Here we are again, gardening as can be, all good sixers, jolly good company. Or something like that. Yep, it’s Saturday again and time for another six. And I’ve realised the error of my ways. I’ve posted pics of Edifice 2 planted up instead of pics of a selection of just six of the plants I’ve planted it up with. Lots of missed opportunities there which I’ll correct a bit with another little collage. And I’m not posting pics of all the new large plants still in pots, impatiently awaiting the day on which they move to permanent homes. Just one. Another 50 missed opportunities there. I could offer you hundreds of individual pics of little pluglets growing on ready for their summer homes. But I won’t/ At least not this week. Maybe next week if I run out of ideas.
I could also offer you (but I won’t) a selfie of my meltdown when I realised that I’ve sort of over-ordered summer bedding. Take Lobelia Monsoon. This is my Lobelia of choice for edging my wall planters and hanging baskets. It’s a bush variety. I find bush varieties trail far better than trailing varieties when it comes to filling eye-level containers. Monsoon also flowers earlier than the more common varieties and then flowers well for longer, without the need for a summer chop back to encourage more flowers. Annual requirement is 50. I have 24 multi-sown plugs growing nicely and I’d intended to order a tray of 30 garden-ready ones from T&M to make up the difference. Well I did. But I also ordered a second tray of 30 from T&M. Then, forgetting everything I’d done, I ordered my annual requirement – 2 x 30-plant trays. So I will end up with 100 extra Lobelia Monsoon plant plugs (all multi-sown, of course).
This would be bearable were it not for the fact that the extra orders for Lobelia Monsoon were part of larger, also duplicated, orders of summer bedding plants. The garden-ready sort of summer bedding plants which I order because I just don’t have the room to grow them all from seed or little plugs myself. An order for 360 garden-ready plants has been repeated as has another order for 120. I’ve alerted neighbours to the surplus. Garden planting may be somewhat monotonous around here this summer. The lawn may shrink. Again.
This is also the climax of National Gardening Week 2018. This annual event was celebrated by the BBC by replacing Gardeners World last night with an evening of men whacking their balls around with long sticks whilst bent over a table and occasionally waiting for another chap dressed all posh to stick his hand in a pocket and get the balls out to lay on the table. People have got arrested for lesser offences!
And today is World Naked Gardening Day. Sorry, no pics of that. Though I wonder if Michael Perry (Mr Plant Geek) intended the pun when he blogged his advice for avoiding stray pricks?
Still here’s a cheery, positive, Six for your delectation and delight (well, if you’re prepared to be delectated and delighted that is).
1 Hellebores: Redux
There are the earlies, the mid-terms, the laters and the very lates. Which means I have hellebores in flower from December through to almost June. The May contingent are now putting on their show. Some of the earlier bloomers haven’t given up yet either.
This, as a cutting, was a present from (you guessed it) Gill Heavens. I haven’t planted it out yet so it’s flowering in its pot. I think it’s time to relocate it to a more permanent home. Meanwhile it gets a deserved mention (OK, Gill, please get your stiletto heel off my back).
Gill didn’t tell me what the variety was so I’ve christened it “Osteospermum Gill”. So there!
3 Apple (Crab) Blossom
Last week it was the cherry. This week the crab apple has joined in. The photo is slightly to the right of the tree so I can make you jealous with the view out of the front windows of the house. Uninterrupted countryside for miles. Nice.
4 Another Edifice 2 Collage
It’s allowed as I’m getting closer to plants this time. I particularly like the Lamprocapnos ‘Burning Hearts’ that I wasn’t expecting to flower this year.
Another var. unk. but it makes a very bold splash of red in a border. It’s getting quite big, almost rhododendron-sized. and it’s evergreen too.
No, not the house/garden/blog but the fuchsia. I give you Fuchsia Rivendell, in bud. Gill Heavens has a dahlia named after her Mum; I have a fuchsia named after my blog.
I came across this a few years ago when a fuchsia grower from north Wales suggested that, as my blog was named Rivendell, perhaps I’d like the plant. Unfortunately, it’s not fully hardy but I got the existing ones through the last winter with just a covering of fleece jackets and a quick whip into the garage whilst the mini-beast-from-the-east was visiting. It comes into bud rather early for a fuchsia – most have barely started leafing here. But it flowers long and hard. Of course, this may be due in part to its winter cosseting but I’m happy. I’ve bought another three this year (I thought I’d bought two but, you know …..).
That’s it for this week. But if your sat has not been atiated yet, why not pop over to Pop Prop’s blog. Just look for his Six of the day and, in the voluminous comments appended at root level, you will find lots of cuttings (aka links) to other blogs which have Sixes posted to them. Go on! You know you like to have a nose around other gardens! Some of us have been at it for almost a year now, don’t you know. If you want to join in the meme, just click the Six on Saturday icon over on the right of this page to jump to a handy participant guide.
Added Bonus: Slugs
Now it seems that some people are really squeamish when it comes to dealing with pests. Even slicing lily beetles in half with an overgrown thumbnail has attracted lots of “Eeeeeews”. But my technique for dealing with slugs has really got people shuddering. There were some who thought I sliced them in half with the aforementioned thumbnail. I’d need to grow an incredibly long nail to do that, All that is necessary is to nick the critter’s skin. If you’re that squeamish, a cocktail stick will do nicely. The slug’s gizzards are sort of pressurised. Just nick through the skin and they ooze out nicely. If I remove the nail quickly, it doesn’t get messy. And whilst, if you stamp on them, you end up with a squished mess, with my method the body stays fairly whole. And the local blackbird population quickly c;leans up, ably assisted by the robins. Then there’s the evening patrol with a little bucket (a painters’ kettle is great) of salted water. Slugs and snails get popped into the bucket and fizz up nicely. The bodies dissolve and, after a while (a little bucket like this will “last” for a month or two so doesn’t need to be emptied daily) you end up with a bucket of oozy water filled with empty snail shells. Just empty it somewhere out of sight and not near plants as plants don’t like salted water.
As for slug pellets, please don’t use the deep blue metaldehyde ones. Stick to the turquoise iron phosphate ones. And remember, you only need about 8 pellets per square metre. Any more than that and it’s counter-productive. As the slug or snail approaches, attracted by the attractant in the pellets, too many mean that its senses get overwhelmed by the attractant and they get driven away, straight towards the plants you are hoping to protect from them. Dropping handfuls of pellets is the sluggy equivalent of a sign post saying “Tasty plants this way”!
Until next time, have fun in your garden. Go on, nibble a slug. The French eat snails. Slugs are so much easier – you don’t need to waste time removing the shell.