Six on Saturday 2020 02-05

I’ve become a full-time gardener (with overtime) during this lockdown and I’m loving it. Thankfully the weather this week has been mostly good – cold, lots of sunshine, and two days of rain. Oh my, the ground needed it – no amount of watering could have given the soil the soaking it got on Wednesday & Thursday.

We’ve moved hostas, mulched, weeded, planted geraniums, salvias & campanulas in the front garden and potted up trillions (it just seems like that) of seedlings. Husband and I are well into our 7th week of social-distancing and we haven’t been anywhere other than the garden. If I didn’t have the garden, this lockdown could have broken me by this time. I miss my family, but garden-therapy eases the soul each and every day – whether the sun is shining or the rain is falling. I hope you’re finding peace and enjoyment in your garden too.

Here is my choice of Six for this Saturday.

Clematis montana ‘Freda’

I always look forward to seeing C. Montana ‘Freda’ in bloom. But this year there’s been a problem with it, and I haven’t been able yet to identify it. The first flowers to bloom were tiny, just 20 mm across and quite dark in colour. The leaves also looked darker than I remembered and quite brittle.

C. montana ‘Freda with a summer flowering variety on the left

At first, I thought it could be to do with the very wet winter we’ve had, but it could also have been the result of the very cold and strong winds we’ve had during April. These tiny flowers have now become crisp, just like the leaves, and they crumble under the touch.

However, as the plant continues to open its buds, the new blooms are normal in size, and much healthier. I now suspect that there are one or perhaps more, damaged stems somewhere, but I’m to going to do anything to it until it finishes flowering, then if I can, I’ll untangle it and take a closer look.

Vivid in the sunlight

Last year I used the product ‘Strulch’ below my strawberry plants, and this week I topped them up with a bag of fresh Strulch. If you haven’t used this product before it’s described as “garden mulch made from wheat straw for organic gardening…the physical properties of Strulch, together with the embedded minerals discourage slugs and snails.”

I was a bit sceptical at first, because nothing seems to stop the snails in this garden, but have to admit that the strawberries were mostly undamaged last summer.

Year three strawberries, with Strulch
Year two strawberries with Strulch
Preparing to fruit

If Strulch was deterring slugs & snails from gobbling the strawberries, then I thought it was worthwhile trying it around the base of the hostas. I only had enough to do three large and one small hostas, but that’s enough to give me a good idea whether it will keep the nasty little creatures at bay. I’ll report back on this one.

Strulch looks really good beneath the hostas
The hostas are currently looking good
I’d like them to remain just like this
Humulus lupulus ‘Aureus’

Otherwise known as Golden Hop – much easier on the tongue!

I saw this many years ago, but I couldn’t find anywhere to buy it. Eventually, I came across it somewhere or other and it was planted in the garden. I watched it starting to grow and thought its vivid green leaves would be pretty spectacular on this old fence of ours. Then one day I noticed that it had gone. ‘Oh, I thought it was a weed’ said husband, who had dug it up and disposed of it. You can imagine that words were exchanged.

However, some of the roots must have been left behind, and the following year it grew, and grew, and grew. I have to snip away at it to keep it under control, as it wants to grow into our neighbour’s garden too. Once it gets started in spring, it quickly covers 12 feet of trellis before the snips stop it in its tracks.

Golden Hop – very fast-growing
Backlit Tulips

All new tulips were planted in pots for this spring, but some unknowns have come up in a border that hasn’t had tulips in it for a good few years. I recall that they didn’t do too well in that border, so I dug them up and started to plant in pots at that point. Either I didn’t get all the bulbs out, or these were small bulblets left in the soil and have now matured.

I don’t like photographing in strong sunlight, but this week there hasn’t been a great deal of choice. It does give the tulips quite a dramatic appearance though.

Drama in the sun
Odd bedfellows

T. ‘Orange Princess’ was included in last week’s selection, and I’ve included her again because I liked the massive explosion of colour that the low backlighting created (plus, her flowers are fabulous!).

Tulipa ‘Orange Princess’
Clematis × cartmanii ‘Joe’

Huge clusters of small flowers bloom on this compact evergreen clematis during April, but this year buds on the plant were few.

C. ‘Joe’ has been in a pot in a sheltered position just outside my front door for many years. It was becoming potbound, so this week we untangled it from the obelisk that was supporting it, spread it out on the grass, then carefully lifted it into its new home against a fence.

Clematis ‘Joe’

It’s been mulched and fed, and I’ll to try to bring it back to its former glory. Time will tell whether it’s been worth it.

Fed, watered and in its new home
Outdoor rug

This has nothing to do with gardening as such, but it’s in the garden, so it has earned its place to be included. Hope you agree. The outdoor rug was part of a birthday present from my family and was delivered on Tuesday. I’m thrilled to bits with it, my old, rather sad-looking patio has had a bit of a facelift, and that has to be good.

The birthday rug

The following morning, after all the lovely sunny weather we’ve enjoyed, the rain arrived giving it a real good drenching. I didn’t know whether to be glad that the parched ground was finally getting a good soaking or sad that my nice new rug was too.

Vivid blues…

Ah well, it’s an outdoor rug and it will hopefully cope with whatever our inclement weather can throw at it, the main thing is that I love it.

..and a great pattern

Stay safe everyone, stay happy and make the most of your gardens during the coming week.

If you want to join in with Six on Saturday around the world, here are the details:


Six on Saturday is like a weekly journal. Take six photographs and post them to Twitter and/or your blog. You can get all the details from The Propagator who kindly set it all up. If you want to join in and see what everyone else is doing in the garden, just follow the link!

All photographs copyright of Catherine Wood unless otherwise stated.



11 thoughts on “Six on Saturday 2020 02-05

  1. Seeing your net above the strawberries makes me think that I must put mine in place this afternoon because I have flowers but also already formed fruits which should later ripen (especially if the beautiful weather is coming back soon): Strulch looks very interesting against S&S : I didn’t know that mulch.
    Very nice photos of backlit tulips

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I generally don’t get fruits until June, but it’s one of those jobs that can be put off until another day, and until it’s too late. This year we netted it early – probably due to the lockdown and having more time to do things! Hope you managed to get yours on today, especially since the fruits have formed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never heard of an outdoor rug. What a good idea! Strange about your clematis. My Great Aunt Freda has one too. I’ll enquire if there have been issues with her’s. The backlit tulips look lovely. I’m glad the garden-therapy is helping during lockdown/self isolation. Stay safe and well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s light enough to roll up and put indoors if there’s going to be prolonged rain. Although it’s waterproof, the weave is open, so water goes through to the patio. We lifted and put it onto the drive to dry out in the sun. We’ll store it in the garage during the winter. Would be good to hear what G-Aunt Freda has to say. 😊

      Bye the way, I have three healthy, large Lilac Javelin Lupin seedlings – better not speak too soon – I’m just hoping they make it through to planting out stage!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The rug is a lovely addition to the patio and I also love your blue chairs and table – very posh looking, just missing the jug of G&T 😁 Your clematis are fab too as are your photos of them. I have a totally unruly Montana that every year I keep on saying I will cut right back to the ground, but forget. Maybe this year I will remember. As for Strulch, I used it in my veggie bed which had strawberries when I moved here, it seemed OK, though I still had S&S but it also stopped other seeds from germinating so I stopped using it. Saying that there is probably half a bag in the shed, maybe I will get some out and put in the hosta pot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m hoping it will be a big jug of iced orange juice, post-lockdown, for thirsty kiddies on warm summer afternoons. 😁 I think I’m hoping for miracles with Strulch, but deep down I think my snails wear boots and have a very strong digestive system. Not much seems to deter them when it comes to hostas – but time will tell. Let me know if it stops them getting into your hosta pot.


  4. Your strulch experiment with the hostas should be interesting. I’ve seen the product, but not tried it. The outdoor rug looks lovely with your blue chairs. You just need some croissants and coffee for an al fresco breakfast.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks – I do love my birthday rug. 😁 We do have breakfast there on sunny, warm summer mornings – though where we are, we don’t get too many mornings like that!


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