Six on Saturday, Including a Sad Tale…

Whatever records we keep of our gardens we are unlikely to have evidence to prove or disprove statements like ‘I am sure the blooms on this have never been as big’, as seems to be the case with crabapple Malus ‘Royalty’, whose pretty deep pink blooms tend to disappear amongst the equally pretty foliage – but not so this year, or so it seems! It was hard to convey this in the photo, but I have done the best I could. It may be that branches are hanging lower this year, bringing the blooms closer, but whether they are bigger than usual or not will remain a matter of conjecture.

I do know for sure that this time of year is when we begin to see the appearance of the three As – aquilegia, astrantia and allium – and once again they are true to form with the first hint of their winning combination: Aquilegia ‘Green Apples’, Astrantia ‘Star of Beauty’ and (probably) Allium ‘Purple Sensation’. This time last year the first roses were out (albeit early, which I do know from my records); this year there are some buds in evidence but still a few weeks away from flowering.

Heavy rain was forecast here for much of the day, sadly coinciding with our pre-booked tickets to a local specialist plant fair, and by late afternoon we had accumulated 18ml of very welcome rainfall, three times as much as we received for the whole of April – and exceedingly welcome. Recent days have brought a number of light showers which have done little more than wet the surface, but this is the first ‘properly wet’ rain we have had for months (or so it seems)!

The rain might have put a damper on our planned trip out but did not deter us and in fact by our later time slot the rain had eased off, allowing us (ie me, as the Golfer was there, he says, to carry the bags) to comfortably browse at our leisure. Of course, when a girl is deprived of visiting gardens and plant fairs for many months she will want to buy some plants:

As well as planting this haul in the next few days, she also has some bricklaying to do – sadly not a new project, but an unanticipated maintenance task triggered by damp in our attached neighbour’s house. You may recall the ‘shady courtyard’  tucked in between the two properties, which you would see at the end of the monthly videos, where we have an old sink on a brick plinth and several pots, all planted with ferns. The wall on the left and the one with the little window belong to our neighbour, and during recent rainfall damp has appeared inside under this window wall, where the floor is currently bare whilst awaiting a new wooden upgrade. The problem relates to a discrepancy in floor levels and has not been caused or exacerbated by our work creating the courtyard, but nevertheless it still required a dismantling of the brick plinth and temporary moving of the sink…hey ho! I do enjoy bricklaying but it is not a task I had anticipated adding to my current schedule…

The last of my Saturday Six for Jon the Propagator’s weekly meme is censored, as I do not want to distress anyone. In the bag is…(whisper)…a dead hedgehog – actually, and even more sadly, two dead hedgehogs… The first died, we think, from exposure as I found it in one of the borders on a chilly day a couple of months back when walking round the garden with The Tinker. It was hard to tell if it was dead at first or in a state of torpor, so it was brought into the shed and placed with straw in a large pot but it became clear as the days warmed up that it was the former. Such a shame that this was The Tinkler’s first introduction to a hedgehog, and distressing for us, especially with regularly feeding a hedgehog for months. Once its demise was certain, this hedgehog was buried nearby although bizarrely the grave was empty the following day and the body gone (found later, presumably having been dug up by a cat), although for a brief moment I wondered if I had buried it alive…

Within a day or two we knew it wasn’t ‘our’ hedgehog, who was seen waiting patiently when the Golfer went to feed him; today, however, he went to the shed and found a dead hog, possibly the victim of an attack. Was this our hedgehog? We don’t know yet, but what a sad tale to have to tell…


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23 Responses to Six on Saturday, Including a Sad Tale…

  1. Megan Hall says:

    Ayayay. Two dead hedgehogs? I hope neither was yours!

    • Cathy says:

      We know the first one wasn’t, but it’s not looking good for the second… Sad to lose hedgehogs under any circumstances though…

  2. tonytomeo says:

    The . . . design of the neighbor’s home is intriguing. While working in urban areas, I found it fascinating that so many homes could be built into such limited space, while generally maintaining distinct spaces. Windows that face into walls or alleys would never get good views. I sort of wondered about the window above the sink before, because it seemed like such an odd place to put a window. It is even more odd because it is a neighbor’s window, with a view of a neighboring alley. I think I would like a view of a neighbor’s garden, because it would be more interesting and colorful than my own.

    • Cathy says:

      Both properties are old, Tony, ours over 200 years and our neighbour’s about 150 years – and his was sandwiched between his other neighbour’s and ours in the 1870s! The wall on the left is his extension, so our ‘courtyard’ has not always been enclosed, but we chose to make a feature of it.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Goodness! Your home is almost as old as our state. California became a state in 1848. I just mentioned to Cathy of Rambling in the Garden that homes from the end of the Victorian Period are considered to be very old here, and that there are not many of them.
        The home of my colleague’s parents was built in the 1930s in what had been the northern garden of the home of Harpo Marx. By itself, it is an appealing home. However, it is so close to the former Marx Residence that one could reach out of an upstairs bathroom window, and into the solarium next door! The solarium next door is an elegant room, but the southern wall of windows faces into the wall and two small windows of the newer house. There is barely enough space to wash the windows! It just ruins that particular room.

  3. Pauline says:

    What a sad tale about your hedgehogs, I hope your special one is still alive. It is good that you have been able to get out and do a bit of retail therapy, I’m afraid all mine has been done on line during lockdown and I’m still trying to get everything planted!

    • Cathy says:

      The first death was sad, and the second is a tragedy… 😕 And yes, it was good to be able to do it, Pauline, and it made sense to have timed tickets as there were a lot of people feeling the same way and stallholders were having a good day 😊

  4. Heyjude says:

    Nice to get out to a plant sale, though you probably would have stayed at home if it had been here! A shame about the hedgehogs. You have to wonder what is killing them, though I suppose they do die naturally at some point. The wall does look in a sorry state, is the damp inside the house then? I am mightily impressed that you could move that sink!

    • Cathy says:

      If we had had a morning slot we might have stayed at home too, but they were all booked and we were due at 3.00, when it had almost stopped. The rendering outside is way past its best buy date, but bizarrely the damp turned out to bet from an open oulet pipe hidden behind a skirting board! Male hedgehogs can fight each other, and rats can also attack them – unlikely we will ever know, but we think ‘our’ hedgehog is still feeding ps the sink was not moved singlehandedly!!

  5. Anna says:

    I wondered how you got on at the plant sale Cathy and am glad to hear that the rain eased off. At least it was warmer and even warmer today. Is that a couple of geraniums I see in your haul? Sorry to hear the news about the hedgehogs whose numbers are in such sad decline and especially your first discovery when you had the Tinker with you.

    • Cathy says:

      The geraniums are a replacement G Magnificum (mine had disappeared) and G sanguineum ‘Album’. The stallholders had a really good day, despite the weather

  6. Annette says:

    Oh dear! I’m sorry about the poor babes. I found a baby hedgehog last year and was very upset. Spotted one a couple of days ago probably on his way to have a siesta under the roses. They’re so cute and not a bit shy. Bravo for your brick project, you never cease to impress me 🙂 .Love the 3A combo. Have a good week, I’m now off on a little much needed holiday 😉 xx

  7. Noelle M says:

    I enjoyed you coining the period as the time of the 3 As, and you have them all growing together too. Sad about your hedgehogs, but your garden is clearly a good place and I hope more will find their way to yours soon.

    • Cathy says:

      A family feed at our neighbour’s, so there are others about – but I would rather the numbers were not diminishing! ‘Ours’ does still seem to be feeding though…

  8. Chloris says:

    So sad about your hedgehogs. They are getting very scarce here, I haven’t seen one for years. But we have badgers so they wouldn’t stand a chance. I am envious of your aquilegias, the pigeons strip mine every year. They started on thalictrums and then decided that aquilegeas are just as tasty. What fun going to a plant fair. Which geum is that?

    • Cathy says:

      The pigeons don’t seem to have found aquilegias and thalictrum here (yet…) – and I can only see about 12 flower racemes coming on the wisteria so they are probably satiated from that… Down with wood pigeons!! The Geum is Tropical Tempest, a new variety with huge flowers

  9. You are just so busy, even without the unexpected trials. Sorry to hear about the hedgehogs. I hope you continue to get prickly visitors. A plant sale sounds like the high life … And you can never have enough orange geums!

    • Cathy says:

      We are due mixed weather this week so today I have been focussing on admin things for the garden opening – plant lists and things – which is good to get out of the way. In recent years geums haven’t hung around for me, but I am hoping improved light from the oak removal will help. This one, G Tropical Tempest, has huge flowers

  10. Cathy says:

    Oh dear. Two dead hedgehogs is two too many. How sad. A plant sale sounds like a dream… no idea when we will have one I can visit here, but at least our garden centre is open again. Is that an orange Geum? I have been trying to find the famous ‘Totally Tangerine’ one for a couple of years now but it apparently hasn’t achieved the same status in Germany and is not available… yet!

    • Cathy says:

      I am trying to catch up with comments! Yes, sad indeed about the hedgehogs but we think ‘our’ hedgehog is still feeding which would mean the second one must have been an intruder. The geum is actually a very bright red one with very large flowers, called Tropical Tempest. I have had T Tangerine before, but it failed to thrive for me – I am hoping the bold borders are sunnier now the oak tree has gone and that the geums will do well again. Strange how it has not taken off in Germany…

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