In the immortal words of Nobby Holder of Slade, “Iiiittttssss Chriiisssttmaaas!” Or very nearly, at any rate. In other news, yesterday was the shortest day of the year, so it is officially getting lighter from here on, a relief for those of us that garden in the northern hemisphere. Time for Six on Saturday then. Six things, in the garden, on a Saturday. Could be anything – a flower, a leaf, a job to do, a project completed, a failure, a tool, a plant, anything at all so long it’s happening in your garden about now. Join in!

Here are my Six for this week.

1 – Cornus midwinter fire stem. I have been very patient. I planted these two winters ago, they were divisions (suckers really) from a neighbour’s shrub. I have let them grow as they felt inclined to do but after this winter I will cut them both right back to the stool in the hope of getting a better shape and a better display next winter. I took the liberty of using a stem or two of this plant for cuttings, in the hope of increasing stocks. I have half an idea that I could replicate in miniature the Winter Walk at RHS Wisley by planting along my garden path.


2 – Parsnips. I struggled with root vegetables this year, but have managed to grow some parsnips. We have had a couple of frost so I hope that has sweetened them up. It’s a high risk strategy, I intend to disinter them and use in the Christmas lunch on Tuesday. No pressure!


3 – Module tray. I picked this up from the “help yourself” pile in my local garden centre. I think I will grow salad leaves and maybe some annuals in it later in the spring. Perhaps I’ll cut it up into smaller pieces for ease of use.


4 – Pile of sticks. Or at least that’s what it looks like. I found a local coppicer not far away, a few weeks back I bought these with the intention of turning them into 2 or 3 plant supports of a kind I saw at Waterperry recently. If I observed correctly, 5 or 6 of these are stuck in the ground then bent/twisted over and sort of weaved together to form a cage. The clump forming perennial then grows through this tangle and is thus supported. That’s the theory. I must get around to making those before the wood dries out too much and becomes brittle.


5 – Hydrangea petiolaris, climbing hydrangea. This plant came from a cutting I took from a neighbour’s garden a couple of years ago. It has been in a 3L pot since then, waiting for somewhere to live. I was tidying up a large planter on the shady side of the alley and realised that the clematis in there was never going to thrive. It came out, to be replaced by this hydrangea. It likes a shady spot and is ideal for covering an unsightly wall. Good job too! Only thing is they take a couple of years to get going so I shall have to be patient. I have another one of these that has covered a 6′ fence panel over the last five years, but is always obscured by the dwarf hops and climbing rose with whom it is room mates. Hopefully this one will get the opportunity to shine by itself.


6 – Allium sphaerocephalon, drumstick allium. Nature is kind to us in this dark, bleak period. Even now there are signs of growth to come. These alliums will be in their second spring soon and seem raring to go. A bit too raring perhaps, I hope they don’t get too disheartened if/when we get a cold snap early doors next year. I have six or seven little groups like this around the garden.


Those are my Six for this week – what are your? Oh go on, share! Just publish your post and pop a link to it in the comments below. If you can also mention my blog in yours, that would be fab. For more details and other ways to participate you can read the brief participant guide.

Minimal gardening for me this weekend, I expect I still have Christmas shopping to do and a family Christening to attend on Sunday. Don’t forget to check back in during the day as more links get added.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all that jazz, see you all next weekend for the last #SixOnSaturday of 2018.