Six on Saturday – Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?  No, I’m afraid we’re not.  Hunker down chaps, we’ll get there in the end.  No problem, all this self-isolating gives us plenty of time for Six on Saturdaying.  Except I couldn’t fit it in yesterday.  So here I am, the crack of dawn, trying to get it sorted.  I seem to be in a bit of lull gardenwise at the moment.  The tulips are just hanging there, reluctant to colour, the herbaceous stuff is beginning to show a leg but nothing too dramatic.  Maybe I’m not looking hard enough.  I remember last year thinking I should do something about filling this gap.  Next year I will definitely do something about filling this gap.  However I managed to rustle together a meagre six and if you wish to see what the rest of the gang are up to pop on over to the great Marvello Propello‘s blog.  Let us get on, soon OH will be serving me my lightly boiled egg with marmite soldiers.

First of all we have a self-seeded primula, crammed into a gap in a low drystone wall.  It has obviously had an interesting life; scarred, battered and bruised from run-ins with mollusc and cold winds.  However, in the spring sunshine it looks most fetching.  Perfect is so last year.

Next we have Lilium ‘Forever Linda’ which had been tucked around the corner in the “resting” area for out of work plants.  It took me by surprise as to how close to flowering it is.  It is ear-marked to be planted out in the garden today.  Whether that talk will become the walk is debateable.

I love dandelions.  They are great for pollinators and telling the time.  The other day I saw a lady acting rather suspiciously on a patch of rough ground not far from our house.  As I passed by, she gave me a wry smile and I realised she was picking dandelion leaves, perhaps for her guinea pig or rabbit, or perhaps for a salad for herself.  Dandelions are great.  They may or may not make you wee the bed, clinical trials underway.

For the past two weeks “COME ON PEGGY!” has been periodically shouted at a nondescript pot of compost residing in my dining room.  I potted up all my dahlias a couple of weeks ago and they are now sitting in the pathetic plastic greenhouse, hopefully thinking about some action.  This one had special treatment, bought into the warm of the house.  It is the dahlia I named after my mum.  The full story is here: It is All in the Name.  Eventually, as you can see, she listened to my pleadings.  That’s a first. (not really)

A couple of years ago I sowed some Lathyrus aurea and some Laythrus vernus.  Then all the labels fell off/broke in half/rubbed off/didn’t exist in the first place.  Since then I have been waiting for one to flower so I know which is which.  And here it is.  The first flower of Laythrus vernus.  And very lovely it is too!

Lastly, we have the magnificent barnets of Muscari ‘Mount Hood’, although a few seem to have lost their wigs.  This year I have become a grape hyacinth fan, I will definitely be trying more varieties in the future.  More plants, that is what we need!

Take care and be safe my friends, ’til next time.

Further Apart but Closer Still

Contrary to popular advice, I like to talk to strangers. I may have mentioned this before, along with the fact that I cannot be blamed for this affliction. It is my Mum’s fault, I have no choice in the matter. Nature or nurture? Whichever it might be, I am a lost cause.

This morning, early enough to encounter dog walkers and joggers, I wandered into town to pick up a prescription. I danced the Two Meter Fandango with everyone I met, crossing the road or moving into space, ensuring Social Distancing protocol was observed. Each time we exchanged a smile, a thank you, a good morning.

A shaven-haired chunk of a man approached with his similarly imposing doberman. I had passed this duo many times before, a nod the most intimate we had ever been. Today, as he moved into the road to let me pass, he said “I feel bad doing this” and we stood appropriately far apart and chatted for a few minutes. A charming, personable fellow.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been in contact with friends and family, and even the odd stranger, more often than ever before. Checking up, checking in. Although, in physical terms, we feel so very far apart, perhaps more importantly we have become much closer emotionally. The silver lining.

Up, Up and Away

This made me very happy.  My first seeds of the season, Cosmos ‘Purity’, have germinated, the sight of which bought me great joy.  On reflection, it was a slightly disturbing amount of pleasure.  I may have double fist pumped.  They look like groovers at a seedling disco, throwing some fine moves, so happy to be growing.

After a few stern words, or perhaps inspired/shamed by the cosmos, the cucumbers and courgettes are also making rumblings.  About time too.  Slackers will not be tolerated!

Six on Saturday – From a Safe Distance

Harold Wilson once said that a week in politics is a long time.  Over this past week so much has been happening worldwide that it feels like an eternity.  Still spring skips along and stuff is happening; good things both in the garden and out.  If you want to see how alike we are around the world, in our gardens but also in our woes and joys, pop over to The Prop’s site where all will be revealed.  Here you can find out what our fellow humans have been getting up to and how many extra hours they have been in the garden when they should have been “working from home”.

First we have the same Muscari latifolium that I featured a couple of weeks ago, now all grown up.  Fabulous.

Last year my little brother and his family went to Tanzania on holiday.   As they are what we affectionately know as “The Cloggies”, ie they are mostly Dutch and live in the Netherlands, they very kindly posted me some African coffee instead of a postcard.  Unfortunately, possibly due to my extensive criminal record, the Customs and Exise people intercepted it.  They then proceed to break the seal, rootle around inside for a bit, before sending it on to me.  I decided not to drink the coffee.  The empty tin makes a rather nice container for a couple of baby sempervivum.  Thanks bruv, it was a nice thought.

Now we have a pot of radish and spring onions, well the potential for them anyway.  This is a feeble grow-your-own attempt.  I made a bit of a boo-boo and bought seed tape for the radishes.  It is weird stuff.  A bit like knicker elastic.  Nothing has germinated yet.  Perhaps it was knicker elastic after all.  Like the true professional I am, I have been checking for action several times a day.  Nowt yet.  Do you like my “no poo-ing in this pot” defence system?  For the cats you understand.

A couple of days ago OH decided to dead-head the hydrangea.  “Don’t stand on the bleeding heart that is growing underneath” I pleaded.  He gave a look, and it wasn’t the look of love.  He didn’t.   Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Valentine’ is quite safe.

I am trying to get my Jacaranda mimosifolia re-accustomed to life in the big bad world by moving it outside during the daytime and bringing it back into the relative comfort of our dining room at night.  It has been “in, out, in, out” but as yet there has been no “shaking it all about”.

Lastly we have the unfolding fresh foliage, red-edged and vulnerable, of one of our many Woolies acers.  Every one a winner baby.

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

 

Home Not Alone

I have decided not to work until things sort themselves out.   I will miss the gardens.  But they will wait.  Annoying, they will probably thrive.  Perhaps more irritatingly, the sun has shone in constant sniggering glory ever since.  I will miss my friends; human, canine and feline.  But they will welcome me back when the time is right.

Today was good.  I am not expected them all to be the same.  Things got sorted, a few more stitches were made, bread was baked, washing dried, and a stroll was peaceful and reviving.   And I have counted my blessings that I am lucky in all this.  We have enough and I am not alone.

But I am not getting complacent.  The house may well get smaller over the coming weeks.

Six on Saturday – Hope

Welcome to this week’s Six on Saturday.  My theme, and I do like a theme even if I do tend to go off piste, is “hope”.   I googled “what is hope?” and I was presented with two options.  Firstly; a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.  It was however the second, archaic, definition that I believe is most relevant; a feeling of trust.  When Pandora inadvertently released a truckload of woes into the world by opening her famous box, hope was left behind, jammed in a corner at the bottom no doubt.  Hope is not always easy to hold onto, but we must try, and we must trust in the future.

This morning I was up early wandering around the garden in my PJ’s taking photographs, the neighbours are used to it now, and I found lots to shout about.  Horticulturally speaking this is a time of great hope, seeds are beginning to germinate, plants sprouting, plans are huge and expectations immense.  If you would like to know more about SoS, all the information you could possible want, and much, much more, is over at our leader The Proptastic Mr Prop’s site.  Shall we begin?

First we have the valiant Rhodotypos scandens with its corrugated lime green leaves just beginning to emerge.  The photo is a bit blurry, but it was blowing a Klondike gale out there this morning.  All winter it rocked and rolled on its roots in the frozen hinterland of the front garden, but it has come through undaunted.  Soon the flowers, perfect in their simplicity, will give me joy each time I walk up the garden path.

Next the flowers of a pot grown blueberry.  Yesterday I suggested to OH that we get rid of it, or donate it to someone else who would look after it better, as it isn’t very productive.  I think it is flowering just to make me feel guilty, which of course I do.  Plans for its demise are on hold.

This Impatiens stenantha should really be snoozing, or perhaps just emerging, but it has had insomnia all winter long.  The leaves are beautiful with their toothed red edges.  An early flowering perhaps?

The Lavandula pinnata has also not slept.  It is like having a garden of hyperactive teenagers at a sleepover.  Unlike teens, I am confident unremitting flowering will not make them grumpy or late for school.

Soon there will be tulips.  These look sturdy and full of potential.  I can’t remember what varieties they are, we are all in for a surprise, hopefully a good one.

Lastly, a kindness.  At this moment in this world’s turbulent history some people are having toilet rolls and pasta left on their doorsteps by caring neighbours.  I had a Woodwardia radicans and a packet of tigridia seed.  Thanks Hero, you know how to make me happy!

That is your lot.  Stay safe and stay happy my friends.  ‘Til next time.

Six on Saturday – Celebration

On the face of it there hasn’t been much to celebrate recently.  For quite a while now.  Most of the reasons, and there have been a fair few, have been, and are continuing to be, well documented.   Too many commas?  Perhaps.  In our little corner, just to add some spice to the mix, we have a new leak at the back of the house and our boiler threw a hissy fit on Tuesday and will not be fixed (at the earliest) until Monday.  Good job it isn’t cold and wet and miserable, that would be truly horrendous.  Wait a minute ……..  Still, where there is life and a multi-pack of kettle crisps there is hope and there is generally something to smile about in the garden.  My Six on Saturday will therefore be a celebration.  I will not be thwarted.  Not this week anyway.  If you would like to read the rest of the gangs’ contributions, a lovely optimistic lot they are too, pop on over to The Maestro Prop’s site to find out what is going on across the globe and beyond.

First we have a primula, and a rather lovely one at that.  It has been left to its own devices and, as things do, it has bulked up in a pleasing way over the last few years.  I don’t remember planting it, but this means little.

Now the seed head of Micanthus nepalensis, its contents jettisoned.  The skeleton a reminder of what was and what is to come.

A large piece of this rosemary snapped off a few weeks ago.  “Helpfully”, and yes the inverted commas are significant, my OH tidied up the broken piece that was sheltering a friendly snail.  Although a little battered, the flowers are defiant.

Well hello Muscari latifolium, please feel free to grow and become the beauty you are destined to become.  No need to be shy, we are all friends here.

I love the fiery red that some of the Pelargonium cordifolium var. rubrocinctum leaves have turned this winter.  Although this could possibly indicate stress, unhappiness or indeed despair, I dismiss this negativity and just enjoy the show.  Harsh, and not in the slightest bit fair.

And to conclude I will share something that is not lurking in my garden.  I hope I am forgiven.  Let me take you to the romantic setting of an industrial estate on the edge of Bideford, not far from the recycling centre and around the corner from the furniture warehouse.  It was here, after 34 years of unwedded bliss, myself and OH had a civil partnership.  It was very low key, just ourselves and our witnesses, the glorious Lord and Lady Mantle.  We then scooted off to the Burton Art Gallery for lunch.  As would befit the ocassion, myself and OH had chips and beer whilst the Mantles enjoyed galettes and fizz.  The sun shone.  It was lovely.  Although to be honest Lady M. could have looked a little jollier.  I am also slightly concerned that it was the registry office we visited and not Screwfix …..

Stay well friends, keep your chins pointed towards the sky and don’t lose the faith.  ‘Til next time.