All posts by Julie

Six on Saturday 4-2-23

We’ve just passed the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox (know as Candlemass in the UK, Groundhog Day in the US), the nights are really drawing out, and my mood is gradually improving. Even better, I’ve found six ACTUAL FLOWERS to show you for my #SixOnSaturday this week.

Aconites always come early to greet the light. I don’t have many but their rich yellow makes them stand out proud.

The intense sweet musky smell of sarcococca is something I’ve never been sure of; the delicate little flowers are a winner though.

I grow pulmonaria as ground cover (to try and keep blueberry bushes moist). They make a very useful ‘first lunch’ for any bees around. I did spot a couple of honey bees the other day, I guess from my neighbours hive. Hope they got their lunch.

I was very pleased to have brushed away some moss and leaves while on a garden-tidy this week. A few clumps of crocus appeared. These are a pale, pale yellow that open up to a brighter colour with a hint of orange.

I waited ALL of January for the witch-hazel, finally it is in flower. there is something SO compelling about the tiny raggedy flowers that light up a dark corner of the front garden.

I’ve saved for last one of my favourite flowers of the year. A rich dark hellibore is coming (and being photobombed by a clump of snowdrops).

I hope you enjoyed my #SixonSaturday. Stay safe, take care out there, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on Mastodon. We are starting to get the sixes going on Mastodon (other instances in the Fediverse are available), but we need a few more folk to toot on the topic: come join us. Al you need to do is find 6 things in your garden to show us. Then post on social, or add a link at Jim’s blog below. For regulars, our organiser is Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk/. Also on twitter @JamesLStephens. And I’m now mostly on mastodon @julie3dharris@mastodon.scot.

Six on Saturday 28-1-23

There’s no getting away from the fact that, as I get older, I like being cold less and less, which makes me pretty sick of January….but the dark-dark month is almost gone, and a sunny morning gave me a few things to choose from for a cheery #SixOnSaturday.

Hellibores are a little slow, but at least have some sparkly leaves as the frost melts.

I do keep coming back to hazel catkins, but they are more interesting than most other trees right now. Some blossoms bouncing in the morning breeze against a blue sky.

Fleshy leaved plants are holding their own against the cold weather. I don’t know that variety of huechera I have here. I found it growing as a ‘weed’ in my veg plot.

Talking of the veg garden, cavalo nero are one of the few veg I can overwinter. This one is full of frost but has a tiny single drop of water at the centre.

Though they look delicate, hardy geraniums are, well, doing the hardy thing. This one has cheeky little brown dots on the leaf edges.

And finally….ta da…..snowdrops are now FULLY doing their thing. A cheery start to the growing season.

I hope you enjoyed my #SixonSaturday. Stay safe, take care out there, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on Mastodon. We are starting to get the sixes going on Mastodon (other instances in the Fediverse are available), but we need a few more folk to toot on the topic: come join us. All you need to do is find 6 things in your garden to show us. Then post on social, or add a link at Jim’s blog below. For regulars, our organiser is Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk/. Also on twitter @JamesLStephens. And I’m now mostly on mastodon @julie3dharris@mastodon.scot.

Six on Saturday 21-1-23

The light at this time of year can be magical: I’ll share some of that magic in my #SixOnSaturday. Goodness knows, I need it! I’m finding it hard to find much in the garden, except rest….rest from the endless growing. Perhaps just as well as I have lots of tidying to do before spring.

Starting with amazing light, I find it hard to capture in a photo. Then I noticed great swathes of light, sucked into reflection off the icy pond.

My second this week is a medley of icy bits and pieces on the lawn. As you can see my lawn is about 20% grass, 10% weeds (wildflowers) and 70% moss….looks nice with a scattering of leaves and some frost.

I have saved some foliage for a little winter interest, places for insects to hide, and generally the inability to tidy the garden yet. Phlomis seed heads do look lovely at this time of year.

There has been some cold clear weather this week, so my next two show off the beautiful blue sky. Rhododendron buds have a long way to go yet, but look at the BLUE.

It is good to keep looking up. Today there were chaffinch and even a bullfinch foraging on buds at the top of a tall whitebeam. The shape is picked out nicely against the cold blue sky.

It did get very cold…..back in the house new things are happening. My best pot of chilli seedlings so far are from seed I forgot to label. Big seeds, so perhaps from a big chilli? I’m hoping its Ohnivec (from realseeds.co.uk), these were delicious last year.

I hope you enjoyed my #SixonSaturday. Stay safe, take care out there, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on Mastodon. We are starting to get the sixes going on Mastodon (other instances in the Fediverse are available), but we need a few more folk to toot on the topic: come join us. Al you need to do is find 6 things in your garden to show us. Then post on social, or add a link at Jim’s blog below. For regulars, our organiser is Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk/. Also on twitter @JamesLStephens. And I’m now mostly on mastodon @julie3dharris@mastodon.scot.

Six on Saturday 14-1-23

I’m crazy busy at work just now, but even with that to distract me, January is rather a drag. So many dull, wet days. Despite this, I’ve managed to find a bit of colour and form for this week’s #SixOnSaturday.

First up, some gorgeous form, from sempervivum. I just discovered these are known as ‘houseleeks’ because leek derives from anglo-saxon for plant, and they used to grow to thatched roofs….cute. What wonderful spikiness.

Next, some colour and form. My little lemon tree has been sheltering in the greenhouse since November. This winter is has 4 lemons, each are developing nicely.

Whilst I was also sheltering in the greenhouse, I spotted the shininess of a small chard plant, which is also wintering. I often pot these on when they start to grow in Feb/Mar to give lots of leaves in spring (though if its warm, the pots need to go out to stop the plants bolting.

The ground warmed up enough recently for me to harvest last year’s oca (also called New Zealand yam). I didn’t manage to harvest in December as we had a sharp cold-snap, and I’d feared they might be frosted, but quite a few have made it through. Currently they are stored in the chilly greenhouse. They are a great addition to stir fry meals, with a light, lemony, nutty flavour.

On my way out of the greenhouse my eye was drawn again to the pot of pansies that continue to give joy, whatever weather is thrown at us.

Not quite so much colour, but plenty of form, I’m excited to report that the very first snowdrop is in flower. Possibly good timing as snow is forecast for late this weekend.

I hope you enjoyed my #SixonSaturday. Stay safe, take care out there, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on Mastodon. We are starting to get the sixes going on Mastodon (other instances in the Fediverse are available), but we need a few more folk to toot on the topic: come join us. Al you need to do is find 6 things in your garden to show us. Then post on social, or add a link at Jim’s blog below. For regulars, our organiser is Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk/. Also on twitter @JamesLStephens. And I’m now mostly on mastodon @julie3dharris@mastodon.scot.

Six on Saturday 7-1-23

The first #SixOnSaturday of 2023. I wish I had a bit more enthusiasm for the new year, but with the entire UK infrastructure on its knees, a Govt that expects us not to notice, and the world full of wet, wind, darkness; hmm, it’s hard. But I managed to find a few bits of inspiration around the garden. Some lovely, some a little more basic.

First up, this doesn’t look much but it represents hope for the coming season. I always sow a few chilli seeds in the first week of the year. here they are, about to be placed onto a warm windowsill. Though given the temperature we run the house at during the day, i might need to pop on the electric propagator instead.

Next, despite a still-recovering tendon injury to my elbow, I managed a little pruning this week. Buddleja: here it is before the pruning. It’s trying to grow, but I fear for the whole plant due to wind-rock in our current stormy conditions.

Despite a range of frost, snow, rain, wind, viola are giving growth a go. No flowers, but this is a start.

I managed to catch the one sunny day in what feels like weeks to grab a bit more light for my remaining 3. Here’s sunrise along the garden wall on that morning: garden to the left, a farmer’s field of winter wheat to the right.

Honesty seed heads positively glow with sunlight behind them. This was close to noon: the sun is so low (11 deg) at this time of year.

Last but not least, here come the hazel catkins. These are always a joy to watch develop. Not in flower yet, and the tiny male one is not in site. But things are starting to stir.

I hope you enjoyed my #SixonSaturday. Stay safe, take care out there, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on Mastodon. We are starting to get the sixes going on Mastodon (other instances in the Fediverse are available), but we need a few more folk to toot on the topic: come join us. For regulars, our organiser is Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk/. Also on twitter @JamesLStephens. And I’m now mostly on mastodon @julie3dharris@mastodon.scot.

Six on Saturday 31-12-22

Every year we seem to reach the end of the year a bit faster than we did the previous year. The perception of time is a very odd thing. So here we are, Hogmanay, nearly the start of a whole fresh year. In a garden full of mud (another 4cm of rain last night, high winds, dark and gloomy) I’m struggling to raise a bit of garden joy, but have found a few little things to offer for my #SixOnSaturday.

The bay tree….quite a large one at 3m x 3m, appears to be happy with the constant switching between freeze and thaw, snow and water. It has buds.

Wallflower have been teasing me for weeks. The buds seems to sit still and sulk, perhaps that’s a good plan, given the weather.

Sarcococca, also about to flower. The blooms will be tiny but offer a strong honey scent…not quite yet though.

I like pieris best just before it flowers, when it holds dark red flower stems and buds. These are currently in their prime.

Viburnum, now here IS a wonderful shrub that is in full flowering mode at the end of the year. Looks closely and it is full of flower.

Last but not least, I knew it was a bit soon, but couldn’t help taking a sneaky look at the snowdrops. They will be a while to flower, but are beginning to green up.

I hope you enjoyed my end of year #SixonSaturday. Stay safe, take care out there, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on Mastodon. We are starting to get the sixes going on Mastodon (other instances in the Fediverse are available), but we need a few more folk to toot on the topic: come join us. For regulars online, our organiser is Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk/. Also on twitter @JamesLStephens. And I’m now mostly on mastodon @julie3dharris@mastodon.scot.

Six on Saturday 24-12-22

It’s a seasonal #SixOnSaturday for me this week. Mostly from the garden in the last week: the frost has gone now. It was beautiful while it lasted, but made it tricky t get out to work, or shop, etc etc. And we’ve just past the solstice…..let the nights draw out now..yippee!

First up, who wouldn’t want to show off the iconic house-plant of the season. Here’s my poinsettia.

Next the one plant that battles on, despite the cold, is the rose. Here’s one trying its best to bloom through the frost.

One or two very hardy veg are hanging on too. This is the most seasonal-looking. A radicchio, which if it isn’t too frosted, will end up in a Boxing Day lasagne (adds a lovely bitter note).

I’m not sure if it’s really ethical to allow garden birds to come too close, but a demanding little robin now has me trained to reach into the seed feeder for her each time I walk past. See that determined look?

Buds are a sign of the coming light, now that we’re past the winter solstice. Catkins are one of the first.

Just one more for this seasonally themed six, what else could it be but my home-made seasonal door wreath?

I hope you enjoyed my seasonal #SixonSaturday. Stay safe, take care out there, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on Mastodon. We are starting to get the sixes going on Mastodon (other instances in the Fediverse are available), but we need a few more folk to toot on the topic: come join us. For regulars online, our organiser is Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk/. Also on twitter @JamesLStephens. And I’m now mostly on mastodon @julie3dharris@mastodon.scot.

Six on Saturday 17-12-22

Note: Many of you have found me as @julie3dharris on Twitter. I’m not willing to be their product now, so you’ll find me more and more on Mastodon @julie3dharris@mastondon.scot

Quite a week, coldest weather for 10 years, coupled with my continuing elbow tendon injury means there has been no gardening at all. Again. But it has been very pretty. Here’s my icy and (more recently) snowy #SixOnSaturday.

The frost came first, -8 deg C of it (with a daytime high for -4 for 3 days!). I suspect there won’t be much left of the snap-dragon once the thaw comes laster this weekend.

It would be nice to think that the pansies might recover, but I’m not convinced they will either. The tiny fingers of frost on them are fascinating.

Camellia buds, I hope, won’t be damaged and will weather the weather without too many cares.

Then the snow came overnight Thur/Fri, a good 10cm of it. I’m hoping my mediterranean herbs will come through: there’s a rosemary hiding under here.

A couple of the roses have come off better, these little pink ones cheering up a rather monochromatic courtyard.

Last this week, here’s our favourite ‘highway-robin’ (its a hold-up with a demand for food every time I walk down the garden path). She/he was so hungry on Friday morning that they were willing to briefly land on my hand to get to the birdseed.

I hope you enjoyed my freezing #SixonSaturday. Stay safe, take care out there, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on Mastodon. We are starting to get the sixes going on Mastodon (other instances in the Fediverse are available), but we need a few more folk to toot on the topic: come join us. For regulars, our organiser is Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk/. Also on twitter @JamesLStephens. And I’m now mostly on mastodon @julie3dharris@mastodon.scot.

Six on Saturday 10-12-22

Note: Many of you have found me as @julie3dharris on Twitter. I’m not sure I can face Musk-world now, even if the company survives, so you’ll find me more and more on Mastodon @julie3dharris@mastondon.scot

What a difference a week makes. The first snow of the winter forms a sort of floppy theme for my #SixOnSaturday this week. The frost came hard and fast, followed by a gentle sprinkling of snow and then some cool sunshine. My first this week is an end-of-season image: the last apply on the bramley tree. Look closely and you can see peck-marks from the fieldfare that have shown up for their seasonal munchings.

Top of the proper flops must be oca. I grow these for the occasional leafy addition to salad, the leaves are sour and lemony. Also the roots, they look like a bright jerusalem artichoke, but taste brighter, and don’t give the gut grief. The roots will be harvested on a non-frosty day when the foliage has fully died back to the ground.

I noticed a few funghi still having a go in the lawn, I think they look beautiful with sprinkling of snow.

What a difference a week makes. last week nasturtiums were flowering, today they are well on the way to scrumpling up to nothing.

And yet, a feisty foxglove appears to defy the frost and snow and just grow on through. I wonder how it will weather the winter?

Last, but not least, sedum are still standing tall, colourful, and look elegant and even seasonal with a wee dusting of frost.

I hope you enjoyed my #SixonSaturday. Stay safe, take care out there, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on Mastodon. We are starting to get the sixes going on Mastodon (other instances in the Fediverse are available), but we need a few more folk to toot on the topic: come join us. For regulars, our organiser is Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk/. Also on twitter @JamesLStephens. And I’m now mostly on mastodon @julie3dharris@mastodon.scot.

Six on Saturday 3-12-22

Note: Many of you have found me as @julie3dharris on Twitter. I’m not sure I can face Musk-world now, even if the company survives, so you’ll find me more and more on Mastodon @julie3dharris@mastondon.scot

The first #SixOnSaturday of the last month. It is hard to find colour in the garden now, especially when the weather has been characteristically dreich:, grey, misty, hovering around 5deg C, drizzling. At least we are now into the countdown to the solstice. i don’t have a theme this week, just some nice bits and pieces.

First is cotoneaster, which has reached the pretty stage where it just holds onto a few bright leaves.

For flowers, there are still a few blooms coming through on a range of roses, mostly pink. the perfect colour to brighten a dull day.

On the foliage side, a few leaves are holding out still on my twisted hazel tree, yet catkins are bursting through, here quite literally.

Flowers again, more pink, this time from a plucky little fuschia that hasn’t been frosted yet.

Proper winter flowers are starting to arrive. This one a classic hellebore. Each year I wish for more hellebore, so perhaps it is time to nip to the garden centre and pick up a few more while the soil is warm.

This last flower has featured so many times on my #Six this year, but what’s not to love. Still growing, still offering bright leaves that puddle raindrops so that they sparkle, and still a handful of cheerful flowers. My heartening nasturtium.

I hope you enjoyed my #SixonSaturday. Stay safe, take care out there, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on twitter. I THINK we can also get the sixes going on Mastodon (other instances in the Fediverse are available). For regulars, our organiser is Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk/. Also on twitter @JamesLStephens. And I’m now on mastodon @julie3dharris@mastodon.scot.