Six on Saturday: 14.11.20-Wooden tools

We have had a busy week. Alice’s year group is closed now as a child in her class tested positive for Covid so she has 2 weeks at home. So, Amy and I are splitting our work time to home school while returning to work to school-school. Alice was initially upset to be off and then she realised this means she’s getting lots of time with us doing lessons again.

So onwards with this weeks six. I thought this week I would have a look at a few wooden tools for the garden. A new shop opened in town two days before lockdown. So, sadly it has had to close. It is stocking lots of wooden sculptures and gifts, but it also has many garden tools at cheap prices.

1. Dibber

We have quite a bit of bulb planting to go and Alice has got the hang of using my dibber so we can have 2 so she can have her own. We have a mass of Iris reticulata to pot up so that will speed the job up.

2. Trug basket

I thought this might be useful to carry some of the tools out and keep track of where they are. I might stain it before I use it just to hide the muck a bit.

3. Cane topper

I’ve got this cane topper ready for next year to erect for the sweet peas. I’ll need to get some canes to slot in the holes. Ideally, I’d like to make it a little taller than what I used this year. But this year was making do with what was around with lockdown. I might ask if they can make some smaller single cane toppers as be nice to have some instead of the less attractive rubber ones. Though they may be practical they aren’t the nicest.

4. Yew pot tamper

This tamper is used for pressing the compost down and smoothing it off in pots and seed trays. It was supposedly made from a yew grown by the great plantswoman Gertrude Jekyll. I like to think some of her talents rub off on the plants started using it.

5. Yellow rose

The yellow rose has managed its second flush of flowers. Very late on but much appreciated. Some years it has managed a third flowering but I don’t think I’ve fed and mulched it as much this year.

6. Dahlia Tamburo

I think this was a basal cutting I took from Dahlia tamburo earlier this year. Either that or Black Jack. The dahlias are still going. The dahlia flowers are lasting well currently as we’ve had dull dry days. The wet days bring the petals off and the warm sunny days lead to the fading. I’ve still got quite a lot of dahlias looking good. But I could do with them being frosted now so I can lift the ones coming out and put blubs in. A lot will be getting left in the ground and getting a mulch but the potted ones come out.

We might be on lockdown but we still have Alice’s dance lesson coming virtually through zoom so I will be busy for part of the morning. Then Alice is asking for a home-school lesson. She doesn’t have a concept of the weekend giving me a day off. Hopefully might manage a few jobs in the garden over the week if I can persuade Alice that they are part of her home-schooling. Enjoy your weeks.

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Six on Saturday: 7.11.20-new patio seating area

Going back quite a few months we won vouchers from woodblocx for our efforts during grow your own for wellbeing week. I left off spending the vouchers until the building work had finished. I finished off building it last week and moving the patio furniture around. I went for a double bench and it feels like a nice solid bit of kit. Obviously, we will be lacking visitors currently with lockdown. As both me and Amy work in education this lockdown doesn’t look to change our daily routines much as we are still heading to work. So, we won’t get to enjoy the new seating area much for a little while.

1. The view from above

From above you can see the new seating area is taking up a decent space on the patio so everything has had a move around to accommodate. A few plants have been moved into the borders. We have Alice’s mud kitchen given its own space behind the bench and then the log stores have been placed opposite each other. The patio concrete is quite bad and it is something we’d like to get paved at some point in the future.

The seating area

The seating area is a decent size. Two of us can comfortably sit on each bench. The corner space is designed to be used as a planter but we thought it would be more useful as a table so I have built the tabletop additionally. The top lifts on and off so we can potentially use it as storage. Though it quite heavy so probably something that doesn’t come in and out much like the umbrella stand that will be away for the winter. The woodblocx work a bit like Lego. Each wooden block has holes in and then you put plastic dowels in so they then fit together like Lego bricks to make the design. It feels pretty robust. We’ll probably look at getting some bench cushions next year when the weather warms up and we want to sit out more.

3. Behind the bench

I have used the backspace to put a few shade lovers. These ferns and hostas are shaded by the bench and wall. These will also provide a bit of a wind buffer. I did have heuchera on here last winter but when I moved them back after the builders finished I found vine weevil. I have disposed of them and treated the garden with nematodes. It is just warm enough they may still work but I will need to keep a close eye on things in spring.

4. Alice’s mud kitchen

The mud kitchen has gained a bit of space. It is largely filled with charity shop finds. Currently, she is mainly making perfume from the deadheaded dahlias. To one side I have an acer and hostas, to the other side the fern pictured in the previous photo.

5. The log store

The log stores have been moved right along the wall close to the French doors. I put hanging basket hooks on previously for solar lights. These were cheap ones and half have stopped working. I’m keeping my eye out for some decent replacements. The mini-greenhouse has a few cuttings on the go and a few Digitalis lutea and a few heucheras I’m trying from seed.

The log stores are also acting as wind and sun buffers for an Acer palmatum ‘seiryu’. With our sea winds, I shouldn’t really bother with Acers but I have persisted anyway. Eventually, I will create enough buffers for them to thrive.

On the opposite fence to the bench is the water butt. It’s 300 litres and has served us well over this summer with a large amount of our watering coming from this. I reckon one more decent one and I could probably manage without using the tap but Amy needs bringing around to this idea. This area has gathered a collection of plants that don’t currently have a place. There are two large dahlias that I am waiting to be frosted. Then they can be lifted and I’ll sort this area properly.

So, that rounds out the patio. I still need to tidy some of it up but I’m sure the bench will get plenty of use. We Christened it on bonfire night with a mini-bonfire, marshmallows and sparklers. I hope you are all having good weekends and keeping well.

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Six on Saturday: 31.10.20-Autumn planter

Well today we enter tier 2 in my local area. Though this doesn’t really change anything as we haven’t had anyone else in the house for a while and we have a small child and no child care so going out to bars with other people wasn’t a big part of our life. But we’ve still had plenty of fun this week with our snail and the whale adventure, tree planting with the promise, and a Halloween trail at Burton Agnes. So at least we’ve got out before we have our options slightly restricted.

I saw a few weeks ago that Mr Plant Geek AKA Michael Perry was running a competition to create an autumn planter. I thought it would make a nice little weekend project with Alice. We had a big empty pot ready and I had a vague idea of plants I wanted. We had a good wander of the garden centre to find suitable plants deciding on our choices together. Then a decent slab of carrot cake for me and brownie for Alice before returning to get to work.

1. Callicarpa

Amy had wanted a callicarpa last year but I resisted as it is a pretty boring plant for much of the year. The leaves are nothing to shout about. The flowers are alright but not exactly a show stopper. Where they excel is the autumn berries. As you can see they are like nothing else. Masses of small purple berries cover the plant in autumn. On there own it’s a pretty boring plant so it needs really companions to provide interest the rest of the year or to be used as a temporary display.

2. Heuchera

I wanted something evergreen with a bright leaf to provide interest through autumn and winter. This one fitted the bill. The wider leave provides a contrast in shape and colour to the callicarpa and the grass. I was looking for a brighter red one but they didn’t have any currently.

The veining isn’t as striking as some but will be more prominent at other times of the year.

3. Carex

This is a nice short grass. I have a pot of carex ice dance which has stayed reliably evergreen through the winter. The short thin spikes contrasting with the other elements of the pot.

4. Trailing pansy

Alice wanted a few of these pansies. We put one in her bee pot from a few weeks ago and dotted a few around the edge of this planter. I’m not a massive fan of this sort of bedding plant but it will add some nice bursts of colour to the pot as they spill over the edge. The colour she selected is working well with the other plants and I think it will improve as the autumn goes on and they fill out.

I topped the pot with pebbles to stop splashback on the wall if it needs watering and to keep it all looking neat. It acts as a mulch keeping some moisture in reducing the need to water, not that this matters currently.

6. The overall look

I think we selected plants that look attractive together. It should stay looking good through the darker months and be a nice sight out of the back door. They are complementing each other nicely.

And here are the two of us looking proud next to our work. Alice really wants to win the cushion for the first prize so we’ll see how it goes. Whether we win or not it was nice planting it up together and talking through the plants with Alice and selecting options together at the garden centre. You can also see Alice’s bee pot she filled with tulips a few weeks back. She agreed to put a pansy in so it doesn’t have to sit looking like an empty pot for half the year.

We had a good time making our planter together and Alice stayed out to help me with other garden jobs after. We got a few more things planted and she helped sweep the patio and give the windows a clean after all the dust from the builders. A good productive afternoon. Fingers crossed we win as she is very excited by the cushion to a point where I will have to buy her a cushion if we don’t win. But even if we don’t we can take pleasure in our planter over the darker months of the year.

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Six on Saturday: 24.10.20

We’ve made it to half-term. A week ahead with the family. We’ve got a few days out planned. Possibly a garden visit or two. I should get a chance to get back up to date on garden jobs and put the patio back in order after the building work.

1. Autumn wreath

Amy attended an autumn wreath workshop last weekend. The end result is now hung on the door. I think she did a pretty good job. It’s a nice sight to be welcomed home to.

2. Rose scarlet Paul

This climbing rose isn’t generally a repeat flowerer but it has managed to produce a couple of new buds. A pleasant surprise hidden at the back of the border.

3. The lawn

After a grumble about the lawn last week I got on and gave it a cut and edge. It has been left to grow for the last month or two while the building work was going on. It was quite overgrown and is still looking tufty but better than it was. I will look at giving it a good scarify and seeding again with an autumn grass mix.

4. Late dahlias-orange

Another of my seed grown dahlias has kicked into gear and flowered. I think this might be its first burst of the year. Better late than never. I think this was one of the cactus mix dahlias.

5. Bishop’s children dahlia

Another seed grown dahlia that has been slow to flower but it is another beauty. I may leave it in the ground to see if the tuber can have a chance to bulk out.

6. Potentilla ‘William Rollison’

I bought a few plants on an offer at the garden centre. As there was a discount on buying several perennials I let Alice choose one. She went with this Potentilla. Not really something I’ve ever considered before. Part of the rose family it’ll make change from my daisy family rich borders. The flowers are similar to strawberry flowers but semi-double and bright orange. They are apparently liked by bees.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks six. I’m looking forward to getting the time to do a few garden jobs this week. Enjoy your weekends.

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Six on Saturday: 17.10.20 Derek Jarman

I have recently read a number of books that have mentioned Derek Jarman and his garden at Dungeness. I had a vague knowledge of the seaside garden he created. The garden plants faced tough conditions needing to survive salt conditions. I picked up his garden book wanting to know why so many people held this book in such high regards. I devoured it very quickly. It features images of the garden and Derek, poems and descriptions of the garden and plants that thrived. He may be better known for his films and sexuality but this is a wonderful garden book. While my garden doesn’t face as harsh seaside conditions as his, my garden is also by the sea and I took early to collecting items from the beach. The ideas in his garden have influenced others who I think have probably influenced my garden before I was even aware of his. I probably have lusher conditions but we have some commonalities that I thought I’d explore.

1. Lawns

Lawns, it seems to me, are against nature, barren and often threadbare – the enemy of a good garden. For the same trouble as mowing, you could have a year’s vegetables: runner beans, cauliflowers and cabbages, mixed with pinks and peonies, shirley poppies and delphiniums; wouldn’t that beautify the land and save us from the garden terrorism that prevails.

This is a passage early on in the book that brought me right on side. I would happily cut down the lawn. While there is sometimes a need for negative space there are other ways of achieving this. However, I have been told we need a lawn while Alice is little to play on. I’m sure she’d have more fun in a jungle of plants. Hide and seek is boring with a standard lawn in the middle. Derek’s conditions would have made a lawn pretty much impossible to make it look good. Our lawn is overgrown as I’ve left it while the builders are working. I did claim a bit of the lawn when I built a raised bed to grow a few bits during the first lockdown. We have a few sprouts forming and then I will probably dismantle. The lawn is going to need a bit of care after that to get it back in order. Far too much effort for something I don’t really like.

2. Driftwood

Derek’s garden made use of many pieces of driftwood found along his stretch. They stand around the Dungeness garden like standing stones and as pieces of sculpture. We have a number of large pieces we have brought back from the beach and many smaller pieces. A few are dug into the border with the plants surrounding.

3. Found objects

The garden at Dungeness was filled with lots of found objects from walks. Our garden has been filled with many odds and ends from the beach. Amongst my favourite are the brick spires that I created to stop the seagulls landing and digging up plants. The metal bars threaded through are reinforcing bars for concrete. They are gradually gaining a layer of rust which I think adds to the look.

4. Seeds

I have got a number of seeds that are about to be started that would have graced the Dungeness garden. I am trying a number of types of sea holly. These formed part of our wedding flowers. I have a few in the border but they are not very exciting forms. I’m hopeful Miss Wilmott’s Ghost will take. It’s a white form that is very pretty. The story goes that Miss Wilmott used to carry around the seed and scatter it in peoples gardens if she thought the borders needed a bit of livening up. The other Dunganess staple I’m going to attempt is Crambe Maritima-sea kale. I want this for the dry raised beds I’m planting up at work. These are supposedly erratic in germinating and can take a long time so I don’t know if I’ll have success but I like to try new plants.

5. Metal

Derek Jarman’s garden had many twisty pieces of metal found on his walks. I have a few but have to be careful with a small child around. We do have some rusty metal around.. This decoration was made with a charity shop purchase and a rusty pole we had around.

6.Crowded borders

Other paradises: Christopher Lloyd’s Great Dixter up the road, Gardens that deny paradise: Hidcote Manor, known to us as Hideouscote, which is so manicured that not one plant seems to touch its neighbour. The National Trust must have a central nursery as all their gardens look like that.

You won’t find this in Great Dixter; It’s shaggy. If a garden isn’t shaggy, forget it.

I certainly couldn’t be accused of over tidiness and like many people with small gardens, I have filled every inch with plants. I’ve moved a few plants around in the front garden. I had two patches of Hakonechloa macra that had been buried by other growth. I’ve moved them to edge of the path to contrast with the Ophiopogon. Then I’ve bulked them out with some I bought from Wassand Hall’s plant bench.

The scaffolding came down this week so I have started the process of tidying the patio up and getting the garden back in order. It is looking nice. I’m rearranging the log stores, Alice’s mud kitchen and the mini-greenhouse. We have a seating area bench being delivered in a few weeks. So I’m aiming to have an area of practical stores and a seating area on the edge of the patio to look out onto the garden. I’d mentioned last week that I was looking to make a living wall off the wood store. So a few projects to get on with. I am looking to plant up a large pot with an autumn display this weekend with Alice. We could do with a good bright heuchera to finish it off. I’ll probably feature the results next week. Unless it looks terrible. Enjoy your weekends.

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Six on Saturday: 10.10.20

Welcome to the weekend and this weeks six on Saturday. There have been lots of new people joining in with six on Saturday, particularly on Twitter. If you don’t know what it’s all about, check out the guide from the founder. It’s been a busy week for me as I’ve covered extra shifts at work which has been lovely working with different children but has meant I haven’t got on with any of the jobs I wanted to in the garden. Even if I hadn’t been working I would probably have tred carefully doing any jobs this weeks as we have had lots of rain and if I’m not careful I will turn the garden into a quagmire. The scaffolding is still up from the builders and they have a few finishing jobs to do. But they aren’t going to while we are having days of hailstones.

1. Dryopteris sieboldii

After featuring a rather beautiful but possibly tender fern last week I thought I’d feature a tougher specimen. This one originates from China, Japan and Korea. It is fully hardy, drought-tolerant though a slow coloniser making it well suited to pots. I have a number of forms of Dryopteris though this one is distinct from any of the others with its finger-like fronds.

2. Allium amethystinum ‘forelock’

I picked out a new allium to try. This grows globes much like many others and then forms tufts on the top. A little strange. They are around half a metre in height so should be good for the middle of the border. I think I may start them in individual plastic pots and then move them to spots in the border in spring when I can see where they will look good.

3. Allium siculum (Nectaroscordum)

Not one I’ve grown before but I have seen them in many gardens. The hanging flowers are quite attractive. Like most alliums, it is loved by bees.

4. Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’

It often feels like I miss out on autumn as many of the trees and shrubs have the leaves blown off by our strong winds before they have a chance to change colour but this little ornamental cherry is doing well. I recently moved it into the ground. It is currently too crowded but I’m going to be lifting some of the dahlias around it soon so it will have a bit more space when the spring blossom returns.

5. Ornamental kale-Brassica oleracea

In order to add a bit of interest after the dahlias have gone, I got a tray of ornamental kales. I saw these around a few gardens in the neighbourhood last year and they seemed to be doing well in peoples gardens. So, I thought I’d give them a try.

6. Fuchsia hanging pot

I planted this fuchsia in the borders as it said it was a shrub variety. However, it seems to want to trail so I’ve put it in one of these hook pots that I can attach to the wood store. I can gradually build up a living wall type set up on it. I’m not a massive fan of fuchsia but currently, they are providing some of the best colour in the garden.

Hopefully, I might manage a few of the garden jobs this weekend. I won’t manage anything much today but might manage a bit tomorrow. A bit of a rushed six after a busy week but hopefully have some time to rest over the weekend. Alice’s dance class this morning so I’m going to sit and read Derek Jarman’s the garden. Enjoy your weekends!

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Six on Saturday: 3.10.20 astrantia fest

The rain is coming down now. We have a week ahead of rain so probably won’t get on with much gardening this week. I was going to get a few things moved and planted yesterday but I got a call from work asking if I could come in early to cover. So the garden job list is building up. This week I’ve gone a bit astrantia heavy and almost all shade-loving options.

1. Building work

The builders have almost finished. The render is on. An extra line of tiles has been added to make up for the extra insulation on the outside. Hopefully, it will be tied up soon so we can get things back in order and start to move pot plants back.

It has created a lot of dust on some of the plants where they had their builder’s rubble bag. But the rain has come down and washed it off now.

2. Astrantia major ‘Alba’

This went in the front garden a month or so ago and while it is a bit floppy with the wind and rain of the last few weeks it is establishing well. While the main focus of the shaded front garden is foliage it’s nice to have a few flowers. The whites of these really stand out for the contrast against the other plants. Perfect shade plant.

3. Astrantia major ‘Claret’

This was Alice’s purchase from our recent trip to Scampston. It’s a wonderfully rich red. The photos don’t really do it justice. Ones do light, ones too dark.

4. Astrantia major ‘Margery Fish’

Also known as ‘Shaggy’. Named ‘shaggy’ by the great plantswoman herself but known better by her own name. I bought some of these seed as an add on to another order. I’ve not had much luck with trying to save seed from astrantia so I thought I try and buy some and see if they do any better. This is a spikey white variety. It’s a little different from Alba which has green edging to the petals. These are pure white. It also goes by the name ‘Hattie’s pincushion’ which entertained me as it’s my mum’s name. Hattie, not pincushion. They seem to take a little time germinating and can need periods of cold, so ideally they need to go in the fridge if not germinating. Our fridge is too small for that though so they’ll just move inside and outside if they aren’t germinating.

5. Coniogramme emeiensis

This is a Chinese native originating from the slopes of Mount Emei.  Plant profiles suggest it is tender at H3 or H4. My suspicion is that it won’t remain evergreen but should return in spring as it would experience -10 and sometimes lower in its natural environment. I’m split between placing it in a pot close to the heat of the house or in a sheltered bordered spot. The foliage is so striking for a fern that I hope I can keep it going. I reckon it probably just hasn’t been trialled enough to rate it hardier but we will see.

6. Actaea simplex ‘Brunette’

This is another native to China along with Siberian regions of Russia, Manchuria, Mongolia, Korea and Japan. Reliably hardy and another shade lover. Brunette is a more compact form. This was another purchase from Spampston. They had it growing in the borders. The contrast between the leaves and white flowers is very attractive. I am going to clear some rather thuggish hardy geraniums so I can place with a backdrop of euonymus on one side and ferns behind so the dark leaves should stand out. The ferns are reliably evergreen so they provide constant year-round interest. It spreads by rhizomes so I’m hoping it should be able to claim a little area here.

We are heading out to Alice’s dance lessons and then to the garden centre to collect some craft materials Alice wants to make Halloween decorations and the Works bookshop is based in the garden centre. So we should be able to pick up some coloured card and other bits. Not specifically after any plants today but we’ll see what specials we get directed through and whether I can resist.

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Six on Saturday: 26.9.20

It’s been a week of contrasts. The first half of the week was glorious sunshine. The second half of the week has been hailstones, torrential rain and strong winds. This has put a halt to the building work. They made a good start but they can’t do the render until there are a few dry days together. The wind has crushed a few plants but hopefully most will recover alright.

1. Tulip pot

Alice bought her tulips last week but she wanted a really nice pot. She won a garden centre voucher back in May for National Children’s Gardening Week that we hadn’t spent yet. So, we went to the local garden centre and she chose this bee pot and we got the tulips planted last Sunday before the weather turned.

2. Wild about weeds competition

I also had some good news this week that I came 2nd place in a competition! I entered Jack Wallington’s wild about weeds competition. The aim of the competition was to show a weed within a plantings scheme. This was the photo I entered showing Asplenium within the front garden.

3. Sambucus racemosa

I planted this earlier in the year. It’s still only small but the lovely bright foliage is stunning right now. The foliage is working well against the darker dahlias foliage.

It is looking particularly nice against the Fuschia next to it.

4. Hanging basket

The hanging basket was replaced with a few fuschias I grew from cuttings. They’ve been slow to get going but they have finally realised I am growing them for their flowers.

5. Leptinella squalida and Acer palmatum ‘seiryu’

I have combined this Acer with Leptinella squalida ‘Platt’s black’.

‘Platt’s black seems to be getting marketed as black moss. It isn’t really a moss but it does act as a ground cover plant. The foliage is small and fern-like in appearance. It’s actually part of the Asteraceae family, the daisies. It does flower with small brown flowers. Hopefully, it will spread to fill the base of the pot.

I wanted to see if the finer filigree leaves hold up better to my drying sea winds. It will still need a sheltered spot. But in theory, small leaves of this nature should lose less water and be more tolerant of the winds though it will still need a sheltered spot.

6. The dry garden

I have volunteered to tidy several of the planters at work. They have got a bit worn over the last year and just need a bit of a spruce up. They are outside the nursery and have a compost mix of sand and soil in. They are in full sun and will not see much watering for periods. Currently, there are a few lavenders healthy enough and a few sempervivums, a broom and a patch of Festuca grass. So I figure it makes sense to plan for dry garden conditions. The existing plants are mainly silver as many drought-tolerant plants have silver foliage. I have started reading Beth Chatto’s book, “The dry garden” to gain better knowledge. I largely garden on clay and my favourite area to work is my shaded front garden. So these planters are pretty much the extreme opposite of what I normally work with. I grow a few alpines and succulents in pots. I think it would look nice to find the handful of darker options to contrast with the existing silver plants. I’ve got a few stonecrops and sempervivums that can be split to use. It does feel a bit ironic to be planning a dry garden during the wettest week in months.

We are planning a visit to Scampston Walled gardens tomorrow so hopefully, the weather will hold off long enough for us to have a nice day. The gardens include both Capability Brown designed areas and Piet Oudolf designed areas so a bit of a contrast. I’m sure I will end up reporting back on it if we do go. Enjoy your weekends whatever you are up to.

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Six on Saturday: 19.9.20

The building work has started properly now. We have stacks of materials around the garden. It is difficult getting to a few areas but they reckon they will be done by the end of next week so that seems hopeful. I’d mentioned in my blog on Burnby Hall that I think my RHS exam went well. I need to get the next assignment done. This unit is around compost and plant nutrients so it is quite a useful unit with plenty of chances to apply the knowledge practically.

1. Air plant

I’ve had two air plants in the spare room that have survived a good while yet and saw this one at the garden centre. They have gone from being a speciality purchase to being sold on the counter as an extra like a novelty cactus. An improvement on the googly-eyed cactus though. This one has gone in the bathroom where it will get a burst of humidity each day to keep it going and then the odd spray.

2. Tulips

Taking Alice to school she noticed the florist have their tulip bulbs for sale now. She had asked a few weeks back about getting a few new ones. I hadn’t really planned to add any more tulips as I have quite a lot that seem to be returning. She choose Giuseppe Verdi, a short yellow and red Kaufmann tulip that flowers in early spring. Then Chopin which is yellow with a red streak. It is supposedly perennial but we’ll see. She has requested that they go in a pot, but a nice one. We’ll look at getting them in today. Not the most exciting photo I have featured within my six. But, if I don’t record what goes in the ground I won’t be able to look back to work out what they are.

3. Watering can

I’ve been after a new watering can for a while. My larger watering can doesn’t fit up to the water butt tap and the smaller watering can is cracking. This new one feels nice and solid and should last a good while.

4. Hydrangea libele

I moved this hydrangea into the ground back in February. It suffered a bit with frost but it bounced back and seems alright. Last year a lot of the flowers were hidden in the foliage whereas it seems to be sorting itself out with a handful of the lacecap heads opening up.

The white bracts are pretty with a centre made up of a mixture of blue and pink.

5. Japanese anemome ‘honorine jobert’

This was planted as a reduced bargain last year and didn’t do very much. It is planted in a spot where a line of hebes used to grow. I think this has meant it has struggled a bit to establish but it is hanging on in there and has flowered. In late autumn or spring, I’ll add a bit more mulch around it to improve the soil conditions.

6. Iris unguicularis

A few people featured these irises last winter and I liked the fact that they flower during winter when little else is. I’ve managed to get hold of two cultivars. Mary Barnard is a velvety blue flower that will flower in February or March. It has an RHS award of merit for being reliable. Then Walter Butt has lavender coloured flowers that flower in December or January. It is apparently the most scented of the unguicularis so that should make it a nice treat for by the back door in the winter months. They are currently placed out of the way while the building work goes on.

I’ve got a few jobs to get started on now. I’ve given the front garden a good weed over but I need to try and work around the builder’s materials to check over the back garden. There are a few bulbs to get in the ground. But, I reckon I should have time to get back up to date after focusing on exam revision. Time to get cracking.

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Six on Saturday: 12.9.20

I have made it through my first week at work. It’s been lovely. I have the first of the RHS exams next week. I am feeling confident of passing but I’d like to get the commendation but we’ll see. WordPress has made the update to the new editor for writing my blogs. So far it is very clunky, sections I’ve written keep vanishing so I’m hoping I can change it back or it improves rapidly as this was a pain to write. I hope you all appreciate it.

1. Scaffolding

The builders are returning to finish our rendering. This has been an ongoing problems since last year. The builders did the job poorly putting internal insulation on the outside of the house and then rendering over. This all has to come off and then another team of builders who seem to know what they are doing are fixing it. It means the garden is going to be a bit of a mess for a while as a lot had to come off the patio ready for the work.

2. Front planters

I have two planters either side of the front door. Into these I placed hydrangea runaway brides. One has thrived. The other has shrivelled. Not sure exactly why. They were both suffering slightly with chlorosis but they’ve both had the same feed. They both get watered at the same time and have similar conditions.

I have cut back the one that has shrivelled. It may return next year but I’m not holding out much hope soI have moved some cylamen in to fill the gap for now. The foliage of the cyclamen being one of my favourite autumn plants.

Only one is flowering currently but they look to be a red and a white one.

3. Pot Rose

Alice has been going past the florist each day on her way to school and has been asking if we can get one of these little pot roses. As we’d made it through a week of work and school I indulged her.

Not necessarily a colour I’d choose but it looks nice enough. We’ll keep it inside to flower and then try transferring it outside to see if it can come back again.

4. Mouse

I went looking in the shed for a potlast Sunday and knocked this little mouse into the bird feed box. I kept it in a box so Alice could have a look and then released it back. They don’t do any harm in the shed. The bird food is all in metal tins and I’d rather they were out in the shed than coming in the house.

5. Bishop’s Children dahlia

This was another of the Bishop’s Children dahlia grown from seed this year. There has been a variety of colours from bright red, through pink and orange and yellow. This one seems to have developed as a partial double form.

6. Asters

The asters are coming into flower now. This is a tall variety that is wedged behind a hebe and sambucus.

And now they’re flowering the insects are happy.

Well, this was painful to write in the new editor. There is no spell checker and trying to read back through it leaps around so I expect complaints from my mother about mistake. I will be getting on with my last burst of exam revision this weekend so I may not get around to reading everyone else’s six blogs until after Monday. Enjoy your weekends.

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