I feel a little like a broken record – I pick up and play at this time of year, intending to go right through to the end of the disk, but later on in the season I skip what’s happening in the garden so much that I might as well not be blogging at all.
And, of course, because I always do blog in February, it’s usually about the same things … Here are my Six for this Saturday …
One. Spinach that’s nicely overwintered. Looks good and juicy, even if there are too many nigella seedlings.
But a curse on the cats that run up and down under my (expensive) fleece and poke holes in it!
The chief culprit … butter wouldn’t melt …
Two. Knackered euphorbias. When I first arrived here I grew a lot of E. characias from seed. They did well at first, in the Mirror Garden where there’s minimum heavy clay soil and just rockiness.
Fired with success on the Mirror Garden, I dared to think that euphorbias were ‘good’ in this garden, so we bought some ‘specials’. For example, ‘Rainbow’, ‘Silver Swan’ and (newest addition) ‘Tasmanian Tiger’. They all end up looking straggly and unhealthy.
Even those that seed themselves on the rampart walls. I think that a) they really don’t like this garden after all b) they have to be renewed far more frequently than I’d previously imagined. Conclusion – I really don’t know why my present euphorbias are a mess, in comparison with ‘those I have known’!
Below is the Rose Walk with a few special snowdrops …
Three. Snowdrop ‘Viridapice’. My little snowdrop collection’s doing quite well. I’ve only lost three types out of the 12 different bulbs I purchased in February 2021.
The ones I lost were ‘Beluga’, ‘Pusey Green Tips’ and ‘Straffan’. But it’s wrong to focus on what’s lost rather than what remains.
Buck the trend girl … here’s a flourishing ‘Viridapice’! I think the nice lady in Holland only sent me two bulbs and look at it now! I think the drops that are washed in green are probably my favourites.
Four. Hazels. They are everywhere here (and seeding), but at the bottom of the garden we have two large plants of Corylus maxima ‘Purpurea’, the purple-leaved Turkish hazel. They were not planted by me, just flourishing there when we arrived.
I’ve included this picture, because you can see its purple flowers in front of the more normal golden green flowers of Corylus avellana, our native hazel. Apologies for the blurriness.
Hazel’s a really special plant. The guy who supplied our firewood in Ireland named his daughter Hazel because he loved the tree so much. I know how he feels. If only it could be hazel (and snowdrop) season for ever.
Compare the lovely blush on that flower above with Corylus avellana, below. Admittedly those below are not fully flowering yet …
I used to think I’d make a special wild woodland garden down here – there are already celandines and meadowsweet. I do wish that I could simply imagine these things into existence!
My body is not quite as cooperative as it used to be and it’s a long way down from the house. But strimming and planting a few Filupendula ulmaria ‘Venusta’ might be a start? Someone introduced me to The View From Federal Twist last year. Unfortunately many of the plants he used are even harder to get hold of here than they are in New Jersey. I will keep pondering and believing its possible …
Five. The grasses all need cutting back, grooming, combing, sorting. Particularly in the Hornbeam Gardens which is a kind of wildish spring garden.
But Sorrel the cat likes them like this and it’s still only the first half of February.
Please do not complain to management about the number of cats in my blog. I love them and believe they deserve to be immortalised for posterity. Sorrel looks like he’s going to complain to management in the picture above … but he always looks like that.
Six. I love the Helleborus x argutifolius plants (grown from Hardy Plant Society seed) in the Mirror Garden at this stage.
They almost look like friendly versions of the ‘Alien’, don’t they? As if they were so alive and bursting with energy they’d jump out at you.
This year they will be nicer when flowering because for some reason the foliage hasn’t been so blackened by frost – don’t know why, because it has been, and remains, very cold and frosty.
I’m hoping to get out and prune some vines and drag about a few more large lime branches this afternoon (too frosty at the moment). What will you be doing this weekend?
Don’t forget to go on over and see what the other Sixers are up to on Jim’s blog, Garden Ruminations. And thanks to him for being such a knowledgeable and gracious host.
35 thoughts on “Six on Saturday, 11 February 2023”
For you, cats make holes in the fleece. My cat falls asleep on it and crushes everything below ! As you say, we love them so we excuse them.
Very nice close ups of hellebores at the end of your Six
Thanks Fred – and you are so right (my cats do that too!). I had a cat in the past who used to use the black landscaping fabric on my slopes to fall asleep in as a hammock. I thought I’d lost him at first until I discovered what he was up to on sunny days in spring!
Lovely views in your garden and the Hellebore look lovely.
They are superb … isn’t it wonderful how we wait for the same things every year?!!
love it all. Lovelyphotos
Thank you Cathy…lovely to see the cats 🐈 too.
Love 💕 x
Always a delight to visit your garden Cathy. And I know full well about bodies and not co-operating! No complaints from me about the cats 💕
Glad about that!
What a lovely tour of your garden. Euphorbias for me need to have their old flowered stems cut out after flowering to allow new growth to come forth. Last year I decided to get rid of the lot except for two small ones, as my sun and age damaged skin requires no further irritants!
Yes – I always do that Noelle – cut out the old flowered growth after they’ve finished to allow the new. Unfortunately the new stems at the base (which look nice in my pictures), always grow up long and straggly! Don’t know why! It’s one of life’s great mysteries. I will carry on for a while
Snowdrop ‘Viridapice’ is something of a stunner and wow to the Catkins.
I do love it – I just wish they were not so expensive now!
It’s a pity and disappointing to lose snowdrops. Those with green on the outer segments are becoming more and more popular.
I know – and the prices are now ridiculous. Still, I think I’ve just succumbed again tonight!
Access to UK suppliers has been cut off for us which has been an inconvenience but one local seller has an arrangement with Avon Bulbs and brings in large consignments early each year. And I have also bought a few more this year but I am becoming more and more inclined to developing large drifts of good growers rather than small pinches of special cultivars.
Sorrel is lovely, I hope you can forgive the fleece damage.
He is lovely and I do (sort of) forgive him!
I’ll take whatever posts you manage, it’s always a treat to see the garden at this time of year. Honestly though, who has the time to post in May!?
Glad to hear you are on the way to sheets of snowdrops. I think viridapice is one of the nicest.
Thanks so much – I do like virdapice, but I think someone else might have to wait for the sheets of snowdrops!
Oh my! Sorrel looks like a kitty I do not want to mess with. Darla is like that, but is proficient with controlling vermin, so I do not complain. She is semi-feral. Only Rhody can get close to her without getting slapped and scratched, but then he chews her ears in a manner that seems to be quite unpleasant. It is weird.
Anyway, is that some sort of Yucca in with the grasses in #5?
Yes, well-spotted, Tony. Its Yucca rostrata. It’s been in the ground for 2 or 3 years now, so doing fine (although not brilliantly). I was trying to go for prairie planting since I thought it would suit my very difficult soil. I think I’ll buy more later on, since it has persisted.
Oh, that is an unusual choice. Yucca rostrata likes warmth and dry summers. It eventually develops a short and stout trunk, which may not be compliant with your preferred prairie style. Yuccas that are endemic to the prairies are terrestrial, such as Yucca arkansana. However, Yucca rostrata is one of the prettiest of the genus. Yucca arkansana looks sort of weedy. It happens to be one of my favorites though, since it is one of only a few I found in the wild. I brought it back from Oklahoma.
Well – looks like I boobed! I have a very poor memory, but I think that (about 4 years ago) ! I was googling hardy yuccas and chose one (I think it was Yucca glauca) that looked appropriate (native to Canadian prairies). Then it was sold out, then I chose this. It’s hard to get the right plants in France – I have to buy everything by mail order. It has survived -10 to -15, but is definitely not growing very strongly. It is in this area because it is intensely dry in the summer and I was struggling to get an architectural plant to grow that would like cold conditions and then heat and drought. So – it’s not happy, but it is alive!
Oh, Yucca glauca is tough! Yucca rostrata is tough also, but in a different way. It tolerates cool weather, but does not do so well if the cool weather lasts for very long. It can tolerate rain that keeps the soil damp for a while, but does not like the soil to stay damp for very long through a long winter.
Well – we’ll see. It’s pulled through 3 winters so far but not a particularly happy bunny!
Cats are an essential part of a garden, in my opinion, and I enjoy seeing the chats of SOS. The Corylus maxima ‘Purpurea’ catkins are very nice.
Thanks so much – they are certainly an essential part of my garden!
Beautiful garden ❤ Good looking spinach and fabulous culprits….pussycats!
I love the red hazel – I have always wanted one for the reddish foliage, but the catkins are really gorgeous too. Maybe this year…. 😉
I got pleasantly lost among the many interests in your garden Cathy. Curious what you learn about the Euphorbias. I had E. ‘Blackbird’ in a pot for a number of years until it didn’t. Others such as E. ‘Shorty’ and ‘Ascot Rainbow’ never adjusted to life in my garden. But they’re such cool plants I understand why you haven’t given up on them. Have fun in the garden.
That’s really interesting – I thought it was just me! And I hand always imagined your soil to be light and luxious!!! Have a good week!
Clay soil but we’ve amended it a lot. Still it doesn’t drain as well as one would like.