Six on Saturday: at the Bottom of the Garden

Most of today’s Six are at the bottom of the garden, the ‘working end’ with the greenhouse, cutting beds and fruit cage, so in the absence of a theme or better title we have the unimaginative one above.

I feel duty bound to celebrate climbing rose ‘Parkdirektor Riggers’ at least once a year, because it makes no demands on me except for some severe pruning early in the year when the hips are no longer looking attractive, yet flowers profusely and continuously for months – and if I don’t remember to look UP I often forget it’s there, which is a shame. It looks especially good from the cutting bed side, peering (the rose, not the viewer) over the wall, a view not quite as attractive since we added the tap and associated hose.

I am really pleased with the netting we added to the cutting beds which is already showing how effective it is. My cornflowers have never remained vertical before and although some plants won’t make it to the second row of netting those that do will be all the better for it – things like these cornflowers, amaranthus, cosmos, ammi and zinnias in particular. Even the shorter plants are already benefitting from the first level of netting and my only concern, that the netting might look obtrusive, has proved to be unfounded as the black netting is easily camouflaged by the foliage.

In the adjacent working greenhouse, following the example of Karen of Bramble Garden I have sown some more sweet peas, to continue from my existing outdoor ones when they start flagging. I have never sown them as late as this before and shall be interested to see how they do, and rather than buying new seed I have sown some from a fairly elderly packet (I probably sowed the originals in 2017) instead and seem to have had had 100% germination. I usually clear out partially used packets after two years with no reduction in germination, but won’t hang onto these any longer.

Outside, sweet peas ‘King George VI’ and ‘Gwendoline’ are now providing enough blooms for regular picking and nearby there is a pot of dwarf sweet pea ‘Sugar ‘n’ Spice’ which I am trialling for Which? Gardening. I am always uninspired by dwarf varieties as they tend to be too small to make any impact and it doesn’t look as if these will trail at all, so I can’t visualise where they would be useful, except perhaps round the base of something else in a big pot.

In the adjacent fruit cage I have now found a few sawfly on the raspberries too, but because they have started with the bottom leaves I can get down on my knees and inspect the reverse of nibbled leaves and squash any that I find, but this is unlikely to be comprehensive enough to stop the spread. A friend has recommended an old traditional remedy of bruising elderberry leaves and spraying a solution mixed with some slivers of soap, which is easy enough to try, and I have ordered some neem oil too – the latter works by confusing them so they forget how sawfly larvae should behave, including how to eat. Sounds good to me!

Elderberry has some jolly useful attributes, and following my first attempt at elderflower cordial earlier in the week I now have 8 little bottles of the stuff*. I have to confess to preferring my water neat, but I am hoping the Golfer’s sweet tooth will encourage him to drink it in some quantity. I have at least achieved what I set out to do, even if it is the only time I make the stuff*, which it may well be!

We had to head back to the house to look at this, so we may as well see how the recycled cow drinkers are doing while we are down there. Following a comment on this blog, we decided to use one of them as a bird bath and this is mounted near some of our bird feeders although not directly underneath. Sadly it is too low to see it from the windows, but at least the birds will be able to bathe in private!

The second one is on the wall of the house, almost opposite to this one, and houses a hosta relocated from a pot which, despite using a spirit level, the photographs suggest has not been mounted completely level. There are several hostas grouped along this part of the wall, having been moved from the opposite side last year, although with the overhang of the gutters this sadly now makes it a drier position and additional watering has been needed. The wall also provides an easy route for snails, which seem to be the main threat this year as the nematodes appear to have done their job on the slugs, although damage has been fairly minimal. Perhaps our resident hedgehogs are helping too…

Jon the Propagator invites us to share six things from our garden each Saturday, so do pop over to his blog to see his six and links to many others.

*delectable fragrant cordial

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21 Responses to Six on Saturday: at the Bottom of the Garden

  1. Sweetpea love, can’t wait to try some this winter,

  2. bcparkison says:

    I really should look into that netting.My shastas and yarrow are falling down.Never had 4 ft. Daisy before..

    • Cathy says:

      It was a good investment although the netting wasn’t expensive and the posts, post supports and hooks were all recycled or things we already had

  3. Heyjude says:

    That red rose is gorgeous! And I do like your cow drinkers 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      The rose is probably the oldest rose in the garden other than the Rambling Rector that was here when we came – put in nearly 20 years ago when I knew nothing about roses. I was going to say it doesn’t have a fragrance, but to be honest I would have to check!

  4. I’ve always wondered who Parkdirector Riggers was and what he did to have a rose named after him. What’s the view of it like from the other side of the wall? The cattle trough makes an interesting bird bath.

    • Cathy says:

      I did try Googling once but apart from the name being Dutch I didn’t find anything. It’s one of the ‘bold’ borders on the other side so I suppose that detrects from the bare lower stems – the upper stems were trained horizobtally and all the blooms are at the top

  5. I have to say the bottom of your garden is quite interesting! I also have to say how impressed I am with your un-hysterical approach to the sawfly larvae infestation. A perfect example of Keep Calm and Carry On.

    • Cathy says:

      Well, the stable door is open and the horse has already bolted, Chris – prevention would certainly have been better than trying for a cure… When I used to get it on gooseberries it virtually wiped out the crop before it developed, but the fruit on the raspberries and balckberries is fairly well formed and I suspect the crop will not be too badly affected… it wasn’t last year, but I woud certainly rather not have the sawfly!!

  6. tonytomeo says:

    I had not heard about using elderberry foliage solution as a remedy for sawfly. Blue elderberry grows wild here, and I use if like black elderberry. However, I almost never need insecticide, and have not used any in many years. This is useful information though, just in case something comes up.

  7. I have a couple of cow drinkers – they are really heavy!
    Have you put drainage holes in the one with the hosta?

    • Cathy says:

      You might have missed the earlier post, Sandra, but the Golfer carried one 2 miles home from where they had been dumped on a local farm (we had asked if we could have them!) – silly boy!!! And no, we haven’t added drainage holes and the hosta I had in another one has been fine – they hang at a slight angle and excess water seems to drain off, although with the roof overhang they will miss a lot of the rain

  8. cavershamjj says:

    weirdly it had never occurred to me to sow more sweet peas (i sow mine in october). I will have a delve in the seed drawer, see what i have left. if i sow them all now i will have an excuse to get some new ones come the autumn!

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