Six on Saturday – Slack

I haven’t been here for a few weeks, but possibly you were. What did I miss? Anything much? Any scandal or intrigue to report? Of course, I’m talking about Six on Saturday. For the few sorry folk that haven’t come across this mega-meme, there is no need to feel embarrassed. If you pop over to The Prop’s site, you can study all the intricacies and many codicils attached to this world famous weekly event. For the more impatient here is a précis: Six. On Saturday. I have been a little slack for a while on the blogging front, but rest assured I have been very taut elsewhere. Let us see if I can remember how it is done.

First, we have Helichrysum bracteatum, the strawflower. It is one of my feeble attempts at front of house bedding this year. Too tall, not floriferous enough; but on its own, in its own right, it is rather lovely.

Now onto Dahlia ‘Verone’s Obsidian’ which I believe is one of the honkas. I’m a little confused as to its real identity. This its first flower to bloom successfully and even that is a bit wonky. A little more honking and a little less getting scoffed by snails would be nice.

Next Hedychium ‘Pradhanii’, the only flower worth a public showing. Pots have been shuffled recently and this stunning ginger has unfortunately found itself in direct rotary washing line range. Each time our matching “his and hers” lederhosen whizz around in the breeze they whack this poor beauty in the mooch. I should move it really. It makes sense.

Onto someone looking very guilty “It wasn’t me guv, I just sat down for a rest and the big hole was here already”. I believe you.

Now Heliotropium arborescens ‘Chatsworth’ purchased a few weeks ago on a birthday visit to Atlantic Botanic nursery with my old mucker Hero. I have grown this Cherry Pie fragrant lovely before, but it didn’t make it through the winter. Fingers crossed for this one.

And finally, Salvia involucrata ‘Hadspen’; pure dazzling pink furry joy.

All done. I might try this SoSing again, it wasn’t too bad after all. Take care, my friends, I’ll see you in the gloaming.

Six on Saturday – Sighing

I have been a little slack on the blogging front recently. There are reasons of course, none of which I will bore you with at the moment. Rest assured, nothing bad. Hopefully anyway. I felt I should make a special effort this week. In missing a couple of Six on Saturdays, I’ve discovered that there is only so far you can push the patience of Akela. I had a note from my Mum (and it wasn’t even forged) and even Mr K said it would be OK ( on reflection it was a mistake to give him that money in recompense) but still there were repercussions. Believe me, a Propagator tantrum is something to behold. I would suggest that no one attempts to have even one week off, let alone two, it just isn’t worth it. There are sighs, there are mega-sighs and there are Propo-sighs. Less of the excuses, let us get on with it, Sunday is chomping at the bit.

First, we have Ageratum corymbosum, looking a little like a soggy muppet after our storms. Still I love it; the colour, the form, the everything.

Next is Tomato ‘Harzfeuer’; my first but hopefully not my last. I haven’t done well with my toms this year; I was late to the party. There is time enough to regain a little ground. A miracle however would be handy.

Now a potted cutting of Fuchsia procumbens ‘Variegata’, the mother plant is playing hard to get on the flowering front. I cannot get over the other-worldliness of these little psychedelic blooms.

Like many, I thought I would try my hand at a few more vegetables this year. My report card would say “easily distracted”. Here are some mixed oriental salad leaves that I sowed and forgot.

Now another fuchsia, I didn’t realise I was such a fuchsia fan. Perhaps it is time to stand up and be counted. This is F. ‘Thalia’. Lovely.

A self-inflicted rule is “you must always save the bee shot for the finale”. Here is our star, supping on a weather-ravaged Salvia involucrata ‘Hadspen’, a bit worn around the edges but still full of the good stuff. A lesson for us all perhaps.

That is your lot my friends. I hope all is well on your planets. Keep safe, happy and full of fun.

Six on Saturday – The Exceptions

There is a vague theme for my Six on Saturday this week. My contribution consists of mainly fuchsias with a couple of interlopers thrown in for a little spice. I find it difficult to focus on one subject for too long. Fuchsias were never my favourite, especially the frouncy, doily ones. As the years have passed and I have matured into a sophisticated citizen of the world (quiet in the cheap seats!), they have wheedled their way into my heart. Not so much Mrs Frillypants, but there is still time. Hop on over to our Leader, The Mighty Prop, to find out what the rest of the gang have been up to. Let us begin.

First, we have an unnamed fuchsia, which was in residence when we bought the house. It never disappoints. We give it a big chop back at the beginning of the year and if it oversteps the marks. It lives in the teeth of the north wind, which seems all too frequent even in summer, and never complains. I should take some cuttings.

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Another inherited plant is Buddleja ‘Black Knight’, lording over the aforementioned fuchsia in the front garden. Much loved by sparrows and flutterbys.

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Onto the diddy Fuchsia microphylla, or similar, there are many varieties in this category. Like many in our garden, it lives in a pot where it gets sporadic attention. It might be small in flower and leaf, but the shrub, if allowed to thrive, can reach 2m in height.

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Now Fuchsia ‘Thalia’, just coming into bloom. I am fond of the slender flowered specimens, members of the Triphylla Group, with their clusters of elegant drop ear-rings. They are somewhat tender, but this one has over wintered without protection for a couple of years. But if The Beast came a-calling, I would worry for its safety.

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Next Fuchsia hatschbachii. I rage against the inclusion of this, admittedly beautiful, fuchsia. Fabulous flowers, dainty pink boots, but a spelling nightmare.

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Lastly, the golden Crocosmia ‘Colleton Fishacre’. Dark foliage, shining flowers, the early morning sun. Win, win, win. Always end with a bang.

Adios my friends, stay well and safe.

Six on Saturday – Running Late

Here we are again, Six on Saturday time again, I’m running a little bit late. Because of my tardiness, this will most probably be concise but not necessarily accurate. You never know, once I get going anything could happen. If you want to check up on the rest of the gang, and of course the man himself, pop on over to The Propagator’s post and you will find a smörgåsbord for your delectation. Now let us proceed or there will complaints. Mr K might be very quiet at the moment, but believe me, he is lurking in the shadows and misses nothing!

First, we have Cautleya spicata, the Himalayan ginger, which is beautiful in many ways. It will take some frost, some shade and some “oh my, I forgot about you, I had better water/feed/unweedify you”. Gorgeous.

On to an unnamed pelargonium. When we first visited our house, I looked at the red brick steps that lead up to the garden and thought “I want to grow pots of pelargoniums on those steps”. And I did.

Now Linaria ‘Fairy Bouquet’. During the first few weeks of lockdown I wondered if I would be able to get my few bits of bedding that fill the planters at the front of the house. A rummage in the seed tin and I found a pack of these and duly sowed them. They have worked quite well. Unlike the two dahlias that have constantly been eaten down to ground level. Yesterday I rescued them, not before time.

Next an agapanthus that earlier in the season was shuffled. At great personal risk of injury, I dug out this monster, divided it, gave a massive chunk to Westwell Hall and another to my neighbour then replanted the remainder in a more appropriate place. Then I had a lie down. It is a thug which seeds at will and a battalion of snails live in its fleshy leaves, planning their night manoeuvres. I rather like it.

Let’s have something a little more genteel, the lovely Alyogyne huegellii. I’ve no idea how to pronounce it, I do know it is very pretty and is an anagram of ……. Answers please!

Lastly we have the definition of blue. I can’t stop looking at it, and occasionally stroking it whilst cooing words of love. Salvia ‘Blue Angel’, wonderful.

Adieu my friends, keep staying safe and well.

Terrier

The wind is blowing and the raining is pouring and I have too much time to think. My mind is a terrier, shaking worries to no avail, when it would be more sensible to wander into happier mental climes. And who is suffering? The person who I believe wronged me? Not at all. They are oblivious; whilst I am agonising, perplexed and astounded, reliving events, even worrying that the mistake was mine, they care nothing.

And then I remembered something. A few months or years or whatevers ago I attended a mindfulness session, with Lady Mantle. Do not fret, Lady Mantle was not in charge of proceedings, that would be a different event altogether. A much more appropriate women was in charge, the lovely Gemma, our yoga teacher, with her peach skin voice and ways of fluid gentleness.

Amongst other things that day, Gemma explained to us the concept of RAIN. No, not rain; in North Devon we know quite a lot about that already, there is no call for workshops on the subject. I am talking about RAIN. This particular version of RAIN stands for Recognise, Allow, Investigate, Nurture.

This is my interpretation, please forgive me if I am mistaken, I was in a near trace-like state of relaxation at the time and for this we must blame Gemma. Perhaps it works like this: I recognise my hurt, I allow myself be angry, I attempt to understand why I feel that way and lastly, through self-kindness, I can move forward. Something like that anyway, perhaps you could look it up. It helped, it really did.

You could also admire the pink hull-like flowers of Lobelia bridgesii, they will soothe soul too.

Six on Saturday – Peace

Another day, another Six on Saturday. For the uninitiated, take a look at The Prop’s site and you will soon be up to speed with the inner workings of the sophisticated machine that is SoS. For those of you that wish to witness a plethora of flimsily veiled, Grade A cheekiness then take a look at what Mr K is up to. I can’t believe you actually looked?! I am very disappointed. Best to sweep that under the carpet and proceed with the task at hand, all the while silently weeping.

First, we have a crest fallen rose, a victim of this summer’s ravages. It has been suggested before by your clever selves that it is ‘Peace’. I like it. Both the sentiment and the flower.

Next, the most elegant in flower but languid in habit, Fuchsia glazioviana.

Now a disappointment. Yes, another one. This is, supposedly, Agapanthus inapertus ‘Midnight Cascade’. I have been waiting for it to flower for an age or two. After my initial euphoria, I now believe it to be an imposter. Life is like that sometimes, still the dark stem is rather nice.

On to Campanula ‘Loddon Anna’. It is a relatively new arrival but already has been subjected to the trauma of OH trimming the grisselina behind. Which cost it its first flowering stem. I said nothing. Let me remind you; peace is the preferred option.

Now the glorious Gladiolus papilio ‘Ruby’. I can’t beat glorious I’m afraid.

Lastly, a Dahlia coccinea seedling, dark-leaved and sultry. A great favourite of both myself and the slugs and snails. Sometimes I am not quite so peaceful.

That is yer lot you mottley crew! ‘Til the next time. Be safe and happy, my friends.

Six on Saturday – Compass Point

It is Six on Saturday time again, which is serving as a welcome compass point. Although hard to believe, the days this week have seemed more confused than ever. Cancellations, rearrangements and future plans, when the future was previously barely credible, have all served to muddy my already murky waters. For that reason it is nice to know that this is Saturday and only Saturday, for that is all it could be. If you wish to discover further benefits to SoS participation, then pop over to The Propagator to find out more, or perhaps even less, my compadres are also often muddled. Let us get on or I will be getting in trouble with the Strict Task Master across the Channel, no Fred, not you, the other Channel.

First, a leaf of Brugmansia ‘Grand Marnier’ and friend. You must forgive for the blurry photograph, it was early morning, before my 100% proof flagon of coffee. During my garden meanderings I spotted this critter and ran (wobbled) back to the house to get my camera. All that exertion was too much for me, hence shake. And no, it was nothing to do with gin. This brugmansia has not thrived, possibly due to being in too small a pot. Last weekend this was rectified, so now has absolutely no excuse not to do something fabulous.

Next, a dear little erodium, nestled in an alpine planter bought lock, stock and barrel from a bargain bin, far, far away. It has subsequently been ignored. Everyone loves a trouper.

Now the absolutely gorgeous Diascia personata, a gift from my friend Chloris. She is not only generous, she also has impeccable taste. Its common name is masked twinspur. After absolutely no research on this matter at all, I can only surmise this is due to its twin spurs which are masked. I wouldn’t quote me on it.

On to a teasel water reservoir. This is son of, son of, son of etc the teasel that hitched a ride from our previous home in Bristol. We love teasels in our house. Although none of the current generations have reached the dizzying heights of their predecessor, all are loved. Next door has a new bird feeder which has attracted a family of goldfinches, hopefully they will still be about to enjoy our offering. Yesterday I was watching a fledgling on the telephone wire outside our bedroom window, gloriously twittering for some grub. A joy.

Now for Impatiens puberala, just coming into flower. A great favourite of mine, although I am sure it would be happier in the ground or living with someone with a better watering ethic.

Lastly Dichelostemma ida-maia, which I featured as a mere shoot in an earlier SoS. It has suffered badly from the onslaught of molluscs. The attack has been relentless. Although the flower is not fully out, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to share. It might be in the belly of a snail tomorrow.

That’s it, all done for another week. Take care my friends.

Six on Saturday – Nearly

I must admit I have struggled with this week’s Six on Saturday. Everything seems to be nearly photo-ready or past caring, having being munched by slugs and snails. Still, I’ve done the best I can for you and our illustrious leader, who is never nearly but is ever always, See You Later Propagator.

First we have what I imagine to be the common monbretia, Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora . Perhaps it is or perhaps it is something more exotic, no matter. It was in residence when we arrived and is not keen to give up its patch, stealthily marching on. I have dug up a lot of crocosmia in my time. It is in my top ten of irritating plants. Then you look again, back-lit on a sunny evening, and you don’t even have to be desperate to want to include it on your SoS.

Next our Venus Fly Trap. In this instance I say “our” as it was a gift to OH a couple of years ago. He has ignored it ever since. Immediately after purchase it flowered and the given wisdom was that it was doomed. It wasn’t. Although pale, it is still interesting, and catching the odd insect.

Next we have Amaranthus caudatus, which quite frankly is just silly.

This Lantana camara, was brought a few weeks ago. It is still not planted out, but is showing willing. Perhaps this weekend.

Next we have a newby to me, Glebionis segetum, the corn marigold. I grew this from RHS seed, which I chose specially because I hadn’t heard of it before. I am underwhelmed. Although very nice, nice is not what I am after, I want wonderful.

Lastly, it is Peggy’s birthday on Tuesday, so it is only right to include a giraffe as my last contribution. This Sauromatum venosum leaf stalk is perfect.

That is it, another week! Stay safe and well my friends. Na noo na noo!

Six on Saturday – Hot, Not Bothered

Well that was a hot one, wasn’t it?! First time this year I’ve said those immortal words “It’s too hot!”. They definitely weren’t ideal working conditions, there was a lot of skulking in the shadows. Someone who throughout our mini-heat wave was undoubtably as cool as a cucumber frozen into an iceberg, was our leader The Prop. Pop on over to his blog and all SoS secrets will be revealed. Most of them anyway. Pop over to Mr K to get the uncensored version. Of course, the warm weather seldom lasts for long and we are now back to a brisk breeze and showers. What the poor plants are thinking, I can only guess. Let us proceed with my Six on Saturday.

First, we have Lycianthes rantonnetii, AKA Solanum rantonnetti, AKA a posh shrubby spud. During my annual (at least) shuffle this was moved and quite frankly my dear didn’t give a damn.

Next, we have ginger mint. So pretty, but still confined in a pot to restrict its garden domination. I have the standard, not sure exactly what it is, mint as well, which is used for the new potatoes. I might give this a go, it could have interesting results. Or maybe tea?

Sciadopitys verticillata, the Japanese umbrella pine, again in a pot. Mistreated but loved. I often give it a sideways glance as I pass, wondering what it could be if allowed to spread its roots. At the moment it is heading for bonsai territory. As I have said before, I am not a great lover of conifers, except this one, and pines, and all the redwoods, and wollemi of course, and cryptomeria, and …..

Iris ensata ‘Moonlight Waves’ struggled with the dry and then the wind and rain. This slightly battered flower, one of only two on my new plant, is still magnificent. Next year Rodney.

This feather had fallen onto the leaf of a Japanese anemone that has worked its way through our garden wall from next door. I thought it looked like an exotic insect. Until it rained, then it looked like a wet feather.

Lastly, we have Callistemon masotti, scarlet and golden tipped. The terracotta pot it is living in disintegrated a few weeks ago. We hadn’t another one to replace it and as we were in meltdown lockdown, we couldn’t buy another. So my handy man about the house glued it back together again. It doesn’t seem to have minded a bit of gorilla glue about the roots.

That is your lot, take care of yourselves. Same time next week, hopefully.

Rosa ‘Rhapsody in Blue’

I’ve had camera problems for several weeks. My Canon work companion had been abused too many times and was, quite understandably, complaining. Close encounters with mud, rain, dust, compost heaps and concrete is not good for any camera’s health. The lens had been scratched and the internal and external workings had become a little sluggish. It is possible that I am on a list concerning camera treatment. I seem to make a habit of this kind of cruelty; some of you might remember the Lord Mantle in the Pond and the Nasty Nettles incidents.

No time for sentimentality here. Mr Defunct was cast aside; a new model ordered. It arrived last week, with a little controversy in tow, being left outside the front door by the courier during a four hour torrential downpour. At the wrong house. Perhaps he thought he would do it a favour by getting it used to the life it was to expect with its new owner. Luckily it seems to be none the worse for this stormy arrival. Starting how it means to go on.