Six on Saturday: 06 Feb 2021: Optimism

The weather is see-sawing between some truly optimistic, sunny, mild days and wintry, cold, misty days, confusing for all of us, but I think we get the sense that we’re heading in the right direction now, and gardening beckons! I’m going to ignore the forecast for temperature drops to -9 for next week (yikes, got to save my Salvias!). So here are six interesting things from the garden, my contribution to Six on Saturday, hosted by The Propagator and followed by many an avid gardener.

1 Sunbathing. I’ll stat this week’s Six on Saturday with a delightfully warm moment on Thursday, when I got a chair out onto the terrace between lessons and basked in the sun with a ladybird. That was the most lovely half hour of my week.

2 Crocus. I should have taken photos of these in the sun. I like the purple flush to white one, growing along the front path.

3 Rhododendron ‘Horizon monarch’ buds. There are three rhododendrons in the garden, and this is the only one I planted myself, along the shadier side of the front path. These buds hold so much promise, and I like the yellow tinge on the petioles and veins.

4 Rose hips. More from the front path. A few of these are still plump and ruddy, while many others have succumbed to the inevitable.

5 Green manure. Every year, I try a different technique to overwinter the sections of the raised veg bed that are not in use. Last year, I used cardboard. This year, it’s Phacelia tanacetifolia, a green manure. Such fresh, lovely lacey foliage that it seems a shame to have to dig it in. It’s a pretty plant in flower too, I grew it for its blue flowers along the front path last summer. Incredibly popular with the bees.

6 Narcissus ‘Paperwhite’. This has exploded into flower now, and what a pretty sight and an intoxicating perfume! I think I might have to grow the bulbs indoors every year, I have fallen in love…

So, regretfully that’s it for this week, there are many photos I haven’t included of new growth and sunny spells, but am going to be disciplined and stick to six. If an extra photo finds its way in, it’s clearly a glitch. Have a lovely weekend everyone!

A sunny spell, highlighting the hazel in full catkins down the hill.

25 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 06 Feb 2021: Optimism

  1. So love your blogging x

    On 06 February 2021 at 12:06:00, The Nostalgic Gardener ( wrote:

    Sel Calderbank posted: ” The weather is see-sawing between some truly optimistic, sunny, mild days and wintry, cold, misty days, confusing for all of us, but I think we get the sense that we’re heading in the right direction now, and gardening beckons! I’m going to ignore the fo”

  2. -9° for you? brrr … Yes, the forecasts don’t stop changing and there are days when they say -3°, others -1° with a few snowflakes. In any case, we won’t have that cold snap that you should have up there… Good luck! I hope your ladybug took advantage of the sunbathing…
    As you know, I have the same rhododendron as you with its beautiful yellow buds next to the green leaves. It’s about the same stage as yours. Soon flowers …!
    Your Narcissus ‘Paperwhite’ is a success!

    1. Brrr indeed! Very cold days ahead, I worry for some of my plants and the bulbs that are quite advanced. I worry for myself too! It is a lovely rhododendron, we both have some beautiful flowers to look forward to in May.

  3. Funnily enough I found a packet of Phacelia tanacetifolia when I was sorting though my collection of seed. I don’t know where it came from but I’m going to grow some his year. I love the photo of the ladybird. I don’t seem to get many in my garden for some reason.

  4. we have a frigid week coming up as well. I’m hoping the snow helps insulate the plants, but since nothing is as far along as yours they should be ok. No buds, no crocus tips to speak of…Now I’m glad they waited! A lovely post.

  5. Yes, I don’t want the cold, I just want a few days of warm, drying weather so that the soil is all right for me to walk on. Is that too much to expect in early February? Varied and interesting Six-on-Saturday.

  6. It is funny how we go from scrapping around for six photos to having to whittle down loads to get to six. Lovely ladybird photo, I can just feel the warmth. Keep wrapped up, sounds like you will need your thermals next week!

  7. I hope for you that the extreme cold will not penetrate to Brussels. Here for the north (and especially the Kempen) we will undoubtedly get snow and severe frost for the coming week. So shield your delicate plants a little as a precaution. Have a great weekend and tomorrow I will throw a snowball in your direction LOL.

  8. I am impressed by your use of green manure in the vegetable garden. When do you typically sow the seeds? Early fall? Late fall? Your photograph of the rose hips captures the beauty of the winter garden: the lingering life and color coupled with decay. But as you say, gardeners are beginning to experience the stirrings of spring and perhaps the lengthening days and more frequent occurrence of fair weather creates a space in which I can enjoy the somewhat macabre residues of departing winter.

    1. The green manure went in sometime in fall/autumn. I think I sowed late October-early November. You are spot on, it’s easier to take pleasure in winter when one knows it’s on its way out!

  9. No signs of spring here and rightly so for us as it’s February in New England. Snow on its way and that can be the case even into our spring as late as April some years. But it is encouraging to see your signs and hope the predicted cold snap does not last long for you.

    1. We’ve got a weather front coming in from Siberia, expecting snow all week and very cold temperatures. A taste of New England for us 😉Spring is on hold for now.

  10. A lovely six – particularly nice thought of you enjoying the sunshine with your ladybird friend! I could almost smell your Paperwhites through the screen, the picture was so beautiful and perfect lighting for those flowers. You’ve encouraged me to try green manuring again. I’ve taken to covering the ground with the remains of my fall tidy-up, but I do love Phacelia – does it get a chance to flower before you dig it in?

    1. Thanks Cathy, I am glad the Paperwhites came out well. It’s so tempting to leave the Phacelia to flower, but alas that would I think be to the detriment of the manuring process and would mean waiting too long for the space in the veg bed. To compensate though, I’ll scatter a few seeds around this spring among other annuals – I saw someone plant it with ‘Black Ball’ cornflowers and it looked fab.

  11. You’ve reminded me to put a covering on both my penstemon…. They can be a vulnerable….
    PaperWhite is a fab plant…. I’ve got a few but won’t know which is which for a while yet.

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