Six on Saturday: 11.1.20

This week saw me return to work. One training day and then back working with the children. It’s always a shock to the system going back and I’ve found myself tired much of the week and adjusting to not having as much time outside or in natural light. But the weekend is here so some time to see outside. But I managed a few last gardening jobs last Sunday before I started again and managed to grab the odd minute of fading light in the evenings to get out in the garden.

1. Hellebores

I had posted about my disappointing hellebores a few months back. My newer ones are putting on a more satisfactory show. Good to see some flowers that haven’t been destroyed by slugs.

2. Christmas tree

Alice had a real Christmas tree for her bedroom. It survived the Christmas period largely intact without dropping all its spines. So it has now been moved outside. I’ll now look at potting it up with Alice maybe as another dinosaur garden. It’ll give us a display for a while until it gets too big.

3. Ivy kokedama

Following on from last week’s fern kokedama I dug out an ivy seedling from the wilderness behind the house and wrapped it. I still didn’t quite get the soil mix right so that it holds together but manage t wrap it all in tight. Still a bit of an ugly dumpy look, much like the last one, but I quite like it.

4. Driftwood

Following on from finding the big driftwood lump last week I went back with Alice to look for some smaller driftwood. I thought I could use it as a line marker for my pot displays on the patio to add another layer of structure. Then if I can add some more driftwood within the borders tie the patio and lower garden together. The larger branches I’ve used to make a path edge to the pots and then I’m piling beach finds of smaller wood behind. If I gradually build it up I think it will look quite nice. I’m keen to try and add more found objects from my locality to place my garden within the bigger picture.

The larger piece found last week has been dug in near the bench of happiness. I was aiming for a zen stone effect. Not sure that I’ve quite got that feel, but it’s a nice piece of wood giving the birds another perch. The surrounding area has geraniums, ferns, and heuchera that will gradually grow around it until it is just poking out.

5. Heuchera-raspberry

St Andrews B&Q in Hull is clearly plant hell from there discount tables. The plants are raised on benches with strong winds off the Humber drying them out. Then they probably don’t receive much water as it is generally cheaper to get rid of the plants or sell them cheap than pay someone to water them. The table had a mass of roses, shrubs, and heuchera. Even hardy ivy had fallen victim. But amongst the casualties, I found this heuchera ‘raspberry ‘ which I think has enough life still in it to save. I’ll clear the dead and dying leaves and I reckon it will come back strong next year.

6. Gro-sure peat-free compost

The main reason I wanted to go to B&Q was to check their peat-free compost. B&Q stock a range of peat-free options. Hull stocks Gro-Sure peat-free which at £4.50 is relatively cheap as peat-free goes. The importance of going peat-free has had lots of media time recently. Gardeners question time had a segment about it last week. Sara Venn wrote a blog earlier in the week briefly covering some of the issues in the horticultural industry.  I’ve heard quite a few positive reviews about the gro-sure mix though I’ve also heard that it has been discontinued in favor of their new horizons mix. New Horizons is Westlands main peat-free compost. I’ve found it fine for growing seedlings and plants in pots but it has poor seed germination. Hopefully, gro-sure will be better, though I’ll be annoyed if I then find it is no longer available. Dalefoot compost has been the most reliable peat-free I’ve tried but I largely have to get it through the post and it is 3 times the cost. I may buy a bag of their seed compost for the planned dahlias to ensure success.

Considering it is mid-winter I’m quite happy that I still have a good amount going on in the garden. I don’t have a mass amount in the way of flowers, but there is still plenty of strong foliage keeping the garden looking reasonable. It’s not the glory of summer but it isn’t too bleak stepping out.

On a side note from my six, I’m sure many of you will have noticed the moon last night or stepped out to see what was going on with the partial lunar eclipse. The moon was a particularly spectacular sight. I manage a decent photo without resorting to the tripod. I suffer from shaky hands making things like the moon awkward to photo. I’ve seen many better shots of last night, but this was satisfying for me. My winnings from last week have arrived so I’m going to be investigating new tools now and then the new Monty show to watch. Enjoy your weekends.

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36 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 11.1.20”

  1. Lovely pics of the driftwood. I have the same feeling when I see neglected plants in B&Q and the like. It’s like the plant equivalent of an animal rescue centre sometimes. I think a big change is needed with how the UK manages compost, it’s not always easy to find peat free, it makes up a small percentage of what the big retail stores sell and all of it comes wrapped in huge volumes of plastic. At the same time councils are processing vast amounts of green waste which could in theory be collected for domestic use.

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    1. My council does have days when you can collect compost they’ve produced but always times I’m working. All my garden centres do stock peat free but almost all stock New Horizon which I’ve found varies in quality. But none stock multiple peat free options.

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    2. The problem with green waste is the impossibility of controlling what goes into it. Minute traces of some herbicides can be lethal to susceptible things like tomatoes. I would never use a potting compost made from or containing green waste. Loose bulk as a mulch possibly, but only if I could get nothing else.

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      1. It can be very weed infested too. It’s only two bags you get at my local one so was just looking to use it like you say as a mulch. One of the allotments near me occasionally offers their compost which I imagine has a bit more control as no pesticides are used on the allotment unless they are getting green waste from elsewhere.

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  2. I like that driftwood idea. It looks really effective. I made an effort last year going more or less peat free, though I went with the usual grow bag compost for the tomatoes (tradition I think). I’m going to try and go completely peat free this year. New Horzion’s pf compost seemed a lot better than another make I tried once – surprisingly fine rather than course too. It was quite pricey though.

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    1. New Horizon is usually on 2 for £10 or 2 for £12 at the main centres I go to. So a bit more expensive than peat compost but change is necessary. Like I say been fine for moving seedlings into just not for seed germination. Don’t know if I need to make my own mix for it, sand or perlite added but then it’s becoming even pricier.

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  3. Your helibores look very healthy. I used to prefer the unusual plum coloured ones but now when I see the original white variety, I think I should have some of them too. The driftwood plan looks good. Do show us how it progresses. Be careful manoeuvring your Christmas tree, I have ended up at the doctor’s surgery….twice….as a result of scratching my eye on the needles of the tree. Now that I wear glasses to garden and have an artificial tree, problem solved!

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    1. Quite a small Christmas tree and I wear glasses so should be alright. The hellebores don’t seem to last in my garden though so I’m not willing to buy the nicer plum and speckled ones until I know they can last.
      I think the driftwood should look good. Been sat out in the cold this morning hoping for a photo of the birds on the bigger piece but no luck yet.

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    1. They regularly feature within the garden magazine pot features though usually as a small component within bigger displays but I quite like seeing them enmass.
      https://www.plantagogo.com/ displays with mass heuchera surrounding single Acer’s are stunning. Some day though vine weevils will discover this feast and it will all be over so trying to spread ones around so I can always propagate more if disaster hits.

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  4. All your heuchera look so happy & healthy, but I really do like the new addition. Such a great colour. As I read the comments re: peat free, I wondered if the price would down as more of us prefer it? One can hope.

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    1. The price should gradually go down with demand. But currently it is stocked and I think the garden centres struggle to shift. Unless people know the damage from peat they aren’t going to pick the most expensive choice. The push for voluntarily reducing was never going to work. Needs a ban to make a difference.
      The new heuchera has a lot of dead growth but still enough life that it should recover.

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  5. I do like driftwood, it’s a shame that the beaches near my home don’t allow me to pick them up easily … It’s more the summer when I go on the Atlantic ocean than I get some. Your idea of ​​adding this driftwood to the garden is excellent. Otherwise, I saw your moon photos last night and the result is really successful. Well done! 

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    1. With me using the small pieces of driftwood to gap fill I’m going to need a good few walks down to collect enough. Then probably find it annoys me when I move pots. But it’ll give me a store for making a few driftwood sculptures. I see lots of good ideas around me. Then I’d still like a few more big pieces so while I’m not far from the beach I may take the car to the cliff as was a decent effort bringing this piece home.

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  6. Great moon shot! And I love your Heucheras, you have some lovely colours there. I used to grow them in pots but they do become quite woody and you have to repot them deeper or, as I have done, split them and plant in the ground. I will buy some for containers for the front courtyard though where I have no soil and no sun.

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    1. Yes, planning a year of so in the pots then divide and was going to try cuttings as they do apparently take that way too, though most people don’t bother as easier just dividing.
      I was happy with the moon shot. Was a great sight rising over the trees on my drive home. And got out there at the right time as when I checked an hour later it was obscured by clouds. Luck was on my side. I still want a better camera with a better megapixel number as my camera is a decade old it has less than my phone. But can’t really justify spending the money.

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  7. Reading your post, I had a déjà vu moment, as I had just seen your pots/driftwood photo on a thread about vine weevils on Twitter 😊

    Anyway, your pots definitely look great. I’ve not have a problem with vine weevil myself but I have no idea if that is just luck. I am moving away from any commercially made compost onto using only my own, so I don’t know if that might actually increase the risk, though.

    Anyway, beautiful hellebores. Mine are still babies, so perhaps I won’t get any flowers this time round!

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  8. Thanks for posting about peat free composts. Of our local garden centres, one only stocks peat based composts and the other stocks a wider range of composts of which New Horizon is the only peat free one. I’ve found New Horizon variable – some bags have been better than others. The last one I bought was very course, more like a mulch in texture. So I thought I would try B&Q as I remember a few years ago them making a bit thing about using peat free growing mediums. But there was no peat free compost in our local one at all. They did seem to sell an own brand one but there was none in stock. I think I might have to order some Dalesfoot in bulk and try not to think about the cost.

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