Six on Saturday – Spring, at an angle


In spite of being on the edge of the second red alert zone for debris flying winds yesterday, we luckily escaped any real damage from Storm Eunice. Probably the losses of old fruit trees, dodgy branches and fences over the last three years had actually put us in a good position to ride out that rather nasty storm. Not so lucky were Cambridge Botanics, who lost their Newton Apple tree at the Brooklands Avenue garden entrance and Wimpole Estate, who lost their ~300yr Horse chestnut at the Pleasure Garden entrance in the double whammy of recent storms.

My own garden inspection this morning revealed a few things at dramatic angles, like the cloud-pruned rosemary on the patio, but mostly I ended up being distracted by the generosity of flowers on the beautiful hellebores, primulas and spring bulbs.

Here are my six for Mr Propagator’s gardening #SixonSaturday.

1) Hellebores

Our hellebores are looking good this year. I seem to have lost my pink speckled Harvington in the front garden, but the yellow seedling a friend gave me last year has improved the colour range overall and is making me very happy.


2) Lace Primulas

This little patch of lace primulas grows in a narrow border that runs along the leeward side of the house. It always flowers a good month earlier than the clumps growing down the driveway border and, even better, it provides annual offsets to move on elsewhere. Wins all round!


3) Crocus

I add a range of bulbs to the wild meadow area each year to try to bulk up the spring display. Some times I lose the lot to squirrels, but if I can get them passed their first year, they mostly seem to be ignored. This year the crocus tommasinianus I planted in the rough grass were overlooked in favour of new ones added to the island bed around the old damson tree stump. I probably prefer seeing them grow through grass to be fair!


4) Daffodils are starting to flower …

Right in time to be knocked over by the storms, of course. In fact I tend to grow shorter varieties for this very reason. It is so sad to see their cheerful yellow faces rubbed in mud. As expected, this morning I found that the tête-à-têtes were looking fine, but others had not fared as well.


5) Iris reticulata

I am slowly increasing the range of irises I grow. Below are Iris reticulata ‘Painted Lady’, which were bought in early January in an end of season sale. My ‘end of season’ bulb purchases necessarily get planted in pots, until I can see where there is space in the garden, because you can bet that if I can put my trowel through an existing bulb, then I will!

iris painted lady

6) Wendy’s Gold

Will I ever get more than one flower? For the last four years I have had only one flower on my Wendy’s Gold pot grown snowdrop. It was fed last year, after flowering. This year I will re-pot it and see if that helps. Any ideas? Please free to reveal how I can get this cutie to multiply.



Well, that’s it for this week. It’s just stopped raining, so I am off outside to start some sweet peas.

Have fun gardening … and don’t forget to follow the link to Jonathon’s blog and the cache ‘Six on Saturday’ posts.


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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32 Responses to Six on Saturday – Spring, at an angle

  1. Glad you escaped the worst. I’ve never seen a cloud-pruned rosemary – please share a photo.

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    Glad you were spared from Eunice, but sad about others’ loss of big trees, esp. the Newton tree. Glad that they had clones of it. I saw on Twitter that there is one here in Maryland. It lives on.
    A lovely six! So nice to see spring is arriving somewhere… still bitter cold here, alas.

    • Thanks Eliza, but yes, the losses have been heartbreaking in several cases. Newton’s tree, being of special significance and already cloned, makes a good case for future-proofing our arboreal treasures. 🙂

  3. Pauline says:

    Wonderful collection of hellebores, such variety and lovely tommies open for the bees and sunshine. Wendy is trying to tell you something- she wants to be free! You say you have had her in a pot for four years, poor Wendy, Mine are planted in my little woodland with lots of leaf mould and she is increasing nicely, sometimes with 2 flowers per stem as she is so happy! My one bulb planted about 8 yrs ago now must have increased to at least 16 bulbs, if not more – not bad.

    • You will be glad to know that most of Wendy has been released to the open ground (I’ve held back a couple of bulbs as insurance against rodent loss – she had multiplied underground at least). The crocuses have been really showing off their colours this week … at least whenever the sun has appeared. 🙂

  4. fredgardener says:

    It’s a very good year for hellebores and I saw this morning (this noon?) your post on Insta. Superb photomontage!
    I also like the lace primulas and concerning the daffodils, the first 2 in bloom here were knocked out by the storms.Others will follow.

    • Thanks Fred! There’s a local daffodil festival here in two weeks and they are predicting it to be perfectly timed this year. I hope yours are rewarding you now that the storms have passed!

  5. Chalk weed says:

    Such a lot of colour!
    Re your Wendy’s Gold, I learned recently that the trick to increase future flowers is to apply tomato feed!

  6. I love the lace primula, very striking and cheerful. On my own post today I complained about poor snowdrop performance and someone suggested they need time in the ground, not pots, to develop mycorrhizal associations, sounds plausible! I too am getting keen on Iris r. – which is your favourite cultivar?

  7. shoreacres says:

    I’m glad you were spared the sort of damage I’ve seen in news reports. I didn’t know a thing about the Newton tree, but I found an article that gave me the broad details. When I got to the part about various graftings and giftings and such, I quietly closed the page. But it seems that the age of the tree was the real issue, and it’s good that its descendents will grow on.

    As for your flowers, I’ve never seen one of them growing in the ground. The closest I’ve come — at least, that I can remember — are grocery store daffodils. What beauties they all are!

    • Sad to say that I avoided growing daffodils for years, but time and some glorious examples, including a nearby village daffodil festival, have changed my mind. In our current garden, daffs are also about the only bulb that I don’t have to protect from animal damage, 😉 !
      The Botanics Newton tree was a lovely presence by the entrance gate and gave a sense of history and importance to the garden, but with multiple clones around, there will at least be continuance to its story.

  8. Roguegarden says:

    What a variety of hellebores you are growing. Your bulbs look fantastic. Good to hear that the squirrels tend to ignore them after the first year; I had been wondering how to manage that difficulty.

    • Thank you! I add more bulbs and hellebores to the garden each year and while there are plenty of losses, the trend is, happily, to a big and better show 😅. I think that the self-tapping nature of many spring bulbs helps against future squirrel damage, as the bulbs go deeper.

  9. Rosie Amber says:

    Such pretty Hellebores, I only have two, but think that more need investing in.

  10. Cathy says:

    What a shame about the loss of those trees, Allison…🙄 but I am glad you suffered no real damage on your own plot though. Your hellebores are glorious and a fair way ahead of mine – what a beautiful collage you have shared! Why do think you might have lost your pink speckled one? I agree about the yellow one though as I was unsure about mine when I first had it but find it really refreshing amongst the others now. Your Wendy does seem to have some babies though – might they need separating possibly?

    • Thanks Cathy. I am very disappointed that the pink speckled hellebore hasn’t re-appear this year. In fact, I’ve lost a couple of speckleds in the front garden, without any obvious reason, after good shows for several years. It may be down to excessive summer dryness under the trees, but others there are doing really well and multiplying freely.
      Thanks for the advice on Wendy. I have up ended the pot. It contained six bulbs. Four are now in the open garden and two are in individual new pots. We shall see how they all fare.

  11. pbmgarden says:

    Allison, your hellebores are stellar, such a nice variety. Hmm, I think I need a yellow one. I planted Iris reticulata in autumn for the first time but have no signs of them. Yours are beautiful.

    • Thank you. What a shame about your new irises, as you’d expect to see leaves by now, at the very least. Were they in the ground? Sometimes I buy bulbs late in the season, pot grow them and transfer to the garden in flower. They seem to do OK after that slightly cosseted start.

  12. Cathy says:

    Your hellebores certainly do all look happy and perky. What a great variety you have. Sad to hear of those trees being lost. Every tree that dies is one too many, but such old and magnificent ones leave terrible gaps.

    • Thanks Cathy. Yes, it is definitely the giant and/or venerable trees, creating long term holes in the landscape, that make you feel their loss the most. It is for that reason, the team at Wimpole has decided to leave the broken trunk of the horse chestnut in place, but tidy and make safe. Hopefully, as a wildlife refuge and sizable presence, it will continue to add plenty of value to the garden.

  13. susurrus says:

    So sad that the two old trees you mention have been lost. It is rather a risk, especially with a nice yellow, but you are supposed to be able to chip snowdrop bulbs into segments to make more. Good luck off you try! I lost my Harvington doubles. They looked such nice little plants when they arrived too, but their leaves turned sooty.

    • Thanks Susan. Yes, one always feel the loss of the presence of such grand old trees.
      Re. Wendy’s Gold snowdrop: I do want to try chipping, but had hoped to have redundancy before the experiment. May be that is cowardly!
      Sorry about your Harvington doubles. So far so good here, for those at least. I hope for crosses, with hybrid vigour 😉

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