Six on Saturday – 14th May 2022

A week of first appearances of the year this week with more colour coming through every day as temperatures rise and days continue to lengthen. A decent fall of rain gave everything a welcome drink mid-week too, thank goodness. My sworn enemies the gooseberry sawfly and the errant football have done their best to dishearten me. I try to be good-natured about the latter, but I’d like to dispense with it with the same brutality I show the sawflies!

Wishing gardeners everywhere a good weekend, may your days be free of pests of all kinds! Head on over to Mr Propagator’s site to see what he and everyone else has been up to this week and check out the notes here: if you’d like to participate in Six on Saturday yourself.

The first of the lupins are out and it’s clear the autumn manure mulch has really given them a boost. These at the bottom of the border are the first to benefit from longer days and the gradual rise in the sun’s position. Those further up the border come along a week or two later. The books will tell you lupins are short-lived perennials and that they should not be cut down after flowering: in my experience, neither is true.
Scarlet Geum ‘Mrs J Bradshaw’ always turns up much later than ‘Totally Tangerine’ and is never as vigorous. She’s very pleasing though and combines arrestingly with the euphorbia oblongata, which is turning into a bit of a thug, but it’s such a good filler that I’m prepared to forgive it.
The chard is still going strong, though some plants are just starting to go to seed and it seems affected by some sort of rust or blight which has also seen off the first of the year’s chard seedlings, frustratingly. I will raise another tray and keep them indoors until bigger. I find it much easier to grow than the true spinach, standing and cropping far longer and actually more useful in the kitchen too (not to mention prettier in the garden).
This beautiful iris came from Hestercombe Gardens in Somerset (by which I mean they sell their divisions to visitors, even I wouldn’t go to a garden armed with fork and trowel to help myself!)
Every year I raise ammi from seed (both majus and visnaga) but it’s a right faff and the seeds are miffy about germinating (I do find umbellifers moody). I saw what I believe to be daucus carotta, the wild carrot, growing on a roadside verge and it occurred to me it might make a tougher alternative which I think is perennial and won’t need cosseting and staking. So far, so good. Just as well – barely any ammi have made it to planting out size this year and the visnaga refuses to germinate at all!
On the whole I am inclined to let self-seeders get on with it, but this sometimes this leads to enforced inconvenience. Stachys byzantium and some sort of wild marjoram set up home together in the tiny space between patio paving slabs and erigeron karvinskianus decided to move in alongside. The downpipe I diverted into the bed on the right of this shot, plus the run-off of plant food from watered pots on the patio, has boosted these incomers rather dramatically. I like the effect but it does pose a slight obstacle to what is meant to be the route to this bench. The pink in the bed on the right there is gladiolus Byzantium, a species gladiolus that is altogether less blowsy than its larger cousin and to my mind more pleasing. I planted 100 last year in the hope they will perennialise and add a splash of colour in that lull between spring and summer. They’re just starting to pop up everywhere now and I’m very pleased with their understated elegance (not something that is often seen in this garden!)

Here are some other SoSers I’ve been enjoying recently:

After Eden

Rambling in the Garden

Gardening in the Prairie

Published by Notes from the Under-Gardener

Keen amateur gardener, tending a large home garden growing flowers, fruit and veg, ably supported by husband and dog.

14 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 14th May 2022

  1. Your lupins and Scarlet Geum look fantastic. I received some lupins from my dad’s garden this year, and there are plenty of leaves, but sadly no towering flowers as yet (although I am based in scotland and it is still quite cool). I also like the way your garden planting is so dense, looks lovely

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! The geums have taken a few years to really get into their stride, I divided them for the first time in 4 years last autumn and they’ve repaid me with their best show ever. Same with the density of planting – it’s taken 6 years and a lot of mistakes to get to this stage and finally I’m starting to feel happy with it! I’m about to rip out all the forget-me-nots before they go over, and that will leave gaps, but just for once I’ve got annual seedlings ready to go in to fill space! Do you find the longer days in Scotland help you with growing some things? I’ve read that there is slightly longer hours of daylight up there (and some Scottish nurseries benefit from pockets of excellent microclimate).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Positively heart lifting. Thank you so much, Arwen, these posts give me immense pleasure (as well as a sense of auntly pride).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hello! Sorry for the late reply, I somehow missed the notice of yours:) I am honestly not sure if the longer days help too much, but I have only had a garden space for 2 years and am still very much finding my feet. It is only this summer that I can see my plans for the garden taking shape – and I still have a way to go! So far I have found the daylight good for sowing, but given the temperatures I am not sure how much benefit the plants are actually getting


  2. Euphorbia oblongata does go well with spring plants, though I have to cut mine back hard each autumn, as I do the Lupins after flowering! Wild oregano and water mint love to spread themselves around my garden, but they are easy to pull out and do smell rather nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautiful garden! I love the effect of the pink gladioli next to the peonies. I agree with you–the effect of the errant lambs ears and marjoram jutting out a bit is aesthetically pleasing. I’ve been known to change the path for something like that. 😉 You’ve inspired me to try the large lupins. They do grow in the general area here in Northern California, but my spot is a low one with temp extremes and I think it gets too cold in winter here for them. But I might try a few up on the hill. Such a lovely garden you lovingly created! I wish I was having tea or coffee on that bench!

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  4. I have just planted lupin seeds and will be delighted if they turn out as well as yours. I have Mrs J Bradshaw in my garden, and she is a much more polite Geum than Totally Tangerine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 😊 Lupins are hungrier than I ever realised, but reasonably easy, and will repay you if well fed. When potting on I realised they have nodules on their roots and I think they are in fact legumes and so nitrogen fixers. So my autumn manure mulch has given them the nitrogen they crave… I feared this would produce leafy growth at the expense of flowers, but so far so good! I might move Mrs JB, I think TT is a bit boisterous for her!

      Liked by 1 person

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