Six on Saturday

We have reached the last SoS in January and, at the risk of wishing my life away, I’m not sorry to see February on the horizon. We’ve still a long way to go before balmy days but I am feeling horticulturally positive this week, as if we have turned a corner. There is no rhyme or reason for this lifting of spirits, except perhaps the arrival of a flurry of long tailed tits into the garden. If you would like to delve deeper into the Cult of the Sixonsaturdayers then our curator, Jim will show you the light. Be careful though, don’t step too close to the flame or you will be trapped for ever, like the rest of us moths. Shall we shake a leg?

First we have a sarcococca, species unknown to me, which is a seedling from Mr and Mrs Bun’s old house in North Devon. After last week’s SoS, when Hortus B mentioned these fragrant winter flowerers enjoy dry shade, I realised I had just the place for it, under the pear tree. Which is exactly where is now is. Still in its pot, but we have progress.

On Thursday I emptied the compost bin, sorted through the contents and spread all that passed the strict criteria onto the borders. The bin was packed with brandling worms, always a joyful sign, and I dashed about rescuing all those that escaped and returning them to the dark comfort of their home. The blackbirds have been having fun, throwing the composting into the air like confetti, searching for those I missed.

I bought my garlic late and I planted it even later, it is Thermidrone. I have heard that it needs cold temperatures to enable it to split into separate cloves. It has certainly had that. Generally I am disappointed by my garlic growing, but each year I remain optimistic with a hint of the inevitable.

I sowed this lamb’s lettuce, also known as corn salad, in the autumn. It was slow to germinate but has admirably shrugged off the cold. I haven’t harvested any yet, except the odd passing nibble, which was delicious.

OH loves his aspidestra. In our former (much bigger) house they were everywhere. As we don’t have room inside, after giving lots away, the rest have had to take their chances in the wild. Not a quiver.

A few weeks ago we were delighted to be visited by none other than Torrington Tina. She ate a whole layer of our tin of Christmas biscuits. We didn’t mind because she is such good company and also brought this wonderful Echeveria lilicina as a gift. Lovely.

All done, next time it will be February!

35 thoughts on “Six on Saturday

  1. Lots of inspiration here, thank you! I didn’t know sarcococca liked dry shade, I’m going to move mine forthwith! My garlic is very hit and miss too. I’ve found that it’s perfectly usable however small, rusty and sorrowful it looks, and it still tastes better than the shop-bought stuff which always seems dry, so I just keep plugging away regardless.

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  2. I planted my aspidistra in the garden and it promptly died! Yours has a lovely leaf. Sarcococca is flowering in my little woodland, but there isn’t much of a perfume this year, I wonder why? your compost almost looks good enough to eat, must get mine onto my beds as soon as I have weeded.

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  3. Another place Sarcococca likes is nearby, like just outside your back or front door where, as you frequently pass by, you can smell it. Which is probably why my two mature ones are somewhere totally far away from foot traffic (save for the possibility that an errant gardener will be attracted by the scent and will then, distracted by the sweet rapture, fall head-over-heels into the adjacent pond). There’s now a little tiddler ensconced in the shade just outside the back door.

    Meanwhile, I see some scope for a chat about “twiggy bits” to divert you from your planned “chat” about my compost bin abuse.

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  4. Blackbirds have been tossing my bark chippings about making one helluva mess! And I am concerned for the crocuses that live there! But garden birds are undeniably lovely to have visiting. I am glad January is almost at an end, it is the most dreariest of months and February is not much better other than the days do seem a little longer and the month itself is a little shorter.

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  5. Good luck with the garlic. I only ever tried once, in Seattle, and got white rot. I should try here – I occasionally find clove that were past their prime coming up in the neglected compost pile. Mine is like everything else, covered in snow.

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  6. All I can say regarding garlic is the larger the distance between the bigger the harvest and size of bulbs. Also lots of air means less likelihood of rust, says she who talks from experience. I’m impressed by your not lettuce lamb’s lettuce. Is it outside or in your glass house?

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      1. Can’t quite tell how far those are apart, but I would say 30cm should do it. You can also interplant with something quick and low growing like lettuce, the real stuff, one of the smaller varieties perhaps or some rocket.

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  7. Our garlic gets planted mid fall; sometimes shoots get above ground before everything freezes and gets covered and snow and sometimes not – doesn’t seem to make any difference to the eventual size of the garlic. I inter-plant with early spinach and lettuce since by the time it’s time to harvest the garlic, mid summer, the greens have started to bolt. Love the Echeveria – nice friend!

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  8. Aspidistra is a houseplant? I thought so. It must work well inside. It does not mind shade. At a former home, I grew all sorts of odd species inside, but did not get around to trying aspidistra. Echeveria are sometimes grown temporarily as houseplants. I tend to forget how long such plants have been inside, until they get a bit too stretched.

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  9. I’m sorry but my biscuits would have to stay in the cupboard if Torrington Tina ever came to visit. I picked a little sprig of the sarcococa to paint and brought it indoors. It perfumed the whole room for several days.


  10. It was interesting to read what you wrote about garlic as I have been disappointed about my lack of success also. I have only achieved small single bulbs which are almost useless. On the other hand, my tall Alliums produced massive divided bulbs, which I believe are edible. Strange.


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