Disappointed

clematis buds

It has been a disappointing week so far.  The work has been fine, no complaints there.  I am quite well, no extra aches and pains or sniffles.  Spring has finally arrived, officially anyway.  Gardens are mobilised ready for action, each day another plant primed.

But don’t tell me, after deluge and gale aplenty, that there will be fine weather when you can’t honour your promise.   Murk and drizzle and gloom is no compromise.  So disappointing.

Gone

A welcome gap in the weather.  After leaving the main road, en route to The Mantles’ estate, I spied a buzzard perching on a post at the side of the road.  I cut my speed and approached slowly, coming to a halt next to this beautiful raptor who, other than giving me a derisory glance, paid little heed.  Just as I drew my camera he looked me in the eye, and said “no paparazzi”,  effortlessly gliding across the field to find a little more privacy.

Six on Saturday – Dyb, Dyb, Dyb

viola

I’m prepared this week.  No last-minute rush, all is calm and in control, just like a girl guide.  In real life I didn’t make it to the heady heights of girl guidom, but I was in the brownies, who quite frankly take anyone.  I can’t remember much of our exploits except there was a curiously large plastic mushroom placed in the middle of the room at all our gatherings.   Like many of my fellow gang members, my arm was bedecked with various badges.  Unfortunately they weren’t cool and sophisticated subjects in those days, no Inventing, or Aviation or Zero Waste.   Possibly there was Crocheting Toilet Roll Covers and Defrosting Arctic Rolls, although I can’t be certain.  The only one I remember for certain was the music badge.  Perhaps too well.  “What is this instrument?” the examiner asked pointing at a picture, “A bass” I replied.  “Can you be more specific?”.  I was puzzled, very puzzled, what could this highly technical terminology be.   I had studied my Ladybird book The Story of Music from back to front and front to back, I had been confident I had all subjects covered.  But I was flummoxed  No light bulb moments.  Eventually after much furrowed browing (which I blame for my present wrinkle predicament), some uming and a far amount of ahing, I conceded I didn’t know.  She made a terse note on her clipboard.  Now a little uncertain of myself, I went on to play my recorder solo, possibly a rendition of Handel’s Water Music, more likely Frère Jacques, as I say my memory is hazy.  It turns out this mystery instrument is called a “double bass”.  Give the gal a break!  And yes, I am still bitter.  And yes, I did get my badge.  And yes, it is time I moved on.

Seems I have wandered off the track once more.  I will lose my trekking award.  Back to the task in hand, which is Six on Saturday.  An event where billions of people from across the galaxy feature six items from their gardens, or an approximation on this theme, in a humongous horticultural jamboree.  If you wish to get your SoS arm badge then pop on over to our Akela’s site and you can discover much more, including the words to She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain which you will need for a sing-song later.

First we have a viola which is still in its reticent stage.  Each year is the same.  I plant them with great verve and expectation, praising and naming them with great aplomb No. 1 in my top ten of winter bedding.  Then they sit there. *time passes* Any flowers that deign to show their cutsie faces are nibbled by slugs in their overcoats, they grow lank and dishevelled.  *time passes*  Then eventually they wake up, read the contract and get into giving us a great display just when we are thinking about changing the display.  We are still at stage 2, although this little chap has avoided mollusc attack so deserves a show and tell.

Lamprocapnos spectabile 'Valentine'

Next we have the emerging foliage of Lamprocapnos spectabile ‘Valentine’,  or Dicentra specabilis ‘Valentine’ to those who knew it in its previous incarnation.  They are perfect in their infancy.  Scattered around are leaves from the large shrubby phlomis that shades it, torn off in the recent high winds.

Lillium 'Casa Blanca'

Now we have the first showing of the diva Lilium ‘Casa Blanca’.  This majestic lily was a gift from my favourite heckler.    I don’t wish to ruin his reputation so he will remain anonymous.

bindweed

Who invited you to the party?

potentilla

Onto the emerging leaves of Potentilla ‘Lady Mantle’.  This name has yet to be officially accepted by the Royal Horticultural Society.   Which is mainly because I dug a piece out of her ladyship’s garden and ran home with the hounds snapping at my ankles.  Without label naturellement.

camellia

Lastly a flower which is not in my garden, but it will be soon.  This beautiful camellia bloom belongs to our neighbour.  Soon, when it has bored of being splendid, it will drop over the wall onto the path that leads to our front door.   I think it is quite fair that I can share in its loveliness, the fee being that I will clear up the deceased.

There we go, six done and dusted.  Dyb, dyb, dyb, dob, dob, dob.

Six on Saturday – Ennui

Allium triquetral

Six on Saturday here we go again, all good friends and jolly good company.  Although I’m not feeling “jolly good company” this week.  On the contrary, I am rather uninspired.  Dull.  Boring.  Bored.  Perhaps a little bit grumpy.  But only a little.  Maybe I should ring in sick, but then again I’m away next weekend and it might look suspicious.  I can’t even think of anything cheeky to say about our leader The Propagator, other than he is our leader and of course that he is gorgeous (believe me flattery works every time).  I’d better just get on with, sitting here at the dining table, typing away within one hand whilst making a chilli for tea with the other, neither with much conviction.  OH is watching the rugby and shouting at the ref/touch judges/players/anyone who looks vaguely in his direction, his conviction never waivers.

On to the first photo.  This is no exotic bloom, but our very own, introduced invasive weed, the three-cornered leek, Allium triquetral.  I have no idea how it got into the garden, and although he denies it, I have my suspicions who smuggled this ferocious monster onto my patch. *follow my eyes to the hollering mad man on the sofa*.  It was looking rather lovely in the sunshine yesterday.

Papaver

Thank you to everyone who enquired as to the well-being of Simon the poppy, who had the misfortune to grow smack bang in the middle of the builder’s M4 motorway.  “Everyone” amounted to the grand total of “no one”.  As you can see, he is looking healthy and happy.  For all you lot care.

Sophora

Now we have Sophora microphylla which suffered terribly at the teeth of various beasts of 2018.  It has limped along ever since, like a horticultural Tiny Tim.  I am very pleased that it has gathered the strength to attempt a little flowering.  God bless us every one.

Exchorda macrantha

My relationship with Exchorda x macrantha ‘The Bride’ is turbulent.  Most of the year I am not enamoured with this tumblesome, unruly shrub, but as soon as the blooms begin I fall back in love.  A little bit of die-back there needs sorting, anyone know a good gardener?

hyacinth

I spotted this hyacinth skulking amongst the foliage of the libertia.   These loose panicled blooms are stunning, the iridescent blue of the bells perfectly set off by the midnight stems.

Salvia gesneriifolia

Lastly the Salvia gesneriiflora has just begun flowering.  Bang on cue, “late winter, early spring”.   But it was worth waiting for.  Furry.  Red.  Giant.  This was the one of the plants that I was unable to resist when I attended the Hardy Plant Society AGM last March.   I’m so pleased that my willpower is so weak.

I made it!  Now I’d better join in the shouting …….

Zeus

Zeus

Today was my first day working in a new garden.  Initial exploration is always fun, finding the lost and the unloved amongst the more strident.  First the favourites – countless roses of all persuasions, a similar collection of clematis, dieramas popping up everywhere, as are passion flowers and agapanthus.  The backbones include Arbutus unedo, the blue coned Abies koreana, camellias, hibiscus and magnolia.  In two separate courtyard gardens,  jasmines and wisteria flourish and nerines and citrus are safe in their terracotta pots.  So many treasures, I am looking forward to getting to know them.

I’m sure there is something I’ve forgotten to tell you, it’s on the tip of my tongue …………… how could I forget him?  A beautiful, strapping polar bear of a dog called Zeus.  I am looking forward to getting to know him too!