Pay attention impetuous youth! All you downy-haired saplings listen carefully to what I am about to say and take heed! The rumours that Old Father Time presses his foot firmer on the gas with each passing year is in fact a painful truth. Was it really a week ago since the last Six on Saturday? Hard to believe. Quite why this acceleration occurs is a mystery to me. I am sure it has been pondered in scientific papers and debated long into the night by academics. Whatever the reason may be, I don’t like it. And rest assured I will be making an official complaint to the management. Talking of highest authority, our SoS CEO The Propagator might be able to shed some light on this annoying phenomena. If not he will definitely be able to explain the modus operandi of this Six on Saturday malarkey. Anyway I haven’t got time to hang about. It will soon be next Saturday.
To begin we have a viola, one of my favourite winter bedding plants. That is once you come to terms with the fact that it often stops flowering over the worst of the weather and you start wondering why you didn’t chose cyclamen or primulas instead. Then, just before your patience wears dangerously thin, it bucks up its ideas and flowers its pretty little head off. I planted some yesterday (including this darling) in the Belfast sink at the front of our house, before which I had rammed in 12 orange and 12 purple tulip bulbs. In my mind’s eye these will make a dramatic display in the spring. The truth of the matter may be quite different.
As well as sorting out one of the planters I also cleared some of the rampant geranium and replaced it with an ompalodes and an epimedium. I am a huge fan of epimediums, sometimes known as barrenwort or bishop’s hat, so it has been a great mystery (to myself only, no one else is the slightest bit bothered one way or the other) why I haven’t acquired one before. I say acquire because this wasn’t actually bought. It was half inched (with permission) from Lady Mantle. Autumn colour in herbaceous perennials is often overlooked as a bonus.
I am sure that many of you are well acquainted with the common bindweed, which has the great accolade of being my favourite weed, although I am also very fond of enchanter’s nightshade. As a child (and even now when I get the chance) I loved to pinch the back of the flower and catapult the bloom out into space. I find pulling up the long brittle roots very therapeutic, a challenge and conundrum. As they don’t start into growth until quite late in the season, much else gets a head start which is very thoughtful. They are good fun all round. These days all bets are off when they get to the stage of flowering; a quick tug and a telling off and all is well in the world again. If only it was so simple to solve other global problems. This one is growing high in the hedge, out of reach of my twitching hand, and was looking very pretty in the sunshine today. It was awarded a stay of execution until I find something to stand on.
When grown well Trachycarpus fortunei, known to its pals as the Chusan palm, is a fine and dramatic specimen to grace the garden. Here is the rub. This specimen is not grown well. It is crammed into a pot, fair bursting at the seams, situated in the windiest position of the garden. It is not happy. It is ugly and angry but defiantly continues to produce new fan-like leaves, which before too long become burnt and ragged. Sad really. It should be rescued by someone kinder.
To add insult to injury, the poor palm has to share it’s already cramped living quarters with a tatty old ivy. Where this Hedera helix came from, I have no idea, possibly snaked in from somewhere close by. In part variegated, the rest reverted to dull type, it too is struggling. Now they are inseparable in their agony, a chimera of pain. I think I might be getting a little carried away. Swiftly onwards …….
We will end on a happier note, Fuchsia microphylla, the small-leaved fuchsia. Also in a pot, but a quite different story this time, it has been tended to and adored. Although not entirely happy with the stresses of the searing summer, it is now relaxed and healthy. At the moment is has both fruit and flower adorning it. Even better. Talking of fruit, if you fancy a challenge take a look at Mr K’s SoS, he has posed a little puzzler for us all.
That is it! Done and dusted. See you all in the gloaming.