Saturday, 30 March 2019

Six on Saturday - 30 March 2019

The first of this week's Six on Saturday is the diagonal view across the back garden towards Acer Corner.  The bed on the left, and the right, the paths, the circle in fact everything except for the acer which I planted from a large container brought from our last garden within months of moving, and the Mahonia now in flower has only recently been planted.  Over the wall we have extremely quiet neighbours with a tall Holm Oak on the North Eastern corner.

The second item is a view along the shady border.  I love shade gardening and missed my patch of ferns and other shade lovers.  With only a narrow strip along the south of the plot, it is evolving.

For the third item, I present shrub of the week: Sorbaria sorbifolia 'Sem'.  The enjoyment watching the pinnate leaves emerge like colourful anemones, is savoured each day.  From the kitchen window you can see the tiers that the leaves form.  For the moment, it is posing on the gravel garden.  After I first bought this at the Bishop's Palace at last year's Rare Plants Sale it went up a pot size, and in a month or so, another large pot will be needed.

For the fourth item here is a little heirloom primula: Primula Wanda.  Its one of my friend's Kaye's Heirlooms, brought from her father's garden.  Isn't it wonderful to have an 'heirloom' which can be increased and shared around?  I have been enjoying it whatever the weather, and it is bulking up nicely.  It grows well in sun, shade or semi shade, and without doubt will be divided into three as soon as the flowers are over.  I was delighted to receive this, as this is one I had grown in my previous gardens, but had forgotten to bring it along.

The fifth item is an example of my enjoyment in finding uses for 'discarded' materials.  Here the prunnings from the Amelanchier trees in the front garden has been used as 'bower' to support the clump of Aster x frikartii 'Mönch'.  Again another plant which I grew and brought a section to the new garden.  Last summer it performed well but flopped over its neighbours a little too much.

The Sixth item is this week's gardening experiment.  The branches on the Plum Mirabelle de Nancy...I am already tasting my plums before they are even set, were growing very closely together, and I wanted a more open branching tree.  Soft green coloured raffia was wound around the branch to prevent digging into the soft bark, and then weighted down with a small rock.  I had started with a sort of art installation...with smaller rocks handing in mid air but after a little playing around opted for a more workmanlike effect.  I've seen branches braced apart with sticks but wondered whether rubbing may open wounds and allow infections to enter.

Art installation: Stone Fruit

Ridiculous enough to be 'Art'
Stones used
Plum: A Stone Fruit
Cannot be moved, a temporary 'Installation'.

Monday, 18 March 2019

In a Vase on Monday - Cyclamen

In the garden during early Spring, it's the first flowers that claim our attention.  With spring on hold here in Somerset, and gales and heavy rain taking their toll, this little pale pink cyclamen with darker outer edges, is the one that is bringing up the rear of the cyclamen coum season.  It is from one of my recent plantings and has very attractive round pewter coloured leaves.  Those leaves are not featured here as I am leaving the corm to bulk up and hopefully feed the few remaining fertilised flowers. 

The four leaves are indeed cyclamen but from entirely different ones which will flower in the autumn.  These are from Cyclamen hederifolium.  I love these cyclamen almost more for their lovely leaves.......

Borrowed from the library this book on Cyclamen has been with me for a few weeks, and now returned.  This is a book for the enthusiast...and given my limited space, or glasshouse for cultivating those that need a warmer drier atmosphere, I shall leave the rare copies available for students, botanists and serious collectors.

Another enjoyable read over the last few days has been The Keeper of Lost Things, which Cathy recommended a few weeks ago.  Cathy, as regular readers will know, is our leader in this weekly post, and as well as unfailing posting something from her garden, gathers in the comments links to posts from everyone who want to contribute.  This week she has some special blooms.

I really enjoyed The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan....and others must be eagerly waiting for borrow it.  I had finished the book, but as it was too dire to walk out to the library to renew, I tried to renew on line, but it was already reserved for someone else.  In the end, the walk and a good blow in the fresh air was quite pleasant.

As well as flowers, plants and vases, I have really enjoyed receiving recommendations for books.  Should you wish to leave a comment, how about mentioning a recent enjoyable read.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Six on Saturday - 16 March 2019

I have been spending the week, in between or even in the wind and rain, enjoying the fresh air and pottering around.  A few weeks ago I was being drawn into the false sense that spring was well on its way.  It seemed to gallop along, but now the plants are counting time.  It's quite a good thing really...why have the wonderful spring plants flourish and finish in just over a week.  Meantime, I have been rearranging my succulents.  

This week's Six on Saturday are six succulents, which spent the winter in the conservatory, there are others.  With all the gales we have had during the past week...these have been lazily sheltering behind glass.

1.    Since I first acquired this succulent it has changed its name to Haworthiopsis venosa subsp. tessellata (Veined Haworthia).

It was last potted up in 2017.  This little plant in my very best half pan: Whichford Pottery, is probably my favourite succulent.  Its very long flower spike is really amazing, but mostly I pull them off.  During the summer it is best not to have it in direct sunlight for more than a couple of hours or so.

2.   The next most impressive succulent is this 'self branching' aeonium: Aeonium Velour.  I first saw one like this growing in my 'Honeyman's' garden in Kenilworth, and begged a cutting about three years after I had first admired it.  This plant is about five years old, being the daughter of my original one.  It is now rather large, and on occasion I have dropped it, whilst moving it, this one has already 'given' a few rosettes for propagation.

I do like succulents...mind you cacti with spines, although admired in other collections, gives me the shivers.....I once fell into a big cactus when I was young, and remember having to pick out all the spines.

3.  This other self-branching aeonium, which is totally green all the year round, is a real favourite.

I first bought this one in 2010 on a visit to the Isles of Scilly.  In this pot there are four plants a generation or two later.  I had all the Aeoniums planted directly into the border in the front garden last summer.  They did very well during the long hot and dry summer.

With a little heat on only the coldest of the winter nights, they have spent the winter in the conservatory.  This plant has a mainly hidden character:  it gives off a beautiful and subtle smell for an hour or so just after midday....that of honey.  I think it must be Aeonium balsamiferum.  Mr S loves this one.

4.  Everyone will recognise Aeonium Schwarzkopf with a mixed lot.  All these were rescued for the winter.  To get this one to branch the best tool to remove the shooting tip is a finger nail.

5.  Last year I must have had over 50 Echeveria Elegans in the front border.  I just love propagating this one, and all these and more came from just one plant originally.  I had first seen this in a garden, and was given a little plant.  When it was time to uplift these, many were shared around, but I think I have kept at least half a dozen....Here are three of them in one of those little galvanised troughs which probably came with tete a tete from a supermarket.

6.  The last of the six for this week's post, is another long standing favourite:  Crassula Buddha's Temple.  I've probably posted more about this succulent over the years than any other.  Back in 2014 it even flowered.  Last year, I finally ditched the second generation plant, and went for new cuttings.  Again the plant must have yielded over thirty cuttings distributed around anyone of my gardening friends locally who were interested.

Monday, 11 March 2019

In a Vase on Monday - Windfalls

I seldom can pass on windfalls.  Usually by windfalls we mean the fruit from trees, which is picked over and if processed quickly can be turned into pies or jam or chutneys.  

Here the windfall in question is the one bloom from the one bulb of Narcissus Replete, planted last December in memory of my friend Penny.  The strong relentless winds were just too much for this bloom.  It is large with ruffled petals, hardly looking like the standard shape of narcissus, and unlike many other daffodils I seem to be able to tolerate the gentle smell.  The leaves are from the  Epimedium x versicolor Sulphureum.  I cut off all the leaves at the weekend, and managed to stop some leaves from being blown across the garden.  

Hasn't the bird song been wonderful this spring?  At least it has been in my garden.  This little bird is a whistle which I have had for years and years.

Cathy has a very pretty white and blue arrangement featuring white go and see what she and other have to offer.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Six on Saturday - 9 March 2019

For the first time I am joining The Propagator.  Each week he posts six things regarding his garden, and he has rules.....but there is plenty of room for wiggling...worms could be involved.  As with my other gardens, I am concentrating on improving with mulches, and am already finding within a year a big increase in worm activity....


Here are my six for this week:

1.           Corydalis Beth Evans in full flower, overshadowing the little white Corydalis Malkensis on the other side of the pot.  Both foliage and flowers are quite lovely, and it has only taken a short time for all the growth to emerge from dormant tubers. The corydalis, with shrub are only temporarily growing in this pot, awaiting their permanent planting in the new garden.

Close up view of the flowers:

2.     Japanese Umbrella Pine Sciadopitys verticillata, which is still in a pot.  Since I acquired it after a lecture, it has been potted up twice.  I have been considering what to do with it next. Being able to move it around the garden and 'staging' it with other plants has been a great plus point.  I am just wondering also whether to cut out the main upward leader and have its side branches splay out.

3.     These red polyanthus I believe are 'heritage' ones and a very small plant was chosen for me a few years back by my little grand daughter  when we were visiting The Vine. Whenever this flowers I am reminded of this.  Each year I split it up, and now have a bright accent in early spring.

4.  Another plant that I have kept going and increased is this chance pink primrose seedling that I found growing on my friend's farm several decades ago.  It is so healthy and has been split on so many occasions and is a lovely one to share with friends.

5.   In the newly formed border by the conservatory, Salix Mount Aso is doing its thing.  I read that it is wise to trim in order to encourage new shoots.  I'll wait a couple of weeks before doing this, as the pink catkins are a delight at present. 

6.  The tulip bulbs with their contrasting red running stitch through the blue green leaves hold promise for the coming weeks.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Daffodils and remembering Penny

One is always told 'plant daffodil bulbs early autumn, as soon as they come into sale'.  Last winter the rules were defied, since it was December when I was given one bulb of Narcissus Replete at the gathering to celebrate Penny's Life.

All winter I was wondering what effect the late planting would have on the bulb.  Here it is, and it is displaying is two toned petals starting in the first week of March.  I understand that it is a great naturalising bulb and each year there will be an increasing display.

Only today my sister who lives abroad was asking about my daffodils.  I have yet to establish good clumps similar to ones I have left behind.  Her question prompted me to go up and look into the centre of this pretty bloom.

Monday, 4 March 2019

In a Vase on Monday - The Start of Spring

Officially or in any case what is generally accepted in the UK the first of March is the start of Spring.  We have had a couple of warm sunny weeks in February, and now wet and windy returns.

Yesterday we had gales and rain as Storm Freya went over, and it is then that I went out to rescue a few blooms, as I thought that by today they would have been smashed to pieces.

The two stems of the starburst daffodil Rip van Winkle are the last from that clump.  Before it started to rain they were doing pretty well, but with rain and gales these two had to be picked off the soil, and showered off.  All the other blooms from Rip van Winkle had been used for posies over the last two weeks.

The two little tete a tete daffodils are the last to flower from a clump planted last spring.  I have three little pots of ready grown ones to place amongst the border this week.  The largest daffodil is in reality still a very small one: Narcissus pseudonarcissus.  Joining them are leaves from the Mahonia soft caress, a stem from Euphorbia x martini Ascot Rainbow and a few stems of Erysimum 'Bowles's Mauve.  The fern is Polystichum setiferum Bevis.

Going out to choose and cut flowers is getting me into the garden and noting down jobs to be done.  For example the new crosier shaped fronds are starting to unfurl but they are hidden from view by the surrounding older fronds.  I am in a dilemma as to whether I ought to leave the lovely but older green fronds or cut them off, and the Erysimum has outgrown its position but the early flowers are being visited by the bumblebees.  Am I to cut it down down or leave it?  Perhaps I am just in a dithering phase, but I am sure I shall get round to it this week, and clear the epimedium leaves at the same time, in readiness for new growth and flowers.

The stems of the Amelanchier which I posted look pretty with their little shoots of blooms....but they are not as well formed as the ones on the trees will be in a couple of weeks or so.  They are still worthy or decorating the room for the afternoon Sunday Tea ceremony.  Cathy has an oriental arrangement for her Strawberry and Cream go and have a look!