Six on Saturday: 18.1.19

We come to the end of another week and the garden has survived the worst of the storms. Only the one pot that is getting blown over so not too bad in the grand schemes. The predicted cold weather over the next week isn’t meant to be as severe in my area though it may be wet.

Burgon & Ball winnings

A few weeks ago I posted about winning the Burgon & Ball photo competition and now my winnings have arrived. For those of you who don’t know Burgon & Ball are a Sheffield based company established in 1730 working with steel. They have an established history of making quality tools and they received the RHS endorsement in 2012. So, it’s very nice to win a collection of their tools. I opted for an allotment set, despite no allotment, as it had more tools I don’t own in. I got two long-handled weeders. The weed slice is for quick work on surface weeds. The express hoe has an oscillating blade. This apparently makes it easier to pull across the soil as it angles itself to cut.

I think these will work well in the front garden where I get a lot of surface weeds that can just be scraped off.

The razor hoe should be good for some of the cracks in the patio.

Then finally, a mug. While I don’t have an allotment still good to have a garden mug.

2. Beach finds

I’ve tied up a few of my beach finds. Alice helped thread, then directed me to place them for decoration around the trees.

3. Further bargain bulbs

Morrison’s bulbs were down to a pound and less. I opted for some pink hyacinths ‘Jan Bos’ and ‘candy prince’ tulips I thought Alice would like. I don’t massively like hyacinths, but they are supposedly good for bees. The tulips aren’t particularly good for wildlife but have to make some concessions to beauty. The naturalising mix should be of more benefit to wildlife. It contains Tulip Tarda, Chinodoxa and Muscari. I already have patches on Chinodoxa and Muscari, but I’m interested to see how the Tulip Tarda perform. These are closer to the original wild form. I’ve gone with quite a lot of bulbs that can naturalise so I don’t have to spend as much each year. I may regret going for so many that can spread, but be a few years till I have to worry about that. For now, I can enjoy the show.

These have all made it into the ground. As I haven’t marked any of my previous bulb plantings I’m going from memory of what is coming up where so I could have some strange combinations. I’ve tried marking bulbs but Alice likes moving labels and there are too many bulbs now.

4. Blackcap

I posted a few weeks saying I’d spotted a blackcap in my parents garden. I’ve now seen one in my garden. I’ve not wanted to disturb it so I haven’t got a great photo yet, but nice to have a newcomer to the garden. Not a rare bird, but apparently staying overwinter more frequently and moving further north. This was followed by several long-tailed tits, which are becoming another more common winter visitor up north.

5. Big garden birdwatch preparation

During winter and in preparation for the Big Garden Birdwatch I’ve increased the number of feeders dotted around the garden. I’ve also put a few closer to the house so we get to enjoy a few birds at close quarters. I’ve got a few of the jars of fat food from Wilco’s. These provide lots of energy during the winter months. I’ve put the nyjer feeders back up. I haven’t bothered with them in a while as the seed was rotting away, but as I’ve seen a number of finches recently I thought I’d give it another go. The stands are rusty ones I bought cheap when I first moved in. The outer layer has almost all cracked away. I don’t particularly like getting rid of things or creating waste so I’m considering giving them a lick of paint. Looking online though there are lots of choices beyond the original black, so it’s tempting to jazz them up. On the subject of feeders, it is worth moving them around every so often as this stops the build-up of leftover food underneath and helps stop the spread of disease.

6. Cineraria

Having found a new source of peat-free compost last week I wanted to try some seeds to see how it performed as seed compost. This is the main reason I need compost for so if the seeds can’t germinate it won’t be much use. Cineraria is a plant I’ve used around the borders as it contrasts well with darker plants like the dahlias. But after a while, it gets too big and woody and loses some of its charms. I’ve used the compost as is. I’ve not mixed anything additional in so I can see how it performs as it comes. I’ve used a large seed tray, this has been placed on a windowsill and should take about two weeks to germinate. The bag of the packs says germination guaranteed. So Wilcos can expect a letter asking for my pound refund if they don’t.

Well that’s your lot. I’ve not much planned for the garden this weekend. I’ve got a bit of pruning to do. I want to cut the height of the shrubs nearest the house so I’ve got a view down the garden for the Big Garden Birdwatch. We’re off out to visit one of my Amy’s friends. They have a stunning garden that we saw at open gardens last year (garden number 4). While it won’t have the abundance of summer I’m still looking forward to seeing it and how it holds up in winter. I hope you’ve all not been blown away and enjoy your weekends. Don’t forget to check the links on the Propagator’s blog to see other six on Saturday posts.

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24 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 18.1.19”

  1. You have a nice selection of bulbs and congratulations on winning the tools. An oscillating how sounds very intriguing. It’s exciting to see a blackcap. We sometimes get a pair that visit over the winter (male and female) but I’ve not seen any this time around. The female blackcap used to see off any other bird that came near her!

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  2. Congratulations! I see that you often win contests. These tools seem very practical. I have been using the weed slice for years. The blade must be re sharpened elsewhere… (yours looks much better to me) The other one seems also interesting but I don’t have one (yet)

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  3. Nearly 50 years ago I worked under a head gardener who’d brought a hoe like your express hoe back from France. He thought it was the best thing ever but until quite recently I’d not seen one in this country. I still haven’t bought one mind. I do have one like your razor hoe, but Japanese. Seems it’s our turn to be copying the rest of the world, and no bad thing either.

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    1. Interestingly the razor hoe has calligraphy that looks Japanese so I’m wondering if Burgon & Ball just stamp them with their brand. Either way feels good to use. Haven’t had a chance to use the hoe but looks like it should be effective.

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  4. My dad used to collect stones with holes in them and I got his collection when he died. I don’t know why they’re charming but they are. I have a weed slice a bit like that one and find it useful for quick weeding of the veg beds. I only use it when the hole bed is clear though as I find it fiddly to navigate around plants I want to remain unsliced!

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    1. Yes, these won’t be much use in my back borders as too full but ordered rows on an allotment or my front garden where I’ve currently got ferns and hostas establishing with gaps it should prove useful.
      I think from the act of finding the stones to finding it a place has a whole charm about it.

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  5. Your tree jewelry is very Anne of Green Gables. Really love it. My family consider stones w/holes in them fairy stones. Haven’t a clue why but they are fascinating. I saw a pair of long tailed tits in my garden this past week but as I had no photo, didn’t include them in my 6. They weren’t here last summer, so I’m not sure if they’re passing thru or here to stay. Do they go away for winter? And congrats, again. Those are a really fab prize! We all wait for you to report back on the hoe.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The Wildlife Trust says they next in hedgerows, shrubs, woodlands & gardens, so perhaps they were out scouting next sites. I’ve not seen them again, which is a shame. Hope the blackcap is becoming a regular in your garden. (I prefer hag over fairy any day.)

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