19

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I am sitting in the garden eating strawberries and yoghurt for breakfast.  I am toying with the idea of fasting for the rest of the day due to an optimistic step onto the scales this morning which then plunged me into gloom.  Irritatingly, I know the inexorable rise of my body weight will motivate me only for an hour or so, then it will be back to the coffee cake mid-morning.  Heigh ho, on to my six for today:

  1. My totally favourite rose ‘Munstead Wood’.  Named for the Surrey house and garden of Getrude Jekyll, the garden designed by Edwin Lutyens.  The rose is a large, multi-petalled bloom, deep velvety claret colour and a sweet scent which is wafting its way towards me as I sit at the table on the patio (I may start to say ‘terrace’ – so much less suburban).  It has quite a lax growth and really needed a bit of support this year, but I like the way it sprawls across the mound of erigeron and props itself up on a neighbouring verbena bonariensis.IMG_1036
  2. There are ten baby apples on the tree that we bought last year.  There would have been twelve but MrOG snapped a stem while trying to untangle a clematis tendril.  It’s still in a large pot because – sssh… don’t tempt fate – we are planning to move and want to take it with us.  It’s an old variety, ‘Red Windsor’, and last year’s apples were tasty, although I think they will benefit from a little longer on the tree this season.  We were too impatient to taste our first home-grown apples last year!img_1038.jpg
  3. This cloud of violet-blue is hardy geranium ‘Nimbus’.  It was planted from a 9cm pot last spring and is already fulfilling its promise of being ‘fast growing and floriferous’.   It is covering the dicentra that has gone over and is a good foil for the hostas behind it.  The marigolds in this picture are entirely serendipitous – they appeared in a little cluster and are adding their cheerful, uninvited faces to the front of the border.  I stopped for a minute just then to watch a pair of buzzards circling overhead and calling to each other.  Still quite low, they were being harried in a half-hearted way by a single crow. In that bored way that buzzards have, they flipped a nonchalant wing at the crow, made a marginal change of direction and carried on circling in the thermal that would take them higher and higher over the garden.IMG_1040
  4. Some of you may remember the single cherry harvest of last year.  This year we have an abundance of 15! It’s ‘Morello’, recommended for a north facing site but it’s looking decidedly unhappy against the wall.  It has only produced leaves at the ends of the stems and although there was a good amount of blossom it only came to the 15 fruit.  I wish they would all ripen at once so that I can at least pick them and preserve them in brandy.  Frustratingly they are all at different stages but I will wait a little longer and hope the wood pigeons don’t get them.IMG_1039
  5. This is the offending clematis that was finding its way around the little apple tree.  It’s clematis florida sieboldii and really doesn’t offend at all.  It’s a bit spindly at the base because I didn’t prune it back earlier in the season, but it’s still producing lots of flowers.  When the buds first open, the outer petals are a delicate pale green and the inner petals almost black.  As it widens they turn to papery white and purple and last really well.  Behind it is the hydrangea petiolaris which this year has rewarded our nurturing with two flowers.  Double the production of last year. Yay.IMG_1037
  6. And this, dear gardening pals, is the view from where I am sitting.  The stone tortoise on the table was rescued from my Dad’s garden after he died and is an everyday reminder.  I have been here for an hour or so, lazily writing this, drinking tea, watching the birds, looking at the garden and generally feeling pleased with myself. I told you that the weight-gain-gloom wouldn’t last. IMG_1041

If you want to get a glimpse of lovely gardens from across the world, and chat to lots of lovely gardeners, then go here https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/  and join in!!

Happy gardening!

The O.G.

6 – on – Saturday 25.05.19

Six things in my garden today.  If you want to join in and share 6 things from your garden then here is to how to participate https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2019/05/25/six-on-saturday-25-05-2019/  It’s fun, you see interesting things in other people’s gardens and lovely 6ers chat and comment on your pics.

Hello everyone,

Here are a few pics from the garden.  There are lots of things coming into their own now and it’s all feeing well established.  I’m pleased with the way it’s looking.  It’s been really warm and sunny here for a week or so now and everything is very dry.  We got the hosepipe out for the first time a couple of days ago and gave everything a good soaking which has perked things up a bit.  We’re also promised a dry Bank Holiday weekend so it will be weeding and more weeding for us, I think.

  1. Mexican Fleabane.  What could be more cheerful?  It’s a dome of  these lovely pretty flowers at the moment and always makes me smile.  They tolerate the most unlikely of spots as long as they are warm and dry.  People tell me that they seed freely but this never has.  I have pulled a clump or two of it though and planted it in other places.  It looks a bit bedraggled for a while but soon establishes.

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2. This is one of three Astrantia in the garden.  I’m not sure what variety it is but it is relatively short-stemmed, and a good deep rosy pink colour.   Always the first to flower, it’s in a north-facing border that gets oblique morning sun only.  It seems happy enough.

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3. This is a really established and ageing Hebe.  It’s been in the garden for at least 20 years and has always been reliable.  It has a small glaucous leaf and these masses of sweet white flowers at this time of year that last quite well.  The bees love it, it’s always humming with activity when I walk round the garden.  There is a crocosmia leaf that has found it’s way through it, but that’s OK.  It’s ‘Lucifer’ and it’s bright red flowers will be a nice contrast a little later on.

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4. This, I fear, is the extent of the fig harvest this year.  It’s a big plant, it grows well against a south facing fence but has never produced more than one edible fig.  I don’t have the roots constrained which may be one reason, and also I think I may be pruning off the fruiting stems in the spring to keep it manageable.  Good job I love the huge, fresh leaves it produces and can forgive the lack of fruit.  Even though I am partial to a fresh fig or two.   In fact, even two figs would be good.

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5.  I do enjoy a Hosta.  This clump is doing well in the north border at the damp end.  It is backed by a clump of astilbe with dark red foliage and creamy white flowers later in the season.  Again, I don’t know the variety.  I used to have these Hosta in pots and when they outgrew them I split them and put them in the garden.  There are about six clumps this size, all doing really well.  One of them has been decimated by slugs, but the others are all in pristine condition as you can see.   I am thinking that perhaps one sacrificial Hosta may be a good idea…..

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6.  I’m very proud of this little patch.  These are self-sown Sysirinchium in front of a clump of Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’, both of them love this front of the south-facing border position.  Behind them is a rambling rose ‘Felicité et Perpetue’ which will be a mass of small pale pink blooms any minute now.  You can see the buds just waiting.  I cut the rose down last year, back to just a stump really because it was getting out of control.  It has done it no harm at all and this year is absolutely covered in buds from top to bottom.

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So, these are my six for today.  Happy gardening!

The Optimistic Gardener

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 – on – Saturday 20.04.19

Six things in my garden today.  If you want to join in and share 6 things from your garden then here is to how to participate https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/ It’s fun, you see interesting things in other people’s gardens and lovely 6ers chat and comment on your pics.

Hurrah for warm weather!  It makes everything feel so much better.  A busy Easter weekend means this will be short and sweet because I’m actually spending time IN the garden, getting things sorted. So:

  1. These are tulips that were left in the tub over winter.  I didn’t think they would do much but they have been lovely – albeit a bit spindly in the stem. They are ‘Angelique’, my absolute favourite tulip. Here they are a bit blowsy and overblown, but that’s just the way I like them. img_0937.jpg
  2. This is one of the succulents that has  been overwintering in the greenhouse.  It came out onto the patio a few days ago and has put out these lovely flower spikes. I’m not sure what it’s called, but it’s certainly brightening things up.  Behind it is a Aeonium that had gone all crispy and curly but a bit of fresh air and a drink has sorted it out.   IMG_0935
  3. This is two ladybirds making the most of springtime in the plum tree.  I wanted to photograph the masses of tiny plums that are coming on but they wouldn’t show up as they are too small.  The ladybugs are a bit blurry because I got too close but anyhow, they are cute.   IMG_0946 2
  4. And while we’re on the subject of bugs in the garden; every year we have Tawny Mining Bees in our front garden.  The soil is very dry and poor which is probably why they like it.  We rarely see the bees but these are their nest holes.  Little volcanoes of soil with a hole in the top for them to nip in and out of, I am always delighted to welcome them back in Spring.   Celandines have crept onto the grass from under the hedge, but what the heck, they’re so cheerful.IMG_0863
  5. The teeny-tiny wildlife pond is also settling in well.  I think I posted a pic of it last time.  The Erythronium “Pagoda’ have done really well and filled out beautifully.  They don’t last long but those delicate yellow heads brighten up this corner.  The pulmonaria has also done really well and it looks as though there is a rogue brunnera in there that has probably arrived courtesy of the resident blackbird.  There’s a bit of blanket weed but I’ll get that out one of the days, and if you look carefully you’ll see two of the Gnomes (Rob and Alan) have been released from winter storage.IMG_0938
  6. And finally, this little trough has been giving us a lot of pleasure.  Planted up last year it has come into flower again with perfect timing.  It is placed outside the summer-house and we can see it from the sitting room window.  The blue of the lithodora (right) and the muscari (left) is lovely against those yellow mini tulips.   IMG_0936

That’s it! Hope you have a lovely Easter weekend and are feeling the warmth of spring (in the northern hemisphere) on your faces.

The Optimistic Gardener.

 

6 – on – Saturday 23.04.2019

Six things in my garden today.  If you want to join in and share 6 things from your garden then here is to how to participate https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/ It’s fun, you see interesting things in other people’s gardens and lovely 6ers chat and comment on your pics.

Have been spending a bit more time in the garden – mostly with coffee in the summer-house – but I’m getting some jobs done and the garden is looking tidier.  There’s not much to show you, but a few things are starting to come on and it’s very pleasing to see the new growth.  I especially love to see the Hosta points coming through.  Anyway, here is my 6 for today.

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Remember the little wildlife pond we put in last year?  Here it, starting to settle down a bit.  There is pulmonaria in flower – dark blue, light blue, and the usual mixed colour, the ferns are coming on, and by next week I think I shall have Erythronium flowers to show you.  Pity I took this photo before I got the weed out of the pond – then the pond would have been clean and the net wouldn’t have been centre stage!

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A rather splendid photo of good old Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’.  It has flowered sporadically all through the winter and now has lots of flowers coming.  It’s looking a bit straggly though, so I think this will be its last year and I will replace it with new plants next.

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Our little plum tree.  We had a huge harvest off it last year so I was not expecting much this, but if all these flowers form plums then it will be plum city again!  It was full of little flying things, including bees, so I’m hopeful.  It’s in the most unkempt bit of the garden so don’t let your eyes stray from the tree.

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I am totally thrilled to see this.  It’s the first flower ever on a three-year old Hydrangea petiolaris.  It’s all on its own at the moment but I hope it will have some friends soon.  I’d like to tell you that’s Armeria growing in the pot below it, but it’s hairy bittercress, which I will not dignify with italics….

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Two weeks ago this nearly got dug out as a weed.  It’s one of the few plants that I haven’t labelled and I didn’t recognise it.  Fortunately, in a moment of rare memory brilliance, I remembered I had planted a white Dicentra in that area.  As the leaves unfurled a little, it became clear that’s what it is.  Phew, nearly lost it.

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And this is a little apricot tree, doing rather well.  It’s in its second year (with me) and has a good few flowers on it.  It has put quite a lot of growth on at the end of the branches and I’m not sure how to handle it.  Does one prune it later in the year? Leave it alone?  Any advice gratefully received.

 

That’s it from me.  Have a great weekend.

The O.G.

6 – on – Saturday 23.02.19

Six things in my garden today.  If you want to join in and share 6 things from your garden then here is to how to participate https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/ It’s fun, you see interesting things in other people’s gardens and lovely 6ers chat and comment on your pics.

Hello there.  It’s quite a while since I posted on this blog but I’ve been reading all yours every Saturday.  A bout of anxiety and depression (a recurring cycle for me, so reasonably well-managed) had me lethargic, unmotivated and fatigued for a few months.  However, the sight of the sun and a bit of warmth has had me venturing in to the garden over the past couple of weeks and I feel all the better for it.  So, here’s my six for this week and I hope I can soon get back into the weekly habit.

  1. You will remember last year I was inundated with self-sown verbena bonariensis? Lovely they may have been in late summer but over winter they have been a horrible tangled mess and have overgrown everything.  This week I have started the removal process – they’re not difficult to get up being shallow rooted, but there was a lot of ’em.  I can see clear ground though now and that is very pleasing.  I have also uncovered the perennials that are starting to do their thing for this year – Geum, Hosta (how very annoying, my auto spellcheck keeps making that Costa…..), hardy geranium, candelabra Primula and a lovely big rosette of London Pride.  Ignore the fennel – that’s got to go.img_0755.jpg
  2. By the tiny wildlife pond the ferns are starting to put up some fresh greenery and the snowdrops I put in last spring came up.  Sadly I saw not a single flower as on close inspection they have all been nibbled off.  Such is gardening life.  The bluebell leaves are up though, and there is a random white hellebore that appears behind the summer-house. I haven’t the heart to move it, it seems to love it there.  The Pulmonaria are showing and there is even a flower or two – I love their blues and purples so early in the season.  A bit messy later on – mine get mildew terribly – but a treat at this time of the year. IMG_0754
  3. I’m pleased to see these Camassia coming up.  I bought them from Margery Fish’s garden Lambrook Manor last year; they will have tall blue spikes of flower later on and will remind me of the visit to the gardens.  If you’ve never been and you are in the area (Somerset) do go and look.  It’s a delightful garden – not huge but full of lovely stuff and a little nursery where you can snap things up that you like. img_0759.jpg
  4. On the same visit I also bought this little arum italica which looked very feeble and died down quickly.  I thought it was a gonner, but no,  here it is, not what I’d call robust, but looking better than last year.  I am hoping it will spread and fill this corner underneath rosa ‘Felicité et Perpetue’ which will be rampant in a couple of months. IMG_0756
  5. Hydrangea petiolaris.  It beginning to cover this brick wall really well, and true to form needs no tying in or fixing.  It’s going into its third year and I am hoping for a flower or two this season. IMG_0760
  6. And last but rather lovely is the Photinia tree against the sky. We cut it back pretty severely last year and it responded by going into a sulk.  Now it’s putting on a mass of flowers and the new red leaves are on their way.  It’s good value in a small garden if you can get it tree-shaped, but it does drop leaves nearly all year round.  A small price to pay for its cheerfulness. IMG_0758So, there they are. Six on this Saturday. Enjoy the garden.

The O.G.

6 – on – Saturday 8.12.2018

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Six things in my garden today.  If you want to join in and share 6 things from your garden then here is to how to participate https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/ It’s fun, you see interesting things in other people’s gardens and lovely 6ers chat and comment on your pics.

Hello everybody.  It’s over a month since I posted on here – mostly because I’m a bit of a fair weather gardener and it’s been anything but fair here. Gloomy, rainy, miserable, windy and sometimes cold.  I have been keeping up with all your contributions though, and feeling increasingly guilty not to be doing more in the garden!  There’s not much to show here, but I found a few interesting things, so here you go: 

This is a zantedeschia (although it might be called something else now).  It died down in the autumn and has just started to leaf up again for next season.  It gave great value last year with a lot of successive blooms and usually five or six on the plant at one time.  It’s easy but looks suitably exotic.

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We put the succulents in the greenhouse once the weather got colder and they seem to be
 
loving it!  The one has so many little ones they are pushing the parent plant out of the
 
pot, so I guess there will be some repotting to do shortly, and the other is still putting out
 
flower spikes.  I just hope it’s not their last hurrah before dying….
 

 

This old favourite cheered me up today.  It’s right next to the greenhouse, and it is so good to see its cheery yellow blossom starting to appear.  Some people think berberis a bit ‘municipal’ but I love it for its reliability, its attractiveness to birds (the sparrows nest in it), the brightness of the blooms just when everything else is looking forlorn, and the bonus of berries!

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And how about this?  These are the flowers on the ficus japonica (Castor Oil plant), no it’s not, I hear you cry – it’s a fatsia japonica (False Castor Oil plant).  Thanks to Tony Tomeo for pointing out my mislabelling! They shoot up on these tall, sturdy stems and are a great source of nectar for late insects (spot the bluebottle).  Later on they have glossy, black berries.  This one grows quite happily in the corner between the north and east wall, although they’ll grow pretty much anywhere.  I love their big green leaves, we try to keep evergreens near the house through the winter, it reminds us of lusher things to come!

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This is a bit of a surprise.  Most of this hydrangea has gone over for the winter – you can see the old flowerheads all over it and the leaves are dying off.  This week, it threw out a couple more flowers and they are a lovely creamy, greeny, white and really light up that particular border, which is a summer border and looking well and truly ‘over’ at the moment.

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Not many vegetables around now, but here are the last remaining leeks. They are ‘Apollo” and you can see they grow nicely close together and very straight.  We’ve had a lot from this small patch of spare ground.  They don’t seem to mind conditions – it’s in shade against the shed, stony soil and quite dry.  Leeks are my favourite winter vegetable, we eat loads of them and I never plant enough.

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So, that’s my six for this week.  Hope you are all enjoying your gardens – especially those of you in the southern hemisphere basking in summer sunshine!

The Optimistic Gardener

 

6 – on – Saturday 27.10.18

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Six things in my garden today.  If you want to join in and share 6 things from your garden then here is to how to participate https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/ It’s fun, you see interesting things in other people’s gardens and lovely 6ers chat and comment on your pics.

Fortunately I took my six pictures yesterday, as today it’s tanking down with rain and freezing cold. What a difference – you’ll see from the pics that yesterday was bright and sunny with blue skies; good old British autumn weather, all over the place!

This, as I’m sure everyone knows is bloody bindweed.  It crops up continually in my garden, creeping in from next door.  Normally I keep pretty well on top of it, but when everything gets full and blowsy in late summer sometimes I don’t notice it until it’s crept all over something.  This patch is trying to strangle a Pyracantha ‘Orange Glow’ that I planted last year.  The Pyracantha is big enough to cope, but this healthy looking bindweed means that if I look at the rest of the border it will be lurking in there under and over everything. Glyphosate time.

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On a much more positive note this is a slightly blurry Pulmonaria that is getting ready for its own season.  Some of you might remember that we put in a (very) small wildlife pond last year and planted ferns and pulmonaria around it.  The pulmonaria died down over the summer but it’s making a comeback now, which is lovely to see.  Some pulmonaria are martyrs to mildew, but this is the ordinary bluey-pink flowered one and seems hard as nails.

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This is the view from my living room window.  The Photinia does a great job of screening the house behind us, and they have planted some sort of Sorbus (on the left) which is about to go flame red before it drops its leaves for the winter.  If you look closely you can see the clusters of red berries on it.  Always a bonus when you can ‘borrow’ the benefit from a neighbour’s plants.  Our yucca, as always, is enjoying the sunshine.

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I’m including this sad-looking Hebe as a cautionary tale.  It’s one of my favourite plants in the garden – evergreen, neat, compact, covered in little white blossom in the spring and early summer which the bees love, and it’s no trouble at all.  Except, that is, until it did this.  A wide strip straight through the middle of the plant that has died back.  I hope one of you might be able to tell me that this is a mysterious disease that Hebes get, but I’m rather afraid that it’s the result of  weedkiller overspray.  The Cosmos at bottom right are still doing really well, full of flower and so pretty, and right at the bottom there – more bloody bindweed.

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This little beauty is Tricyrtis formosana or the Toad lily.  This is its first flowering and I think it will be finished off by the frosts but isn’t it lovely? Supposed to be perennial (let’s wait and see) and it doesn’t mind shade and I love, love, love it! It looks so exotic, I can’t think why I never discovered it before now.

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This picture is not strictly in the garden, more of the garden.  This is green tomato chutney made with the remaining tomatoes as I pulled up the spent plants and cleared the pots out.  It is always lovely but the whole house smells of onions and hot vinegar for days.  Ban all visitors until at least a week after potting up into jars!

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Whether you’re in autumn or getting into spring – enjoy your gardens!!

The Optimistic Gardener