Six on Saturday: Frankie and Other Bits and Pieces

Other Clematis alpina are budding up now and the one above is C ‘Frankie’, a smaller flower and lighter shade than ‘Pamela Jackman’ who featured on Wordless Wednesday recently; elsewhere, the viticella clematis are putting on new growth and I look forward to seeing how they all far under their new feeding regime.

Also coming into flower is seed-sown Erysimum ‘Sugar Rush Purple Bi-colour’, so far a bit of a damp squib, at a height of only a few inches. They only grow to 12 inches anyway, I now realise, so even then will not be as useful in vases as I thought they might. They were sown in September, and planted out in February.

More colourful are some of the over-wintered leaves of Geranium palmatum, a handsome plant that has remained fully clothed throughout the winter. So far it shows no sign of dying off, as they can be short-lived, and although they have a tendency to seed themselves around I have only once found a seedling, which was potted up and later replanted elsewhere.

A fortnight ago I mentioned that there was no sign of shoots on the overwintered dahlia tubers in the working greenhouse, but no sooner were the words out of my mouth than the first sprouts appeared and are now evident in more than half the pots, thank goodness. Today I have taken some cuttings from the strongest shoots.

You can see from the photo that the greenhouse is still bubble wrapped, but with no more frosts (after tonight) forecast in the next week I shall remove it tomorrow, and unplug and put away the heater there and in the Coop. It always surprises me how much of a difference it makes to the light levels once the bubble wrap is removed. Despite the recent frosty nights and cold days we have had lots of sunshine and, catching the morning sun, temperatures have reached over 30°C and the vents have opened. The Winter Sunshine sweet peas continued with their growth spurt although didn’t quite manage to produce their first open bloom in March – but with more sunny days, even when cold outside, it won’t be long.

My 5 year Garden Diary informs me that it was this time last year that I completed revamping the part of the hedge border that is located just outside the back door, rebuilding the wall to retain soil better,  planting it with plants moved from elsewhere and screening the scraggy hedge behind it. It was an inspired move to pull up pieces of comfrey, the dwarf variety which I think is Symphytum ibericum, because despite the less than hospitable conditions they, along with primroses, have established really well, suggesting the border has been around for much longer than it has.


Jon the Propagator kindly hosts this Saturday meme, so do consider popping over to his blog to see the other varied Sixes linked to his post.

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30 Responses to Six on Saturday: Frankie and Other Bits and Pieces

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Sweet pea can take a bit of work for just minor bloom, at least here in our semi-arid climate. They grow through winter to bloom about now, but then get crispy as the weather gets warm in spring. My niece used to grow them in Southern California, where her climate was even more arid than here. I will likely grow them again, but do not expect much from them. It is unfortunate, since everyone likes them.

    • Cathy says:

      Very different here, Tony, as we can get at least 3 months of bloom from them, with regular picking

      • tonytomeo says:

        Three month! Well, that is why they are so popular elsewhere.
        Weirdly, sweet pea is grown as a cut flower crop as well as for seed production on the coast of Santa Barbara County. Also, I remember them in a small area on the coast of San Luis Obispo County. Those isolated situations must have the right climate.

  2. Rosie Amber says:

    Lovely clematis, I don’t have any in this house, something I must remedy.

  3. The Comfrey and Primroses look fantastic..

  4. Roguegarden says:

    The new border looks incredible – a lot of progress in only a year!

    • Cathy says:

      I am particularly pleased with the comfrey, as it started with very little root, having been pulled off a clump elsewhere – but seeing how well it has done I could have easily managed with fewer pieces to begin with!

      • Roguegarden says:

        I would love to get my hands on some comfrey after reading about the benefits. Do you make comfrey tea?

        • Cathy says:

          I don’t make tea but I do use it make a liquid fertiliser sometimes. Some garden centres might have it with other wild flowers, but it is readily available on eBay and specialised nurseries, in the UK at least

  5. Pauline says:

    Seeing all the new growth on the clematis shows promise for all the delights to come. Your new border has settled in well and looks as though it has always been there.

    • Cathy says:

      The viticella clematis always amaze me, having been cut right back. One of the resons I like using reclaimed materials in the garden is because they give an instant aged look – the comfrey and primroses have just added to it. There are ferns and a geranium in the border too, not so you would notice though!

  6. This time of year really does my heart good. Watching life returning to the gardens is like having a transfusion of everything that makes life worth living…

  7. Cathy says:

    That border does indeed look as if it has been there for a while. Yoir description of the greenhouse suddenly brought back a wave of memories of my uncle’s greenhouses on a hot day after they had been watered. (He was a market gardener/farmer). Actually they were mostly polytunnels. The heat, humidity and earthy smell, with the filtered sunlight, made a big impression on me as a child. Our greenhouse plans are still distant as planning permission takes forever here!

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, the smell is something else – so distinctive, I love it! Would you need permission for any size of greenhouse? How frustrating taht you have to wait, although perhaps not if it’s what you have come to expect…

      • Cathy says:

        We have strict regulations if it is a certain distance from the house, and we need permission from the local council as well as the district authorities… and then we need permission from our neighbour too. A lot of red tape!

  8. Going Batty in Wales says:

    I have tried to grow Clematis but the slugs always get them! Some interesting ideas in this post to get me thinking so thank you.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh that’s a shame – at what stage do they destroy them?

      • Going Batty in Wales says:

        As soon as they go out! I don’t use slug pellets so the only alternative is to grow them really quite big in pots somewhere on hard standing and that is too much faff for me!

  9. Heyjude says:

    Feeding regime sounds intriguing, so what is it? I’m hopeless at remembering to feed plants.

    • Cathy says:

      I have been equally rubbish in terms of feeding plants so decided t make a concerted effort this year and have made a note in my ‘garden diary’ for the relevant months. For clematis it is bonemeal and slow release fertiliser in Feb, magnesium salts in March and sulphate of potash in April – they won’t know what is happening to them!

  10. Well, I am impressed that you got wallflowers flowering so quickly! I’ve also been staring at overwintering dahlias to initiate new shoot growth … to no avail in my case 😦 . My greenhouse bubblewrap is staying a little longer, as we’ve got temperatures down to freezing forecast for the end of the week.

    • Cathy says:

      Ha, yes, the forecast has changed a little and we are due to be down to zero by the w/e too – curses! I have plugged in the heater in the Coop again, as some things need a min of 6 degrees, but the working g/h can stay as it is, without heat or bubblewrap, as it shouldn’t touch freezing for long

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