The Tea Break Gardener

My Gardening Week – Six on Saturday 18.01.19

My Gardening Week – Six on Saturday 18.01.19

2019-01-21T13:07:11+00:00January 19th, 2019|My Gardening Week - Six pictures on a Saturday|15 Comments

Snowsnowdrops in snowy grass

This week we had snow – a dramatic heavy flurry during the school run which got my son excited about cancelled lessons and toboganning, but which was over by the time we arrived at the school gates.

It’s been so cold since then that what did fall is still on the ground and the dusting made the snowdrops look pretty.

It’s easy to be impatient for spring but warm winters, whilst good for the energy bills, just don’t feel right for the garden.

Friendly visitor in the greenhouse

Ladybird in greenhouse

I’ve often thought that I’d like to move into my greenhouse so I can’t blame this ladybird for wanting to take up residence this winter.

It’s a good reminder how important it is to use only organic means of pest control in there.  I’ve spotted greenfly on various plants – so this ladybird will have plenty to eat.  If i’d sprayed the greenfly with chemicals they’d be gone but so would the ladybird.

Mamma Mia Rosemary

Foxtail rosemary

I have a friend who says she enjoys travelling with me as I always point out plants in flower, or special trees.  It’s a habit shared by most gardeners and in my case extends to pictures in newspapers, television programmes and film sets.

Last year I watched Mamma Mia 2 in the cinema and was particularly taken with the plants in pots dotted around the set to conjure the illusion of a Greek island.  Plants tumbled out of terracotta pots and I was happy to note a fetching Rosemary branching in all directions like a crazy octopus.

Rosemary flower buds

Earlier that year I had pulled out all my woody old rosemary plants and potted up some small plants of the same plant – foxtail rosemary or rosemarinus officinalis‘ Foxtail’.

My patios are some way from a sun drenched Greek terrace but I rather like the look of it.  I’m sure this summer it will continue its erratic growth pattern and this week I noticed some flowers already developing.

Sweet Pea seeds

sweet peas in cardboard tubes

Regular readers will know my passion for sweet peas and how I like to grow them to enter in my local horticultural show.  Yet again, I failed to be organised enough to do an autumn sowing but this week I finally got round to planting them.

I’m trying a few new varieties this year.  From Matthewman’s sweet peas I bought a beautiful white one called ‘Timeless’ and a magenta pink flower called ‘Milly’.  Both these look to have large flowers on straight stems and should therefore be good for showing.  If you’re in the market for some sweet peas it’s worth looking at this site and the seeds that arrived were large and in perfect condition.  Th eprice quoted is for 10 seeds but each packet had 11 inside – I think a deliberate bonus from the people at Matthewman’s.

Another new variety for me this year is ‘Spanish Dancer’ from King’s Seeds, which caught my eye on a seed stand in a hardware store.  This is a two-tone variety, pale yellow and pink tinged and is described as a good cut flower.  I think it may be a good one for mixed flower arrangements.

sweet peas planted in cardboard tubes

This year I’ve planted my sweet peas in cardboard tubes, which facilitate the long root run of sweet peas.  When folded in half, then half again and opened out they became square rather than round – a tip I picked up online.  This meant that I could cram them into boxes to make them stable and so that less compost would fall between the cracks when they were filled.

They were well watered and placed in the heated section of my greenhouse to germinate.


Tomato seeds in trug

This week I bought several packets of tomatoes, which I will probably sow next month.  I chose the varieties with outdoor growing in mind. I researched online, read books, checked the descriptions of seed companies and asked around on Twitter.

I’ve never tried growing tomatoes outdoors but I’m keen to give it a go, encouraged by these fabulous supports that I saw last year at Barnsdale Gardens.

tomatoes outdoors

Of course my fabulous new greenhouse could be pressed into service but I find tomatoes vary demanding on water under glass and they are particularly needy in August when the school holidays usually divert my attention.  My thinking is that plants in the ground outdoors will need less attention.

For a list of recommended outdoor varieties you can visit my post here.


dahlia tuburs

Another job that I failed to do well last year was to store my dahlia tuburs properly.  Most I left in the ground but I wanted to move a few so these were dug up.

They are in a shed in boxes but I would usually have liked to have covered them with dryish compost to keep the mould and damp from them.

This week I took a look at them expecting the worst but was relieved to find them looking firm and unaffected by mould or mice damage.

Whilst in the shed I retrieved my heated mats and heated propagators and moved them to the greenhouse ready for seed sowing and of course next month I’ll be potting up my dahlia tuburs into compost.  I like to stand them on heated mats as it seems to get them going well in early spring.


Six on Saturday is a weekly meme – take a look at the comments at the base of host The Propagator to see more ‘sixes’ from other keen gardeners from all over the world.




  1. Ciar January 19, 2019 at 10:31 am - Reply

    Very impressed by your organised sweet pea sowing!
    Love the idea of a Greek terrace filled with pots of herbs. I am going to aim for something like that this year too!

    • Katharine January 21, 2019 at 1:06 pm - Reply

      Would love to see what you create. One of the plants I spotted on the Mamma Mia set was a rhipsalis tumbling from a pot. It looked fab but would need to be moved indoors here!

  2. Fred January 19, 2019 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    The children are all the same, excited when there is snow and happy about cancelled lessons…
    My sweet pea plantings have already been started and some have sprouted !
    I’m also waiting a month to force my dahlias and cannas. A little early I think. Tomorrow probably seedlings of tomatoes and chillies

    • Katharine January 21, 2019 at 1:04 pm - Reply

      You’ve got me thinking about sowing my toms…

  3. @cavershamjj January 19, 2019 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    Omg that bog roll tube folding idea is excellent! For your dahlias, last year most of my stored tubers dried out and died, so might be worth spritzing them, no more than that, with a hand spray.

    • Katharine January 21, 2019 at 1:04 pm - Reply

      Good tip about spraying the dahlias. I’ve been lucky this year but note to self – next year be better at storing then properly!

  4. Laura / Pet Scribbles January 19, 2019 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    I’m fascinated by how essential a greenhouse can be. For context: here in the United States, if someone has a greenhouse, it is usually a rare thing and a large structure almost like an enclosed outdoor room. I would no doubt try my hand at seed sowing if I had a greenhouse like I see so many gardeners here on Six on Saturday use!

    • Katharine January 21, 2019 at 1:02 pm - Reply

      How interesting about the US and greenhouses. Whilst I love my greenhouse I would hesitate to say it’s essential for seed sowing. When I first started gardening I grew quite allot from seed on my London roof terrace. A greenhouse certainly provides a great growing environment and provides accelerated growth as well as protection from late frosts etc. Our UK weather is far from predictable and a greenhouse just takes the stress away.

  5. Gill Heavens January 19, 2019 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    I also like the folding tick and the foxtail rosemary is a new one to me, one to look out for. Love to see the ladybird, keep her cosy. 🙂 You can keep the snow though!

    • Katharine January 21, 2019 at 12:59 pm - Reply

      Well worth looking out for that foxtail Rosemary. I bought it from Sarah Raven and she wrote that it was a plant recommended by Jekka McVicar too.

  6. Gill Heavens January 19, 2019 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    “tick” is “tip”, note to self: check before you post and not after. 😀

  7. Paddy January 19, 2019 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    You almost can’t go wrong with snowdrops in the snow! I hope your son wasn’t too disappointed when it all stopped though.
    Good luck with the tomato growing – I’ve never tried growing those (well not intentionally – I had a few accidental compost tomato plants this year), but a relative kept telling me his were a nightmare to keep watered when they were grown under glass.

    • Katharine January 21, 2019 at 12:58 pm - Reply

      My son was fine with the snow – at least his footie match wasn’t cancelled! I’m looking forward to trying the toms outside. It’s always worth trung new approaches to see what works best for you.

  8. cadyluckleedy January 19, 2019 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    Oh, if I could only grow Sweet Peas! I am looking forward to seeing yours!

    • Katharine January 21, 2019 at 12:57 pm - Reply

      I will definitely share some pics. Why can’t you grow them?

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