Six-on-Saturday – Rare And Unusual

10th April 2021.

It’s a bit early in the year, really. I didn’t think I’d be asking for rain until much later. But there you have it. My garden could do with a sup of rain. I’ve been watering and dipping many of my potted plants following a very warm week before Easter, and this week has been very cold but dry. I think I’m beginning to sound like a farmer!

Then, along came the double-whammy, a farmer’s worst fear. I was concerned about the low temperature in the glasshouse since last Tuesday, so the electric heater was turned on and the fleeces were used. Sure, I’d do the same if the temperature inside the house became dangerously low. It’s a survival tactic. Bloody weather! It’s like Goldilocks’ porridge.

So, in order to not sound like a farmer, I’m moving along quickly to six things that made me happy. I’m also giving advance notice that I’m including four never-before-seen varieties, and encouraging everyone to try them out. Trials have been very successful, and I’m very proud to display them here first.

I’m also encouraging readers to pay a visit to Jon The Propagator, whose diligence keeps this entire Six-on-Saturday thingy ticking over nicely. To quote Gill, let us proceed.

Spirea

You’d be forgiven for thinking this was taken in Autumn, but in fact it’s the leaves emerging just this week.  This is Spirea, also known as not-so-rare-and-unusual Japanese Magic Carpet. I think it was bought last year and tucked in tightly in the Patio Potpourri. It is deciduous, of course, and I moved it away to the gable end of the Seomra last November. It looks a bit scraggly and would probably be best planted in the ground. That’s a small job for my list over the coming weeks. It needs full sun, so I’m limited to where I’ll put it. For the moment though, I’ll enjoy these beautifully coloured leaves.

By the way, the “Seomra” is Marion’s craft room. It is an integral part of the garden, so perhaps it needs a Saturday feature all of its own?

Frost Protection

I have plenty seedlings of French Marigolds in the glasshouse. I’m told that, apart from being very colourful later in summer, they are beneficial if planted among the vegetables. There’s something about them that keeps the bugs away. Anyway, it’s too early to be planting these little things outside. The frost will kill them. But I did plant them, and I’ve given them the perfect protection. This upturned half-bottle was used. The variety is Lidl Naturis Orange Juice. I’ve put a few here and there among the peas and broad beans.

Camellia Spring Festival

Featured about a month ago, here’s the new Camellia in full flower. I’m imagining this in about three years time when it will have filled up and out. This is the not-so-rare-and-unusual Spring Festival variety.

Peas

I’m hoping to avoid using slug pellets from now on. There are many garden plants that can survive constant attacks from the slimy creatures and it’s a case of live and let live. However, when it comes to the vegetable beds, it’s a completely different matter. I’ve been reading and YouTubing to find alternative methods of killing the saboteurs.

We bought a DeLonghi coffee machine before Christmas, and I’ve been putting the coffee grounds on the compost heap since, but I have changed tactics only last week. Apparently, slugs and snails are repelled by the smell of coffee and therefore it makes sense for me to spread as much as I can around the base of vegetables. In this case, it’s the peas that I mentioned last week. They’ve been planted and caffinated. In fact, it’s a double win, because the grounds add nitrogen as well. Variety: Aldi Velo Tandem Whole Bean Coffee. It’s a mouthful, to be sure, very tasty for us humans, but not for slugs.

It’s the opposite with beer. Slugs and snails go mad for it. I had bought little plastic traps and showed them here recently. However, another YouTube video highlighted this new model that can be seen at top right. I’ve simply cut a hole in a milk carton and placed it in the soil. In this case, the peas will be doubly protected, and the carton can be emptied and refilled every few  weeks. Variety: Lidl Coolmore Creamery Fresh Whole Milk.

Vantage Point

Layout #1: Water feature in corner.

I’m very pleased with the upgraded raised seating corner. I’m calling it The RSC. I may make some minor adjustments with the planters, and I think chair colour other than black would be good. The planters will be filled with trailing annuals and a climbing Sweet Pea. I will also check the garden centres tomorrow to see if they’ve got any Lilies left in stock. The scent would be gorgeous while sitting here. I’m undecided about the bamboo, but it will do for the time being. Of the two layouts, which one do you fancy?

#2: Planter in the corner

Alternatively, I may start a small collection of plants in pots. The area is in shade until mid-afternoon, so I’ll put on my thinking cap for a while. That usually works. Variety: Fruit of The Loom Blue Cotton.

Acer

This little Acer is surrounded by the dazzling colour of daffodils and primroses, and is protected on all sides. I did not notice until mid-week that it has come into leaf. It just snuck up on me. Now is the time to take it from among its plant comrades and give it a place where it can shine.

April is like that. One day there’s nothing, the next something has grown. A further example is the tall Galway Lilies that were magnificent last year. I watched and waited but there was no sign of them. I had given up, but they have emerged and are stretching day by day. I’ll show them next week.

And now it’s goodbye from me, but the story continues next week. I’m going to make myself a tasty coffee, and might even add in a spoon of brandy. Heaven at eleven! A combination of DiLonghi Velo and Hennessey. Sláinte!

Pádraig.

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33 comments

    1. Thank you, a chara. This will be a much used spot. I am unable to sit in direct sunshine for too long, so it’s ideal for me.
      We are at the mercy of nature. Hoping for some night rain this week.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Well this week I didn’t proceed at all! Next time hopefully. I was pleased to see you using the coffee as I am just trying out it myself, around my emerging dahlias in the mini-greenhouse. So far, so good! Loving the colour of the spirea and the acer. Hope you enjoyed your tipsy coffee! Have a good one.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, that’s an option I hadn’t thought of… but I’m thinking more of a similar trellis on other wall, water in corner and planter in front of trellis.

          Like

  2. I’ve seen coffee shops giving away their coffee grounds and always wondered if they really worked against slugs. My daughter has a job in a coffee shop so maybe I’ll get her to bring a couple of buckets home with her. I like your raised seating area allot and prefer the water feature in the corner. Happy gardening Padraig.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For me, it’s got to be the water feature in the corner. I appreciate your sense of humor. Thank you for the tip re coffee grounds. Those we have in abundance and I will happily strew them about my vegetables.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My peas are at a similar stage to yours, and like you am trying to use alternatives to the organic pellets. We’re not coffee drinkers though, so I’m trying crushed egg shells around the base of the peas (but you need a lot), and may move on to beer traps if desperate. Good trap btw. I think Japanese acers are so graceful, and yours in no exception. Love the idea of a scented seated corner.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What’s wrong with sounding like a farmer?! (And no, I’m not a farmer, although I live in a rural area.) Enjoy the marigolds – they are hardy souls, great to scatter throughout the garden, and once they get going, they last well into the fall.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Has to be the water feature for me! Your plants are all doing well, like your sense of humor! I was looking all around for the Fruit of the Loom Jockey shorts! When I hear “Fruit of the Loom,” that’s what I think of! See you next week, I’m back from a mini vaca! Now, I need a vaca to rest up from my Vaca! Cady

    Liked by 1 person

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