Six on Saturday – Celebration

Welcome to another Six on Saturday, the meme of choice for the horticultural in-crowd.  Too cool for school, on-trend, leaders not followers.  You get my gist.  Contributors are herded by none other than the great cultural icon himself, The Propagator.

Before I go any further I have an apology to make, last week, in my haste, I forgot to mention the indomitable Mr K.  As today is his birthday, I will do my best to redress this error. Oh, and I will say, sorry, it won’t happen again.  Let us get a move on, or it will be Sunday before we know it!

Firstly we have a tulip and hosta combo.  After a slow start to the season things are beginning to catch up with themselves, meaning there are some interesting combinations to be seen.  The spring flowers are overlapping with early summer ones.  Strangers are making new friends.  These tulips have been in prime condition for a couple of weeks now.  They are in a rather shady and exposed spot.  Perhaps that is the trick!

aquilegiaLast year the aquilegias took over the garden and I vowed to ensure that this did not happen again.  It has.  When they have finished flowering and before they seed I will be ruthless.  I promise.

Next is Cerastium tomentosum, also known as dusty miller and snow in summer.  It lives on the wall between our house and our neighbours’.  On a regular basis it is squashed beneath sleeping cats, slices of apple pie, bowls of soup, cupcakes, magazines, plants and elbows.  Doesn’t turn a hair.

They have arrived, in fact they have been here for a couple of weeks, so much for a hard winter killing of pests!  In fact both the aphid and mollusc populations seem to be doing rather nicely, thank you very much.  Not sure what the white one is all about, perhaps it is the ghost of previously squished greenfly and it has come back to teach me a lesson. Gulp!

Another late on parade is Pulmonaria ‘Opal’, a plant that I rescued from a bargain bin somewhere earlier in the year.  I have grown this lungwort before and pounced on the pathetic specimen as soon as I realised what it was.  The colour is enchanting, everything I remembered it to be.

Lastly we have Geranium sylvaticum ‘Mayflower’.  I am big fan of geraniums, they are dependable and long flowering and come in many makes and models.  This wood cranesbill is a great beauty, understated and elegant.  Just like The Birthday Boy!

Thank you Mr Prop, why don’t you pop on over to his blog and find out what the rest of us hipsters have been up to.  Adieu.

 

Storm in a Teacup

For those who follow this blog, my life must seem a swirling cauldron of relentless toil and misery, punctuated only by drudgery and disappointment.  However on the odd occasion I do manage to have a day off for a little light R & R.  Today was such a day.  My old mate Hero and I went to Storm in a Teacup for lunch.  I would say we were “ladies that lunch” but am fearful of contradiction from those that know better.

Then I had one of my marvellous ideas.  Why not, for a little diversity, write a restaurant review.  Mix it up a little.  You never know I might be a natural.  I like eating, surely that is qualification enough?  Shall we have a go?

The place in question is called Storm in a Teacup which is situated at Watermouth Bay, between Combe Martin and Ilfracombe, or Ilfracombe and Combe Martin, depends on where you are starting from.  You should check just to be on the safe side.  I must admit that although pleased the promised bad weather was not apparent, I was a little disappointed to find out that this cafe was not in a teacup but a boat.  Luckily this boat was on dry land because I had omitted to pack my wellies.  Brightly coloured picnic benches surrounded the vessel which was beautifully adorned with planters full of  (sorry lapsed back to my old ways for a moment then, let us stick to the catering).  After we had evicted some old ladies from the best bench of the establishment affording fabulous views across the water, we settled ourselves down to study the menu.  Nice big letters so no need to find the glasses.  Due to my mild obsession, and therefore expert knowledge of, cheese scones it was not hard to make my selection.  And I wasn’t disappointed.  These were good.  Very good.  Still warm and fresh as the man on checkout No. 10 in Tescos, they were cut into a rather jaunt wedge shape.  Accompanying them, yes there was more than one, there were in fact two, three would have been too much, probably, came not only a fine cheddar but a stinky Stilton too.  Also a mini bunch of grapes, now that is posh.  Although not a pickle fan (apart from Pickle), I am sure this aberration would be appreciated by the strange folk who do enjoy it and other such abominations such as chutney and baked beans.  Hero indulged in a crab sandwich.  It was composed of crab and bread and salad and she shared, without too much overt hinting on my part.  Just a little labrador staring.  That was also delicious.  The service was smiley but not toadying.  The sun was soothingly warm.  We watched with a combination of concern and menace, a small child carry an ice cream cone at an angle of 45 degrees.  We chatted and caught up and forgot our words but it didn’t matter. Perfect.  One for the bank.

It appears that I have forgotten to take pictures of the view, or the food, or bijou kitchen and delightful inside dining area.  I did however remember to photograph the quirky pansy planters.  I may be a lost cause.

Top Ten

rhododendron

It is crazy rhododendron time again in Max’s garden.  The colours are vivid and varied, the forms both Laurel and Hardy, each bloom a pollinator pit stop.  Truly, I would be hard pushed to choose a favourite.  This candy and lemonade beauty is definitely in the top ten.   Veering slightly from convention, the top ten consist of approximately thirty specimens.  They have to squish up close to fit in.  When you are in such fine company you have to make compromises.

Perfume

peony

I’ve always been a little ambivalent about Skype and the like.  It seems like hard work.  You have to change out of your polar bear onesie and comb your hair.  Any face pulling or expressive gestures can be seen by the caller, in my case this is rarely advisable.  Yawning cannot be masked.  The crossword cannot be studied.  Full attention must be given in order to avoid offence.

Likewise the concept of smelli-vision.  There are surely limited advantages.  If it was used to demonstrate the proximity of the local sewage works, then surely only the perverse would appreciate this gift.  If the subject was freshly baked bread or a roast dinner, then it would equate to cruel taunting.  “Take a whiff of this my friend, but you can’t partake in its consumption”.  Today however, I was softening to the idea.  I would have loved to share with you the fragrant fug of Rhododendron ‘Princess Alice’, the sweet green smell of warm rain on verdant grass and the delicate perfume of the almost open peony.  Just so you could understand my day.  That the continuing rain was pushed to the periphery, that the delicious aromas were held suspended in the air, parfum de printemps.

Cardamine and Sea Mist

cardamine

As the much of country enjoyed the sunshine, a thin swathe of cloud veiled us, exacerbated by a mist from the sea which periodically danced across the garden.  Occasional lapses in concentration by said mist and cloud meant coats and jumpers were discarded as the sun elbowed through, only to be quickly retrieved as another wave of dank encompassed us.

No matter, we were working hard, with a load of woodchip to shift, and cool weather suited us better.  Just like the Sisters of Mulch, this cardamine was looking none the worse for the dampness, in fact she is thriving.

Six on Saturday – Still Hurrying

Crazy times are unabating, so once again I must be brief. Easier said than done. As you may have guessed I tend to go on a bit. Briefish is perhaps more accurate. I don’t want to aim too high. Here we go. Six on Saturday, horrah for the Grand Old Duke of Prop, he knows the business, he is the business. Sashy over and find out all about the Sixers.

It hasn’t made it any easier that I have had to follow that smarty pants brother of mine. Ever the bridesmaid, never the bride. Shall we get started, before I get too self-indulgent?

First of all we have apple blossom. We have two apple trees in our our tiny garden, both planted by the previous owner. I could think of better use for the space, but sentimentality means they stay. For the moment.

Next we have a crop of nasturtiums. A myriad. A self sown plague. Some will be saved, the rest culled. Harsh but fair.

Then a brand new shiny rodgersia. Bronze and beautiful.

Next a candelabra primula, bought from a garden society plant stall, unnamed but no less for it.

Then Rodotypos scandens, in my front garden. A great favourite of mine and a complete mystery to me why it isn’t grow more widely.

And finally, last week’s hairy bud, now a fully fledged, paid up member of the poppy family.

Thanks Prop me old darling. Next time, all will be calm, time will be plentiful, and I will devote my full attention on the cause. Until then, nanoo nanoo ….