Six on Saturday: 28 April 2018

Letting resident cat loose last week may have been a mistake. He’s been strolling around with a rather smug look on his face after some complimentary comments. Maybe I’ll let him do it again one day.  Or maybe not! This week I’m in charge again.

Apart from a day of heavy rain yesterday (please excuse the rain spots on the camera lens in some photos), it’s been a lovely week. The lawns have already reached the stage of weekly cutting and will soon be twice-weekly. Lots of plants are waking up, though most of them are still in the greenhouse, cold frame  or growhouses, waiting patiently for me to get round to planting them out. No, it’s not laziness; I’ve been deliberately waiting until growth has started in their pots.

I have also found, by accident, a wine that tastes and smells like Haribos. Auntie Gill Heavens will be pleased. I also discovered that our glorious leader is a bit squeamish when it comes to disposing of lily beetles. They’re easily dispatched with a neat slice of the thumbnail. The same thumbnail is also useful for slicing a bit through the skin of slugs. The squirt of body fluid from a beetle and the oozing of the insides out of a slug are satisfying experiences. Though don’t try to wash slug slime off your fingers; rather rub it off with a dry tissue or towel or rub salt into it – slime absorbs water and makes a natural glue but drying it with a towel or moisture-absorbing powder gets it off in an instant.

This week’s six is partly brought to you with the aid of a chainsaw. I had a Leylandii hedge. Now I have half a Leylandii hedge. You’ll find out why at number four. Meanwhile, I’ll start at number one.

1 Tricyrtis ‘hyacinth’

Sometimes nature plays tricks. Last year I planted a few Tricyrtis. They’ve all come up this year (as have another dozen grown from seedlings which are still “indoors”). This one has “flowered”. It’s  actually a stalk-less hyacinth that has decided to pop up in the middle. Either that or I have a rather odd Tricyrtis.

2 Trio of Camellias

A while back I decided to acquire a couple of sasanqua type camellias for some winter colour in the front garden. Jim provided some recommendations (as well as his main blog he has one devoted to camellias – Jim’s Camellias – which is very informative). I ended up buying two that he recommended (one being a sasanqua type and the other a hiemalis) and added a third for the back garden (a vernalis type that he didn’t recommend) which then relocated to the front garden. So I have a trio of camellias, courtesy of Treharne Nursery in Dorset. One will flower white, one a rather bright pink and the third red with a yellow centre. I seem to have abandoned my original idea of having some muted colours and stayed with my normal “blousy clashing” ones.

3 Edifice 2 Planted

Here’s a collage (photos clickable if you want to see bigger versions). I’ve now virtually completed the planting of Edifice 2. There are a few things yet to go in once all frost risk has passed but the main task remaining now is to sow some seeds which will grow to fill the gaps until the permanent planting expands.

4 Half a Hedge

The back of the front garden is demarcated by a Leylandii hedge. It was about 18 feet tall but I rather clumsily hacked it down to about twelve feet a couple of years ago. I then cut back the front side a bit more than I should have, so whilst it is contained, it looks a bit bedraggled. Indeed, a lot of the green is only green because I came across some spray paint for plants. Yes, there is spray paint for plants, specifically Leylandii hedges that have been cut into the old wood and so will never regrow. It’s a plant dye really.

The hedge is hiding what’s behind it – an unloved railway embankment that I nearly bought 20 years ago but got thwarted at the last minute (literally the day before contracts were to be signed). But that’s another story. The hedge hides it. But I could only get at the front to cut it back. The rear of the hedge grew unchecked. I could keep the top level at the front but couldn’t reach the back. It was getting out of hand. So I cut down a tree at one end and then got behind the hedge and cut the back right to the trunks. So I have half a hedge.

I want to get rid of the lot – from the cut front to the boundary is about a metre and a half. The hedge is twelve metres long. That’s a lot of garden space! Room for Edifice 3 maybe? I’m waiting for the local planners to agree to an eight-feet tall fence. Normally the limit is six feet but that won’t hide what’s behind from view further down the street. Fingers crossed.

5 Backache (Begonias Really)

It’s a tradition here which draws the crowds. Well there is a steady stream of people who walk around the close in the summer to have a gander at my “municipal begonia bed”. This year they’ll be disappointed as it’s now smaller than it was in its heyday but I still manage to cram in about 300 bedding begonias. I’ve never succeeded in growing them from seed so Dobies get an annual order for plug plants. This year’s contingent has arrived, a total of 450 little pluglets. Stooping slightly over the potting bench for a day was a pleasant diversion from weeding but my back was aching at the end of the exercise.

6 Cherry Blossom

I was very worried about this tree which had flowered erratically for a couple of years and was late into blossom this year. Some cherries have a lifespan of a mere 25 years and this is nearly there. I’ve long forgotten the variety and was worried that I might have a dying tree on my hands. But, all of a sudden, it has woken up. I can relax a bit longer.


So there we are for another week. If you pop over to Mr Propagator’s blog, you will find therein his six of the day and, if you return thereto during the remainder of the day (and, indeed, tomorrow) and peruse the comments appended thereunder, you will find lots of links to the contributory sixes of others from the length and longth of the known world. It’s fun reading about what people down under are growing in what is their autumn. You may be enticed to participate yourself. If so you will find, if you click the 6 on Saturday icon on the right, a simple-to-follow participant’s guide. The more the merrier. After all, we gardeners are a nosey lot when it comes to others’ gardens.

Until next time, enjoy your garden.

16 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 28 April 2018

  1. The edifice is looking good. Is it pressure treated lumber or some sort of rot-resistant polymer “wood”?

    I draw the line at squishing slugs with my bare hands. A quick snip with the garden sheers, and into a pitcher plant they go. They must be smallish slugs if you can chop them with a fingernail (or very long nails). In addition to little guys, we also have those enormous leopard slugs that grow to about six inches long. I think they are actually native to your side of the Atlantic. We gave you gray squirrels and you gave us slugs. I guess it’s a fair trade.

    1. Thanks. It’s pressure-treated Scots pine, sustainably grown and all that. It’s currently guaranteed for 25 years though should last a fair bit longer as I line the insides (with pond liner) and have built it on a gravel bed so it’s not resting on/in damp soil.

      I don’t squish the slugs. The thumbnail is a now a bit proud of the end of the thumb. All that’s needed is to pierce the slug’s skln (if you’re squeamish, use a pointed stick). The innards are “pressurised” and will bubble out nicely. Because the slug is still a lump rather than a squashed flat mess, it’s easily removed by the local birds, which saves me washing up afterwards.

      I’ve been reading your views on squirrels. I have four regulars here (well I did last year but I think I’m down to three now) and we get on fine. I feed them nuts and they leave seasonal presents of fruit outside the patio door. If I forget to fill the nut feeder they will beat a tattoo on the door to complain and then hang around while I fill it. They do no damage other than some very tidy nut burying in the borders as autumn approaches.

  2. Curses on Leylandii! At my old house one morning I noticed some shoots poking up over our 6′ high fence, and was utterly horrified to see they had planted Leylandii. It really is a menace, isn’t it? I really hope you get permission to do what you want. So impressed by Edifice 2. It looks like you are going to have so much fun planting it all up.

    1. Leylandii is not a menace; it’s idiots who plant it without being prepared to look after it who are the menace! I’m pretty confident of getting the OK for the fence as neighbours have offered to write in support of my proposal if the council don’t say yes immediately and I have to make a formal application and argue the case. It’ll probably be a few months before I get going on it anyway. The cheapest quote for the sort of fence I want is £2,500! I need to stop buying plants and save up a bit!

  3. Thank you for the slug tips although I am afraid I am probably too squeamish to try them. Edifice 2 is looking good – looking forward to seeing it in full bloom.

    1. Oh well, there’s always the little salt water bucket. Dissolves the bodies nicely.

  4. Edifice 2 is shaping up nicely John. Looking forward to seeing it mid summer. I never knew there was paint for hedging… I hope your planning permission is passed.

    1. It’ll be spring next year before the alpine sections reach their full potential but the herbaceous sections will, I hope, deliver this summer, even though many of the plants are young. Maybe there isn’t a plant paint any more – the place I bought mine from no longer lists it. Though it is good – dead chunks of leylandii that I sprayed green two years ago are still green! I’m crossing everything I have that the planners will say OK. If they don’t I’ll plant another hedge but not leylandii. Maybe Western Red Cedar. And let it grow taller! 😉

    1. Thanks. Everyone needs an impressive edifice (the one in the back garden’s even bigger!)

  5. You have explained all the construction and now that it’s planted, it gives a beautiful set .. We will see in a few months. I was also very interested with your trio of camellias. These circles (you gave me the link: thank you) are very nice and they finish the visual rendering … As I have a lot of lawn, I always wondered how to plant shrubs, bulbs and give at the same time a beautiful effect. It’s an idea, a good idea, thanks!

    1. Thanks Fred. Maybe for future sixes I’ll zero in on plants in Ed2 rather than broad views. Will keep me going for a fair few weeks! The plant circles make really neat edges in the lawn, not just for plants – I’ve used them for statues too. Filled the circle with concrete and popped the statue on top. Makes it easy to keep a neat edge to the grass.

      1. Good idea.!.. but I don’t think my wife would agree… even though the whole garden is run by me. Another negociation

        1. Ditch the wife and get a cat. Negotiation is so much easier. 😉

    1. I hope so. Was 800 a few years back before I reduced the bed and planted half of it with perennials.

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