Six on Saturday – Optimism


It is that time of the week again, the time for excuses and diversions.  But wait a moment!  This week, all is legitimate and legal, photos and text both created today.  Unlike some I could mention, however I do not like to tell tales, do I Mr K ?

Six on Saturday time again hip hip horray!  For those of you still unsure of what this entails, pop over to The Propagator’s site and find not only how it works but contributions from others in his control.  Once you have signed your name on the dotted line in blood, you will never escape his evil grip.  But don’t let that put you off, come on, join in, the more the merrier!

To begin we have a self seeded aquilegia.  Last year they got a bit above their station and I promised to cull them before they trampled everything else.  They are tricky to get out, with their fleshy taproots and indomitable will, but I will persist.

Iris reticulata

Next we have a lone Iris reticulata, leaning at a rather jaunty angle.   I am especially fond of these irises, although I don’t often manage to keep them going for more than one year.  This is, I believe, due to the fact that they should be in full sun and sandy soil, neither of which they are afforded here.  This chap might be the only survivor, jostled by Narcissus ‘Tête á Tête’, crocus and violas.  I am very proud of him.  However, there is plenty of time for the others to wriggle through.

Paeonia mlokosewitschii

Now onto the obligatory “emerging shoots” photo of the day.  This is Paeonia mlokosewitschii  which, unless you are Polish is best called Molly the Witch.  It was a gift from my extremely talented, virtual friend Sue and has yet to flower yet.  As always, I am hopeful for this year.


This hellebore is the tricky dicky that I tried to photograph a couple of weeks ago.  It is in completely the wrong place and slightly irritates me every time I see it.  Which is a shame because it is good one.  I will move it after it has flowered and hopefully it won’t sulk too much.


A small parcel arrived this morning, with no return address.  I opened it and found a pot containing some plant material.  No note.  Very curious.  Then the two pound coin dropped.  The mystery plants were winter aconites, a gift from an extremely generous blogging friend, Chloris, who has an amazing garden in Suffolk.  I had been bemoaning (yes I know hard to believe) that I have never been able to grow Eranthis hyemalis  in our soil (a workman blames his tools) and she generously offered to send me some of hers.  They are now safely potted up and I am positive they will thrive in their new home.


For the finale I have chosen vermiculite.   Not a looker, but very useful.  On Tuesday I received a message from my friend Pat the Field asking if I had found the bag that she had left outside my front door the previous Friday.  “No”, I told her,”perhaps it has blown away”.  “I don’t think so” she said “it is quite big”.  So I asked my neighbour on one side, not a sign.  Then yesterday I saw my other non gardening, non going outside very much at all, neighbour on the other side “have you seen a bag of, um, light brownish stuff?”, “oh I wondered what that was”.  Luckily she had not thrown it away and popped it around later but asked no questions.  An animal feed bag full of vermiculite, what on earth did she think it was?  The mind boggles.

So there we have it, another week crossed off, soon I will be up before the parole board.  Until then, I will be under the control, for at least one day each week, of the magnificent Mr P.


25 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – Optimism

  1. Lovely, lovely Six. Even the vermiculite – so useful, glad it didn’t go AWOL. The Aquilegia photo is particularly enchanting, with its sun, shadow and dewdrops. I find it hard to weed them out, too. Who knows, something entirely new and beautiful could emerge. You could achieve fame and naming rights!

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  2. Vermiculite? I used a picture of fertilizer that my editors hated. It was merely a ‘thumbnail’ picture for the topic, so had nothing to do with a featured plant. I still have the picture. I thought it was rather artistic. (No, it was not horse poo.)

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  3. I expect the neighbours thought it was cat litter. I hope the cat doesn’t think it’s cat litter. I’m glad the aconites arrived ok, I used to post plants in those plastic containers that washing capsules came in, they were so handy. Now the manufacturer has started using packets. So I couldn’t cram very many into the only container I could find. But I’m glad to see they survived alright.

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  4. Keep up please! Iris reticulata isn’t any more. It’s something beginning with H. I think. They used to be H before someone lumped them into the Iris genus but now, with DNA, they are being unlumped, poor things. We were discussing this today whilst I bought a few plants that weren’t any longer. I asked for a discount for non-existent plants but the nursery was most adamant that they hadn’t yet got round to relabelling but the plants were actually real and not imaginary. So I bought a cup of coffee and a cheese and pickle roll which also turned out to be due for renaming (to cheese and tomato). When your soil doesn’t allow you to grow a plant, there’s always the raised bed approach. Don’t be defeatist. If your Aquilegia are proving difficult to remove, just remember you need to get out more and remove them earlier.

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    • Hey wait a minute. Are you saying an iris isn’t an iris? Or do you mean Iris histrioides? That’s’s not a new name, it’ s not the same as Iris reticulata, although the two have been hybridised. Iris histrioides has broader falls and it is more likely to reappear next year. It doesn’t need such a baking as it comes from the northen mountains of Turkey.

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      • Yup. Though I got the initial letter wrong. Them wot profess to know wot they’re talking about have now decided that Iris reticulata isn’t in the Iris genus but its own which is called Iridodictyum so it’s now Iridodictyum reticulata.

        But we’re not having any more of this renaming confusion which simply means people can’t find the plants in the nurseries so there will henceforth be three names to each plant – the common name if there is one, the botanical name (used only by those that are persnickety about these matters), such as Symphyotrichum and the Gardeners’ Latin name, in that case Aster (Asters have now been split into eleven different genera). If you’re the slightest bit interested, there’s a blog about new names and lots of comments on it at


      • Thank you, I do try to keep up, but this Iridodictyum thing has passed me by. In fact as far as I’m concerned it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’ve tried to remember that a sedum is no longer a sedum, patiently learnt how to spell ‘symphyotrichum’, instead of aster, learnt to say ‘hesperantha’ or even ‘lamprocapnos’ and struggled with ‘maianthemum’ -too many vowels. But now ‘iridodictyum’, no, I’ m going with that.


  5. I am dying to see that hellebore open. What a looker it is & so coy. How did your vermiculite end up at the neighbours? And good luck w/the aconite. Such a lovely flower that comes, shines, then disappears into the earth. Fabulous.


  6. Good variety of stuff here, as usual. I left my vermiculite on the decking all winter where foxes weed on it and rain got to it. It is very unappealing now. I was desperate last night and used some on my first sowings of the season. Need some fresh stuff though for the seeding frenzy ahead.

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