Six on a Saturday: 20.7.19 holiday time

It is holiday time for me as a teacher. Got through another year. Now I get six weeks to catch up on weeding and enjoy the garden. But in true holiday fashion, it’s raining. But the water butts are getting refilled at least. I’ve been using the new butts for most of the watering at the front and to do the patio pots at the back. They’d just run out the last few days. Lasted pretty well.

1. Lilies

These lilies came from Thompson and Morgan. I’m sure they were meant to be a variety of colours but so far they are all pink. The growth has been a bit untidy as they were hidden away during building work. They probably would have benefited from staking and being rotated with the sun but the flowers are a nice bright burst. These tall pots are designed for lilies but I think I might change to hostas after these are done. They look good spilling out of tall pots and keeps the snails off a bit.

2. Lavender

I removed a lot of the lavender in the border as it had got leggy in a shaded position. I’ve kept a few in pots. My soil is heavy clay and not suited to lavender. In the pots, I can make the compost with lots of grit and sand to give it the drainage it needs. These pots have thrived for three years now. Very good for wildlife. When in full flower it gets lots of visitors.

3. Bargain Acer’s

I got these two little Acer’s for £5 from Thompson & Morgan. Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum is a purple-leaved variety turning to orange in Autumn. Then the orange dream is yellow turning again to orange for more Autumn interest. These are tiny at the moment and will probably go in pots for now. The couple I’ve got already suffer from leaf scorch with the strong sea winds so I have to keep them sheltered. They are an example of wrong plant wrong place but I like them enough that I’ve persisted trying to find the right place for them and planting shelter for them. While these two don’t look like much currently I’ve got the patience to see them grow gradually.

4. Water bath

Alice has been a bit obsessed with filling the water bath but the seagulls are appreciating her efforts.

5. Love in a mist

I sowed the seeds for these quite late on and they’ve been drowned by other growth. Some are poking out though. A lovely flower to photograph.

6. Hydrangea Libelle

This pretty lacecap was a birthday present. It suffered a bit from frost’s and wind but with plenty of watering it picked up again beautifully. I don’t normally use plastic pots but I thought with the thirsty nature of hydrangeas this would benefit from a plastic pot. This pot is meant to be a self-watering pot. It has a reservoir set up at the bottom so it doesn’t all drain out. The flowers are a bit sparse, but only the first year, though looking lovely. I’ve moved it to the pride position outside the back door so we see lots of it. The limelights planted this year are set to flower as well. Lots of hydrangea love this year!

Today is Hornsea carnival. We’ll probably head out later if the weather holds. There will be a float parade and rides and fairground games in the park, then usually a few craft stall. So probably won’t get up to much in the garden today. On a side note, Alice had her first sporting victory this week at the nursery sports day. Very proud of her.

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Six on Saturday: 13.7.19

Last weekend we were over at my parents for lunch and a lot looking good. This week I’m looking at six aspects of their garden that I’m claiming credit for. I’ve had divisions of their plants for many years and now they are starting to claim from my garden in return. My mum has been dropping not so subtle hints that she wants one of my dahlia seedlings.

1. Lychnis

This was a self-seeder from my garden I passed onto my mum. It’s looking good with the darker fuschia behind it.

2. Heuchera

My mum is adding more foliage plants following my lead. The green, dark-veined I think she bought with me at a local plant sale.  Nice combination of colours and should add some interest throughout the year.

3. Hostas

While my parents have grown hostas before they’ve gone for more this year which I’m sure is down to my mass front garden planting. The forest grass in the middle is also doing well. My clumps are a bit weedy currently but will come on in time hopefully.

4. Succulents

My parents have been away recently so they’d planned to give their usual bedding plants in pots a miss as they would have needed watering. So this means they’ve not bothered with the usual collection of pelargoniums. A plant I’m not bothered for in any way. Instead, they’ve gone for some pots of sempervivum’s copying my pots. They’ll survive better over the holidays through the heat.

5. Wildlife gardening

Over the last few years, my parents have added lots of bird feeders and bug houses across their garden. The middle of one border is dominated by a well-established cherry tree. It fruits well. They’d tried netting it to save the cherries from getting taken by the birds but have given up on this now. In the past, I think my mum would happily have gone along with Mr Twits plan to paint the branches with hug tight glue to get birds for a pie.

But this year there are enough for them and the birds to share.

6. Hide and seek

We had a nice time out in parents garden and a good meal. Alice wasn’t so bothered for the food but she did enjoy playing hide and seek. Though her hiding skills leave a lot to be desired.

It’s looking pretty grey out there. It feels pretty humid. We need some rain to break the heat. I’m heading out with Alice to her nursery today as it’s the Summer Fair. They’ve got birds of prey and the forest school open so should be fun. See what tat we win on the tombola. Hope you enjoy your weekends. Check the participant guide if you fancy joining in with six on Saturday.

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Six on Saturday: 6.7.19-Murder in the garden

After last weeks Agatha Christie-themed six, we return to normal service, though Alice has committed a number of garden crimes this week. The weather has been good allowing lots of the plants to romp away. The consensus on the mystery plant was pericaria. I’ll have to see what happens as it continues to flower.
1. Murder in the garden

A few weeks ago Alice helped prune the dwarf Korean lilac bush with her scissors. The problem is now she wants to cut everything down. In a lapse of attention from Amy, Alice took her scissors to the hydrangea. Luckily she can’t reach too far so it’s mainly lost blooms towards the bottom.

Butter wouldn’t melt.


2. Dahlia progress

She then went onto commit a second garden crime pulling and snapping off one of the dahlia seedlings. Luckily it was one of the varieties I’ve grown from seed and I have around 20 on the go. She wanted to plant the part she’d pulled out, so we now have lots of dahlia cuttings on the go. I don’t know that they’ll have time to grow to any height but it kept her busy while I potted some more of the dahlias.

I’ve potted on about 20 of my little Bishops children seedlings. They are getting to reasonable heights now and the sun should bring them on a lot.

And two of the tuber grown dahlias have gone in the ground now, complete with snail beer traps. We even have a few buds.


3. Nemaslug

In order to try and protect the dahlias and the hostas that have gone in the front garden, I’m trying nemaslug. Nemaslug is a biological control using microscopic worms that prey on the slugs. It is supposed to be harmless to other wildlife, unlike pellets. I haven’t used any controls for about 4 years beyond beer traps and barriers but as I have planted so many slug favourites I thought I’d try this so the hostas can make it through their first year. It comes as a powdery mix that you dilute in water and then use diluted again in your watering can.


4. Watering

The ground needs to be wet for nemaslugs to work so I’ve needed to wet the ground in the heat. I’ve not been using the hose recently. I’ve been managing purely from the water butt. But I want the nemaslug to be effective so I set Alice loose with the hose. It might mean the watering is a bit sporadic. The hydrangeas and the slide got more water than other areas but everything, including Alice, was definitely wet.


5. Lily Martagon-pink morning

I planted these in pots last December. These have been the first of my lilies to flower. They were stuck in a shaded corner while the building work went on. This has led to them growing at a bad slant towards the light but the flowers are still stunning.


6. Poppy

The first poppy has come through. I think this is self-seeded from last year as the two I spread this year were red and pink. These are a stunning colour. Last year the wind came through just as they opened and I only got to enjoy each for a day. But it’s been a bit calmer this year.

It’s getting hard to choose six each week now with so much to do and so much going on. If you want to see more of what is going on check the Propagator’s latest blog to read more peoples sixes. I’m going to be trying to do some weeding and clear a few of the spent Spring flowers ready for dahlias going in the ground.

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Six on Saturday-Agatha Christie

I have just finished reading Agatha Christie’s murder at the vicarage. Within Christie’s work gardens and gardening come up again and again. Miss Marple is an avid gardener enjoying the opportunities it gives her to observe the comings and goings in her village. Garden parties are a regular setting. Christie herself even had a rather lovely rose named after her. In Miss Marple’s final case we know she is getting on as she is advised not to exert herself gardening. So I thought this week I would look at six Agatha Christie gardening links.

1. Deadheading the roses

I understand, Miss Marple that Mrs. Protheroe passed this way yesterday evening?

Yes, she did. I called out to her, and she admired my roses.

Miss Marple spends much time tending her roses. This gives her ample time to be a busy body observing her neighbourhood. My roses are doing very well but I am now having to start on my deadheading. Lots more blooms coming through. I have a mix of repeat flowering roses and old roses.

2. Secateurs

Miss Marple favoured bypass secateurs for her pruning as do I. I’m sure she’d appreciate the gold leaf gloves as well.

3. Poison plants

Agatha Christie worked for a period as a dispenser and had a knowledge of poisonous plants. Torre Abbey even has a garden dedicated to the poisonous plants of Christie’s novels. In Postern of fate, foxgloves were planted in amongst sage the murderer knew would be collected for the evening’s meal. My foxgloves are going over but they have held up well through rain and wind.

4. Ferns

I am developing several areas with ferns. The corner near the shed has the most established. One of the supposed highlights of Christie’s garden, though I’ve never visited, is the fernery. I have found myself giving more space over to ferns and the front garden is going to be largely ferns and hostas.

5. Rocks

“Yes.” she said, it must have come as a very nasty shock for him to come across you just then. But her turned it off very well-pretending he was bringing it to me for me for my rock gardens. Only-Miss Marple became suddenly very emphatic. “It was the wrong sort of stone for my rock gardens! And that put me on the right track!”

Even the wrong sort of rock can set Miss Marple on your case. I’ve dug in a few rocks we had spare to go in the front garden. I’d like to look at cultivating the moss for a more natural look. Natural yoghurt mixed with compost is supposed to work.

6. Mystery plant

Christie wrote great mysteries so here is one for all of you. My mum gave me two of these seedlings but didn’t know what they were. Gardens hour suggested morning glory but now we have flowers I can see that was wrong. Anyone solve the case?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this literary-themed six. Any other good gardens out there in literature? Now I finished one Christie I face the problem of what to read next as everything seems inferior after.

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Six on Saturday: 22.6.19

Time for Six on Saturday. The last week has seen a little bit more sun. There have still been days of rain but not as much as the previous week. I’m spoilt for choice for selecting my six at the moment. The roses are coming to full force along with the last few allium varieties and lilies coming through behind.

1. Allium nigrum

These alliums were bought very late on in December last year when they had been reduced. They have still come through fine. I dotted these about in little groups. Quite nice having the pure white as the purple is largely going to seed now and not showing as much now. I’ve had to stake them with all of last weeks rain but they’ve all held on. The climbing rose behind featured a few weeks back is still going strong.

2. Hosta halcyon

I’ve put this hosta in the front garden. It’s been sat in its pot from winter. It was a cheap purchase out of season when it looked like a pot of dead leaves. It is one of the few blue-leaved hostas I have. I could really do with some more but this should fill a decent space. It can grow between half a metre and a metre tall so one patch should fill a good patch of ground.

3. Coleus

Alice and Amy bought me this little coleus from Tesco’s. Coleus is a tender annual in this country. I’ve got some growing from seed currently and I’m planning to use this as filler in the front garden while the ferns and hostas fill out. The bright foliage adds some strong contrast to the largely green ferns and hostas.

4. Heuchera

I bought three of this small heuchera from the local plant sale last month. They’ve been sat in their pots and felt they needed to get in the ground. These have lovely veined leaves. They are evergreen so will mean we keep some interest in winter when many of the hostas and deciduous ferns fade away. Once the area is planted up I’m probably going to a layer of mulch and then gravel as the clay soil and bare ground doesn’t look the best.

5. Lychnis Coronaria-rose campion

This silver-leaved plant did really well through the drought last year. It self-seeded around the border. I’ve moved a few patches and allowed it to form a mass clump around the parent. The little pink flowers keep going for a good number of months. The hoverflies were swarming over them last year. With a greater mass, it will hopefully bring in lots of pollinators.

6. Yellow rose

This rose came with the garden. It grows up through the choisya and repeat flowers through Summer into Autumn if the weather is mild. The buds start as little flames. They open a bright yellow before fading to a buttery creamy yellow. I wasn’t keen on it when we first moved in as it was the only yellow in the garden but I’ve come to appreciate it’s colour shift and the fact that it has reliably kept flowering.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my six. I’ve got lots of tidying to do. The extension is almost finished. Just a few tidying jobs to do then we can sit in the new garden room to look out at the abundance of Summer. Dahlia seedlings need potting on and I may put some of the larger ones in the ground now. Enjoy your weekends.

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30 days of wild: Idea 18-Listen to birdsong

With the break in the rain, the birds are back out in force. The dusk chorus has been singing away and it was a joy to listen to.  Taking a few minutes to sit and listen to birdsong is a simple pleasure but a very enjoyable one. Earlier in the year, the RSPB put birdsong in the chart with let nature sing. If for some reason you are unable to get outside or to a spot you can hear birdsong through this track and it gives a donation to the RSPB.

Robinhead

While it is nice to hear the songs I’ve been working on tuning into the bird’s songs to be able to identify through their sound. The RSPB has a new book and CD set out to help identify birdsong. Earlier in the year, I was gifted this lovely set that gives details of each bird then has tracks it plays through a built-in speaker.

For a free option, the long-running BBC Tweet of the day gives you a way to gradually build your knowledge. There is a massive back catalogue of episodes to listen to all for free. With many people following this blog for my gardening content you may enjoy Monty Don on the return of the swallows.

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30 Days Wild: Day 13-snap something blue

For today’s 30 days wild idea I’ve gone with an easy one I’ve done in previous years. Try to take a photo of something blue. If it’s a nice day you hopefully have the easy option of a quick photo of the sky.

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Or how about a cornflower.

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Or spend a bit of time chasing damselflies trying for a photo.

What can you find in nature that is blue today?

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