This is Nancy Nightingale’s garden.  After a whole month of total neglect.  Yes four full weeks of being ignored.

Our very own NN has been abroad on a secret mission and her home in the meantime been home to wannabe surfers and possibly hipsters.  Not a gardener in sight.

When I visited yesterday I was expecting carnage, instead I was met with voluptuous, marginally anarchic, beauty.  The cosmos and dahlias, asters and sunflowers, agapanthus and canna, gladioli and lavatera, were tangled together in a deep pile carpet of pure joy.

After a dead-head-athon, the purple beans and plum tomatoes were harvested and a few of the most obvious weeds tugged.

All is ready for her return.


Six on Saturday – Eye of the Storm

Salvia 'Blue Angel'

As we have been spared, well I have anyway, Six on Saturday will go ahead as planned.  Please do us all a favour and take a look at the The Prop’s site, he gets in a terrible sulk if you don’t.   And a Propogator sulk is a magnificently terrifying event.

We begin with Salvia patens ‘Blue Angel’.  It is not a secret that I am salvia fiend.  I am also partial to blue flowers.  Cuddly is good too.  Tick, tick, tick and voilà, my idea of heaven.

After yesterday’s crazy squalls and anticipating tomorrow’s predicted storm, today was an eye in the storm of the traditional bank holiday weather.  Unfortunately this window of opportunity did not coincide with a peak in my enthusiasm, rather a surfeit of ennui.  My heels scraped the ground as I dragged outside and did a few bits of potting on and took some late cuttings.  I also planted these, bought last weekend at Rosemoor Garden Show.  They are the corms of Crocus sativus , otherwise known as the saffron crocus.  Apparently it takes between 50,000 and 75,000 plants to produce a pound of this golden spice.  I have thirteen.  Start small, think big.

Nicotiana 'Lime Green'This Nicotiana alata ‘Lime Green’ has proved to be a little belter.  It over wintered (yes, THAT winter) and has gone on to flower through drought and deluge.  Big round of applause please.  It is supposed to be a half-hardy annual.  Someone is confused but I am not complaining.  It would be asking too much to expect it to keep going for another year, so I will try to collect some seed just in case.

Lycianthes rantonnetiiThis was sold to me as Solanum rantonnetii, but apparently it is now known as Lycianthes rantonnetii or the Paraguayan Nightshade.  Top Tip: don’t eat it.  But then I doubt whether you were thinking about it anyway, not with the word “nightshade” in its common name.  A bit of a monster, growing to 2m x 2m, it is at the moment just getting into its stride.

Rhodotypos scandens

Now the fruit of Rhodotypos scandens, common name black jet bead.  It was taking a real battering yesterday, being bent almost double in the thrashing wind and rain.  This morning, it is none the worse for a good shake, rattle and roll.

Glumicalyx nutans

Lastly we have another of my new purchases, the wonderfully monikered South African Glumicalyx nutans.   This plant was bought purely on name and bizarreness value.  You can imagine how thrilled I was to learn that it is commonly known as the nodding chocolate flower.   And yes apparently it does have chocolate scent.  We were meant to be.

All done.  That is your lot.  Thanks Your Royal Propness for hosting another week of SoS.  Na Noo Na Noo.






eurybia divaricata

A couple of weeks ago I was in my doctor’s waiting room, quite happily making imaginary diagnoses of my fellow patients with one eye whilst reading a magazine with the other.  Do not try this at home, it is a skill I have taken years to perfect.   Just as I was about to find out who Baroness Fortescue-Dimblesquat was going to marry, my name was called.  Before enquiring about the possibility of an extra-pair-of-hands transplant, I complained that I had not been allowed to wait long enough.  “Reading a gardening mag?” he asked, “Good Lord no, I seldom read them!”.  He laughed “no I never watch medical dramas, I have enough of that gruesome stuff here”.  Which on reflection wasn’t comforting.

However one thing I did read in a magazine was that if you position Eurybia divaricata, formally known as Aster divaricatus and commonly known as the white wood aster, in the sun you are missing a trick.  Always keen to find good specimens for shady areas I moved some of these asters into the wooded area in Max’s garden.  Yesterday in the gloom these star-like flowers shone out like welcome beacons.  Perhaps I should start reading the press more often.

Bright Side


There are some advantages to persistent mizzle, even when you are out in it all day, stewing like an old turnip in head to toe waterproofs, the only ventilation provided by a leaking boot.  They are as follows:

  1. Good company, both human and canine, although a degree of encouragement was dispensed from the dry side of a window (yes Pickle I am talking about you, fair weather friend).
  2. Excused the chore of lugging watering cans up and down steps (lucky as a strategic tennis ball was positioned at the very top) (anyone else think this is a bit suspect?) (and what was that piece of paper I was asked to sign the other day?)
  3. Rapid weight loss, although unfortunately only temporary, it went straight back on when I partook of my early evening quart of Merrydown and black.
  4. Photogenic raindrops on refreshed flowers.


Folk, they get in the way.

Some say “I like having people in my photos, they add scale and interest”.  Not me.  They clutter and blot and spoil everything.

Trying to photograph the Hot Garden at RHS Rosemoor on a Saturday in August without including a member of the public is as tricky as unicorn hunting.  I was tempted at one point to shout “duck” and take my chances, but chickened out at the last moment.  I tried glaring, and dodging, and sighing, all to no avail.

So here is a smidgen of the wonderous garden, looking fabulous, free from those creatures, who as I snapped were stampeding towards my people free corner, to ruin everything.

Six on Saturday – Wise Words

Buddleja 'Black Knight'

Another day, another Six on Saturday.  As I am on a jolly holiday trip today I have risen very, very, very early* to contribute to this popular meme, for fear of the wrath of The Emperor Prop if I should miss another week**.  Due to my extreme rushdom these photos could have done with a retake/delete, but as these pictures where snapped at the crack of dawn*** this was not possible.  In an attempt to justify excuse disguise my bad craftmanship explain, I decided to use the noble medium of metaphor to get me out of a sticky situation enlighten you.

Lesson One.  Do not judge a flower by its lazy photographer.
Let us begin with the moody tones of Buddleja ‘Black Knight’.  From this, carefully selected, angle the blooms are mostly in the shade.  We have been robbed of an accurate representation of its beauty.  This requires the viewer to exercise their imagination to complete the picture.  It is important to keep the brain muscle active.  Basically I am doing you a favour.

Roscoea purpurea

Lesson Two.  Out of sight is out of a scatty mind.
Earlier in the year I dug up this Roscoea purpurea and potted it up for safe keeping.  This spring, although I was patient, nothing came up in the pot.  This poked up its cheeky head last week.  In the ground.  At the exact spot that I had dug it up.  The question is what did I cosset through the harsh spell?  A figment of my imagination perhaps.

Meconopsis napaulensis

Lesson Three:  All that glistens is not gold platform boots.
Even when it is out of focus.  The flower heads of Miscanthus nepalensis are sprinkled with pure sunlight.  These gilded strands carry the seeds which will make more of these stunning plants. Once into their stride, this is but a baby, they produce spectacular, polished metallic, rasta dreads.  A very special sight.


Lesson Four:  Ignorance is sometimes bliss
Or, don’t believe anything you are told.  Except of course that you are lovely.  This white sidalcea was sold to me as an unknown geranium.  Unknown, yes, geranium, no.  The result is quite blissful.  To represent the hazy nature of my knowledge off this plant, I have employed this vaseline smeared effect.

Fuchsia hatchbachii

Lesson Five:  Behind every great fuchsia is an great one.
Could be construed as, “don’t always look at the ones that push themselves to the front, the ones just behind are sometimes much clearer”.  Fuchsia hatchbachii, a favourite of mine, is proving this point.

Hedychium 'Tara' seedling

Lesson Six:  Honesty is the best policy.
Usually anyway.  Sometimes, in order to avoid misunderstanding or misrepresentation, words are not necessary.  Here Hedychium ‘Tara’ is speaking for herself using her beauty alone.

That is your lot.  Now you can nip on over to The Propagator’s site and find a cornucopia of SoSers, that should keep you out of mischief for a little while.  As for myself, I must bid you adieu, off to RHS Rosemoor Flower Show ……

*If you believe this, you would believe anything
** I’m just kidding myself, he doesn’t even notice, he has so many loyal subjects, I am just another acolyte.
*** See * above