Six on a Saturday- podcasts to fill the void

So last weekend saw the final episode of Gardener’s World for this year. This left many twitterers asking what now? How do we get through the next part of the year with no Monty jobs for the weekend? The garden doesn’t go into shut down. So this week I’m suggesting six podcasts to fill the void left by Gardener’s World over the winter.

Then because I have no photos to go with podcasts, a photo of my mp3 player wouldn’t be that exciting, you are getting random photos of my little helper to go with each podcast. I dislike writing text heavy blogs.

If you fancy joining the six on Saturday gang check out the participants guide. A lovely gardening community.

1. The sodshow

The sodshow is presented by Peter Donegan. Peter is an award winning landscape designer and a member of the gardening media guild. The show has been running for almost 400 episodes and is pretty well polished by now. Potentialy one of the longest running weekly gardening podcasts. The show features many guests with top gardening names getting interviewed. Recently enjoyed the episode on an inside view of the Dutch bulb industries. As an amateur gardener it gives insights into aspects of the industry I don’t normally consider. Peter can ramble a bit and go off in random directions with conversations, but it makes for entertaining listening. Lots of music links are made with Beatles references, punk and post punk bands combined with a rock intro.

The tongue of concentration

2. Gardens weeds and words

From a well established podcast to a newcomer. From Andrew O’Brian this podcast has only had two episodes so far, but two very enjoyable and informative episodes. Often it takes new podcasters a while to get going, sort out reasonable production and work out how they want the podcast to be. But this has the feeling of a podcast that has been going longer. The last episode had Celia Hart on discussing how she ended up as an illustrator for Gardens illustrated. I hope Andrew carries on putting them out.

More tongue of concentration

3. Skinny Jean Gardener

This podcast is quite an upbeat one. It’s one for the drive into work, not before bed. Lee Connely adds lots of humour to his podcasts. There is an excellent list of top former guests. Recently enjoyed Jack Wallington, Toby Buckland and Adam Frost, but going back there is a long list of top garden names. Lee’s worked a lot on getting young people into gardening. Great passion and enthusiasm for his topics.

Alliums are good for hitting with.

4. Gardener’s question time

Technically not a podcast, but a radio show broadcasted in podcast form. This long running radio main stay didn’t used to make much sense to me. However, as my gardening knowledge expands I get more and more from listening. Basic concept of the show is that a panel of experts answer gardening questions. Most weeks I find there are a couple of seasonal questions relevant to my own garden. This is lovely easy listening and usually has good humour between panellists. For some this might be a bit of a stuffy old institution, but I rather like it as it’s nice hearing about other people’s fungus problems, pruning disasters, etc to know everyone has issues in their gardens. It’s the correspondant episode coming up where you can send in questions. Tempted to send some in for the minor thrill of getting it called out on air.

5. Roots and all

Another relatively new podcast. It’s just starting to find it’s feet. Hosted by Sarah Wilson, an horticulturist, it features a mix of episodes. Some are interviews, while others cover specific topics such as trees and houseplants. Sarah has called on a number of different guests from different parts of the industry. Much like the sodshow, I like that I get insights into aspects of professional gardening I don’t consider with my little garden.

Smelling the verbena

6. On the ledge

This podcast, from Jane Perrone, focuses on houseplants. If you go through the archives you’ll find a great list of guests. Alongside the podcast is an active Facebook group. Then there is the #houseplanthour every two weeks on twitter. I’ve learnt so much from working my way through these podcasts. House plants to me have more of the feel of the Victorian plant collector than my more relaxed outdoor gardening. Most of my garden plants will tolerate neglect for periods. Whereas the houseplants are that bit more exotic and need more botanic knowledge for them to thrive. This show has improved my knowledge enormously. Although it does come with a wallet warning as it may lead to new purchases.

It has good fresh feel to it and being on houseplants takes into account that many people want to grow plants, but not many people can afford their own gardens, or they rent and move around. The definition of gardening is expanding.

On the ledge-the houseplant guide in podcast form

Hope these help tide you over through the cold winter months. There are others I listen to, but for this post I will be good and stick to the six format. Are there any you’d recommend? Half term holiday for me now, so a chance to catch up on weeding. I promise next week will be out in the garden again.

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Six on Saturday: 20.10.18 the second coming

At the moment the garden has a feel of winding down at this point of the year. But over the last week I’ve had a flush of repeat flowers on a number of plants. Most not as impressive as the first, but still a welcome colour revival.

1. Yellow Rose

The yellow rose seems to suddenly take off at this point of the year putting on massive growth with a handful of blooms. I’ve cut it back hard each year so the growth comes from within other shrubs. I think if I ever left it this would become a beast. As it stands it gives a good display. It came with the garden when I moved in. I probably wouldn’t have selected a yellow rose, but it does fade pleasantly through from the fiery yellow to a buttery yellow.

2. Pink Rose

The pink rose has suffered from many rose chompers this year. I think the hot dry summer gave ideal conditions for several insects. The leaves look terrible and a lot of the petals are brown edged, but there are some good looking blooms coming through.

3. Marigolds

My mum planted these in the first summer I moved in. They now periodically pop in random spots along the border. Not the most exciting flowers, but the pollinators are enjoying a spread of flowering season.

4. Ox eye daisies

The ox-eye daisies are putting on another burst of flowering after I hacked them back. Not as good as the first round, but given a good late season source of pollen for many insects.

5. Fuchsia-shrimp cocktail

The fuchsia I’m sure was labelled shrimp cocktail, but I think it was mislabelled as it looks nothing like any variety I can find. Another gift from my mum when I moved in. It grows quite small. The flowers are nothing very exciting. Its redeeming feature is that it is still alive when other fuchsias died. It is a bright colour burst as things get darker.

6. Borage

The borage was cut back and self-seeded patches have grown up as well. Borage is recommended for bees. This and the ivy flowers will keep a number of bees species happy in my garden before they disappear for the year.

I can see signs that a few of the Autumn flowering plants are looking set to bloom, so hopefully have some more colour still to come this year. Though the more I garden the more attached to Chritopher Lloyd’s foliage ideas I become.

“It is an indisputable fact that appreciation of foliage comes at a late stage in our development” Christopher Lloyd foliage plants

Though I don’t think I’m quite willing to do a Christo and rip out the roses yet. Enjoy your weekends and check out the other #sixonsaturday through twitter.

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Wildlife gardening-teasel

I’ve had quite a few comments from my six on Saturday talking about the teasel. It is a plant that divides opinions. The teasel has featured a number of times over the year in my six on Saturday and now seems a good time to look closer at it.

Wildlife benefits

The original reason I planted teasel was to benefit wildlife through the year. Through the Summer they have attracted in all manner of pollinators.

The bees and hoverflies have swarmed over them.

Some of the butterflies have been visiting too. The holly blues have been visiting in greater numbers this year and seem to like the teasel.

One of the main reasons for planting teasel was to attract birds. Goldfinches love it. They favour lowland woodland and hedges, but are increasingly found on our bird feeders with people putting out nyger seed.

Architectural plant

Teasel is undeniably a striking shape. It has large leaves followed by the tall seed heads. Mine has grown to a very high height this year, much larger than I generally see when it’s growing wild. It stands out in the border and is lovely for bringing inside. I’ve taken a few cuttings and allowed it to dry out.

The disadvantages


You want me to hit you with a stick
But all I’ve got is a guitar pick
Huh, baby, you’re so vicious”
Lou Reed

Teasel is incredibly spikey. The leaves are spikey, the stems are spikey, the flowers are spikey. My gold leaf gloves have come in use again and again dealing with them. I wouldn’t be suprised to find spikey roots if I dug it out. It is vicious.

It also takes up a lot of space. The leaves initially are very large maybe 30-50cm long. This means it takes up a lot of space in the border with a big footprint on the ground and it is tall and not very neat in it’s growth unless carefully tied, which I haven’t done. As I’ve mentioned it is vicious so it was tied up where I could reach through without risking body and limb.

It self seeds quite freely. So if you decide you don’t want it anymore it can be a pain. I haven’t this an issue yet, but have a sneaking feeling that my neighbours may have it growing in future as I think the wind will take it that way.


All in all I’ve enjoyed having this in the garden this year, but not sure I’d allow it again due to space restrictions. It has been a pleasure seeing the goldfinches on it though.



Six on Saturday-13.10.18 bulb planting

After a wet Saturday last week, I managed to get out to plant some of the bulbs for next year. So this week will mainly be pictures of packages of what may potentially grow next year.

1. Bulb planter

I purchased a bulb planter. Like much of the nation I saw Monty Son planting his bulbs with ease using one and thought it would save time. I reckon bulb planters sales must have rocketed a few weeks ago when Gardeners World viewers watch Monty plant his bulbs with apparent ease. While not as good as his and the plugs of earth didn’t come out as smoothly as his, it did save time.

2. Mini daffodils

I’d mentioned to my mum wanting some smaller varieties of daffodils in the garden. She bought me two packs of these. I’ve spread them around the border. I have plenty of longer varieties in the ground from previous years, but having a few different heights spreads the season of interest. I should have some flowering earlier and some later. Last year depending on their position affected flowering times. The shadier corner taking longer.

Mainly placed the daffodils around the bench

3. Alliums-purple sensation

I already have some purple sensations dotted in the border. Some are now in areas of thick growth where they don’t show, so a few more in new spots will make sure these bee favourites are poking out.

Purple sensation this year

4. Tulips-queen of the night

This year I planted tulips for the first time. I never liked the standard red variety that makes up bedding planting across the country, but I’m starting to find other varieties I think are actually attractive. In the main borders I had queen of the night and Little Red Riding Hood tulips giving a nice display of red and deep purple. The Little Red tulips were pleasant, but not as rich and Scarlett as the photos suggested on the packaging. I’ve topped up the queen of the nights.

Queen of the night this year
A single queen of the night

5. Allium-schubertii

I like alliums and have a few varieties in the ground. A couple were stopped by slugs and snails this year, so need to look at that next Spring. I liked the messy explosive nature of the photo on this one.

6. Goldfinches

While I have more bulbs to go, six posts on photos of bulb packaging doesn’t seem that exciting. The teasel I’ve been growing has finally served its purpose. I grew it hoping to bring in the goldfinches. I have enjoyed the shape of the teasel sticking out a bit awkwardly in the border. The bees have loved it. But it was the goldfinches I wanted to bring in. Over the last week I’ve had little swarms of them delighting me. I haven’t managed a picture perfect shot yet as the sun has inconvinently been in the wrong position, but hopefullly see more of them.

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekends. I have more bulbs to try to find space for inbetween school work as well as picking up all the blown over pots.

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Six on Saturday: 6.10.18 wet Autumn day

After another period of dry weather, it looks like today is going to be a wet day. That’s the bulb planter cancelled for the moment. I don’t think Alice will go along with doing it in the rain. At least the ground will be softened.

1. Cyclamen

I’ve bought a few large cyclamens from Tescos. These ones haven’t flowered yet. Most of the trolley had red flowers, so we’ll see what colour these come out. They’ll give a nice burst of colour in the foliage corner. The leaves are nicely veined and fit well with the heuchera.

2. Fatsia-spider web

Carrying on from last week, I bought another fatsia for the patio. This is a variegated version. Accounts differ about whether it is less hardy than the standard variety. We’ll see over the winter in a side by side comparison.  It also isn’t supposed to grow quite as big. I had considered bringing it inside for the winter, but I think I’m going to just try to keep it sheltered.

3. Aeonium arboreum-Zwartkop

My aeonium was left out last winter. It survived, but lost a lot of leaves. Having hung on in there it has gradually recovered over the year. So this year it’s coming in. I’m going to try it in the loft. There is a sky light giving a small amount of light and it shouldn’t need much water during the dormant winter season.

4. Sarracenia-pitcher plant

Having talked about some going in, now one going out. I had this pitcher plant inside, but can’t find a position it is happy in. The windowsills are all too bright and it was getting some leaf burn. Pitcher plants need lots of light, combined with lots of water. Ideally, rainwater. Pitcher plants are carnivorous, so take nutrients from insects. The hard tap water I get would do it harm. It was suggested putting it outside and it seems to be a bit happier. It will shrivel down for winter like a herbaceous perennial. It is currently being tested for UK winter hardiness with the plant being grown outside all year. As I don’t have a good spot inside I may leave it out and see how it does. I may lose it, but it isn’t going to thrive inside.

5. Holly fern-fortunei

Another fern going on the patio. While it’s browned a bit at the moment it was cheap and new fronds in Spring will replace the brown ones. I have one in the border already in fairly deep shade, but it can be pot grown if kept moist. I thought it was a nice contrast of leaf shape to the couple I’ve bought so far. It is native to Asia. I’d quite like to find a painted fern, another Japanese native, to go with it to add contrast of leaves and colour. The bright green of these in Spring is a wonderful sight.

6. Rain

My dad, kindly, mowed the lawn earlier in the week. Luckily, as I am not going to be able to do it now as I’ve had continual rain for the last few hours. All the supermarkets are selling Autumn lawn repair boxes. But I think mine has done pretty well through the Summer drought with no watering. Seeded well, cut to a higher level and no SPring watering has done it good. If you water your lawn in Spring and when it’s establishing it encourages shallow rooting. Supposedly, If it’s left to its own devices it roots deeper helping during dry periods. Either way, it’s looking lush. Not a mass amount of colour in the garden at the moment, but the hydrangeas are still giving a good display as they gradually fade. Some of the roses are set to give second bursts. The verbena has been keeping the pollinators happy. The rain is helping it all look fresh.

I’d talked about the patio last week but didn’t really show it properly. It is just a concrete slope. It is getting paved, which should make it look much better. The slope does, however, help all the plants planted in the border at the end of the patio. The hydrangeas benefit from lots of water in Summer, so getting all the water runoff from the patio helps them a lot.

Hope you all enjoy your weekends. Check the propagators blog to see more six on Saturday posts.

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