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It's going to be a quick one this week.  I've been busy primping and preening ready for the village open gardens on Sunday and I've not left myself much time to write this post.  After weeks of trying to squeeze extra things into my allotted six, I'm now going to have to be brief.  Ironic, no? Numbers one to four are the Long Border.  I've written about it before, and how I based it on Gertrude Jekyll's design for her garden at Munstead Wood.  She trained as an artist before she turned to gardening and was au fait with the latest colour theories.  She designed these borders to start with white and blue.......... Snapdragon, Delphiniums, Rue and Aruncus moving from pale to deeper yellow... Coreopsis, Achillea and Monarda Then it's on to the reds and oranges... Lychnis, Nasturtiums, Lilies before returning to yellow and then blue. Agapanthus, Clematis, Anthemis My number five spot goes to these tomatoes.  I may have found the answer to our Six on Saturday comp


A combination of plenty of rain and mild weather has brought the early flowers out, so the middle of January is probably looking a bit more colourful than in previous years.

1. Yellow Hellebore

This pale yellow one Helleborus x hybridus is particularly pretty, and I think it merits the number one spot this week.  It came in a mixed pack of which the others were in the usual range of whites and pinks.  

2. Snowdrops

The double snowdrops are the first to open, before the singles, and they are beginning to do that.  I have to admit that this may not be the best snowdrop picture; but I will have plenty of chance to do better over the coming weeks.

3. Helleborus niger

I been intending to plant a group of these at the front of a border.  I saw these in Morrison's last weekend so bought a few.  When I took them out of their pots to plant them it was obvious that there were two in each pot (the roots were in two separate root balls) and there was only a smigin of compost covering them. So the question is - Have I got a bargain (two for the price of one)? Or will these immature plants fail to establish?

Just out of interest I looked up the reason for this plant having niger (black) in the name. Wikipedia quotes an RHS paper as saying that it may refer to the colour of the roots.  Well I don't think it does as my little compostless friends had pale fleshy roots.  

4. Mystery Plant

These appeared last year in the border shown above.  They are growing under some trees and shrubs towards the back of the border,  I think they might be another species of Hellebore, so I've left them to see what they do.  (See also No 5 'Being Ruthless' below) The plant is about 12 inches across and about 10 inches high.

5. Being Ruthless

This issue was raised by Lora last week where she mentioned being admonished for her practice of rescuing holly seedlings.  "Lora, if you garden, you must be ruthless" she was advised.

Well I'm not ruthless.  That's why this border of early spring bulbs has random foxgloves in it.  I know I should pull them up. I also leave holly seedlings (they might come in handy for a hedge) and geraniums (they usually turn out to have miserable flowers) and aquilegias (making a takeover bid for the Rose Garden).

So although it's a few weeks late, my New Year's gardening resolution is to be more ruthless and I've made a start by weeding out some foxgloves (only the very little ones that are too close together so far - but tomorrow I'll be braver).

6. Bellis Perennis

These are another new plant buy this week.  I grew these in my very first garden (an unbelievable thirty years ago), and haven't grown them since.  I'm going to grow some from seed too this year.

 That's all from my garden this week.  If you'd like to hear from other gardeners about what's happening in their gardens , then visit The Propagator, who kindly hosts Six on Saturday.


  1. I do love a yellow hellebore, and a speckled yellow one is even better!

    1. If only they didn't hang their heads so. I had to lift it up to get a photo of the speckles.

  2. That hellebore is stunning - I fear I may need to invest in one...

  3. That yellow hellebore stopped me as well. Just wow. The flower colour & speckles are great, but the foliage is just the right shade of green to set it off perfectly. Lucky you. Hope it gives you lots of seeds & seedlings that come true, toward which, you cannot be ruthless. (Ruthlessness is over rated, anyway.) I'm the worst at plant identification, but if I'd seen #4 in my garden, I would've thought euphorbia. Let us know what it turns out to be.

    1. Rest assured any seedlings will be carefully nurtured, I'm sure my ruthless streak will be short lived.

  4. I think a little ground cover in the winter helps the soil. The roots also make channels in the groud, so your self sown foxgloves are doing their bit. A quick hoe leaving the roots in place in a couple of weeks time will help the ones remaining grow...and for now we just have imagine those lovely verticals in early summer. I always admire the daisies..

    1. As you suggest I'm imagining them in early summer. I think they may have earned themselves a reprieve. If I find time to move some of them further back they might look better though.

  5. Very beautiful yellow hellebore! Speaking of hellebore, I think the mysterious plant could be some kind of hellebore as you assumed. Perhaps hellebore foetidus (stinking hellebore) Keep us posted if you have the right identification.

    1. I was hoping it might be that. I'll keep an eye on it and let you know.


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