Six on Saturday: 24 Apr 2021: Tulips and Tomatoes

‘Can you all get in an orderly line please?’, I feel like saying to all the seedlings that are clamouring to be potted on, and particularly to the 19 tomato plants, which have demanded a lot of my time and attention this week. All of them had to be potted on, staked and tied in, but after doing about fifteen of the them, I got fed up and decided to plonk four straight into the veg bed where they can frankly take their chances. I’ve been kind enough to give them a fleece covering at night, making a sort of makeshift greenhouse. Despite giving quite a few away, I still have too many – I am reminded of that each evening when I have to bring them all in after hardening off on the sunny terrace during the day. Phew…

Well, apart from feeling tomatoed out, I’ve really enjoyed the glorious spring weather we’ve been having, although it’s been so dry, it won’t be long before the water butt is empty. I’ve even had to get the hosepipe out to water the veg bed. Is this a sign of what’s to come as our planet warms up and spring is over by April? I’m increasingly thinking about which plants will survive best in these conditions, and try to focus more on drought-tolerant species that won’t need constant watering (the dahlias definitely don’t fit into this category).

Right, let’s do Six on Saturday:

1 Tomatoes. You’ve heard my complaints! So here are a few images of potting on, hardening off, greenhouse contraptions and all that other ritualistic stuff.

2 Tulips. They’ve been putting on quite a show. I haven’t chosen subtle, soft tones this year, it’s all loud and energising this year, and unapologetically cheerful. Here are the lily-flowered tulips Aladdin.

3 Tulips in the vibrant border. Here I’ve planted a drift of the old Dutch variety ‘Dillenburg’ which is flowering at the same time as Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’. There are also some magenta ‘Barcelona’ tulips to add even more zing, but they are only just coming into flower.

4 Tulipa ‘Dream Touch’. These are more sophisticated! I like the shape and there’s the subtlest white border to the very tips of the petals that gives them a good outline, especially against the gravel of the new path.

5 Pollinator border. I’ve sowed lots of cheerful annuals here. It’s a sunny south-facing small border right by the front door, but the soil isn’t deep, there are pipes and other obstacles lurking underneath, so it’s been a tricky planting site. After reading more about bumblebees and other pollinators, who face an uncertain future as their traditional habitats disappear, I’ve planted nectar and pollen-rich selection including Phacelia, Calendula, Nasturtium, corn flowers, poppies and French marigolds. Let’s see what comes up! The trellis is to keep our feline friends off.

6 Honesty and forget-me-nots. Along the sunny side of the front path, Honesty, Lunaria annua, is in flower. I’ve also just added in five Hesperis matronalis, or sweet rocket, or even dame’s rocket, which I think will blend in well with this naturalistic planting and is another great plant for pollinators, plus it smells nice in the evening (the clue is in the name: Hesperis is the Greek word for evening).

It promises to be another lovely day. Potting on is the big priority right now: lettuces and some annuals sown earlier, Cosmos, Cleome, Larkspur and Coreopsis all need dealing with. It’s a really busy time for gardeners right now, but let’s all take a moment to sit back and peruse the multitude of Six on Saturday posts over at the Propagator’s site – the perfect excuse to put the kettle on.

44 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 24 Apr 2021: Tulips and Tomatoes

  1. I’m in love with the tulips. But then I see everything else and I can’t WAIT till we get to spring in 5 months time. I look forward to seeing how many tomatoes you pick.

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  2. These tulips ‘Aladdin’ are lovely! These two colours go very well together of course. And you have other varieties than mine so it gives me more ideas for next year…😉
    Regarding the tomatoes, mine are in the greenhouse at the moment, day and night again, protected like you because the nights are still cold.

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  3. Aladdin is a thing of beauty – I am developing a decided preference for tulips with pointy petals. I really like your plans for a pollinator-friendly garden near your door – all annuals, which will hopefully self-seed. Like you, I am feeling the pressure to think seriously about which plants can survive longer and longer periods of drought. Also entertaining enormous rainwater storage tanks and various graywater irrigation setups.

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  4. You’ll be run ragged, a chara. I’m just glad that I gave away most of my tomatoes two weeks ago. They really do take a lot of minding.
    But think of the end result on your plate. That will get you through!

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  5. Nice to see the humble digestive biscuit making an appearance. I like the chocolate ones, but sometimes you can’t beat a no-nonsense plain biscuit.

    Your selection of tulips is fantastic! Is it the result of careful browsing of catalogues, or more of a try-it-and-see approach?

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    • My favourite is the dark chocolate digestive, which is quite rare here, but happily the plain ones are somewhat surprising readily available! With the tulips I was mainly guided by colour, probably influenced by a lovely display of warm coloured tulips in pots seen on Carol Klein’s cottage garden programme.

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  6. I was thinking that the one digestive isn’t going to go very far between all of us sixers visiting your garden, I suggest you get a packet or two, and yes chocolate ones would be appreciated 😆
    I love the Aladdin tulips. I think Jim has those too and they are very striking. I am now wondering it next year I just buy one kind of tulip, but lots of them 🤔 Good luck with all those tomatoes. I’m afraid I simply order ones that have already been started off and only three different kinds this year. They are very needy plants!

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    • Wouldn’t that be fun, a Six on Saturday tea party! I’ll start bulk buying Digestives now…I find it’s very hard to stick to one kind of anything with plants, let alone tulips, but it would certainly be impactful – you just have to be sure it’s one you really like 😉

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  7. I feel your pain on excess tomato seedlings. I gave loads away and still have far too many. I am intrigued by your fleece contraption and wonder if something like that may prevent my potatoes getting blight.

    I am also intrigued by the trellis on the floor. Do you plant in the squares?

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  8. Your tulips are really beautiful and especially neatly aligned 😉 Good luck with the tomatoes. I also did a little gardening on our balcony. The geraniums are shining in their containers. Our fig tree is getting its first leaves and the olive tree is also starting to sprout. Out of the wind and in the sun it is already lovely to sit there, especially with a cup of coffee and a biscuit 😉

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  9. Potting on is an ever expanding task isn’t it? It is a shame that the available pot and module space isn’t similarly elastic! The nightly frosts aren’t helping either. 😦 Anyhow, your tulips are bold, bright and beautiful. ‘Dream Touch’ look particularly luxurious.

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  10. Your garden is looking lovely and colourful and very cheerful! The two toned tulips are delightful. I had a chuckle at your tomato dilemma as we have also grown far too many veggies for our small garden and ended up giving them away. The forget-me-nots are really beautifully too.

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