Six on Saturday: 17.7.21

So this week has seen a good increase in the Covid numbers across my area. As the government is announcing “Freedom!” Braveheart style we are getting told to carry on with Covid business as usual. More reason to avoid people and stay in the garden. Sounds like a plan. This weeks six sees a few jobs, a disappointment, and more orange than I’d consider my garden to have. I have no issue with orange, but it isn’t a colour that comes to mind. But this week we have two bright and bold orange blooms.

  1. Seed sowing

This week I have sown a few different things. I have a few trays of foxgloves on the go. I think it was Alba and foxy mixed. The foxgloves are great this year and they will probably self-seed but I’d like a few on the go to make sure I have some to place where I want them. Then I’ve gone with 2 trays of primula candelabra. These can be more erratic to germinate according to the pack so we’ll see if I end up with any. I loved the mass plantings at RHS Harlow Carr and I think I could emulate this in my woodland border at work which I will get onto next. Despite checking on them several times a day there still hasn’t been any germination but fingers crossed.

2. The woodland border

Within the forest school at work there is a little corner near the bird hide that has been undeveloped for a while. I’ve had a request for a flower border to attract insects. I wasn’t planning to start this for a little while as I don’t want to be having to water in the plants over the summer holiday but I’ve just ended up with a mass amount of Iris foetidissma that needed to go in the ground quickly. This is what the area looked like Monday morning.

I’ve cleared back a good bit of ground. It’ll need doing a few times I imagine as I won’t have got all the roots out and they’ll be more things seeded in the ground I probably don’t want but I got the irises in. I threw in a few of my more aggressive hardy geranium ‘Wargrave pink’ as it can roam free out of the pace and be kept in check by children trampling it as it goes out of the desired area. Then a few Alchemilla molis amongst the irises. I don’t know that these will take but it has the seeds on which should drop and then more will grow. Iris Foetidissima is one of our two native irises. The other being the yellow flag iris. It grows well in shade and can handle dry conditions which is needed for a plant that may be left for the six weeks holiday. The flowers are not as exciting as many irises but it has bright red berries that are quite attractive and the leaves are evergreen keeping some structure over winter. I’ve got a few plants later from local donations and my own divisions. We’ve got a few hardy geraniums and hostas, then a few tiny hellebore seedlings I’ll need to nurse a while longer. I do have a budget but I’m trying to get what I can from people locally. Ideally, I’d like some astrantias and Japanese anemones. If anyone local has divisions they’d be appreciated. Plants that will thrive in the shade and be good for wildlife. There is also the added dimension of not wanting plants that flower in the school holidays, so spring and autumn flowering plants are good. Then looking for maybe one or two decent shade shrubs that are good for wildlife. We have a lot of ivy around the forest school so I may go with something more ornamental but wildlife friendly on this fence.

3. Hydrangea runaway bride

This is one of the disappointments this week. This was awarded the Chelsea flower of the year a few years back and a few other awards. It flowers more than other hydrangeas. You get flowers along the stems rather than just the end of branches. They should be a stunning plant from the descriptions and photos. I bought two to use in window boxes outside the front door the year before last. One died and the other has struggled on. It has suffered from chlorosis, yellowing of leaves. It doesn’t flower that well. My suspicion is this is down to being in too deep shade in the front garden more than nutrient deficiency. So I may move it to another spot and see if it picks up. Hydrangeas normally cope with shade well but this doesn’t seem happy. I don’t know if all the breeding gone into it has created something that is just weak. Time will tell. I will move and report back. The couple of flowers it has are nice but the growth is too spindly and the flowers are too few to recommend it over other more established hydrangea cultivars.

4. Everlasting sweet peas

This is a perennial sweet pea that comes through the fence from our neighbours. It adds a bit of colour against the wall each year. The neighbours are moving soon so hopefully, the new neighbour will keep it in so I can benefit.

5. Nasturtium

I think this is a self-seeded one as the ones I planted have been dairy maid that is a pasty yellow I don’t actually like that much and a deeper red one. They both probably came free with magazines and will have been given to Alice to scatter. This orange is much nicer than either and is welcome to self-seed more similar offspring.

6. Pontellia William Rollinson

This was one of Alice’s choices last year. It’s not really my taste being a bit too fluffy and low on wildlife benefit but the color is vibrant. The stem structure isn’t great with a lot of flopping on the ground meaning the flowers aren’t that visible. It doesn’t really cover any ground either so the area around it has been bad for becoming weed-infested. Hopefully, it will improve with age. When the flowers are aimed the right way they are quite striking and adding to my generally clashing border with pink hydrangeas behind. The front garden has color coordination. The back garden doesn’t as I selected more on personal whims and wildlife benefit whereas there was a plan drawn out for the front. They both look good in their own way.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s six. Hoping to get a few more seeds sown today and I’ve a few plants to pot on but we’ll have to see if I manage it. The foxgloves in the border are almost over so I’ll be collecting some of the seed and allowing some to fall soon. I have a few gardening books to read through as I plan for more around the nurseries gardening project. Looking at how to create meadows currently. The designated spot has quite rich soil so going to need to deplete the nutrients if they want a meadow. Hope you all have a good weekend. Stay safe with the predicted heatwave.

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9 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 17.7.21”

    1. The primulas are slow to germinate so need to get going though they don’t like weather too hot so a heatwave probably isn’t going to help. Hopefully get some. Only need a couple then they can gradually grow and clump and be divided.

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  1. Perennial sweet peas are such good value but need to be tied back regularly. I’m pleased to see your nasturtiums are doing well, mind are going on the compost heap this weekend since they are a disaster due to being completely covered in blackfly.

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  2. I’ve seen so many pictures of Runaway Bride and have always been tempted but your experience shows it might be tricky. I guess the awards for plant of the year don’t take into account the garden worthiness in the same way that an RHS Award of Garden Merit does. Mind you, I planted new hydrangeas and only two survived. They were small plants and somehow this winter gone just didn’t suit them.

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  3. Your Potentilla looks a lot like a Geum, it’s a lovely colour I think. As for the hydrangea maybe the window box isn’t deep enough for it. I’d be tempted to plant it into a border with dappled shade and cut it back hard in spring. It may surprise you.

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  4. A lovely Six, and for me, lots of interesting things. I like the school woodland, and it will be nice to see what it looks like once you have finished planting it out. The hydrangea has really pretty flowers, and it is such a pity it s not doing very well where it is. Hopefully it will do better when you move it. The perennial sweet pea is so beautiful!

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