Six on Saturday: 23 Jan 2021: Catkins

I’m still a little high on the novelty of a patch of blue sky and a few weak but welcome rays of sunshine, which arrived here yesterday after weeks of grisaillle (the Belgian/French word for miserable, grey weather: as grim as it sounds). Today also looks promising and mild. I had a lovely bike ride in the forest yesterday, getting a bit carried away with archaeological imaginings at a 6,000 year-old Neolithic site, and noticed that the beech nuts on the forest floor were germinating. On that encouraging note, let’s get started with this week’s Six on Saturday (six things in the garden on Saturday):

1 Rose pruning. I’ve done the two climbers, and the six bushes along the front path. Tick! Next up is the more intimidating job of pruning the old and too tall apple tree. The other half will need to help (he can go up the ladder, I’ll stay safe on the ground holding it I think!).

2 Euphorbia characias ‘Silver Edge’. A dwarf euphorbia which I planted last autumn to bulk up the cottage garden planting near the pink roses. As I was doing my rose pruning, I noticed the slightest hint of pink on some of the leaves.

3 Pieris japonica ‘Variagata’. Another white, green and pink number. They say everyone has a good side and less flattering side in profile, and this is the good side of my Pieris. She’s rather bare on the other half, but never mind, perhaps she needs a good prune to stimulate growth.

4 Tropaeolum tuberosum. I had been looking out for a supplier for these edible nasturtium tubers. There was a waiting list for them with a French supplier that fellow gardening blogger Fred had recommended to me for seeds (merci Fred), and as soon as they became available again, I snapped them up. There are three tubers, one of which has already sprouted, so I had better pot them up this weekend.

5 Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’. Really looking forward to seeing this in flower soon, just look at those fat buds. I have to admit, this was an impulse buy. I was supposed to be getting one for a friend while visiting a specialist clematis supplier deep in the Flemish countryside, but it was March, the plant was in flower, and was simply irresistible. Luckily, I happen to have a warm, sheltered wall for it to clamber up. Phew…

6 Hazel catkins. I have two trees planted next to each other, right outside the front of the house, and we get a pretty view of the yellow catkins from the living room window. Hazel is wind pollinated, and has both male and female flowers on the same plant (monoecious if you like a technical term). The male flowers are born in huge numbers on the catkins, and for the first time I noticed the tiny female flowers with their crimson styles (see last photo). No need to attract the bees, no need to be showy!

Tiny female flower visible just above the end catkin

So there we are, thanks as always to our host The Propagator, you’ll find many other Six on Saturday contributions on his blog from many corners of the globe. From this Belgian corner, I wish everyone a great weekend, may the weather be kind to you!

32 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 23 Jan 2021: Catkins

  1. One of the things I love about SoS is how much I learn. I didn’t know that about the female flowers so am off out now to have a look at mine! I like the look of your Euphorbia ‘Silver Edge’ as it looks like it stays contained and doesn’t run around. I have been caught out before with Euphorbias that do that.

    1. Thanks Joy, it’s funny but I only spotted the female flower after taking a few photos for SOS, and then noticed it when going through the pics on my computer! I then looked it up, so I also learnt something new. I sincerely hope the Euphorbia behaves itself, as space is tight along the path…

    1. Thanks Granny. The nasturtium tubers have a sweet, almondy flavour – quite delicate, they are nice roasted in veg oil. I tried them for the first time here a couple of years ago. Tubers of all kinds seem to be gaining in popularity these days.

  2. I also have a euphorbia characias but not the ‘Silver Edge’ variety: it is very pretty and seems to have a smaller volume.
    You’re welcome for the French supplier. They have good products, grown with organic respect
    Lovely catkins photo Sel !

  3. Your clematis looks lovely, don’t forget to show us it when those buds open. And the Euphorbia is pretty too, I need to look out for that one, though where on earth I can plant anything else is becoming a problem.

  4. With all this rose pruning going on, I feel I should get my secateurs out tomorrow. Good job done! I was most interested to see the Tropaeolum tuberosum in the flesh as it were, since I’ve failed to grow them from seeds a couple of times. But will you eat them?

    1. Thanks, pruning pressure can result from SoS! The plan is to eat the tubers, after more have developed, for sure! I tried them here in Belgium for the first time a couple of years ago (they were on sale in our local little packaging-free shop), they are really quite delicious.

  5. Nothing like a full bucket to show you’ve been busy!

    I’d just replied to your comment on my post and mentioned about the female hazel flowers: here you are with a photo of them!

    Beautiful Euphorbia too.

  6. This is the first I have heard of edible nasturtium tubers and I am more than a little intrigued. The Silver Edge euphorbia is quite striking. Have you had any luck propagating euphorbias? I have a few and would like many more. The photograph of your Apple Blossom clematis clamoring up the regimented brick is lovely. I have a special place in my capacious gardener’s heart for catkins. I have one hazelnut planted currently and plans to add more. The catkins in your photos are such a wonderful fresh color like fat caterpillars. Thank you for showing the tiny, burgundy female flower, which I had never noticed before.

    1. Am quite new to euphorbias, but would be happy to have more, so exploring propagation sounds like a good idea. Thanks for your appreciative comments re the catkins, they do indeed look like fat caterpillars! Not to mention how useful hazel is for the gardener, not just the delicious nuts but the young bendy ‘wands’ which I use to make plant supports / wigwams.

      1. Yes, I had forgotten that hazels could be used that way. In the past I have depended on bamboo when stiff vertical supports are needed and willows for applications where something more pliable is needed. This makes me feel even better about adding hazelnuts to my landscape.

      2. The good thing about hazel is that it doesn’t root so easily like willow, and it’s less slippery than bamboo, so climbers find it easier to cling on. A great choice, and a lovely tree almost all year round (plus there’s lots of interesting magic/folklore around hazels, I was thinking of looking into that…)

  7. Snap on the catkins. Our Clematis armandii has grown into a monster and the other night strong winds blew it down trellis and all. I am wondering how far back it will take being pruned.

    1. Yes, snap! I’ve been amazed by the vigour of this clematis, I can see that it might easily overwhelm a trellis, and am now a bit concerned about how far along the wall it wants to travel!! I imagine it could take a prune, but it might still grow back in a season!

  8. The edible nasturtium is a new one for me. A quick bit of research shows a very interesting flower which I will be interested to see when you post a photo, which I am sure you will do!
    The clematis is going to be out in no time, and will be lovely to see against that old wall.

  9. Haha, yes almost an identical clematis photo, loved the sunshine in yours. And we are both pruning roses frantically! I like your euphorbia very much, I can that working well with roses.

  10. There’s nothing quite like blue sky and a bike ride. Chapeau!
    Is the tuber edible? Sounds like a silly question, but there you go… Its out there now.
    I hope you had a good week, a chara. I’m v late getting around to my reading homework.

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