Six on Saturday: Fairweather Gardener

I am afraid I have to confess I have been a fairweather gardener this week. Grey skies, cold drizzle and high winds have kept me inside. I am waiting for the better weather we have been promised next week.

Fortunately, I was given lots of gardening books for my birthday to keep me occupied indoors, as well as an interesting selection of seeds. So this week’s Six are not so much things happening in my garden, as part of the planning process. You will see that I am very lucky to have a husband and mother who indulge my gardening obsession.

Now I know that our host The Propagator is a proper, all-weather gardener, as are most of his esteemed followers, who join him each week to feature six things from their gardens around the globe.

  1. Brilliant And Wild: A garden from scratch in a year

I am so excited to have been given this book by Lucy Bellamy, the editor of Gardens Illustrated, which I have wanted to read ever since it came out. I have been flicking through the pages this week and I particularly like the way in which she group plants into the shapes they make in the border: umbellifers, spikes, dots, panicles, grasses and bulbs. Bellamy has some original and interesting suggestions for low-maintenance but high impact perennials, which can easily be grown in your garden this year. There are also sumptuous photographs by Jason Ingram, which make me want to plant pretty much everything in the book, although Bellamy warns against having a ‘mishmash’ of plants, advising instead to choose two or three different shapes and then use plenty of different species that share that shape.

2. Gertrude Jekyll collection

As an aspiring garden writer, it has long been my ambition to get to grips with one of the all time greats in the field. My lovely mum bought me five of her books which I spotted in the window of a second-hand bookshop. I am looking forward to steeping myself in Miss Jekyll’s gardening philosophy over the coming weeks and months.

3. David Austin: Old Roses and English Roses

Another birthday present from my mum, who had two copies of this classic book. I love David Austin roses – I planted three new ones this year: Emily Brontë, Lady Emma Hamilton and Felicité Perpetue – and I am already eyeing up next year’s roses in the new David Austin catalogue. This book is just what I need to help me care for my growing collection.

4. Petersham Nurseries Spring Vegetable Patch seed collection

My husband bought me this sweet little seed collection, which comes in a useful tin, with very tasteful ready-made plant markers. It includes Goldena courgette, Paris Market carrots, the interestingly named Crapaudine beetroot (??!), two types of Italian tomato: Principe Borghese and San Marzano and Pimento di Padron peppers. Perfect for the raised beds in our front garden.

5. RHS seeds

My mum also gave me this trio of seeds from the RHS: Salvia nemorosa, Angelica archangelica and Dianthus carthusianorum. I have so many seeds to sow now and in the absence of a greenhouse, not enough windowsill space to sow them all.

6. Sweet pea seedlings

Speaking of seedlings, you may remember the sweet peas I sowed in our garden shed. It turns out that despite my blithe insistence that they would germinate there, they did not, so I had to bring them in to the kitchen windowsill, where they have now burst into growth. The transition from cold to warm has made the toilet roll inners I planted them in go mouldy, so I am going to have to rethink this plastic-free potting solution for the next batch of seeds.

15 Comments Add yours

  1. fredgardener says:

    I am always impressed by the amount of toilet rolls you keep (you =English) for sweet peas. I also use them for sowing but I think too late to keep them and they end up in the fireplace in winter …😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to do the loo roll thing for sweet peas but now I direct sow. I have very similar results, maybe just slightly later flowering.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Mud Cakes and Wine says:

    what lovely books to read and your sweetpeas are doing really well

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Noelle says:

    Reading gardening books is the next best thing to gardening itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You need to garden up. It was replanting a couple of my succulents this morning in the snow. Took me a record time 30 secs. Nice Blog as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve clearly turned into a Southern softie!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gertrude Jekyll writes very well but her sentences are very long. I’m not sure she’d fly these days. Certainly WordPress would have something to say about her sentence length and word counts. I love reading her books though.

    I used paper tubes for my sweet peas and have a bit of that mould too. I’ve also noticed it on wooden plant labels. So far I haven’t noticed it damaging the plants themselves so I’ve decided not to worry about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. One Man And His Garden Trowel says:

    It is pretty horrid out there. I did some more sowing and lost a fair few seeds in the wind (the packets of seeds nearly went too). Some great looking books there and that seed and label pack is rather nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. cavershamjj says:

    I’ve a couple of those Jekyll books, I find her a little old fashioned, not a surprise. Nice work with your sweet peas. Btw, found some Cinnabar seeds, sent you DM on Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jim Stephens says:

    I’m pretty much a fair weather gardener, I tell myself it damages the soil to do anything when it’s so wet. My garden is an unapologetic mishmash of shapes if ever there was one. I spent my whole working life in the horticultural industry and I’ve never read Jekyll. And I use plastic pots, albeit second hand ones. Am I a bad person?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m about to wash out some more second hand plastic pots for the next round of seed sowing. Reusing is good I think.


  10. Heyjude says:

    I love all your gifts. That first book looks VERY interesting. I am trying to keep to the concept of choosing only a few types of plants so my garden isn’t bitty, but there are sooooo many lovely plants! Grasses, daisy types and spires are my chosen few, given there are thousands of daisy type flowers it should be fine!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. tonytomeo says:

    Six on Saturday without going outside?! Well, I have done worse, by posting six pictures with no plant material in them. One of my recent had only one picture of an unknown fern at the end, just to make it more appropriate.
    Are sweet peas grown inside because it had been too cold outside? I do not like growing them because they need to be scheduled so carefully. My niece plants them in October,but they do nothing all winter, until they bloom at the end of winter. If planted at the end of winter, they do not disperse their roots fast enough to bloom before summer. They do not last once the weather gets warm here. The air is too dry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s generally too cold to start them off outside although they can be planted out as soon as the risk of frost has passed. That said I have some self sown sweet pea seedlings already doing well outside.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. tonytomeo says:

        So the self sown seed probably know to not germinate until spring because they were already out in the weather. Those sown from a packet of seed probably respond to the first bit of exposure they get, regardless of the season. Those that my niece grows in Los Angeles look so puny through winter, but then really get going for a while in spring. They do not get more than about six feet high, but really do bloom nicely.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.