The hecticism that was Christmas and New Year here has finally been hectored away and life returns to something like normal (as I define it, anyway). So, a week late, here I am to welcome in 2019 with a little six that will avoid me falling into Mr Propagator‘s “Give up on them” box.
This is a bay of some description. A culinary variety. It originally formed a small part of my herb bed. I discovered that herbs really didn’t feel at home in my heavy clay soil so I sort of gave up and allowed the bay to take over the space. It keeps the local pub and a nearby restaurant well supplied with fresh bay leaves. But that’s beside the point.
It needs to be kept in check or it would take over even more space. So at the beginning of October every year I “top and tail” it. See that red line? That’s the point to which I levelled it with a hedgetrimmer some three-and-a-bit months ago. You can see the right end of the face still hasn’t grown back properly though the left has. But the top has gone ballistic. It’s never done that before, always co-operating by staying asleep until it warms up in the spring. This time it’s put on a metre or so of uneven top growth. But I can’t cut it back because of the risk of frost damage.
Though I will cut it down by about half a metre (the other half can suffer a bit of frost damage) and pop round to the pub sometime.
A single crocus of the solitary type. My first of the year. It’s been like this for over a week, summoning up the courage to open its overcoat and let the cold inside.
3 Tickled Pink
Should pinks be flowering now? This is a representative sample. There are a few in flower of sorts. Strangely all pink.
4 New Babies
Over at the blog Sedums, Dahlias and Hayfever, Paul has managed to fire up my enthusiasm for succulents. Well I’ll dip a toe or two in the compost for the moment and see how it goes. So I have six little babies, all types of Sempervivum. The catalogue says they’re hardy, which is good. I think I can see a few chances to propagate them once I work out how. Next job is to find a nice something to put them in, until when they are safe and sound in the cold frame.
5 Big Brother
Just in case my new babies need a big bro to protect them, I also dipped a toe into a different barrel of compost and out popped this Agave. I knew Agaves had sharp spines but not that sharp. A bleeding finger later and I was donning my heavy-duty thornproof gloves. A plant that commands respect. But still looks good even stuck, for the time being, in the greenhouse. The condensation is, by the way, on the outside!
6 Hell Isn’t Boring
My Christmas Hellebores have been flowering for a while. Now the so-called Lenten Hellebores are starting out. This is Anna’s Red. She could have waited a bit longer as Easter is late this year. That means Lent is also late but plants, free of the encumbrances of the complicated formulae devised a while back* to determine when things should be, carry on regardless.
I divide Hellebores into three types – Christmas ones whose foliage forms a ground-hugging mat cushioning the low flowers, the Lenten types whose flowers stand tall above the foliage and the Lenten types whose foliage grows up over the flowers. Anna falls into the third group and so, in a couple of weeks, I will remove all the basal foliage to allow the flowers unimpeded centre stage. For the other two types I simply remove the old foliage that needs to be removed to make way for new foliage.
That’s a six I think. Next week, it’ll probably be a six of emerging shoots. Or something. But the great thing about Sixers is that we come from all over the place. Some are hanging onto the bottom of the planet for dear life and are not in the throes of winter like those of us who are the right way up. So if you pop across to the blog of the King of the Hot Heap, aka The Propagator, you will find plenty of links to other blogs written in sunnier climes and holding out the promise of our summer to come.
Until next time, enjoy your garden.
* In A.D. 325, the Council of Nicaea set the date of Easter as the Sunday following the paschal full moon, which is the full moon that falls on or after the vernal (spring) equinox. In practice, that means that Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon that falls on or after March 21. So there.