Six on Saturday: 19.10.19 Bishop’s Children

The garden is starting to fade but the dahlias have provided stunning late-season colour. They are still going but will be shrivelling up soon. This is my first year growing dahlias and I’ve been inundated with support and advice which has been much appreciated. I grew several varieties from tubers and Bishop’s Children from seed. The seeds came from Sarah Raven. With dahlias reputation as slug favourites, I didn’t expect much success in my first year but these shot up. But I ended up with almost 30 plants. They’ve been pretty minimal fuss. No staking, though deadheading has been almost daily. More than enough plants to fill my garden from one bag of seeds, a good few pots filled and gifted some away. Even the window cleaner got one! Within just one pack of seed, there has been a massive amount of variety in the plants. This week six is looking back over several of these beauties.

1. Red

The most common colour of the Bishop’s Children has been red. Lovely, rich vibrant colour through Summer and still shining out there in the dark Autumn garden.

The dark foliage of the Bishop’s children has also been quite attractive amongst the lighter foliage.

2. Yellow

A number have come out yellow with a burnt orange centre.

3. Velvet

This child of the bishop has come out with the appearance of velvet.

4. Sunflower

This child almost went unnoticed as it was growing next to sunflower. With its pure yellow flowers, it blended in amongst the mix. But it is indeed another Bishop’s child.

5. RHS Perfect for pollinators

Bishop’s children are a single variety of dahlia making them popular with many pollinators. The mass amount of open flowers late in the year has proved a useful food source for many insects.

6. Butterflies

The butterflies have been all over the Bishop’s Children. They were much visited by the mass migration of the painted ladies earlier in the year.

I’m still amazed by the variety I’ve seen through just one bag of seed. For just £2 for the bag of seed, I’ve filled my garden with colour for several months of the year. Apparently growing from seed the plants won’t have time to form large enough tubers to be worth storing, but I think I’ll try a few. But they were easy enough to grow that I think I will grow them again next year. I may also try the cactus mix for some variety in shape and form. I hope you’ve enjoyed my bursts of colour on this cold Autumn day. Don’t forget to check out the Six on a Saturday’s founders blog and the comments for more wonderful gardens.

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Six on Saturday: 12.10.19

I haven’t had much time in the garden this week between rain and work but still some colour on the go. The cosmos and dahlias took a good beating last week but they are still putting on a smaller show. We’ve had builders back in fixing the roof so still got everything off the patio leaving a mess of pots over the lawn but can’t do much about that right now. Just dream of what it may become.

1. Honeysuckle

The honeysuckle flowers have ripened to berries adding bursts of colour along the two stretches of honeysuckle in the garden. I try to leave off pruning so they get a chance to form to give the birds another source of food, though I haven’t seen many going for these yet.

2. Geese

As the swifts and housemartins have left us another visitor has come in. The geese have been a regular sighting in huge flocks. They come swarming over the garden honking away. Many geese migrate to the UK for the Winter. As these are coming from the direction of the Mere I’m assuming they’ve stopped off there and are now heading further inland.

3. Sambucus Nigra ‘Black Lace’

This Sambucus was planted as a tiny little stick with few leaves on earlier in the year. It is establishing well having put on a good metre or more growth. These were on the list of plants recommended for coastal gardens and it seems happy enough with the winds. It could do with moving out from the fence a bit for more space but I think this will look good in the space. The Dryopteris fern to the side donated from my mum is establishing alright and the geraniums in front seem happy.

4. Cotoneaster

I planted this cotoneaster on the edge of the patio. I’m aiming for it to fill the corner gap so Alice doesn’t throw herself off the patio. I’m also hoping the berries will bring birds close to the house. The jasmine to the side has been slow to settle but has shown small signs of growth. I’d mentioned last week about trying to get some evergreen climbers and this is forms part of that.

5. Wild sweet William

I believe this is a variety of phlox. It was growing in abundance when I took over the garden. I’ve dug out lots but always leave a handful. It’s meant to be good for butterflies though I can’t remember ever seeing any on it.

6. Sea Holly

The sea holly was planted as it formed part of my wedding flowers last year. It has been a long time flowering but has finally done it. This was just a cheap Tesco purchase as rootstock. There are nicer varieties with the blue edging on the leaves as well but it is bringing in the bees during the odd patch of dry weather this week.

Well, that’s it for this week. I doubt I’ll manage much more this weekend in the garden but not long until half term now and then I’ll get a decent chance to get on with the bulb planting. I hope you all enjoy your weekends.

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P.S. The passionflower planted last week has flowered and it is spectacular. I doubted that it would flower but it has managed it with a few more buds to come possibly.

Six on Saturday: 5.10.19-bulbs and peat-free

We enter a new month and Autumn is definitely upon us now. The leaves are changing colour or falling. As I live by the sea I often don’t get to enjoy the change in colour as it often goes from Summer to the leaves blown straight off. But the dogwood and hydrangeas are doing good impressions of Autumn currently. Much of Autumn gardening ends up being about tidying or preparing for Spring. The bulb planting has begun in earnest now. The garden has taken a battering the last week with rain and wind. A few plants have flopped under the weight of the rain and a few snapped. But that’s fine as the winter foliage plants stand out more and I do like my ferns and heucheras.

1. Iris reticulata

I have got round to planting the iris discussed in previous posts. I enjoyed my irises this year and vowed to get more. I am trying growing the iris in the same pots as the hostas. The idea being the iris will flower, then die down as the hosta come back up. Time will tell whether this was a good plan. I’ve got two varieties so far. The classic Harmony and Katherine Hodgson. I went with the Katherine Hodgson in one of the taller hosta pots and then the harmony are spread over two of the pots filled with the 50p hostas bought a few weeks back.

2. Clematis

Thompson and Morgan had another of their flash sales on clematis. So I now have 4 more clematises. Clematis winter beauty was one of the main ones I wanted. It’s an evergreen variety with small white bell-shaped flowers in winter. Amy doesn’t want ivy but I want evergreen climbers so I’ve been working through the options. Clematis Kokone is a ruffly purple variety that flowers in Summer. I’m split between trying this up the fence in one of the few remaining spaces or to try it up one of the trees. The Florida ‘Taiga’ and ‘green apple’ I want to try in pots growing up obelisks. But I need to find a decent-sized pot for this to work.

3. Butterfly-comma

Last weekend saw, what I think is, my first sighting of a comma butterfly in my garden. I haven’t seen these much in my areas since a brownfield area was bought for housing development. A welcome sighting. This butterfly went through a rapid decline and then has steadily come back in the south of the UK but has been working its way North. The caterpillars feed on nettles, but will also feed on willows and hops. I don’t have hops or willows but there are plenty of nettles in the back passage behind the garden so hopefully, these could become a regular feature.

4. Cosmos

The cosmos combined with dahlia have looked stunning for a good month, but the wind and rain has flattened and snapped many stems. It’s been nice while it lasted. But removing the patch reveals the evergreen ferns that will keep the garden structure through winter. I’m cutting down to the snapped stems, so I may still get some more flowers but not as grand a display as I’ve been enjoying. On the bright side, a bit less deadheading to do.

5. Buxus sempervivums

I recently discovered a local company, The Little Green Plant Factory, selling plants reared peat-free, plastic-free and chemical-free. The plants are very well priced. With all the ethical boxes ticked I needed to give them a try. I ordered two box shrubs. These were a good price. Just little specimens currently but look well-rooted and healthy. The plants came packed in cardboard in biodegradable pots with wool weed suppressant on the top. They were wrapped in straw for protection. I’m planning to grow these in pots on the patio to act as wind buffs for the less hardy plants. While only little currently they will grow quickly enough. I’m thinking square planters for this. I’ve never really grown topiary before so I’m only aiming for rough domes. A lot of the plants listed on the site are not currently available as they are growing but I’m interested to follow the progress of this company.

I actually drive through the village where this is based but currently mail order based. Though they do offer £1 delivery to Beverley for anyone local.

6. Passionflower-Snow queen

My second purchase from “The little green plant factory” has been another passionflower. This time a white variety. This was a crossbreed between the hardy caerula and white wedding. It has gone a little further along the fence from the existing passionflower. I’m hoping it has enough time to settle into its position before winter, but I’ll give it a good mulch to protect the roots to be on the safe side. In bad winters they can be killed back but will regrow from the ground. It had a decent bit of growth on it and several buds. This has the advantage over the popular Constance Elliot of having larger blooms that stay open longer. It has a few flower buds on but I don’t know if it will be sunnier or warm enough to flower this year but fingers crossed.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks six and peoples gardens are holding up alright against the onslaught of the weather. I’ve had a Gee-Tee bulb delivery of 200 croci. 100 white for the front garden and 100 mixed for the back but don’t know that I’ll have time to plant them but we’ll see. Even if I can just get some in that will cut the workload. But no great rush on these. They can wait a bit longer.

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Six on Saturday: 28.9.19

1. Aster-New England

These asters have been shooting up in height for a good while. They were a wedding gift last year. This variety grows very tall and has a mass of flowers the bees are enjoying for late-season food. They look a bit odd in the border currently as these are very tall surrounded by shorter plants so I need to look at something mid-height to break it up a bit. They are looking a bit droopy in the rain but will recover when we get some sun.

2. Hebe

This Hebe was a birthday present a few years ago. It is a short variety with wider dark leaves. It is possibly the wrong side of tender as the leaves have browned off badly through winter each year but it has recovered. The flowers come late in Summer or early Autumn adding some bright bursts late on in the year. The evergreen leaves keep a bit of structure through winter as the perennials around die down.

3. Crocus-White

I’ve made a start on some bulb planting with a few croci going in the two small planters that flank the front door. The hostas will die down soon. The crocus will grow up before the hostas return. As with the cyclamen I’m sticking to white flowers in the shaded front garden as they stand out nicely in the darker front garden.

4. Layered planter

I’ve got a number of irises, crocus and alliums on orders but not bought any tulips yet. So I made a start with a layered planter from Tescos. I’ve normally looked for these when discounted but thought I’d get one for more. The crocus tommasinianus will come up, followed by the armeniacum muscari and the triumph tulips “purple flag” later on. I’m trying to create more pots with successional planting so I don’t spend as much time shifting pots back and forth and replacing pots. When these have finished flowering the muscari and tulips can be moved to the borders. The crocus will go in the lawn.

5. Fairy door

My mum has had a fairy door built for Alice following on from her fairy garden and dinosaur garden. She has loved playing with it and it gave me a bit of time to get some ground cleared ready for bulbs and got two of the passionflower seedlings into the ground.

6. The view from above

I haven’t featured the view from above in a while. The garden is taking on more of an Autumnal feel. The dogwood leaves are changing to orange. But we still have lots of colour on offer. The dahlias and cosmos still going strong. The late-flowering clematis and passionflower are still putting on a good show. The builders are back so I have the pots and table back on the lawn while they work. But hopefully they’ll be done soon and then I can start putting the patio back together. I’ve got lots of evergreen heucheras, grasses and ferns to go back on to keep the interest over winter. The right-hand border is more filled with late-season colour while the left shone in early Summer with lupins and foxgloves and lychnis.

The front garden is filling out. The hostas have got fairly well established before they die down for winter. The hydrangea limelight is settling into its position. Many of the heuchera and ferns are evergreen so they will keep some foliage going over winter. Then alchemilla is filling up gaps with self-seeders. I’m hoping to edge the path next holiday and then get a layer of compost, then bark down to tidy the ground up a bit, suppress weeds and gradually improve the soil.

The rain has started for the day. I didn’t manage to get the irises in the pots I planned to do last week so I still have that to do. I was suckered in by another Thompson and Morgan deal on £2.50 clematis so I have four of those to plant. One evergreen for the fence. One I’m thinking for a obelisk in the border. The other two I’m thinking will go in pots. But I need some bigger pots for this so I may need a trip to the garden centre some point. Enjoy your weekends. Hope the yellow weather warnings don’t cause too much damage.

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Six on a Saturday: 21.9.19 a taste of the exotic

Well, it has been an interesting week in the garden. It was very chilly at the start of the week and it has ended with brilliant sunshine on Friday. My garden is need of a good water today.

1. Aeonium

My aeonium is a long-suffering plant in my garden collection. It was given to me by brother in law as a small cutting. As I lacked space inside it was left out through the Beast from the East. It survived, though with only a small rosette left. Then last year I thought I would give it a better chance and brought it in where it suffered from lack of light. I put grow lights on it but it still wasn’t that happy. It was thriving through the Summer but something seems to have taken a liking to it as some of the leaves have been nibbled. It will be coming back into the shelter in a month or two before the worst of the frosts.

2. Hydrangea runaway bride

I had made the claim that I had reached my hydrangea limit in the garden but these were on offer from Thompson & Morgan. Then our visit to Exbury has only given me more plants on the wish list. I’ve bought two very little runaway bride hydrangeas. It won the Chelsea flower of the year in 2018. Most hydrangeas flower at the end of each branch whereas these produce lacecap flowers along the branches. I’m going to try these in pots on the patio. I’m interested to see how these do. They are only little but as they were bargains I’m willing to wait for a bigger show.

3. Nasturtiums/caterpillars

These nasturtiums featured a month ago. They’ve flowered well and are now being chomped to pieces by cabbage white caterpillars. The combination of verbena flowers above and nasturtiums has been irresistible bringing in many butterflies. I don’t mind though as I’m happy to see the butterflies in large numbers in the garden.

4. Tits

A large number of caterpillars and fennel are bringing in large numbers of tits. I’ve had regular blue and great tits. These are fairly regular visitors anyway but the fennel has brought in large numbers of long-tailed tits.

Then an even rarer visitor has been coming more often, the coal tit.

5. Clematis

I had featured this clematis earlier in the season but I think it’s worth showing again as it is flowering better than ever before. The seed heads are also going over and I love the fluffy silver seed heads.

6. Passionflowers

I’ve been grumbling about my lack of flowers on these plants for the last month. It has put on tons of growth this year and is claiming large sections of the fence but was showing no sign of flowers. Then it put on lots of buds that have then taken a good month to open. They are worth the wait, a stunning flower. Though so far they are opening one at a time. I had dreamt of a spread of many flowers across the fence all open at once but as ever the dream is a long way from reality. Maybe next year.

As well as my existing passion flower I have managed to grow a few from seed that I think are ready to go in the ground now. They apparently take a few years to flower but I’m impressed enough that I’ve managed to get this far up North. I really didn’t think I’d get any going without the headstart of a greenhouse. We’ll see whether they manage to harden off before Winter.

I’ve got quite a bit of school work to get on with today but hopefully find some time to get these in the ground. Then got a few bulbs to get in pots. We’ll have to see whether I manage to get them in. The builders have returned to finish the render. We still have a bit more to go but I’m hopeful I may have my patio back before winter. I’ve got a few evergreen ferns to go in pots to give me some foliage through the winter. If you fancy taking part in Six on Saturday check out the participants guide. Don’t forget to read the other posts.

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Six on Saturday: 14.9.19 return of the rose

It seems to be the season of deadheading. The cosmos, dahlias and sweet peas are still going strong but need plenty of snipping to keep them going. The builders have returned to cap the wall so everything has come off the patio currently so it’s all a bit messy. Hopefully, they will get a move on with finishing the render so I can get pots off the lawn before they destroy it again. Onwards with this week’s six.

1. Bonsai-Golden larch-Pseudolarix

Before Alice was born I had a fairly successful bonsai that I’d kept going a few years. When I went on paternity it suffered and I never got it to recover. I thought it was time to try again. This time going for an outdoor variety. The golden larch isn’t a true larch but has bright yellow leaves before they drop.

2. Heuchera

My mum had bought me two new heucheras a few weeks back now. I decided to clump them near the path a these won’t spread as much as the ferns. They should behave themselves the foliage of lime marmalade contrasts beautifully with the dark forever purple. These are evergreen so they will give me some colour through Winter.

3. Cyclamen

The cyclamen have gone in the front garden. The white flowers standing out in the Northern shade of the house. While I bought them for the flowers I like the foliage of cyclamen too.

4 Geranium oxonianum

This was one of our wedding presents last year. It’s a small geranium but with very pretty small flowers.

5. Further fairies

Alice’s fairy garden efforts have continued with this fairy from Hull Bus Station. The bus station has a pretty decent florist with a good selection of garden and house plants.

6. Rose

This is the second flowering of the yellow rose this year and has become one of my favourites for its colour progression from bright flame buds to buttery flowers.

I’m off out for the day. Going to try and pop into the wildlife photographer of the year exhibit while I’m in Beverley. So I’ll catch up on everyone else’s six on Saturday blog later on.

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Six on Saturday: 7.9.19

Another week goes by and we are starting the slide down into Autumn. The weather is shifting. That said there is still plenty of colour in the garden. Last year I had several seasonal gaps but I seem to have managed better shifts between different flowers ending and starting this year. So onwards with this weeks Six on Saturday.

1. Butterflies

This year has seen a lot of butterflies in the garden. I don’t actually have a mass number of butterfly favourite flowers in the garden. The verbena is always popular but on the whole, I have more for bees so it has been good to see several species new to the garden this year. The small and large whites have been regular visitors but I think I’ve had them in larger numbers this year. I’ve found them one of the worst to photograph though as they don’t stay still so I was happy with these two shots where they’ve settled long enough to focus.

2. Dinosaur garden

Last week Alice worked on her fairy garden. This week she has built up her patio area with a dinosaur garden. She found this dinosaur at the beach. The shards of rock I’ve had laying around for a while and I’ve been intending to use in a succulent planter but they suit this well. The dwarf conifer I’ve had in a pot for a while not really doing much so it’d found a purpose.

3. Bargain Hostas

I walked past a church sale last week of pure tat but they also had some plants for sale at 50p each. So I filled my bags with as many hostas as I could carry.

These are probably going to be used for pots on the patio. I’ve potted a few up along with some I’ve had sat in their plastic pots for a while. From left to right the twisty foliage is dream weaver, then a blue leaved halcyon at the back, fortuneii at the front with the nibbled leaves, one of the church sales at the back, then blue mouse ears at the end. I’m thinking if use these for the patio it will link some of the front and back garden planting with lots of the same plants repeated throughout. I’m considering some bulbs around the pot edges for the start of the year. Maybe dwarf irises or Muscari that will die down as the hostas come back up.

4. Choisya

The choisya is having a second burst of flowers. The yellow rose that grows up out of this is looking like it might manage a second burst as well.

5. Nights drawing in

The nights are starting to draw in earlier. While I may well be glum about the lost time in the garden I’ve found some advantages. Sitting in our little new extension room I’ve found my garden seems to draw in the bats for the early evening. I can sit on the sofa and they are swooping right up to the windows. Wonderful to watch!

6. Dahlia, not Rebecca’s World

I bought this tuber from Thompson and Morgan. It was meant to be Rebecca’s world which is red and white. While Alice switched some labels and I don’t think she did with this one. But even is she did this doesn’t look like any I ordered as I went with almost all dark options. That said it is a stunner. The buds have a rich purple edging before it opens as a large white flower. The purple has gradually faded to pure white.

It looks like I still have a few more weeks of colour coming through but things are definitely on the wane. I’m pretty tired after my first week back at work. I’ve changed year groups at school and getting to grips with new routines. Luckily the little helper has been to hand to keep on top of the watering. Enjoy your weekends.

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