The Wall

This dry stone wall at Button Moon is not only a beautiful example of local craftsmanship but also does a sterling job of holding up the land behind it.   Recently it has an additional, and altogether more exicting, raison d’être.   Behind its slate barricades lies a great tit hatchery.  Although we haven’t actually seen the nest we have watched the parents disappear through a small gap between the stones, food in bill, soon to reappear and flit off to continue their quest.

We have tried to avoid disturbing them, although Pickle the Jack Russell terrier is very interested in the comings and goings.  However, if you linger for just a moment by the entrance, not long enough to anger mum and dad, you can hear the chicks demanding their dinner.  It is most enchanting.

Six on Saturday – Time Travel

This week I have had to enlist the assistance of the time machine again, on loan from our very own Six on Saturday Time Lord, Dr Prop.  At this very moment in time I am not only here with you I am also up to high jinx on another planet, possibly indulging in age inappropriate dance moves and eating too many vol au vents.  Something like that anyway.

First we have an argyranthemum.  A new purchase and a lovely one too.   It is very likely that I have said this before, but I will tell you again just in case you have forgotten.  A few years ago, when I asked his esteened opinion, a very knowledgeable, finger on the pulse, RHS type of person said that argyranthemums were the way forward.  I quite agree.

On to the demon hybrid bluebell.  They are here.  They look very pretty.  We cannot blame them for that.

Next we have a hellebore stuck in Groundhog Day.  I don’t mind in the slightest, although I do hope it doesn’t exhaust itself.  I don’t want to be hearing excuses next year.

Next another new purchase, an osteospermum.   It wasn’t in flower when I bought it, but I took a chance.  I am a wild child.  Perhaps more accurately a wild woman a little past the first flush of youth.  No matter.  You know what they say, “faint heart never won fair Whirlygig”  (possibly).

Last weekend we had some visitors from the Big City.   As the planters at the front of the house were very “Winter into Spring shabby and not in the slightest bit chic” I decided to install “Summer into Autumn fresh and unsullied by neither time nor mollusc”.  I think they were fooled into thinking I keep a tidy garden.  One of the newbies is this Bidens ferulifolia.  This lovely is everything a bedding plant should be, bright, floriferous with the possibility of surviving the winter to give us more joy next year.

And bringing up the rear is a mini cheat.  This tulip is not in my garden, nor was it ever.  However over the last few weeks I have greatly enjoyed the glorious rise and fall of the blooms.  Slowly transforming from tender young buds to silken brazen hussies.  Just wonderful.

There we have it, another six.  And don’t forget, if you need to borrow the time machine, just contact Dr Prop and he will put you on the waiting list.  It comes in extremely useful sometimes.

Found

Today I found a beautiful double helianthemum, struggling to hold its plumpious blooms above a mat of persistent ivy.  I cleared around it and mentally marked it down for some cuttings on my next visit.

Then I continued digging nettles and brambles and pulling out my arch nemesis, cleavers.  To ensure I still had some unmarked skin at the end of the day, I was covered from head to toe and I sweltered as I cleared.  For a harsh job it was strangely enjoyable.

A robin and female blackbird took turns in harvesting as I grubbed.  Every so often I would throw them a worm, feeling a little guilty for its sacrifice.  This wasn’t really necessary.  Their pin point eyesight spotted feasts that I had no hope of locating.  They zipped in and out taking their spoils to well-hidden nests to feed their hungry young.

 

Natty

This morning Lord and Lady Mantle introduced me to three giant cacti, wondering where we could fit them into their planting scheme.   Not quite sure where they will best slot into the general “Game of Thrones meets The Only Way is Essex” ambience.

Lord Mantle was looking fine in his natty hat though.

Six on Saturday – Mind Control

Until about an hour ago I was definitely not going to partake in Six on Saturday today.  I was strong.  I was recalcitrant.  I would not be bowed.  Exactly who does that Propagator chappy think he is anyway?  Controlling my Saturdays, forcing me to go outside into the big outdoors, rummaging around in my garden for worthy subjects, ruminating for hours to pick just the perfect words for a blog when I would much rather be lying on the chaise longue eating Monster Munch and watching reruns of The Dukes of Hazard.  Then I was reminded why.  The chip, which had been implanted when I was initiated into this strange cult, started tingling ominously.  And I knew just what this meant.  It was a warning from the Main Man that any further defiance would warrant a turn of the switch with my name on to Teach Her a Lesson.  For that reason I am very pleased to present my Six on Saturday, with a song in my heart and a skip in my step.

First of all we have a pretty pink aquilegia.  Yes, the march of the granny’s bonnets has begun.  Each year I vow to rid myself of them before they re-seed in every nook and cranny, pot and planter.  Each year I fail.  Until now of course.  This year will be the year that I tame the onslaught.

Now we have the flower buds of Libertia grandiflora.  With a following wind these should be in full bloom by next week, but I rather like the honeyed casing, looking more like a plump grain spike than a member of the lily family.

Earlier in the week I did a little shopping, of the horticultural variety.  Some things were for others, some for us.   One of the new addition is this purple sage, a replacement for the bog standard green variety that perished over the winter.  It is now planted up in a special terracotta pot, purchased from Fish Pye Pottery in St Ives, and is situated just outside the back door for easy access whenever I need some sage.  Which to be honest has, so far in my life, been a rare event.  Of course this might change now I have this lovely specimen.

Another purchase was a few lobelia and a tray of petunias.  The only problem is that I have nowhere to put them yet.   Those pesky primroses keep flowering and flowering and flowering and flowering.   What a fabulous problem to have.

Now an emerging rodgersia leaf.  This plant is in a pot and although I try my hardest to keep it well watered it isn’t very happy.  On days when it looks particularly sad I whisper “when we move to my fantasy garden you will have all the damp shade your heart could desire and you can relax into a humus rich soil on the banks of a cool stream and spread your leaves in joy.”  I did notice that for the first time a flower spike is forming.

And finally the Pelargonium cordifolium var. rubrocinctum is completely forgiven for its pretentious name.   Anyone with a heart ……

All done.  Back to the Monster Munch.

Just a thought.  If anyone from Monster Munch Inc is reading this, I will happily take a large box of pickle onion flavour in lieu of any sponsorship money.  I mean if Mr K has his Haribo ……….

Six on Saturday – Stormzy and Soggzy

Of course it was too good to be true.  Last week was the intruder, the uninvited guest who agitated the party, whipping up the mob, charming us into believing we could have better.  But we can’t.  This is the south-west of the UK.  It rains.  It blows.  We have residual webbed feet.   I should have known better than to raise my hopes.  But I did.  Now everything is back to type and I feel disappointed.  Which is why I am here, far too early for a Saturday morning, on the set of Carry on Screaming.  The wind outside is making ridiculously clichéd sound effects, sleep is impossible.

But let us not descend into melancholia, this blip is nothing that a bit of Six on Saturday can’t sort out.  This cure-all is distributed by Dr Prop, medicine man and snake oil supplier to the stars.  If you dare, pop over and see what it’s all about.

To begin we have apple blossom, of which there is an embarrassment this year.  Or should I say was?  I am wondering how much will remain after these gales.   Still, we rarely eat the fruit these tiny twisted trees produce.  The jackdaws will be remiss, they love their autumn apples.

Next we have a surprise, to me anyway.  As the label had been stolen by the fairies/broken/never existed I was under the illusion that in this pot lurked a bizarre root vegetable I had bought from Lidl a couple of years ago.  Apparently not.  I believe I can say without contradiction that it is a fuchsia.  Then it all came flooding back.  It is Fuchsia jantasensis and it has been languishing for a few years not doing anything of merit, definitely not flowering.   I can quite honestly say that it was not worth the wait.  Apparently it is quite variable in form.  Not sure this is its best incarnation.  The pollen looks like broken biscuits which is rather sad.

Now for a something with a little more potential. Osteospermum ‘JK’ is just about to come into flower.  Dependable, weed smothering, bright and beautiful.  Sound like anyone we know?

What now?  Oh yes, strawberry flowers.  Shall we take a moment?  I think we need it.  Imagine a sun-warmed plump strawberry, plucked straight from the plant in all its virgin glory, at best wiped on the leg of your shorts to remove any slug slime, sweet and fragrant.  Better have another one.   Fabulous.  That feels much better.

The photo is a bit blurry because it was raining when I took the photo, and the wind had already begun its torment.  The things I do for you!

This little tulip, Tulipa batalinii, was bought at Marwood Hill Gardens a couple of weeks ago.  One pot for me, one pot for my friend.  For some reason we thought they would be bright red, possibly because this is what we wanted and somehow by wanting them to be that colour it would materialise.  Wrong again.  This flower has been wide open and has now quite sensibly decided that the better part of valour is discretion.    It is rather pretty, with its green tinged edge.  But definitely not red.

A few years ago I saw a truly gob smackingly amazing lily on the television which went straight to the top of the Lust List, Lilium ‘Forever Susan’.   Deepest mahogany petals, the tips of which are orange, as if someone has held onto the ends as each were individually dipped.   When I spotted a pack in a garden centre I was very excited.  When I came to plant them I realised that they were Forever Linda and not Forever Susan.  Close, but not close enough.  Nice, but not nice enough.  I mustn’t muddy my love.

There we have it, another week completed.  Stay safe.  Remember the strawberries.