Un-Blue

Today there was plenty of blue sky to raise our spirits, a good working day with just a tease of a shower this morning.   The return to summer was short-lived as the skies have already filled with grey cloud and gloom.

It will be much harder to un-blue this salvia.

Birthday Blog

Today is my birthday.  I love birthdays.  I may have mentioned it before.  Any excuse to be special for a day.  But I am not telling you this in the faint hope you might send me a tiara or a Nebuchadnezzar of Dom Perignon.  A nod and a smile would be quite enough.  A kiss might be nice.

For some reason on this day I have been reminded of when my much-loved Dad died.  Returning to work the top boss, who I did not respect and therefore did not consider to have any authority over me and was not to be confused with my proper boss who was a gent and an Irishman, said “this happens every day” in way of condolence. I am not being maudlin, I am just wondering why he thought it an appropriate thing to say.

But of course it does.  As do birthdays.

Common

In the last few weeks I have had cause to warm to the common montbretia.

Today at Westwell Hall, in glorious combination with the dark leaved elder, it looked spectacular.

There is a lot to be said for being a little bit common.

Swampland

Due to a surfeit of workman and their corresponding transport, His Lordship picked me up today from the National Trust car park a mile or so from the Mantle’s Mansion   This rough old patch has breath-taking views along the rugged Exmoor coast and across to Wales.   A camper van was the only other vehicle in the area.  “What a view to wake up to!” I said to LM “Shall we pretend we are having an illicit meeting?” “OK” and he gave me a big bear hug.  “I was thinking of pretending we were international jewel thieves” I said, “Oh” he said as he helped me put my tools into the back of his brand-new motor.

On the way to the house we pulled in to wait for a cautious woman to inch her way past us in her nice shiny 4 x 4, determined not to get any mud on it.  Whilst patiently waiting, I pushed a button on my door.  By a stroke of luck this opened the window, meaning I could take a photo of swampland beyond.

Six on Saturday – The Moment

August: ready or not here we come!  Soon there will talk of cool nights and shortening days, but let us not wish our lives away.  There is plenty of time left to fret about watering and dead heading and whether we have fed our tomatoes enough or are the slugs and snails attacking whilst I take five minutes to read The Garden magazine, was that an aphid I saw, should I have staked the delphiniums, and such like.  As the Six on Saturday rules stipulate, and you know me I like to follow any rules to the letter, the following photos represent what is happening in my garden right now, unless you are watching on demand when the moment may well have passed, or on crystal ball when it is possibly yet to happen.  Pop on over to our very own Grand Magician to catch up with other SoSers from across the known universe, enchanted by his evil spell, trapped in his web of deceit.  Sorry, I may have got a little carried away.  I love him really.

First we have what I like to call The Giant Mutant Orange Tomato.  It is the spawn of The Giant Mutant Fasciated Tomato Flower.   Soon we will dissect it to reveal its alien innards.

Already inspired by Jim’s post last week and further prompted by trays of sempervivum appearing at our local Lidl awaiting to be mistreated by uncaring employees, any resistance on my part was futile.   There was no doubt that it was a sign from the horticultural gods, and who am I, a mere mortal, to defy them. In order to doubly placate them, I bought two packs, just in case someone else I know would like some.  Spread the love and all that nonsense.  However I have decided that I am not going to tell anyone that I have them so I can keep them all.   Perhaps inspired by the horticultural demons.  But I have grit, I have compost, now all I have to do is plant them artistically.  Which is where it might all go astray.

I discovered something new today, and it is another name change.  This time it is our beloved hedge bindweed.  I may be late to the party, but apparently Convolvulus sepium is now Calystegia sepium.  Who would have thought it?  I was trying to photograph a bee feasting on the honeysuckle and as my camera swung in an attempt to capture it, horror of horrors it nipped into a bindweed flower.  A weed in my garden.  Unthinkable!

Kniphofia ‘Tawny King’ is planted in a position possibly a little too shady for optimum flowering, but in spite of that it is making a sterling effort.  Not terribly “tawny” at the moment, perhaps it will darken as it matures.

I bought plugs of this Begonia ‘Glowing Embers’ months ago, the idea being that I grew them on and then passed them on to one of my clients.  They staggered along, one foot in the compost bin, for weeks, not good enough for anyone else.  I planted them in the barrel in the front garden and left them to it.  “Sink or swim” I told them, and they have eventually decided upon breast stroke.  I would have preferred front crawl.

Finally we have Grewia occidentalis, the African Starbush.  This beauty is not frost tolerant so will join the queue for preferential treatment come winter.  As we are not thinking about that just yet, living in the moment, we can just enjoy the fabulous flowers, of which there are many to come.

All done, until next time!

Missed Again

Whilst weeding at Max’s I glanced across the border and the Ligularia dentata ‘Desdemona’ caught my eye, radiant, backlit by the sun.  I rushed to capture this ethereal moment.  I missed.  This more earth bound shot will have to do.