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.

Six on Saturday 3-4-21

On Friday, Scotland moved it’s Covid-19 instruction from “stay at home” to “stay local”, so I celebrated by visiting someone else’s garden; ‘Backhouse of Rossie’ who host a national collection of daffodils. It was my first garden visit in 6 months, a bright spring day, and it inspired me to come home and look more closely at my own little collection. This week, therefore, I give you daffodils. As a preview, I’ve no idea what the varieties are called. Happy to be educated if anyone else knows?

First up, near the house are some fairly traditional flowers, with a solid yellow colour and firm snout.

Next, hiding on the driveway, are just one little cluster of delicate, pure white flowers. The long thin petals make them look slightly startled. I love the simplicity of the colour and form.

Third, wider outer petals and a robust, almost pink-orange centre, allow these flowers to bring instant joy. How could you not smile when you see these lovely blooms?

For my fourth, we’re back to a fairly standard yellow trumpet, this time with pale outer petals, each one slightly twisted so that this flower has a much more three-dimensional aspect.

Fifth this week, a combination of wide, white outer petals, and bright orange centres should be stunning, but these flowers have a habit of pointing downwards, so I’m a bit less keen on these. They look great, like this, from a blackbird’s eye view.

Last for my mini daffodil festival, these flowers offer a frilly trumpet of the palest yellow, set against broad white petals. A little fussy, but they smell sweetly and are holding up well against strong cold easterly winds.

That’s my Six for this week. Here’s a bonus though, these, and a few other varieties, look lovely in a vase. If you live in Fife, a local important collection of daffs can be seen at Backhouse of Rossie (backhouserossie.co.uk) and you’re allowed to visit under current restrictions.

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 27-3-21

It may be spring but it’s been 6 degC out there this week, and 25mph wind, hail, and even a few minutes of snow. A classic Scottish spring. The flowers and buds are ploughing on regardless. My #SixonSaturday this week feature the joys of their colour and resilience. First, one of the loveliest of spring bulbs, I’ve never liked the name snake’s head fritillary, but the flowers are so delicate, and the patterns so perfect.

There are still winter flowers on the go, the detail on the viburnum flowers is worth a close look. Each little flower demonstrates exquisite anatomical detail.

Daffodils, for me there’s nothing better. I’m going to show them every week that they manage to keep blooming (could be a good long season given current temperatures). These are a different variety from last week. I don’t know the name, slightly conical centre and pale outer petals.

Still not much blossom showing here. I own a very old pear tree (if it’s as old as the house, it’ll be more than 200 years). Looks like the first blossom will come very soon, the buds have burst.

Another winter beauty, seeds are starting to set in some of the flowers on the hellebore. Almost time to say goodbye for another year.

I’m going to end this week’s six with my new favourite (sorry fritillary), the drumstick primula. What colour, what form, what’s not to love?

That’s my Six for this week. Do join in, there are lots of contributors on Twitter, and more via the regular blog from #SixonSaturday initiator, the great Propagator his-self.

Six on Saturday 20-3-21

I am thrilled that we’re in a period of stable calm weather for the spring equinox. The weather forecast for the last fews days has been ‘calm but cloudy’, and frequently proven wrong with the sun showing itself and temperatures rising to mid teens. Reminds me of spring 2020….mmm, there’s another anniversary coming up this week: lockdown 1 . Wow, a year! This week’s #SixonSaturday will not dwell on anniversaries but look forward to the gardening season ahead. First, we found a local craftsman to refurbish our cast-iron-ended table, bench and chairs. Thanks ‘St. Andrews Handyman’, these are just lovely.

Next, amelanchier are often the first shrubs to blossom in my garden. They haven’t quite made it as the winners this year (see below), but are well on their way, just about to burst. I love the tinge of red from the leaves as the white blossom comes through.

What has made it as ‘first plant to blossom’ is my ancient prunus. This large tree flowers sparsely, yet the first flowers always come on tiny twigs really close to the main trunk. Almost there, the colour of the buds is pleasingly intense.

I love native primrose, but never remember to plant into the garden. Instead, I have a range from pale pink to dark red, pretty, I think…..

Just in time for the equinox, the daffs have come, and here they are. No doubt they will feature in my #sixonsaturdy each week, for the week weeks we have them. What’s not to love?

Finally this week, the spring bulbs are probably at their best now. Hellibore seems to have enjoyed the cold snap back in February, and are now at their best, swaddled in scilla. A lovely tableau to end on.

That’s my Six for this week. Do join in, there are lots of contributors on Twitter, and more via the regular blog from #SixonSaturday initiator, the great Propagator his-self.

Six on Saturday 13-3-21

Another week of early spring. Some good signs, with sweet peas and lettuce coming up in the greenhouse. Some less good, with a mouse nibbling on chitting tatties, and pea seedlings all rotting. I can’t believe that it was one year ago this week that was my last ‘normal’ week at work, but so the year turns. Just as well we didn’t know then what we’d be doing one year on. For my #sixonsaturday I have a mishmash of edible promise, beautiful flowers, and welcome wildlife. First up, this could be the last week for hellebores. This is one of my best photo’s yet, of my favourite plant. The flower is luscious, yet perfect.

The still bare borders are losing the snowdrops now, it’s almost time to transplant them. In their place scilla are popping up their cheerful blue heads.

I have nurtured a brown-leafed celandine in a rose pot for a few years. This year it’s leaves seem variegated, an interesting flourish or a nutrient deficiency? It’s hard to say. I do like the way the chocolate leaves set off the first bright yellow flowers of the year.

In the edible garden, the first genuine stirrings of spring are here. The first bud of rhubarb. Granted, it’ll be a while until this will make a crumble, but I’m hoping the plant will thrive in 2021 as a large shrub next to it has been pruned back very hard to open it up to more sunlight.

The first greenhouse nutured plantlets are almost ready to go out. Broad beans have been hardened off for a few hours a day. I can’t wait to eat their young beans in a pillau rice with dill and caramelised onion. I’d thought of planting them this weekend, but frost in due, maybe I’ll hold off for a few more days.

Last, on 11th March, a number of frogs appeared in the pond (at least 4). Within a couple of hours, and a fair bit of wriggling (the joys of working from home), there was a huge mound of frogspawn. There are now a couple of frogs to be seen most of the day, on babysitting duty. I do love a pond, so much wildlife (the newts are likely to appear any day, they do like a bit of fresh meat in jelly).

That’s my #sixonsaturday for this week. Do join in, there are lots of contributors on Twitter, and more via the regular blog from #SixonSaturday initiator, the great Propagator.

Six on Saturday 6th March 2021

Is it spring? The Meteorological Office say so, but there was a layer of ice on the pond this morning. What the heck, the sun is out, it’s warm in the house, and there are tempting signs of growth all over the garden. With spring in mind, I will focus on blooms this week for my #SixonSaturday. My absolutely favourite spring flower is the daffodil. We’re fairly high up, and rather far north, so far I have one flower, in a pot in a sunny corner. So here it is, beautiful.

There has been some time to clear last season’s growth away from my borders. This work was rewarded by the appearance of several patches of hellebore. Pretty in pink.

I’ve always loved the swathes of native primrose that can be seen across woodlands, moors and hillsides at this time of year. There will be a few in local woodlands soon. In the garden, I have a mix of not-so-favourite colourful versions. This is the first to bloom, another little pink princess. I wonder which critters are chewing off the flowers (see right)?

Now here is a pink that I do love, and that will turn blue as the flower’s mature. Pulmonaria, just coming into bloom. I have spied a couple of bees having a feed (didn’t manage any photos), these plants provide great early nectar for our pollinating friends.

What could be more cheerful than a bowl of crocus on a sunny doorstep. Quite a few were purchased this year, and every pot is a joy, what a winner!

Last but, by no means least this week, I guess I’ll need to call this my second-favourite spring flower. Tiny little iris. I bought lots of bulbs (yep, more lockdown shopping), SO worth it. I have a couple of pots in the courtyard by the front-door, to cheer up the postman, and another on an outside windowsill in my home-office. You’ve got to love them.

That’s my Six on Saturday this week. For other gardening blogs from all over the world check out the great Propagator and follow #SIxonSaturday on twitter. Happy gardening, and may the weather be with you.

Six on Saturday 27th February 2021

Dare I say it, is it really nearly spring? We’ve had a spell of mild weather this week, with some sunshine. I’ve not been able to contain my excitement, and neither have the plants. Here’s a hopeful and colourful #SixonSaturday. First up, the Autumn raspberries have had their annual haircut and a dressing of almost rotted horse manure. Bring on the fruit!

While I was at it, I planted a couple of clematis that have been loitering in the greenhouse, and a min-climbing rose, I think this one will be pink, called “Little Rambler”. Can’t wait to see her do her stuff up the new archway.

It is amazing what a few days of warmth and sun can do. First, indoors, I’d given this amarylis up for dead…but it put a spurt on January, and just look at it now. Fabulous February colour.

A hazel tree makes a great garden plant, though every autumn the fruit are taken by squirrels….but now, catkins shake and shine in a sunny breeze.

Spring blooms have finally started to arrive. the first iris, pushing through a sprawling evergreen look majestic in the afternoon sunshine.

At LAST, after so many other Sixers have been showing off, I have some really stunning little crocus to feast my eyes one.

That’s my Six on Saturday this week. For other gardening blogs from all over the world check out the great Propagator and follow #SIxonSaturday on twitter. Happy gardening, it’ll be March next week. We may be locked down for many more weeks, but the warm sunshine will ease our souls.

Six on Saturday 20th February 2021

This has been a week of weather wash-away. Last week’s snow disappeared in less that 48 hours, under heavy rain, to reveal that most of the garden has survived, and that there is plenty of tempting late-winter growth. My first thing in the garden this week then, is the table and chairs (check out how they looked last week), with awakening little plants mostly hanging in there.

Despite a very stressful work week, I’ve managed to pop out into the garden and find quite a bit to get excited about. As the snow melted the aconites finally appeared underneath, with their little globe-shaped flowers intact.

WItch-hazel finally shed some of it’s gorgeous fragrance, and flowers are at their maximum now. They do look particularly lovely set against the last of the snow.

Elsewhere, bulbs are coming. These are probably tulips or trillium, could be something else. Whatever they are, I’m really looking forward to them, and the spring they herald.

I just had to pick snowdrops for this week’s blog, again. I’d hoped to visit a local formal garden this weekend that has some non-open access via a public path, but with the forecast set for lots more rain, I may stay near home and spend more time with these little beauties.

Last, but not at all least this week. Oh WOW, what a discovery in the greenhouse. I acquired this stunning auricula as part of a village plant-swap during last spring’s lockdown. Such a lovely sight, I can see this might be the start of a collection.

That’s my six for this week. Warmer weather coming, so I hope there will be lots of spring promise coming very soon. Don’t forget to follow #SixonSaturday on Twitter, and take a look at other sixer’s contributions via the great Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 13th February 2021

‘Have you got any crocus showing yet?’….said a friend with a garden in a different part of the UK. Hmm, rather hard to tell this week as we had over 30cm of snow, and -9 degC one night (but see last week’s Six). Here’s a very snowy #SixonSaturday from my garden this week. First up, here’s the garden table, almost full with overwintering plants. There’s probably a few crocus in those half-barrels at the back.

I’ve been working hard to keep the garden birds alive. 3 large seed feeders have been topped up twice a day, nuts too. But still, on our 3rd day of ‘big snow’, there are FAR fewer tits in the garden…..I hope they found somewhere warmer? Two of the bigger feeders are on the garden apple trees, hiding behind icicles.

We’ve also taken care to try and keep a bit of open water available. One corner of the pond has a kettle of hot water poured on it a few times each day (the benefits of working from home). A blackbird cowers at the other end of the pond here, it doesn’t seem impressed. Hard to believe from this scene that there are sometimes frogspawn here by mid-February.

I’m not sure everything will come through this cold snap in top form. Hard to tell as yet (still more than 20cm snow on the ground), but a wallflower has already given up on at least one if it’s flowering stems.

This one’s not quite in the garden. On my ‘walk before work’ on Wednesday, it was -9.5 deg C at 8am (goodness knows how cold it was earlier). Every surface was covered in ice. I was fascinated by a string of wooden fence posts, each one with fern-like ice crystals growing from spaces in the wood. A stunning sight.

Finally for this most unusual of weeks: I don’t think I was too hasty to get chillies started in January. Luckily for them, there are plenty of cosy warm windowsills with radiators nearby. This little group are providing the only thing (apart from ice) that’s been growing around here this week.

That’s my six for this week. Very much worse weather than the sleety and snowy weather I noted last week! But much more fun than sleet. Being snowed-in in a lockdown doesn’t feel much different than usual! Don’t forget to follow #SixonSaturday on Twitter, and take a look at other sixer’s contributions via the great Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 6th February 2021

It’s time for #SixonSaturday, a chance to show six things that are doing well (or not) in the garden. Weather is at the forefront of my mind this week. Earlier in the week, we had unexpected snow. At the back end of the week, we’ve had heavy snow forecast, but so far, there’s been almost 40mm of sleety rain in a couple of days. Not the best gardening weather. But I have braved it for a few photos. First, light crisp snow brings a new perspective to plants of all kinds. Azalea looks great under a sprinkling of snow.

I was hoping to be able to show off the odd exotic hellebore as other gardeners are doing now. But this winter is COLD, and only the traditional old fashioned one is up to this kind of weather.

Now we move to later in the week. Horizontal sleet, strong easterly winds, even in my sheltered courtyard the bamboo are struggling to stay upright.

On the other hand, so much water flushes the pond nicely and make a nice change to it’s frozen state for the last couple of weeks.

I ventured into the greenhouse, but even there the pounding rain and wind made the experience less than satisfying. Some promise though, I’ m trying to overwinter some herbs to give us an early start to the new season. The herb fennel is cooperating.

I couldn’t finish without showing something in bloom, but that was hard to find. Here are a couple of shivering little crocus, on their way, but if they had a choice, I bet they would have stayed in the ground.

That’s my six for this week. Very much the worst weather of this current lockdown, I hope the weather clears soon, it’s tough to stay inside all day. Don’t forget to follow #SixonSaturday on Twitter, and take a look at other sixer’s contributions via the great Propagator himself.