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.

 

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.

Six on Saturday – Between Storms

Are we still hanging on?  Hope so.  Welcome to another Six on Saturday.  If you need to know more or you would like to see what the others are up to, and quite frankly you would be daft not to, pop over to The Maestro Prop’s site and all will be revealed.  A tricky week, but it has passed.  Shall we proceed.

We’ll kick off with Paeonia mlokosewitschii, conveniently known as Molly the Witch.  Every year she puts in an appearance, but she is yet to flower.  This year, or perhaps next, might be her inaugural season.  It doesn’t really matter; it is always good to have a witch in close proximity.

On to Lachenalia quadricolor, which by some kind of Disney miracle I have managed to keep alive.  So far anyway.  I bought it last March at the HPS Lecture Day.  This flower is far from the ideal, but still it makes me happy.  It reminds me of a giraffe and that can only be a good thing.  My mum loves giraffes.

Next is horticultural fleece on the washing line.  The storms unceremoniously peeled it from the plant it was supposed to be protecting.  It had become a pathetic wet mess, only kept from blowing away by the amount of rainwater it was holding within its fibres.  I hung it on the line to dry, along with its similarly inept colleagues, during our short respite.

On to a crocus.  Fabulous!  Just look at the delicate purple veins on the blue-white of the embracing petals, their deep violet bases leaching upwards.  Doesn’t it make your heart beat a little faster?  I don’t want this flower to do anything else; no opening, no ripening.  I want it to hold tight onto this moment, it is perfect as it is.

The Exochorda x macrantha has decided to have a little bit of a bloom.  I don’t mind.  Although not my favourite, it is rather nice in its virginal simplicity.  Just nice though, no quickening of the pulse.

Lastly, an ever-faithful stalwart of my SoS, Tibouchina urvilleana, which is tucked in under a tree.  For extra protection, it was supposed to be swaddled by one of the previous fleecy offenders.  Seems she shrugged off her constraints, like the diva that she is, and have a tentative attempt at flowering.  Again, all to my benefit.  Make the most of it gal, you may well have to be rewrapped very soon.

All done.

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu
Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu.

Six on Saturday – Resilience

It has been an eventful couple of weeks for the world; fire and flood, plague, false prophets, the whole shebang!  In my own small and insignificant world we have soldiered on, protected from all but a smidgeon of the evil portents, although not always with our smiley faces on.  There have casualties and but many more survivors.  This weekend is set to bring more challenges, which we have no option but to endure.  But there is nothing like nature to demonstrate resilience, the urge to survive is paramount.  To see how the rest of the Six on Saturday world is faring, check out what is going on over at The Prop’s where I am sure positivity will abound.  Let us get on.

First we have a hellebore which, with a little help from its lovely assistant, is showing its hidden beauty.  With its head hung low it has escaped the worst of winds.  Each year I promise to move it to a more accessible position.  Each year I forget/lose my bottle.

The bully boy in yellow pants, Narcissus ‘Tête-à-Tête’, was ravaged by our recent weather.  These flowering spikes were ripped from their planter several feet away and dumped unceremoniously on the ground.  I have no doubt they will return next year, despite their rough treatment.  I am very pleased to see the Aquilegia canadensis showing a leg in the background.

Next the glossy bronzed leaves of Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’ which is snuggled between a hydrangea and buddleia.  No sign of trauma here.  God bless hardy evergreens.

One of the branches of a large and very woody rosemary toppled during the reign of Ms Ciara.  I have decided to leave it be until the weather moderates.  A snail is very pleased that I have chosen a non-interventionist approach.

The Solanum rantonnetii is looking a little worse for wear.  Fried to a crisp and, bearing in mind the toxicity of the plant, not as tasty.  The plant is vigorous and I have every faith it will come back fighting in the spring.

Lastly an osteospermum providing breakfast, lunch and dinner for a small green caterpillar.  I wondered if it was an inch worm of some sort.  Perhaps.  It has had a good munch, which even the most hard hearted could not deny.

Stay safe, keep your chins up and dream of happy days.

 

Six on Saturday – The Right Direction

February has arrived; the month of love, the last hurrah of winter, a time of increasing optimism.  In theory anyway.  The shortest of month of the year can sometimes seem the longest, plodding through to March which itself can be slow to reveal spring.  However, there are definite advances in the garden, subtle often, but all the same heading in the right direction.  Why don’t you take a look at what The Prop and all his acolytes are up to, I’m sure they will prove my point.

What better place to begin than my waterproof trousers on the washing line in the pouring rain.  I came across them when I was sorting my tools out earlier in the week.  They were very muddy and, taking full advantage of the dreadful weather, this was my cunning plan to wash them.  My very helpful OH pegged the legs up as they were caught on the pyracantha.  Could have sprung a leak.  Another disaster averted.

Next is Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’.  I think it might be a Six on Saturday law to feature a snowdrop before the winter is out.  Any SoSers out there yet to comply had better act quickly or risk the wrath of Mr P himself.

I was very pleased to find this Eschscholzia californica ‘Red Chief’ looking so healthy.  And yes, Mr T, I know you aren’t keen on these cultivar infiltrators.  Will you let me off with a foliage shot?  I’m very happy as it looks strong which bodes well for flowers in the nearish future.  I know that there is a long way to go, but a good base is always useful.

Now we have the monster that is Salvia gesneriiflora, just coming into flower.  It has almost taken over the Bed of Anarchy and bang on schedule is beginning to bloom.  Some culling will almost certainly be necessary.

Onto Iris reticulata, a great favourite of mine.  Sorry I don’t know which one it is.  Blame the labeller.

Lastly a bowed Calendula ‘Neon’, a survivor from last year, snuggling up to a phormium.  Always good to find a rogue having a go out of season.  Showing willing.  An example to us all.

All done, ’til next time!

 

Six on Saturday – Return of the Sun

I am happy to report that this Six on Saturday is written with the sun in my heart and, more importantly, in my garden.  Yesterday, when I took these photographs, it was doing the usual, no need to dwell on that nonsense, that is the past.  Let us raise a cup of tea to the Return of the Sun.  Expect the mood to be optimistic and expectant of great futures.  Don’t forget to nip over to The Prop’s to find out what is happening in lots of other gardens.  If you are nosy like me this is a godsend, there is absolutely no chance of getting caught rummaging in someone’s herbaceous borders and being firmly asked to leave the premises or the local constabulary will be called forthwith.  Not that that has ever happened to me of course.

First of all we have a desiccated hydrangea flower.  In a few weeks these will be removed, giving space for the new growth to emerge and the cycle to continue.  It is worth keeping the heads on, both for protection of the vulnerable young foliage and for decorative purposes.  Even when soggy they look good.  I wish I would say the same for myself.

Next my bully-boy Narcissus ‘Tête-à-Tête’ who are exploding from the front planters at a rate of knots.  “I was here first!” they shout as they push the poor pansies out of the way, lifting great clods of composts as they rise triumphant.  I will not tolerate such behaviour, there is room for everyone.

Now the empty husks of hosta flowers.  These live in the front garden, in pots just by the front door so we can be ever vigilant in our war against the slimy ones.  They still get eaten.  Still, for a short while we will enjoy them intact and the flowers are rarely attacked.

On to Campanula poscharskyana, looking very washed out in this picture, which seeds itself in walls both front and back.  This piece is on the short pillar on the pavement.  This pillar is very important to the local dog population.  Messages are left here to be sniffed by the next passer-by which are then promptly replied to.  Doggie Post Office.

For many weeks I have thought that these hanging brown bats on the Begonia fuchsioides were the last of the flowers which had been caught in the light frost.  On closer inspection they appear to be seed pods.  I collected them and brought them in to dry.  Already the miniscule seed is spilling out.  Small things, big smiles.

Yesterday I sat at my computer, checking my dreary photographs, trying to pick something at least vaguely in focus.  My eyes turned towards the window, as I wondered whether I should go outside and try again.  A single white feather slowly drifted to the ground.  The feather is a symbol of the spirit in many cultures, and some believe that a white feather is the sign that an angel has passed close by.  It would be nice to think that.  Nothing to do with seagulls at all.  Nothing.

All done, until the next time.