(1)This time of year a variety of birds flock to the garden. The come for both water and sunflower seeds. Am I being too generous? I had to pick off a couple of caterpillars with my own hand, and left it on the wire basket on the feeder. I am surprised this robin had not gobbled it up, but I think he was too busy keeping guard on his patch. As soon as the temperatures rose, birds came to the birdbath.
(2) Some may be willing to run out and cover plants with fleece, but I'm not one of them. Here Phlomis purpurea Matagallo has been severely nipped. I think with it having been very wet, it just could not shrug the icy conditions. It needs a cut back, but I wonder if left, the foliage will help protect the stems? Will the outcome be removal and something altogether hardier sought to fill the gap?
(3) At its feet a few Iris Reticulata Harmony have survived.
(5) Salix chaenomeloides/ gracilistyla 'Mount Aso' is great for a little spring cheer. I think I need to try a different pruning regime, or maybe even a Chelsea Chop. I would like the shrub to be a little bushier. The strong prune I gave it last spring has resulted in some very strong, long lax stems, albeit well covered in pink catkins. As they were emerging I was powerless to resist going out and picking off the little coverings which at that stage were balancing on the ends. Hope some botanist can come up for the name of those little bud coverings.
The other activity which has helped me shift the blues this week is thinking up items for this weekly post. Looking back over previous Six on Saturdays, I can see how plants fared in previous seasons, and realise that the garden is simply going through its usual winter blues too. Thank goodness for the Propagator who thought up this weekly get together and has persevered keeping us together. He is still running and finding things to do in his garden.