Six on Saturday: 13 March 2021

Our twig supply has increased greatly thanks to the windy weather we’ve been having. Earlier this week, I audaciously went for a very breezy bike ride in the forest (wearing a helmet) – anything for a thrill these days, right? As the wind got up, I was caught in one of those flurries of leaves that race around with the frenzy of school children let out for break when the bell sounds.

Reckless behaviour aside, it’s been sedate on the gardening front, with two exceptions: we finally pruned the big apple tree, which always feels a little dangerous: OH up the big ladder, me climbing into the branches (my Dad was a mountain climber, but it’s easier to get up than to get down). The other excitement was the arrival of a beautifully packaged box of bare-root perennials from Farmer Gracy, which supplies Europe from the Netherlands. So here we go, it’s six on Saturday time:

1 Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blosson’ is just bursting with buds, I’ll have to show you this one again next week. First flowers have just sprung from all that amazing potential, shown in my first photo above.

2 Chaenomeles japonica. The Japanese quince had been earmarked for the chop, but it got a reprieve and seems to begging for mercy. I may be merciful. It flowers bountifully, and the bees enjoy it.

3 Forsythia. This one is on borrowed time. For me, it’s the suburban shrub extraordinaire, we had one in our garden in south London, and we have one here. I didn’t plant either one. When you get up to the flowers nice and close, they are quite pretty. Step back, though, and it’s just a bit messy, and as for the rest of the year, it does little to justify itself.

Pretty up close
Nothing special from a distance. Spot the robin playing peekaboo?

4 Helloborus x hybridus. From the ordinary to the sublime, I couldn’t resist including these again, this time photographed in their place of residence chez moi.

5 Bare-root perennials. I ordered some geraniums, Geranium phaeum ‘Springtime’ and Geranium bohemicum ‘Brookside’, because frankly you can never have too many Geraniums. Also Echinacea ‘Fatal Attraction’, and some Gladiolus byzantinus corms, which flowers in a fabulous magenta shade. The Geraniums have been potted up for now.

6 Tulips in pots. There were quite a few contenders for slot number six this week, especially as my daffodils are just coming into flower, but I feel most excited about the nine pots of tulips here. The great news is that even the Aladdin tulip bulbs, that had looked a bit dodgy and slightly mouldy at planting time, are in fine fettle. All the pots have been washed and positioned in front of the Cyprus hedge, on the mulch, facing Fort Knox cat protection system.

Depending on the weather, I may or may not finish digging a trench this weekend to make one last attempt at controlling the trumpet vine, which has travelled way beyond its limit on the wall and last year sent up suckers all over the place, I even found it climbing up into my clematis on an arbour several metres away. In the photo here you can see those blasted roots, which I’m going to try to trace and remove, then create a trench and line it with large ceramic tiles that are sitting in the shed.

Trench warfare

Well, wish me luck with that! And do visit The Propagator’s site for more Six on Saturday contributions, and if you like gardening, join in the fun. Have a wonderful weekend, thanks for reading and see you again soon.

45 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 13 March 2021

  1. I had a clematis armandii a few years ago and it didn’t survive the east wind where I had planted it … I also had a Japanese quince but it was becoming invasive. I had to dig it up with regret because the flowers are very beautiful and the fruit edible.
    Ah the tulips in pots ! … mine are almost at the same stage and we still have to wait a bit…

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    1. That’s a pity, I was a bit worried about the clematis during the cold weather we had, it’s only hard to -10, but here it’s on a south-facing wall, nice and cosy. I’ll need to prune the Quince pretty hard after flowering, it does spread a bit.

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  2. Good luck with your Trumpet Vine extraction and defence trench. I’m looking forward to seeing the Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blosson’ in flower. My wife and I pass a garden with a red Japanese Quince on the way to town – it’s a show at this time of year – very tall though.

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  3. I love to follow the evolutions in your garden. Must say that everything looks great The comming summer will be very colourful at your place. I especialy liked the Ford Nox cat protection – poor cats LOL. Enjoy the weekend and we all hope for better weather….

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    1. Thanks Rudi, still very windy here, went out on the bike and nearly got blown off! I know, the cats here have no chance, they’d better check the neighbour’s gardens out 😉

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  4. That clematis’ leaves and buds look most unusual – I’m looking forward to seeing it in flower. I used to have a japonica which produced masses of fruit. The japonica jelly I made from them was very tasty, much better than the crabapple jelly which I made last year.

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  5. I am amazed at your early flowers so beautiful and cheerful. Here it is too windy to step out near the sea. I just watched Monty 80 gardens around the world my favourite is Bali and how every household make an offering of flowers and incense for the good of trees and gardens

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  6. What – no picture of the apple tree? We sawed some branches off/massacred one of the old apple trees here a couple of weeks back, and whilst I’m sure it will look alright in the end, I was too ashamed of our efforts to bring them to wider attention.
    The hellebores are looking wonderful. I know I was complaining about some of mine being rather fickle, but I see offtheedgegardening has blamed lack of hellebore growth on a certain compost, which may well be the reason for mine failing too. I feel bad I may have maligned this plant unfairly 😢

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    1. No, the apple tree is not featured, probably because like you it was a bit of a messy prune, we only did the bits we could reach without seriously risking life and limb! Also, the backdrop to the tree at this time of year is our neighbour’s house, urgh. As for the hellebores, fear not, you didn’t really put me off them, I’ll simply wait and see. I’m hoping to lay my hands on some horse manure next weekend, so they can have some of that, meanwhile I’ll check out what offtheedge has to say…and visit you too!

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  7. I planted some Geranium ‘Brookside’ just last fall – plants, not seeds. Hope they do well this year. And i used to grow lots of Tulips in pots but here they needed to be buried over winter, and that got to be too much for me.

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    1. I am looking forward to seeing how Brookside does, its home will be an east facing border. I’ve got Rozanne higher up the border so was thinking it would hopefully echo the blue but be a bit taller, that’s the theory anyway! Dealing with all that snow you get in winter must be tricky from a gardening perspective.

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  8. The apple blossom clematis is incredibly beautiful. I really love the look of vines clamboring over brick walls and wish we had more of those here. I couldn’t agree more about forsythia. The only acceptable format from my point of view is the unruly, unsculpted fountain of sulpherous yellow, but it is all too frequently pruned and thereby rendered utterly charmless.

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  9. Your beautiful Clematis has tons of flower buds! Can’t wait to see it in a week or two’s time. And your quince is very pretty. I am not a pink person as such, but there is something very appealing about pink in spring.

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    1. Thanks Jude! I didn’t plant the quince and if I did I would have gone for the lovely orangey/red shade but it’s true that soft pink is a better colour for early spring. The hot colours can wait for the warmer weather, I’ve got my vibrant border in the waiting room.

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  10. The Chaenomeles is looking good! I know what you mean about the forsythia, but I must admit I have a bit of a soft spot for them.

    I have recently received an order from Farmer Gracy – really impressed. I was surprised how quickly it arrived given they now have to negotiate new border protocols etc.!

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    1. Farmer Gracy are great, aren’t they? I imagine they must also have a UK centre of ops as well as the one in the Netherlands? The phytosanitary certificates now required would surely make it impossible otherwise? Farmer Gracy are the only UK supplier I can still use but on the flip side I am getting to know local suppliers a lot better 🙂

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    1. So sorry to hear that about your Clematis, you must be devastated…they are not fully hardy, are they? I think mine benefits greatly from the protection of the wall and is in a sunny corner.

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  11. Seeing your new geraniums labelled in pots does conjure up everything there is about a new sesson. I have similar pots of echinacea. Good luck.

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  12. I seem to remember that the Propagator hates forsythia. I’m a fan as I like the massive sunny yellow explosion when little else is flowering. I love your chaenomeles. I have two but they are both coral red whereas your pink one is so delicate – lovely.

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    1. I think I would like to swap my Forsythia for one of Chloris’ winter-early spring flowering shrubs, and I wouldn’t mind also swapping my pink chaenomeles for one of your coral red ones, I love that colour. Maybe it’s a case of the shrub is always nicer on the other side!

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  13. Good luck with the vine war! I hear constantly how Forsythia has little to offer for insects, but in my old garden ours used to be smothered in tiny flies, so there must have been something good in it! And I love that splash of yellow you see in almost every garden you pass in spring! You are ahead of us though and spring is moving oh so slowly here. Geranium phaeum is a favourite of mine. Haven’t seen Springtime yet though. Mine seed like mad, which is great!

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    1. Do you visit Chloris’ blog? She’s got some lovely early spring flowering shrubs this week and I’d gladly swap any for the forsythia but am a bit slow to act! Glad to hear that re G. phaeum, I like a good self seeder. Is yours in full shade / dappled shade?

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      1. Yes, I know her blog and all her wonderful plants… her garden must be so sheltered. My G. phaeum are mostly in full sun for most of the day. The paler purple ones and white ones do better in shade though. I have had several different varieties over the years but the purple ones have all ended up with the same darker variegated foliage.

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  14. 🙂 so nearly included the clematis this week, yes it is just in flower here too, but only just. I also have suburban forsythia and completely agree with you about close up and at a distance. I think I am ‘blessed’ with three and every year I mull over getting rid of them but never get round to it. One day…. I have g.phaeum in shade and dappled shade, it seems very resilient and definitely spreads itself around. My Brookside is also a prolific self seeder and puts on amazing growth each year.

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    1. Ah yes I look forward to seeing your clematis! Am glad I got it, it is perfect for heralding spring. I love hearing about plants I’ve bought doing well in other people’s gardens, v encouraging 🙂 Will ‘pop over’ to visit soon!

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  15. I understand your excitement! I love receiving a plant order and it is great fun opening and unpacking the plants, as by then I have forgotten half of what I ordered! I can’t wait to see you Clematis in full bloom; it will look spectacular! As will the tulips, when they are ready. The quince and Forsythia are great spring flowers to make you forget all about cold and dull winter. And yes, I spotted the Robin. They are such lovely birds! Good luck removing that vine root. That is going to be a tough job!

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