Six on Saturday: 22 May 2021

I’m late posting today as I had an early morning appointment to get my first Covid vaccine. Hopefully my antibodies are swinging into action as I write. So without further ado, let me dive straight into this week’s Six on Saturday:

1 Alliums. We’re back to the purple and orange contrasts in the new vibrant border, with Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ joining the manic-flowering Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’, which I’ve cut back quite a bit as it was getting a little domineering in orange. Lovely to see the honey bees and bumblebees enjoying the alliums. The only slight disappointment is that the pollinators show no interest at all in the geums, and I wonder why – are they low in nectar and/or pollen? It’s a pity because they flower so profusely and are good garden plants, and while not every garden plant has to be planted for a pollinator, it is something I’m aiming towards.

2 Rosa x Cantabrigiensis. I featured it in my Soggy Garden post earlier this week, but I like these new photos of it even more. Newly planted last autumn as a bare root, am delighted with this delicate, primrose yellow rose, developed in Cambridge in the 1930’s. The single flowers have the advantage of being more accessible to pollinators, though I’ve got plenty of the big, blousy ones on their way.

3 Hesperis matronalis with grape vine. The pale violet flowers of the sweet rocket are adding to the front path action, and the vine on the fence behind them looks promising, except for the fact that it’s got lots of bumpy spots from a tiny insect that borrows into the leaves. It is harmless, and doesn’t affect the grape harvest, but looks a bit unsightly. When the leaves get a bit bigger, I will remove the worst affected to control the problem a bit.

4 Potatoes. They have been growing like mad in all this rain we’ve been having! I wonder if I should earth them up some more – the compost bags containers can be further unfolded if need be.

5 Lettuces. They have also been growing like mad in this rain, and I can triumphantly confirm that the ones growing up on the roof of the shed have been totally untouched by slugs, with no protective measures taken. I’ve cracked it people! Grow your lettuces up high, find the highest point you can reach and put them up there. Harvesting and checking up on them only involves a quick climb out of a landing window and a hop over a small pitched roof – the athletics are worth the effort! The champagne box planter has Asiatic leaves which add a good peppery flavour to lift the salads.

6 Chickens. Well I was going to take a photo of the flowering rhododendrons in the corner of the garden, but my camera lens was drawn inevitably to the Pekin bantams. They love it under the shrubby growth here, and I feel that the rhododendrons are finally serving a purpose (I find them rather gloomy for most of the year). Tabitha, Jennifer and Grimy are settling in well and are a bit less jittery when we approach them. I trust that they are fully engaged in slug control.

So there we are, another wet week goes by without much gardening but with plenty of plant growth nonetheless. Seedlings of Tithonia, Salvia and sunflowers as well as courgettes and sweetcorn are giving my accusatory glances each time I open up the greenhouse, but I suppose no harm will come from waiting a bit longer before planting out. Thanks to the Propagator for hosting, and hope everyone has a lovely weekend.

33 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 22 May 2021

  1. Good news for your vaccine jab. A little rest this weekend and everything will be fine.
    Nice choice this weekend with beautiful photos of this rose and I must admit that my potatoes look like yours at the moment! They are twice as high as those growing in the ground.

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    • Thanks Fred, I’m taking it nice and easy with Six on Saturday reading 🙂 Great to hear your potatoes have caught up, yes the ones in the ground are way behind. I didn’t really want any in the ground, but they are forgotten ones that didn’t get harvested last year, so I guess they will still give me a crop.

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  2. Your roof gardening is too extreme for me 😉

    I use hanging baskets for some of my salad bowl lettuces – though not so far this year. I might sow some seeds this weekend, but we’ve been warned to expect frost once the rain stops so planting out seedlings is still on hold.

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  3. Those Alliums of yours are beautiful. Re the bees, we have noticed that the bees here have preferences, depending on what else is flowering in the garden at the time. One minute they are all over flowers of plant A, but as soon as plant b comes into flower they abandon plant a! It is interesting to observe. I love the simple beauty of the Rosa.your veggies are growing nicely, and I do hope you take care scrambling out on that roof!! The best part of today’s blog are the chickens!! They are gorgeous and look as if they have settled in nicely!

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    • Many thanks (from the alliums). Interesting what you mention about bee preferences, though I haven’t seen them visit the geums at any point, which makes me wonder if there’s just nothing there for them. Poor chickens are huddled under their little roof today trying to stay out of the rain.

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  4. It is great to see how well everything grows in your garden. I think the way you grow lettuce is very original …. of course you have to save those wooden trays first LOL. Let us hope that your crops and plants are not harmed by the very sad weather … is this really the month of May?

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  5. What a great idea for the lettuces! Shall be copying!
    I am impressed with Rosa x Cantabrigiensis – so delicate. And because I can’t grow alliums, i am in allium envy!

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  6. Perfect lettuce planting, so 😛 to the slugs and 🐌. Your alliums look good, next week I will show mine in my post. Last year my potatoes did well but this year, nothing showing at all. Yours look amazing.

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    • Exactly, feels good to beat the slugs! My potatoes in the ground (which I didn’t plant but were missed in the ground from last year’s harvest) have been really slow, these ones in containers are taking off by contrast.

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  7. The front path border is looking good with the Hesperis, forget-me-nots and grape vine. I’ve just been looking up geums and most sellers seem to suggest they attract bees but I must admit I’ve not seen any enjoying the geums in my garden either, not that I’ve been paying much attention. Love the bantams.

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    • You’d think they would attract bees as the flowers are open and accessible, and although I’ve read that they are sterile, so are those of G. Rozanne but the bees are usually all over that. Hmmm…will dig deeper.

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  8. The bantams are so sweet hope they give you their jewel eggs. Bees like open petals and not complex buds my lettecehave been washed away with the rain but my salad leaves are coming on in a pot. I love yours on the roof.

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  9. Blimey, those potatoes are certainly growing! I’m trying to think how high up I can get my lettuces. I’m not sure I have many options…

    On a slight aside, your lawn is looking nice. I do like to see a few daisies in a lawn. Ours is completely bereft (much to my daughter’s chagrin). We have a lot of clover, which flowers nicely later in the year, and is much enjoyed by the bees.

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    • We’re doing no mow May and didn’t get round to doing a lot of mowing last year, so the lawn is really the result of being lazy! It’s now mainly daisies, clover and the odd dandelion. Maybe you could dig up a daisy from somewhere and transplant it?

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    • PS re lettuces I saw someone grow them on a high planter with legs, which were made of rough wood and the slugs and snails didn’t like to climb up it, texture + the climb was too uncomfortable!

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  10. Next time it stops raining I must check my Geums and see if there are any bees on them. I also don’t recall them being attracted to the flowers. Bravo on the lettuces! If the weather remains so damp I may have to try growing some on our balcony as the first slugs and snails have been spotted in a previously snail-free zone. My goodness, those potatoes are doing well! When were they planted? Ours are only just peeping out the ground but went in quite late. I am glad I am not the only one with seedlings left to plant out. I put two Tithonia plants in last week but it has been so windy and was only 2°C last night! I will wait a few more days too. The rest of them will thank me for it I hope! 😃 Have a good week Sel!

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    • I contacted the guy who wrote the book on Gardening for Bumblebees to ask him about Geums – more on that in next week’s post. Potatoes in containers are racing ahead of those in the ground, could it be the extra horse manure I wonder? 😆 I chitted them for 6 weeks and I remember planting them around a week after St Patrick’s day, when one of the Irish bloggers planted his (SOS is handy like that!). Look forward to seeing how your Tithonias do, am not sure it’s going to be a great year for mine, conditions couldn’t be more different to Mexico 😂

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  11. All looking lovely. My alliums are way behind what they were last year and I’m not sure they have all returned. Maybe time to plant some more in the autumn. Speaking of which it feels more like that season then late spring!

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  12. I do like that pale yellow rose. Our first Alliums (Purple Sensation and Globemaster) are already starting to go over due to our sudden intense heat (31 C). Fortunately there are more Alliums to come. I have never grown potatoes, but the idea is appealing. Can you tell a difference in taste or texture?

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    • Oh home grown potatoes are amazing, they taste so good and harvesting them is like digging for treasure. Here we have no heat but would very much like some please, even if it means the alliums go over (there’s a danger I’ll go over if not).

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  13. Ha Ha, I thought my pots in containers were doing okay until I saw yours! But they did go in several weeks later, so no worries. Fabulous Asiatic leaves, my salad selection is limited – rocket and some simple cut and come again, doesn’t look quite so decorative. Congrats on first vaccine, not bragging at all but just had my second!

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  14. I admire your ingenuity and athleticism in growing pristine lettuces . 😉 I tried growing them in hanging baskets one year, with reasonable success. I’ve often wondered about keeping chickens, so I’ll be interested in watching for progress reports about them. Are foxes a problem in your area?

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    • Thanks re the lettuces 😉 These chickens are lovely and being bantams, a lot less destructive of plant life and easier to keep I think than the bigger layers. We have foxes two gardens down! With good fox-proofing, you should be ok – if you decide to go ahead, let me know and I’ll give you some tips! Beware of red mites, a lot more dangerous than the foxes, as we found out to our and the previous chickens’ peril. 😦

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