Saturday Six – an xtreme gardening week

Week 2 of my holiday has come and gone and Monday am back to the grind that is my normal job. I have managed to garden every day for the past 2 weeks either at allotment or in my little back garden and I have loved pretty much every minute of it. It hasn’t been a wholly successful week and we had a bit of a setback (see below on ‘she-shed’ update) but on the whole it has been totally absorbing and something if I had the opportunity I would do fulltime. Well, enough musings here’s my #sixonsaturday #six-on-saturday

1. Borage – I was very happy to see that my borage has spread into a different bed and is flowering its little heart out. Where it was situated previous ran along side the path but was elevated sufficiently that the leaves would catch you on the way past and they are a little prickly. Where it is now sited is out of the way but giving a beautiful deep purple show of blossom

2. Angelica – two years ago I had an absolute monster of a white angelica plant (originally bought on an open day visit to Jekkas Herb Farm) growing in a very small bed and while I loved the flowers and the bees, oh the bees loved it, it was humungous. When it had finally stopped flowering I pulled it up. I lost a few plants that year that were shaded out by it and resolved not to grow another. However, it has seeded and last year another one started growing there, am afraid I pulled it up as there is just not enough room there for it, and that was that, or so I thought. So imagine my surprise when I noticed not 12 inches from the borage there is another angelica coming, and this one has early signs of flowering. Arghh, I don’t want another monster, but also I know I am going to have to let it grow as the bees will be happy. I like happy bees.

3. Willow arch – While visiting a National Trust house in West Wales last year I noticed that they used a lot of willow for supports. Having also attended a willow plant-support day at the National Botanical Gardens I resolved that I wanted to attempt making a willow arch and grow some squash, peas and possibly beans over. Late last year I bought a bundle of willow from Somerset and last weekend with some initial help from my brother and sister I made a start. I hadn’t properly planned out how it would work but I had an initial idea of bundling some lengths together for the arches and weaving willow along these for horizontals. When I bought the willow from Somerset Willow Growers they advised me to provide some additional support to strengthen it if growing squash over it. Thankfully my brother made wooden stake supports at the bottom of each arch leg. After the arches were finished and the horizontals completed using (look away willow crafts people now) an awful lot of string I tied on additional wire mesh across the length so that anything growing over it would have plenty of support.

4. Forget-me-not – There are a number of plants that remind me of childhood, roses of course, fuschias remind me of my grandfather as do chrysanthemums and forget-me-nots amongst many others. I want to give a shout out to forget-me-nots for the lovely display they put on and the gorgeous pale blue of the flower. They grow a bit like weeds in my garden, popping up every year in a new place as the seed moves around the garden. I haven’t the heart to pull them until they finish their blossoming, for me it is definitely a sign that summer is not too far away and spring is well under way.

5. Aqualegia – Another opportunistic spring flower. There are some lovely forms and colours out there but I just leave mine to self sow each year similar to the forget-me-nots. However how this one managed to sow itself into the top of a wall I haven’t a clue. Am afraid the photo isn’t that great but does show what can happen if you leave some plants to do their own thing.

6. She-shed update – By Weds just gone we had reached the point with the shed where G. was starting to put up the walls, but then we hit a problem. Behind the allotment are bungalows and between us and the bungalows is a 6 foot concrete wall (the allotments have been in existence on the site for at least plus 50 years). Our beyond the wall neighbour complained about the height of the shed saying that it was obscuring their view. I won’t go into the in’s and out’s of the discussion that went on but G and I decided that our best option would be to swap the position of the shed with the polytunnel which is halfway down the plot.

The problem in where the shed was to be sited was that it was not sitting flat on the ground as G. was using a thick layer of polystyrene to protect the osb flooring from damp and that coupled with the height and flattening out a slight slope between us and the next plot had added a good foot to the height and this was just too much. The polytunnel will of course sit lower on the ground so should not be a problem. So that was that and for the last three days we have been in the process of swapping these over. We have benefitted by chance from two things, firstly the polytunnel lost its covering last winter so we were only moving the frame (still quite an effort to dig out though) and secondly we had dug down to site the polytunnel so the floor was already a good few inches lower than the surrounding ground. Still it is all a lot of work that we could have done without but I think we have made the right decision. Hopefully next week there will be a photo of the new shed, it might even be painted.

Anyway that’s my six updated. Back to the grind on Monday, but hopefully with the work done at the allotment and in the garden there is less to do in the evenings in the coming weeks instead of desperately trying to pack everything in to too little time on evenings and weekends. Looking forward to reading your six too.

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10 thoughts on “Saturday Six – an xtreme gardening week

  1. I think the willow supports look very good and much nicer than the metal supports I can see around them. I’ve just bought some aquilegia myself and am hoping it will self seed a lot when the time comes.

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    • Thank you Jane, I think they will improve visually when plants are growing over them. The metal supports you can see are my plot neighbours and are scaffolding poles, very useful but not very pretty. Aqualegia I believe is very good for self seeding I think the only problem is that it is a bit promiscuous and you don’t always end up with the same colour you started with. 😊

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    • Heyjude thank you for your comments. In answer to your question on borage this year I have staked mine with some plant supports rather than risk the slightly spikey touch you get. On the willow it is likely to feature in future sixes as plant and growing progresses. 😊

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      • I stuck some twiggy supports in mine last year but it is so windy here that they weren’t a lot of help. I have noticed that I have a LOT of seedlings coming through…

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  2. Damn I meant to sow borage seeds this year and your post has reminded me I am probably too late.
    Totally agree about forget-me-nots, they are a garden star and I want more of them!
    Sounds like a productive holiday – hope the she shed saga ends well.

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    • Not sure about timing with borage, you could always try some and maybe will have a later flowering, I am sure mine was flowering much later in past years so was surprised to see it now. Forget-me-nots come in a variety of colours I believe although I haven’t tried any others yet. Shed has moved on today, we have the floor down part of one of the sides and I have been painting the rest of the walls ready to go up a lovely lavender colour. In a few weeks it will all be forgotten, thanks for the thought though.

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  3. What is borage for? It seems to be commonly grown, but I do not know much about what it is grown for. It shows up sometimes here, and I let it grow, thinking that I might someday want to use it for something, but I never do.

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      • I like it too, but it does not seem to be any more important than that. There are plenty of other prettier flowers that work just as well for garnish . . . if I ever even want to garnish anything . . . which I don’t. I will continue to grow it where it comes up (if not in the way of something else), but only because I happen to like it.

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