Spring Bulbs

I don’t usually bother planting bulbs each year. Those in the front garden – crocus, grape hyacinths and dwarf narcissi – have been there for several years, with the addition of alliums and nectaroscordum in autumn 2020.

In the back garden, I have daffodils and narcissi rescued from various borders and dumped in pots. Apart from an all too brief few weeks in spring, they live at the back of the garage. The only things I took any trouble with last year were my four ‘Blue’ pots containing Pickwick crocus, anemone Blanda Bleu, and grape hyacinths.

This year, however, I ordered some new bulbs (snowdrops x 50, anemone Blanda Alba x 20, and white fritillery x 15) which arrived on 6 October and had to be dealt with. (I’ve just noticed that the anemone is ‘White Splendour’ but have no idea if they are the same as ordered or a substitution, not that it matters. A white anemone is a white anemone is a white anemone!)

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Six on Saturday: 18 September 2021

Another bright and sunny morning. We’ve had good weather for a few days now – warm enough to sit outside for coffee. And I have been walking round with a big smile on my face since Thursday evening when I overheard my neighbour discussing his trees with The Gardener. I think it will be a few weeks before we see any action (waiting for the leaves to fall), but at least – finally – there will be daylight!

So lets get on with this week’s Six, courtesy of The Propagator.

I’ve been calling these plants begonias, though I’m not sure if they are or not. Online research suggests they are wax begonias, so if anyone can confirm one way or another, I would be grateful. These were one plant from our charity pot bought summer 2020 – no labels provided. I split it in two and kept it ov erwinter in the Tiny Greenhouse (watered sparingly – when I remembered). I shall do the same this year.

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Monthly Round-Up: August

August has been a long month, concentrating as we were on house and garden maintenance; not so much gardening, more prettifying the area around the garden by painting exterior walls and paintwork, as detailed here and here. A month that, as it neared the end, found us running out of energy and time to do the things that had to be done.

Tuesday last week found me painting the other side of the gate and the frame around the garage door, which I wasn’t looking forward to as it is fiddly to get at. The old paint was flaking off and required a lot of preparation before I could start. But it’s done now (though with the garage door half open I did spot a couple of patches where the brown paint hadn’t covered the blue; but they’re underneath the dips in the door and can’t be seen when it’s down. I can live with that for a couple of years).

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Six on Saturday: 21 August 2021

A wet and cold day here in North East Wales, and probably for most of the UK. Today’s forcast is rain until 1 pm, rain showers between 1 and 6 pm, light rain between 7 and 8 pm, and cloudy thereafter. Thank goodness I took these photos as the opportunity arose last week.

What better place to start than with this image of a Southern Hawker dragonfly I ‘rescued’ when she got stuck under the (clear) roof between the house and garage and caught up in cobwebs. I took this photograph balancing on a stepladder with the pole holding the sign in one hand and manipulating the phone with the other, while my husband cowered inside the garage door. I’d estimate her at around 3 inches long, wingspan similar – and those wings were noisy (you can hear the sound in this short video I found online. You’ll need to set volume to around 36% to hear it.)

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Six on Saturday: 31 July 2021

Last weekend, the forecast was for thunderstorms and rain. On Monday, we were still waiting – but welcome showers arrived on Tuesday, stayed for Wednesday, all but disappeared on Thursday, and came back yesterday with fine drizzle and low cloud cover blanking out the house just 25 metres than our own. Fortunately, we are too far north so escaped Storm Evert’s strong winds. I hope those of you in its path haven’t suffered any damage to homes or garden.

It’s another grey damp morning, so my selections are from earlier in the week. Apologies if I’m flouting the rules set by The Propagator – but he’s on holiday and won’t notice!

Allium Drumstick – the flowers have lost their green bottoms and are beginning to fluff up. I’d have more of these if I had the room. Lovely colour too,

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Six on Saturday: 24 July 2021

First – drumroll please – some good news. I have managed to pass Year One of my Open University masters’degree – a ‘Pass with Merit’ classification which means – when I stump up the cash – I can go on to Year Two (which will actually be a full calendar year and not eight months). We celebrated on Tuesday with a reduced price Indian banquet (in a box from Tesco) and a shared bottle of Magners! Now I’ve just got to come up with a brilliant idea for my 15,000 word project (dissertation) – suggestions on the back of a seed packet please.

I’ve started – so I’ll finish. While this morning’s weather was in two minds whether to send a shower or some sun in our direction, I wasn’t hanging around. I’ve painted that horrible breeze block wall beneath the lavender border. Now that we’ve finished sealing the drive, it was the final thing that had to be done. I’ve even painted the gate post (not that we have a gate). It’s only taken me thirty-four years to get round to it. Just the garage door to paint (Hammerite ‘Chestnut’) and the white surround, and . . .

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Six on Saturday: 17 July 2021

It’s rather toasty here in sunny North Wales, so we have windows open and blinds closed and the coolest clothes we can find. My solar water feature is working overtime and the line of washing I hung out at 8.30 is already dry. It’s too hot for gardening, or anything other than sipping something cool from a long glass with a sprig of mint on top, reclining beneath a slowly revolving ceiling fan with a book. But I’ll have to make do with a cappuccino and a virtual stroll through your gardens on here instead – though I do have a ceiling fan in the conservatory which I shall be making use of later. For now, here is my contribution to this week’s Six on Saturday, brought to you courtesy of The Propagator.

I’ve shown the lavender previously but it really is at its best in this hot and sunny weather; it smells glorious and is usually covered in bees. Last week I mentioned that the colours blend with my beighbour’s hebe, so I’ve included a shot of the two together.

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Six on Saturday: 3 July 2021

A wet and misty morning here in North Wales. The only thing happening in my garden today is the plants and vegetables quietly getting on with growing. The problem is so will the slugs and snails! I have plenty of other work to be getting on with (in anticipation of passing the first year of my OU course which will allow me to progress to the second year), but I’ll be popping back – for some light relief – to The Propagator’s blog and the wide-range of Six of Saturday entries. We should hold our own – virtual – Village Show, though judging the produce would be problematic, and who would set out the Rules?

First These two rowans had self-seeded in the front border last year – no doubt aided by a bird or two. I dug them out and put them in pots, and left them to it. The one on the right looks dead (it was outside all winter), but I’ve potted it on and there are loads of roots, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’s just being lazy. The one on the left was tiny and kept in the Potting Shed over winter. It doesn’t have as many roots as the other, but at least it looks alive!

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Six on Saturday: 12 June 2021

With the weekend forecast set to HOT and VERY HOT, I’m planning on staying inside with the blinds closed. Nextdoor’s trees have been shedding fat catkins for a fortnight and now the patio is awash with laburnum blossom. Of couse, he doesn’t see any of it – or have to clean it up – because the prevailing wind is from his direction.

Sweet pea ‘Cupani – I’ve now planted every pot on either side of the arch in Raised Bed A and they’ve been flowering for two weeks. Not yet the bower of sweet perfume I’d hoped for, but getting there. Mine are approximately two to three feet tall; they should grow to between five and six feet tall. They probably need feeding (and dead-heading).

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Six on Saturday: 1 May 2021

Sunny and warm on Monday; rain showers on Tuesday; cold and wet on Wednesday; cold and hailstones on Thursday; frost on Friday. This morning started sunny so I’ve put my peas, beans, sweetpeas and dwarf raspberry outside. I wonder how long it will be before I have to recue them from hail. sleet or snow?

Last Monday evening, we ate the first home-grown salad of the year, consisting of mizuna leaves, flat parsley, and red-veined sorrel. (We had the same again last night with the addition of red salad bowl leaves) All of these were the only survivors of last year’s failed experiment to grow salad crops all year round; after months with little or no growth, they finally got going in March.

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