Six-on-Saturday 15-12-2018

Rather a severe drop in temperature last Sunday when we arrived back in England after a few days in Dubai – at least 20°C! We had a good time with our daughter and her family but were nearly eaten alive by the mosquitoes!! Apparently, they are seasonal and should disappear in a few days. (I wish we hadn’t picked their active season to visit.) I did take some extra photos of our garden with me so that I could still participate in the Six-on-Saturday without confusing everyone.

We came back to stories of gales and torrential rain while we were away. Certainly, some of my supporting stakes were leaning at different angles from when we left and my full bucket of nettle stew had been blown over leaving a very small proportion of what was there before.

Never mind, I should be able to make a few lots of nourishing plant food from what’s left.

On to this week’s Six-on-Saturday – looking forward to reading all of yours.

1)

The main theme, to start with, is “Paths”

I made a rather ramshackle path from bricks and slabs found under a huge pile of cuttings left behind the garage when we moved in 18 years ago, but the Mare’s Tail just kept pushing through and it needed to be weeded every few weeks which took AGES. So about 3 years ago, I redid it with the leftover block paving stones and some of the original, old bricks on top of a barrier of double thickness, permeable black membrane. It has been a big success since no Mare’s Tail has managed to get through. It does still appear in the flowerbeds and around the path but it is much more manageable.

2)

Rather than plodding through the wet earth, I have put down a few bricks and paving slabs to walk on around the vegetable and fruit garden.

3)

These stepping stones are 30 cm square. The ones at the bottom of the garden are fine, but some of those nearer the top are showing only about a 10cm square!. I laid them to follow the edge of the flowerbeds at that time which were packed with well established shrubs before I dug at least 80% of them up. Next job, exposing each slab by cutting away the turf around them and filling in with sand to make them sit flush with the lawn.

4)

An even more of a Hotch Potch path towards the Daleks. Not a thing of beauty but serviceable. You will notice the wooden pole from an old patio umbrella and the muddy golf club. I was thinking of buying a compost aerator but they have mixed reviews and do not seem to last very long. It is easy to rotate/aerate the wooden heap (made by Mr Propagator, in case anyone didn’t know that) because I can remove the front panel and get to the base with a fork. I need to approach the compost in the Daleks from above, for obvious reasons, so need to use a narrow implement. The golf club will not go very far down since it is too wide, so I decided to push the pole (with its pointed end) into the heap to make the golf club’s approach easier. This seems to work quite well, certainly the air can get to the compost better now and I can rotate the golf club within the heap. (I don’t know where that hollyhock came from!)

(I haven’t shown you this for a while, have I?)

5) Look away now, Lora!

The Brussels survived a major attack from caterpillars earlier in the year, but when I went to see whether there was a picking for the evening meal after we came home, I saw something else had been at them and stripped the leaves!! I think pigeons, anyone any other ideas? Meanwhile, the Brussels did not seem to be affected and were very delicious…….yes they were, Lora.

6)

The garlic continues to grow very well. I hope the bulbs are forming under the soil and not all the goodness is going into the leaves. (All 30 cloves I planted have come up.)

(Just a quick extra photo:-

What do you think #1 son-in-law is getting for Christmas? I will wrap them in fancy paper before I give them to him, of course!)

Anyway, the grandchildren may be talking about “10 more sleeps until Santa comes”, but we are thinking “1 more Six-on-Saturday until Santa comes”, aren’t we? Granny’sGardenHimIndoors is getting his Bah Humbug hat ready (his Bah Humbug mug broke a few years ago).
Have a good weekend. I’m not sure how good the forecast is but let’s hope we can get some gardening done.

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Six-on-Saturday 08-12-2018

Getting closer to the days turning, thank goodness! It looks as though this week shouldn’t be so dreary and wet.

Anyway, on to this week’s Six-on-Saturday.

1)

A few indoor plants this week. This Begonia Rex has been going on for ages and ages. Occasionally we get a few flowers but they are not spectacular. It is another plant that thrives on healthy neglect.

2)

This is a spare sedum from the original “lot” I purchased to go into the miniature terrarium last March. It is doing well because it has more root space than those that I probably packed too tightly into too small a space.

3)

This is the 6th year this orchid has sent out a stem of flower buds. I don’t know much about orchids but I haven’t repotted it, nor have I fed it, nor have I put in any fresh compost – it likes to be treated mean!

4)

The African Violet is a cutting from my neighbour a few years ago. It is quite happy but whenever I look underneath the foliage to check for dead leaves, the main stem seems to be very loosely attached. I am afraid to repot it in case I break it completely. I think I will carefully top up the compost and gently pat it down.

5)

This watering can must be over 80 years old. My father-in-law passed it on to us when he stopped gardening. I don’t use it for watering because the holes in the spout are so small……and it leaks but it looks nice! The stems in the greenhouse behind are from a Passion Flower plant and some couch grass . Both are awkward to get at to pull up, so I don’t think I will be able to remove the roots completely.

6)

A rather new, rather different, rather pretty watering can. A birthday present several months ago from my neighbour who looks after the greenhouse when we are away. Behind the greenhouse is a rather straggly verbena bonariensis in another “hard to reach” place. I can probably stake it if I can gather the stems together.

That’s it again – houseplants and watering cans, maybe next week there will be some new shoots! Enjoy the weekend.

Six-on-Saturday 01-12-2018

It doesn’t feel as though we are nearly at Christmas but the longer days are approaching! The garden isn’t getting any livelier or lovelier yet but we can look ahead to masses of new daffodils, tulips and irises, at least I have planted masses of new daffodils, tulips and irises…..we shall see.

Anyway, another Six-on-Saturday with not a lot of colour.

1)

The Pittosporum which looked rather unhappy earlier in the year picked up once the “spring” rains stopped and has been much healthier looking ever since. I gave it very little water during the hot summer months, just enough to dampen the soil occasionally and, in spite of losing many leaves early on, it looks fine now.

2)

The trellis is back in place after being brought down by an overgrown clematis a couple of months ago. It is screwed in more securely now so I will make sure I keep next year’s growth under control!

3)

At the start of the season I ventured into the watery depths at the bottom of the garden. I cut back, dug up and pulled out as much of the weeds and undergrowth as I could on the bank. Some of it has grown back but not the majority. I need to do some tidying up soon.

4)

Those little white foxgloves that I repotted are growing slightly more now. The ones on the right are a bit smaller.

5)

As usual, not a good photo but you may see several green shoots from the perfumed, indoor narcissi showing through. I don’t think they will be in bloom by Christmas though.

6)

The old wheelbarrow in amongst the lilac and the forsythia leaves. I am hoping that some strong winter storms will blow them away, or, perhaps Mr Propagator will pay me a visit and gather them up for his leaf mold!

Have a good weekend weather permitting.

Six-on-Saturday 24-11-2018

I haven’t sewn many of the “winter” seeds yet. I have been intending to sew Sweet peas, broad beans and, even at this late stage, some Swiss chard. It may be too late but it will be worth a try. As a result, most of the photos are of equipment, DIY tasks and some updates on previous tasks……and will be for a few weeks until more of the bulbs show through.

We had a good few days in sunny Aberdyfi, West Wales last weekend. The weather was glorious, although, on Saturday the wind was so strong, we could hardly stand up some of the time! On the Friday and Sunday afternoons, we managed to sit outside for over an hour in the sunshine!

Back to the cold, cold temperatures although it is slightly warmer than a couple of days ago. Here are my Six-on-Saturday for this week.

1)

I don’t know how I managed before I had this garden “holdall”. It has slots for eight implements around the sides and plenty of space for string, plant labels and other stuff inside. My lovely daughter-in-law runs a business called “Growing Obsession” which deals in almost anything to do with gardening. I bought this from her several years ago. She is on Facebook and Instagram if anyone wants a look.

2)

These are actually cup hooks I used to use in the kitchen but I have a couple of shelves for that purpose now so they are ideal for hanging various tools onto the greenhouse frame, as you will see in my next picture.

3)

Not very clean and tidy but very handy! (The green string is used in the summer to tie the tomatoes to: that is, I tie some string to the bottom of the tomato plant, carefully wind it around the stem and tie the other end to the green string above as soon as they need some support.)

4)

That coat is very useful with big pockets, a hood and a warm lining. You can see the colours of different items I have painted over the years – the shed, the wheelbarrow and the raised bed amongst other things. (I do give it a quick wipe over for when I go to town.) The old trainers have done a few miles in their time and are now used to plod round the garden.

5)

I keep the stakes and bamboo canes on the greenhouse shelf, along with the indispensable headless golf club which I mentioned in an early post, but they kept falling off. So I designed and made a couple of wooden “holders” out of part of the original garden bench which I demolished last year because it was unsafe. (Not Grandpa’s bench, that’s fine!) I am considering patenting the design before someone cashes in and makes a fortune from my idea!!??

6)

Grandpa’s bench against the conservatory, still with the bay trees beside it. Granny’sGardenHimIndoors suggested I put it further down the garden but I reminded him that, although the bench is very solid and well made, it will topple over backwards if whoever is sitting on it leans back too far! (Oh dear, I see another job that needs to be done…….those gaps between the stones need to be weeded. Never mind, it’s quite a good task for a cold day using the patio brush.)

Well that’s it for another week. Looking forward to seeing your Sixes-on-Saturday, as always. Have a good weekend.

Six-on-Saturday 17-11-2018

The weather is looking quite good for the next few days but then rather a cold spell – well what should we expect in November? This week, I am still managing to find some colour. Although most, if not all, have been featured before. They earn their place through their durability.

We are having a couple of days in Wales this weekend. We sat outside in the sunshine for over an hour when we arrived yesterday, so a good start!

Here are my Six-on-Saturday for this week.

1)

The sedums beside the front step have been reliable all summer. Not much dramatic colour but no fallen leaves or dead flowers to sweep up. (I must remove those twigs that make their way to the top of the soil.)

2)

These completely different sedums are showing an interesting change of colour. They look good from the first leaf buds until I cut them back when the frost demolishes them. (I must clear away that ground elder and the nigella seedlings.)

3)

The penstemon next to the previous sedums has not been ablaze with colour and flowers this year. I am not unhappy with it but it usually has fewer “blind” stems and more blooms. (I must cut off those dead-heads to tidy it up.)

4)

I mentioned the tiny, white foxglove seedlings. Well here are about 30 that I pricked out last week. I do hope they start getting bigger but maybe it is the wrong time of year for any worthwhile growth.

5)

Look away, Lora! A repeat but the sprouts are growing nicely. They are quite small at the moment but I would like to start picking them soon – I must be patient.

6)

That geum is still showing enough colour to stop me from cutting it back. The rest of them around the garden have given up flowering now!

Meanwhile, you may have noticed the hollyhock leaves behind the geum, this (slightly blurred) close up shows new buds which are rather confused about the season! Should I remove them? I am not sure.

6)

This Euonymous has had these pretty berries for several weeks now. They started off a delicate pink, but seem to be turning a deeper red now. My favourite plant is still flowering away!! It mingles very nicely with the Euonymous.

There we are again. I hope the weather continues to be good over the next few days for all you weekend gardeners. I still have quite a bit of tidying up to do, again prompted by looking at the areas around the plants in the pictures – see the first few comments with the photos. Will I ever get the garden perfectly tidy and weed-free? Unlikely!

Six-on-Saturday 10-11-2018

I hope the storms forecast for the next few days don’t materialise, certainly, the rain yesterday morning was not too bad which was fortunate because I had plenty of bulbs to plant. I think I have planted about 60. Yes, I know, this is small fry compared with those of you who have thousands?

I have been potting on several foxglove seedlings. I planted the seeds in early August and they germinated quickly. However,they seemed to come to a halt, but when I was pricking them out, the roots varied from 5cm to 15cm in length although they are very fine. The size of the leaves is only about 3mm, on average. I haven’t bothered to include pictures of them, they are still too tiny!

I expect Mr Propagator is enjoying being home and wallowing in delight now that he is back with his compost heap!

I have managed to find quite a bit of colour although many are repeats as you would expect at this stage of the season.

Here are my Six-on-Saturday……enjoy your weekend.

1)

I have put most of the standard geraniums into pots and am going to see whether they survive the winter in the cold greenhouse. (I will remove the flowers now that I have photographed them, I just wanted to include a bit of colour!) The front tray has at least a dozen tiny cuttings of that silvery green, trailing foliage plant that is common to many hanging baskets. I could have retrieved over 100 tiny rooted sections from this year’s baskets but I don’t know where I would put them and what I would do with them next year.

2)

Less than a fortnight ago I planted 30 garlic cloves and I think I counted at least 28 shoots today! (That soil was sieved carefully a few months ago but look at it now! Bits fall down from the Tamarix tree and I am sure twigs work their way up to the top of the raised bed.)

3)

These two packs of bulbs have been planted in the three containers beside the Magnolia Stellata. Rather different from my usual pink ones. I’m looking forward to seeing how they turn out. I thought they were quite good value. (I did feel rather left out earlier this year when Mr P led an impressive tulip fest.)

4)

I was hoping my gladiolus selection would have some brightly coloured blooms. Well, just before the frosts, this appeared, but, sadly, the frost stopped it in its tracks….. maybe next year.

5)

Three very different foliage shots. The Berberis is beginning to lose its leaves but looking good; the Weigela surprised me this year, I don’t remember such a bright yellow and then there are dozens of Cerinthe Major seedlings which I may have shown a few weeks ago.

6)

This may be a Peace rose, but it is at the opposite side of the garden from my usual one and it tends to send out some very long stems. Many of the other rose bushes have been affected by the frost and are not looking as good.

Looking through my post, I realised how untidy the flowerbeds look close up! Weather permitting, my tasks for next week are clearly sorted.

Finally, is anyone else still picking strawberries? A bumper crop here this week! Not sure what I will make with them……. maybe a pavlova for our pudding? I will have to see what Granny’sGardenHimIndoors would like.

Looking forward to seeing your Sixes-on-Saturday.

Six-on-Saturday 3-11-2018

November already. Quite a mixture of weather here this week. The frosts have put paid to several plants, as you will see in my post, but the sun is shining today and I even mowed the lawn!

Last week “One Man And His Garden Trowel” suggested that I leave my pile of cuttings for a wildlife haven. What a good idea, I thought, but then realised I would simply be creating a perfect “Take Away restaurant” for our cat who has progressed from bringing in just old feathers and garden worms, to dead, or nearly dead, or decapitated birds or small mammals! Needless to say, I decided to spend time this morning shredding that pile plus the frosted fuschia and the frosted runner beans. Unfortunately, the frosted items clogged up the shredder because, obviously, they had quite sludgy leaves and stems, as frosted plants do – silly me!

Here are my Six-on-Saturday. It is becoming more challenging to find pretty or interesting plants/items to include, but the garden never stops changing. I shall look forward to seeing the gardens in their spring colours from the other side of the world!

1)

The sorry sights of the fuschia, the tumbling begonias and the Apple of Peru plants after the frosts. Since the fuschia cuttings clogged up the shredder, I decided to “mow” them when doing the lawn. They didn’t clog up the mower, so all is well.

2)

I have tried a couple of times to take this photo over the last few weeks. The twigs of the blueberry plants are a beautiful, soft shade of red. This picture doesn’t do them justice either but it’s not bad. (I could do with Hey Jude’s help here, her photos show the colours and plants so clearly!)

3)

A sack of well-rotted horse manure ready to be spread around and gently dug into the greenhouse bed. (That mass of green behind the greenhouse is a rampant, ornamental mint which I dug up completely a few months ago – not very effectively!)

4)

I may have shown this before but the Stonecrop provides a simple and effective border to the greenhouse.

5)

That compost heap (don’t think it has featured for a couple of weeks) emptied last weekend then half filled yesterday with the shreddings and the grass cuttings. I usually cover it in the winter but it could do with some rain to help the composting process and rain is forecast this week, so I will leave it open.

6)

Finishing with some colour! The previously much maligned standard geranium is still flowering. They have been a big disappointment since they took months to get started then have not “bushed out” at all, but they have survived the first few frosts and maybe I will find a corner for them in the greenhouse. (I think I was contemplating that last week, too.)

That was my Six-on-Saturday for this week. (I must be repeating myself a lot because the predictive text finishes many of my sentences before I have decided what to write!! It did the whole of that previous sentence………. technology is taking over!🤔😱🤖) Have a good weekend.