All posts by Julie

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.

Six on Saturday 30th January 2021

A cold and icy winter continues in a quiet corner of Scotland. The new growing season draws closer, but SO slowly. For my #SixonSaturday this week I’ve gone for up-close views of some small stuff in the garden to make up for my disappointment at there being so few flowers yet. First up, flowers that don’t really seem to have stopped, despite the freezing temperatures. Roses, again, but the colour is so cheering. I think this bud might just make it.

With the trees still bare, mosses and lichens are putting on a fascinating show. This is a close up of a tiny piece of lichen. Looks almost good enough to eat.

Rhododendron are coming. When viewed really close they have tiny little veins along each bud, along with hints of both pink and green.

Tiny fruit (I think) can be seen on my hardy bay tree at this time of year. Each is about 1mm across.

To finish this week, some actually SEASONAL colour. Finally, my small and still young witch hazel, that grows in a dark and shady corner….is JUST coming into flower. Not quite a vibrant display yet, but she’ll be properly glowing soon.

And finally, though by no means least. In a brief warm spell between days of freezing weather, snowdrops have raised their heads and begun their pretty winter dance.

That’s my six for this week. 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 23rd January 2021

#SixonSaturday is where we get to show off 6 things, any 6, from the garden this week. And it’s been another cold one. This time last year I had snowdrops in full flower. This week, the just-opening flowers have been covered in ice and snow again, and doing nothing. So I sought wintery textures and tones elsewhere this week. First up, so far, the plant is low and flat but I’m hoping this will grow into a statuesque teasel come summer time.

Next, it really has been cold. Lots of snow one night, though most had turned to slush by morning. Several days later, there’s still a layer of ice throughout most of the garden. I rather liked these pheasant prints.

I like a bit of evergreen interest to keep me going. I’m not sure if it is always evergreen, but woodruff is nestling cosily under a large hebe, and is doing just fine, despite the snow.

Sometimes interesting texture are hard to spot, but fascinating when you take a closer look. A bare cotoneaster branch hosts at least a couple of different lichens.

I’ll end this week with flowers, and the promise of them. First, the only ‘proper’ flower of 2021 so far, hellebore are here.

Exciting promise is event in a little pot of iris, now peeing their heads above the soil. These were planted late, in December, but they are starting to grow, I’m looking forward to them.

That’s my six for this week. 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 16th January 2021

Winter feels rather bleak this year. I know it’s not just about the weather, but the succession of slushy snow, then ice for days, is making it hard to get into the garden, and that’s getting me down a bit. Working at home has it’s bonuses though: this week my six will feature wildlife viewing from my home office and textures from the few times I have ventured out. First, this fellow is one of three male pheasants who are big buddies in the garden, wandering round near the bird feeders, even when I’ve been outside. He contrasts nicely with the icy garden.

I’m not sure whether this is a male or female squirrel, but it was fairly cross with me as I photoed it on one of the newly pruned apple trees.

Now for some textures. I’ve been taking 10 minutes walks in the garden to break up the working day, and really take a proper LOOK at even little things. Buddleja, what a robust plant. Despite the freezing temperatures, it is bursting to grow and still has some fresh looking leaves. Great colours against the brown of died back stuff and snow.

Violas don’t seem to enjoy the snow much, but their plucky little flowers are poking up from the ice.

I really looked at the stump of this very old apple tree, which still has a few branches, but whose hollow stem is now open to the elements. Wet wood with a scattering of snow presents an interesting view.

Last, but not at all least, ivy is flowering with full vigour now. Yellow flowers are feeding the few scant insects (they must be there as blue tits have been foraging), and the red berries are striking even when its gloomy.

That’s my six for this week. 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 9th January 2021

We’re starting to have a proper winter in Fife. This week has been mostly frozen, with a little snow, and lots of smooth silky dangerous ice. not quite an ice-storm, but gentle snow followed by a hard freeze. -5 deg C lowest temperature so far, and -1 deg C the coldest daytime high. I must admit it’s a relief to be locked down at home. I’ve focused on winter for my #SixonSaturday this week. First, bright and cheerful (with just a hint of the festive season just past) is berberris darwinii, boasting both bright green and bright red leaves.

Nearby, dogwood puts on a similarly cheerful show with the late afternoon sun full on it.

The pond looks fairly lifeless, but is crucial for supporting local wildlife. Each day we make sure hot water is poured on to free up a spot for birds to bath and drink. There will be fish a newts, probably toads and frogs too, dormant deep below. Squirrels (both red and grey, anyone know how to discourage the greys?) pop by for a drink too.

New growth is on its way. Hazel catkins are beginning to fill out, but as yet no sign of those tiny flowers.

This is probably a bit early to post, but this is my second post of the year, so here are snowdrops (on their way at least).

Last, but very much not least, this plant is sarcococca. It grows in a cold shady passageway that gets no sun between November and March. yet now, it flowers, and on warmish days these flowers will be filled with fragrance. branches can be brought into the house for a scented floral arrangement which will replace the year-end holly and ivy.

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 2nd January 2021

A new year. Full of hope, yet still lots of uncertainty. I’ve been focusing on small changes in the garden to keep the spirits up. First this week, it’s out with the old. Now we’re into January, it feels like time to prune the apple trees. They look like they need a trim. I’ll get started once my dodgy shoulder settles a bit.

I featured the pond for the last post of 2020, but have to include it here again today. So pretty under a dusting of snow. And we’ve been focusing on clearing a bit of open water at the back to give us a good view from the kitchen of bathing birds.

New flowers are coming on this hardy pentaglottis sempervirens (yes I had to look this up). The plants grows a foot or more tall, all year round, giving small blue flowers that insects love. It’s even having a go at the very start of the year. Seems to be impervious to hard frost and even snow.

My favourite hellibore is a purple one. Looks like it might be another week or two before it flowers, but it’ll be worth the wait.

In the autumn, I massively over-ordered on bare-root wallflower. Despite giving plants away to everyone I know, I still have about 40. Not sure where to put them yet. They do well in pots, this is one of last year’s almost ready to burst into bloom, despite living in frost pocket in the courtyard.

It’s the start of the year, I could NOT resist starting the new season. These are chillies, just sown and sitting on a warm windowsill. My two favourite’s from last year: Alberto Lotocco and Lemondrop, both from the wonderful Real Seed Company. Hoping for germination in a couple of weeks.

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 26th December 2020

My Boxing Day blog. After a decidedly Zoomy Xmas, we’ve just moved into Covid Level 4 in mainland Scotland and Storm Bella seems to have arrived already. Hmmm. It’s going to be a good day to sit by the Xmas tree and browse the seed catalogues. The reason my blog is a bit late today, is that I’ve been transfixed all morning by garden wildlife. I have not managed to get any good shots of the 3 pheasants, 12 blackbirds or multiple fieldfares, but this little chap finally posed for me. We have at least 2 red squirrels in the garden (I witnessed a fight over the feeder this morning), possibly 3. They are endlessly cute.

With the storm coming in, it’s warmish and wild out there, but yesterday was a bit more ‘Christmassy’, at some point I added some boiling water to one corner of the pond, to allow birds to bathe and drink, which was frozen solid all day.

I’ve been fairly relaxed with clearing the garden this year, due to general grumpiness with grey wet weather, but also a sore shoulder. I did manage to get in and tidy up the gunnera for the winter. There are many new buds coming, this plant is a beautiful brute.

Just one veg triumph this week. I DID it…..provided some precious sprouts for Christmas dinner. Home grown do really taste so much better than the bought ones.

I will finish this week with some end of year colour. The first is very surprising. I grew ragged robin from seed for the first time in 2020. They took a while, eventually flowering well into December. But still flowering, and each little flower is like a little Christmas decoration in the sunshine.

Last, some seasonal cheer from skimmia japonica. 2020 has been the year we didn’t expect, I’m getting ready for a few surprises in the New Year, when it comes, hopefully some of them nice ones.

 Don’t forget to follow #SixonSaturday on Twitter, and take a look at other sixer’s contributions via the great Propagator himself.