The Tea Break Gardener

My Gardening Week – Six on Saturday – 28.04.18

My Gardening Week – Six on Saturday – 28.04.18

My Six on Saturday is briefer than usual as various domestic crises (broken washing machine leaking all over the floor) and children’s activities (sport, sport and more sport) have given me only a short window to write this.

I’m bursting with news though and a few great pictures that I’m keen to share.

New greenhouse is taking shape

Greenhouse frame

Frame of my greenhouse is complete

I’ve shared with with you all my plans for my new greenhouse in previous Six on Saturdays and this week saw the big day arrive for it’s installation.  The frame went up in less than a day and it’s great to stand in there even without the glass and get a sense of how it will feel.

It felt great.

The first greenhouse tenant

Glorisoa rothschildiana

Glorisoa rothschildiana growing strongly

A few weeks ago I shared with you all how I’d potted up my Gloriosa rothschildiana tuburs.  I also gave a potted history of how the eponymous Rothschild is connected to rodent infestations of houses in the Chilterns curtesy of the Edible Dormouse (Glis glis).  They are cute but highly destructive.

Sitting near my dining room window, with a perfect view of the greenhouse construction, the first Gloriosa lily has appeared and put on spectacular growth.

He’s bagsied a spot in a prime position.

Thrice the joy

Trillium Flexipes

Trillium Flexipes

I have spent a bit of time recently cutting back shrubs and clearing perennial weeds and spanish bluebells from a shady border that runs alongside a pretty path.  This activity was hastened by the purchase of various shade-loving plants, as described in last week’s Six on Saturday.

I have been very surprised at how quickly the Trilliums I bought from Edrom Nurseries in Scotland have grown.  This week the first flower opened, on Trillium flexipes.  It is sheer beauty.  Three leaves, three sepals, three petals.

After the birth of Price Louis this week, Prince William announced that three children was “Thrice the worry”.  When it comes to Trilliums it’s thrice the joy.

Woeful Wisteria

Wisteria in building site

My weary looking Wisteria

As part of the changes necessitated by the great greenhouse construction, an old wall made of rather revolting air bricks was knocked out. Partially supported by this wall, although surprisingly strong without it’s support, is this lovely Wisteria sinensis. 

It’s looking rather sorry for itself amongst the chaos of the build, with only cement mixers, buckets and a portaloo for company.

It is, however, covered in buds and I have planted a lovely new yew hedge behind it to show it off in years to come.  I am adding some metal supports so that some of the branches can be lifted.

It may look like it’s sulking but I’m sure it’ll put on a beautiful display in a week or two.

Beautiful Bonsai

Outdoor bonsai Malus (crab apple)

This week I wrote a blog article about outdoor Bonsai so this is a bit of a cheat – but I really wanted to share with the readers of Six on Saturday this wonderful Crab Apple Bonsai as it’s a such a stunner.

It came semi-trained and I am carefully pruning and wiring it to tinker with its shape.  I’m a complete beginner but keen to learn.

Bonsai can divide opinion and I have heard some gardeners say that to Bonsai (is it a verb?) a plant is unnatural.

For my part, I love the structural shapes that can be created.  This little tree, covered as it is in blossom, is giving me so much pleasure.

I can exclusively share with Six on Saturday readers that this picture uses the matt background of a ping pong table.  I do love garden photography!


Tulip Princess Irene

Tulipa ‘Princess Irene’ with emerging leaves of Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’

I’m sure that Six on Saturday will be full of tulips this week, as last.  Yesterday was drizzly and cold where I live, but presented a lovely opportunity, between showers and fixing my washing machine, to get my camera out for some tulip portraits.

This is my favourite picture, the burgundy flushed orange tulip ‘Princess Irene’ looks tremendous alongside the new leaves of Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’. The combination wasn’t planned, just a happy accident, but one I’m thrilled with.


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. @cavershamjj April 28, 2018 at 10:01 am - Reply

    Omg that greenhouse! Consumed with jealousy.

    • Katharine April 28, 2018 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      I didn’t mean to set the green eyed monster going. Will definitely be using your propagation tips so please keep them coming!

  2. Mala Burt April 28, 2018 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    I’m with The Propogator. Consumed with jealousy.

    • Katharine April 28, 2018 at 10:06 pm - Reply

      Oh dear, sorry Mala! It’s thanks to my late father. The greenhouse will be called Frank in his honour. He loved a greenhouse.

  3. Tim Hewitt April 29, 2018 at 5:54 am - Reply

    Wow! You lucky thing! Great photography and plants, thanks for sharing them.

    • Katharine April 29, 2018 at 12:44 pm - Reply

      My pleasure TIm. It’s been lovely to get out and photograph this week. The damp overcast weather actually makes the
      colours zing!

  4. Ali, The Mindful Gardener April 29, 2018 at 6:30 am - Reply

    Your greenhouse is looking fabulous and your dad must be smiling down on you. Your bonsai crabapple is amazing! Thank you for ‘Princes Irene’. I haven’t grown her this week and I am missing her.

    • Katharine April 29, 2018 at 12:46 pm - Reply

      Thanks Ali. I think he’d have loved the greenhouse. We’d have sat in there and had tea and cake together. Yes that Princess Irene Tulip is lovely. Maybe you could grow her again.

  5. Sophie April 29, 2018 at 7:39 am - Reply

    Oh my goodness I would die to have that Greenhouse! It’s so beautiful! Congrats and against a lovely wall too…..sigh. That wisteria will surely come back to full glory. Xx

    • Katharine April 29, 2018 at 12:48 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sophie. It’s lovely to have a chance to build something like that. It’ll be a real sun trap. My family keep asking how I will fill it and I just point at the seed boxes waiting in the wings.

  6. Fred April 29, 2018 at 9:46 am - Reply

    As I said before, your greenhouse is wonderful ! I was happy with mine (I still am) but now I am a little bit jealous because yours is a little bigger and well structured … It may be expensive but it’s an investment for many years, many plants and many Sos coming! ( PS : good tip the ping pong table…)

    • Katharine April 29, 2018 at 12:50 pm - Reply

      Ah, thanks Fred. I was happy with my old greenhouse too. It’s amazing how much you can grow even in a smaller one. The big difference here will be the little area that I can heat all year round if I choose to. I’m keen to get some more tropical varieties going – I know you have a few of these. I look forward to seeing your ping pong table shots.

  7. Lora Hughes April 29, 2018 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    What a great collection of things happening in your gardening, despite your warning you Six would be short. You’ve covered it all & even your non-pingpong photos are gorgeous. Love the greenhouse, obviously, & the tulips, hurrah for the trillium & gloriosa! Mostly, am looking forward to seeing the wisteria given back its dignity. Do it some good, having to spend time as a normal vine, but really look forward to seeing what you have planned for it. Hope things settle a little for you & the laundry gets done.

    • Katharine April 29, 2018 at 10:18 pm - Reply

      No laundry done at all this weekend so the children are going to school a bit scruffy tomorrow and the wet muddy clothes my son wore for a mini mudder run are still sitting in a bucket! Thanks for your lovely comments as always and I will show you a picture of the Wisteria when fully supported.

  8. Paul Foreman April 29, 2018 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    Dam that greenhouse is good! Well jealoua

    • Katharine April 29, 2018 at 10:16 pm - Reply

      It’s beyond what I expected. Such good quality and so spacious. It’ll soon be filled up, I promise!

  9. Jim April 29, 2018 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    You obviously like all sorts of different plants and want to grow as wide a range as you can. That is absolutely the sort of garden I like, lots and lots of interesting stuff. I’m looking for the follow button.

    • Katharine April 29, 2018 at 10:16 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much for your lovely comments Jim. Yes, I love growing lots of different plants. I can’t help myself. I’ve seen you’ve subscribed – thanks so much. I tend to email out a newsletter once a month only with a summary of the different articles I’ve written. One is due shortly…

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