It’s stormy! Six on Saturday: 19 Feb 2022

As I write this, we’re being well and truly battered by storm Eunice, which is making its presence felt in many a garden in the UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands…coming off the English channel, the winds hit Flanders at 133km/hr (=82 miles/hr). Living here now, watching the big lime trees (Tilia x europaea) adjoining our house and garden sway this way and that, I’m taken right back to the great storm of 1987 in the UK, as a school girl watching another row of lime trees swaying alarmingly from my bedroom window in the Kentish countryside, and getting up the next morning to find one of them had crashed right through our garden, thankfully missing the house. Gulp…well I hope everyone comes through the other side ok.

So, it’s not gardening weather! But luckily I took some photos earlier this week, during a sunny interlude, to show you some nice things for Six on Saturday:

1 Iris reticulata ‘Katharine’s Gold’. At last I have some pretty irises popping up. This one is in the glade.

2 Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’. This is my favourite, I love the deep and intense colours, and it’s also the tallest, making the most impact. I’ve grown them in pots, and they’re benefitting from the protection of the mini greenhouse during Storm Eunice!

3 Iris reticulata ‘Frozen Planet’. The name really appealed to me, so I gave these a go, but I find them a little washed out. They look a bit better against a blue background, so here they are with my big Moroccan-blue pot.

4 Primula vulgaris. I have lots of these, they have cross-bred among themselves to produce an array of colours, mostly in soft pastel shades, but the one I really like is of course the slug-nibbled one. It’s got rich Venetian tones.

5 Snowdrop. By contrast, I don’t have many of these! For some reason, they don’t seem to like the conditions here, despite it being quite a woodlandy type of garden. So I tried these Galanthus elwesii in pots; named after H.J. Elwes, an English plant collector who found them in Turkey. I suspect they’d be happier there than here!

6 Red squirrel chase. To end on a bit of fun, how many red squirrels can you spot in this video? We normally have a daily visit from at least two of these ‘rapid red rodents’, as my brother-in-law describes them, and they never tire of chasing each other round and round the tree trunks. I haven’t yet figured out if they’re fighting for territory or mating rights!

Saturday morning update: storm Eunice has passed, leaving us relatively unscathed. Our neighbour’s fir tree lost a big branch but luckily was caught in the branches of the other trees:

Belgium’s tree surgeons are going to be very busy. For more Six on Saturday drama visit our host The Propagator where you will find gardening updates from far and wide.

38 thoughts on “It’s stormy! Six on Saturday: 19 Feb 2022

  1. I hope your beautiful flowers survived the storm…. here one branch of our olive tree is broken…. Nice to see the squirrels playing around in the neighbours tree.

  2. I counted three red squirrels, although near the beginning I thought I spotted a fourth – it was hard to keep up with them! ‘Harmony’ is a beauty, there’s such a choice these days. Flower nibblage seems worse this year than last.

  3. The storm has passed here without too much damage with winds at 105 km/h , so much less than you. Fortunately, it seems to me that you didn’t have too much damage either.
    I could see 5 squirrels: 2 in the tree on the left and 3 in the tree on the right, but maybe one jumped into the other tree to mislead me…

  4. I love the coloured primulas and watching what will come up from the unplanned seedlings each year. Don’t give up on the snowdrops. I just about gave up in the garden about two years ago yet this year I have had a decent crop. It may take a number of years and I think they must need to accumulate the necessary symbiotic soil organisms before they can thrive. It is said they do better if you can transplant them in the green and that would obviously bring over some soil organisms. I have never been able to find snowdrop plants on sale over here, perhaps you might be luckier. Amelia

    1. That’s interesting re the snowdrops, it makes sense as I can’t think of a reason why they wouldn’t do well, it must be the soil and what goes on in there. Never seen them on sale in the green here either.

  5. I echo the snowdrop comments. I’d definitely replant the ones in a pot, I read somewhere that they don’t last to well if kept in pots. We had some very swaying trees here but thankfully no damage to report. The squirrels had fun!

  6. I have the same Primula, though I thought I had removed it last year as I want more natural plants in my garden. Possibly a self-seeded plant. The slugs are nibbling my irises this year 😪 What do you think of the paler Irises? I grew Katherine Hodgkin last year and some dainty yellow ones the year before, but I’m not overly impressed with their colours, maybe they need something dark to contrast with? My favourite is Alida, a beautiful blue, but I also like the purple ones too. Glad your garden escaped any trauma! It’s obviously a good time for tree surgeons and roofers!!

    1. I will look up Allida. Yes I think the pale ones don’t stand out enough especially in weak February light. When I glance at Harmony though, I get an instant lift, amazing really how a colour can do that. It would be fun to try mixing a few dark with light ones to try to get a perfect combo.

      1. Harmony is one if the first one’s I grew, but it didn’t come back. George, which is an histriodes rather than reticulata, reliably returns.

      2. Ah, yes, Dan’s site. He has the most beautiful courtyard gardens, but such high maintenance. For the price of irises it’s acceptable to treat them as annuals. Tulips are a bit pricier, but unless you have space to grow them on like Monty Don, they too have to be annuals.

  7. Your photographs of the irises are beautiful. I agree with your preference for the intensely purple-blue one, though the golden is also rather magical. Glad to hear that you made it through the storm.

  8. That squirrel chase was very amusing! They are so agile, it’s as if they are almost flying. Your blue Harmony iris is stunning—love the golden center with black dots. (I don’t know the names of iris flower parts). Hope you and your garden are surviving those intense winds!

  9. Beautiful iris. The colours of the blue one are so intense.
    The red squirrels are so cute. We have the greys here of course and they chase each other around just the same. I think sometimes it must be just for fun!

    1. It really does look like fun to be swinging through the tree like that. I enjoyed the greys too in our London garden, though they are much more of a nuisance than the reds!

  10. Thanks for that video. I’ve never seen a real red squirrel, but one day I’ll go to Brownsea island to watch them in the flesh. Lovely irises, Harmony is a winning beauty, but I saw Katharine’s Gold mixed with snowdrops the other day and that was a magical combo! Glad to hear that you are only watching swaying trees, not falling ones. Those limes look massive.

  11. It’s impressive, your flowers are wonderfull 🙂 I appreciate to see that style of flowers. Sorry if my english is not very good 🙂

  12. I do like the irises especially the white ones I don’t see many white around. Yes the storm was so bad 👎 😫 in most of England 🇬🇧 luckily the big tree in the garden survived.

  13. What a treat to be surrounded by red squirrels! We have tall trees and so do our neighbours but I’ve only ever glimpsed a squirrel once. You have a good collection of iris reticulata. Ours are nowhere near ready to flower but thanks for giving me the variety; they are very similar to your “harmony”. Tons of primroses here though. They absolutely love the chalky soil and snowdrops seem quite happy too.

    1. Yes – isn’t it lovely to have all these early spring blooms to brighten what are windy, grey days here, am waiting for the sun! Harmony is my favourite iris so far. Such vibrancy.

  14. The blue Iris ret. are so beautiful – I prefer the deep blue ones too, as the paler ones can easily be missed! I remember the storm of 1987 too; I was inadvertently on a channel ferry from Ostend to Dover at the time….

  15. Sorry to hear about the storm! <3 Your garden still looks beautiful though.

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