Six on Saturday: 17 April 2021: still cold!

We’re having a very cold spring here: the garden table, optimistically uncovered earlier this month, is used mainly by the pigeons as a landing site for their droppings, as they roost in the trees above. It’s not exactly the kind of weather than induces much gardening. In fact, I’ve been away from the garden this week, as we took off for a refreshing change of scene in east Belgium, where we went for bracing walks on the fens and dodged snow storms. The region has an interesting history and a compelling, wild landscape which I wrote about here. So, very little gardening, but heavens it felt good to get away (said somewhat guiltily, thinking of those who yearn to but can’t yet). Despite my absence, the garden grows without the gardener, so there’s no getting out of Six on Saturday this week:

1 Aconitum ‘Henryi Spark’s Variety’. It’s been fascinating to watch this tower of shaggy foliage grow steadily upwards, and surprising to see flower buds. Isn’t Monkshood supposed to flower in late summer? The fact that it is deadly poisonous – you are advised not to plant it near your veg in case you end up eating a root by mistake – only adds to its allure. Just keep it away from your carrots.

2 Pulsatilla vulgaris ‘Alba’. The main reason for this being here is that I was green with envy after seeing Kind Hearts and Corydalis’ gorgeous photo of it in last week’s Six on Saturday. I happened to be at the garden centre and spotted it, and we all know how that story ends. It will be planted here to mix with the forget-me-nots and blue Anemone blanda.

3 Clematis alpina. The delicate nodding heads are just opening up now. Easy to miss, it’s been quietly climbing the wall, unpruned.

4 Oakleaf lettuce and upcycling. At least the lettuces don’t mind the cold. They’re growing on well in the mini greenhouse, so OH was tasked with drilling holes into wooden crates, which will be lined with old compost bags, also with holes, and then the lettuces will be planted and housed on the flat roof of the shed (I’ll show you pics of this novelty planting site when it’s up and running – the hope is that slugs won’t take up mountaineering to reach them). Meanwhile, my tomatoes, which are on a sunny windowsill indoors, are growing about a foot a day, it seems, which is alarming because it’s definitely too cold for them to go out yet but they desperately need potting on. They have reached the top of the window, so from the outside of the house, if you happen to be in the street and glance up, it looks suspiciously like there’s a cannabis factory on the top floor.

5 Heuchera ‘Caramel’. I like the way this one is constantly changing colour. The grape hyacinths make quite a bold contrast. Maybe too bold? Some geraniums have been divided and put into pots while I decide what to do with them, that could take a while. In the background, the viburnum with its snowball blossoms continues to fill the air with delicious scent.

6 Tulip ‘Abu Hassan’. These are the first of my tulips to get going – well, they are almost there. They were described to me in a gardening book as ‘dramatic’ and I can see they have the potential to be, more so perhaps if the hedge behind them could be the Moroccan blue shade of the pot in the background. The book that inspired me to plant them – The Pottery Gardener – has them in a metal container against a black background, and there they look sumptuous.

If you seek more gardening drama, have a look at The Propagator’s Six on Saturday page and enjoy the show in the comments section. I believe that our host also has some theatrical tulips to showcase this week. I hope that everyone has a great weekend, and that the weather warms up round these parts. I now need to call a man about some chickens, for the time has come to welcome our feathered friends back into the garden: watch this space.

32 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 17 April 2021: still cold!

  1. I would give up my garden without hesitation to be out walking on the fens! We are only now becoming free to travel a bit further but we continue to be cautious without our vaccinations.

  2. We had the coldest month of april in 35 years ! Let’s hope it will get better in the coming weeks.
    Unless the low temperatures, there are some nice flowers in your garden.

  3. I like the association of heucheras and muiscaris in these pots on the terrace. The same for the Tulip ‘Abu Hassan ‘: pretty colours !
    The cold seems to be gone, we will hopefully be able to finally take advantage of spring now!

  4. Love the combo of heuchera/muscari too! The little alpina is very sweet, such a nice clematis, I might try one in my next garden. Some aconites are early, some are autumn flowering, none are good to eat! Just going to catch up on your trip. Have a fun week.

  5. I also have to hide my salad greens. In my case it’s from rabbits, not slugs. The end result is much the same though! How lovely to be able to get away for a few days!

  6. Abu Hassan reminds me of an old soul who passed away in the hot spa of hemma jordan. He was 120 years. Talking of hot spa a dream now alas.
    Love the clematis I just bought one for my neihbour. It is lovely.

  7. That’s a very interesting little Clematis, and Abu Hassan is handsome. I think if I had to choose I would prefer a long cool spring to an early heat wave.

  8. Your Heuchera is beautiful, a chara. And you’ve created a fine combination around it. We’ll done.
    I’ll be very interested to see your lettuces update.

  9. I wish you luck with the novel salad planting, in my humble opinion slugs can climb anywhere! At least Cornish ones can. And do!

  10. The color and texture of the aconitum foliage is so fresh looking. I love your collection of potted plants. I particularly enjoy the sympathy between the colors of the caramel heuchera and the surrounding terracota – in some cases with a blush of moss.

  11. A particularly fine selection this week, I must say! Thanks for mention too, glad I could tempt you.

    The Aconitum is very interesting. As you say, the ones I’m familiar with flower in late summer – the one I have flower in the autumn. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

    1. Thanks! You sold it well! Looking forward to seeing the Pulsatilla grow (as it’s tiny right now, and I only bought one as the others didn’t look as healthy).

  12. What a lovely combination the white pulsatilla makes with the blue anemone and forget me nots. The lettuce growing in the crates on the flat roof sounds very interesting. I hope it foils the snails.
    The photo of the clematis is very nice, but I was disappointed not to see the cannabis factory 🤣

  13. The pulsatilla looks lovely against the blue and you have reminded me that I have planted Abu Hassan somewhere although I can’t remember where and they haven’t come up yet. Our monkshood usually flowers quite early in May/ June. I dug it up this year because of the puppy but a couple of pieces escaped and I am pondering whether to leave them.

    1. Do be careful with the Monkshood, maybe fence it off or make it impossible for digging up as the roots are the most poisonous. It’s a gorgeous plant though. Didn’t realise they could flower so early.

  14. I can’t wait to see your lettuces on the shed roof. You kind of think if the slugs make it up there they deserve a meal!

  15. I love the upcycling idea for the wooden crates. The idea of moving the lettuce to the shed roof is intriguing and we will see if you can outwit the snails. But they are canny little critters and can smell a yummy lettuce leaf a mile away.

    A change of scenery is good for the soul and helps to bring a new perspective to life.

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