Six on Saturday – Thankful

Another week of lockdown passed; another Six on Saturday completed.  A few months ago I would never have dreamt that I would type those words.  Still, I consider myself most fortunate, I have many reasons to be thankful.   One of which, and a blessing indeed, is being a member of the wonderful Six on Saturday community.  For those of you still ignorant about this Meme of Memes, pop on over to Meme Master and he will enlighten you.  Don’t stand too close though.  It is very infectious.  Shall we proceed?

First we have Libertia grandiflora.  Actually I am a little miffed with this plant.  Not only did I get all excited due to a label misfunction and thought it was going to be a dietes, then it spread its seedlings across most of Christendom and I have been pulling them out of pots since February.  But the flower is nice.  It might get a big split when it has done showing off.

You now that feeling when something doesn’t come up and you are beginning to wonder if you actually planted it, then a nose pokes up and you are jubilant?  Well here is a prime example, the emerging Dichelostema ida-maia.  I have grown these strange creatures before and am very fond of them.  Hopefully they will make it through to flowering and I will share with you all.

Onto the most serene and worshipful Pulmonaria ‘Opal’.  A yogic amongst the chaos.

Now we have Rhodotypos scandens, an old SoS favourite, and quite rightly so.  Buffeted and blown all winter long, and again these last few days, it has been a-buzzing for weeks.

The violas have right-on-cue redeemed themselves, springing into glorious action just when I was thinking about replacing them with summer bedding.  Except I have no summer bedding, which is just as well really.

Lastly the exotic and most previous Impatiens stenantha.  Now living in an enclave with its other impatiens mates.  It seems quite happy.

That is your lot my friends, see you next week, take care and be well.

Allelujah!

This morning I woke up with “one of my heads” and not the nice one.   Today, therefore, has been one less dynamic than the norm.   After the pain subsided I sat and read, something I have done little of recently.  Not enough anyway, especially as I have ample opportunity.

For Christmas I was given the script of Alan Bennett’s play Allelujah!  Up until this afternoon I have only given it a cursory glance, I like to keep a book’s innards secret until I come to explore them.   I am a massive Alan Bennett fan; his turn of phrase, his characters, his humour, his humanity.  He didn’t let me down with this one.

Serendipity is a wonderful word.  It transpires that this was the right time for me to read this play. First published in 2018, it is the story of a geriatric ward in a hospital threatened with closure.  This book snuggled within the nether reaches of The Pile for four months until its time was right.  Then it whispered “now, now, now”.  Or maybe I imagined that, I have had a bad head.  Whichever, I can highly recommend it and would love to see it one performed one day.

I was suppose to have a “computer off day” but as I finished it, I felt compelled to quote from this play.  These words are part of a short monologue very close to the end of the book.  It is spoken by a doctor who has failed his citizenship exam and is waiting to be deported.

“…. I must leave the burden of being English to others and become what I have always felt, a displaced person.

Why, I ask myself, should I still want to join?  What is there for me here, where education is a privilege and nationality a boast?  Starving the sick and neglecting the poor, what makes you special still?  There is no one to touch you, but who wants to anymore?  Open your arms before it’s too late. “

And I shouted, most probably internally, “don’t go we need you!”   Serendipity.

Crying Time

A client couple made me cry today.  It wasn’t “a lone, elegant tear slowly tracking down my downy cheek” à la Sinead O’Connor.  It was a full-on, scrunched-up, red-faced, ugly blub.

I won’t mention their names, although I really should.  As they deserve to be recognised.  For their kindness; kindness over and beyond.  It was much appreciated.  In a very small way of thanks, here is a string of hearts just for them.  They are shining stars.

Six on Saturday – Racing Time

I have begun to wonder how I got everything done when I was working.  The time seems to fly between Six on Saturdays and I am only getting done half of what I set out to achieve.  There is definitely no time dragging around here.  Busy but not frantic is the best way to be in these strange times.  If you want to see what the other SoSers are up to, pop over to our leader,  Dr Prop’s, blog and all will be revealed.  Shall we proceed?

First of all we have Osteospermum ‘JK’, which has just begun to flower.  It got me thinking.  Every so often I promise someone a piece of something from my garden.  This is not lightly offered.  But I forget.  Now I started have a list.  I remember that I offered someone a piece of this osteospermum, but I can’t remember who it was.  Would you please remind me and I will write it down and then it will become real.  The same goes for any other non-appearing promises.  And no, Mr P, I didn’t promise you a tenner.

Another new bloomer this week is the much-mentioned Pelargonium cordifolium var. rubrocinctum which has sailed through another winter with little protection.  Mind you it was an extremely mild winter, but all the same Pellies aren’t partial to rain and we certainly had plenty of that.  I love the orange pollen, the giant veined upper petals and diminutive lower ones, and of course the heart-shaped leaves.  It is also a great favourite of bees, although I think they would single out the delicious pollen.

Next we have Jovellana punctata.  This Jim’s fault.  No argument, the blame can be laid one hundred per cent at his feet.  Last week he wrote (and I paraphrase) “I bought a gorgeous plant from Treseders, a nursery packed full of temptation for even the most hard-hearted gardener, and don’t you know they have an on-line delivery service, please google them immediately and have a rummage”.  I mean seriously, I had no chance whatsoever!

The apple trees are in blossom, as I am sure they are across the northern hemisphere.  You just can’t beat it.  Simple.  And then a bee came along to complete the picture.  She may have previously visited the pelargonium.

Earlier this week I gave a big chop to the encroaching honeysuckle/exochorda melange. Underneath I found this white-with-a-hint-of-green aquilegia.  It is now possibly shielding its eyes crying “not the light”.  Sorry.

Crazy yellow fringed tulip.  There had to be one.  Out with a bang.

Until next week, stay safe and well my friends.  And keep on keeping on.

 

 

Paranoia

Today is shopping day, and for the past 4 weeks I have greeted it with trepidation.  Shopping is not my job usually.  As OH is on the endangered species list, now I do it.   Quite why I feel nervous is hard to say.  Generally it is had been a well-ordered affair.  Perhaps that is why.  I am not well ordered, it is not my natural state, but I realise that this is the way it has to be.  So when someone goes the wrong way on the one-way system, or encroaches into my space, or I see young fit people shopping in pairs, it makes me anxious.  Not because I am worried about my health, or indeed OH’s, but because these people are ignoring the rules.  Generally I am no fan of rules, but these particular ones are in place to protect us.  Does this flouting indicate arrogance, stupidity, ignorance or absentmindedness?  Or am I becoming intolerant?  Or perhaps a little paranoid?  Hard to say.

Thanks for the inspiration Kevin.

Daily Walk – Lilac Time

Today we took separate Daily Walks.  OH went one way this morning, I went the other way this afternoon.  We haven’t fallen out, it is just the way it happened.  There was an advantage to being on my own, I had more opportunity to be nosy.   I peered over walls and around fences, I crossed the road when something caught my eye.  I examined the ground, I looked into the sky, all the while retaining my best suspicion-free demeanour.  There were several rather pink people sunbathing in their front gardens, I kept my camera far away.  These were not my quarry, I was looking for flowers.  And I found them; back-lit tulips in a state of disrobing, forget-me-nots growing from cracks in the tarmc, marigolds perched on walls.  This was my favourite and, after first checking for bees in the buzzing bush, I buried my nose into the blossom to enjoy my first scent of lilac for the year.

Wonder Days

Lurking within these time-skewed days of isolation there have been moments of wonder.  The nature of these nuggets is varied, differing from household to household, human bean to human bean.  It might have been proudly presenting your first ever sourdough loaf straight from the oven to rapturous applause of one.  Perhaps it was completing the 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle called Shades of Black, which had been sending you boss-eyed for the last 3 weeks.  Or maybe it was getting into the lotus position without putting a hip out.  Mine, and I can only speak for myself, it is a little muckier.  And no, we haven’t suddenly become X-rated.

There is little more distressing, for a gardener and plant obsessive, than being separated from our drug of choice.  Therefore, the arrival of a box containing some prize specimens was an event to be celebrated.  This particular box came from the wonderful Bluebell Cottage Nursery in Cheshire, which is run by Sue Beesley, former winner of BBC Gardener of the Year.  It was beautifully packaged and, snug and safe beneath the protective paper spaghetti, were my brand new morsels of delight.  These treats included plants that had been on The Lust List, including Campanula ‘Loddon Anna’; ones new to myself, such as Pulsatilla vulgaris ‘Papageno’; and some old friends like Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’.  A few I will keep for myself, others I will pass onto clients.  If they can get me to let go of the pot, that is, I can have a very firm grasp when I want to.   I smiled from the second the box arrived at the front door, through the leisurely reveal (I always forget what I have ordered so the surprise adds to the thrill), to the savouring of each label, to the sitting back and considering my choices.  It made me very happy, very happy.  I am sure I heard a tut, a mutter, or even a sigh or two, coming from somewhere in the house.

It is always good to support independents, especially in these difficult times, and I am pleased to report that many nurseries are offering a mail order service.  I am further pleased to say that they have been very popular.  For more information check out The Independent Plant Nurseries Guide, although I must warn you, it is very hard to resist temptation on such a scale.  Myself, I am too scared to look.  Although a little peek wouldn’t hurt, surely …..

Six on Saturday – Top Secret Kittens

It was touch and go as to whether I would make this week’s Six on Saturday.  Luckily, I got back in time from my top-secret kitten-rescuing mission to complete my task.  Rest assured that all kittens are safe and well.  I hope you are too.  Any more information needed then pop on over to P’s and you can find up what is going on around the planet.  There may be more kittens and they might even be real.  Shall we proceed ……

First, we have Tulipa ‘Burgundy’ a lily-flowered beauty.  When it first started to bloom, I wasn’t sure about the colour.  It seemed a bit dull and lifeless.  Then it bucked up its ideas and now I love it and its fellows.  This pot is in a more protected position so hopefully will avoid the fate of last week’s purple tulip.

Next, we have an attention seeking Hoya bella.  This wonderfully fragrant exotic was given to me as a cutting by my ex-client, the lovely Lavinia.  It lives in my office, perched high on top of my box files, where I can appreciate the waxy flowers and their accompanying aroma.  Over the last few weeks, I have been mainly working downstairs and as such I may have neglected it somewhat.  In defiance, it threw itself off the top leaving a trail of compost in its wake.  It was nothing to do with the fact that it was bone dry.  Nothing at all.  It is now outside getting rehydrated in the rain.

My Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ has begun to flower.  It reminds of Mrs Bun.  Just why it reminds me of her is documented in Six on Saturday – After the Rain.  She was forgiven a long time ago, possibly 30 seconds after the rejection.  I miss her muchly.

This is Bellevalia pycnantha, syn. Muscari paradoxum, which is new to me this year.  Not only haven’t I grown it, I hadn’t heard of it before.  But I liked the picture and thought I would give it a go.  Then, as these things often happen, I was reading my friend Chloris’ Six on Saturday and there it was, in all its glory!  As she has a wonderful garden and great taste, I was quite chuffed.  I’m looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

It’s that time of the year again, the time I say “look at the aquilegia and look how they are taking over every corner of the garden”.  Then I say “I will dead head them before they seed themselves and dig most of them up, reserving a select few”.  Then I don’t.  Groundhog year.

Earlier in the week, when myself and OH went out for our daily stroll, I spotted an interesting box outside the house of our neighbour across the road.  Of course we crossed to examine it.  Any little excitement is welcome.  In the box were pots of aeonium and a sign saying “£1 each, all proceeds to the Citizens Advice Bureau”.  On the way home I said to OH “have you got a pound?”, as like all royalty I rarely carry cash.  Here, potted up into one of my old terracottas, is our new aeonium.

Stay safe and well, my friends.  ‘Til next time.