Six on Saturday: 20 Feb 2021

There are multiple reasons to be cheerful this morning: waking up to the sound of bird song, looking out of the window at 7 am to see light already seeping into the sky, getting out into the garden at 8 am when it’s already light enough to take photos for Six on Saturday and looking at the weather forecast to see a continuous list of sunny days. The tide has turned! The tempo is quickening! Gardening is afoot, seeds need to be sowed, there’s lots to do. I’ll be visiting a chateau garden known as ‘the Versailles of Belgium’ that has opened this week for the school holidays, so there’s the added excitement of an outing today. Am writing this speedily before I head out, so let’s get started with Six on Saturday:

1 Wood chippings and green strimmings. Very lucky to have a free supply of these provided by our local urban farm. I’ve filled 8 compost-bags and am using them to line the chicken run paths, and to mulch around the compost area and the veg patch. Here I am shovelling away earlier this week.

The chicken run path, newly mulched

2 Casualties. The big freeze we had recently, when night-time temperatures dropped to -11 degrees C, has inevitably resulted in a few plant victims, though not as many as I had feared. I think this pot of cyclamen on the terrace table has bitten the dust. Then again, I do see a couple of upright new shoots, so perhaps I should give it a chance before chucking it on the compost.

Cyclamen in distress

3 Survivors. This Fatsia japonica, hardy to -10 degrees, was one of the plants that I didn’t want to risk losing, so it got molly-coddled with a nice fleece wrap during the cold spell, and looks absolutely fine. The sage in little tubs was also protected, but I’m not yet sure if my ornamental salvias made it (they got covered in old leaves and fern fronds). What about the little Agapanthus, given to me as a baby plant last summer? I think it’s tougher than it looks right now. Fingers crossed…

4 First primrose. I have a little collection of self-seeded primroses in a bit of lawn near the front door. We are planning to remove this lawn area to make room for a mini-gravel patio and a gravel path leading round to the back of the house. Work is due to start at the beginning of March, so I’m going to have to dig as many primroses up as possible and rehouse them. Soon!

5 Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’. Unusually-coloured foliage with red tips, looking ready to get going along the shadier side of the front path. There are wallflowers behind it in bright orangey shades, so I hope this will make a nice combo in the spring.

6 Trapaeolum tuberosum: a tuberous meal. In the pot is the first shoot of edible nasturtium. I bought three tubers earlier this year, and was surprised to see that this one has decided to sprout already. By this autumn, I might be able to harvest the tubers and eat them in a meal like this, made for a mid-week supper with tubers from the local market. Adds an interesting sweet almond flavour to roast vegetables. You can also eat Dahlia tubers, but I’m not sure how tasty they are: it might be better just to enjoy the flowers!

That’s all for this week. I’ll be back later in the day after my sortie to the Belgian Versailles to check out the other contributions from Six on Saturday regulars, who can be found at our host The Propagator’s site. Have a great weekend everyone, thanks for reading!

44 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 20 Feb 2021

  1. I’ve grown these tropaeolums before and knew they were edible but never actually went and ate them. Perhaps, it is something I should go and try again. We grew a variety called ‘Ken Aslett’ to the best of my recollection – recommended for its flower more than the tubers.

    I hope everything recovers from the cold snap.

    1. Funny, more people have grown these than I expected! I’m looking forward to the flowers too, not sure what the variety is, the supplier didn’t specify. When I post pics of it in flower you can tell me if it’s the same 😉

  2. Beautiful wood chip, you are very lucky, nice to see you hard at work. The chateau garden sounds wonderful, I hope you are going to share photos with your friends! Hope you had a lovely day.

    1. Oh thank you! The outing to the chateau was wonderful, so good to get out of the city, into proper countryside and see lovely things, including an amazing water garden – will write a little post on it tomorrow hopefully.

  3. Looking very energetic in the top photo! I see you’ve got your mask on too. I found myself digging a substantial hole with a face mask on just before Christmas – not a pleasant experience when you’re breathing heavily!

    I’ve seen Tropaeolum tuberosum mentioned somewhere, but not known anyone who has grown it. It’ll be interesting to see how you get on. Your supper looks yummy!

    1. Both Jon our Prop master, and Paddy, have grown it. More people than I expected! The masked digging/shovelling is definitely a challenge, thankfully I had help from my son (who didn’t want to be photographed!).

  4. I was also afraid for my fatsia which had the dropping leaves but it has recovered well like yours. On the other hand, I can’t say the same thing about my Agapanthus which have had the leaves frozen. I will have to wait for the new leaves but it’s not sure that I have flowers this summer…
    In the first photo, are you wearing a mask : for the smell or to protect yourself from the people next to you and the Covid? 😁

    1. Hahaha, it wasn’t too smelly! This was on the street, and if I don’t wear a mask I could get a fine. I think it’s become a habit too now! Good luck with the Agapanthus, hopefully they will prove how tough they are…

  5. Glad to see most of your plants survived. Busy times are now breaking in your garden, especially with the beautiful weather of the coming days. We wish you lots of garden fun! I am also very curious about your next post about Versailles in Belgium.
    Have a nice weekend and enjoy the beautiful weather.

  6. I can picture the euphorbia and the orangey shades of wallflowers. Should look very striking. The edible nasturtium sounds intriguing. I haven’t checked whether my potted cyclamens have survived the cold. If they have I fear they may soon succumb to the wet.

  7. Why does the most interesting photo involve shovelling wood chippings? I am really jealous. Meanwhile, if you look at my post, you will see that my cyclamen are looking quite good after the apparent disaster last week. I hope yours come back too.

    1. Oooh lucky you, I will pop over to have a look at them soon. I was a bit short of interesting photos this week, that’s probably why the one of me shovelling is the most interesting! 🙂

  8. Like Fred, my agapanthus in the front garden look well bitten by the frosts. I think your cyclamen unless the slightly tender florists’ types will recover.

  9. Oh what I would give to see a continuous list of sunny days in our weather forecast!
    Love that gorgeous pot with the Fatsia, but Fatsias can grow very big! And getting plants out of a round pot is not easy – believe me! I ended up having to break a pot open to remove the roots.

    1. I know, groan, the round pots. Nearly made OH take them back but was a pressie so they stayed…this Fatsia is supposed to be a lot smaller but you are probably right that one day there will be a difficult choice…

      1. That’s a really good idea. Those begonias in the urn look really good, and being tubers would be easy to remove. Thank you, I think you might have convinced me that I must get the Fatsia out and also a Carex which is in the second identical pot. Nice post about Heligan btw.

  10. Very cheerful to see you doing all this work I just managed a bike ride but when I got to the sea it was very windy so went to sainsbury and got 3 bags of compost at a good price I could do with free wood shaving…my pots have suffered. They need new make over. Happy gardening

  11. Your ceramic pots are really lovely. In particular, I like how the intricate design of the terracotta pot interacts with the complex leaf shape of the fatsia. Excited to hear about your plans to replace the lawn. For me, the dark purples and reds of the euphorbia are perfectly offset by the dead leaves in the foreground.

  12. I have to admit to a bit of woodchip envy! It’s always lovely to see a newly covered path – it looks so neat and well cared for. I’m sorry the cold snap damaged some of your plants. Hopefully they’ll survive and put out some new shoots soon.

  13. Didn’t realise you had chickens – how lovely. And yes, woodchip envy – me too! It’s always nice to see a picture of a blogger (I don’t allow it, however!!!) I do hope your plants – particularly the cyclamen – recover after the cold weather. We were forecast sunny days too, but it’s not looking too promising outside this morning. Have a good week!

    1. We’re truthfully between chickens at the moment i.e. we sadly lost our 3 hens last summer, and are thinking of getting new ones soon. I loved having them around, I just worry about leaving them if we go away (not a problem at the moment, but in the future…).

  14. My gosh, a day out! I’m envious!
    While I’m at it, I’m envious too of your free chippings.
    I think I’ll have a word with myself, all this envy is not good.

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