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Six on Saturday- 28th of April, 2018

img 2684 Six on Saturday  28th of April, 2018

Ahhh here we are again, it’s Saturday and the weekend once more. This week has flown by, mainly for the wrong reasons and I will be honest, I am slightly glad to see the back of it! After last weeks heat wave, we got back to the normal April weather and temperatures, warm, then hot and then freezing cold all normally takes place within the same hour! Then there’s the showers, some are light, other times monsoon with lightening highlighting the conditions. Let’s hope as we get into May, it will settle a bit more

My six things this week come from my own garden, not a lot has happened with it structure wise but the plants are now doing their thing and turning the bare patches into a green oasis.

img 2684 Six on Saturday  28th of April, 2018

Yes sorry there will be more tulips in this weeks 6, I should of added a warning but I am hoping this unusual Tulip, tulip acuminata, a delightful specie tulip that’s been around certainly since the 17th century, will mean you will let me off!

img 2694 Six on Saturday  28th of April, 2018

This weeks number two is one of my plants near my front door, the lovely Pieris japonica carnival is just looking stunning at the moment,

img 2687 Six on Saturday  28th of April, 2018

And back to the tulips, the classic Angelique needs not introduction, one of my favourites and looks great mixed in with my next one img 2689 Six on Saturday  28th of April, 2018img 2688 1 Six on Saturday  28th of April, 2018

Tulip Atlantis which fades to a much lighter colour as it ages

img 2697 Six on Saturday  28th of April, 2018

Let’s change to foliage this time and Dicentras are one of the best for this light ferny foliage that looks wonderful in the borders, king of the hearts is this plants form

img 2698 Six on Saturday  28th of April, 2018Lastly an oddity I kinda love, such an unusual leaf, it’s a cross between Berginia and Mukdenia that gives great autumn colour as well as this lovely leaf shape.

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

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!

img 2564 Six on Saturday 14th of April 2018

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

img 2574 Six on Saturday 14th of April 2018

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.

img 2581 Six on Saturday 14th of April 2018img 2582 Six on Saturday 14th of April 2018

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!

img 2576 Six on Saturday 14th of April 2018

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

img 2578 Six on Saturday 14th of April 2018

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

img 2579 Six on Saturday 14th of April 2018

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

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.

c94bdeb1 e564 46f3 91f0 3a3097525d50 686 0000003ce598e954 file Plant of the week  Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Etienne Soulange Bodin

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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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, 24th of March

img 2394 Six on Saturday, 24th of March

Well who expected that bit of snow, just when we thought the beast from the east had finished with us, he came back and hit us again with more snow, can’t remember the last time we had two good snow falls in one winter but there’s also a rumour that 2 maybe come 3 over Easter with another blast from the eastern freezer coming in and coating us in more snow. This cold spell is definitely slowing down things in the garden as well as nature overall, normally I would be mowing once a fortnight at least by now, down the lawn at one site once over a month ago and it’s not even close to needing another cut. The weeds are also growing away very slowly, the early season species like goose grass and speedwell are just sat there and not romping away as they should be. It all may be temporary, nature has a great way of catching up with things.

This weeks super 6 comes from a mix of my garden and my clients garden, I have some lovey plants that have slowed down and sadly not flowering or doing something interesting. I also haven’t had a chance to start destroying anything to make space for the new plants I have over ordered maybe!

img 2387 Six on Saturday, 24th of March

Chionodoxa luciliae, or as it is now Scilla luciliae!

The glory of the snow and it certainly has lived up to its name this year, starting to flower just after the snow has disappeared for a week at least, these are one of my favourite bulbs, I love the blue carpet they give us and that blue is just stunning!

img 2378 Six on Saturday, 24th of March

Violia riviniana

Violets to many are the sign of spring, seeing these lovely little violets opening up in the spring always takes me back to a colleague, Eddie, who sadly pasted away 15 months ago now, he used to look forward to seeing these tiny flowers opening up in the spring and I still can remember him getting off the tractor to look at the first ones. They are food to many of the fritillary butterflies.

img 2382 Six on Saturday, 24th of March

Ribes sanguineum

Yes yes I know it can be found anywhere but I so love Ribes sanguineum, always on the first spring shrubs to flower and it was a delight seeing these appearing, great for the early bees that are flying around. The scent from the foliage is lovely as well

img 2376 Six on Saturday, 24th of March

Just loved this combination of narcissus jetfire, nestled amongst carex evergold and Heuchera at on-site I planted up, it gives 12 months of interest and the bulbs give an extra lift in the spring and a different colour as well. Bulbs are so useful in the garden.

img 2395 Six on Saturday, 24th of March

New plants! Not just for me but for my clients as well, there’s a lot of fruit trees there, including some bred in Hampshire for one project. Just need to unpack them this weekend and get them ready for planting next week!

img 2394 Six on Saturday, 24th of March

Muscari ‘Pink Surprise’ is a new one for me. I love muscari in all it forms, this pink grape hyacinth looks a delight and I can’t wait to see it bulk up over the next few years

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 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- Fritillaria meleagris

img 2212 Plant of the week  Fritillaria meleagris
With so many plants now coming into life, it’s becoming so hard to chose a plant of the week, There’s so many beautiful plants with such fascinating history. So how do I chose? Well it’s just down my what takes my fancy really, can be a plant that’s special to me from the past or a new one that takes my eye or just a plant I love 

img 2211 Plant of the week  Fritillaria meleagris
An that’s the case this week, it’s great to have a small plant that’s also a native of this great isle. It is also a plant that has been on decline in the wild since the Second World War. It’s natural environment is in the Old water meadows, water meadows were an area of lowland grass land that were flooded during the winter rains, both to provide early lush grazing for cattle and also as a first type of flood protection for the nearby towns and cities. These made an ideal environment for so many wonderful wildflowers including Fritillaria meleagris. Sadly during the Second World War and onwards, these wildflower havens where ploughed up to provide more food for the country.  Indeed it used to be so prolific that millions were picked every year for cut flowers from its heartland of Wiltshire and round the Thames valley. It still can be found in small pockets along the might Thames, with areas around Oxford being  a good bet. Indeed the village of Ducklington, has a festival every year for it. It was also named as the flower for Oxfordshire in 2002. 

This delightful plant is just as much at home in a damp border as it is in a meadow. It makes a plant up to 40cm tall with its chequed flowers giving us so much enjoyment at this time of the year. The flowers are also where the plant gets it many common names from including its most popular one, the snakes head fritillary. Others include chess flower (from the pattern on the flower) Guinea-hen flower, Guinea flower (maybe from old currency or the bird?) frog cup, checkered Lilly, checkered daffodil, drooping tulip and the leper Lilly as the flower looks like the bell the lepers used to carry. It’s Latin name fritillaria, is from the Latin word fritillus meaning box like, with most of the genus with flowers that look box shape like. Meleagris means spotted like a Guinea bird. The flowers tend to be borne in a wide range of colours from a deep purple where the chequed board effect is nearly lost to a white form 

img 2214 Plant of the week  Fritillaria meleagris
It is a plant that suffers from very few pests and diseases, the worst one has to be the lily beetle, which loves the foliage on it. Like a few other early bulbs like snowdrops, it’s prefers to be planted in the green, it can be planted as a dry form but do struggle to establish planted like this 
There’s some beautiful places to see this plant in the wild around Oxford including magdalen college Oxford. One of the best gardens to see them growing has to be the delightful Waterperries garden, just outside Oxford. A truly beautiful garden