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Opening of the first one!

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This time of year, to me is very special. I love the starting of life that this time of year brings, whether it’s the bright fresh green foliage at is now covering the countryside, in all its different shades of green or the sound of young hatched birds squeaking in their nest. For me it is the real time of change, spring becomes early summer and there’s 3 things that to me, herald in the start of summer, the first is the swallows arriving back from Africa, with their chatter filling the gardens with joy, next is the ear drum bursting sound of screeching as the swifts appear once more over ahead. Their short term stay is far too short but to me is the true sound of summer.

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The last thing for me is the opening of the first rose in my own garden, yes I have seen a few early roses out in other peoples garden it the opening of the first rose in my own garden is always a special occasion and that final part of the summer jigsaw arrived for me yesterday with the opening of a very special rose!

cbefb2d9 9c32 4281 b017 ccba742a11fd 1855 0000005f6988bf09 file Opening of the first one!

We came back home yesterday after a day at the seaside, to be welcomed in by Climbing Lady Hillingdon flowering away in our back garden. She is always an early rose but it is a rose I have long loved and it has been a special rose in our family, for it was this rose that brought about my dads love of roses back in the 70’s and one that has been grown in every family garden since, including mine now in chandlers ford. For those who don’t know her, here’s a blog from last year Climbing lady Hillingdon that dwells on her history. She is one of the finest apricot roses you can grow and it was wonderful to have her lady ship welcome in the summer by adding the last piece of the jigsaw to my summer jigsaw. Now at last, the rose season will start up once more and the scented delights will fill our gardens with colour and scent once more.

20180226 202933 Opening of the first one!
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Six on Saturday- 19th of May 2018

img 2778 Six on Saturday  19th of May 2018

Well happy Saturday one and all and it’s great to be back writing the SoS for the first time in a couple of weeks. This excellent meme helps to focus your mind of 6 things that are happening in your garden, yes at times it can be hard to find them but other times you end up with 10 or so things you could include but have to whittle down to 6. This also allows you time to wander around the garden, relax and enjoy things that are happening in there at the time. I think anything that helps you enjoy the hard work you do in the garden and helps to share the successes and failures, is great in my book.

Anyway a lots happened in the last few weeks and the garden at home is really coming on, the roses are budding up and I managed to get to a great plant sale on bank holiday Monday and I do expect those plants brought will be making an appearance soon. My roses are a little late this year, full of bud with colour occurring, I feel they will be open soon, right mr Stone lets get on with the six!

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Geranium phaeum Connie Broe is one of those marmite plants, you either love it or hate it, I have a soft spot for her indeed and I love the marbling foliage on this plant and I look forward to seeing the foliage and flowers each year. As soon as she finishes flowering this year, I shall be lifting and dividing and replanting once more.

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One plant I think will feature heavily this week is Allium purple sensation and it is looking wonderful at the moment. It’s big selling point has to be the fact it gives a little bit of height and colour just after the tulips have finished

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About 18months ago, I went to a Niwaki training day held at Architectural Plants and led by the great Jake Hobson and this is the tree I cam back home with. I am still training it and have just given it its first trim up, quite pleased!

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Yes yes another geranium, this time it’s Himalayense Derek Cook, himalayense has a nasty habit of taking over the world, so far Derek has been well behaved, just hope he carries on like this!

img 2777 Six on Saturday  19th of May 2018

Not a rose flower but a close up of the new foliage and buds, just how lovely are the buds and new leaves of this moss rose called little gem, I love the softness and the scent from the mossy growth, soon the flowers will be out and the scent from those will be even better

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The lovely flowers of sea thrifts are slowly appearing and Pride of Düsseldorf is one of my favourites, such an easy to grow plant that loves a free draining site and makes a perfect addition to my Alpine pots.

Well that’s my six done from my garden this week, so many plants now are starting to wake up and start delighting us with their beauty. I hope you have a great weekend and check out the other six on Saturday over at the hosts site https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Until next week, have fun in the garden or indeed just admiring plants

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Plant of the week-Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’

img 2674 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’

There are so many plants around at the moment that is it very hard to choose one plant for plant of the week but this is one of my favourite spring flowering plants.

img 2672 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’This tough little plant also known as leopards bane, delights us in the spring with it daisy like open bright yellow flowers that are about 50mm wide, so loved by bees and the early flying butterflies. Their opening is like the welcoming in of spring and on dreary sunless days, the fresh green heart shaped foliage and sun yellow flowers brighten up any day! It looks great in the garden but also they make great cut flowers for indoors

img 2673 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’ Is a small low growing plant, not getting much taller than 40cm tall here in the uk and the clumps don’t get much wider than that. It will grow in most soils and conditions, although it does prefer the soil to be slightly damp and moisture retentive, normally in full sun or semi shade . That said I have grown it on al types of soils from sandy, free draining to thin clay soils to clay soils. The only thing I have noticed is that the foliage tends to disappear quicker in the late summer if it drys out too much or indeed the weather gets too hot. That’s well worth remembering if you are planting it out in the borders.

img 2674 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’ is an old garden hybrid that’s been around for years, it is possibly a hybrid of D.austriacum or D.causcasicum but again no one is sure. It is easy to propagate both from seed and also by division. Division is best done in the early autumn months, so the plant has time to reestablish itself before flowering in the spring.

It is a great easy to grow early flowering perennial that is widely planted, grown and sold, if you haven’t got it in your garden, it maybe well worth adding a plant or two

20180226 202933 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’
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Six on Saturday, 5th of May 2018

img 2721 Six on Saturday, 5th of May 2018

Well that was another funny week, the start of May saw in a couple of frosts, temperatures rising to low 20s and a morning of heavy rain followed by a sunny bright afternoon. It’s certainly been playing havoc with work and the poor plants, seen a few plants with singled tops, mainly clematis and Macleya. Let’s hope that was the last of the frosts for this summer, these late frosts do cause a lot of damage don’t they. It’s also been my birthday this week, some how I have reached 45, but I managed to break one of my all time rules of not working on my birthday, still it was a sunny day and I did do a little bit of planting! Hoping to make up for that in a few weeks time by enjoying a trip to a lovely garden!

Anyway onto this six, and for a change I managed to do a little bit of work in my own garden this week and so some of the six will cover this fun work

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I got these great pots last week when I went to provender Nurseries, just for my bay trees, this week I managed to get them planted up with John Innes no3 compost this week and will leave them for a few weeks before trimming up and shaping

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Ahh wanted to grow blueberries for ages, brought some this winter and now they are flowering, can’t wait for the fruit to form, won’t last long though sadly as I suspect the kids will strip them bare in a few hours,

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Had to add this pansy just because I find it in some way, very fierce looking! I am not sure what it is but it is certainly a scared plant, it could be the intense lines leading to a almost mouth like centre, they could be whiskers as well?

img 2720 Six on Saturday, 5th of May 2018

I did show you a few weeks ago my front garden with the spotted laurel being removed, well it’s all out now and had the planting mix added and now some roses I brought from Peter Beales and some Geraniums added, with a couple of spaces left to fill, good job there’s a Plant heritage plant sale at longstock nursery on Monday morning!

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And lastly a special plant is flowering once more in my garden, one I discovered a few years ago and named after my granddad, George Stone and now doing well in mine and my Dads garden, so lovely to have it back once more

Well that’s my six done from my garden this week, so many plants now are starting to wake up and start delighting us with their beauty. I hope you have a great weekend and check out the other six on Saturday over at the hosts site https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Until next week, have fun in the garden or indeed just admiring plants

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Six on Saturday 14th of April 2018

img 2564 1 Six on Saturday 14th of April 2018

Well well well it’s ended up a dryish week, a few days rain at the start but nice and dry from then onwards. This dry spell will certainly make the Plants and weeds grow a bit more. It’s been a mixed week for me here in Hampshire, my middle girl managed to break her leg badly on Tuesday, so a few extra days off than planned happened. During the quiet times, it was good to get into the garden potting stuff up, expanding beds and generally planing a few things out. The garage is slowly beginning its 3 yearly tidy up. It’s only a tiny garden here in chandlers ford but it is one I love a lot.

So anyway on to the six this week and yes they all do come from my little patch, so I hope you enjoy them!

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These have to be on the most stunning tulips I have ever grown, they look so beautiful as they start forming their buds and when they open just wow! Tulip ‘Exotic Emperor’ is their name

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A few of you may remember from a few weeks ago, this spotted laurel was on my list for removal and it’s now gone! Got some more roses and hardy geraniums to replace in its spot.

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Potted up a small fruit tree I am going to train into a odd shape, idea what yet but that comes in time. The dwarf Buddleja is another that’s on my list to repot and is now done!

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Sometimes a fellow blogger posts some beautiful plants on their six and it reminds you how much you love those plants and how much you miss having them in the garden, that happened a few weeks ago with Jim Stephens and the primulas he ordered from Barnhaven primroses and I started having a look! Always wanted a hose in hose primula, that’s when there’s a flower inside a flower like above, I have also got a soft spot for gold laced forms so couldn’t resist this one

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Another primula from my little order, this one is called Camaieu and was introduced by Barnhaven back in 2003. I just loved the double forms as well and I think pink is a very easy colour to add to the garden. I can’t wait to see these grow and flower so much more over the next few years

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I have a soft spot for bulbs, I find their use in borders and containers can increase interest and add something different for the short term into those areas. This fritillary called fox grape fritillary or its botanical name Fritillaria uva vulpis, is one of my favourites from this genus, although I have a feeling a few more maybe heading my way this autumn

Well that’s my six done from my garden this week, so many plants now are starting to wake up and start delighting us with their beauty. I hope you have a great weekend and check out the other six on Saturday over at the hosts site https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Until next week, have fun in the garden or indeed just admiring plants

global blogging Six on Saturday 14th of April 2018
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Plant of the week- Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Etienne Soulange-Bodin

magnolia x soulangeana6 Plant of the week  Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Etienne Soulange Bodin

magnolia x soulangeana2 Plant of the week  Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Etienne Soulange BodinSome plants just walk into Plant of the week without any need of explaining why! With Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Etienne Soulange-Bodin it is certainly indeed one of those plants. Where ever you drive at the moment, town, city or countryside, you will see one of these stunning magnolias, flowering away to the hearts content. If there is a tree in the uk that shouts here’s spring more than Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Etienne Soulange-Bodin I would love to know it

Magnolias as a whole, belong to an ancient group of plants, dating back to the times of the dinosaur, well before bees, when beetles where the main pollinators. This form of magnolia doesn’t date back that far, just to the 1820’s. It was an cavalry officer from Napoleons arm, who after seeing the botanical gardens at places like Vienna, Moscow and Stuttgart during the war, the war indeed left him rather unimpressed to the point of him saying ‘ it would of been better if both parties stayed at home and planted cabbages’! Thankfully for us, he didn’t and after the war, he founded the royal institute of Horticulture near Paris ad it was in this garden in 1820, he crossed magnolia denudata with magnolia liliiflora. The resulting seedling, produced one of the finest magnolias and the one we see everywhere today Magnolia x soulangeana or to give it its correct botanical name Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Etienne Soulange-Bodin. It is possible that natural crosses of these to did happen in Japanese temples, where both are grown for religious reasons but this was the first hybrid between the two plants that happened in Europe.

magnolia x soulangeana6 Plant of the week  Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Etienne Soulange BodinOne of the things that makes Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Etienne Soulange-Bodin such a good tree for peoples gardens is the fact it is slow growing, height after 20 years can be up to 3-4m high and wide and its takes up to 50yrs to reach its full 6m height and width. The leaves open just after the plant has finished flowering and are a oval shaped, mid green in colour around 20cm long, they do go a yellow colour in the autumn but it isn’t one of the best for autumn colour. It is the big open white flowers, flushed with purple at the base, this plant is mainly grown for. These flowers can be tolerant of a certain amount of frost.

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It is also very good at growing in a wide range of soils, indeed it will happy grow in all, from clay to sand, from acidic to alkaline and tolerates thin soils over chalk, unlike most magnolias. Ideally, it should be mulched with some great compost and fed with a good fertiliser like vitax Q4 after flowering, covering the plant to just outside the drip zone but it’s not over important. As a plant, it required very little pruning, thining of crossing branches, removal of deadwood is all that is required, although it can be more heavierly pruned back if required, with no adverse effects. When the wood is cut though, you will get a stunning ginger scent coming from the wood. Pest and disease wise, it’s pretty trouble free, scale insects take a like to it, so it’s worth watching out for them, honey fungus will also attack it. Other than that it’s pretty easy.

It can be seen in most streets around the uk and brought from most good Nurseries

20180226 202933 Plant of the week  Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Etienne Soulange Bodin
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Six on Saturday, 7th of April, 2018

img 0735 Six on Saturday, 7th of April, 2018

Well well well it had to happen, yes we had not one but two and I repeat it two, dry days oh my word!so nice not to get into the house each night as a sodden mess, wet clothes in the armfuls, filling up the house with um a pleasant soily damp smell that’s further enhanced by the following evening when the next load comes in, well I think it is pleasant, my partner will no doubt disagree!

In all seriousness, it has been wonderful to see the sun and the sun has brought out the flowers around the garden. It’s starting to have that spring feeling at last. Last year one of my roses was half open, this year, it’s only just broken into leaf this year and that says a lot doesn’t. But never mind, Mother Nature has a way of catching up with things and I dare say we will be getting a warm dry spell at sometime in the near future.

This weeks six on Saturday comes from my clients gardens. My garden is being rather stubborn and isn’t producing me with any plants of interest and I haven’t had time to do anything in there yet and that’s the keyword yet!

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I couldn’t resist this photo of Aesculus hippocastrum or horse chestnut of its leaves slowly unfurling, looks to me like it’s shading its eyes from the incoming big yellow ball that it’s not seen for a while or it’s waving to the sun saying hello. Ok ok bear with bear with its been a long cold winter…..

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Ahh another Ribes sanguineum ‘White Icicle’ now I do love ribes and the white form of the red flowering currant is another I look forward to in the spring months and here it is in the sun looking beautiful

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Euphorbia myrsinites was the first of this huge family I learnt as a young boy and still is a favourite of mine, I love the foliage effect as well as the acidic yellow flowers

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Ahh magnolias, once someone told me it was better to be late than to never arrive! Magnolias are living up to this saying this year. The cold spring has certainly put them back and it’s wonderful to see them flowering around the gardens once more, really makes me think spring is here! Oh before I forget it’s a magnolia stellata not sure on form, it’s under investigation, now where’s my magnolia book!

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The stinking hellebores look so majestic at this time of the year, helleborus foetidus is it’s botanical name, loves a bit of shade but again I love the green flowers, dipped in a little bit of purple around the edges

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Full apologies for the crap photo, the little bugger wouldn’t say still! I have a feeling this comma didn’t want to appear on six on Saturday, bad form I say, bad form. Seriously it was wonderful to see the sun brining out the butterflies. I saw so many brimstones (they didn’t want to be photographed either!) fluttering around the gardens and also one peacock and this one battered comma!

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from my clients garden, If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Until next week, have fun in the garden

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Plant of the week- Stachyurus praecox

stachyurus praecox 4 Plant of the week  Stachyurus praecox

stachyurus praecox 3 Plant of the week  Stachyurus praecoxAt this time of year, there’s lots happening in the plant world and it’s so difficult to choose one plant of the week, then one plant just jumps out at you and screams add me add me so you do! Stachyurus praecox is indeed one of those plants. The shear beauty of the flowers will take your breathe away and rightly so!

stachyurus praecox Plant of the week  Stachyurus praecoxStachyurus praecox is indeed a native of Japan and into the Himalayas and was discovered in Japan by the great German explorer and physician Philippine Von Siebold. He discovered and introduced many of our Japanese plants that we grow in our gardens. Stachyurus praecox in its native Japan, can be found growing around the forest edges in the warmer temperate areas of Japan and is indeed know as a pioneer shrub, meaning it is one of the first plants to grow in a newly cleared areas.

stachyurus praecox 6 Plant of the week  Stachyurus praecoxThe name comes from Greek words Stachys meaning an ear of corn and oura meaning a tail, praecox means early for the early flowering. And it does flower early, in a normal year, it flowers from February to April, but this year it has only just started flowering in the past few weeks. The tiny flowers are borne on large racemes measuring up to 5″ long on some plants and in Japan, they are pollinated by bees. The shrub itself can grow up to 3m in height over 5 years or so. The mid green coloured leaves, turn in the autumn to a blaze of oranges and yellows and it is well worth growing for the autumn colour as well.

stachyurus praecox 4 Plant of the week  Stachyurus praecoxStachyurus praecox makes a great garden plant. It prefers a semi shaded or sunny spot in the garden with the soil being on the neutral to acidic side. Stachyurus praecox prefers a well drained soil but will be happy in a sandy loam and again despite what the books and internet says, it will grow away quite happy in a clay soil. As it comes from the warmer areas of Japan, it will tolerate temperatures as low as -15c but ideally to do its best for you, it does need a sheltered spot in the garden or indeed makes an unusual wall shrub.

Stachyurus praecox is also generally pest and disease free and requires a little pruning. To get the best flowers from the shrub, some feel it’s best to remove the older wood, say anything over 4yrs old. This keeps the Plants young and healthy and the flowering wood at its best. Of course you can also leave it alone, just removing the crossing stems and dead wood. It’s also pretty easy to propagate. Stachyurus praecox comes easily from seed, laying the plant and also by semi-ripe cuttings taken in late summer

Stachyurus praecox can be found in most of the bigger botanical gardens like Kew, Wisley and Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and can be brought from good Nurseries like Burncoose of Southdown and the welsh plant chocolate shop Crûg Farm

20180226 202933 Plant of the week  Stachyurus praecox
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Six on Saturday, 31st of March 2018

img 2427 Six on Saturday, 31st of March 2018

Well I haven’t featured any water plants yet and I think if this rain carries on much longer, I shall be ripping up all my plants and replacing them with Canadian pond weed and water lilies. It’s just be a horrendous week hasn’t, been rained off twice and still not got my paper work done, keep getting distracted trying to stop the kids kill each other and waiting on them. But that’s life in the fast lane or what couples as the fast lane at my time in life.

This weather has really effected the garden, the soil hasn’t really warmed up yet and nothing is growing as mad as it was last year. I was reading though my old blogs from a year ago, finding ones like rose watch, with rose buds a good size all ready, this year they haven’t even got any new leaves on yet this year! But that’s the fun thing about gardening isn’t, every day, week, month and year is different and so unpredictable.

Talking about unpredictability here’s my six on Saturday all from my own garden!

img 2443 Six on Saturday, 31st of March 2018

A lovely Hyacinth, can’t remember the name and I know it’s in a box in the garage but it’s raining and that would mean going outside and getting wet, still is a great colour and looks great in my containers in my front garden

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A slight negative now, I was so looking forward to seeing my tulip polychroma in full flower, looking stunning in the sun, it’s one of my favourite specie tulip, um then we had the snow and it well killed off the flowers and they have failed to open, gutted but there’s always next year!

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One of the few plants I have left from when we moved in, actually it was one of the few plants in the garden at the time, looks great this time of year, but is under a window and it covers the window in a few weeks during the summer. I want to take it out but the sparrows love it for some reason and I cant bring myself to remove it

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My tulips are appearing! Just love the buds full stop, so full of promise and a hint of the pleasure they will bring. Have planted a few forms in the garden this year, can’t wait to see them appearing this year

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Geranium wlassovianum ‘Lakwijk Star’ just love the new leaves on this plant! The shades of red on the leaf is amazing and the usefulness of the plant is again brilliant, it has something going for it all summer.

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Wel I think she has nearly made it, my Geranium traversii elgans, looking a little more battle scared after the last cold spell, but never less still looks alive. Phew! Can’t wait for it to get flowering again!

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from my garden, If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Until next week, have fun in the garden

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Six on saturday – 17th of March 2018

img 2318 Six on saturday   17th of March 2018

For some reason when thinking about six on Saturday this week, Elton Johns song Saturday night just appeared in my head, no idea why, it’s strange how the brain works at time. Anyway after the snow and the rain, it’s been nice to have a dryish week, well if you discount the rain Thursday morning and other showers overnight, oh and there was the April like showers that drenched me Friday morning while pruning a rambling rose. Talking about Friday, I had one of those bird of prey days when I managed to see five in day, started off with a peregrine falcon over Salisbury, before seeing a red kite and Kesteral while driving to my next job, then watched buzzards pairing up, doing their mating displays of twisting and turning in the air and fighting off other males and finished off with a sparrow hawk chasing a blackbird over the garden, all wonderful sights unless you are are the blackbird! Everything is slowly growing away now and I am frantically trying to finish off my pruning before it all comes into leaf and starts growing away although I think the mini beast from the east is due this weekend, bringing more snow and cold temperatures, so that will slow it all down!

Anyway enough of my little chit chat and on to the six on Saturday, which due to not a lot changing or happening in my little garden is a mix of mine and a clients, I hoe you enjoy them

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Pulmonaria offinicalis, how on Earth can someone not like this plant, it gives us its lovely spotted leaves and beautiful spotted leaves harbouring in the spring. The little flowers are a mix of different shades of blue, with pink mixed in, how lovely does this shade lovely plant look!

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Of course it’s not just the flowers that make it into the six on Saturday, but foliage and this Aquilegia, I find the emerging new leaves full of beauty, from the colours, the fresh new look, the patterns that they give as they slowly open and finally the way water sits on them

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I love small daffodils like tete a tete here, I find them so useful in the smaller garden, there they just look more in scale than the bigger ones and there foliage when dying back can be a little unsightly while these little ones can be hidden by other plants coming though.

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Ahh Daphne ordora varigata, lovely foliage, edged in yellow and then the flowers and the scent, it just fills the whole garden with its scent and they just flower for so long, normally at least 4 months during the winter time, such a great value plant

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Rhubarb oh how I love this vegetable and before I start world war 3 on the internet, it is indeed a vegetable and not a fruit. I love the crinkled leaves as they slowly appear with the red stems emerging, bringing the thought of rhubarb crumble, rhubarb and strawberry tart or just rhubarb stew to add to ice cream, cereal or natural yogurt

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Pulmonaria rubra is the red pulmonaria and again how beautiful does this look! They may lack the spottiness on the leave but their mid colour green looks good anyway and offsets the flowers nicely

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from Mine and my clients gardens If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Until next week, have fun in the garden