Two Gardens and a Little Shopping

Today, in Creigiau, two gardens were open for the National Garden Scheme. It would have been rude not to take a look. Normally, so I am told, it would have been more that two, but we live in challenging times and we were quite happy with a brace of beauties. I’m sure there will be new opportunities in the future. It was a prime opportunity to meet some like minded people and nose about other peoples’ gardens, what could be better on a mizzly day in June? And we were not disappointed.

Both gardens were beautiful, in quite different ways, which is always the best way. It means that individual personalities are coming to the fore, people expressing themselves through their gardens and not toeing the horti-media line. There were of course similarities, astrantia and salvias were popular in both, and of course roses. There were some wonderful planting combinations, inspiration and templates to consider. And, perhaps most importantly, we were welcomed with warmth and wide smiles. Then we went to the pub for a pint and a bag of crisps. Does it get any better than that?

And yes, of course I did.

Six on Saturday – Gloomy

We have got to the point in the year where acceleration has reached optimum velocity. Any pretence of control has been thrown out the window with the OS map. There is no brake pedal (one of my favourite anxiety dreams) and we just have to free wheel down the hill as best we can without causing too much harm. Perhaps we should just lift up our feet and shout “wheeeeee!”. Enough with the analogies? Quite right too. You won’t find any of those kind of fripperies over at Prop Central, take a look to find out what the rest of the world has been up to, you won’t be disappointed. Before we go any further, I must explain the title “gloomy”, it refers to the weather and photos, not my mood. Now let’s boogie on!

First we have an aerial shot of my radish seedlings, taken from a drone. Not really, I just stood over the pot. But you didn’t really think …….? Aren’t they bounding along? Someone has taken a nibble here and there, but I don’t mind sharing a little. Just a little.

Next a new member of the family. More compost was needed so we popped into the garden centre and somehow (I’m sure you know how it is) this little lovely ended up in the shopping trolley. Soon, and yes I really mean soon, it will be potted up in its own special terracotta pot and given pride of place.

Now a rather dusty cactus. On the epic crammed journey from North Devon to South Wales, OH held this and equally spiky friend in a box on his lap. Jeopardy.

Onto a pot of bedding I planted to cheer up the front of the house, which has settled in very nicely. What a wonderful daughter I am.

For years I lusted over a variegated jerusalem sage in Phlomis Phlo’s and TT’s garden. I took cuttings on several ocassions, always ending in failure. They also took cuttings will zero success. Just before we moved TT came to pick up a large potted to feed his Australisian habit and with him he bought the above plant. The reluctant Phlomis ‘Rougemont’ had seeded itself in the surrounding gravel. It was meant to be.

Finally, Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’, head hanging low due to the weight of her tresses. I liberated this from Zeus’ mum who was dismayed by her reckless habit. I was hoping she would behave herself a little more with me. Perhaps not.

And that is your lot, my friends. Hope you all have the requisite ratio of rain and sunshine in your lives. Til next time.

Spotlight

We visited Cowbridge Physic Garden today. A scant half-acre walled garden, it manages to cram in everything you could ever ask from a physic garden. It is a magical place and I snapped my way around, greedily grabbing scenes of knot garden and pleach and fountain. At its farthest reaches, we stepped through an arched doorway, from brightness into shade. Unbeknownst to us, we were now in the Old Hall Gardens, admiring a pendula lime, ancient yew and tulip tree. The shaded border was plumptious with astrantia, thalictrum and Solomon’s seal. And a stand of perfect red poppies, dramatically spotlit. It was the shot of the day.

Sixish on Saturday

It has been a very good week. Highlights included: wheeless barrows, gin kits, a static Elvis, celeriac, a plethora of books, downward dogs in the rain and most importantly an adorable cat. I had tales to tell and pictures to share but not the time, or possibly the inclination, to write a blog about them. Hopefully I will catch up soon. Six on Saturday is a milestone in the week; even if I am not contributing I am thinking about whether I am going to or what excuse I can give myself not to. As you will have already deduced, this time I am. Before we get going, I must confess that I have strayed from the path, somehow an extra photo has snuck in. However, as one is for illustrative purposes only and should therefore not be counted, I believe I have staying within the perimeters and rigid guidelines as laid down in the three hefty volumes of SoS rules. In a futile attempt to conceal my rebeliousness from you top mathematicians I will use a) and b). I hope this is OK. Again, any complaints should be directed to my agent, Mr A Non, Refuse Lane, Bin Town, Rubbish County, Trashtopia. I doubt the Lord High Commander will give a fig, so neither should you. Shall we shake a leg?

First, residing at the opposite end of the tufa plant to the lithodora featured last week, is a fabulous little erodium. It is looking particularly lovely, bejewelled (a very Nigella word, don’t you think?) with raindrops. I must get more erodium, such great plants.

Recently I have getting in touch with my veggie side. When packing up to move I decided to send to storage all my flower seed but I brought my vegetables with me. This week, after a compost-buying visit to the local garden centre, I had a mini sowing spree. In this planter there is salad leaf, cut and come again, Mesclun Mix. In redundant terracotta window boxes I also sowed knicker elastic radishes and a mix of purple and orange carrots. In order to make quite clear to the local feline population that “this is not a cat litter box” I have placed twigs around the outside. I would be upset if my seedlings were disturbed. Even if it was Buster.

Whilst at the garden centre I was tempted (surprise, surprise) by the young tomato plants. Sungold is a long time favourite, Shirley the name of Peggy’s best friend. I bought an extra Shirley for my brother and his wife. I thought we could have a competition. Old habits die hard.

Onto a glorious yellow rose, unpruned and leggy, but still quite beautiful.

Aeonium ‘Zwartzop’ is a prime candidate for artistic raindrop shots. It would have been rude not to.

Lastly, a happy discovery in Peggy’s garden. I think this might be Jasminum beesianum but, as always, I am happy to be corrected. Whatever its name, the bees weren’t bothered, especially the diddy ones who are as zippy as they are petite. Five hundred and seventy six photos later, in the rain I might add, and I barely caught one of these allusive flitters. Still, after all that effort, you must see the bee in action, which somehow detracts from the beauty of the jasmine. So here we have it: a) bee and peripheral jasmine and b) bee-less jasmine in all its glory.

That is your lot, my friends. Have a good week!

Expedition

Tomorrow I am heading west. My route is planned, my tools are packed, my armour laid out in preparation. A whole new adventure opens up before me. All dependent on me taking the correct exit from the motorway and not the portal to hell by mistake.

Here is a diddy fuchsia with matching diddy bee. I will be reporting back on my expedition, in due course, and this charming sight might keep you amused in the meantime.

Six on Saturday – New Friends

If it wasn’t for May, I think June would be my favourite month. There is still optimism in the air and the ravages of reality are yet to pay a visit. All is good. Anything is possible. Today is the first SoS of my second best month. All the pots have now been transported from the tender loving care of brother and sister-in-law’s garden to Peggy’s patio. I am very happy to be reunited. One was left behind, Magnolia ‘Heaven Scent’. This glorious tree is part payment for their kindness and a magnolia really should have its feet in the earth and not in compost. What is more, there is a perfect spot for it. Luckily/unluckily, Lazarus the acer failed to rise again this spring so there is prime real estate ready for moving into. And of course I am not the only Heavens in town. If you would like to take stock of this fabulous month in all its glory, at the four corners of the known universe, than you could hardly do better than to visit The Gamemaster and see what the other SoSers have been up to. All good clean fun, I am quite certain. Now we really should proceed.

First a self-seeded scabious that is possibly the godzilla off-spring of Scabiosa ‘Blue Jeans’. It is already attracting attention from the local bee population.

Next we have Aquilegia ‘Egg’ so called because …. suddenly I have a distinct feeling of deju vu. As I have told you the story a few time before, I will just precis it as follows: farm, eggs, aquilegia, heinous crime.

The sempervivum are picking up, seemingly nonchalant as to whether their most glorious and talented mama are by their side or not. To be truthful the same can be said for all of the other plants. I am trying not to take it personally.

Onto my yearly joy at the flowering of Rhodohypoxis baurii or equivalent. I am very happy to be corrected in its identification, but not by the fact they are little gems of wonder.

Now, we have something flowering in the little tufa planter that in its Devon life languished in the Frozen North. It seems, for some unexplicable reason, that since it has been in more convivial conditions it is growing splendidly. Any answers to this conundrum, please put them on a postcard and send to The Guilty As Charged. I think it is a lithodora, but I’m not certain. But still this blue makes my toes tingle.

Lastly, we have Potentilla atrosanguinea cosing up to Lilium ‘Forever Linda’, I have a feeling in my bones that we are all going to get on very well here.

That is your lot, my friends, have fun and be safe, until next time.

Exciting

A few days ago I sowed some “just within the sow-by date but I wasn’t going to pay you any heed anyway” veggies. Some french beans, some broad beans and some cucumbers. “Do you mind if I put a few pots on the kitchen window cill?” I shouted through to Peggy, although in truth the deed was already done. I’m also planning some cut-and-come-again leaves and various oriental salad whose names escape me. I ran out of compost so they will have to be patient. I will grow them on in large pots and give them my undying love and affection. One cucumber seedling was eager to get going, having foolishly believed my intentions and declarations, greeting me this morning when I staggered into the kitchen. The sight of a germinating seed never gets any less exciting. And I like it that way.

Six on Saturday – Happy Landings

The day finally arrived. Who would have thought it? On Wednesday the removal men carted most of our belongings to storage, all but the bare essentials to tied us over. Yesterday we loaded the charabanc to the rafters, every single item apparently crucial, and off we tootled to the land of TJ, MB, SB and JK. Today will be the first, hopefully, of many Welsh Six on Saturday’s. We are currently camping out with Peggy, until we find a house of our own, so all these flowers are from her garden. Like a returning student daughter I brought a bag of dirty washing with me. We are very pleased to be here, but it has been a long week and exhausting both emotionally and physically. Therefore, this will possibly be short, but hopefully will be sweet. Just like me. Pop on over to The Prop to find out what is in with the horti in-crowd. Shall we proceed?

First we have a Choisya x dewitteana ‘Aztec Pearl’. I remember buying this at the local garden centre. It is lovely but outgrown its space. The area where it flourishes at the moment apparently wants to be dug out and replanted with so it is full of colour. Not sure where Peggy is going to find a gardener to sort that out.

There are plenty of weeds, that is true, but this dandelion is looking very pretty. Not so keen about the horsetail that seems to have appeared.

Then a cistus which is long and leggy in the shady front of the house. Not an ideal place but it is valiantly flowering.

Onto the charming (and unplanned) partnership of persicaria and Euonymus fortunii.

Then a rogue euphorbia, surreptitiously spreading at the back of the border. Still, the flowers are bizarrely beautiful.

Finally, this aquilegia was here to welcome us when we arrived. A reminder that wherever you lay your granny’s bonnet that’s your home.

We are done! Take care my friends. Now where did I pack that cement mixer?

Six on Saturday – The Long Goodbye

It has been a week of fare-thee-wells and packing; a few tears, plenty of reminising and a fair amount of box action. And we are not over quite yet, another week and a bit to go ’til M Day. I’m sure I will be lost for words when we are eventually settled into Nouveau Chez Nous (Fred?). Still all this turmoil is little excuse not to participate in the meme of champions, presided over by The Wizard of Prop and ably supported by multinational team of Munchkins. Time waits for no Munchie so let us proceed or we will never reach the Emerald City in time. Wagons Roll!

First we have Phlomis fruticosa, just coming into flower. I can’t praise this shrub highly enough for its resilience in the face of much torment and torture from wind and rain. It rocks and rolls all winter and then calmly produces a myriad of sunshine blooms. Top marks, my friend.

I am pretty certain that there used to be hyacinths where these flowers are blooming.  They seems a little loose to be hyacinths, but a little full flowered to be the evil Mata Hari known as the Spanish Bluebell.  Can these two related plants hybridise?  Are they Bluecyinths or Hybells?  Should I have a lie down?

There are undeniable signs that the Colquhounia coccinea has survived the winter. I gave a cutting to Jim last year which I believe flowered. This one has never flowered. Bitter? Moi?

Rain sodden strawberry flowers, escapees from the orginal pot, which are thriving jammed between wall stones. Read into that what you may.

If anyone is paying attention they might at this moment be sighing and thinking “what another aquilegia?”. However this one is featured as it is raising its head uncharacteristically in a “come on photograph me” kind of way. It was futile to resist. Either that or it was raining and I was in a hurry and looking for an easy option. You choose.

Lastly, you will have to indulge me once again. The above photo is not from my garden, but from Nancy Nightingale’s. This week was my last visit to her and her crazy garden. We dashed around in the rain, doing what we could whilst I gabbled instruction for the future. Things like “be gentle” and “I’ll be watching”. Digging a hole to plant out one of her many dahlias was enhanced/disrupted by puppy giant Snoop Dog, who admirably assisted me with my excavations. From my prone position, I noticed how he had carefully/fortuitously avoided the marigold with his great big delicious paws.

That is your lot, my friends. Have a good one and stay safe and well.

A New Friend

A couple of days ago I went for a farewell walk with my good friend Torrington Tina. Her company alone would have been more than enough to ensure a jolly jaunt, but there was icing on the TT cake. I was thrilled to be introduced to a new addition to her family, the Marvellous Millie. This little dog had a less than happy first few chapters, but for all her hardships and disappointments she is absolutely adorable. It is not a surprise that the transition from “foster dog” to “permanent addition to the household” was swift and non-returnable. And I am very pleased to report that Millie is now my friend. It is always good to have a new friend, even if you might not see them again for a while, it is one safely stored in the bank. I have no doubt that wrapped in the tender loving care and under the good guidance of TT, Millie will thrive and bring joy wherever she goes. She certainly made me smile a lot. Happy endings are the best!