Six on Saturday: 17 July 21: Après le déluge

Well that was an awful lot of rain. You will have no doubt heard about the floods in eastern Belgium and seen the devastation on the news. Towns that we drove through in spring when we went to that region for a lovely holiday have been reduced to mud, upturned vehicles and rubble, it’s quite astonishing. Here in the centre of the country, perched on a hill on the outskirts of Brussels, we were spared flooding but it rained, and rained, and rained. Climate change is coming home. Thankfully, the weather is improving now, and the sun has come out as I’m writing this on Saturday morning, yes it’s Six on Saturday time:

1 Respite after the rain. The poor chickens have not been enjoying the weather, their feathery feet have been getting soggy, and it’s only now that they are able to come out to roost and wander about. You can see they still look a little put-out.

2 Platycodon grandiflorus. Otherwise known as the balloon flower for its strange buds that swell up as if someone’s blowing into them, before opening out into these bright violet-blue flowers. A white-flowered variety hasn’t yet come into flower. They have been relocated to the cool shades/pond border, where all the plants are thriving in the damp conditions.

3 Dahlia ‘Bora Bora’. A saturated, attention-grabbing pink, this cactus Dahlia is growing well in a large pot next to the veg patch. I stuck a strip of copper tape around the rim of the pot, and I don’t see any slug damage at all. The same for a pot of Dahlia ‘Antibes’. My conclusion: the copper tape really does seem to work, especially if you make sure the slugs can’t get in from the drainage holes underneath.

4 Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’. A bright splash of chartreuse makes for great edging for the cool shades border. This grass completely disappeared over winter, leading me to wonder if it had died, but it reappeared timidly in spring, and it’s been gradually getting shaggier and shaggier as the season progresses. A Japanese forest grass, it loves the wet.

5 Geranium ‘Rozanne’. This one needs no introduction, as it’s become one of the most popular geraniums around, with good reason – it’s got real flower-power. However, I am not entirely happy with this upper end of the cool shades border, essentially a steep, rubbly slope with shallow soil. I feel Rozanne needs a contrast, though she hasn’t left much space for one. I’m also annoyed that the pink Japanese anemones that I dug up last year have returned, uninvited (top right corner). Finally a pot of Collarette Dahlias have totally been decimated by slugs (no copper tape on this one), so I’m going to replant, maybe with a few ferns I have to spare. Anyone got any other slug-proof ideas for pots in part-shade?

6 Potato harvest. The first potato crop, growing in repurposed compost bags as part of a space-saving experiment. The verdict? Well, these are still rather small – perhaps because they are congested, or perhaps it’s just a little early – these are King Edwards, so have a long growing season. The taste test? Absolutely magnificent, I haven’t tasted a potato this good, with such earthy creaminess, since the last home-grown one. I’m curious to see how Fred, a French gardener’s bin-grown potatoes turned out – he has been conducting a similar experiment.

I’m looking forward to some sunshine and gardening time, as it’s been impossible to do much this last week. You’ll find more sixes from around the world on The Propagator’s blog. Have a great weekend everyone, whatever the weather throws at you.

44 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 17 July 21: Après le déluge

  1. The pictures that we are seeing of the flood devastation in Europe is saddening. We have had much rain here but nothing like that. And the western part of the U.S. is experiencing historic heat waves and drought. Still there are climate change deniers.
    I am sure many people there feel like your chickens. Your potatoes look tempting and it’s good to hear that they are tasty too.

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    • The heat and fires in California and Oregon are also so frightening. It seems once people decide to hold an opinion, no amount of evidence will sway them! Here I feel the problem is more one of apathy, but I expect the Green Party will do very well in Germany in the next elections. So maybe we can hope for change…

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  2. I’m happy the flood passed by without damage. We’ve had more rain here than I ever saw in July. Climate change is real. I know what you mean about anemone japonica. Annually digging them out only to have them return with vigour. Potted ferns would contrast well with that pretty geranium.

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    • Thanks, I hope it won’t be too late by the time everyone agrees we need to do something about climate change. Perhaps these floods will make us in Europe realise that it is going to affect us in ways we can scarcely imagine. I feel for people in the US too with all the heat, drought and fires.

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  3. It’s been awful what’s happened over there and Germany. I’m glad you avoided the flooding. The chickens certainly do look a little sorry for themselves. That dahlia is a stunner. My experience with all the slug and snail barrier/deterrents (including copper tape, wool pellets and garlic spray) has been mixed. Beer traps often seem to work with slugs though not snails here.

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  4. These floods are terrible … The human and material damage is very serious in north-eastern Europe and luckily for you, where you live is not one of them. Regarding the potatoes we both thought of presenting them this week and the results are roughly similar. It’s a good experience that I will most likely repeat next year.

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  5. I was shocked by the rain in Germany and Belgium it is so unusual this time of year..here it is sunny and getting hotter by the hour when you see all the cars lorries and bikes that pass by from my front garden you wonder why so much traffic on Saturday it must be shopping it all adds up to climate. The bantams must feel the damp but as usual your garden flowers and vegs look great. My garden is suffering from all sorts this season alas but the big trees around give hope

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  6. I’m sitting inside in a sunny patch, thankful that we have some sun to dry things out! We have also had a lot of rain, but our has been over a much longer period. Glad you were safe where you are, as the floods certainly did a lot of damage. Your chickens do look down! Once the sun comes out they will perk up and enjoy foraging again. As a matter of interest, do you trim the feet feathers at all?
    Your garden is looking lovely. It’s good to know the copper tape works. We need to try it along the vegetable beds. The geranium is lovely, and I’m convinced I should try and grow one here. I could do with strong growing filler plants.
    I’m impressed with your potatoes. It is so rewarding growing, harvesting and eating home grown produce!

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    • Thank you, am watching the chickens foraging happily now in the sunshine 🙂. I haven’t trimmed their feet feathers but it might be something to consider in winter when it gets muddy. They are still rather shy though and run away from us (I think they were a bit traumatised in their former set up) so it could be tricky! Do you do it for your chicken? Also I heard one should Vaseline their feet to prevent mites or other problems?
      Re copper tape, a friend of mine did use it all around her raised veg beds and said it helped, but you do need a lot and also beware of other ways they could get in e.g. using overhanging plants as a bridge!

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      • Thanks for all the advice! I’ve trimmed the chickens feet feathers when the start looking raggedy just prior to a moult. The feathers hampered their movements. I also get mine used to the sound of grain rattling in a tin, and I rattle the tin and call them and give them some food/treat. After a couple of times they come running! Handy if you need them in a hurry.
        I’ve also heard about the Vaseline, and the other method is holding them wth their feed dangling in a solution to prevent mites.
        I’ve been thinking of having a large low pot for my herbs, and a copper edge for that might be effective. Thanks for your warning to look out for ‘bridges’ they could use.

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      • That’s a good idea re the rattling of food in a tin, at the moment they run away even when I bring food! Very unlike the previous chickens we had. I’ll keep an eye on those feathery feet. I would have said that slugs don’t usually go for herbs, but recently discovered they were eating both mint and even sage, what are they thinking?!

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  7. Poor chickens! 😦 Yes, those floods are shocking and really bring home consequences of climate change. Lol, I bought Geranium Rozanne as a well-behaved, front-of-border, mound-forming, non-stop flowerer. They are now 4ft tall and swamping everything in sight … although the flowering is true!

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  8. I’ve been devastated to see the news of the floods in Belgium and Germany. I’m glad you were Ok where you are and that the chickens are drying out. My favourite from you six is the charming balloon flower which looks so pretty at the front of the border there.

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  9. I’m glad you weren’t hit by the worst of the weather this week, but it is worrying all these extreme climate events. Six on Saturday brings it closer to home as we connect with gardeners around the world and here about their experiences.
    With regard to shady pots I’ve nothing very exciting to suggest but there are some interesting ferns and they would obviously be happy in the shade. For flowering plants fushias and annual busy lizzy are the ones I use. Of those the fushia and ferns are snail proof (fingers crossed).

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    • That’s very true, I feel more in touch with what’s happening through SOS than when watching or hearing the news, it’s more real somehow. An interesting side benefit of Six on Saturday.
      Ferns it is then 😉

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  10. Platycodon looks lovely, I wonder if it would grow in my dappled shade border. The colour would work well. As for Rozanne, I agree with Frogend-dweller. Mine is romping away and covering everything in sight! I have had to cut back the Nepeta as that was also going crazy which I hate doing when still in flower and bees visiting. Glad that you have avoided the flooding, it looks horrendous and my heart goes out to all affected. Like you, I live on the top of a hill without a river in sight, but torrential rain can be pretty bad.

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    • Rozanne does get a bit carried away! But easy enough to cut back. I reckon the Platycodon will be fine in dappled shade. Now the weather has changed completely, and it finally feels like summer – perfect temperatures in the mid 20s, let’s see how long that lasts 😉 I hear it’s v hot in the south west of UK, so hope you’re staying cool.

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      • We don’t usually get temperatures over 25 so this feels too hot for me! I nip out and do a bit of deadheading and have just watered all the pots. Now I need a shower!

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  11. Eastern Belgium has indeed been hit very hard by the exceptional precipitation, but Germany (and now Austria) is also suffering. They are real disasters. The pictures on TV are terrible.
    Hopefully your chickens can now enjoy the sun and the drought a bit. That will be feather cleaning 🙂
    Congratulations on your first potato harvest !
    Greetz,
    Rudi

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  12. Isn’t it funny how home grown potatoes taste so completely different to bought ones! Ours won’t be dug until autumn, but Inlike the idea of growing them in bags too. I have also used copper tape with success, as long as no other overhanging leaves are too near the plant. I once watched a snail stretch itself to bridge a gap…. 😉 Hope you get loads of sunshine this week to dry things up a bit!

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  13. I’m delighted that you have escaped the flooding – the rain has done no damage to you and is good for the garden. The hens will recover! We are very set in our potato ways here. We grow ‘British Queens’ to eat in summer and buy ‘King Edwards’ all through the winter. Both are simply the best of all potatoes to our taste! I imagine you may have lifted them too early and they would have gone on to a bigger size – but they will be delicious nonetheless. Stay dry!

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  14. So glad you escaped flooding, the pictures were truly awful. Yes, like Paddy I would leave the KEs in for longer. Mine potatoes are second earlies that can be left in as a main crop. I’m thinking I’ll empty out the container ones next week, but they were late in and we’re small seed potatoes to start with. I like the balloon flower and I’m completely ignoring the dahlias! 😂

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  15. What do I like? Well, for starters the Hakonechloa, and most definitely Rozanne followed very closely by Bora Bora.
    If slugs get in by the base, would they make their way up? No vote for clever slugs.

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  16. The first thing I did when I saw the news about the flooding was to check your blog to make sure you and your lovely garden were ok! It does indeed feel like climate change has is hitting home this year. Seems like all of the garden bloggers, wherever they are in the world, are dealing with it in some form. My garden is struggling for survival of the extreme drought here. Luckily, our specific location was spared the intense heat waves that affected so much of the western U.S. recently. And then there are the wildfires! The joy of my garden and reading all my favorite garden bloggers, like you, is a welcome balm. Your potatoes are adorable, and I love that hot pink dahlia!

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