Six on Saturday-22.12.18 Winter Solstice

So, the turning of the year is upon us. The shortest day has been and gone and we can now look forward to the lengthening of the days and the return of activity in the garden. Last week I was expecting to have to move inside to look at houseplants but I think I can squeeze another six out of the garden. A pack of agapanthus turned up I wasn’t expecting for a bit longer and some more lilies I’d forgotten adding to an order as they were cheap.

1. Agapanthus

I’d ordered the Morgan and Thompson blue and white agapanthus. Agapanthus formed a big part of our wedding floral centrepiece, so I’d like to get some established for our anniversary. This contains blue “Queen of the Ocean” and white “polar ice”. I’ve planted some white pots and some blue and then some mixed.

I’ve crowded some of them in their pots as I believe they like to be. Advice states I may not get flowers this year while establishing, but hopefully, get started. I also got a new pot for some of them to go in. A nice glazed pot with frost proof guarantee.

2. Primulas

I have a few primulas coming into flower. I only had a small group last year. I’d divided the clump to spread around the border a bit so we’ll see if I get more. Ideally they’ll spread and possibly sself-seed

3. Foxgloves

Lots of the self seeded foxgloves are growing well, but I’ve got a lot front of the border that will need moving come Spring.

4. New shoots

The signs of Spring are coming through. Some of the daffodils in the border are poking out and a few tulips in pots are pushing up.

5. Hellebores

The hellebores are flowering, though they loom at bit tatty as they keep getting chomped on. It does add a bit of cheer though having some flowers still going in mid Winter. It also gives a pollen source for the early emerging insects.

6. Lily pots

Now is a good time for pot buying as a lot of the garden centres are clearing pots out. So I managed to pick up two lily pots on buy one get one free. These are quite pricey at £20 so any reduction is appreciated. The long thin design of the pot allows lilies to be planted deeply and then then the pots moved to prominent positions when in bloom. I’m tempted with another one of two for planting some of the hostas. I think they may look good planted above the height of the other pots. It will also give some slug and snail protection. These pots have some oriental lily bulbs to plant in carrying on from last weeks lily love.

I broke off for Christmas yesterday. The work on the house has come to a stop for now. The garden won’t be getting back in order this month. But I can hopefully get out to do a bit of clearing over the next two weeks. There is a bit of pruning and tidying I can get on with. Hope you all enjoy your weekends and have a very merry Christmas.

Six on Saturday: 15.12.18 lily love

Having claimed several times I was done with bulb planting the bulb sales begun. At up to 50% off who could resist. I’ve already got a lot of tulips in, a number of alliums, crocus, daffodils, irises, so it’s time for some new lilies. These are all going in pots for the patio. The advantage being they can be moved to prominent positions as they come into flower. While I probably shouldn’t be creating more pots while the building work goes on who can resist a bargain?

“Remember the most beautiful things in this world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies for instance.”

John Ruskin

1. Lily martagon Arabian knights

The first of two varieties of martagon lilies. Orange isn’t a colour I have much of in the garden. I have a bright orange Asiatic lily that was as neon bright as anything in the garden this year. Then a few yellow plants. The rose is the finest.

I’d considered keeping a limited colour palette but that’s frankly a bit boring. Sometimes referred to as Turk’s cap lily because of the reflexed shape of the petals. They’ll offer a bit of variety to the mix.

2. Lily martagon pink morning

Continuing with a second martagon lily these can grow quite tall so they’ve been given fairly large pots for a single bulb. Martagon lilies were amongst the first grown in British gardens going back as far as the 1500s. They grow happily between shrubs and woodland, so will hopefully be happy surrounded by other pots of ferns and hostas with a few shrubs in pots. The dappled pink will provide a nice colour burst amongst the foliage. Both of these martagon lilies are recommended for fragrance. The scent is important close to the house where it’s more likely to be encountered.

3. Sarah Raven scented lily collection

I’d forgotten I’d ordered these. They were a cheap offer with another order. The set contains a lily regale, Casa Blanca and Muscadet. These are all white varieties. The Casa Blanca is a large highly scented lily. The regale has a trumpet-shaped white flower with a yellow centre. The Muscadet is white with pink speckles. It looks similar to the lily solution I grew this year.

Lily solution

4. Alliums nigrum

Moving away from the lilies these alliums were reduced. A nice dome shaped flower head. It has quite a wild look. They can naturalise as part of meadow planting. I’ve planted them into the border.

5. Niwaki snips

I treated myself to some better snips. I’ve asked for Niwaki secateurs for Christmas. I’m gradually working to get the best tools I can afford. Good quality sharp tools like these make jobs easier and hopefully will last longer. I’ve only had a chance to do a few quick jobs but happy so far. Cut through stems with ease. They feel comfortable and the locking strap seems good.

6. Fuchsia cuttings

I had space in the propagator as my climbing hydrangea cuttings didn’t take. So I’ve put my new snips to work on fuchsia cuttings. They apparently root easily. While not a massive fuchsia fan this has flowered well in its pot well into December. The other two pots are a small leaved honeysuckle variety with delicate flowers I took from my parents garden. They seem to have rooted well now and I’m now pricking out to keep the size down until Spring when they can go outside.

Hope you enjoy your weekends and good gardening to all of you.

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Six on Saturday: 8.12.18 Chaos in the garden

The work on the house has begun. The rendering is being redone. This will be followed by the patio being paved. It should improve the area no end. The patio was cleared last week leaving chaos all over.

1. The pots

I needed to move the pots off, so these are now spread around. I got a lot around the bench. Then some have been put in the border.

2. The lawn

I couldn’t avoid having to put some things on the lawn. The builders in and out in this weather will churn it up but it can’t be helped. One corner I was planning to dig out to put the small round table from the patio on. Then we’ll look at a bigger table on the new patio. The lawn will recover quickly enough though I’m sure.

3. The walls

Much of the rendering is off. The builders have been very neat packing up so far.

4. More hostas

After saying I’d picked up bargain hostas last week I ended up buying more this week. I have enough now to put a few in the border and some in pots on the patio to tie it all together.

5. Alliums

I’ve got two of these Tesco allium pots. They’ll add a bit of Summer colour amongst the planned foliage of hostas and ferns.

6. The view from above

The view from above shows the mess of the patio being cleared and the state of the concrete. I’m looking forward to completion and getting it all back in order.

Just a quick one form me. I hope you all have good gardening. I’ve got a few more lilies to plant in pots now the bulb sales have begun. We’re up to 50% off. So may end with a few more bargains.

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Six on Saturday: 1.12.18 A new month

Well the garden media guild awards came and went this week. I’m not expecting my award in the post as I’m not a member, but enjoyed following the hashtag on Twitter as I’ve found lots of new gardeners. Hope those of you who went had a super time.

As we enter the last month of the year there are still a few surprising bursts of Summer colour around. The marigolds and borage are still going. A few ox-eye daisies are flowering. The Autumn flowering cyclamen are adding splashes of red and purple. But increasingly it’s the evergreen plants holding the structure of the garden together.

1. Pink rose

My repeat flowering pink rose keeps giving. There are still flowers coming and of reasonable quality. Each time a flower fades I figure that will be the last, then another comes! Each year it has got to a horrible stage of leaves eaten and blackened and I consider removing it, then I get a flush of flowers as everything else is fading reminding me why I’ve kept it.

2. Fuschia

Despite a few touches of frost and strong night time winds the fuschia is still going strong with a good spread of flowers.

3. Miniature iris

A new addition to my bulbs. I admired a lot of irises in other people’s gardens last year and wanted to add some. I’ve got a variety started in pots, that I can then move to where I want them at a later date. As with the tulips, Alice helped, so some may be upside down, on their sides or buried too deep, but I like having her involved. I had said I was done with planting bulbs, but we all know that I meant I was done until the sales come along.

4. Hostas

The garden centre was selling off hostas for £2 each. While it might seem a bit odd to be buying a pot that looks empty they should return. I got one hosta halycon and two fortunei aureomarginata. A reasonable saving for something that should come back. Both popular choices that are destined for pots on the patio if I can keep the slugs away.

5. Poppy feeder

These feeders were selling cheaper. I quite like them for adding a bit of colour through the year while also serving a functional role as a feeder.

6. Stunning succulents grow kit

I was fortunate enough to win this little kit through twitter. The kit contains everything you need to grow two varieties of succulents. I probably won’t start until the new year, but it looks like a nice set ideal for a Christmas present. Morgan and Thompson have released a number of these kits including rainbow veg, chillies, herbs, bonsai, sunflower, juicy fruit, exotic fruit and more. I might be tempted with the bonsai kit if this one works out. I may review this at a later date when I’ve got it set.

As an additional note to last weeks bug hotel blog Alice was straight back in and stealing pots. She returned it filled with stones.

Happy gardening weekends. I am celebrating the wife’s birthday, so probably won’t be out much, but I will find time to enjoy reading the rest of the exploits on hashtag #sixonsaturday

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