The forecast for tonight is for temperatures to fall to -5 Celsius here. This will be the lowest so far this winter and cold enough that I’ve moved some more plants into the protection of my two new mini plastic greenhouses. Since one of them blew over in last week’s storm, it is probably a good thing to put more stuff in them anyway, including a paving slab at the bottom. I’m watching sleet and hail fall as I type and so it seems like a brilliant time to do a ‘Six’ post. Jonathon, aka Mr Propagator, plays the Kingpin for this Saturday activity so do click through to his blog for colour on a dull day.
So starting with something blue …
1 Anemone ‘Mr Fokker’
I had two or three trays of these that I planted late last spring. They only managed some foliage growth and then languished on the ground next to the greenhouse for the rest of the year. Well, the little darlings have decided to make up for their previous non-delivery and are already sticking their heads above the parapet, in January, in what has now turned into snow!
2 A beautiful hoop petticoat daffodil
These are becoming one of my favourite daffodils. They start into bloom early and flower for ages, gradually sending more and more flowers up … until they form attractive clumps of the palest yellow/cream bells, complete with stylish ruffs. They do come in a more daffodilly strident yellow as well, but spring doesn’t seem ready for that level of vibrant yet!
3 Wendy’s Gold Snowdrops are well on the way
I bought one bulb (yes, last of the big spenders!) a couple of year ago. I admired it, left it in its pot so that I didn’t misplace it and looked forward to a bunch of gold the following year. There were zero flowers. Fast forward to 2021 and happily it looks like it managed to divide and grow enough to throw up at least three blooms this spring. Hurray! Patience and all that.
4 Big garden bird watch and bird boxes
Next Friday through to Sunday (29-31 Jan) is the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch, so I will be checking my stocks of nuts, seeds and fat balls this week, to keep the feeders full. It’s hard work with greedy squirrels getting creative with the protective cages. I swear that there’s one squirrel that seems to have perfected the technique of turning the feeder on its side, so that seeds fall out!
Meanwhile, in a parallel bird-related activity, I looked out the plans for building a bluetit box and had a go sawing and hammering the pieces together. This was the result. In my defense, the plank turned out to be thicker than I realised and hence the base plate was slightly too wide to build a square house. Also the timber had more cracks in than I’d noticed when I found the timber in the garage. So this is going to be my practice box. Once I get a better piece of wood, you’ll be impressed with the result!
5 Christmas parsnips
Not sure how I forgot that I grew a row of parsnips for Christmas dinner, but I did and am only starting to crop them now. They are turning out to be remarkably sizeable, in spite of the raised beds only providing ~20-30cm of decent soil. They are not a vegetable I tend to use apart from Xmas lunch, so I was thinking that I would try a friend’s parsnip and apple soup recipe or possibly parsnip tatin.
6 Mac’s Mix update
I thought that it was time to experiment with the lucky dip selection of seeds in Chiltern Seeds’ Mac’s Mix (XIV), which I mentioned here. They were described as including a range of tropical and exotic plants that may take some time to germinate. The packet says you can start them anytime of year, so now seemed like a good idea. Oh dear ….
Well, if I do this again, I will sort out the seed I think I recognise, because three (!!) days after putting them in the airing cupboard I already have two pots of some kind of Ipomoea that I can’t deal with in January :(. Help!