Six on Saturday: 30.10.21 fruits and berries

Alice survived her Covid isolation fairly well. Two days of her being quite poorly and then a bit of cough. It hasn’t left much time for gardening but the weather has been pretty dreary anyway. I don’t really want to be walking on the wet lawn so best left alone anyway. It is feeling very autumnal in the garden with the leaves changing colour and some dropped already.

Acer

The Acers often have their leaves blown off before I get to enjoy their autumn colour but this year they have thrived.

Honeysuckle

I have honeysuckle in a few spots in the garden. It is a messy sprawling climber but I’ve tried to provide plants that will give the bird a natural source of food rather than me topping up feeders all the time.

Pyracantha

The pyracantha was planted last year and it has taken a while to settle. It was probably bigger than the rootball could support so it hasn’t put on much growth this year. But it has provided a decent quantity of berries for a small plant.

Holly Golden King

The golden king has a few clusters of berries this year. It is still relatively small, maybe just over a metre but it’s good to see the berries as it means there is a male plant near enough to pollinate it.

Salvia amistad

The salvia has gone mad the last few weeks spreading from a few stems to many and flowering profusely. Much appreciated as many other things shrivel down.

Pumpkin Patch

We went out for a trip to the local pick your own pumpkin. They have table after table and crate after crate of pumpkins and gourds on display.

Nice to see them all on display and the amazing variety. I think I’m going to try a few at work next year.

Our haul, back home.

And that’s it for this week. Back to work on Monday after half term. haven’t made a start on bulb planting like I wanted but it can wait. Enjoy your weekends.

Six on Saturday: house plants

We have had Alice stuck at home isolating with Covid. She hasn’t suffered too badly but we didn’t want her infecting anyone else. That combined with the weather has meant I haven’t really been out in the garden. So this week is going to be a quick look at a few houseplants. Alice is quite enjoying being at home. I’ve stayed off with her part the time and mum the other half. We’ve kept up home learning like we did during lockdown to keep routine and avoid boredom. She’s writing and reading a lot more from the focussed time so probably done her good being off with us.

Opuntia Rubescens

Also known as the roadkill cactus from its flat shape. I bought this as my reward for the last RHS exam. It is replacing several small succulents on the kitchen windowsill. It has got to a bit cluttered so I decided I’d rather have fewer large plants. It’s got a good sunny windowsill where it can be left and only occasionally watered.

Ceropegia woodii

String of hearts is a trailing plant that I’ve propagated several times since I got it a few years ago It roots in water then I pot it on. It trails down from the corner shelf in the back room. Every so often it needs a hair cut as it reaches the ground. It needs watering about once a week in summer and less so in winter so it’s pretty minimal effort.

Tradescantia pallida

This was a 99p Morrisons purchase. I potted it on after purchasing and it has spread out well since then. I like the variegated leaves and the colours.

Kentia palm

This is looking a bit sorry for itself. I think this was partly underwatering and partly too low light.

It’s been repositioned to try and put some life back into it.

Pilea peperomiodes

The Chinese money plant is a popular one currently and produces lots of offsets for potting on to pass onto other people.

Aspidistra

I have a few aspidistras in the house and in the garden. The garden one has been badly attacked by slugs and snails this year. I could do with taking a clump out and growing it on inside. Aspidistras are generally regarded as dull as they don’t really do anything but I quite like having a decent sized houseplant that doesn’t require much care. It handles low light, minimal water. It can handle neglect.

It’s half term now and between Ofsted inspections and balancing home learning with Alice I’m ready for a little time off. It’s been a good half term with my class but I’d like to catch up on some garden jobs now. Hope you all enjoy your weekends and don’t forget to check the founder of six on Saturday’s blog to see more blogs.

Six on Saturday: jungle garden

So this week is coming later than normal and will be a short one as Alice has tested positive with Covid. She has a bit of a snotty nose, but she said her sense of smell was funny so we got her tested. She came out negative on the lateral flow test before testing positive from the PCR so worth getting a proper test to avoid infecting others. We’ve also had an Ofsted inspection at work this week so been a pretty exhausting week all round with another one ahead looking after a bored child stuck at home.

This week saw the arrival of the garden jungle by Phillip Oostenbrink. I’d seen one of his lectures a few months back as well as following him through Twitter so had this on preorder. It looks to be a great addition to the garden literature around tropical/exotic gardening.

So to celebrate the release a quick look at six of the exotic plants in the garden still pulling their weight. The Bishop’s Children dahlias is still flowering well. It was grown from seed and has been in the ground 3 years now without lifting. Top corner we Podophyllum versipelle ‘spotty dotty’. This is an attractive foliage plant with nice broad leaves. It was a recommendation from Philip and a very good one. Below we have buckler fern, one of my favourites. Looks great in a pot for much of the year with little maintenance needed. In the bottom right corner Persicaria runcinata ‘purple fantasy’. This was a purchase from Stillingfleet Lodge a few months back. It’s in a pot currently. But as it grows I’ll divide it for use elsewhere. Bottom middle is Farfugium japonicum ‘wavy gravy’. It doesn’t photograph well but this has lovely curly foliage and is filling a shaded spot in the front garden. And last but by no means least are my Fatsias. I have both the plain and spider web type next to each other in pots. They sit near the front door and look good much of the year providing nice large palmate foliage.

Much shorter than normal this week. But hopefully, return to normal next week. Hope you are all keeping well and I may get some chance to catch up on other people’s blogs other the next week.

Six on Saturday: 9.10.21 bulbs

Well I sat my RHS exam on propagation. I was quite anxious beforehand but I think it went alright. I’m fairly confident I passed and we’ll have to see in December whether I managed the higher level of commendation. This week has been busy with the exam and then catching up on work after all my revision so this week’s is looking at the bulb purchases that have been building up.

Tulip grand perfection

Despite what this week’s blog contains I am not massively bothered by tulips. But they fill a gap between the early spring bulbs and the summer garden so I do usually plant a few. These tulips look like they should be a nice striking one paired with the existing queen of the nights. Though they inevitably won’t flower together throwing off the plan.

Queen of the nights

I already have queen of the night tulips in the ground but they gradually fade in our clay soil. Shrinking, rotting and getting dug up by mistake so it’s always good to top them up.

Giant allium

I’ve had a few taller alliums in the border this year with the Allium forelocks towering over the border and it has been quite good having alliums where I can shoot upwards when taking photos of the bees. They look a bit odd sticking out the border but the bees like them.

Tulips little beauty

These were Alice’s choice. She usually ends up picking red riding hood tulips with the striped foilage but she was taken by the colour of these. They are little short 10cm tulips so I’m not quite sure where we’ll put these so they show. They might need to be in a pot.

Iris danfordiae

I like irises in general but my early spring Iris reticulata pots are largely blue or purple. I saw these and thought it would make a bit of a change. Yellow is a welcome sight in spring standing out well in the darker months.

Tulip canasta

I usually pick a bag of tulips that are different from the more commonly cultivated ones. This has led to some beautiful forms and some fairly rubbish parrot tulips that didn’t hold their form well. These are a fringed tulip that I think will be quite striking.

Hopefully get back to featuring the garden properly next week. I’m working an extra shift at nursery next week so may not find anytime to plant these next week but it’s half term soon so should be able to get them in the ground soon.

Six on Saturday: root cuttings

It’s going to be a quick one this week as I am preparing for my next RHS exam on propogation. So for this week I am looking at root cuttings.

Plant health

When taking cuttings plants should be in good health as any disease is likely to be passed on through the cuttings. You want to avoid any already suffering with any issues such as chlorosis or other disorders linked to lacking correct feeding. This Acanthus I feature last week is an ideal candidate for root cuttings as they have a reputation for regrowing from the slightest bit of root left in the soil when people have tried to remove them. It is likely it will lose the varieagation when the root cuttings grow. But I would quite like the normal species variety as well. This is still in its pot so I can just take the cuttings by taking it from the pot. If it was in the ground it would need lifting or if it was too big you can scrape to expose the roots and do it in situ.

Cuttings

Ideal root cuttings should be about pencil thickness. This had several coming out the base of the pot which is what gave me the idea to take cuttings. You want to take the cuttings as close to the crown as possible. But as these were going to need cutting to get it out of the pot I thought I’d use these.

Root sections

Sections of root can be cut into sections about 7-10cm for vertical cuttings. These are going vertically into a pot so I went about 7cm for each one. If you are taking root cuttings from something with finer roots that can be laid out horizontally on the compost and these cuttings can be shorter.

I took a few from close to the crown as well. I’m chancing some of the smaller roots since this has a reputation for growing back well.

Compost

In an ideal world I’d use cuttings compost. But I don’t have any. I’ve gone with a seed compost with a bit of vermiculite mixed in. Then I filled the small 10cm pot.

The cuttings have gone around the edge of the pot. Just a little way in. I used a thin dibber to poke the hole and then placed them in but a pencil would do fine. Then I covered with a thin layer of about 0.5cm of compost. Then they’ve been placed in the unheated mini greenhouse. They should show signs of growth in spring when they can then be potted on into individual pots. Then by the next year they may be ready to plant out. So it is quite a slow method but they don’t take up much space and don’t need much attention. The label is probably one of the most significant parts so I actually know wheat I’ve got coming up in spring and give them the right care.

Hopefully the exam will go alright. Good luck to anyone else sitting their exams on Monday.

Find me on Twitter.