Six on Saturday – Endings and beginnings


It is time for Six on Saturday, hosted by Jonathon @thepropagatorblog. Why not take a look at his blog and join in with a garden-related, six-themed post?

Sadly, I didn’t get much gardening done this week with the cold, wet weather we’ve been having, but I did manage to break my vow not to buy tulips this year. I made that pledge because I didn’t think I could take seeing the bulbs gradually replaced by holes as they get steadily devoured by mice and voles and possibly squirrels! Why did I do it then? Well, I guess I am an optimist/fool maybe … and I have this new patch of bare ground you see. Anyhow, it is hard to resist another try, especially when I get loads of daily emails telling me that these bulbs are now half price etc. So I caved (only a little – one order). I’ve planted the tulips in holes strewn with garlic leaves and I’ve chicken-wired the tops of the potted ones for the time being. Fingers-crossed.

And so, to my Six:

1 The Echium Forest


Echium pininana after Friday’s light snow fall

Firstly, snow did indeed reach us in Cambridge, albeit briefly. It made our echium stand look pretty dramatic. I am hoping they make it through the winter in a vertical configuration. Some are beginning to lean a bit though.

2 Hippeastrum ‘Bogota’


Hippeastrum ‘Bogota’ leapt to flower (and the floor, sadly) early this year

I can never tell when my saved amaryllis lilies will bloom. My favourite one, Hippeastrum ‘Bogota’, is in flower now. A year ago it was the final one to flower! It grows very tall and on Tuesday I came back from shopping to see two sheepish faces at the door, telling me they had no idea what happened, but they had cleared up the mess. Yeap, the pot was in pieces and the bulb and flower were propped up against a table leg. I’ve cut the flower for a vase and the bulb is in a new pot. That’s life!

3 Begonia propagation


Begonia rooting in water

Amazingly, I’ve succeeded in keeping an indoor begonia rex alive for 2-3 years now. I am so pleased, as I love it’s spiralling, two-tone leaves and admire them often. I, not so cleverly, knocked a couple of leaves off opening the curtains a couple of weeks back. It became an opportunity to see if I could root a new plant. I suspended the leaf with its stem just dipping into some water (the leaf conveniently overhangs the glass edges). I noticed this week that roots are starting to form. I’ll let them get a bit longer and then pot it up. I hadn’t realised it was quite so easy.

4 Saving seeds from Euphorbia marginata


Gathering a few Snow on the mountains, Euphorbia maginata, seeds for next year (see inset for it’s lovely variegated summer foliage)

After the first frosts hit, I made a point of checking and gathering any seeds I could find of an annual euphorbia that I tried for the first time this year, Euphorbia marginata aka ‘Snow in the Mountains’. It turned out to be an easy and winning annual to grow. I paired it with dusty blue ageratum (see inset) and was fairly pleased with the combination. Now that the seed pods are dried, I’ve been opening them and retrieving the large round seeds for storage.

5 The Oca are nearly ready


The Oca crop has been knocked back by the recent frosts and snow, so should be perfect for harvesting in a week or two.

In the vegetable patch, our Oca crop (that I’m trying for a second year from saved tubers) has now completely succumbed to frosts and is at the stage of development when all the goodness is being pull back into the tubers. You are supposed to leave them for a further couple of weeks, after which you can lift and store the crop. Last year we had only enough for one family meal, but I am hopeful for a lot more this time.

6 Lady Emma Hamilton is still warming our hearts, if not our hands


Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ is still showing off her lovely orange hues

Several of our roses are still flowering, including the delightful Lady Hamilton. You’ve got to love her warming glow, especially on a cold day like today.

Well, that’s all folks. I hope that you are having a good weekend!


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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23 Responses to Six on Saturday – Endings and beginnings

  1. Paddy Tobin says:

    That’s a wonderful stand of echiums. We struggle with them here as they don’t seem to like our winter wet. Looking forward to see photographs of yours in flower.

    • I hope they make it, because they are going to be so massive if they do! This will be our fourth year of growing them, but we’ve had mild, dry winters for the last two years, so they not really been tested. I’ve got some smaller ones in the greenhouse as backups.

  2. Chloris says:

    I am surprised that the echiums survive unprotected. So what does oca taste like? Is it worth trying? Good old Lady Em, she just keeps on giving.

    • The echiums seem to do OK, unless we get terribly cold winds. The Beast from the East killed a lot of outside ones for instance. This is the first year that they’ve been so tall at this time of year. I don’t think I could cover them, but I might be forced to try if anything like the BFTE is predicted. Oca taste really lovely. Raw they are a bit radish-like, but cooked (roasted best) they were delicious like an artichoke/potato cross.

  3. Cathy says:

    A lovely rose, even after the frosts! I think Begonias and Tradescantia are the only things I have ever succesfully grown by letting them grow roots in water. (I am hopeless with houseplants usually!) And I know the tulip dilemma well… exactly the same here. Some potted tulips are covered with hay and evergreen twigs for now but will get a wire cover soon too. Those in the ground are a matter of luck!

    • I bought a Lady Emma rose this year, after see her looking so fine on many other blogs. She has rewarded me handsomely! Tulips seem to be mostly OK once I’ve got them through the first year. I guess they tap deeper and are less detectable to rodents. So the trick is to get ones that are good at returning year after year, like Ballerina I suppose, but it is down to trial and error and that first season. 🙂

      • Cathy says:

        I find the botanical ones are usually untouched and the newly planted ones, like you say, most at risk. Menton has survived best out of all of them so far but I plant every year to fill the gaps!

  4. Oca are called yams here in New Zealand and are a big favourite – so good just roasted. Hope you get a good crop.

    • Oh, it is good to hear from someone who eats them regularly. Last year I tried them raw, boiled and roasted. Roasted was by far and away the best and is why I am so looking forward to this year’s crop. If you have any tips, please yell or maybe they could appear in a ‘Small Pleasures’ post?? 😉

  5. fredgardener says:

    Amazing picture of echiums under snow ! Mine are covered in plastic bubbles and fleece right now and like you I hope they will survive the winter…

    • Not sure I could cover mine. They are already 2m tall. This group is mostly protected from the prevailing wind direction by the garage. I will get a roll of fleece, just in case things look dire and I have a few much smaller backups in the greenhouse. Good luck with yours too. Sounds like they are well protected. 🙂

  6. Lovely colour on the Bogotá lily. Lady Emma too, I added her to my roses this year.

  7. Pádraig says:

    Ah bless… Weren’t they so thoughtful to tidy up the mess? Perhaps they were inadvertently attempting their first garden.
    I hope you’ve had a good gardening week and that Lady Hamilton continues its warming glow.

  8. Cathy says:

    The echiums are amazing Allison, and well done for having a hippeastrum thingy that has reflowered – I gave up trying as I decided it wasn’t worth the effort…just buy one posher one from Peter Nyssen and the others from Aldi at £2,49 (perhaps £2.79 this year) each and compost them when they are done 😁 Your Lady Em is doing really well – mine still looks good from inside but in reality the blooms are now all ‘balled’. Definitely up there as one of my favourite roses though

    • Aldi’s amaryllis sound like a fantastic bargain. Go for it! In Tesco’s (our local) bulbs are £5 I believe! It is definitely easier buying fresh ones each year, except that these (spider group) seem to only be available online. Of course, now I’ve spent a year ordering everything online, it doesn’t seem like a big deal any more!

      • Cathy says:

        Yes, Aldi always have them, albeit in the same 4 commonplace varieties, but still pretty, and I usually buy some as presents too. They came in about mid-November I think. Lidl may well have had some too, in different varieties, but being a huge Aldi fan I tend to only pop in there if Aldi are out of stock of something. The ones I have had from Peter Nyssen are dearer but bigger bulbs that invariably have more than one flower stem, although Aldi’s sometimes have too.

      • Can’t complain about the limited choice for those prices!

      • Cathy says:

        And I don’t – buying them is one of my Christmas routines!

  9. Pingback: Six on Saturday – A summer buzz | Frogend dweller's Blog

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