Six on Saturday: 01 May 2021: Festival of Flowers

Wishing everyone a happy May Day: a significant festival for gardeners, as the first celebrations marked the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, during the Roman republican era.

Ah such a lovely morning to bring in the month of May, full of promise. I love this time of year. I decided to take a few pics of how the back garden is looking this morning, and pretty much all you see has been transformed from lawn and few lone shrubs when we moved here almost four years ago. You know what, I’m going to give myself just a little pat on the back, before I start thinking about how to improve it further.

After last week’s tribulations with tomatoes, things have calmed down a bit, especially as new homes have been found for at least half of them, considerably easing my work load. Also, we have focused on welcoming our cute feathered friends to their new abode – they are of course featured on this week’s Six on Saturday round-up:

1 The Vibrant Border. It’s living up to its name, with three main party-goers having a good time together: orangey-red Tulipa Dillenburg and Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’ have been joined this week by fuchsia pink tulip ‘Barcelona’. This border reminds me of a Spanish fiesta at the moment. Hard to believe it was a patch of bare clay just last autumn, and before that just lawn. Things will calm down once the tulips are over, but am hoping that alliums, oriental poppies and day lilies will take up the baton. Meanwhile, seedlings of Tithonia, sunflowers and Cleome, and Dahlias, are being nurtured in the greenhouse for late summer colour.

2 Tulipa Cassini. Yes, more tulips, I’ve gone a bit tulip mad this year (or last autumn, to be more accurate, it must have been the weather, or an attempt to distract myself from grim reality). Here two pots of Cassini are brightening up a corner of the veg patch, they are a bit short and dumpy but I like to soft orange shade. I like the lime green growth on the box hedge too, which has finally become a hedge rather than individual little plants, it took about three years. Argh the box blight, argh the box tree caterpillar, I hear you cry, but I am deaf to these portents of doom, all is well and green for now.

3 Bluebells, Hyacinthoides hispanica. Onto something cooler and calmer, let’s head to the glade, where ferns are unfurling gracefully, Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Spessart’ is flowering daintily and the bluebells are nodding their pretty heads. There’s a perfect unblemished Hosta in a pot, I love the blue-green colour but don’t know the variety. Keeping Hostas in pots is the only way to stop them looking a total slug-ravaged mess in my garden!

4 The potato trials. I’m participating in an experiment to grow potatoes in containers this year, along with Fred a French Gardener, Piglet in Portugal and N20 Gardener. I’ve got one large bin filled with four King Edwards, and three compost bags with two or three potatoes per bag. Here you can see pics taken earlier in the week, pre and post earthing up with fresh compost, and finally a photo taken this morning to show how quickly new growth emerges after earthing up. So far, so good.

5 Lettuces on the rooftop. Another intrepid experiment, to grow lettuces on the roof of our shed, in the vain hope that slugs will not scamper up here to dine on Lollo Rosso, Oakleaf Red and Paris Island Cos. What a menu, they might be tempted to make the trek! As an afterthought since taking this photo, I covered the crates with chicken wire cloches just in case the roosting pigeons in the trees overhead felt like a free lunch.

6 Our new garden inhabitants. Welcome to our Pekin bantams! They are still very shy and getting used to their new surroundings. Much smaller than the normal breed of layer, they are round, have feathered feet, and – I quote – “are generally less destructive of ornamental gardens”. It’s great to have chickens back in the garden again.

That’s all from me this week, be sure to browse The Propagator’s Six on Saturday post for links to fabulous gardens with dedicated custodians from around the world.

47 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 01 May 2021: Festival of Flowers

  1. First of all, I wish you a lovely 1th of May 🙂
    Everything is doing well in your garden and the potatoes look promising.
    I think the chicken wire was a good idea !
    Congratulations sith your new habitants…. Soon fresh eggs ??

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  2. Potatoes look good !Yours caught up with mine. Lack of heat and cold nights but I imagine it’s the same in Belgium … I planted a dozen, 3 have sprouted , 1 was nibbled and nothing on the horizon for the rest …

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  3. Your vibrant border is looking stunning, and in such a short space of time too. I love the chickens. I often wish we had the space for them but we have to content ourselves with the house sparrows that are helping to keep the greenfly under control. Have you named them?

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    • Thank you, well for a long time I also thought we didn’t have space for chickens, but where there’s a will…and bantams are quite small, so you might want to consider them? But house sparrows sound like a lovely alternative. Jennifer, Tabitha, Grimy (last one named by my son, errr…yes).

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  4. A great post. You and the prop both have geums in flower! They are so far behind here. Your Barcelona is very much like mine. A firm favourite. I’m already a little worried about my container pots, no leaf showing at all. Cold? Or have I already failed to water them enough? Good luck with the chickens. Enjoy all your good work!

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  5. Yes I love the roof idea I am going to put white pebbles then some earth and then put straight in I will go for herbs and wild flowers. Yes your garden has transformed well done very cheerful colours.

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  6. Congratulations on your beautiful bantams! I am amazed by the planning and self-control you demonstrate in planting your flower beds. The color combinations are definitely a success, and I look forward to seeing how they evolve over the course of the season.

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  7. Lots of beauty here! Your garden is looking lovely, nice combo of tulip and geum, my kind of colours. The bantams are very sweet, hope they settle in quickly and start laying you some eggs for your breakfast. 🙂

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  8. Fabulous work in the garden and so much achieved. Those high walls are a great benefit, I imagine, giving shelter and protection. We kept hens and ducks for a number of years and loved having them and their eggs; great fun.

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    • Thanks Paddy, the walls are I think one of the reasons we bought this house! Had a secret garden sort of feel. They offer great protection and are wonderful for ripening tomatoes against. I agree that chickens provide much entertainment.

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  9. You can’t eat entertainment – do they lay eggs? LOL Above all I miss the duck eggs – not offered in the shops here and necessary to buy from a private supplier, a home producer.

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  10. So much going on! The Vibrant Border is looking great, and it sounds like there’s loads more to come. Nicely chosen plants.

    Lollo Rosso is a great lettuce, I always grow some. I was also growing Little Gem, but our tortoise found it and has razed the lot to ground level!

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  11. Lovely views of your garden, I do like a proper nosy around and I envy you that wall and those arches. And hello to the bantams. I once stayed in a B&B which had bantams and I had tow small eggs for breakfast, the nice thing about them is that they are mostly golden yolk. Yum!

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    • Thanks, the walls were a big selling point for me, I like the sense of enclosure and of course the planting opportunities! You are right re bantam eggs, I was discussing it with my Mum and she said they’re not so good for cakes because so little of the whites. Bantam egg omelette will be good though 😋

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  12. I like the Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’ very much. In fact that border is completely splendid. Like everyone else, I think the bantams are very cute. How lovely to have them in your garden.

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  13. You should be proud of your achievements so far. IT’s good to give ourselves a pat on the back.

    I see your lettuce are doing well. I was going to return this week and mention they are at risk from birds and I see you have already taken precautions.

    The potatoes are coming on well. Hmmm we’ve run out of pots so I think I will suggest to my gnome he tries a batch in potato bags. We have a couple I bought years ago from the centre aisles at Lidyls (as you do) and they still sit in their packaging…somewhere… in the garage. I bet I can’t find them. If not compost bags will do. I like that idea.

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  14. Hmm, very instructive. I think I might have gone wrong with my potatoes, not earthing them up nearly enough. Is one supposed to do it continuously so that the above-ground bit of the plant never becomes tall at all? I am a noob to this potato-growing business as you can see… but keen.

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    • Thanks Megan, earthing up just encourages the plant to produce more tubers so you get a bigger harvest. It’s my first time growing them in this way, but I see a lot new growth already so will earth up again today if I remember! I think 2 or 3 times is enough. Good luck with yours, are they in the ground or in containers?

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      • They’re in the ground, only two plants. It’s a bit awkward earthing up with other things growing round about, but I’m sure I can figure something out 🙂

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  15. Beautiful garden! I like how you put your wood arch at an angle to the deck—visually interesting! Such cute chickens. Wish we had some but there is never anyone to take care of animals whenever (rarely) we want to get away for a few days. I enjoy your posts so much!

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    • Thanks so much Lisa. I really wanted to grow some climbers up an arch, and this seemed like the best location for it, I’ve got two clematis and a rose on there. The worry with the chickens is indeed leaving them – these Covid days we rarely travel, but when we do we rely on neighbours – we have many willing ones – unfortunately it went very wrong last year when the previous chickens became unwell, but we’re giving it a second go and will take extra precautions!

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  16. Your garden does look lovely Sel! That big wall must retain warmth and make it a wonderful sheltered oasis. The tulips in pots are sich a nice touch and can be moved around too. Good luck with the roof experiment! We have long slugs that crawl up our house wall but we see from the trails that they only get to about 3 feet and then turn around…. a good sign? 😄🐌

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    • Thanks Cathy, the wall is lovely and warm, tomatoes ripen well against it, the more tender climbers also appreciate it and last year I grew a squash up it, it’s fantastically useful. 3 feet, I think we might be ok then 😆.

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