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 …….

Six on Saturday – Conform to Type

primula

For this Six on Saturday I have resolved to conform to type.   I will be featuring stereotypically seasonal issues only.  Possibly.  We shall see how that goes.  “What is this Six on Saturday?” I hear you ask.  “Have you just returned from trekking in the Amazon rainforest where you set up home with an indigenous tribe and lived isolated from western society for the past five years until you ran out of teabags and had to pop home to get some more?” I enquire.  No matter, I will explain.  It is quite simple: six, on Saturday.  For more details check out our very own tribal chief, The Propamaster, and he will get you up to speed on the fine print.

First we have a primula, primrose, first rose.  You might have noticed that it is blue, which is not totally traditional, but let us not get bogged down with the minutae.   I have a penchant for blue flowers so I was very happy to find this little lovely in the front garden.  I pointed it out to OH earlier and we agreed that neither of us had planted it there.  Or perhaps more accurately, “remembered” that we had planted it.

narcissus

Next the quintessential spring flower, all hail the daff!  No one can complain about any poetic licence with this choice, a classic yellow narcissus.  I was in Welsh Wales last weekend and was rather surprised to see they had seemingly shot up and budded in my absence.  Perhaps I was away longer than I imagined.

crocus

Now a crocus, bang on!  I imagine this little beauty was shifted out-of-place whilst I was rooting around removing summer bedding and planting out the violas.   A small joy, hugging the edge of the butler’s sink.

hellebore

Come on folks, I am surpassing myself here, now we have a hellebore!  This possibly has a name but I can’t be bothered to go out and look at the label.  Let us call it Purple Blotch.

slug

Not so welcome, but definitely a feature of the season, are the emerging slugs and snails.  This blatant destroyer was feasting on a pot of purple alstromeria that I am planning to pass on to Max.  Again, it definitely has a name.  Please see above for excuses.

Salvia corrugata

And here is the exception to prove my rule.  This Salvia corrugata has been flowering since time begun, and possibly a little before.  Unprotected, except by my love, it has weathered storms and a few degrees of frost.  Not classic winter/spring fare, but definitely worth a mention.

Now just a moment, we wouldn’t want a repeat of last week’s rather embarrassing faux pas …………… yep, we are definitely up to six, I checked twice.  That is it, another SoS completed.   Until the next time.  I will keep practicing my counting.

 

 

Six on Saturday – Brrrrrr!

Galanthus 'S. Arnott'

Happy Six on Saturday to you all!  It has been a week of weather; from the unimaginable cold in the North of America to the searing heat in parts of Australia.  We had some of the white stuff in the UK too, which has been followed by the inevitable chaos on the roads and the panic buying of Mother’s Pride and Chardonnay.  In Ilfracombe we had a pathetic smattering, but you didn’t have to venture far to see the real McCoy.  But I didn’t bother venturing anywhere.  I decided to just imagine it instead.  This morning I asked OH if it was too late to indulge in a little panic buying.  We bought a multi-bag of snacktastic crisps and a pack of blood oranges just in case.   If you are tempted to join the not-so-secret society of SoSers or would like to be shown how it is supposed to work by more sensible folk, pop over to King Prop’s blog and all will be revealed.  Let’s get on with it, too cold to hang about.

First we have a snowdrop.  A distinct feeling of déjà vu?  This is in fact my other snowdrop Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’, also bought at Helen’s Little Ash Garden open day.  Don’t worry, this is the extent of my snowdrop collection.  I’ve got a long way to go before I can be classed as a true galanthophile.

Although we had but a mere smidgen of snow, it has been both very cold and exceptionally windy.  So windy that in the early hours of Sunday morning, after lying awake listening to the roaring and scaffolding boards dancing, we got up and listened to the World Service until light.  We then called the builder who came to tie down the boards again.  He was grumpy to have been roused from his weekend slumber, I hadn’t slept a wink all night, he didn’t stand a chance.  This Lycianthes rantonnetii is paying for its vigour, the leaves are withered and lifeless after the desiccating gales.  I am hoping that beneath all is well.

papaver

On to my oriental poppy.  It is in the middle of the superhighway that the builders macheted through the Bed of Anarchy.  By some quirk of fate it escaped a size ten steel toecap.  They were back yesterday, the Velux in the office roof has sprung a rather impressive leak.  Before they started I pointed it out to them  “That is a poppy” I said “It is called Simon and I would like you to do your utmost to avoid standing on it.”  They did their best.  Quite sensibly they were concerned about the potential for retribution by someone who names their herbaceous perennials.

hedychium It appears that one of my hedychiums has set seed.  This is good.  I have grown a ginger lily from seed before and it only took a few years to get to flowering size.  These will stay on the plant for as long as possible.  Perhaps Mr P would like some?  What do you mean “creep”?

Rose

Lastly we have an example of the importance of being in the right place at the right time.  The crimson tinged foliage of this rose, which could be ‘Peace’, has not suffered in the slightest in the recent inclement weather.   It is as fresh and pristine as the moment it unfurled from the bud.   I hope I haven’t summoned the demons of fate tempting.

gazania

And second lastly is a gazania that was in hiding, possibly due to the fact it doesn’t want to be spotted by the evil north wind.  Did I get away with it?  Maybe not.

Another SoS completed, always a triumph.  Until next time!

 

 

Six on Saturday – Dark Weeks

Back so soon?  Taking part in Six on Saturday is a splendid way to mark the passage of the darkest weeks, which I am making a concerted effort not to wish away. This wild beast is overseen by our very own lion tamer The Prop.  It works like this, he point an upturned chair at us, cracks a whip and we occasionally try to eat him.  Something like that anyway.  If you would like this confirmed, pop over to his blog and check out what is going on.

First we have a heart, suspended on our bijou cherry.  I would like to say that it was a gift from Tom Hardy, but that would be at best misleading.  In fact I bought this tiny terracotta tile for myself along with two other similars.  They hang on the cherry tree, which was grown from a pip and therefore unlikely to doing anything of much merit, to add ornament where there is none.

Geranium bohemicum

Next we have Geranium bohemicum which I grew from seed last year.  A few SoS’s ago I featured a geranium given to me by my college friend called ‘Blue Orchid’ . I have since discovered that it is actually called ‘Orchid Blue’ and is a cultivar of this very plant.   Both are flowering now, they look the same, you would have thought I could have worked it out before.

Galanthus 'Magnet'

Now onto Galanthus ‘Magnet’ a strong and upright chap, purchased last year when visiting Helen’s wonderful open garden at Little Ash.  Later I transferred it into a terracotta pot, so it wouldn’t get lost in the fray.  It has particularly long pedicel, the bit that attaches the flower to the rest of the plant, and therefore is noted for its fine bobbing.  In fact, as I write I can see it, bobbing away in the breeze.  Later there are gales forecast, I hope it doesn’t over-bob and lose its head.

Mummified apples

Then some mummified apples and associated damage, is it canker?  Perhaps.  This is one of two apple trees in our garden, and they have outgrown the space.  The jackdaws scoff the fruit before we can get to them and they aren’t all that special when we do.  I have attempted to keep them pruned to size but it is a case of wrong plant, wrong place.  Or is that a double negative and mean it is the right place?  Whatever, my saw twitches when I am close by.

Tibouchina urvilleana

Another hit for Teacher’s Pet Tibouchina urvilleana.  Although it keeps shrugging off the overcoat I so lovingly draped around its shoulders, it is still looking quite happy.  One leaf has turned.  And very beautifully too.

“Did you put a pottery horses head in one of the pots”  I asked OH.  “Yes” he replied.  “Thank goodness, I thought the ceramics mafioso had been calling”.

That is it, all done for another week.  Another day, another dollar!

Six on Saturday – Time Flies

anemone

Six on Saturday time again.  The weeks are passing quickly and soon I will be back at work.  I am half looking forward and to half dreading this.  I will be very unfit, I am little nervous I will hurt my foot, and it is bloomin’ cold out there!  But on the plus side I will see all my lovely clients again, watch spring arrive in their gardens and have the joy of helping them plan for the future.  I spent  one lovely day in my own garden this week, and I picked a good ‘un.  It was sunny and warm and the ground was easy.   Not a great deal was achieved, except a lot of pottering and pondering.  Perfect.  Now on to what I found during my rumagings.

Our first picture is of the emerging foliage of Anemone coronaria ‘Bordeaux’.  As I am “on the wagon” at the moment, this is the closest I am going to get to a bottle of red.  I planted them in  the pot where the Hedychium ‘Pradhani’ lurks, they will be long over by the time that exotic creature wakes.

euphorbia

Next we have a blushing Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae, the wood spurge, looking like it is contemplating flowering.  This plant had a severe chop back last year after it was decimated by some strong winds.  Now it is a sturdy and strong specimen.  Rather like myself.  Admittedly I have never needed a chop back.  Next to it you can just about see the browning foliage of Salvia corrugata, which although a little tatty around the edges is still flowering.  Rather like …. you get the picture.

Miscanthus nepalensis

Now for Miscanthus nepalensis, whose golden tresses are now turning to silver.  It has done very well this year, for a young ‘un, and I am hopeful that next year it will be even better.

pyracantha

There is not a single fruit left on the pyracatha, stripped bare but for a couple of manky looking specimens.   As far as I am concerned this has negated its reason for existence, to me it just represents pain.  However, I am sure whoever has feasted on the succulent orange baubles will be looking forward to next year in anticipation.  It will therefore stay.

This was a hooray moment, pulling back the mat of dead monbretia foliage and finding these ruddy shoots below.  They belong to Paeonia mlokosewitschii, known to her friends as Molly the Witch.  She was a gift a few years ago and has yet to flower.  This year, it surely will be this year.  Someone has been having a bit of a nibble, hopefully I have now deterred them.

Lastly we have Pelargonium cordifolium var. rubrocinctum with friend and associated poo.   The caterpillar is so perfect in its Kawasaki greenness, and the matching heart-shaped leaves with tiny scarlet pin heads at the end of each tooth equally as wonderful.   We could do without the poo in the picture, but that is nature for you.  And yes, I let the caterpillar alone.  And yes, I realise that soon all will not be perfect.

Thanks for hosting this shindig to the caller of the dance The Propagator, long may he rule!

 

 

Venus

Venus Fly Trap

Torrington Tina came a-calling this morning.  After a nifty about turn, we headed off along the coast road, bound for Combe Martin.  We parked in the car park above the beach where the waves were heaving white and headed off to seek adventure.  Which was possibly a little optimistic as CM was mainly shut.  However we found a fine bakery with a small cafe attached and drank coffee and chatted without repetition or hesitation for an hour and a half.  It was wonderful.  As we left TT bought Mr TT a sticky bun.  I bought my OH nothing because, as of today, we are on a healthy eating regime.  It was a kindness.

Yesterday was OH’s birthday and, amongst an assortment of other things, I bought him a Venus Fly Trap.  Although he didn’t say so, I couldn’t help but feel that he was underwhelmed by this gift.  I can’t think why, Venus is the goddess of love after all.  This fact may have been lost on him.  I can’t be certain, but he may well be thinking that TT is much better in the present department.