Saturday, 31 March 2018

Six on Easter Saturday

This is my first Six on Saturday blog from my Northern Garden, where I've been gardening about half an acre for more than 25 years. I used to grow quite a bit of veg, but I haven't done so for a number of years. However, we had quite a success with tomatoes, lettuce and pot-grown potatoes in the greenhouse last year, so I'll be repeating that this year, and for the first time ever I'm growing tomatoes from seed. 
For flowers, I tend not to grow annuals or biannuals, except some that seed themselves in the garden, and don't generally do plants that need lifting for the winter, although I have succumbed to a few dahlias this year. I like growing interesting and unusual plants and like something that may be a bit of a challenge. 
But enough about me and the garden in general - here are my first Six on Saturday for this Easter weekend.

1. What's in the propagator

I haven't used the heated propagaor for a few years but it is now re-installed in the greenhouse and filling fast. On the left are four Galina seedings. It's a yellow cherry tomato from Siberia so I'm hoping for great results here in the North.
On the right are seedlings of Latah. which is said to be a super-early tomato variety that tolerates short or cool summers. It's a bush type with red 1-2in fruits.
Other pots are hedychiums (gingers).. I already grow Hedychium densiflorum planted in the garden and comes up and flowers every year, but I've sown two selected varietries of that - Assam Orange and Stephen - that have bigger flowers. I've also sown Hedychium forestii and Hedychium spicatum, which are more exotic and it will be interesting to see if I can get them to flower here Up North. The seed came from Mike Clifford. If you like tropical-style plants see him on Twitter @MikesRarePlants
Finally, in the little tray are some Trachycarpus fortunii (Chusan palm) seeds from one of my own trees. I've already sown a large tray which is on the greenhouse bench but thought it would be interesting to try them with a bit of warmth in the propagator.

2. Highs and Lows

It's been a funny week, weatherwise. We had lovely sunny spring-like weather last weekend with the temperature in the greenhouse reaching 25 deg C on Sunday but since then we've had rain and sleet, and today the garden is like a sodden sponge.
The greenhouse thermometer tells the highs and lows from Monday to Friday this week - high 19 deg C, low 0 deg C - and when this photograph was taken at 4pm on Good Friday it was only 4 deg C in the greenhouse. 










3. Rhodo from Seed 

I'm hoping we don't get any frosts for a few weeks as my early rhododendrons are coming into flower. The 'Mini Beast' finished off some opening buds on one shrub, but the buds on this one have survived and are preparing to open.
My early ones are all Rhododendron x falconeri grown from seed bought at Inverewe Garden in the north west of Scotland more than 25 years ago. I may be daft, growing early rhodoes in the north east of England, but really enjoy them when the flowers survive the frost, and they remind us of a special day at that lovely garden.








4. Trillium albidum

 I love to see trilliums coming through in the garden in late winter. Their common name is Wake Robin. I already have dark red and yellow types planted in the garden and multiplying into good clumps.
I bought this plant last year at the Alpine Garden Society and Scottish Rock Garden Club show at Hexham. It is Trillium albidum and has a white flower which is scented. It is still in its pot and I brought it into the greenhouse a few weeks back when the arrival of the 'Beast from the East' was imminenent. As you can see, it is preparing to flower now and it also has a second shoot. I will find it a suitable spot in the garden this year, where it can settle and multiply.


5. Spring flowers

I always think that primroses are a real sign of spring, and while the bright mixed colours of the various types of primulas are great for brightening up pots on the patio or deck, I like the pale yellow wild primroses in the garden. We have them dotted around in various places around the garden, and they were all grown from seed by my Other Half a good number of years ago. It's lovely to see them reappear each spring.






6. Flowery reminders

Many plants around our garden have come from family and friends and remind us of parents and grandparents. When Pulmonaria shows its flowers, it always reminds me of my mother who used to call it 'Lords and Ladies' because the plants show blue and pink flowers at the same time.
The Pulmonaria in our garden came from her, and while she's no longer with us, her flowers appear in our garden in springtime every year.

So that's it for my first 'Six on Saturday'. Hope you enjoyed it.


  1. Welcome to the gang. I admire your patience (even if it is fun). I wouldn't wait for 20+ years for something to flower for the first time. 20 weeks is pushing it here. Oddly, the "Beast" did no harm here but the "Min-beast", just a short time later, did a fair bit of damage. I'm now looking forward to finding time to look back through your earlier posts. I'm jealous of your tropical area!

  2. I'm from completely the other side of the world, so enjoyed reading your six. Pulmonaria is plant that has appeared on many blogs, but I don't think I can grow it here, much as I would like to...far too much hot weather.

  3. A lovely selection, and a real flavour of spring!

  4. I would LOVE to have half an acre to garden. Jealous! Good idea with the short season tomatoes. Will look out for those next year, perhaps they can grow fast and avoid the blight...

  5. You go from the unusual to the familiar in this blog, a good combo of what you've chosen to what you've been given & stays w/you because of the giver. Such a wonderful part of a garden, the memories connected to it. I've never heard of Hedychium densiflorum before. Its Google image is stunning. Welcome to SoS!