This is the first time I’ve joined in with The Propator’s Six-on-Saturday meme. It seems a really nifty format to record what’s been going on during the week. I think I can stick to the rules – but need to reduce verbiage!
My six this week are mostly NOT pretty. Four are simply ‘problems’ and annoyances. All in all, I haven’t really done much in the garden except wander, because it’s been freezing and foggy for most of the time.
I The great hemerocallis disaster I did say it was very cold – but it was lovely last week, so I took advantage to tidy up the Long Border and finally got my tulips into the ground.
Also took out some orange hemerocallis (inherited with the garden) that always shout at dusky purple rose ‘William Lobb’ towering up near them – we call it the ‘monster rose’.
However, yesterday I noticed that the hemerocallis were still lying on the ground and are now probably frozen to death (though they are tough). Not a great tragedy, because I’m not fond. But it will be interesting to see if they live.
II The seedling dilemma Because it is so hot here in the summer, I’m finding it difficult to get the timing right for autumn sowings of seed. It was scorching and rainless this year until late September. The tomatoes were only out of the greenhouse in November, so I did not have a chance to tidy it properly. In any case, temperatures in there were still too high for seedlings. I finally sowed lettuce ‘Rouge Grenoblaise’, my own Hesperis matronalis, Anchusa italica ‘Dropmore’, Lysimachia purpurea ‘Beaujolais’, Papaver orientale ‘Brilliant’, Verbascum blattaria ‘White Blush’ and Verbascum phoeniceum hybrids on 10 October. I germinated them up at the house, and took them down to the greenhouse about 3 weeks ago. I think there’s a touch of careless watering going on, as well as over-thick sowing.
Yesterday I noticed they are not at all happy. Clearly I would have been better to wait until spring, but there’s always so much else to do then that I thought I’d do what ‘Seedaholic’ recommend and get these off my ‘to do’ list. I also thought a late sowing might be perfect, because last year we had such a mild winter and I overwintered lettuce in my frame with fleece (shown torn by the wretched cat in the picture below – the fleece, not the cat!)
I shall have to buy more seed of all, I think. Am also wondering if I should have sown the poppies and the verbascum in my carefully saved toilet rolls (and thinned), due to their taproot. I used to be quite a good propagator! With age I’ve become too slapdash and hurried.
III The joyful planting of hyacinths on the balcony!
Yes, I know I’m a bit late, but a Head Gardener at Anglesey Abbey once told me that you could even sneak them in as late as January. Oh, and I also planted some Narcissus ‘Mount Hood’ this week, so I seem to specialise in lateness (as well as hasty).
First of all I had to clean up the dead stems of morning glory and Passiflora caerulea from the trellising. That’s another thing – given that we are already colder this year, perhaps the Passiflora won’t make it through another winter?
Of course, immediately I had planted the hyacinths the frost came along, so now I’m worried about how they might suffer in their containers.
But I’ve dreamed of hyacinths on the balcony since I arrived here, so the planting of ‘Delft Blue’ and ‘Yellow Queen’ was a pleasure. Nice to make your own dreams come true!
There are still some dark purple verbenas and pale yellow osteospermums in the troughs. I left them there due to last year’s mild winter, but I daresay they won’t make it.
IV The hazel annoyance I noticed this week that the only one of my four large (and regularly coppiced) hazels that has a decent promise of catkins is also the one due to be coppiced this winter – and I really can’t spare it due to the size it’s reached.
Additionally, there’s no way I can do it in March, after the flowers, because there is so much else to do. I do so enjoy those catkins, but so far never seem to juggle the coppicing with a decent show in February.
V The Helleborus niger pickle Once again they look set to be miserable, sad, damaged flowers. I was given a wonderful bouquet of H. niger by a neighbour from the village a few years ago – they were pristine, long-stemmed, superb! And I don’t even think he was trying. Last year I mulched all around the plants with a thick layer of gravel and also potted two up to go into the greenhouse to avoid them complaining too much about the heavy soil and rain. Maybe the greenhouse flowers will be good. These in the open garden are set to be a repeat of 6 years’ of failure.
VI A satisfying long-term project starting to come together! Glad to report something excellent! The Knot Garden looks very mysterious in the frosty fog.
The tiny cuttings I took some years back are finally doing their thing and hopefully the tulips ‘Blue Heron’ and ‘Paul Scherer’ will make a good show next year.
It makes me kind of proud as it looms out at me from the fog …
Thanks for this meme! Go and see the other ‘Six on Saturday’ posts …