So, this is the last Six-on-Saturday for 2019. Many thanks to Jonathon, The Propagator, for hosting such a fun and inclusive meme throughout the year.
Here are my six today:
1) Mahonia – Borrowed glory
OK, this is in my next door neighbour’s garden, but I (and the crazy bumblebees out now) am enjoying it immensely.
2) A second year of no tulips … I give up
I am having trouble with tulips, both at home and at work. It doesn’t matter whether the bulbs are in the ground or in pots, protected or exposed. Something is eating them with conscientious regularity and I am almost 100% certain that it is voles. They get through tiny holes (I’ve tried 1 or 2 layers of chicken wire or plastic netting as here). So I am going to shift my attention to other spring bulbs: narcissis and anything else that gets left alone (sadly not crocuses or scilla), although I am trying to confuse the blighters by crushing garlic and tossing it around the plantings. Any other recommendations will be gratefully received.
3) Christmas roses – chewed but still a pure white
Perhaps not the most glamorous hellebore to have in the garden, as it nearly always bears damage from slimy gastropods, but the Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) is a cheerful indicator of the year’s end and whisperings of new beginnings. As an added bonus they love my heavy, alkaline clay soil.
4) Oca – An amazing recovery
These were a new kind of vegetable tuber I tried this year. Originally from South America, they are considered to be one of the ‘lost crops’ of the Incas. You can treat them pretty much like potatoes. I bought five tubers in a sale and they turned out to be very sorry, woe-begotten examples. Nevertheless after chucking one, I planted the rest in the veg. patch, after the frosts and watched their foliage emerge from the ground … and slowly expand across the bed. They are a frost tender crop and are typically lifted a week or two after frosts hit them, giving them enough time to suck back all the goodness into the tubers (which are growing rapidly in that time). Well, this is the return from a single root and, although I haven’t tasted them yet, they look lovely don’t they? Beautiful colours!
5) Winter honeysuckle
Picked to scent the room for our Christmas meal. What a wonderful shrub!
6) A new challenge – Growing ironwood from seed
At some point in the last few months I obviously picked the seed pods of an Persian ironwood tree at work and put them in my pocket. Recently, since I’ve been getting through a lot of tissues (!) I managed to pull these cases back out of the depths of those pockets and I discovered that shiny, tooth-like seeds had fallen out. Now I absolutely have to get them to grow! Wish me luck.
Also, over the last few days seed catalogues for next year have started to pop through the door. Are you ready?
Best Wishes for 2020!