Six on Saturday: Observations

There is always something worth seeing in this garden, whatever month of the year it is. Observing the small changes not only brings a lot of pleasure but is a meditative process in itself, except on those occasions when inclement weather increases the speed of my rambles! There will inevitably be times when observations are of the less welcome variety, but we gardeners have to take that in our stride, don’t we?

My first observation for today’s Six on Saturday, now hosted by Jim of Garden Ruminations, is of an expanding clump of early snowdrop Galanthus ‘Foursome’ (above), now far more presentable than when I showed the first couple of emerging spikes a few weeks ago. Below are my bargain hippeastrum, bought as an add-on to a small plant order from Gardening Express at the basement price of 6 for £6; admittedly they are unlabelled, and could all be the same variety of course, but I remain optimistic. Unfortunately three were already shooting so rather than stagger the planting I have had to pot some of them up today. The others have gone on the fridge for a few weeks, as I would ideally like some flowering in mid-February when we next open the garden.

While positioning the pots in the Coop I noticed that there are buds colouring up on one of my fantasy chrysanthemums, despite the plant’s stunted growth this year. Admittedly, the two plants tend to be left to their own devices for much of the year but are nevertheless still very generous in providing me with some very handsome blooms in November. They may not be as generous this year, but perhaps make up for it by not being the gangly specimens which take up so much space in the Coop.

My other observations are perhaps less pleasurable. I need to check back from previous years because I may not have had zinnias still flowering at the end of October before, but along with the two or three buds that are open or opening there are a number of others sitting atop very unhappy foliage – we have not had any frosts here yet, and although for us humans it has been a mild October, it may not be mild enough for zinnias and in anticipation of their possible demise I have today picked the remaining buds and brought them inside to see if they will open in a ‘vase’ (hmm, currently a measuring jug that happened to be sitting near the kitchen sink). How are other people’s zinnias faring, I wonder?

I have had reservations about crab apple ‘Golden Hornet’ for a number of years. Not only did I not research the variety beforehand, but I had no idea how tall it grew and had not considered what might happen to the crab apples. I have learned a lot since then, especially that the birds do not like the crabs which inevitably then rot on the tree – not a pretty sight, and hard to remove when some of the branches are shooting skywards. This year they have started rotting particularly early and I find myself considering removing the tree altogether…

My sixth observation is a bit of a mystery. Noticing that one of the recently replanted borders had been disturbed, I tentatively took a closer look, expecting partially buried cat poo – but no, it was a bone*, and a fresh bone at that!  Theoretically there shouldn’t be any means of access to the garden for dogs, but one of our neighbour’s dogs has been known to get into the garden before, albeit before the massive fence replaced the thinning hedge at the back end of the garden. Do dogs remember where they buried bones? If so, will it be back? They will be disappointed if they do return…

* I am guessing lamb bone, so a farmed rather than wild animal, either the by-product of someone’s dinner or a dog-treat from a butcher

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18 Responses to Six on Saturday: Observations

  1. Rosie Amber says:

    Could a fox get into your garden? On two separate occasions I found a whole chicken egg buried in flower pot. Then the next day they would be gone. I suspect a fox took the eggs and saved them for later.

    • Cathy says:

      An egg???! 🤣 I suspect a fox would avoid coming in, as the garden is mostly surrounded by other gardens so there are lots of boundaries and it would be difficult to get out in a hurry. We did occasionally have them in teh early days, when the boundaries were more open, and they certainly get them in the garden on the other side of the hedge, where the dog could have come from

  2. Heyjude says:

    Yikes those rotting crab apples do look disgusting. I thought birds liked all of them, who’d have thought it.

  3. tonytomeo says:

    How unfortunate about the crab apples. Because a few very large crabapples remain on the farm, I never got to actually select a cultivar. If I were to do so, I would select more for fruit than for bloom. Flowering crabapples that produce good fruit, as well as fruiting crabapples that bloom spectacularly, are appealing though.
    Zinnias almost never perform well for us. ‘almost’. For some unknown reason, they bloomed so well near the end of their season this year that they are still out there blooming! They will be done soon, but I am impressed.

  4. Pauline says:

    Good to know about Golden Hornet, I wonder why the birds don’t like the little apples? I don’t know if dogs or foxes remember where they planted a bone but they would certainly be able to smell it!

    • Cathy says:

      And they do grow really tall, so can you imagine a massive specimen covered in rotting fruits that you couldn’t reach to remove? 🙄 Yes, I suppose it would be the smell – I don’t think squirrels have a clue where they bury their nuts!!

  5. Noelle says:

    I agree that crab apple should go………..What a shame though, I bet its blooms are lovely in spring.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for the support, Noelle, I am pretty sure my mind is made up – although I could just remove the longest branch in the short term, which is growing vertically

  6. Interesting about the dog bone…and the crabapples. I’m envious that you have garden observations year-round. I guess we do, too, but it’s mostly snow, animal tracks, and bird activities from December through February. Good luck with your decisions. 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      If we have snow, it rarely lasts any length of time these days, a few days at most – but who knows, this year could be different! There are hard surface paths around the garden and these always make it easier to get round in the more inclement weather

  7. Cathy says:

    Such a shame that the birds don’t like the crab apples. Have you ever made jelly with them? It will be interesting to see what happens to my ‘Evereste’ as it has quite a few apples even in this first year. My Zinnias were a disaster this year and the last struggling specimens were pulled up at the weekend. So from my perspective yours did well to last so long. Nice to see the snowdrops too. 😃

    • Cathy says:

      Knowing what happens to the crabs, making jelly was never an appealing thought! I do love jellies with most meats, though, and use them for glazing tarts, and always make a good supply of redcurrant jelly. I wonder what colour jelly from the yellow crab apples would be…?

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