Thinking of You

Peggy is reluctant to go out into the garden on her own. This is wise. There are many trip hazards and she is not as sprightly as when she won first prize in the Yorkshire limbo dancing championships. Which means we must concentrate on what can safely be seen from the windows. A few weeks ago she thought she would like a rose to put in pot to be viewed from the kitchen. “Your Dad loved red roses, I’d like one of those”. A quick Google later and ‘Thinking of You’ was found. A gimmick, undoubtedly. A beautiful rose, undeniably.

It is now happily blooming away in a large pot. Next to it is the run-over ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ liberated from Professor Gadget, which is soon to flower and recovering nicely. Both in full sight to be admired whilst washing up. Job done.

Six on Saturday – Spoilt for Choice

What a difference six months makes in the world of Six on Saturday. In the depths of winter I was scrabbling around, wondering if a vaguely interestingly shaped stone would suffice. Today, foraging the garden for SoS options, I was spoilt for choice. I snapped away, eventually whittling the options down to ten. This obviously would contravene the SoS Mandate of 1863; both unacceptable and irresponsible. Determined not to incite an international event, I asked OH if he could advise as to which photos I should use. “The poppy is nice” he said . “That is the flower of a mangetout pea” I replied. On reflection, I should have insisted that he put his glasses on before helping. He is forgiven, his help has been exemplary this week. More of that to come. I love a cliff hanger. Still, decisions have been made, and others will remain for another day/week/year. A man who seldom falters when it comes to decision making is our very own Propulator, king of the road and champion of all things prop. Shall we shake a leg?

First we have Osteospermum ‘Purple Sun’, a plant purchased last year when we were staying at Peggy’s, which is showing no hard feeling after a rather brutal, “it is for your own good”, cut back early in the season. Admittedly, this is its good side, the other is less eager to impress. Such is the joy of selective photography.

Another import from gardens not forgotten is Iris ensata ‘Moonlight Waves’, elegantly photobombed by Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’. I am not surprised that Gertie has turned out to be an attention seeker.

Now a crazy fasciated tomato flower. This is Tomato ‘Red Brandywine’, which I have in the past found to be a little eccentric in its growth. It also has trouble with errant leaders. I can sympathise with that.

This really is a poppy and is a little late to flower, most likely due to it being planted out late. I can’t remember what its name is. In bud it is more orange than I thought it would be. It probably is called ‘Orange Delight’ or something like that, although I doubt if I would have bought it if it was, I do like a traditional true red poppy.

Next is Erodium manescavii, if you haven’t got one, stop reading this immediately and go and find one. Or maybe three. I love it.

Finally, we have a pond. Earlier in the week, when I was out living it up and misbehaving with Lady Mantle, OH was digging a gurt big hole for our mini-pond. I was very happy. I am still very happy. The plan is for a pygmy waterlily. Then I will extend the border to meet it. Happy days.

That is your lot! Have a great week everyone. See you in the gloaming.

Small Emerald

Today, whilst rummaging in the undergrowth, I disturbed this flighty gem. After some research (yes, I googled “blue/green moth”) I discovered it is most likely the small emerald moth. The caterpillars feed on native clematis, commonly known as old man’s beard, and the adults fly from July to August. This one is fashionably early. Or perhaps we must blame climate disruption. You pick.

Ewenny and a Special Cat

Today I had an unexpected day off as my friend Buster is not very well and Professor Gadget is tending to his ills. Taking advantage of the clement weather, OH and myself visited Ewenny Priory, a heavily fortified former Benedictine monastery. It seems they were fierce chaps those 12th century monks. They were filming on site, apparently a murder mystery with undisclosed actors starring, but still we were free to wander. On this warm, early summer morning, it was a peaceful place with more than a hint of dilapidation, a little like myself on a good day. The grounds had wonderful mature trees, beeches both purple and green, yews of course and even a lightning tree. There were dandy peacocks and flighty house martins, fallen walls, gargoyles, a pet cemetery, curious locked doors and barred gateways through which I peered to nature-claimed gardens, thigh deep in vegetation with a half collapsed/half standing (whichever your point of view might be) glasshouse in the distance.

In the beautiful associated church, alongside the wide girthed columns and ancient gravestones, was a pew much longer than the others. At one end, carved in wood, was a dog chewing a bone, at the other a cat enjoying a mouse feast. It reminded me of my poorly pal. Get well soon, Buster, there are more mice to be stalked!

Six on Saturday – Grounded

The beginning of June, and my SoS problems are not what can I include but what not to. Always problems. What will still be looking good next week, or the week after, what needs to be shared before the peak is passed? Even in my new garden things are moving apace. Of course, I am not alone in my happy troubles. Some are winding down, some are winding up, all are over at The Prop’s, take a look if you dare. Shall we shake a leg?

First we have a rather blurry Impatiens stenantha, like all its cousins, it is very happy to at long last have its feet in the ground. I never fail to be charmed by these blooms.

A once named but lost in the mists of time pelargonium has also found its way into one of the borders. Again, it seems happy, although I am not sure how it will fare in a clay soiled winter. Perhaps it will be confined for the wet and windy season.

Onto Rodgersia ‘Heavenly Gill’ which has well and truly made itself at home in the border. Previously struggling in a pot and, however hard I tried to bring it comfort, was miserable and resentful. Now she loves me. And I love her.

I am very pleased with this little corner of the little garden. It looks almost like a proper grown up garden.

On Wednesday we went on a post-Covid trip to the garden centre. I was told “We don’t need any more plants”. Inside I was chortling as I gravely nodded in agreement. As we independently looked up and down the rose aisles I was stopped in my tracks by a lone “Absolutely Fabulous”. Just as I was admiring the glorious blooms, OH called out to me “Come and look at this one”. He had come across the very same rose and was similarly charmed. The result was inevitable. I wish I could say it was our only purchase. I wish I could say it was the largest. I would not lie to you.

Finally, I was thrilled to find this little critter yesterday, a ladybird larvae. Oh yes, and it seems that I have actually, after many years and much disappointment, managed to grow Lilium ‘Susan’. And very lovely she is too. Although a little small. Next year …..

That is your lot. Keep the faith, ’til the next time.

Staying Positive

This Saturday is the long awaited wedding of my fabulous nephew Adam and his lovely partner Jess. The date has been rearranged twice. There has been much heartache and expectation in the process. Everyone has been looking forward to it for two years. My much-missed younger brother and his family from The Netherlands will be there, my sister-in-law’s family will be arriving from Norway; all celebrating in the amazing surrounds of St Audries Park on the edge of Exmoor. Our room has a four poster bed, chaise longue and views across the immaculate formal garden. The footprint of the bathroom is similar to that of our house and has the deepest slipper bath imaginable. But there is a chance we will not make it.

We are still Covid positive.

There is hope, of course, a couple more days for the dratted line to give up and go home. Twice in a row.

And if I can’t go, I have vowed, like a second class Miss Haversham, to wear my special dress all day and weep into my prosecco. Which we haven’t got, so it will have to be tonic water.

Of course, the last thing we want is to put anyone at risk, and we will stay away if there is any doubt. But I really, really, really, really, really want to be there. What I am asking is for some serious, global entreaties to be sent to the powers that be, in order for us to get there. Perhaps a little communal chanting or some serious visualisation. Are there any witches (white) or wizards close by to cast a spell or two? I’m sure a few of you must have some ethereal clout. Thanking you in anticipation of you doing your very best.

Six on Saturday – Gotcha

It got me in the end. The dreaded Covid. Stopped in my tracks. Unsure quite how, but still, it got me. After two years and several months, I have fallen. And here we are in poorly-land. It will be obvious that, due to my ability to scribble (metaphorically speaking) a spartan blog, I am not desperately ill, and for that I am thankful. Still, there is gardening that can’t be done, gigs not attended, family outings to forgo. Luckily I am surrounded by the warm arms of my family. When I told Peggy she said “Well, at least you’ll have time to turn up the hems of the two pairs of trousers I gave you to alter.” Hopefully all is well with the rest of the gang, pop over to The Prop’s site and all will be revealed. Shall we get on? I’ve got coughing and feeling miserable to get on with.

First we have the annual SoS display of Rhoodohypoxis baurii (or similar). They are looking a real treat at the moment. Joy to my heart.

Next, Viola ‘Molly Sanderson’, a happy discovery in a garden centre bargain bin. I have grown this lovely lady once before and she was lost along the wayside. Yes, friends, I killed her! Possibly best not to mention that fact in front of the new girl.

More joy, in the unlikely form of a greenhouse base. Now I just have to worry that it is in the right place, big enough, the actually greenhouse will turn up, the actual greenhouse putter-upper will bother coming. And breathe.

Onto another newby and perhaps a new obsession. Not that I have room for any more. I love this little nemesia!

One of the great pleasures of the garden is to see the wildlife beginning to use it. What was once a virtual desert is becoming an oasis. This Allium roseum is providing sustenance for both the bee and my tortured soul. I may be getting carried away.

Finally, the most glorious Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’, another rescued rose, but this time from Zeus’ mum in Ilfracombe. I’m feeling better already.

That is that. Tired now. ‘Til next time.

Great Excitement

Today the men are here laying the slab base for my birthday greenhouse. So far it has not been an easy journey down the road to construction. Crazy quotes, broken down vans and lost work days have not endeared me to the process, but still I keep the winning post in sight. The workers arrived early, 7.45 to be precise, which seeing they have come all the way from near Windsor is admirable. True to form they wanted milk with two sugars in their tea, but worryingly refused the chocolate hobnobs. Should I be concerned at their builderly credentials?

Today I should have been constructing hanging baskets in The Prof’s greenhouse. Last week, strictly adhering to his exact and exacting instructions (see above), I planted wall planters with begonias. Lots of them. I lost count after a million. Having witnessing the hanging gardens of South Wales last year, I know that the effort is well worth it and I happily took on the challenge. And PG knows how to keep me happy; plenty of cups of coffee, Echo playing music to sing and dance along to and a pasty break was sustenance enough.

Because of having to rearrange the builders, who could only do the work today or in 2024, The Prof very kindly agreed to swap days, although I fear I will pay for it on Friday. Buster will probably have a grumble too. They love me really.

Six on Saturday – Windy City

It is always a challenge taking photos on a windy SOS days. Seems obvious when you think about it. Is it blustery/stormy/wild more often? Am I just doing that “when I was a gal” nonsense? Possibly not. An offset to our volatile weather is that we have digital cameras, we can take more photos and at least one should turn out blur free in the tempest. I’m not sure it is enough to save the world. Talking of the world, the whole shooting match is represented, in a Six on Saturday kinda way, over on The Prop’s blog. I would take a look if I were you. Now, all this chuntering isn’t getting the baby bathed, let’s get on.

First we have, now is this nemesia or diascia? I think it is diascia. It was liberated recently from a garden centre Death Row. A week later it is flowering its pretty little head off. Nowt so queer as folk.

Then another donation from Welsh Ann. I’ve never grown Solomon’s seal in my own garden and this big chunk has settled in nicely, just behind the pear tree. No sign of the evil (not to its friends and family) sawfly. Classically beautiful. Just like me. I can hear you sniggering in the cheap seats!

Ever ready to obey orders, and just for Granny, here is a picture of the front of the house. A 2m sliver of hypericum hedge, path and gravel. A very shady spot, it is potted up with Bob’s hostas, ferns and an impatiens, can’t remember which. Under the hedge are some of Prof Gadget’s London Pride and a few begonias. I am undecided about the hedge. There is a short wall behind it and doesn’t really offer any privacy or protection and I am not a great lover of it, for historical reasons. Nothing to do with Henry VIII, we had a lot of it in a former garden and I didn’t like it there either.

We have had a few hitchhikers in some of the larger pots. In one of the acers is a strawberry. I don’t think we will be feasting on Eton Mess any time soon, but it is a start. Quality over quantity.

The Jovenella punctata photo is a little blurry. Not only was it being buffeted about, I was crouching down, trying to share its special little purple and yellow throated flowers, usually the joy of the bee only. It is covered in bloom at the moment, I am very fond of it. Which is possibly why I haven’t planted it out yet. It is a little tender and I am especially protective of it.

Finally, the joyful ranunculus, inspired by their anemone neighbours, are making a fine showing. I know I shouldn’t have favourites, but the orange is quite a beauty.

That is your lot my lovelies, see you in the gloaming. Except JK, I’ll see you Tuesday. Unless you are hiding from me again.