Six on Saturday: 26.10.19 Tulip fever

It’s the time of the year where I start the serious business of bulb planting. A few have already gone in pots but I have a week ahead of half term. So I’m hoping to break the back of the bulb planting. I left off buying tulips until this week as I haven’t seen many I’ve been that bothered for. I’m not a massive tulip fan but they are an easy option for filling a flowering gap in my garden between April and May. Many of the early Spring bulbs have gone over by then but the summer perennials haven’t picked up by then. So I still get a few each year.

1. Queen of the night tulip

I’ve grown these every year since moving in. They are a popular choice as they contrast well with many plants around them. Good in nice solid clumps. I’ve just got the one bag to top up whatever may have faded away or been dug up by accident.

2. Tulips tres chic

These were bought for us as wedding presents so thought I’d get another batch. I’m split between putting them in the border or in pots. In the border with the queen of the nights, they’d contrast nicely but I don’t think they flower at the same time. Or I may try in pots as the lower layer with iris or Muscari on top. Or maybe growing with a dark heuchera.

3. Ballerina Tulips

I’ve never really bothered with orange in the garden so thought I’d try some for a bit of variety.

4. Zurel tulips

The two colours seemed quite striking. With only a small number I’ll probably grow these ones in pots.

5. Carmen iris

Moving away from the tulips, these iris are destined for the front garden.

6. Miniature iris

I grew some of these little reticulate iris this year. I’ll probably add these in with the hosta pots as I did a few weeks ago.

A lot to get planted up there but with half-term, I’ll hopefully get a good chunk done. Autumn seems to be spent largely preparing for next year but I’ve still got quite a bit going on so plenty still to look at next week.

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Six on Saturday: 19.10.19 Bishop’s Children

The garden is starting to fade but the dahlias have provided stunning late-season colour. They are still going but will be shrivelling up soon. This is my first year growing dahlias and I’ve been inundated with support and advice which has been much appreciated. I grew several varieties from tubers and Bishop’s Children from seed. The seeds came from Sarah Raven. With dahlias reputation as slug favourites, I didn’t expect much success in my first year but these shot up. But I ended up with almost 30 plants. They’ve been pretty minimal fuss. No staking, though deadheading has been almost daily. More than enough plants to fill my garden from one bag of seeds, a good few pots filled and gifted some away. Even the window cleaner got one! Within just one pack of seed, there has been a massive amount of variety in the plants. This week six is looking back over several of these beauties.

1. Red

The most common colour of the Bishop’s Children has been red. Lovely, rich vibrant colour through Summer and still shining out there in the dark Autumn garden.

The dark foliage of the Bishop’s children has also been quite attractive amongst the lighter foliage.

2. Yellow

A number have come out yellow with a burnt orange centre.

3. Velvet

This child of the bishop has come out with the appearance of velvet.

4. Sunflower

This child almost went unnoticed as it was growing next to sunflower. With its pure yellow flowers, it blended in amongst the mix. But it is indeed another Bishop’s child.

5. RHS Perfect for pollinators

Bishop’s children are a single variety of dahlia making them popular with many pollinators. The mass amount of open flowers late in the year has proved a useful food source for many insects.

6. Butterflies

The butterflies have been all over the Bishop’s Children. They were much visited by the mass migration of the painted ladies earlier in the year.

I’m still amazed by the variety I’ve seen through just one bag of seed. For just £2 for the bag of seed, I’ve filled my garden with colour for several months of the year. Apparently growing from seed the plants won’t have time to form large enough tubers to be worth storing, but I think I’ll try a few. But they were easy enough to grow that I think I will grow them again next year. I may also try the cactus mix for some variety in shape and form. I hope you’ve enjoyed my bursts of colour on this cold Autumn day. Don’t forget to check out the Six on a Saturday’s founders blog and the comments for more wonderful gardens.

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Six on Saturday: 12.10.19

I haven’t had much time in the garden this week between rain and work but still some colour on the go. The cosmos and dahlias took a good beating last week but they are still putting on a smaller show. We’ve had builders back in fixing the roof so still got everything off the patio leaving a mess of pots over the lawn but can’t do much about that right now. Just dream of what it may become.

1. Honeysuckle

The honeysuckle flowers have ripened to berries adding bursts of colour along the two stretches of honeysuckle in the garden. I try to leave off pruning so they get a chance to form to give the birds another source of food, though I haven’t seen many going for these yet.

2. Geese

As the swifts and housemartins have left us another visitor has come in. The geese have been a regular sighting in huge flocks. They come swarming over the garden honking away. Many geese migrate to the UK for the Winter. As these are coming from the direction of the Mere I’m assuming they’ve stopped off there and are now heading further inland.

3. Sambucus Nigra ‘Black Lace’

This Sambucus was planted as a tiny little stick with few leaves on earlier in the year. It is establishing well having put on a good metre or more growth. These were on the list of plants recommended for coastal gardens and it seems happy enough with the winds. It could do with moving out from the fence a bit for more space but I think this will look good in the space. The Dryopteris fern to the side donated from my mum is establishing alright and the geraniums in front seem happy.

4. Cotoneaster

I planted this cotoneaster on the edge of the patio. I’m aiming for it to fill the corner gap so Alice doesn’t throw herself off the patio. I’m also hoping the berries will bring birds close to the house. The jasmine to the side has been slow to settle but has shown small signs of growth. I’d mentioned last week about trying to get some evergreen climbers and this is forms part of that.

5. Wild sweet William

I believe this is a variety of phlox. It was growing in abundance when I took over the garden. I’ve dug out lots but always leave a handful. It’s meant to be good for butterflies though I can’t remember ever seeing any on it.

6. Sea Holly

The sea holly was planted as it formed part of my wedding flowers last year. It has been a long time flowering but has finally done it. This was just a cheap Tesco purchase as rootstock. There are nicer varieties with the blue edging on the leaves as well but it is bringing in the bees during the odd patch of dry weather this week.

Well, that’s it for this week. I doubt I’ll manage much more this weekend in the garden but not long until half term now and then I’ll get a decent chance to get on with the bulb planting. I hope you all enjoy your weekends.

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P.S. The passionflower planted last week has flowered and it is spectacular. I doubted that it would flower but it has managed it with a few more buds to come possibly.

Six on Saturday: 5.10.19-bulbs and peat-free

We enter a new month and Autumn is definitely upon us now. The leaves are changing colour or falling. As I live by the sea I often don’t get to enjoy the change in colour as it often goes from Summer to the leaves blown straight off. But the dogwood and hydrangeas are doing good impressions of Autumn currently. Much of Autumn gardening ends up being about tidying or preparing for Spring. The bulb planting has begun in earnest now. The garden has taken a battering the last week with rain and wind. A few plants have flopped under the weight of the rain and a few snapped. But that’s fine as the winter foliage plants stand out more and I do like my ferns and heucheras.

1. Iris reticulata

I have got round to planting the iris discussed in previous posts. I enjoyed my irises this year and vowed to get more. I am trying growing the iris in the same pots as the hostas. The idea being the iris will flower, then die down as the hosta come back up. Time will tell whether this was a good plan. I’ve got two varieties so far. The classic Harmony and Katherine Hodgson. I went with the Katherine Hodgson in one of the taller hosta pots and then the harmony are spread over two of the pots filled with the 50p hostas bought a few weeks back.

2. Clematis

Thompson and Morgan had another of their flash sales on clematis. So I now have 4 more clematises. Clematis winter beauty was one of the main ones I wanted. It’s an evergreen variety with small white bell-shaped flowers in winter. Amy doesn’t want ivy but I want evergreen climbers so I’ve been working through the options. Clematis Kokone is a ruffly purple variety that flowers in Summer. I’m split between trying this up the fence in one of the few remaining spaces or to try it up one of the trees. The Florida ‘Taiga’ and ‘green apple’ I want to try in pots growing up obelisks. But I need to find a decent-sized pot for this to work.

3. Butterfly-comma

Last weekend saw, what I think is, my first sighting of a comma butterfly in my garden. I haven’t seen these much in my areas since a brownfield area was bought for housing development. A welcome sighting. This butterfly went through a rapid decline and then has steadily come back in the south of the UK but has been working its way North. The caterpillars feed on nettles, but will also feed on willows and hops. I don’t have hops or willows but there are plenty of nettles in the back passage behind the garden so hopefully, these could become a regular feature.

4. Cosmos

The cosmos combined with dahlia have looked stunning for a good month, but the wind and rain has flattened and snapped many stems. It’s been nice while it lasted. But removing the patch reveals the evergreen ferns that will keep the garden structure through winter. I’m cutting down to the snapped stems, so I may still get some more flowers but not as grand a display as I’ve been enjoying. On the bright side, a bit less deadheading to do.

5. Buxus sempervivums

I recently discovered a local company, The Little Green Plant Factory, selling plants reared peat-free, plastic-free and chemical-free. The plants are very well priced. With all the ethical boxes ticked I needed to give them a try. I ordered two box shrubs. These were a good price. Just little specimens currently but look well-rooted and healthy. The plants came packed in cardboard in biodegradable pots with wool weed suppressant on the top. They were wrapped in straw for protection. I’m planning to grow these in pots on the patio to act as wind buffs for the less hardy plants. While only little currently they will grow quickly enough. I’m thinking square planters for this. I’ve never really grown topiary before so I’m only aiming for rough domes. A lot of the plants listed on the site are not currently available as they are growing but I’m interested to follow the progress of this company.

I actually drive through the village where this is based but currently mail order based. Though they do offer £1 delivery to Beverley for anyone local.

6. Passionflower-Snow queen

My second purchase from “The little green plant factory” has been another passionflower. This time a white variety. This was a crossbreed between the hardy caerula and white wedding. It has gone a little further along the fence from the existing passionflower. I’m hoping it has enough time to settle into its position before winter, but I’ll give it a good mulch to protect the roots to be on the safe side. In bad winters they can be killed back but will regrow from the ground. It had a decent bit of growth on it and several buds. This has the advantage over the popular Constance Elliot of having larger blooms that stay open longer. It has a few flower buds on but I don’t know if it will be sunnier or warm enough to flower this year but fingers crossed.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks six and peoples gardens are holding up alright against the onslaught of the weather. I’ve had a Gee-Tee bulb delivery of 200 croci. 100 white for the front garden and 100 mixed for the back but don’t know that I’ll have time to plant them but we’ll see. Even if I can just get some in that will cut the workload. But no great rush on these. They can wait a bit longer.

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