Archive

Today I potted up my over-wintered dahlias, with only two “no labels” amongst them. We must rejoice over such small mercies. Now we wait.

As a pot of compost is not the most exciting image, even for you visionaries, I have dipped into my archive. Archive/marchive, I took this picture yesterday. This is Amaryillis ‘Red Dragon’, a gift from Lady Mantle. I was worried for its well being when the label said “keep at 21C”. Our house has rarely reached such heady heights. Still, it has proved the label wrong. Every move of this scarlet wonder has been a joy.

My Day

It began with a shining sun; I saw Nancy Nightingale and Scooby the giant puppy for the first time since before Christmas (although no physical gardening, just pointing and planning); I went to a garden centre and didn’t buy a single plant although I did admire a few (honest guv); I bought a dozen of North Devon’s finest eggs; I went for a walk with my beloved and admired the catkins and blue sky, from afar we chatted with smiling friends and strangers alike; I discovered two baby slugs, as bold as you like, in my little greenhouse, they have been evicited with no notice; I gladly waved goodbye to our old oak bureau, on its way to a new home; I ate chilli and jacket spuds and soon there will be a couple of squares of sea salt dark chocolate to dunk into my cup of tea.

I can’t complain about my day, not this time anyway.

Six on Saturday – All The Fun of the Fair

Outside the wind is shrieking like the waltzers and I’m fed up of spinning now. It has been a week of sadness and some pain. A dear friend died, leaving another dear friend broken hearted. And I have hurt my back. It is obvious which is the most important. I wonder if I will ever learn that somethings can’t be fixed by force, but only by time. I suspect I will keep trying.

An addiction to Six on Saturday is a sometime blessing and occasional curse, but for your delectation I struggled outside into the demon fairground to take some shots. For those of you unacquainted with SoS, and question what could inspire such noble devotion, nip over and introduce yourself to the legend that is The Propagator. You will not only uncover the intricacies of this cult but also those of his many sycophants. Chop, chop, let’s shake a leg!

First, we have a hellebore that was so desperate to be photographed it held its head uncharacteristically high, meaning no bending was necessary for the photograph. After all that effort, it would be contrary to resist. My aching back thanks its thoughtfulness.

Next, stripy crocus, shaming the under-performing violas they co-habit with. I am not surprised about the violas’ frankly disappointing show, the exact same happens every year and every year I despair. And then, just before I am poised to replace them, my trowel in vengeance mode, they go on hyper-drive and become irresistible. Each year I am fooled. There is nothing to suggest that this will not be repeated ad infinitum.

Less of the seasonal, onto the misguided. Here we have Lavandula pinnata, which has been popping out the odd flower since autumn. Respect.

Now we have a grumpy lion, a bench-end valiantly holding together a rickety seat. I am a Leo and sometimes a grumpy lion. It is all about empathy. A bench is good place to start.

Earlier in the week I started the rose pruning, perhaps a little late as they have already sprung into action. When I say “start” it is not because I am the proud owner of acreage of floribunda, but because there is a climbing rose that needs some serious reformative pruning. The green bin is now full, and my hands pin cushions, despite protective gloves. It was time for a break. This is Rosa ‘Peace’, as identified by SoSers, and is rather further forward than the others. This little shoot had a reprieve, to keep up the good work.

Whilst pruning, during several diversions, I investigated whether Molly the Witch had begun her journey. I ripped away the surrounding mass of damp crocosmia foliage, like some horti archaeologist, and low and behold there she was, Paeonia mlokosewkitschii (not an anagram). Perhaps a flower this year?

All done, six in the bag. Hope all is well on your planets. ‘Til next time.

All Things Come to Those Who Wait

Buying new plants is out of the question. We will be moving in the next few months and it would be beyond foolish to add to the already ridiculous number of pots that are lurking in the garden. Let me reiterate: beyond foolish.

I have been lusting over Lilium ‘Forever Susan’ for some time. I clearly remember the first time I was entranced by her loveliness. I was at my Mum’s and we were watching the TV, me lounging on the sofa, her with her feet up in her bionic chair. More than likely we had a cup of tea and perhaps a jammie dodger. Sadly, it has been a while since I have watched Monty with my Mum. Let me make it clear, I’m not talking about a programme called “Monty with My Mum”, although I am sure it would be very entertaining. What I mean is, I was watching Gardeners’ World whilst I was at Peggy’s house. Hopefully I have averted the potential disaster of disappointed souls desperately scanning for back episodes on iPlayer. Back to the lily in question. As I was too comfy/lazy to get up and grab a pen and paper, I convinced myself I would remember the name. Luckily Peggy knows me better and scribbled the name on the back of her Handgliding Weekly. From that moment onwards I have been poised to attack, on high level lily alert.

Unfortunately, there was the tawdry incident when I got over-excited and bought ‘Forever Linda’ by mistake and have ever since been trying to reconcile the fact. Linda is a lovely lass, but Susan was my first love. Still she evaded my clutches.

Today, in search of Babybel and avocados, I wandered into our local discount supermarket, the one that rhymes with idyll. Even before I got to the hand-sanitiser I spotted her, nestled in a box of other lilies. Standing undecided for all of a millisecond, I grabbed a packet, gave it a quick squeeze to ensure firm bulbs lay within, and before I could create a biohazard, they were in my shopping trolley. I must admit I was all of a flutter. It was meant to be. All things do come to those who wait. She had better be as good as I have been dreaming.

Six on Saturday – You can’t keep a good fern down

February has arrived; which is officially the last month of winter. That is if like me you prefer to adhere to the meteorological interpretation of events, at this end of the year anyway. And it’s a shortie so should fly by. Then, baby, the only way is up! My Six on Saturday this week has no particular theme, which is remiss as I do love a theme. It is however led by endeavour and finished with love. Any newbies to the SoS phenomena should pop on over to The Prop’s site and all will become perfectly clear, or perhaps not so. If in doubt treat it as a Dadaist interpretive inter-planetary art project.

Let us start with a sight that made me grin when I saw it, a coyly unfurling frond of Cyathea australis beneath its veil of fleece. You can’t keep a good fern down.

Next, we have the front garden hellebore, which has done very well this year and seems to have multiplied admirably. Unfortunately, I failed to undertake the promised move, so to admire its mottled flower face requires the flexibility of Simone Biles. I will move it for the new owner.

Onto cyclamen seed pods, which have corkscrewed down and are now poised to push into the soil. Self-sowing; nature is a wonderful thing, and we are part of this amazing world. How this indisputable fact is continually over-looked is a complete mystery.

Question: What could possibly be better than a bud? Answer: A furry bud! The Phlomis fruticosa in the frozen north is gearing up for an early display.

Now we have a defiant osteospermum, its blue boss hinting of its hardiness. The petals are curled in defence of the weather, slimming its profile, looking quite different to its summer appearance. Two for the price of one!

Lastly, we have a heart-shaped leaf of Pelargonium cordifolium var. rubrocinctum, having absorbed its chlorophyll ready to drop. On reflection I should have saved this picture for Valentine Day, but you can’t go wrong with a symbol of love, there is more than enough to go around.

That is your lot, you lovely people. Hope all is good in your worlds. Stay safe and well.

A Walk with a Friend

Today myself and Mrs Bun went for a socially distanced walk from Woolacombe to Putsborough and back, our last meet before she heads off with Mr B and Bobbie to the frozen north. A precis of our expedition is as follows: chat, semi-naked surfers, naughty puppies x 2, sinking mud, sandy paths, active springs, marram and mansions, more chat, conversation staunching viewpoints, wild primroses and euphorbia, a little rain, rosy cheeks, even more chat, several good mornings and dog greetings, Ice Cold in Alex, a bench, steps and dunes, wave watching, some chat and ultimately brave farewells.

Then, alone in the car, a few tears.

Reveal

On Planet Gill, at this precise moment in time, the westerly wind is ushering the rain up the road with a slightly disturbing ferocity.

Best thing is to draw the curtains and turn my focus to the Cornish daffs, which have been slowly opening over the last couple of days. An enchanting reveal of their golden glory.

Six on Saturday – Arrival

It cannot be denied that I have been a little distracted of late. In fact it has been previously noted. I wish I could say there were noble intentions afoot, that I’ve been performing the complete works of Gilbert and Sullivan at the home for delinquent seniors or knitting ponchos for orphan lambs, but no. Selfish to a fault. It cannot be denied, m’lord, I have been navel gazing. Do not lose hope; we may be at a turning point in my self-obsession. Yesterday, eventually, after much wailing and head bashing, our house sale was completed. Feel free to set a taper to the firework display you have been saving for this very ocassion. If necessary, a sparkler will suffice. Someone who will undoubtedly not care a jot about my personal life is maestro Prop, whose consciousness is busy with all kind of important bulb and seed issues, with perhaps a little judicious seasonal pruning. And of course SoSing. Check him and our gang out, it will definitely be educational and you might well find some sunshine. This week’s six are neither colourful nor in focus, but it seems I am on a slightly off kilter road at the moment. Let’s shake a leg, or there will be complaints from the management.

First we have Phyllostachys aurea, the golden bamboo, in a particularly notable blue sky. I believe this is called pathetic fallacy to those who enjoy wordy definitions. Whatever it is, it was very welcome.

Next a frazzled leaf of Geranium maderanse ‘Guernsey White’. Serves you right for poking your paw out from under the fleece. Don’t worry, the rest of the plant is quite plump and healthy ready to crack into action later in the year.

Now the raddled trunk of our rosemary, under which was the lounging place of choice for our dear departed Charlie Cat. A soft heart has saved this whale of a herb. There is nothing wrong with a bit of sentimentality.

Onto the remaining stamen from the still flowering Tibouchina urvilleana, which is yet to be protected from the elements. I am slightly shamed by this lack of care, slightly proud of the shrub’s resilience. As we know pride comes before a fall. I, and possibly the tibouchina, are bound for a plummet. It is also a particularly poor photograph. Lose, lose.

Next, a phormium, grown from seed by a client/friend in Bristol. To my shame I rarely acknowledge it except in winter. After 14 years I think I should acknowledge this as a trend.

Now Helichrysum bracteatum, which it seems, is truly everlasting. Whilst much of the plant is frost-induced sog, it is making an admirable effort to flower again. There is possibly a lesson for us in this; I will leave you to ponder it.

That is it, another week passed in our seemingly unrelenting crawl towards spring. Stay well and safe, my friends.

Inertia

My industrious phase was short-lived, as I feared it would be. The slough of inertia has returned to weigh me down. Medals will not be returned.

Today, an effort was made. We mustered the wherewithal to venture out for a walk, enjoying what passed for sunshine and the swelling buds of magnolia and camelia. This witch hazel had passed the budding stage and its arachnoid flowers were in their prime. To think I might have missed the sight of these tiny buttercup yellow streamers. I must keep focused, it is all happening out there.

Medal

Today I have made gram flour crackers, drawn a picture of a pineapple in oil pastels, learnt some Dutch, entered a photography competition, set up a zoom meeting for the first time, practiced some yoga and shared some blue sky and Magnolia stellata flowers with you.

And yes, I do want a medal. It is unlikely to happen again.