Six on Saturday: 30.7.22 parent’s garden

Last weekend, we stopped in at my parents on the way to a kid’s party. My parent’s garden was looking lovely in the sun so thought I’d share a few pictures today.

Butterflies

It was nice to see a few different butterflies to the ones that visit my garden. I’ve seen lots of whites and a few speckled woods. My parent’s garden is seeing lots of gatekeepers and a few commas. It’s the Big Butterfly Count time of year so we’ll be doing our part for citizen science over the next few weeks.

Pot displays

My mum uses more tender perennials than I have patience for. I plant for pots to last and don’t like the environmental impact of temporary displays. Saying that many of her pelargoniums came through the winter with no coddling. Her pot displays are looking very pretty though. She has ended up with a bit of influence from me with the sempervivum making an appearance. I like these little succulents for low maintenance pot displays. This pot display is close to the house and gets sun most of the day.

Then this pot display is down at the bottom near their summer house is shaded part of the day.

Zinnias

I’ve already shown the zinnias in the last two choices but they are worth talking about. These were grown from seed free with gardeners world magazine. They are providing some lovely bursts of bright colour and the insects are loving them.

Agapanthus

The first of the agapanthus are coming out. So far it is just the blue ones but they have Twister and some darker ones to come over the next few months.

Alstromeria Indian summer

These were a Christmas present my mum requested a few years back. Not the easiest plant to get hold of in the middle of winter so it was a delayed present. It’s a lovely form of astromeria showing up nicely in the shade of the cherry tree.

Passionflowers

My parents passionflowers usually do well. They are growing up a brick wall with heat of the house behind. As summer goes on the bees swarm over. This white one is probably Constance Elliot which is one of the hardier options out there.

The gardeners

And last of all my parents enjoying some time with Alice.

Dinosaur Terrarium

It’s been a good while since I made a terrarium and I’ve found several good containers to make ones in. The last one I made was an open terrarium that lasted a good few years before the fittonia outgrew it and it started looking messy. The point of a terrarium is to help grow plants that need higher humidity. Unfortunately what you mostly see sold are succulents encased in glass. Succulents are adapted to dryer conditions and the higher humidity of a terrarium will slowly rot the plant. The plants that are suited terrariums are ones which want high humidity and are slow growing. A lot of plants that come from the rainforest understory are used. These would naturally grow in the damp undergrowth which will be similar to the conditions of a terrarium in our houses. A really well-made sealed terrarium can be left for long periods without much maintenance making them an attractive choice for the home or work.

I had a lot of the ingredients for making a terrarium in and bought in a few others. Today’s terrarium used:

  • Glass container
  • Leca (Lightweight expanded clay aggregate)
  • Spagnum moss
  • Potting mix
  • Moss
  • Plant (fittonia)
  • Decorative items

Alice helped make the first closed terrarium. We started with the drainage layer. I used Leca for this one. This acts as a reservoir for water so the roots don’t sit in water. Leca makes for a good choice as it’s lightweight and holds the water and releases it up as needed. Gravel or stones can be used but are heavier. Glass pebbles can be used for a more decorative choice.

Next, we used sphagnum moss to act as a barrier between the drainage and the potting mix. Some people use activated charcoal as it is believed that it helps filter toxins and impurities. We misted it down at this point to help squash it down before adding the potting mix.

The potting mix went on top of the sphagnum moss as the growing medium for the plants. I had bought a fittonia for the main plant for this terrarium from a new local houseplant shop, Botany Boutique. The shop seems to be doing well and I hope it continues to as it’s nice to have somewhere close to buy interesting choices from. The fittonia will eventually outgrow the space and then I can either restart it or cut and replace with cuttings. The moss is a carpet moss I bought from Etsy. I have used moss from the garden before and it has been alright in the spare room as we don’t heat it. But in most situations, our native moss will dry out too quick inside which is why I’ve bought actual terrarium moss. Alice chose a few rocks, the Trex and a polished ammonite for decoration. She was very proud of the end result.

Open terrarium

Then we made a second larger terrarium in an open gold fish bowl I’d bought cheap from a charity shop. I’m keeping my eye out for a glass plate or acrylic disc so I can make it a closed environment. While it’s open it will need more watering whereas if I can close it it will increase the humidity for the plants.

I used the remaining fittonia from the first and I was able to split it again to use for two sections. I had a little bit of carpet moss that I arranged around the fittonias and made a path between the two. Then grit was used to cover the bare soil.

I think it looks pretty good. Now we have to work on getting the moisture levels right in both. The nerves of this fittonia are great vibrant ones.

And a dinosaur prowling for good measure. I’ve made this one for work where it’s probably going to be in a room with fairly low light so I will probably be supplementing the light with a grow light.

I would like to develop a better knowledge of terrarium plants. There are better choices than fittonias that will stay small for longer but these should give me a year or so by which point I’ll probably want a different display at work anyway. A lot of the fun is in the construction. It makes for a pleasant craft activity.

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Six on Saturday: 23.7.22

This week the only garden job has been watering. The heatwave hasn’t been as intense in my area of the country as others but with our sea winds and heat it has been pretty unforgiving for plants. We saw a little burst of rain yesterday but not enough to have much impact on the garden.

Monarda

I admired the monarda at Stillingfleet Lodge last year. I planted a few cheap ones a little while ago. It will take a few years before it clumps up well. It’s an odd-looking flower but the vibrancy of the red is nice and they are bee agents.

Trumpet lilies

The lilies initially suffered this year with lily beetle but I have managed to squash enough that they have made it to flower.

Lily

And another lily that has been returning for a good few years. It was part of a Sarah Raven pack and is very pretty even with the nibbled leaves.

Dwarf Cactus Dahlia

This is the first of this years seed grown Dahlia to flower. These were from Sutton seeds. It’s probably not a colour I would have picked but it’s nice and bright to match the weather.

Dahlia tamburo

This was left in its pot over winter outside and is showing no signs of having suffered for being left.

Sedums

I changed over the hanging pots on the log store. In this heat, not much is going to thrive apart from drought tolerant plants so I got two sedums as they are generally reliable. The front one is Sedum spurium tricolour and the back one is oreganum.

I am now on Summer holiday so hopefully, I’ll have more time for gardening. At least once the heat has died down. Enjoy your weekends!

Six on Saturday: 16.7.22

With the heatwave, last weekend watering has been the main job. I’ve not been looking at planting anything in the heat we experienced. I did a little deadheading but got quite a few shrubs in need of a prune now they’ve flowered. A job for the summer holiday probably.

Asiatic lily

This was part of mixed box of bulbs from Tesco’s labelled as something like hot colours. I quite like the muted red. There are a few more to come. I’ve got them growing in a pot on the patio currently.

Potentilla ‘William Rollison’

This was a purchase Alice made back in 2020. I wasn’t that keen on it at the time but it seems to be a reliable plant. Fairly drought tolerant which is useful currently and producing a reasonable spread of flowers.

Outside play

It was too hot for many gardening jobs but it was good weather for getting out for a play. We filled the paddling pool up. I reckon it probably took about as long to play as she actually spent in it but it did give a good section of lawn and border a water after. She enjoyed doing a bit of birdwatching.

Eyngium planum

With the heat, we are experiencing these drought-tolerant plants are coming into their own. Sea holly does grow naturally on coasts but it is primarily a grassland species. In the border, it grows tall towers and then lots of the flower spikes off the main stem. It formed part of our wedding flowers along with daisies and I’ve been steadily adding more since we got married. It’s beloved by insects and the flowers are seeing lots of visitors.

Dahlia

Another dahlia in flower. It’s possibly Addison June, though possibly not. It was left in the pot over winter. No lifting and nice and bushy. Plenty more flowers to come.

Hildewintera Colademononis-Monkey tail cactus

I saw a decent-sized one at Wassand Hall and I was very taken with it. They form long tails over the edge of a pot. Well suited to macrame hangers. But more importantly, they are very tactile. This is a cactus you can stroke making it a much safer option for me than some of the recent cactus purchases.

We had some light showers last night. It will help the parched lawn a bit as I refuse to water it. It will recover fine. It looks like watering is still going to be the main garden job with the predicted heatwave. Hope you all enjoy your weekends.

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Six on Saturday: 9.7.22

It’s been a busy week at work but I got out in the garden with Alice last weekend and achieved a good bit.

Alpine planters

We picked up some alpine bowls to make mini displays for gifts. Alice helped mix up the compost. We needed a more free draining mix, so we mixed sand and grit with peat free compost.

Then she helped pot up a number of sempervirens.

Dianthus

Then she made one for herself. I like having her involved in jobs like this where she learns that different plants need different soils. We use the grit to keep the weeds off and so the leaves don’t sit on damp soil and rot. It brings up lots of knowledge.

She went with just the one Dianthus in the middle. She didn’t want anything else around it.

And in flower

It’s a delicate pale pink. Nt my favourite flowers but she likes it.

Cactus and succulent display

We also potted up our purchases from a few weeks back into terracotta pots and set up on the summer room window sill. The dinosaurs were reduced in Morrison’s. I picked them up after my last RHS exam as a present for Alice after my night away.

I’ve sunk some of the individual pots into sand in the white planter to create a mini display like we saw on the long benches at Wassand Hall. Check out the previous blog if you want to see what it all is.

Rose Peter Pan

This is a miniature rose from David Austen. It has tiny flowers, maybe 2cm in a deep red. It’s growing in a pot as I decided I didn’t like having the roses in the border except climbers. They just weren’t complimenting the other surrounding plants. But I like this little one on the patio.

Scabious butterfly blue

My pots of scabious are flowering. They haven’t attracted many butterflies this year but they are popular with the hoverflies.

I’m off into work today so I won’t get a chance to read other six on Saturday posts but hope you all enjoy your days.

Six on Saturday: 2.7.22

Now the RHS exams are out of the way I’m going to look at getting back into the routine of recording the garden progress through my blog. It proves a good archive of plant purchases for when labels are gone if nothing else. It’s been a busy week at work but got a fairly relaxed weekend ahead before a week of extra shifts at work. I’ve got some fairly mundane garden jobs to catch up on after neglecting it during exam revision. But I’ll probably just end up tinkering with the cacti and succulent purchases from Wassand Hall last weekend.

Cuttings

I had kindly been sent some cuttings from Noni. I’ve set them up in the heated propagator to encourage the rooting and keep the humidity up to prevent water loss while they root. It’s a balancing act of creating the right environment but not rotting them.

She sent me cuttings of Hoya bella. This is a lovely houseplant that has beautiful flowers. I’m trying some rooting in a jar of water and then these ones in a fairly free-draining mix of compost and perlite. The other cuttings are Kalanchoes tubiflora, the mother of millions plants and Kalanchoe daigremontiana. I’ve got two cuttings that I’ve put in compost. I don’t know how reliably they root this way but I’ll give it a try.

The more common way to grow these is to remove the plantlets that form on the edges of large leaves. These are just placed on the soil surface and allowed to root.

Hydrangea libelle

Hydrangea libelle is flowering. The flowers are quite nice but the growth and shape this has formed is just not that great. The leaves have suffered with frost. It seems to form a lot of the flowers low down in the foliage so they are lost. It’s a bit too big and sprawling a plant for the space when I don’t actually like it.

The individual flower heads are very pretty but the form, how it interacts with the rest of the border and their lack of hardiness mean I’m probably going to remove it after the flowers are done.

Rose Charles de Mills

I had pruned this back last year and started to retrain it as a climber. It was a bit too big for something that only flowers once. It’s an old English Rose and flowers with an odd flat surface. It has a pleasant smell though not overwhelming.

Astrantia claret

This was a lovely dark Astrantia I bought from Scampston Hall two years ago. It has proved a good purchase. It’s been flowering for the last two months and will hopefully carry on into autumn.

Potted dahlia

This was bought last year or the year before and it was an unnamed variety when I bought it. It has been left in a pot over winter and it hasn’t suffered in any way for it.

Potted dahlia not black Jack

This was originally bought as Black Jack. It flowered last year and obviously isn’t black Jack which is a dark flowered variety. But it is a good showy red and I don’t object to it. As with the other dahlia it was left in the pot over winter outside and it is still growing strong.

Well, it’s been nice to start the log of garden activity again. Alice is determined to go to the garden centre, though she isn’t looking for plants. She is looking to buy a soft toy triceratops. I don’t particularly need anything but never know what you’ll discover.

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