Six on Saturday – 24/04/2021 – Start the Harvest

I worked in the garden well into the evening yesterday and was fairly constantly surrounded by hordes of tiny flying things. Non-biting midges, I hoped, and not baby mosquitos, which would bode ill for the rest of the spring. A bit early for mosquitos in these parts, but these days, who knows? But that was yesterday, and today is Saturday, which means The Propagator is hosting his weekly round-up of six things in the garden. Aside from the tiny flying things, it’s been an eventful week here, with a nicely short lived dumping of snow (there’s another post coming tomorrow with some proof of that), a first harvest of chives for the dinner salad, spring bulbs continuing to produce an abundance of blooms and the first mowing of the lawn this year. Here are six other things:

I’ve never had the nack for growing lettuce (or any sort of greens) but each year I’m in awe of the photos I see of cold frames and tunnels and green houses bursting with fresh leaves, usually starting some time in March. I thought I’d experiment a bit this year and ordered a few packets of seed, lopped the bottoms off some four litre water jugs, and stuck them in my kitchen garden. Below are my mini greenhouses, and above is the result – Forellenschluss lettuce seedlings. It’s an Austrian heirloom romaine type, and the name means ‘speckled like a trout’s back.’ I love how the speckles are there even on the cotyledons.

I planted two new daffodil varieties last fall. This is Narcissus ‘Delibes’ – a large cup daff with a striking orange ruffled rim. Only one in bloom so far, with its head pointing down (perhaps the snow bent it…) so I had to gently coax it to face the camera.

We’ve been eating chives this week but next week, perhaps, we’ll be into the asparagus. I MUST find and plant more crowns this spring because with a few more plants we may get a few more meals…

I can go on about foliage as much as about flowers, and sometimes the foliage far outshines the flower (many people would put Hostas in this category, although I quite like their flowers). The variegated Iris – Iris pallida – is one where, in my opinion, the flower takes a back seat to gorgeous yellow and green foliage. In my side garden they look great this time of year behind a patch of Muscari armeniacum.

It looks like all four of my roses have survived the winter again. Here’s some proof – buds bursting on this Iceberg:

I’ve saved what I consider the most unique, alien looking, somewhat frightening, yet exiting, thing for last. Started from seed, these are Cup and Saucer vines (Cobaea scandens, also known as Cathedral Bells) beginning their journey to reach three to six metres into the sky, producing, I hope, lovely purple flowers. I’ll be transplanting them into a large pot in three weeks or so and I won’t mind if that inhibits their growth much!

Have a great weekend everyone!


      1. Yes, although I am not sure if they are all of the same lineage. I read that grandiflora roses are hybrids of hybrid tea and floribunda roses, which seems very far fetched.

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  1. Hi Chris, me too it’s muscari time this weekend ! … but yours are also very pretty.
    Like Jonathan, you have your cobaea growing well. I was just telling him that the ones I had last year burned despite the double fleece this winter. I hope they will start again from the foot which was doubly protected, otherwise I will have to seed some quickly again

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    1. I would think that if you can grow a palm tree (!!) your cobaea might survive…however, if it doesn’t, the seeds germinated very quickly for me and the plants are growing VERY quickly. Maybe you should start some seeds now, just in case?

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    1. I’m not sure what I’ll do when it comes time to harvest – the plastic is so light I had to somewhat bury them to keep the wind from blowing them away. I’m hoping when the time comes it’ll be warm enough to leave them off permanently.

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  2. “Spotted like a trout’s back” is a beautiful description. Congratulations on your success with the lettuce seedlings! Your asparagus spears are looking quite healthy. In my ignorance, I planted some wrongly last year and had to reconfigure the bed at the end of the growing season. My roots were much the worse for wear, so I bought some new crowns, but very few have come up so far this year. Must be doing something seriously wrong.

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  3. Chris, you covered a bit a territory today! Great Cloches! I have only grown lettuce one season, but I loved it! It was at a plot at the church! I had so much lettuce it was hard to keep up! I am certainly going to keep track of the Cathedral Bells! I hope you show them as they progress! Cady

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  4. Those iris leaves are gorgeous. I’ve not seen anything like them. For that matter, the cup and saucer vine’s new to me, too. I read that it’s native to Mexico, and that it can grow 10′-20′ in a season. My goodness!

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