Six on Saturday 12-6-21

An abundance of growth, it always amazes me how much the garden grows in June. Feels like at least 40cm in the past week. Finally the veg are on their way (I’ll feature more of that action next week). For now, I found it very hard to choose what to feature this week. In the end, I’ve decided on just one type of plant. So below follows a series of aquilegia. From the palest of pinks….

…through a decent ‘proper’ pink…

…via purple, which always dominates the main flower beds…

…..to a good solid almost-red….

…via a colour I think I’ll describe as simply dark red….

To……well….chocolate?

And for once, a sneaky extra shot to demonstrate how these beauties really do totally take over the flower borders at this time of year.

That’s it for this week, hope you liked the simple blog this week, early summer is here and I want it to last forever. If you like Six on Saturday, do join in, there are lots of contributors on Twitter, and more via the regular blog from #SixonSaturday initiator, the great Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 5-6-21

A combination of warmth and a little damp means that everything in the garden seems to have grown about 20cm this week, expect my not-yet-planted veg, still loitering in pots. Must get them into the ground this weekend. Now that June is upon us, I’m focusing on colour this week, lots of lovely lovely colour and sumptuous blooms.

First up this week, welsh poppy. A weed perhaps? Certainly an opportunist that pops us and suns itself all over the garden.

Nicely contrasting is another thuggish ‘weed’, but one that I let grow almost anywhere, and that i find so pleasing, from afar and close up, aquilegia.

We’re almost past full late-spring rhododendron season in Scotland. The cool weather has made the season a long one, this is my favourite, just peaking now, this plant catches the late rays from the evening sun.

Back towards more purply shades, aliums don’t seem quite as prolific as in 2020, but their strong stems and wonderful flowers last a while, catch the eye, and feed the soul.

Fully back to blue for a ceanothus. Only one of my pair of plants has made it through a very harsh winter. Perhaps it’s time to strike a cutting or two from this one, as these plants are barely hardy enough for the harsh winter winds that feature here.

I will finish, where I started, with another lovely yellow. Laburnum have done their thing this week. This has been in about 4 years now. The label promised it would ‘thrive in a windy spot’. Its right on the west wall, facing the prevailing wind. Despite being blown down to the ground in it’s first spring, it has stood the test and grown itself into a very pleasing small tree.

That’s it for this week, it was so hard to choose what to put into the blog this week, early summer is here and I want it to last forever. If you like Six on Saturday, do join in, there are lots of contributors on Twitter, and more via the regular blog from #SixonSaturday initiator, the great Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 29-5-21

A very late #SixonSaturday this week as I’m just back from a trip to the west of Scotland. Feels like an immense privilege to have been on holiday for a few days. All over the Argyll coast, bluebells are in full flower. I’m not sure if it’s a good year, or if they always put on such a fabulous display, but every scrap of woodland seemed to be filled with their colour and scent. Argyll is also an amazing place for it’s coastal and woodland gardens. This week’s six is simply a set of photos from the An Cala Garden, covering just a couple of acres on Seil Island, near Oban. The weather was ‘mixed’, the midges were attending, but WOW. The primula, azelea and rhododendron were just mind blowing in their colour and vibrancy. As my partner commented, ‘one of the best gardens I have ever seen’. Nuff said.

That’s my Six for the week. If you like Six on Saturday, do join in, there are lots of contributors on Twitter, and more via the regular blog from #SixonSaturday initiator, the great Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 22-5-21

I love the idea of no-mow May, but have always ended up mowing roughly to deliver a bit of order and tidiness. As it’s rained every day this May, the lawn remains unmown. To celebrate the lush foliage that is enjoying the deluge, I’ve gone for a mostly green #SixonSaturday this week.

A favourite spot for me this week has been the greenhouse, so let’s start there. I find that its only when one stop to take a pic sometimes that one notices the details. Look at the delicate hairs all over the flower stems: this is my first tomato in flower, Latah, from www.realseeds.co.uk. This is described as a ‘sprawling bush’ so let’s see how it fairs on the greenhouse bench.

I like to try something new every year. Thanks to obtaining some spare seed from a dear friend, I’m trying dahlia from seed for the first time this year. I’m rather excited by this one. Each leaf is tinged with red, I’m looking forward to see what emerges from this plant later in the year.

Emerging from the greenhouse and along to the courtyard. Despite the icy winter, the bay tree has made it, and seems to be loving cold wet and windy weather. It has burst into flower.

Not quite green yet, a fern is doing the unfurling thing. Nature in all its mathematical beauty. Not quite green, but very nearly. I suspect this is a self-seeded bracken.

Almost there, almost purple, but in reality, my first aquilegia isn’t quite into flower yet. Such promise (at least some have stayed almost upright despite friday’s 60 mph winds.

My last choice this week is the perfect plant for a cold rainy spring. Lush and luxurious hosta. Still almost perfect, thanks to a couple of families of thrush, busy tidying up the garden’s quota of slugs and snails. What could be a better plant to end this week?

That’s my Six for the week. If you like Six on Saturday, do join in, there are lots of contributors on Twitter, and more via the regular blog from #SixonSaturday initiator, the great Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 15-5-21

Despite starting to sound like a broken record, it’s still cold. Lots of cloud, lots of rain, a little wind. Spring plants have bloomed for longer than usual, yet the early summer crew are catching up. This week, I’ll feature edibles and flowers, so much to choose from now. We’ll start with edibles. Thank goodness the frost has gone because my tatties are starting to poke up. These Shetland Black have a deep purple vein at the centre of the leaf. The potatoes themselves will be dark purple, with delicate white flesh and a purple ring a few mm from the skin. Delicious roasted.

Second this week I have wild garlic. In the garden, and the woods nearby, these plants have now come into full flower. The leaves and flowers are both nice and spicy when added to a salad, and very pretty too.

Much excitement over the last couple of days as the broad beans have begun to flower. These were sown in the greenhouse a couple of months ago and have been sulking in the veg plot for about a month. Finally, here they go.

Now to blooms. Last week, my bluebells had started. This week they are positively singing. Somewhat thugish, but so exhuberant.

The first of the hardy geranium are doing their thing. These are a joy, almost chocolate brown/purple, the plants seems to have grown from nowhere with flowers topping their 30cm stems.

And at last, clematis montana, here it comes. This variety cover many walls of the house, and the garden, these are the very first few flowers. I love spring.

That’s my Six for the week. If you like Six on Saturday, do join in, there are lots of contributors on Twitter, and more via the regular blog from #SixonSaturday initiator, the great Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 8-5-21

The cold snap continues in Fife. We’ve had marble-sized hail this week, pouring rain, and a wee bit of snow. Luckily, my tatties are not up yet…but the greenhouse is bursting with little plants that I dare not plant out. Despite the cold, the garden continues to bloom and grow. This week, I can’t help but feature mostly blooms, but also an edible that’s doing very well. I’ll start with that. “Walking onions” or “Welsh onions”, I think these are called, they are perennial, and form new little plants off the flowers at the top of the plant. These work well as a substitute for spring onions.

Second, perhaps the last blast for the grape hyacinth, though this clump seems to be going very strong still, I suspect they like the cold weather.

Another plant that is coming to the end of it’s spring season is narcissus. This is a pheasant-eye, always the last to flower, delicate and really beautiful. I always forget about them, they always appear with the hostas. Gorgeous.

At the other end of spring, my second tranche of rhododendron are beginning to do their thing. This one is understated, white with just a hint of pink, lovely in the morning light.

Having grown up in the middle of England, I’d always associated ‘apple blossom time’ with April. here’s it is certainly May, especially this year. My first blossom is just coming out, so I’m hoping the frosts ease off around now, and hope for a big crop.

Last, I can’t help but head back to blue. Bluebells. These are the dreaded Spanish type, but with a high-walled garden, I enjoy them, rather than trying to get rid of them. The wild version are saved for the local woods.

That’s my Six for the week. If you like Six on Saturday, do join in, there are lots of contributors on Twitter, and more via the regular blog from #SixonSaturday initiator, the great Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 1-5-21

The first day of May, wow, how did we get here so quickly, after the apparently endless cold winter? Despite working from home, I’m behind on my veg growing. Managed to plant most of my tatties this week, but I still have one set that’s waiting for the purple-sprouting broccoli to finish, we’ll see how they do. Talking of purple, I found myself drawn this week to the vibrant colours of the middle of spring, so we’ll start there, and end with the cool of the garden pond. First, the last week of full-on camelia. This huge shrub (2x3m) lives in almost complete shade, has been heavily frosted, and yet is heaving with blooms, still, even in May.

Last week, and this week too, I’ve admired tulips, around the garden, and in pots. This one featured last week, but now the flowers are in full bloom. I think this purple-red combo might have been an accident, but it’s a happy one.

Perennial cornflower are seriously well established here, and seem to pop up all over, from dry sunny borders, to shady corners. This is the very first bloom of the year. I love the detail of the almost-torn petals. This is a very good value plant. Starts to flower in May, once the blooms are faded it will weather a really ferocious prune and come back smiling a couple of weeks later, and again….and so on.

Back to shocking pink for another blousy bloom. Rhododendron in full flower are hard to beat for colour and they do last a few weeks. Also loved by insects, and strikingly cheerful to sit next too (shame it’s only 6 deg C in the garden). At least the colour is warming.

I wouldn’t want to forget the seasonal beauty of our garden wildlife pond. One can spend hours studying the light-footed insects that skate across it’s surface, and the tadpoles and newts in the depths below. The pond hosts just a few glorious plants, the first a butter-yellow ranunculus. A native species, it doesn’t last for long, but right now is delivering a real whack of vibrancy.

Last, but by no means least is a broader view of the pond with the first of the hostas beginning to come to life in the foreground. These last a long time, as the garden hosts several blackbird and thrush families, that have both learned to harvest slugs and snails straight from the pond. These leaves will hopefully stay whole for months to come.

That’s my Six for the week. If you like Six on Saturday, do join in, there are lots of contributors on Twitter, and more via the regular blog from #SixonSaturday initiator, the great Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 24-4-21

Spring marches on, we still have cold nights, but some warmer days this week, and the blossom is, well, blossoming. Mostly blooms therefore, for my #SixonSaturday this week. but let’s start with leafage. These are bright young shoot from a twisty hazel on the driveway, full of promise for the season ahead.

Above the hazel stands a tree that delivers one of the highlights of the year. A full-on fully blooming cherry tree, with blooms stark and stunning against the so-blue skies that we’ve experienced in another very cool, dry April.

Also near the drive are some small, sturdy azelea, doing their thing in the early spring, and being fairly innocuous for the rest of the year. Not sure I would have chosen this purple, but here it is, and I’d be reluctant to out this one.

Next up, a form of spirea, and insect-friendly ‘bridal veil’. This year I got the pruning right (really does need to be done in early summer, right after flowering), and have been rewarded with a gorgeous display.

For my fifth choice this week i’ve gone for amelanchier, what a wonderful plant, the combination of bronze foliage and white blossom starts the proper spring for me every year. I like it so much, I have another in a pot in the courtyard….this is a bloom from the larger, elderly shrub, in evening light.

Last this week, it has to be tulips, though I’m finding them tough to photograph. My favourites are always red, but they seem too saturated for a phone camera to cope. Here, instead, a variety whose name I’ve forgotten but which were promised to be ‘blue’ — more like mauve perhaps, but nice enough. I can’t get enough tulips, literally, as about half the bulbs I plant seem to disappear (probably providing mice with winter forage).

That’s my Six for the week. If you like Six on Saturday, do join in, there are lots of contributors on Twitter, and more via the regular blog from #SixonSaturday initiator, the great Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 17-4-21

A welcome surprise this week: Scotland unlocked a little (10 days ahead of the Covid-19-roadmap), allowing us to leave our county for the first time since October. Wow….to have a walk in West Lothian, what a luxury! Weather has largely been glorious this week, but with a sting, some -3 degC nights. Planting out spring veg has gone on hold, with trips to and fro from the greenhouse each morning, with plants going out into the sunshine. I’ll start my #SixonSaturday with a few of the lucky little babies. Here are some lettuce, rocket and broad-beans, in their afternoon location.

Despite the really hard frosts, there’s plenty of flowering and blossoming to choose from this week. Let’s start with euphorbia, I’m never sure I like it, yet the striking lime leaves and flowers have a freshness and vigour that’s hard to ignore.

Berries are starting to flower, and bees come to polinate them. These perfect pretty little flowers are of jostaberry. The idea is superb, a cross between blackcurrant and gooseberry, but the berries are a little annoying, need top and tailing like a gooseberry, but small, so lots of work.

Who doesn’t love a good magnolia? This one has popped into full flower, despite the hard frosts, and so far seems resistant to the cold. This is a small tree, still less than 2m after a decade in the garden. Exquisite.

I think the pear blossom will make it too, just coming into flower, pollination in progress, apparently no frost damage….last year my 200 year old tree (we think it was planted against house wall when house built) heaved with fruit, looking good for this year too so far.

Last this week, a herald of mid-spring. My garden was planted many years ago, clearly by someone with horticultural knowledge, a with range of 7 different rhododendron, each flowering in succession. They are now huge shrubs, but give a fabulous display every spring. The first one is about to burst.

That’s my Six for the week. If you like Six on Saturday, do join in, there are lots of contributors on Twitter, and more via the regular blog from #SixonSaturday initiator, the great Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 10-4-21

We went back to winter this week in Fife. -3 degC nights, 5 degC days and snow flurries for the last few days. I spent some time moving tomatoes back into the house from the greenhouse, and vulnerable new veg plants from the sunny corner, back into the greenhouse. Despite the weather, still the colours come. For my Six on Saturday this week, I’ll start and end with colour, and sandwich new growth and promise in between. This was the week (a wee bit later than usual) that the camelia got going. I have her in a shady corner, so far there are just a few flowers near the top of the 2x2m shrub. Each one is exquisite.

Second this week, one of the plants with the most obvious frost damage is gunnera. I took the blanket of old leaves off a couple of weeks ago. There’s certainly some evidence of frost burn as the leaves unfurl, but this is a HUGE plant most years: 3m across, up to 2m high, so being a bit rough with it should not be a problem in a couple of months. Rather beautiful, despite the brownish colour.

Sunny skies have featured highly this week. Despite the cold, magnolia flowers are beginning to pop out of their chubby buds and dance in the cold breeze.

I have a variety of current bushes against a sunny south-facing wall. The white currents are way ahead of the others this year, fully in flower, and being polinated by a variety of bees. There’s a tree bumble bee hiding to the right of the flowers here, it was rather resistant to being photographed, I just managed to get this one in focus.

Clematis montana features highly in my garden, adorning a range of walls, fences, and the sides of the house. This one is near the greenhouse, on a south-facing wall; the buds are plumping up nicely.

I started with colour, and I’ll end with it too. The very first tulips, here they come. I love red tulips above all other colours. I hope they cope with the frost, as there’s 4-5 more days of wintery weather to come.

That’s my Six for the week. I guess the good side of an April cold snap is that the early spring flowers last for longer. If you like Six on Saturday, do join in, there are lots of contributors on Twitter, and more via the regular blog from #SixonSaturday initiator, the great Propagator himself.