Six on Saturday: 05 Dec 2020

Nipped out into the garden on Friday afternoon to take some photos, nearly froze my hands off, there was a very lively, bone-chilling easterly blowing. This could be the one that finally strips bare the Lime trees, adding the final valuable consignment to the leaf mould pile. The sky was wiped clean to reveal a raw, stunning blue.

Looking down towards the forest from the back patio on Friday afternoon

In keeping with this winter season of reckoning and contemplation, I’ll be taking a broader view with my Six on Saturday, looking ahead to next year, and mulling over a few changes.

1 Leaf Mould. Next year’s potting mix and mulch, I hope. Being more organised about it this year. The pile is looking respectable, and am even keeping it damp. Still got some clearing up to do, as you can see.

Looking up from the back patio, these Lime leaves will bulk up the leaf mould.

2 Compost. Every gardener’s biggest investment in the future, I think. I turned the pile, and am happy with this dark, crumbly result. Good compost is a beautiful thing. When you compost, you are participating in the life cycle of the garden. Am also very happy with the recycled crates, free from the garden centre, and assembled by hubby, which almost make a feature out of this area under the old apple tree.

3 Veg patch pathways. The main raised bed will be going into its third year of production next spring. A lot of things have congregated around it, pots of strawberries, a new apple tree, some herbs, a blackcurrant, and a raspberry bush or two. So I need to get some decent pathways around this area. Landscaping fabric and woodchips over the top might do it, what do you think? Or will the slugs make it their abode?

The veg patch

4 The neighbour’s shed. I call this colour Highlighter Orange, I imagine it might look good under the sun somewhere like Buenos Aires, but it’s not a colour for our Northern European light. As the large Forsythia drops its leaves, we see more and more of it. The dilemma is, how can I screen it without entirely cutting off this point of contact with my neighbour? We occasionally chat over the gap, and I have handed over my chickens (sadly not with us these days) to do slug clearance in her garden. Seeds, veg, plants and even honey (see her beehive on the roof?) get swapped this way too. In front is the new border, waiting to spring into life.

5 Time to remove the Japanese Quince. I have always been underwhelmed by this Chaenomeles japonica, currently in flower against the back wall. This is very warm and sheltered spot, south facing, under the trees just the other side of the wall, but not too shaded by them. I was thinking a fig tree trained against the wall could work well, though it would have to do battle with the climbers (Clematis armandii, Trumpet Vine and the Rambling Rose ‘Alberic Barbier’).

Close up of the Quince, admittedly it looks better from this angle
The overall effect, a bit wishy-washy I think
Just above the Quince, Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’ is thriving

6 The Christmas Tree. So pleased it made it for a year in its pot and is looking decent. A bit scruffy in places, but nothing that can’t be hidden with some strategically placed decorations. It’s been cleaned, combed and brought up onto the patio by the back door, and it will have a brief sojourn inside over Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I hope everyone is staying calm in the face of it. Here in Belgium, there is little sentimentality. If you want to meet up over the festive season, you are allowed one guest from outside your household, or a maximum of four people in the garden (if this can be reached without going into the house). One of those four people is allowed to use the toilet in the house. This country is well know for its surrealism (see Magritte’s painting: Ceci n’est pas une pipe, etc.). How to negotiate who gets to use the toilet? I suppose if the other three garden guests are desperate, there’s always the compost heap!

Looking forward to seeing other gardeners’ gardens on the Propagator’s Six on Saturday page. Till next time.

26 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 05 Dec 2020

  1. Here in France we’ll have the right to be six at Christmas table (without counting the children ) which is more comfortable to use the WC compared to you 🚽! (But I also have a pile of compost just in case in the garden… 😂)
    Very nice photo with the blue sky and lots of beautiful vegetables still in the potager.

    1. Does the Christmas table in France have to be in the garden? Perhaps I need an insulated greenhouse like yours, a few degrees warmer, and maybe decorate the bubble wrap hahhaha.

    1. I know, what to do about that colour! The compost heap and leaf cage is a great improvement on what was there before (piles with chicken wire), but so easy to do and free!

  2. Gentleman’s pee makes a very good compost accelerator! I rather like the flowering quince but each gardener knows what they want to grow, and a fig would be nice to have too.

    1. Btw Noelle, I went over to your blog, wanted to comment on it but I think it requires an email sign up first. I also wanted to ask you about your little gravel path with the round pavers, which I think is lovely, did you do it yourself?

  3. I’d go for sharp gravel as a path around your veg bed – then you’ll only have to contend with getting rid of existing slugs. How about gifting your neighbours some vigourous climbing plants and telling them they will grow best on that wall? Then at least it might remain hidden for a while longer 🙂

    1. That is a very creative solution. She does have a pink rose on there (yes, pink with the orange background!) but more cover would be good, perhaps a cutting from my Clematis armandii! Yes perhaps gravel would be better, less slimey.

  4. The leaf mould and compost areas are look very useful and tidy and it is so satisfying to make home made compost and save the expense and environmental impact of buying in lots of plastic bags of the stuff.
    In the UK we can have three households round to stay for a few days over Christmas. For obvious reasons, I’m not planning on taking advantage of this generous concession.

    1. Yes, sadly the virus doesn’t care if it’s Christmas or not. I am with you on the compost, there’s never quite enough so I do have to resort to the plastic bags sometimes, and try to reuse them, but of course the homemade stuff is the real deal.

  5. It looks like the production of compost is fine! This way, the fallen leaves get a good destination. The vegetable garden will benefit. Here only a balcony, so no garden. Despite strawberries in a large pot as well as a fig tree and two olive trees. The Japanese quince is really beautiful as it is now in bloom. As for everyone, Christmass will be different this year…. Let’s make the best of it.

    1. Thanks Rudi, it sounds like you have a productive balcony. Christmas will be fine I am sure, it’s just one day, next year will be better. I saw your cheerful photos of Antwerp. They are making an effort 🙂

  6. I’m a big fan of japanese quince and was a bit sad about yours until I read about the fig idea. You’ve got to make changes in a garden and this is a decision you’re unlikely to regret.

  7. Very impressive compost bins, yes leaf mould is wonderful stuff.
    I can’t imagine eating Christmas dinner in the garden and only one person allowed to use the loo. How do they police it I wonder?

  8. You’ve got an interesting garden, with some perplexing dilemmas there. Love the pallet compost bins! I think the orange shed is particularly challenging, but it made me think of a couple of chelsea gardens using corten steel structures against similar bright backgrounds. Maybe a rusty coloured decorative trellis could screen it a little and retain the access?

    1. Thanks Frogend Dweller (I love that name), funny I was just discussing the trellis option with my Mum in the phone earlier. I like the idea of a rusty one, and maybe have some trailing ivy in small pots on it to hide more orange in winter!

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