Six on Saturday: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I have not participated in Jon The Propagator’s Six on Saturday meme before, but seem to be especially time poor at the moment and the format seemed a good way of keeping the momentum going when I don’t have time to write at any length. My six can loosely be tied into a reduce, reuse, recycle category (some more loosely than others), something I have aspired to for many years, ever since collecting foil in the 60s ‘for the guide dogs’.

Regular readers will know how much I love my bricklaying and above you can see a motley pile of bricks ready for a new project, although time and rain and lack of mortar conspire to prevent me from making a start till into next week. The photo is taken in the Rose Garden (see map, under The Garden tab) with the two main beds (containing Darcy Bussell and James L Austin) in the top left and bottom right of the picture, which until yesterday were edged in granite setts, recycled from a different part of the garden. The setts will be replaced with a brick edging, reflecting the new terraced beds either side of the bus shelter; the bricks in turn are recycled from two different neighbours and the setts are going back to the reclamation yard we bought them from 15 years ago, to be traded in for the ridge tiles needed for the recently refurbished shed. The downside of using two completely different  types of brick is balanced by the thrill of clearing the space they were stored in!

Still thinking of roses, I am pleased to see that at least 2 of the 3 rugosa roses moved from the Shrub Border into the Woodland Edge and what I will have to call ‘Under the Holly’ borders are coming into leaf. As with most plants displaced from their original homes here by the dissatisfied gardener, they were moved on a sink or swim basis but nevertheless I am more than happy that they are swimming although I would certainly have been  disappointed if the shrub roses I moved around the Shrub border had sunk. The Poet’s Wife and The Pilgrim, both taller than expected, were moved to the back of the border and Harlow Carr moved to the front; all are doing nicely thank you very much, as is Daphne mezereum which changed position three times as part of the same upheaval, putting paid to the commonly held belief that daphnes don’t like to be disturbed. Daphne and The Pilgrim are shown below, the former blowing out of focus in today’s gusty winds.

When trying to determine how to tackle the proposed terracing next to the bus shelter, I considered the option of slabbing them to display pots, and bought a few token slabs to assess the appearance. This was enough to confirm it wouldn’t work and, because you can never have too many, the terraced beds now contain more roses. The slabs have not been wasted and have been adapted to modify the step down to The Coop, the change in material eliminating the previous trip hazard.

With so many practical projects having been undertaken in the garden since last summer there has been a lot of clearing up to do, especially of timber after replacement of the fruit cage and a number of fences. We don’t have a woodburner ourselves but I have wheeled six barrowfuls of timber round the corner to a neighbour in recent weeks and as the Golfer makes a valiant attempt to tidy his shed there will no doubt be a few more barrowloads to make the same journey.

In the working greenhouse (aka #2 and #4) the increasingly milder days and reduction in frosty nights has resulted in rapid growth for the Winter Sunshine sweet peas, some of which are approaching 2 feet tall. They were sown on 21st October and planted out in the greenhouse bed on 15th January; last year’s crop were sown on 2nd October and were coming into flower on 23rd April and I can reasonably expect to have flowers on this year’s crop by the end of April – gosh! that’s only just over a month away! This year I shared an order for these sweet peas with a neighbour so I could have more colours; I mixed my half share of seed but he has kept his separate. As this variety are specially bred to grow in lower light conditions and therefore flower earlier I am unsure whether collecting seed myself will result in plants true to form, but I shall give it a go at the end of their season.

Still in this greenhouse, I was pleased a week or so ago to see the first dahlia shoot appear although it is still the only sign of life so far from the dozen or so tubers saved from last year. They were lifted after the first frosts, brought into the house and cleaned and double-labelled before being individually wrapped in newspaper and stored in a box in a cool room until mid January, when they were potted up in compost recycled from pots and seedtrays. I have been in touch with Brian the dahlia enthusiast, my Mum’s island neighbour, who is going to provide me with a tuber from his much admired (by me) ‘Top Totty’, which has proved to be unobtainable anywhere else. It is good to be able to share gardening treasures like this, and passing on spare plants, cuttings and seedlings is perhaps the ultimate form of reducing, reusing and recycling for gardeners.

No time to write at any length? Not sure what happened there, but thank you to Jon for allowing me to link my not-concise-at-all post to his Six on Saturday meme.

This entry was posted in dahlias, garden structure, Gardening, Gardens, greenhouse, Recycling, roses, Six on Saturday and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Six on Saturday: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

  1. cavershamjj says:

    Hello! Welcome to the gang, lovely Six. Is there really a dahlia called Top Totty!!??

  2. Hi Cathy, I have missed joining in with IAVOM for similar reasons of time poverty but like you find SOS a great way of keeping my hand in. Nice to see your garden on this meme. I have just been reading about Daphne mezereum in Gertrude Jekyll.

  3. Ali, The Mindful Gardener says:

    I am very impressed by your hard landscaping! I agree, you can never have too many roses. I applaud your rule-breaking; when you get away with something it leaves you to question how many other gardening rules are based on a couple of people’s experiences and then passed on as law.
    It’s sunny!! Can’t wait to get out today!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Ali. The Golfer can take the credit for the paths but bricklaying is definitely my domain! Hope you managed to get lots of garden tasks done. We had our NGS county lunch today when we also pick up all our publicity material – not all counties do it that way but it is a good way to meet other garden openers

  4. Chloris says:

    I am in awe of your bricklaying skills. I lost 5 daphnes that I dug up when I moved so I think you were lucky there. The Pilgrim does grow tall if given a chance I have it growing into an apple tree. How well organised having sweet peas in April.

    • Cathy says:

      No awe needed, Chloris, it is just like big pieces of Lego really… So sorry to read that you lost all those daphnes – admittedly mine didn’t move far and it was never out of the ground for long. My Pilgrim was definitely meant to be the shrubby version rather than the climber but perhaps it just liked its position. The Poet’s Wife was growing up to 6 feet or so each year and was right at the front of the border, as suggested by the DA catalogue of the time

  5. Heyjude says:

    I am in awe of your brick laying skills too. Your hard landscaping is such a delight and you and the Golfer work well together. Now that I have seen the size of your sweet peas I might have a go at sowing some myself this autumn. They are the one seed I don’t seem to kill! Lovely to see you join the SoS Cathy, though of course I monitor your garden proceedings already.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Jude. The Golfer tends to do the paths and the hard surfacing definitely makes it easy to gte round the garden whatever the weather. I love to see brickwork in a garden and using recycled brick gives an immediate aged effect – I am sure I will run out of bricklaying projects sometime but there again I have thought that before. I don’t know if I will contribute regularly on SoS but with its loose structure it does seem to be a good way of updating our blogs

  6. Cathy, I am happy for you that you are going to start a new project of masonry in the garden: you have many strengths and very good ideas so that everything goes perfectly. The roses are divine. I love that you reuse everything, share it and recycle it; As the title of the blog says: I also try to do the same. Your sweet peas are wonderful. Greetings from Margarita.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Margarita – sometimes projects are created around a recycled object, and I have a friend who has often given me quirky things because she knows I will find a use for them in the garden!

  7. Christina says:

    It’s unusual to hear you say you’re short of time. I’m very glad you found enough to update us on your projects. All very exciting.

    • Cathy says:

      I don’t know where the time poverty has come from, Christina (although I am very conscientous with my daytime exercise activities) but I suppose it doesn’t help when free time doesn’t coincide with good gardening weather. It’s good to have more daylight hours now though, isn’t it?

  8. Dahlia shoots already! I must attend to my overwintered pots soon and plant some new tubers. Great to see your use of old materials for new projects Cathy. Enjoy your new build.

    • Cathy says:

      Still only the one shoot though,
      Anna, and it’s a lost label one so I don’t know which it is! All the other tubers were double labelled 😉

  9. tonytomeo says:

    Goodness! I found a dahlia that was dug TWO years ago! It was put in a bucket of sawdust, and somehow survive through last year. I had assumed that it was VERY dead, but it somehow put out a shoot! Even though it really is mostly dead, I could not discard something that tried so hard. I planted the little shoot and what remains of mostly mummified tubers, and it seems to be doing remarkably well.

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