Six on Saturday – Sunny

Cosmos 'Purity'

The weeks are shepherding us towards winter, a time when finding suitable subjects for Six on Saturday becomes increasingly difficult.  The Lord of the Prop, whose mighty hand rules us SoSers, has followers from all corners of the earth and beyond.  For some of us spring is just getting into its stride, whilst for others the cold has already set in.  In this neck of the woods we are experience some deliciously clement weather, the sun is shining and although the mornings have a rousing chill, there is enough midday warmth to warrant a partial striptease.  Let us enjoy it whilst we can and get going on this week’s contribution.

After the hiatus in flowering, that I can only assume was caused by such heat and dry that nonplussed both plant and gardener, we are now making up for time.  There are many first time bloomers this week, including this Cosmos ‘Purity’ which although short in stature is forgiven for its perfect flowers.

Garlic 'Dario'

Top of the list for yesterday in the garden was getting my garlic planted.  This is a cultivar called Dario which is new to me, but I liked the name and felt like trying something new.  It is supposed to be strong-tasting and the word “excellent” was in the description.  Yes, I do believe everything I read.  We will have to wait until next summer to find out.   For the literatii amongst you, yes Mr K I’m taking about you, this photo is pre-planting.  It is posed.  If I posted a picture of a pot of planted garlic (tongue twister, give it a go) it would look like, well, a pot full of compost.   Rest assured that moments later the tubby cloves were pushed down to just cover their pointy heads.  Now we wait.

Salvia atrocyanea

Another later flowerer is Salvia atrocyanea, the Bolivian Sage.  Blue flowers have a special place in my heart and this is no exception.  Tall and vigorous once it gets going, this tuberous perennial is relatively hardy given a well-drained soil to snuggle up in.


The parent of this osteospermum didn’t make it through the various beasts of last winter/spring.  Luckily I had a back up which flowered earlier in the year and now is having another go.  Which has reminded me that I haven’t taken any cuttings.  Hopefully it isn’t too late, I am living rather dangerously.

Fuchsia 'Börnemann's Beste'

Now another plant that I have featured before, Fuchsia “Bornemann’s Beste”, which is also coming into its own at the moment.  It was glistening bewitchingly in the sun today, closer inspection (with specs on) revealed that it is covered with tiny silver hairs.  The gift that just keeps giving.

Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'

Lastly we have a tatty old leaf of Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’.  It is featured for its pure resilience.  I was certain there would be not a leaf left in the whole Shire after Storm Callum bullied his way through last week.  A round of applause for FP please.  You can let go now.

That’s it my lovelies, another SoS completed.  Don’t forget to see what the rest of his disciples have been up to over at The Prop’s.  Until next time …….






Clematis tangutica

This isn’t a moan, or a gripe, or a temper tantrum.  Maybe it is a little bit of each.  Mainly it is a sigh.

I had a wonderful afternoon in the garden.  My garden.  Potting on cuttings, pricking out seedlings, pootling about.  Marvelling at the anarchy of the borders and making strange noises at next door’s cats.  All was well in the world.

Clearing up I wandered out to fill the green bin and had a gander around whilst I was there.  Which was where Disney turned to Tarantino.  The half barrel, previously full of life, was now barely half alive.  Where there had been an enthusiastic Impatiens puberula there was now mush.  The vigorous dark-leaved geranium now reduced to a single anaemic leaf.  An almost geometric line across the container was now dead or dying.  What catastrophic event had occurred?

I texted the builder “please pop around before you go home”.  He arrived with his mate, all dewy eyed and hopeful.  We stood around the container and gazed at the carnage, each hopeful that Scotty would beam us up.  He did not deny it was their fault.  Mr Nobody had obviously tipped something on the unassuming plants.   He was very sorry.  He did look quite sad.

I tried to be cross.  I am rubbish.  Sigh.

As you are unlikely to enjoy the sight of dead plants, you can wonder at the beauty of flowers and seed heads of  Clematis tangutica .



I don’t know if it is the autumn sun accentuating the vibrancy of the garden, or perhaps my new medication, but at the moment I am slightly obsessed with colour combinations.   Looking from each and every angle, however unlikely and impossible for anyone who is not allowed to stomp around the borders, and exclaiming “have you seen the alonsoa against the Salvia atropurpurea!” or”just look at the coronilla next to the delusional azalea!”.

What I did not shout when I saw the perfect marriage above was “How fine the Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Andenken an Alma Pötschke’ appears in conjunction with Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ .  I well may have fallen off the front garden at Max’s, where I was tettering to take the photo, into the road below.  Still, it is a rather fine match.

So Much More

hesperantha and sedum

Gardening is so much more than being able to identify a tree or know which way a plant goes in the ground.   Stating the bleeding obvious?  Perhaps.

After lunch today Lady Mantle whisked me off to visit a local garden, ostensively to admire some autumn colour.  Which is exactly what we did.  The on-cue afternoon sunshine highlighted the burning leaves of Cornus kousa, ivory fruit of Sorbus cashmiriana, and the fragrant Cercidiphyllum japonicum amongst many fine specimens.  Late flowers of hesperantha, Hylotelephium spectabile and verbena graced the borders.   Brash dahlias, potentillas and caryopteris are a few others that warrant a mention.  Except there was so much more.  People.  Yes, I’m talking about those often dastardly human creatures who seem to mess most things up in the world.  Not in this case though.  The aim of this group of rural friends is to create a mutually beneficial gardening society.  For novices, tinkerers, the encyclopedic, the easily distracted and those who just want to get out of the house.  To share and encourage and support and laugh and enjoy their gardens.  To gain all the benefits of exercise and learning and good companionship.  To grow.  To help others to do the same.

So much more than learning Latin names and which way is up.

Coconut Ice


There is still a lot going on in Nancy Nightingale’s garden.  Obviously there is the singing, dancing and a little rough housing, but also there are dahlias, rudbeckia, cosmos and calendula.  Although past their best, looking a little windblown and tatty around the edges, they still contain enough vibrancy to restrain the tidy instinct that is strong at this time of year.

This ageratum, grown from a mixed packet earlier in the year, keeps drawing me back for another inspection.  Coconut ice, pure and simple.  And that, of course, is a good thing.

Six on Saturday – A Challenge

When I switched my phone on this morning the first thing I saw was a message from my sister-in-law “have you two tied yourselves to the house?”.  Curious.  And then it dawned on me, the news of our very own cuddly Storm Callum had reached the Netherlands.  For your information we are managing to stay attached at the moment, without the need for baler twine.  Unfortunately the plants are not doing quite so well, it has been quite wild out there in the big bad world.  Hence, it is a miracle that there are any photos today.  A feature peculiar to Chez Nous is that the weather is often different in the front of the house to the rear.  When it is sultry summer in the back garden it can be an arctic winter on the seaward side.  Today the front was merely dark, dreary and dank, a little horizontal rain but that is par for the course.  The rear however was a raging bough-splitting, swirling cataract of tempest.   I exaggerate not.   Photography was a challenge.  I took at least 5 million pictures and have managed to glean a scant six from the dull blur of the rest.  What I am blithering on about? Why the urgency?  I had to get enough photos to contribute the The Propagator’s Six on Saturday phenomenon of course!

There are positives and negatives to my first photo.  This is the little alley to nowhere flanked by the house on one side and the garden retaining wall on the other.  There is a shelf (rotting, I might add) on one side where I cosset the special ones.   Pots are stored underneath for winter protection and shade lovers are given some shelter beneath the whitewashed wall.   This is where all and sundry have been shoved in order to avoid damage whilst works are continuing to the house.  Whilst these unceremoniously shoved-in pots (not by me, I hasten to add) have been protected from the worst of the weather, all but a few on the margins are totally inaccessible.  Who knows what high jinx my nemses are up to?   And the interminable nasturtium is marching ever closer …….. It is a worry.


Come on, less of this misery, let us have a bit of good cheer! Here is a plucky gazania, continuing to flower in spite of the inclement weather.  Actually it is not strictly “continuing” as it, as well as others in the garden, had a short hiatus during the best/worst of the dry summer.

Magnolia 'Heaven Scent'

Next we have the tawney veined leaf of Magnolia ‘Heaven Scent’, clinging on for dear life.  This tree was inappropriately purchased for reasons of name and cost alone.  I never said I was perfect.

Chilli Bishop's Crown

This chilli pepper, Bishop’s Crown, was rescued from the home for wayward plants a few weeks ago.  In a pot, far too small for its dimensions, I repotted it and then ignored it.  Really they should do some kind of home check before these neglectees are allowed into the hands of the public.  The fruit don’t look very Bishop’s Crown-y, not that I am an expert in this department.  I might try and over winter the plant, and be nicer to it next year.

Whilst much else is closing down and shutting shop for the season, this hydrangea thought fit to throw out another couple of flowers.   Blooms in minature, but the colour is just as fine, if not better, than earlier in the year.

Dicentra formosa 'Bacchanal'

Lastly we have Dicentra formosa ‘Bacchanal’, again flowering out of season.  This is a plant that has been on The List for a while and I was hyperventilating slightly when I spotted it last month on a stall at RHS Rosemoor Garden Show.   These flowers are much paler than I remember them being and I am optimistically presuming that this is due to the season, weather, planets aligning or some such variables.  We will see.

And that is it, the wind is still roaring and whistling around the scaffolding like something out of a Hammer Horror film, but I am cosy, unlike my poor plants, at the mercy of the monsters who roam ….

Thanks Mr P, take a look at his site and find out what else has been going on in the world of the SoSers.  It will keep you entertained, but I can’t promise that it will keep you out of trouble.




Another hydrangea, and why not?  It has made the effort to flower, and so beautifully.  Today on Button Moon, glowing in the low and most welcome sunlight, it was hard to believe that it wasn’t blooming just for our delectation.  Of course it doesn’t care a fig what we think.