Six on Saturday – PS Peggy

Shall we get the obvious out of the way before we get going? It has been hot. Hot for us Brits. We are ill-equipped for such things. We are sleep deprived and smelly. We are pink and dehydrated and grumpy. This week I have mainly been watering pots, talking about how hot it is, sweating and trying to sleep. I have woken to find the weather has broken; it is windy and wet and warm, a generous gift from the alliteration gods. It is too early to say whether this is a preferred option, it is undoubtedly one I am more accustomed to. Crikes, a garden chair just flew past the window! Wait a moment while I rescue it. Well, that was exhilarating and a little bit scary.

I’m trying to think of someone who would have stayed chilled this week and calm in a storm…… just a minute it is on the tip of my tongue ……. oh yes, our Six on Saturday leader, The Prop. Let us shake a leg, this SoS won’t write itself.

First, we have a plant that I took without the owner’s permissions. I nicked it. At the earliest opportunity I confessed, which makes it alright. I think. He didn’t call the police. But I have moved house since. Perhaps I am on the run and don’t even know it. It was however a crime of passion, so there is absolutely no way I would be charged in a Disney court of law. It is a rather beautiful geranium that I don’t know the name of, I didn’t go so far as to steal the label, but I call it Paul’s geranium.

My cucumber ‘Marketmore’ has taken off and there are more flowers and baby cucs on the way. I have been removing the male flowers, for no other reason that I thought the bad boys might make the fruit bitter. Or is that courgettes? The plant has decided that my cane support was not adventurous enough and headed in a tomato-ey direction. As the saying goes, “You can lead a cucumber to bamboo but you can’t make it climb it”. Unless you tie it on and cut off all the tendrils of course.

Last week it was Peggy’s birthday. As we skated to my brother’s house for a celebratory meal, mum on her rolator, me and OH on rollerblades, we bumped into a local gardener. “It is my mum’s birthday” I said, just like a three year old would. The generous woman disappeared into her greenhouse and came out with this little beauty, Salvia ‘Senorita Leah’. “Happy birthday” she said, and then to me “You can easily take cuttings”. I was already on it.

You might well hang your head in shame Dahlia coccinea! One day you have red flowers, the next you decide to start blooming orange. A mystery indeed. I blame Brexit/heatwave/alien invasion.

This is the first time that my Hydrangea aspera ‘Hot Chocolate’ has flowered. To be honest it hasn’t been a long wait, a little over a year, and you have to let a chap settle in. The lovely peachy blooms are a pleasant surprise. I bought the plant for its foliage (and name) and hadn’t considered flower colour. Very nice.

The watsonia seedling has also flowered for the first time. It was a gift from Steve and Dawn at Devon Subtropical. Here it is growing in association with a more reliable orange dahlia, Bishop of York. When I say “in assocation” I mean, I stuck the pot next to it.

And here is an extra. However I have got an exemplary excuse for this misdemenour. Are you sitting comfortably? Since we have been living with my mum, I’ve enjoyed sharing my plants with her. I bring the pots in that are small enough, or help her outside for the larger ones, and tell her a little bit about them. Yesterday afternoon we were looking at this Fuchsia procumbens ‘Variegata’ and she was smitten. “Shame, I’ve already got my Six on Saturday photos sorted” I told her. “Can’t you have it as a PS?” Of course I can. So here it is: the adorable variegated creeping fuchsia.

That is your lot. Rain this weekend, which is much needed. Hopefully not floods, which are seldom welcome. Take care, my friends. ‘Til next time.

Six on Saturday – Excitement

I am even more distracted today. I know, it doesn’t take much. It has been one of those days when the planets align and stuff happens. Hottest day of the year so far, the stairlift engineer came, a lovely card with seed packets arrived, there was a flying ant infestation in the kitchen, oh yes, and we bought a house. An excess of excitement. We need to bring the mood down to a level more conducive to sleep. Some deep breaths and perhaps a little nidra. Or maybe just water the garden. Someone with their feet firmly on the ground, except when he is running mega-hyper-bigboy marathons, is our leader The Prop. Pop over to see what the rest of the SoS gang. Let us proceed.

First we have Lilium ‘Casa Blanca’ which is looking a little tatty but, I am told, smells wonderful. They were a gift a couple of years ago from the veritable JK and have declined since their initial fine display. Still they hang on. Nice to see them, to see them nice. Showing my age there.

Next the flower of Cucumber ‘Marketmore’ with attached mini cucumber. This is not helping the excitement levels.

The sempervivum is flowering. Horrah for the lovely blooms, boo for the dead rossettes, horrah for the new rossettes to follow. Such is life.

Onto germinating multi-coloured beetroot. Stay calm, it is just a beetroot after all.

A couple of years ago, after admiring the sisyrinchium on my friend Gabby’s website she asked if I had any. I said I didn’t think so. How could I have forgotten this beauty? Sisyrinchium ‘E K Balls’. Must have been distracted.

Lastly, the new kid on the block, accidently purchased last week when we went to buy compost. Osteospermum ‘Purple Sun’. I mean, who wouldn’t?

That is your lot, my friends. Stay safe. Stay calm.

Introducing Professor Gadget (no dimwit)

Today I’m finding it hard to settle to anything. The weather is ominous, by turns sun and brooding, and the beyond shameful behaviour last night of a few of my homeland’s lesser beings has left a rather unpleasant aura around me. Still the day hasn’t been without successes. Earlier we took a trip to the garden centre to buy peat-free and inadvertently a new plant that begged embarrasingly until I picked it up and brought it home with us. Be sure you will meet this new member of the family at a later date. First there are other introductions to be made.

It is way past time that I acquaint you with a special new client. I have been working for him for a few weeks now, without major ill incident. The reason I haven’t shared any of our exploits is because I have struggled to think of a pseudonyn for this fine gentleman. These things cannot be forced. They present themselves when they are ready. Last week, whilst rummaging in the undergrowth, I was visited by an inspirational spectre. Suddenly it became all too apparent what his moniker was to be. He is a man found of technology. The garden is replete with irrigation systems, solar lights, customised wildlife feeders, rocket launch pads, and Alexa tells us when the delivery driver is arriving or the lunch is ready. Why hadn’t I thought of it before? It was quite obvious, his name would be Inspector Gadget!

I broke the news to said esteemed client who, like myself, didn’t know much about this famous cartoon fellow. At pasty time he looked his namesake up on Wiki, ummed a little, looked sideways at me and read out loud “Gadget is powerful, lovable, caring, and protective, and loyal to his career as a lawman”, “Nothing wrong with that!” I replied, rather pleased with my choice. He continued reading “but he is also dim-witted, clueless, incompetent, and gullible.” “Oh” I said. After an awkward pause and absolutely no sniggering, I said “Then you will be his brother who is clever and competent and sharp as your Niwakes! Professor Gadget, it shall be.”.

I think I got away with it.

Six on Saturday – Interloper

A Six on Saturday update from Inbetweensville; house viewings are proceeding and a couple of “close but no cigar”, life Chez Maman rumbles along nicely, gardening is good. The optimism tank is not empty just yet. The interim pot garden is doing well and Peggy is not subtle in her demands for the future, “As the plants are now in my garden, they are now officially mine and must stay when you leave.” she announced the other day. This reminded me of when my lovely Cloggie Sister-in-Law first visited the family mansion in Cornwall and foolishly left her chocolate unattended in the fridge. “Stop! That is Ellen’s chocolate!” my Mum proclaimed, as she caught my Dad unashamedly tucking in. “But is is my fridge” he reasoned. End of story. Where chocolate was concerned, there were no holds barred. Lessons were learned. In our house the Easter Bunny ate our Easter eggs, meaning they had to be secreted with the utmost stealth. Which might explain a lot. For less tragic, more floriferous, stories you would be advised to check out what our SoS leader, The Prop, is up to. I am sure he would never take candy from a baby.

Onto my contribution, as tempus is, as always, fugiting. This week, after an initial smack in the chops, my six are rather muted. I will explain. I have been let down. Again. Which has turned me from from the bright side to the subtle side. All will be revealled in the fullness of time. Actually in the next paragraph.

I should know by now not to gloat. It seldom ends well. A few months ago I swaggered, very unattractively, after finally acquiring Lilium ‘Forever Susan’ . Never believe what you read on the label. It is not even close. Still, it is big and bright and very orange and is getting on rather well with Rosa ‘Rhapsody in Blue’. Small mercies. I’m not giving up in my quest, I will nab that ‘Susan’ if it is the last thing I do! Until then I am focusing on delicate hues in the (my) pot garden.

Next, a darling, dusky, Primula capitata ‘Noverna Deep Blue’ which has got on and done the business without fuss or fancy. Respect.

Now, we have a stonking great seed capsule of Trillium sessile, the one I grew from seed and was recently reunited with. I am watching and waiting and wondering if I have the patience to sow more seed. Anyone interested? What I mean is, is anyone interested in some seed, not if I am going to grow any, which is not very interesting.

Onto, the first flower of my dwarf French bean ‘Tendergreen’. Very pretty. Now get on and give me a bean!

Number five is Impatiens arguta ‘Alba’, just coming into to flower and very welcome at that.

Lastly we have Dahlia merckii, a gift from the ever generous Anna in Cumbria. This year she has shined like the star she is! Thank you.

All done, keeping staying well and safe, my friends. ‘Till the next time.

Six on Saturday – Two Little Ducks

Usually I feel a little miffed after we pass midsummer. “Was that it?” I sulk “Surely not!” This year is different. This year we have a new devil-may-care, let’s-get-on-with-it, stop-your-bloomin’-moaning kinda vibe. We maybe on the path back down the mountain, but there is no need to feel sad, plenty of time yet to enjoy the bounty of our gardens. If you are not convinced, our Six on Saturday leader, The Prop, and all his acolytes will cheer your spirits. Shall we get jiggy with it?

First, we have last week’s dahlia, all grown up and in its prime. I think it might be Dahlia ‘ Bishop of York’, not because I have studied form and colour charts but because I remember that I bought it once.

Now a golden leaved spiraea growing strongly in Peggy’s garden. I am not sure I would ever chose one for my own patch, but this is looking rather lovely at the moment, seconded by the local bee population.

Next, a new kid on the block, purchased at last week’s open gardens. This blue beauty was picked out by OH. It was however labeless, a campanula of some persuasion, I’m sure one of you clever folk can tell me which. It is looking rather lovely. OH has very good taste.

Onto one of Chambercombe Bob’s hostas, which like its companions is doing very well. Bob does know that we have them. Before you start gasping, the munched leaves are out of shot.

Now Callistemon masotti which is as reliable as the number 124 bus to Cardiff, if not more so.

Well looky here, who has turned up in a pot of impatiens? None other than the infamous rampant nasturtiums of North Devon. I must say I am rather pleased. Although these two little ducks were covered in black fly, recently squashed of this parish, I rejoice in their arrival.

Next week will be July, it is crazy world that is for sure. Stay safe and well. Until next time.

Two Gardens and a Little Shopping

Today, in Creigiau, two gardens were open for the National Garden Scheme. It would have been rude not to take a look. Normally, so I am told, it would have been more that two, but we live in challenging times and we were quite happy with a brace of beauties. I’m sure there will be new opportunities in the future. It was a prime opportunity to meet some like minded people and nose about other peoples’ gardens, what could be better on a mizzly day in June? And we were not disappointed.

Both gardens were beautiful, in quite different ways, which is always the best way. It means that individual personalities are coming to the fore, people expressing themselves through their gardens and not toeing the horti-media line. There were of course similarities, astrantia and salvias were popular in both, and of course roses. There were some wonderful planting combinations, inspiration and templates to consider. And, perhaps most importantly, we were welcomed with warmth and wide smiles. Then we went to the pub for a pint and a bag of crisps. Does it get any better than that?

And yes, of course I did.

Six on Saturday – Gloomy

We have got to the point in the year where acceleration has reached optimum velocity. Any pretence of control has been thrown out the window with the OS map. There is no brake pedal (one of my favourite anxiety dreams) and we just have to free wheel down the hill as best we can without causing too much harm. Perhaps we should just lift up our feet and shout “wheeeeee!”. Enough with the analogies? Quite right too. You won’t find any of those kind of fripperies over at Prop Central, take a look to find out what the rest of the world has been up to, you won’t be disappointed. Before we go any further, I must explain the title “gloomy”, it refers to the weather and photos, not my mood. Now let’s boogie on!

First we have an aerial shot of my radish seedlings, taken from a drone. Not really, I just stood over the pot. But you didn’t really think …….? Aren’t they bounding along? Someone has taken a nibble here and there, but I don’t mind sharing a little. Just a little.

Next a new member of the family. More compost was needed so we popped into the garden centre and somehow (I’m sure you know how it is) this little lovely ended up in the shopping trolley. Soon, and yes I really mean soon, it will be potted up in its own special terracotta pot and given pride of place.

Now a rather dusty cactus. On the epic crammed journey from North Devon to South Wales, OH held this and equally spiky friend in a box on his lap. Jeopardy.

Onto a pot of bedding I planted to cheer up the front of the house, which has settled in very nicely. What a wonderful daughter I am.

For years I lusted over a variegated jerusalem sage in Phlomis Phlo’s and TT’s garden. I took cuttings on several ocassions, always ending in failure. They also took cuttings will zero success. Just before we moved TT came to pick up a large potted to feed his Australisian habit and with him he bought the above plant. The reluctant Phlomis ‘Rougemont’ had seeded itself in the surrounding gravel. It was meant to be.

Finally, Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’, head hanging low due to the weight of her tresses. I liberated this from Zeus’ mum who was dismayed by her reckless habit. I was hoping she would behave herself a little more with me. Perhaps not.

And that is your lot, my friends. Hope you all have the requisite ratio of rain and sunshine in your lives. Til next time.

Spotlight

We visited Cowbridge Physic Garden today. A scant half-acre walled garden, it manages to cram in everything you could ever ask from a physic garden. It is a magical place and I snapped my way around, greedily grabbing scenes of knot garden and pleach and fountain. At its farthest reaches, we stepped through an arched doorway, from brightness into shade. Unbeknownst to us, we were now in the Old Hall Gardens, admiring a pendula lime, ancient yew and tulip tree. The shaded border was plumptious with astrantia, thalictrum and Solomon’s seal. And a stand of perfect red poppies, dramatically spotlit. It was the shot of the day.

Sixish on Saturday

It has been a very good week. Highlights included: wheeless barrows, gin kits, a static Elvis, celeriac, a plethora of books, downward dogs in the rain and most importantly an adorable cat. I had tales to tell and pictures to share but not the time, or possibly the inclination, to write a blog about them. Hopefully I will catch up soon. Six on Saturday is a milestone in the week; even if I am not contributing I am thinking about whether I am going to or what excuse I can give myself not to. As you will have already deduced, this time I am. Before we get going, I must confess that I have strayed from the path, somehow an extra photo has snuck in. However, as one is for illustrative purposes only and should therefore not be counted, I believe I have staying within the perimeters and rigid guidelines as laid down in the three hefty volumes of SoS rules. In a futile attempt to conceal my rebeliousness from you top mathematicians I will use a) and b). I hope this is OK. Again, any complaints should be directed to my agent, Mr A Non, Refuse Lane, Bin Town, Rubbish County, Trashtopia. I doubt the Lord High Commander will give a fig, so neither should you. Shall we shake a leg?

First, residing at the opposite end of the tufa plant to the lithodora featured last week, is a fabulous little erodium. It is looking particularly lovely, bejewelled (a very Nigella word, don’t you think?) with raindrops. I must get more erodium, such great plants.

Recently I have getting in touch with my veggie side. When packing up to move I decided to send to storage all my flower seed but I brought my vegetables with me. This week, after a compost-buying visit to the local garden centre, I had a mini sowing spree. In this planter there is salad leaf, cut and come again, Mesclun Mix. In redundant terracotta window boxes I also sowed knicker elastic radishes and a mix of purple and orange carrots. In order to make quite clear to the local feline population that “this is not a cat litter box” I have placed twigs around the outside. I would be upset if my seedlings were disturbed. Even if it was Buster.

Whilst at the garden centre I was tempted (surprise, surprise) by the young tomato plants. Sungold is a long time favourite, Shirley the name of Peggy’s best friend. I bought an extra Shirley for my brother and his wife. I thought we could have a competition. Old habits die hard.

Onto a glorious yellow rose, unpruned and leggy, but still quite beautiful.

Aeonium ‘Zwartzop’ is a prime candidate for artistic raindrop shots. It would have been rude not to.

Lastly, a happy discovery in Peggy’s garden. I think this might be Jasminum beesianum but, as always, I am happy to be corrected. Whatever its name, the bees weren’t bothered, especially the diddy ones who are as zippy as they are petite. Five hundred and seventy six photos later, in the rain I might add, and I barely caught one of these allusive flitters. Still, after all that effort, you must see the bee in action, which somehow detracts from the beauty of the jasmine. So here we have it: a) bee and peripheral jasmine and b) bee-less jasmine in all its glory.

That is your lot, my friends. Have a good week!