Monthly Archives: January 2021

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 1-1-22

A New Year, and a new season for #SixonSaturday. This week features some winter-standing stalwarts and some hope of spring-to-come. First up, and for the first time I can remember, there’s still a standing partially green fern gracing us with its lovely form.

In my very large garden, there’s always some foliage standing well into winter. These are the remains of tall grasses that grow near the pond.

Hypericum pop up all over the garden, these have some nearly ripe berries and are looking lush into a new year.

All winter long, we watch our moss lawn glowing green. At this time of year the moss covers the grass, I rather like it, always fresh and springy to walk on.

A first flush of hellebore are starting to flower, surely that’s a major herald of growing days to come?

To finish up this week, one plant is appreciating the mild weather, a tiny primula has come into flower…if winter finally hits some time, it might need a swift spell in the greenhouse.

That’s it for me this week, to start a New Year. Happy New Year and I hope this one brings us a wee bit more certainty. Don’t forget to follow the crowd on twitter and via the web from links to the originator of #SixonSaturday, the Propagator himself.