#SixOnSaturday: Softly, softly

Soft yellows and greens are the standout colours in my secret garden this weekend!

A couple of years ago I bought a collection of four or five ferns. Most fell by the wayside a bit – largely due to my incompetence – but this athyrium niponicum ‘Ursula’s Red’ has quietly made itself at home. I initially planted it in one of my raised bed but it got completely lost. I rescued it last year and it seems much happier on its own in a pot.

Last autumn I treated myself to some Sarah Raven daffodils when I bought my tulips and snowdrops, and the first couple of flowers appeared this week: narcissus ‘Geranium’ (top right) and narcissus ‘Silver Chimes’ (bottom left). I deliberately went for paler / white varieties that should only grow to about 30cm because they should suit the colours and proportions of the garden better than the tall, bright yellow / orange varieties that I regret planting in the early days!!

Lamium (middle right) has become one of my favourite spring plants. It might look like a nettle but it’s sting-free and the bees go mad for the flowers, which on this variety are white / pale pink. I’ve actually ordered a second variety which should be a deeper pink. It divides incredibly easily so I now have a couple of clumps in the garden and I think I took a bit to the allotment too to help with attracting pollinators.

The hostas have crept up on me a bit this spring, which I like! Over the last couple of years I’ve been adding to my collection with plants from the reduced bench, of which this, ‘Ripple Effect’, is one. Although I haven’t seen much in the way of slugs and snails in the garden so far this spring, I suspect they will soon start their inexorable march towards the hostas…

And finally, this lovely yellow wallflower (erysimum) made a fleeting appearance in last week’s #SixOnSaturday but I felt it deserved a little more airtime this week!

Head to The Propagtor‘s blog to see what’s going on in other gardens in the UK and beyond!

This week at Waddesdon

This was the first week of my internship at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire! First things first: I’m sore and tired but have lived to tell the tale!!!

It was a great few days. The team seem lovely, with a nice mix of gender, age and experience; the longest serving members – both gents – have been at the Manor for thirty years and the shortest (apart from me and my fellow intern!) has done six months. They were very welcoming, although I’d hazard a guess that the tin of homemade brownies I took in on the first day probably helped…

On Monday I spent the day in the greenhouse potting on seedlings – calamagrostis brachytricha and lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) – ultimately destined for an extension of the existing wildflower planting on the estate. No joke: I reckon I potted up in excess of 2000 individual seedlings, albeit in clumps of 5-10. Puts the 36 marigolds I did in my kitchen yesterday into perspective!!!!

On Tuesday and Wednesday I was deployed to The Dairy, Waddesdon’s posh wedding venue, where I had a crash course in what it takes to maintain a formal garden! I spent most of the two days clearing up the aftermath of the trimming of euonymus borders – raking up detritus and snipping stray foliage – as well as weeding a unkempt border and tying in rose shoots.

I’ll be honest, my major concern about taking the internship was that I simply didn’t know if I was physically capable of doing it. I’m an overweight, unfit middle-aged woman who’s never done a manual job: this was a not unreasonable concern!!

I knew I could manage a 4-5hr stint – I’ve been doing that at Launde every week for six months; could I do three seven-hour days on the bounce?

Turns out I could! It was genuinely tough, and I’ve accepted that realistically painkillers are likely to be a necessity for the first few weeks, but this week I’ve proved to myself that I can physically do this.

Unfortunately, finding work gear that actually fits me is proving to be a whole different ball game…

Well, that’s quite enough for one week! Happy gardening!


Twitter and Instagram: MySecretGard

13 thoughts on “#SixOnSaturday: Softly, softly

  1. I enjoyed reading about the challenge you have given yourself with the internship at Waddesdon Manor. Go girl! Imagine the elation you will feel when in four weeks time when you have got more used to working the longer day, and contributed to the beauty of this wonderful place. Hope you find the energy to keep up the Waddesdon add ons to your Six on Saturday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the encouragement!! Just taking things literally a day at a time at the moment but, yes, the cumulative impact of all that hard work will certainly be interesting to see!!!


  2. Good for you . Are the work days consecutive or could you split them to have a rest day in between? Do you need specialist work gear or is it just waterproofs and sturdy tops and trousers? Try the mens section in a charity shop for jeans. After a few weeks you’ll be fitter and slimmer anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! The work days are consecutive – Mon-Wed – which is actually better because I stay down in Waddesdon during that time; it’s a 3hr round trip otherwise!!

      It’s really just good quality outdoor wear, plus more specialist trousers. I didn’t mention that I’m also short – 5′ nothing! – which really doesn’t help 🤣 I’m sure it’ll all come out in the wash, both literally and metaphorically!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved hearing about your internship. Perhaps a few of us, and I definitely include myself, daydream about taking on such a job, so it is great to hear how you are getting on. I would also worry about how I would cope physically, but I’m sure it would do me good too.


    1. Thank you! Yes, I’m sure it is doing me good, although I’ve been really tired this weekend. Fortunately I’ve got tomorrow off so an extra day to recuperate and then one less day of hard work this week 🤣


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