Six on Saturday: the First and the Last

Well, the last will be first for this Six on Saturday post, as temperatures down to minus 2°C last night will sadly have seen off the dahlias for this year. The photograph was taken quite early in the day but a mammoth effort from a weak November sun was doing what it could to clear the frosty evidence I had seen on my first ramble. It is not going to get any higher than 4°C today and these cold nights and chilly days can only get more frequent in the coming weeks – but that’s what we expect, and I am not complaining.

I was prepared for the temperature drop last night, however, and had set up the heaters in the greenhouse in readiness, plugging them in but sadly forgetting to switch them on! In the Coop it was 2°C and in the working greenhouse just below zero…brrr! All corrected now, and I expect the heaters will remain on for much of the day; hopefully nothing will be adversely affected by one night without woolly jumpers and gloves…

Someone suggested recently that my greenhouses looked admirably tidy, but I can assure you that is not the case – perhaps I was selective in the views I shared! I have, though, just taken down the shade netting that I used this year for the first time and – hard to believe! – washed down the outside of the working greenhouse and willingly confess this is for the first time ever! I plan to wash the inside down too before I put up bubble wrap again for insulation, but because the working greenhouse in particular is NOT especially tidy (organised perhaps, but not tidy) it will not be the easiest of tasks without a bit of sprucing up – thus going straight to the top of my to-do list. No more new projects till it’s done!

With the sun’s brave attempt to emerge this morning came the strange feeling that I was rambling in a steady downpour, but without any rain – instead, it was a gentle breeze shifting any remaining foliage on the trees and dislodging the melted frost which fell like rain under their canopy. Our neighbour’s massive and ancient beech tree has only recently begun to put on its autumnal garb, but with temperatures like today’s the seasonal changes will now be swift and merciless.

The (special) snowdrop bed was cleared of the white summer bedding plants a few weeks ago and I am contemplating trimming the leaves of the four white or green hellebores that share the space quite soon to tidy the border and make snowdrop spotting easier. It also needs a good mulch to enhance its appearance and build up the soil level which seems to have dropped as you can see below from the pots that the newer snowdrops have been planted, which are becoming exposed.

Last year I took the plunge and replanted all my established named varieties directly into the ground, with the newer ones in my collection being planted in deep ‘snowdrop pots’ for their first few years, so my breath will be well and truly bated as I watch for those green spikes emerging. It is always a ‘tense’ experience, watching and counting to see how many of the almost inevitable losses there are to contend with as the snowdrop season progresses, so letting the preciouses loose into the big wide world just adds to the pressure – but at least there is one to cross of the list already, as today I noticed Galanthus ‘Fieldgate Prelude’ emerging, the first of this season…hurrah!

Thank you to Jon the Propagator for hosting this Saturday meme – please visit his blog to find many and varied other sixes.

This entry was posted in Autumn, dahlias, Gardening, Gardens, greenhouse, Six on Saturday, Weather and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Six on Saturday: the First and the Last


  2. Jim Stephens says:

    Cleaning the outsides of my greenhouses is something I get around two a time or two each year but the insides area problem, it makes such a mess and there’s always so much in the way that doesn’t want to get drowned. I run a few heaters off a thermostatic socket the same as yours and was out half a dozen times yesterday evening to see that it was working properly. Never was sure.

    • Cathy says:

      Twice a year? Well done Jim! I still made a mistake with the heaters even when I switched them on, not plugging them into the thermostat – the Coop was 19 degrees C when I went in yesterday morning!

  3. Heyjude says:

    I had never thought to plant snowdrops out in pots. I planted some in the green a couple of years ago, didn’t see any flowers last Feb, though there were leaves. I wonder if any will flower next year. Not anything special, but it would be nice to see if they have survived.

  4. Cathy, I don’t have a greenhouse but I imagine that cleaning it inside must be a tremendous mess with all the shelves and tables full of plants, plus the utensils. You have to have a greenhouse to know. Congratulations on the hint of your first Galanthus Gategate of the season, I love it. I feel the frost tonight. It is already cold, also here in Madrid but not so much, 4ºC at night. Take care Greetings from Margarita.

    • Cathy says:

      I still intend to have a proper tidy out of the greenhouse and clean the inside – just need the time though, and some dryer weather!

  5. Pingback: Six on Saturday: the First and the Last — Rambling in the Garden | Old School Garden

  6. Snowdrops in November! Will wonders never cease!

    • Cathy says:

      Oh the shoots are just poking through, Chris, and it will be at least a couple of months till it gets to flowering stage – but it is still exciting to see the process begin!

  7. You have Snowdrops emerging! That is so encouraging! Sounds like you’re well-prepared with the greenhouse for the cold season.

  8. Sometimes I envy people with greenhouses, but to use them properly seems to involve a fair bit of work and self-control. I see greenhouses here and there that are in effect just glass storage sheds. The only variety of snowdrops at my place were here when we moved in almost 30 years ago. No idea what variety. They are very early (sprouting now, will likely bloom before Christmas) and huge — the leaves are up to a foot long, flower stems at least 6 inches. Not dainty at all. (I garden in Victoria, British Columbia.)

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, self discipline is definitely needed to make best use of a greenhouse and I have pretty much cracked that I think – it’s even usually fairly tidy – but cleaning is not my forte!

  9. Joyce Madden says:

    We’re south of Edinburgh just into the Scottish Borders and had our first frosts at the beginning of October. sadly the end of our dahlias for this year. They are all now dug up, packed away and snuggling in the garage! You have reminded me I must tidy the greenhouse. All manner of stuff sneaks in when I am not looking.

    • Cathy says:

      I envy you your snuggled up dahlas (although not the earlier frosts!) – I am itching to dig mine out now they have had it for this year but cleaning the greenhouse is still a priority…! 😉

  10. cavershamjj says:

    I smiled at your black labels. I have similar tombstones dotted around my borders, marking the temporary graves of dormant perennials.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, i have hundreds (sadly) of labels like these from deceased plants, waiting to see if I will get round to trying to remove the permanent markings… 😉

  11. tonytomeo says:

    This sort of weather makes me appreciate the climate here. I think I would like to experience real winter weather once, but would not want to live with it. It is almost two weeks later, and it is just now getting cool enough for the sweetgum to turn yellow here.

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