Six on Saturday: Itsy Bitsy

Try as I might, I just could not establish any sort of theme for today’s Six on Saturday, the meme kindly hosted by ruminating garden blogger, Jim, so it’s a real itsy bitsy hotchpotch, starting with the first primroses blooming, just outside the back door. They often feature in my Boxing Day count, but not so in the last one. The ammonite is a further reduced bargain from UK supermarket ASDA, purchased thanks to a friend who shops there and alerted me; I was away visiting Elder Daughter at the time, but a phonecall to the Golfer sent him successfully off to Asda with specific instructions.

The relocated snowdrops continue to push their way through in the woodland, with a few now in bud and standing out nicely against the ivy and leaf litter. These are ‘Gabriel’ and ‘Lyn’:

You may not remember, but back in July I experimented with ‘chipping’ snowdrops and was thrilled to generate a number of tiny new bulbils from the original divided bulbs. I potted them up and now have some baby snowdrop shoots appearing, which is highly exciting, even though it will still be 2 or 3 years before I achieve bulbs of flowering size. It has certainly given me the confidence to try dividing more snowdrops later this year.

Sadly, however good the description, we can never truly convey fragrance in our blog posts. I would dearly love to share the fragrance of witch hazel Hamamelis ‘Rochester’ with you, having been bowled over in the mil January days we have enjoyed this week. Often, the fragrance of witch hazels is only experienced by burrowing one’s nose amongst the shreds, but not so ‘Rochester’. Although a relatively mature specimen, it is still my most recent purchase, bought at an eye-watering price that even the Golfer doesn’t know, and it has taken a little while to settle in, flowering only minimally until this year. Not only is it smothered in blooms but the fragrance is wonderful, wafting in the air as one approaches – glorious!

Continuing with winter tasks I have finished cutting back Group 3 clematis to an intermediate 2 or 3 feet, prior to pruning to ground level in spring, and pruned all the shrub roses. It’s probably the same every year, especially with a mild spell earlier in the year, but most clematis and roses are already sprouting new shoots, most of which will be cut off as part of the pruning process.


Regular rambles around the garden highlight the increasing number of hellebores in bud, with the first few beginning to open. They seem rather more seasonal this year, having been either earlier or later recently, not that Nature works to norms of course – but it means that there should be a good show for any visitors when we open in February, along with snowdrops, witch hazels and a clutch of other winter flowering goodies.

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25 Responses to Six on Saturday: Itsy Bitsy

  1. bcparkison says:

    Oh goodness…Am I suppose to cut the clematis way back?

    • Cathy says:

      It depends on the type, Beverley – there are Group 1,2 an 3 clematis, each with different pruning requirements – Group 1 on’t need pruning, just tidying as require, Group 3 are cur down almost to the ground in spring (an can be tidied in the meantime over winter, as I have done), whilst Group 3 can be partially cut back after flowering. It pays to know which you have (and the original labels should tell you) as it will very much affect flowering

  2. Rosie Amber says:

    Fantastic news about the baby snowdrops.

    • Cathy says:

      It’s a slow process, but if it’s successful it’s one way of building up numbers – and it’s how breeders build up their stock for sale

  3. Wondrous helleborus and the Witch Hazel is worth whatever it cost!

    • Cathy says:

      Yes indeed, and I feel rather more justified about the purchase now too! 😉 Some of my other witch hazels I have had for 15-20 years so I paid for the maturity of the newer purchase but also the way they are grafted they tend to be a better shape

  4. Jim Stephens says:

    I’m not seeing primroses or the ASDA ammonite, is there a header picture that isn’t showing up for me?

  5. Snowdrops and Hellebores…very exciting! So much to look forward to in the weeks ahead!

  6. tonytomeo says:

    Oh, those Hamamelis and Clematis! I do miss growing Hamamelis on the farm, even though they were discontinued for lack of marketability.

  7. Pauline says:

    A lovely selection Cathy,your witch hazel is gorgeous, mine is covered in buds, still not opening yet, which it has never been before, I think it is the heat from last summer that has ripened the wood.

    • Cathy says:

      I thought that because of the hot and dry summer flowering might be affected, but it hasn’t made any difference to mine and if anything they are flowering better than usual – there is just one that is shaded by the apple trees and some years it doesn’t flower, and sadly won’t this year

  8. Cathy says:

    My witch hazel was also rather expensive, but like you have said before, this is our hobby and we don’t spend much on other ‘frivolities’! I bet the scent is gorgeous too and surely lifts your mood even on a dull and damp winter’s day. Good news about the snowdrops, and the ammonite is very attractive. Is it stone?

    • Cathy says:

      The colour of the witch hazels really stands out in the starker winter garden. The ammonite is very light and probably some sort of plastic with a sone effect coating – I ampretty sure it must be hollow so not even a concrete casting. But it only cost £3 I think, reduced from the original £6 – an absolute bargain!

  9. Going Batty in Wales says:

    You have so many things in flower! I have seen snowdrop foliage pcoming up and one daffodil has a bud on it. Otherwise everything is pretty dead looking and, with all the rain we have had, very bedraggled.

  10. Anna says:

    I’m so pleased that your experiment in chipping has worked Cathy. I’ve been missing out not venturing into Asda in recent times – your friend obviously knows you well 😂 ‘Rochester’ is most beautifully shaped and well worth paying the extra pennies for.

    • Cathy says:

      I only venture into Asda if it’s where my coffee of choice is cheapest – the one thing I shop around for! The friend sent me a picture of her haul of reduced garden goodies and I contacted The golfer straight away to get down there and snap up a couple of aminites and an equally attractive ‘stone’ head. If she contacts me again with similar bargains shall I let you know…?!

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