Six on Saturday: 5 May 2018

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.

2 Osteospermum

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.


5 Azalea

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.

6 Rivendell

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 …..).

So …….

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”!

Well ……..

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.

23 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 5 May 2018

    1. Thank you. It’s an alpine Lamprocapnos so a lot smaller than most and, of course, requires alpine conditions. I was really surprised both because it flowered this – its first – year and by the depth of the colour.

  1. Your hellebores are looking mighty fine still – mine have all faded now. Nice to have a Fuschia with the same name as your blog. I’m a sucker for plant names I have an affinity with – just bought a delphinium because I liked the name ‘Guinevere’.

    1. Some of the Hs still have buds waiting to open – they often flower well into May but I’m wondering if they’ll welcome June this year. I wish I could grow delphiniums here – I’ve tried several years but whatever I do, if the slugs don’t get them first, they never get to flowering stage. Oh well, some things are not meant to be.

    1. I’m quite proud of them (provided I ignore the bill for the parts!). The real benefit is that they allow me to provide conditions that different plants like. And they minimise the backache!

  2. The edifice is looking fine, as is my namesake. So pleased I took cuttings from that one, as its mum popped her clogs this winter. Must be more controlled with my friendly (except to mollusc) pellets, not a word I generally associate with. Lovely six. 🙂

    1. “Gill’s” a lovely colour. Only a single bloom and no sign of any more. Yet. You said she was hardy. I hope ……

    1. Duplicating an order for, say, a herbaceous perennial is fine. I regularly do that deliberately. But Over 300 bedding plants is a duplication too far.

    1. See a slug, reach for the scissors, OK. But a quick pierce with a nail is a lot quicker (and they don’t have time to slither away while I’m looking for the scissors). 😉

  3. I love your slug advice! That was a delicious bit of gore for us. And excellent advice re:slug pellets. Sympathise with your over-ordering. I have done similar things before. Look forward to Britain in Bloom.

    1. I’m thinking of experimenting with sugar. After all, with an average of 20,000 teeth, giving a slug toothache would mean a whole summer at the dentist.

  4. Ahh I think I like Gill, the colour on her is wonderful! (Not the real Gill but the plant one) and also like the name sake fuchsia, indeed like everything in this weeks 6 but it is the dicentra that gets me, that deep redness of the flower looks stunning and has been added to my wants list

    1. Whoopee! I’m adding to YOUR want list. Revenge is so sweet. 😉

  5. Do you have any time to look after your garden? You must be a very quick typist! Clearly, you do, it is looking good. Off to have my slug risotto for lunch.

    1. Subtle admonition for wordiness 😉 You SiL posts several times a week. At the mo, I’m only posting once so have to fit everything in. But I cheat – I look at draft posts I’ve written earlier (I have loads) and do a bit of cutting, pasting and quick editing. Slugs must be full of vitamins and minerals – the blackbirds and hogs seem to do well on them.

  6. Lovely pictures as usual John … Your red fire azalea is beautiful,not to mention the edifice filled now (close-ups are welcome to see better than you planted in). Did you put a drip to water all this? I don’t remember what you said
    I laughed with your description of how to kill slugs … Some people have probably had nausea but your technique seems to be fast and effective. I just use my shoe and sometimes turquoise pellets as you said.

    1. Thanks Fred. There’s a “misting” watering system built in to the edifice so I just connect a hosepipe and leave it for a while. I did check after I’d finished using a 10L watering can – it took 8 cans to water it thoroughly so I think the misting system is well worth it. I quite often pad around the garden barefoot so I’ve taught myself NOT to try the stamping approach.

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