Six on Saturday – I’m Back

Fuchsia "Bornemann's Beste"

What do you mean you didn’t miss me?  I shall ignore you dissenters.

For those of you who have been paying attention, I am back with my Six on Saturday.  After one whole weeks’ absence.  This meme is run by The Propagator, pop over to his site to check out his half dozen and other contributors.  It’s all good clean fun.  Which of course might put some of you off.  Sorry about that.  Without further ado let’s get on with the task in question.

My first plant this week is Fuchsia ‘Bornemann’s Beste’ which was a gift from Harriet, container gardener extraordinaire, a couple of years ago.  Despite its exotic looks it seems to weather the winter without too much compliant.

Verbascum chaixii

Verbascum chaixii

Next we have Verbascum chaixii, the nettle leaved mullein.  It is on its second flush of flowers and has avoided any attack from the mullein moth caterpillar this year.  So a gold star to you.

Calopsis paniculata

Calopsis paniculata

Now something a little more unusual, the restio Calopsis paniculata.  I bought this at Powderham Garden Festival a couple of years ago.   At Cliffe we grew another restio, Elegia capensis, and since then I have been a fan of this South African grass/bamboo melange.

Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'

Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’

We have been growing our Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ in a pot for the last seven years and although it is not what I would call “happy” is it what I would call “hanging on in there”.  In the recent storms it fell over several times.   Cruel really.  I especially love the leaves at this time of  year, just before they fall. Like stained glass.

Hylotelephium 'Matrona'

Hylotelephium ‘Matrona’

What do we have now, oh yes, the name changer.  This is Hylotelephium ‘Matrona’ formally the artist known as Sedum ‘Matrona’.  This plant is particularly unusual as it was chosen and paid for by my long suffering OH.  Great taste.  Well he chose me didn’t he?  Or was it the other way around?

Hedychium greenii

Hedychium greenii

Finally, one that I tempted you with a few weeks ago, the incredible Hedychium greenii.  Not green, but orange.

So that is it for another week.  Thanks Mr P.  Upwards and onwards!





On my rounds at The Farm today I noticed that there had been some skulduggery in the new orchard.  The protective fence around the trees had been leaned upon, stretched, bent and torn.  I looked around for clues.  The ground has been scraped and clawed at in this area over the past few weeks, nocturnal worm hunting by badgers I would imagine.  But surely brock couldn’t reach up that high, and as there is no fruit on the trees I can’t think what would interest them.  The rabbits have been a problem in the past, but since we laid the paving slabs around the bases they seem to have lost the will to burrow beneath the new trees.  A bunny big enough to cause this damage would be the stuff of nightmares.  So who could it possibly be?

All of a sudden I had the strange feeling that I was not alone, that I was being watched.  Slowly I turned and behind me, on the brow of the hill, silently watching my every move, were none other than the infamous Pony Posse.   We have history, me and this gang of reprobates.  Not only was there the Great Pasty Theft of 2015 but also previous orchard incidents, as I wrote about in Deception Explained. I had heard that they were out on bail, and might have guessed they were involved.  It had their hoof prints all over it.  All I can say is “don’t forget who is wearing the white stetson in this movie”.



To the front of Max’s house there is a very steep slope.  We are attempting to tame this area and it has proved to be a challenging task.  The problems are many, not least working on this extreme gradient which abruptly ends with a 1.5m stone wall, a pavement and a busy road.  Other matters include an infestation of oxalis, self seeded hawthorn and holly (ouch), the noisy road making chitty chat tricky, the necessity to maintain concentration rather than my usual state of perpetual daydream and, well, gravity generally.  Gradually we are making inroads, perhaps even winning the odd battle.  A self-imposed rule to work at least for a proportion of each session has proved fruitful.

The clematis above was planted to scramble through and down.  It started flowering last week for the first time and I was rather underwhelmed.  However this week my fickle eyes have been opened to its delicate beauty.  Balancing precariously I fished out my camera and took a photograph.  As often happens, my blog picture had presented itself to me.  After watering-in some Digitalis trojana  I climbed back to the top for the umpteenth time.  It was then that I realised that I had forgotten to look at the clematis label.  I decided that no one would mind if I didn’t have a name to share with you. We could perhaps treat it as a quiz of sorts.  A horticultural game.  Until next time I am in the vicinity.  And I remember.  As it could be a while for these things to coincide, I hope you will agree, it is very lovely.

First Aid

“I am so pleased the Cestrum fasciculatum ‘Newellii’ is enjoying its new home and at last putting on growth.”

“Oh yes, let’s have a closer look.”


“It was broken already!”

*stern and disbelieving look*

“Do you have any gaffer tape?”

*puzzled look*

“Do you have any plasters?”


*fingers crossed*


Rudbeckia 'Irish Eyes'

Today new atrocities have occurred.  Senseless and cruel.  My heart goes out not only to those directly involved, but to those who sit and watch and try to understand.  To those who are scared and scarred by the continual onslaught of violence and the seemingly ceaseless inhumanities of this world.  The reason why these horrendous events happen are, I am sure, diverse and complex.  I can’t make sense of it, but I can remind you that beauty hasn’t been thwarted.  That good people are still strong.  That our world remains a wonderful place, in spite and despite.

My envoy today is Rudbeckia ‘Irish Eyes’.  Beautiful in the low autumn sun.

Donor List


Now that I have accepted that summer is really over, having never seriously arrived, I am beginning to embrace this autumn malarkey.  Especially on such a gloriously sunny day.   There are exciting changes in the garden, rather like springtime in reverse.  Which I suppose it is.   A week between visits to The Farm means that there is a lot of new to observe.  Flower production is noticeably slowing as is weed growth, but leaf turning and seed development is making up for this diminishing.  Today I collected some Leonotis nepetifolia seed.  In the few seed heads I collected there were earwigs, tiny flies and beetles.  In my struggle to release them back to safety I realised that it is not just birds that benefit from postponing tidying until the spring.

These Helenium ‘Red Shades’ have now shed their pollinator-enticing, colourful skirts.  The warm sun will have been ripening their seed on this beautiful day.  I will be watching.  They are next on my donor list.


My morning was spent digging up crocosmia in the rain.  I was fully ‘proofed and as warm and dry as could be expected in such circumstances.    Whilst playing “spot the vagrant corm”  I listened to my iPod on shuffle mode, doing my own semi-rhythmic shuffle when appropriate.  I pondered the troubles of the world and the vagaries of life.  It was then that it all became clear, that there was one certainty that I could cling to.  Next year, in the very same area that I painstakingly removed every single last trace of croc, more will appear, laughing in my face.