Six on Saturday: 29 May 2021: Feels like summer

Ahhhh, when I opened the kitchen door onto the garden this morning, it felt like stepping out into summer, with the added bonus that everything looked, felt and smelt so fresh after being drenched in rain for days. Outdoor living can recommence, and I might have to move the plants that have inevitably colonised the outdoor table so that we can have lunch on the terrace today. So today’s Six on Saturday marks that heartening transition from late spring into early summer:

1 Allium purple sensation. Couldn’t resist another photo of these from a funky angle, they are the most photogenic plants. Now that the weather’s improving, the bees are visiting them again in larger numbers.

2 Phacelia tanacetifolia. Speaking of bees, this one is a magnet for them. I used it as a green manure in the veg bed last autumn-winter, and I vaguely remember throwing some seed onto the vibrant border. It’s now popping up obligingly here and there, making a great little filler with its pretty foliage and eye-catching blooms, that look like hairy caterpillars before they unfurl.

3 Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’. One of my absolute favourite garden plants. This one edges the front path in a cottage garden mix with geraniums, lavender, roses and a few more alliums. Its a great one to sit beside for a few minutes and just watch bees buzz in and out all the time.

4 Geranium cantabrigiense ‘Cambridge’. Raised at Cambridge University botanic garden apparently. It’s a nice, neat and tidy geranium that edges the front path between the nepeta, and adds to the cottage garden feel of this section. Anyone following my blog will know that I am rather fond of germaniums, and if you are too, you can see two of my favourites in blue/violet flowering now on A Tale of Two Geraniums.

5 Houseplant holiday. They need a change of scene just like we do, and a good wash for that matter! I rarely have the patience or time to individually dust the leaves of my indoor plants, and why bother when they can all just come outside for a good, long shower? The rain has many upsides. Just ask the Hosta, which has revelled in it, I’ve never seen it look so fulsome, with not a single slug hole – they don’t come up here onto the table.

6 Glade upgrade. We do like to create extra work for ourselves, don’t we? Gardeners are deep down an unsatisfied bunch, always wanting to improve, to tinker and to transform. I definitely fall into that category! The glade is fading out of its spring colour now, and is increasingly shaded by the overhanging trees, but I felt that it needs a little path from the terrace round to the lawn, a miniscule little bit of mystery, leading to a Lilliputian bench which I’ve yet to acquire. I’m going to use our hazel rods to make an edging, tied together with strong cord, and fill in the path with bark chips. Does it need a lining too or can I get away without using one?

So, what am I going to do today? Well, the sun is shining, I’m very tempted to follow the example of one of our locals, and just lounge around. The gardening can wait. Thank you all for reading, and thanks as ever to The Propagator who leads us in the merry Six on Saturday dance, have a lovely weekend.

Six on Saturday: 06 Feb 2021: Optimism

The weather is see-sawing between some truly optimistic, sunny, mild days and wintry, cold, misty days, confusing for all of us, but I think we get the sense that we’re heading in the right direction now, and gardening beckons! I’m going to ignore the forecast for temperature drops to -9 for next week (yikes, got to save my Salvias!). So here are six interesting things from the garden, my contribution to Six on Saturday, hosted by The Propagator and followed by many an avid gardener.

1 Sunbathing. I’ll stat this week’s Six on Saturday with a delightfully warm moment on Thursday, when I got a chair out onto the terrace between lessons and basked in the sun with a ladybird. That was the most lovely half hour of my week.

2 Crocus. I should have taken photos of these in the sun. I like the purple flush to white one, growing along the front path.

3 Rhododendron ‘Horizon monarch’ buds. There are three rhododendrons in the garden, and this is the only one I planted myself, along the shadier side of the front path. These buds hold so much promise, and I like the yellow tinge on the petioles and veins.

4 Rose hips. More from the front path. A few of these are still plump and ruddy, while many others have succumbed to the inevitable.

5 Green manure. Every year, I try a different technique to overwinter the sections of the raised veg bed that are not in use. Last year, I used cardboard. This year, it’s Phacelia tanacetifolia, a green manure. Such fresh, lovely lacey foliage that it seems a shame to have to dig it in. It’s a pretty plant in flower too, I grew it for its blue flowers along the front path last summer. Incredibly popular with the bees.

6 Narcissus ‘Paperwhite’. This has exploded into flower now, and what a pretty sight and an intoxicating perfume! I think I might have to grow the bulbs indoors every year, I have fallen in love…

So, regretfully that’s it for this week, there are many photos I haven’t included of new growth and sunny spells, but am going to be disciplined and stick to six. If an extra photo finds its way in, it’s clearly a glitch. Have a lovely weekend everyone!

A sunny spell, highlighting the hazel in full catkins down the hill.