All posts by Julie

Six on Saturday 5th December 2020

Six things, can be anything, in the garden, on a Saturday.

Winter proper now, and quite a week for me. Our family have decided to make this is virtual Xmas, so I’m looking forward to making mince pies for me and the other half, and sleeping a lot. Meanwhile, the garden needs ‘closing down’ for winter, but non-work days have been wet and horrible…it’ll have to wait, maybe this weekend. The garden itself currently still boasts a mix of autumnal colour and winteriness. My first this week acknowledges that it is still National Tree Week in the UK. I celebrated by moving a suffering quince out of the half-barrel where it was way too dry, to a (hopefully) sheltered corner against a west-facing wall. It’s a low bar to cross for next year, I’ll consider this a success if I get more than ONE fruit next year.

Second this week, I don’t know the clematis variety, but near the quince the garden itself gets a bit dry, and this clematis looks dead for most of the year. yet in autumn, here she goes. Lovely rich red flowers.

Things got a we bit chilly on Thursday, when we woke up to the first snow of the winter, so I nipped out to get some shots. Still trying its best to keep going is feverfew, a few flowers and lovely lime green foliage, with a touch of snow.

Azalea is budding ready for spring, and does look lovely with some winter sparkle.

Sedum autumn glory might not be standing for much longer, she’s even prettier in the snow.

Friday I was woken at 5am by the now infamous ‘thunder snow’….by the time we got up the thaw was well on, and by evening we’d had 4.9cm of rain. In between, I spent a squally morning sitting watching the local native squirrels on the bird nuts (including a fight between 2, too fast to film). Here’s the winner.

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 28th November 2020

Six things in the garden, on a Saturday. #SixonSaturday

It’s not quite advent, so still Autumn? The nights are very dark now, and the days have a liquidy watercolour light. Gloomy, but sometimes very beautiful. That light lit up a few late flowers for me this week, and also highlighted surprising colour as the garden starts to fold itself away for winter. First then, some of the colour. Welsh poppies just keep popping up and having another go.

Periwinkle creeps its way around the house walls, and has time to pop up the odd flower. I like the way this one cast a pretty shadow onto the wall behind.

I’m not a huge fan of winter heather. The garden hosts one diminutive little plant, small, but cheerful.

And now for some proper autumn shots. The gunnera is taking much longer than usual to wave goodbye to the growing year. Still not frosty, but the cool nights around 3 deg C are having an impact, resulting in an odd multi-coloured look. These leaves are close to going the journey to the compost heap…maybe this weekend!

The other day I spotted this lovely colour combination of the New Zealand holly juxtaposed against browned stems of the lysimachia, a very pleasing mix.

Last, but not least, shrub roses are having a go. Lots of buds on several of my plants, including this one. I hope the frost holds off a few more days so that this lot come into proper bloom.

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 21st November 2020

Still no frost. I’ve been here 15 years and never seen an autumn this mild. There are therefore a few stragglers still going in the now very gloomy garden. First up this week, I grew ragged robin from seed this year, somehow managed to mislabel and thought I’d lost all the plants. But this week, my mystery plant came into flower. She’s ragged enough, yet beautiful. I’ve put her near the pond and will plant on into the margins when the flowering is over.

In the pond itself is a surprise new flower on the water hawthorn. Very late, but adding a welcome splash of white to the pond surface. I’ll leave the leaf clearing until this one has finished.

Clematis have certainly stopped flowering now, but the seed heads on this one will last until a strong storm blows them off. I’ll leave on for a while, as I’ve seen small birds making cosy roost pockets from their soft glossiness.

In the courtyard, one of the half-barrels hosts summer herbs. A flat-leaved parsley is still growing strong, no sign of tiredness yet, it looks lush and tasty, especially when wearing a scattering of raindrops.

Newly coming into flower are my winter wonders. This viburnum looks good, and some of the stems come into the house for winter flower arrangements.

Last, but not least, I’m never sure whether sowing autumn sweetpeas is worth the bother this far north. I sewed 2 trays from the seeds collected from this year’s finished plants. One has been nibbled by mice, but the other has new shoots. I’m not sure how they will winter but some new growth now is just what’s needed to keep me motivated through the long dark days to come.

Stay safe, keep growing, and don’t forget to view all the other Six’s on Saturday, via The Propagator, or on twitter #sixonsaturday.

Six on Saturday 14th November 2020

Now we’re in mid-November, light levels are beginning to get very low, but when the sun does come out, colours can seem luminous. Brings a bit of cheer when we really need it. First up this week are twisty hazel branches, in a burst of afternoon sunshine. The leaves are holding on, now bright yellow.

Next, apple trees in the west-facing part of the garden have had almost all their leaves blown off now. They look striking against a stormy sky. This was one of those afternoons when the rain was about to come, but sun shining very low in the west below the cloud level.

Speaking of apples. I have 2 huge cooking apple trees, and one medium sized tree. We’re harvesting a full bucket of apples every 2 days. Freezers are already full — any suggestions folks?

I know hebe featured last week. With no frosts yet, they are still going strong, and I am determined to feature flowers as one of my six, for as long as possible. Here are some more hebe to fulfill that need, with autumn colours in the background.

On the no-frost theme, there seems little point in chopping back the gunnera yet. The leaves are looking a little tired, but the plant still provides a statuesque backdrop to the pond.

Last, and by no means least, cotoneaster are probably peak-red, though the berries are going fast. Every time I walk by I disturb a blackbird or two.

That’s my lot for this week. Except the stunning news that Scotland are through to the Euros….yehee, I’m not a footy fan, but I do feel I belong now, as an Anglo-Italian Scot. I was SO PLEASED with Thursday’s result.

Don’t forget to follow other Six on Saturday blogs, as seen via The Propagator, or on Twitter #SixonSaturday. Have a great week.

Six on Saturday 7th November 2020

Just past bonfire night. As we’re under Tier 2 restrictions, there were no bonfire parties. Cosy at home, didn’t really miss it to be honest. There’s brightness and twinkles in the garden, a surprising amount for November (no frosts yet). First this week, the last of the prunus leaves are hanging on, and look stunning against a blue blue sky.

I don’t know how to say Schizostylis, but these Autumn bulbs have popped up late this year and are cheering me up as I head onto the drive.

You’ve got to love a good hebe, they flower on well into Autumn, giving a few stems for a pretty vase and nectar for any bees that are still hunting for food.

I wasn’t sure about yellow bobbly buddleja in the past, but again, they just keep on trying to flower. This one is pretty much all that’s left in my long border now.

One more detail this week, perennial cornflower. This is one plant that does reliably respond to a good chop back after flowering. The little flashes of purple will stay until the first frosts (still not much sign, fingers crossed).

Finally this week, spiraea with a view. A misty morning set these stems off against the fields and woods beyond the garden.

Don’t forget to view other Six on Saturday blogs, via The Propagator, and look for #SixonSaturday on Twitter.

Six on Saturday 31st Oct 2020

I’m looking out at a very stormy Halloween day and feeling smug that I got my six photos taken yesterday. This week, I’ll focus mostly on seasonal foliage, but a few late blooms will sneak in too. First this week is the wonderful colour of radicchio. Looks great in the slowly emptying veg beds and tastes great as a bitter component of a stir fry or pasta sauce.

Next, some Halloween colour from the changing hardy geranium leaves. There’s a whole gamut of colour here, from green, through yellow to rusty red. It’s almost meditative to just consider one leaf at a time.

While I’m showing off leaves, here’s a mixed bag from the lawn. These do need sweeping up today, but storm Aiden is encouraging me to stay indoors and watch them swirl around instead. The leaves are a mix from garden trees including whitebeam, prunus and birch.

The last of this week’s leafiness is from the hazel tree. Leaves are still in place (just), but the new catkins are coming. This tree had a fair number of fruit this year, but the nuts are all long gone, taken by the cheeky little red squirrels that regularly visit the garden (one day, I’ll get a decent enough photo of them to post.

Now for the flowers. I’m glad I moved a couple of dahlia into the greenhouse. This one has now flowered nicely and there are more buds, so hoping for a bit of sun to bring them on next week.

And to add some seasonal colour, nasturtium are still going strong in a warm corner, you have to love them, I certainly do.

That’s my six for this week. Don’t forget to follow other Six on Saturday blogs, especially the originator, The Propagator, and look for #sixonsaturday on Twitter.

Six on Saturday 24th October

Six things in the garden, on a Saturday. #SixonSaturday

I’ve moved my blog to WordPress. Wow, so much easier to use than my previous provider. This week, I’m highlighting the still-vibrant colours on display in the October garden, and the last few edibles maturing in the greenhouse. First, WOW, the cotinus in the sunny border gets a bit leggy in summer, but now it’s all so worth it for the fabulous.

Next up, some dahlia love. I bought some extra dahlias at the end of summer. They have been, well, slow to develop. This beauty is boasting it’s first flower this weekend.

And this one has a couple of flowers come, since I moved it into the greenhouse.

There are still edibles on my plot, if you don’t fancy brassica, then most of the interest is in the greenhouse. First up here are the last few grapes and a fine looking cucumber.

And second, there are several achocha vines still fruiting. These strange little fruits are related to ‘exploding cucumber’ but thankfully they don’t explode. Nice in a stirfry, tasting a bit like sweet pepper.

To prevent the chillies from suffering from blight before the fruit ripen, the good plants are now in the house. The windowsill is hosting this lemon-drop. Very hot fruits with a lemony flavour and delicious dry fried and popped into a curry or stir-fry.

Last, this plant suggest a lesson for our times, hang in there and don’t give up. This clematis seemed dead until late August when a few green shoots appeared. And now the flowers come with a rich ripe wine colour. Beautiful.

Ooops, did I squeeze 7 in there this week? Shhhhh.

Don’t forget to follow other Six on Saturday blogs via The Propagator or follow @SixonSaturday on Twitter.