Six on Saturday: Stormy times

First there was my namesake Storm Ciara and now we are expecting Storm Dennis. Our five-year-old is quite excited and keeps on asking when he’s going to arrive as if he’s an old friend coming to visit. But all these storms are taking their toll on trees. To add to their arboreal woes this week we got a letter from our local council about the sad impact of Ash Dieback which means that many ash trees have become unsafe and will have to be taken out in a managed programme.

We had the tree surgeons round this week. The annual hair cut for our fig, holly, bay, pear and apple trees, as well as a good trim for the buddleia, vine, Philadelphus and laurel lets light into our garden and makes me hopeful for the coming growing season.

So I will begin this week’s six with one of those recently lopped trees. As ever I am joining in with The Propagator and his marvellous Six on Saturday meme.

1. Fig and Mahonia

We inherited this wonderfully gnarled and twisted fig tree which is perfect for small people to climb in the winter months before it gains its lush green canopy. Sadly, the prolific fruit always fall before ripening, but it still earns its place in the garden for its magical appearance. At the moment it is woven through with dazzling yellow Mahonia which smells rather lovely up close.

2. Smart laurel

The tree surgeons have given a nice shape to the large laurel bush in our front garden. Some people don’t like them but I think I would miss it’s shiny evergreen foliage if it wasn’t there.

3. Clematis armandii

Regular SOS-ers will remember that a few weeks ago I was complaining about how overgrown this Spring flowering clematis is. I had to wait until it had flowered to cut it back. It has now started flowering and will continue for a few weeks. The blooms are lovely, but I am hoping it will survive Storm Dennis as it is on an exposed south facing wall (we are near the top of a hill).

4. Tête-à-tête narcissi

It’s daffodil time and I do love these sweet dwarf narcissi coming up for their second year.

5. Unnamed narcissi

I planted these in a pot last year and now they are coming round for a second season. I can’t remember the name but they look elegant with their slender green flower heads waiting to unfurl.

6. Euphorbia

We have lots of these self-seeded Euphorbias. I’m not sure whether I like them but they provide ground cover for now.

That’s it for this week. SOS-ers in the UK stay safe when Storm Dennis arrives. Hopefully he won’t be too much of a menace!

13 Comments Add yours

  1. n20gardener says:

    Wow you clematis is in flower. Mine is full of very promising bud, but not quite ready yet for flowers. Haircut time here for the fig too. I should have posted a pic but I was distracted by the sudden burst of colour in the garden. I’ve just spotted your chelsea snowdrops post so I will read that too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Clematis armandii is such a beauty! Your laurel looks like bay to me, but it might just be the photo. Whichever, it is looking very tidy. I wouldn’t fancy being a tree surgeon in this weather, it is bad enough being a gardener. Hope Dennis is gentle with you. 🙂


    1. Ah maybe it is a bay. The tree surgeons came on a relatively calm day but good to know all the deadwood has gone although I fear for our neighbours’ beautiful old walnut tree.


  3. Your Mahonia looks so healthy and beautiful! It grows here as well, but generally there’s lots of winter die-back (unlike on the west coast, with its very UK-like weather) so rarely looks as full or luscious. We have an invasive insect called Emerald Ash Borer – it’s been slowly killing all the Ash trees in this part of North America – anything like your Ash Dieback?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ash dieback is caused by an airborne fungus so something different I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. fredgardener says:

    I am in love with the shape of your fig tree …. It’s very pretty! Maybe a lack of light in the center? I aerated mine this winter: it will follow that I’ll get less fruit this summer but if I have 3kg instead of 5, it’s already a good harvest…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The laurel does look good for a trim. I’ve got a few new clematis to plant up in a month or so. My Clematis Montana is looking set to take over the garden. It’s going to need a good trim after flowering.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like the fig as well, too bad about the fruit! Since I live in hurricane riddled Florida I was surprised to see the cyclone bomb! threatening the UK. Good luck with Dennis and stay safe. I hope to see the Clematis next week.


  7. Eliza Waters says:

    Hope you are spared the worst of the storm – stay safe!


  8. I think Laurels can be a bit of a marmite plant. On their own and kept trimmed they bring so much to a garden but used as a hedge they seem to take the life and moisture out of parts of a garden!


  9. Noelle says:

    At different times of the year the Laurel comes into its own, not least when leaves are required for the Kitchen!


  10. tonytomeo says:

    Have you tried pruning the fig tree over winter?
    Figs produce two crops of fruit annually. Some cultivars make better early figs, others make better late figs, and some do well with both early and late crops. They are pruned accordingly.
    Those that are grown for early figs get minimal pruning, since early figs develop on growth from the previous year. Those that are grown for late figs get pruned aggressively, since late figs develop on stems that grew since spring.
    Conversely: Minimal pruning inhibits production of late figs by not promoting vigorous new shoots. Aggressive pruning inhibits production of early figs by eliminating much of the growth that produces them.
    Of course, no one minds the inhibition of one crop if the other crop is what is prioritized.
    Anyway, what I am getting at is, if the early figs drop before ripening, the tree may be a cultivar that produces a better late crop. Aggressive dormant pruning would inhibit the early crop which is unsatisfactory anyway, but promote a late crop, which might be of better quality.
    It is difficult to determine from the picture how the tree has been getting pruned. The gnarly trunk and main limbs suggest that it had been getting pruned somewhat aggressively in the past, but vigorous shoots suggest that it is still getting pruned well. If the tree had been getting pruned aggressively in the past, that is a good indication that it was grown for late crops. If it became less productive since it started getting pruned less aggressively, that would indicate that it is not getting pruned enough in winter. When did you become acquainted with the tree?


  11. cavershamjj says:

    No sign of my new tete a tete flowers yet. But the jetfire are almost out.


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