Six on Saturday – Raindrops keep falling on my flowers


Someone must have speeded the film up.  It can’t possibly be Saturday again.  There is so much to cram into every week, it doesn’t seem fair that the time seems to pass more quickly at this time of year.   As we are pondering this anomaly, puzzled looks on our faces, gaining yet more wrinkles, there is a more than likely a crack team of scientists studying this very phenomena.  Let us hope so.  I could do with a few more hours at the very least.  The hard fact is that we are back in our happy place again.  Six on Saturdayland.  Take a look at the website of The Grand Vizier of the Independent State of SoS where you will find other Islanders and a guide to help you on your way if you wish to join in with the conga.  Let us proceed.  Due to circumstance all of my flowers this week are a little wet.  It has mizzle/drizzle/rained all day and although this scuppered my plans I am pleased for the garden.

First of all we have a gazania, the first flower to open from a couple of trays of locally grown mixed plants.  I’m sure they have been enjoying the hot sunny spell we have had up until today.  Quite what this sun-loving, South African daisy will think of the dreary North Devon weather I can’t be sure.  Might make a nice change, although this is unlikely.

Salvia argentea

Next we the Salvia argentea, silver sage, a fabulously furry creature that I have mentioned before in Six on Saturday – Monochrome.   I am pleased to report that it over-wintered and is as adorable as ever.  A pet without the vet fees.


Now we have a hosta, which has so far escaped the inevitable ravages of molluscs.  In order to keep a keen eye on it, it lives in pot outside the front door.  It was a gift, along with a couple of others, from Chambercombe Bob and is just about to flower.  I am very fond of it.  Bob’s nice too.

Nasturtium 'Black Velvet'

On to Nasturtium ‘Black Velvet’, which although is quite velvety isn’t terribly black.   A bit out of focus, but it was raining and I was balancing and who cares.   This seed was purchased at an end of season cut price jamboree/full-on-combat event.  Everything was fifty pence, I am hyperventilating just thinking about it.  Myself and Nancy Nightingale wrestled a rather persistent lone male shopper for the spoils.  No prizes for guessing who won the bout.  We make a fine tag team.


A rather pretty pink pelargonium is next, unnamed, bog standard, generic and quite beautiful.


Finally, a little late on parade, we have a buttercup yellow primula.  Bought on a stall somewhere on my travels, perhaps car boot sale or open garden.  It is a welcome splash of colour before my tardy dahlias begin their display.  If I can keep them safe.  Which is not a given.

That is your lot my lovelies.  Until the next time!



Today we went on a jolly.  It involved the following, which on the face of it appear quite unjolly, events.

  1. A very early start
  2. A car journey
  3. No train
  4. A bus replacement
  5. A young woman who talked nonsense at high volume, without a breath and mainly about herself, for an hour and a half.
  6. A train
  7. The hi-vis pupils of The School for the Extra-ordinarily Excited who joined us.
  8. A twenty minute walk through a Stepford-esque estate when we saw not one person, but for a rather reticent postman.
  9. Several hours of intense retail immersion.
  10. The purchase of unnecessary and cluttering items, to add to the rest.
  11. More spooky houses and no people.
  12. A long wait on a windy, cold train station, situated underneath a flight path, with views to the motorway and seats that only a yogic master would find comfortable.
  13. A train – not ours
  14. A train – cancelled
  15. A train – not ours
  16. A train – ours
  17. The returning pupils who had not worn themselves out one iota.
  18. A dash to the replacement bus.
  19. A man who wittered on for an hour as he was busy for the other thirty minutes sniffing and drinking cider.
  20. A car journey home.
  21. Collapse.

A great time was had by all.



This morning I spent an educational moment or three studying a bee who was trying to exit a campanula flower.  Mrs Buzz-u-like’s drawers were full of pollen and she was slip-sliding and wheel spinning, as if her path was lined with treacle.  Perhaps it was.  It was pure slapstick.  And educational of course.  I learned never to enter a campanula flower without a ladder.

Plan B

Yesterday I implemented Plan B in my relentless battle against the unremitting mollusc onslaught.  B stands for beer.  Beer traps.  This morning I fished out the inebriated/drowned and was impressed/horrified to find approximately forty of varying shapes and sizes in just two traps.  They were enticed by Tesco’s definitely not finest but cheapest beer.  Not the prettiest way to start a day, poking with an old fork at bloated slimey mini-sausages.  It did however substantially improve.  Sun, more sun and a whole lot of gardening.



“Gardening is not instant, or a quick fix, do not be fooled by those programmes, life isn’t like that, be prepared for the long haul” this is my rallying speech to new clients.  Looking at The Mantles’ garden this week, just over three years since I arrived, I am proud.  Not just for me, but for the Honourables.  We have all worked hard.  When I arrived spirits were low, love was absent, the garden was a thorn, a chore, an out of control abomination consisting of desperation weed suppressant and rough bark mulch.  A desert of subsoil and Spanish bluebells.

Now it is a joy.  Love has returned.  My work here is not done.  I hope it will go on forever.  But I know it won’t.  And that is fine too.  Life is like that.

Six on Saturday – Angels and Demons


Hip hip hooray, it’s another Saturday!  I’ve had a haircut and a bowl of chips with mayonnaise and now I am ready for anything.  Even a Six on Saturday.  No idea what I am talking about?  Where have you been?  Lost in the Bornean jungle, or Ikea’s soft furnishing department? Don’t worry, Sir Propalot will update you on proceedings.

First we have a splendid rose.  It was in the garden when we moved here, so I have a valid reason for not knowing which one it is.  I suppose I could do a little research, but to be honest I’m not that bothered.  All I know is that it is beautiful and fragrant.  Which is adequate.

Parahebe 'Snow Clouds'

Next we have Parahebe ‘Snow Cloud’ which has weathered the hard winter admirably. The other parahebe in the garden, although alive, has not fared so well.  It is looking decidedly ropey and is on the “pull yourself together or you are out” list.  Swotty Snow Cloud is definitely not on that list.  Straight to the top of the class you go!


Spikey plants are not encouraged in the gardens that I work in, let alone in my own.  OH bought this pyracantha, even though when he suggested it I said through gritted teeth “if you want it, feel free”.   I concede that it is great for the wildlife and the flowers are rather lovely.  This does not detract from the fact it is a vicious monster to the gardener.


A little late to the spring party, but none the less very welcome, this primula is strutting its stuff this weekend.

Geranium nodosum

Earlier this week I said to Ms Button, whilst attacking the forest of mint that someone decided was a good idea to plant directly into the ground, “Do you ever wish you had a time machine and you could go back to the moment the offending plant was being planted and say “stop, in the name of humanity, do not put that thug in what is to become my garden!””  I would say just that to whoever planted this pink geranium in my garden.  It is a thug and pops up in, under and over everything.  I believe it to be Geranium nodosum.  Ruthless.

Rosa 'Rhapsody in Blue'

Last, but definitely not least, we have Rosa ‘Rhapsody in Blue’.   Not blue, but a rhapsody indeed.  Fragrant and floriferous.  Wonderful.

That is your lot, another week passes, another six to savour.  Some demons, some angels, some demonic angels, some …. you know where I’m going.  Thanks to The Prop, onwards and upwards!