Six on Saturday 29th May 2020

Hello and welcome to this weeks six on Saturday.

It’s not even June and that famous phrase has been uttered on the national press “hosepipe ban” or at least the threat of a hosepipe ban. apparently Yorkshire Water is worried about the levels in their reservoirs enough to advise people to be careful when using water. I have mentioned a few times this year that the lack of rain in Northumberland has been distinctly lacking since March. Luckily our local water company is Northumbria water who look after one of the biggest man made reservoirs in Europe supplying them.

We have had sun everyday this week and what seems for everyday of the Lockdown which has been one of the few plus points. So it was no surprise that it was announced this week that this Spring was one of the sunniest, but the sunny warm weather also means there is a distinct lack of water. Local fields are arid and the crops are struggling indeed this reinforced to me when one of my workmates face time me from a field close to home in the central belt of Scotland and showed me he could fit his fist in the cracks in the ground in a barley field. So what does this mean it means that I have had to water more than normal in the spring but due to the amount of spare time I have had on my hands I have only had to get the hose out twice. In fact I have had to get the hose out only twice.

The garden is looking really well at the moment with all the sun and the attention I have been able to give it. Consciously I have migrated over the last few years to more drought tolerant plants in most parts of the garden to make watering more easier and it is sort of working but I have had more spare time on my hands so perhaps I have watered more than I needed to.

Here is my six

1. New mini alpine border.

I have been wanting to expand one of my front borders for a while. So this week I picked up some spare stones my sister had in thee garden and laid out the stones like so. Over the next few days I’ll probably tinker around with the layout and make sure I have I have got enough room to get my car and van in . This has always been a dry area due to the constant sun in the summer and the drying westerly wind in the winter. So I am going to leave the paving slabs in and use a gritty compost and hopefully excess water will escape through the gaps between the stones. I will be planting this border with Sempervivums and Alpines that I already am growing in pots and by thinning the existing border beside it. At the back I am going to experiment by growing 2 or 3 Dahlias this summer (there will be more organic matter at the back and it will be deeper) and will plant some of 2020 tulip bulbs which I am in the process of putting into storage. Hopefully these will naturalise over the next few years like they have in the border next door.

2. Rose Bridge of Sighs

This rose grows up the side of an Arch that leads into the gravel area of the garden. It has reached the top of the arch this year and K have started to trail it along the top. The warm dry weather has meant that there is a lot of blooms this year and it is going to look fantastic. Unfortunately I have not been able to take a larger photo of it yet due to the sun or the way it grows. I will try again next week.

2. Sempervivum Tintenblut

A couple of dark Sempervivums have caught my eyes this week. They have become noticeable because most other plants in the garden are green and vibrant. Tintenblut means Ink Bleed in German and you can sort of see why they have called this Hybrid this. The leaves range from dark crimson to as close to black as you can get the colour is like an exuberant Merlot. The shape and look of the perfectly formed rosettes add to the look of this plant.

4. Lewisia Little Peach

My first Lewisia to flower and a new one in my collection. The flowers are a little bit bigger than usual. I always love it when the Lewisias start to flower s for me it’s the start of summer. The blooms will last along time.

5. Echeveria Apollo

I have well over 60 Echeverias at the moment and TBH I think I have found my limit as they are taking along time for me to water them and to tend to them properly. They are drought tolerant plants but you always need to be on your toes and look out for signs of vine weevils as these will damage Echeverias immensely and it is a battle to irradiate it. The flowers also fascinate me as well and as you can see these ones look spectacular and picture perfect.

6. Eryngium Plantum Jade Frost

I haven’t featured this plant before probably because after I planted it last year it remained pretty dormant. Unusually for a sea holly this plant has got wonderfully exotic variegated leaves. I believe the flowers are going to be a lighter blue as normal and when it flowers I will confirm.

That’s it for this week.

If you want to write a SOS blog it is not that difficult. As always to find out how six on Saturday works please follow the following link The Propagator. The don of Six on Saturday.

Until next week goodbye.

16 Comments Add yours

  1. fredgardener says:

    Very pretty detail of the serrated leaves of Sempervivum Tintenblut and nice to see the echeveria soon in bloom.


  2. Good balance of plants and lovely colours this week. That new alpine border looks interesting . Let us see how it progresses. I once had a sea holly but it’s “perfume” was awful! I’ve not been tempted to try again although your variegated leaves are very pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heyjude says:

      Mine have that horrible smell too GG. I relocated them to the ‘wild garden’ near the oil tank! Although I have noticed I must have missed a bit because one is growing in my raised bed.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Stunning rose. Very wise to check the layout of your new bed and whether you can get the car/van in and out. I was very close to ordering an arch for a new climbing rose last week but then decided to check if I could get my wife’s bike out of the shed and through the imaginary arch easily. I put up canes where the arch would go. It was a struggle so the arch has idea has been scrapped! The leaves of the Eryngium Plantum Jade Frost are very striking.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Katharine says:

    How exciting Paul – a new alpine bed. Can’t wait to see how it develops. Meanwhile I’m entranced by your echeveria apollo. The flower is a great colour.


    1. Yes nothing better than a new Alpine bed. I have got plans for a much bigger one but I am not going to start that until I get back to work and get a few weeks under my belt….have just been surveying today with a cup of coffee in hand.


  5. Loving the sea holly, I like a bit of variegation every so often. A new border, great plan! Looking forward to seeing it blossom. Enjoy your week with more sun and perhaps a little bit of rain if we are lucky. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes nothing better than a new border. I have plans for a bigger one as well but I am not going to start that until I am back at work


  6. Jim Stephens says:

    60 Echeverias is going some, we have lots and find vine weevils (wine weasles) are a real menace. You have raised my hopes though and I need to ask how you go about irradiating them. No! don’t tell me that’s the auto-correct, I so want it to be just what it says. Vine weevils deserve to die horribly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes they are horrible little things. If I see the grubs when a rosette suddenly detaches itself from the root system I simply cut the stem back as much as possible and leave the rosette on the sun for a couple days. They usually start to appear in August and September up here. Yup irradiating them was an auto correct mistake I rushed this weeks blog as I ended working in the garden late Friday night as I can’t work in the heat of a summer day like most people. God knows what would happen if I had to pick fruit!


  7. The variegated sea holly looks interesting. I have some of the plainer varieties and I’ll be interested to see yours in flower. With vine weevil have you ever tried nematodes? I’ve often wondered how effective they were.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I haven’t tried nematodes. At the moment I have been really lucky and only had them on 1 or 2 plants and they usually rear their head in the Autumn. I usually cut the stem back as far as possible and put them out in the sun to cook the weevils into submission

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Lora Hughes says:

    That news about the dry fields is sobering. I wonder, can there be more calam . . . nope, won’t jinx us. I’m a little behind you in accepting this is the new climate, but have been thinking that I should focus on plants that can survive all this. And Bridge of Sighs – what a name! Is it scented?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. tonytomeo says:

    That is interesting that you will plant on top of the pavement. I suppose it is easy with the many of the succulents that you grow. I did so at my former home because I knew that I would not be staying, and wanted to leave the good but unused pavement. Others might say it was not horticulturally correct. The pavement was fine when I left.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Bridge of Sighs is such a vibrant colour. I’ve used the nematodes for the last couple of years with pretty good results. The vine weevils were becoming quite a problem in my pots. They seemed to seek out Aeoniums. Looking forward to the new border

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Heyjude says:

    Two outstanding plants this week for me Paul are the Tintenblut and the variegated sea holly. You will have to let me know whether the flowers have the horrible smell that mine has – which attracted a lot of flies!


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