Six on Saturday – Good news, bad news


It’s been wet and whilst we’ve not had it nearly so bad as Wales and the Midlands, outside jobs this week have been severely curtailed. I’ve been distracted in any case by a new car with, what seems like, hundreds of new displays and everything in the wrong place. Actually it’s lovely, just different!

And now we’ve reached Saturday and I am not sure there’s been any progress at all on the plant front. Nevertheless, here are my Six for The Propagator’s Saturday gardening roundup: Half wins, half losses.

1) Ah joy – A brilliant crab apple crop for 2019


Crab apple crop

The crab apple tree (a John Downie) on the driveway is absolutely loaded and aglow with rain polished apples this year. Happily, there’s also vastly less scab on the fruit than last year. Shame I’ve just filled the last of the saved jam jars with bullace jelly and really don’t need more preserves. Already the tree is full of birds (mostly wood pigeons it must be said), so I’ll probably just be leaving this crop for nature. Hurry up fieldfares and red wings, otherwise you’ll miss out!

2) Oh sadness – Wild meadow patch: bulbs 100 in … looks like 100 out!


Double digging!! Something (squirrel most likely) has been digging up the new bulbs

It looks like every single spot that I’ve planted with either snake’s head fritillaries or wild daffodils has been re-dug and emptied of the contents. What a shame! I am hoping the bulbs planted in previous years are still there and quietly bulking up. I might have another go if I see some sale bulbs and plant them deeper (or temporarily in protected pots).

3) Joy – Second flowering from the delphinium


Delphinium, unusually in flower in November

I am happy to see a second flush of flowers on the dephiniums at the back of the border. They are next to some lovely pink, spooned ‘Emperor of China’ Chrysanthemums and it is great (and unusual) to see them to in flower together.

4) Sadness – Tumeric crop a failure


Homegrown tumeric in November – no significant rhizomes

The turmeric that I found sprouting in the back of the larder late last year has been an interesting, but ultimately unsuccessful experiment. It grew on very well indoors and, come June, was potted on and placed on the patio to enjoy a hot summer outside. I’d read that you should be able to crop it in 7-10 months and, being the UK, 10 months seemed the safer bet. This week I realised I needed to harvest it or protect it, so I knocked it out and found nothing. No new rhizomes at all. 😦

5) Joy- The dwarf pomegranate is starting to flower


These buds had formed before it come in for the winter, but more are forming every day

My two, grown-from-seed, dwarf pomegranates have also spent the summer outside and it seems to have rejuvenated them considerably. They’ve come in out of the cold and are now developing flower buds all over.

6) Sadness – Oca crop is looking minimal


New Oca tubers forming as the weather cools down

The Oca tubers were a bargain buy that started out badly, but went in the ground anyway. They’ve appeared to do very well. They’ve spread to cover a sizeable patch. At RHS Hyde Hall in September I noticed that theirs were flowering. Mine haven’t done that, but I don’t suppose that it matters. They are a crop that develops as the weather turns colder, so with light frosts occurring for the last month I thought that I might investigate what was going on underground (no I don’t cheat on Christmas presents and the like, honest!). Well, the answer is that there are lots of very small nuggets forming, including from all the rooting bits of top growth, but the tubers are they only size of walnuts … maybe even peanuts! Since there is no more frost forecast for the foreseeable future, I patted the whole lot back down and I’ll give it another couple of weeks .

Next week I hope to plant the rest of my bulbs and in preparation I’ve been in the garage cutting up sections of chicken wire to cover the pots. It’s a squirrel deterrent, but the vole has previously managed to get through the gaps, so I will try two offset layers and keep my fingers crossed.

Don’t forget to visit Jonathon’s Six-on-Saturday home base and may be tell us how your own gardens are growing.


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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14 Responses to Six on Saturday – Good news, bad news

  1. fredgardener says:

    How old is your dwarf pomegranate? I grow 3 from seeds( ‘Nana’ variety). They are almost 1 year old. I planted one outside 2 months ago that will remain protected under a fleece all winter (a risky bet?). And the other 2 went back to my attic but still no flowers so far…

    • Yes, mine is nana too. This is it’s 4th winter. It had one flower in year 2, nothing last year and now it is covered in them. This was the first summer it spent outside, but I have brought it in for winter. There is a large dwarf pomegranate growing in the centre of Cambridge that has set fruit too, so I am optimistic for a permanent move outside next year. Good luck with your young ones!

  2. Chloris says:

    I love seeing all the unusual food crops you grow. I was going to ask how old the pomegranate is too. I’m very impressed. And your laden crab apple is fantastic, my crab apples were all pathetic this year, as were my ordinary apples. Heart- breaking about your bulbs. I find most things are OK, apart fron crocuses and tulips, it is hopeless planting those. It must be the smell of freshly planted ones because the ones that are all ready there don’t get touched. It might be worth experimenting with garlic or something smelly.

    • Yes I’ve noticed established ones are usually OK. As per your suggestion I’ve been planting tulips in Wimpole this last week and have been using crushed garlic watered all over the areas to see if I can confuse the voles. Fingers crossed!

  3. I’m so sad about your meadow bulbs. Do you think it was squirrels?

  4. Lora Hughes says:

    I, too, am VERY impressed by that crab apple. The birds are gonna love you, for sure. Your delphinium is a nice surprise. If it opens, let us know. Chloris may have an idea there. Some of the alliums smell garlicky, so wonder if those might keep the squirrels at bay? Lets hope some of the 100 survive.

  5. cavershamjj says:

    Bloody 🐿🐿🐿!!

  6. Those crab apples look great!

  7. I cannot get over flowering delphiniums in November. Extraordinary. Your veg crops are interesting even if they are of limited success.

    • Even my ordinary veg are a bit hit and miss, with those muntjac around. I have to be philosophical and treat it all as a big non-critical experiment. Yes, the delphinium are still going and the flowers are completely open now. Amazing!

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