Six on Saturday – First and Last

February has arrived, as it always would, and what a relief. A short month, almost an afterthought, one to fill in a gap between January and March. Things have not progressed much since last week, but there have been glimmers of hope. For more Sixing pop over to His Propness and find out what has been going on in the rest of the world, most of it anyway.

Earlier this week, as I was arranged elegantly on the chaise longue watching The Housewives of Bridgend, my eye was caught by something in the garden. “An iris!” I shouted gleefully. One of the bargain basement rescues was doing its thing. I hadn’t even noticed a bud. This could be due to my lack of observation or its stealth. No matter, it is lovely and made me happier than perhaps is natural.

Not long before Christmas I planted Anemone Mistral Fucsia and Mistral Vinato together in a pot, thinking they would be good foils for each other. I have wanted to grow Italian anemones ever since I saw my friend Pat the Field holding a bunch of her wonderful cut flowers. Vinato is deepest purple with a sky blue eye and Fucsia is not a spelling mistake and fuchsia pink. They are emerging gracefully and I was interested to see that the foliage on each is quite different. We will see how efficiently they were mixed!

Finally, the primulas have started making an effort. For a long time they have had manky leaves and a distinct lack of blooms. Long may this last. Soon, hopefully, tulips will begin to poke their noses out around them, although I can’t for the life of me remember which ones.

The blue hyacinths are slowly maturing, they are partners to the rescued irises and have recovered from their shame of being overlooked by the general public quite nicely.

Another slouch has been the violas. It happens every year. They underwhelm for weeks on end and then suddenly, just when you had forgotten quite why you bothered, they do this. Beautiful backlit by the sunshine. Yes, I said sunshine. It has gone again now though.

Many years ago, when we lived in Bristol, my OH bought me several replicas of soldiers from the Terracotta Army. Unfortunately, he couldn’t quite run to originals, and possibly they are better suited to a museum rather than my garden. They were dotted around in borders and have gradually succumbed to the fight. Except this one. He is the last man standing.

That is your lot, have a great week everyone.

Back in the Saddle

For those of you who don’t know/don’t remember/don’t care, ever since I became self-employed I have taken January off. I have been known to call it a sabatical, mainly because it sounded like I was doing something useful to further my career, which to be honest was rather misleading. The reasons for this hiatus have receded into the mists of time, something to do with short days, bad weather and reluctant clients, but remain unclear even to myself. Still, it gives me a nice break to wallow in left over crisps, chocolate and gin from Christmas and dream of springtime adventures. Each year, without exception, I have been champing at the bit to get back to work.

This year, safely ensconced our new abode, I have kept up this tradition, although I didn’t actually have many jobs to sabat from. I didn’t let this thwart me, and for the month of January I pottered and fidgeted and generally made poor use of my time. Same old, same old. Now, however, mobilisation is underway. The wagons are rolling.

Yesterday I returned to work (he might well dispute this fact) in Professor Gadget and his faithful sidekick’s garden. After the usual extensive debrief, coffee, HPS seed examination and discussion (something to do with me bagsying them all), coffee, garage door man arrival, coffee, garden tour, coffee, rose pruning, pasty, coffee, more rose pruning, I was on my way home via the local garden centre. That’s a better way to spend your day.

Today, I might have found myself another job. In fact I think I have. And I am hopeful it is going to be a good one. When I say good, I mean, dogs, blank canvas, someone who has faith. Fingers crossed.

Six on Saturday – To Infinity and Beyond

Two SoSing weeks on the trot, I must be on track for a gold star on the The Prop’s chart of Shame and Glory. The cold and crisp has been replaced by the damp and dreary and, although I have had countless flights of imagination, I haven’t done any actual gardening. Still, these things can’t be rushed. Shall we tootle on?

First, we have a Buzz Lightyear ball that was in the garden when we arrived and doesn’t belong to nextdoor. Now it is ours. Apparently, “Possession is nine tenths of the law”, is that actually true? Anyway, it acts as an ice breaker on our water reservoir and has proved very useful over the last couple of weeks.

Next, a scabious, yet to be planted out, that is having a mini flowering flurry. Scabby little flowers, which is appropriate for a scabious, I suppose. Still, it always good to see a flower at this time of year, adds to the delicious anticipation of spring.

This tatty bookshelf is going to become my plant shelf. All I’ve got to do is go to the shop, choose some paint, buy some paint, find the brushes and sandpaper and turps and suchlike, prepare the item, paint the item. See you next year.

The hydrangea cutting from Ilfracombe is producing some fine looking shoots from the bottom of the plant. This makes me very happy. Big chunky shoots, what would be better?

Not content with two bird feeders we have now have three. I am very pleased to report that our avian count has increased this week, with a lone blue tit and a glossy starling visiting the feeders. The sparrow mob and inadequate robin are still in town. Great tele.

Finally, as the great Prop would say if he thought about it, “always finish with a pretty one”. Leaves a sweet taste. Here is a darling little cyclamen, flowering its socks off.

All done for another week. Take care and stay safe, my friends.

Six on Saturday – Speedy

This is going to be whistlestop SoS. If you want to read more, less rushed and far more deliberated versions, pop on over to The Running Propper to find others who obviously take this more seriously and should be lauded. Wow, that was a long sentence, more commas perhaps? Right, let’s shake a leg.

First we have frosty leaves. Yes, leaves from the ornamental pear that still looms large, but rather more naked, in the garden. Since we put the bird feeders up it has become full of itinerant sparrows and one, rather disapproving, robin. I am so pleased the feeders have been found and put to good use. No offence to our residents, but a larger variety of visitors would be nice. A blue tit or goldfinch or blackcap, all welcome.

Next privet. The previous owner planted a strange little hedge-ette beneath and behind the tree. OH hates privet with a vengence. Their days are numbered.

Onto a bargain. Bought these blue hyacinths and mixed iris (possibly reticulata but some look a little large) for half price. They will be potted up with some Allium moly that I am still yet to find a home for. Blue and yellow, very “famous flatpack”. Of course that is if they flower together!

Now a speciality of the region, blurry lichen and moss. A good sign. Not the blurry bit, that was me wobbling trying not to stand on the emerging Tete a Tete, the lichen and moss bit.

Another new bed! This time a home for Salvia uliginosa, Hedychium ‘Tara Seedling’, Bidens ‘Hannay’s Lemon Drop’, Rosa ‘One that The Professor Gave Me and I Can’t be Bothered to Go Out and Find Out What its Called’ and a couple of other things.

Finally the gallant and beautiful Correa schlechtendalii, still having a go.

That’s it, your six for this week. Hope all is well with you all, keeping sixing!

Six on Saturday – Murk

I feel a little bit confused. Not unusual, it’s true, but the severity of the confusion seems all the more at the moment. I mean to say, what day is it?! Saturday of course, it is Six on Saturday time. I am barely into my January sabbatical (big word for a month off) and I’m drifting about like a anchorless dingy. I am chomping at the bit to get out and do stuff in the garden, but it has been so wet that even in the tempting rain-free interludes the ground is sodden and I know better than to stomp (rather than chomp) about on easily compacted soil. Frustrating. I suppose that is the name of the January game. However, all is not lost. There are plenty of people out there enjoying sun and warmth and all things floriferous, and there are others, like me, who are dreaming of sunshine, and some that might well be under a blanket of snow. If you check out The Prop you will be able to catch up on what is what and what is not in the world of SoS. Come on now, let us shake a New Year leg.

First, we have a snail. Not a real snail, but a monster to scare the others off snail. It hasn’t worked in the past, I live in hope.

Next, a hitchhiker. A plant that I have previously dug up at great physical cost, cursed on its defiant return and later its prolific self-seeding. Now I am activity tending this thug in its host pot of watsonia. It is bronze fennel, Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’, and I don’t know what I am thinking. If I moan at a later date please feel free to say “told you so”,”when will you ever learn?” and the like.

This Christmas our household was the proud recipient of two bird feeders. The bog standard one from me to him, the fancy pants acorn from my astute nephew and his partner. As our garden is not on the birdie super highway, I was jumpy uppy downy thrilled this week to see a sparrow on BS and a robin taking full advantage of FP. Very happy me. They will come.

Onto the anaemic leaves of emerging ranunculus. Early, I know, but at least it has turned up to the party.

Someone who has never left the party is Osteospermum ‘Purple Sun’, pictured next to our rainwater reservoir, AKA a plastic box. Ever ready to pop the odd flower out, so far any attempt at cold hasn’t thwarted its enthusiasm. Long may this last.

Finally, I bought some seed. Yes, I know, I have a biscuit tin full of seed. OK, fair cop, I have two biscuit tins full of seed. But I do need, yes need is the correct word, some reliable fresh seed for a talk/practical presentation I will be doing in March. I have a certain responsibility. And I love Rudbeckia ‘Irish Eyes’ and I just had to have Ipomoea ‘Heavenly Blue’ and ………

That is your lot. Have fun, stay safe, ’til next time, my friends.

Check In

How are we? A little delicate, disappointed, over-fed, over-watered, exhausted, confused, relaxed, relieved, or perhaps a little bit of each on rotation? It is a strange time, this in-between bit; not quite Christmas, not quite new year. Are we living in the moment or eyes fixed on the horizon? Anyone have a clue?

If all else fails a castle usually diverts attention, for a little while at least. Here we have Coity Castle. My manor. Well, as much as any other ancient monument.

Unforgotten – Prodigal Plates

You can all stop looking, I’ve found them! Persistence paid off and they were in the bottom box in the far corner of the understair cupboard. They are now washed and ready for roast spud action.

I hope you are not too disappointed by their un-festive look. They are our best plates and used when we have visitors and other such special events. Such as Christmas. To compensate for their unsparkley, ruddolph-less appearance, with not a even christmas tree in sight, I have added a couple of elves to boost their seasonal appeal. I hope this will suffice. These lovely elves were a gift from my Norwegian sister-in-law, and like all her wonderful nation, she knows a thing or two about Christmas decorations. One is me and the other is OH. But you knew that.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas, my friends. May you have fun and laughter and love and light. Thanks for everything, I couldn’t do it without you.

Unforgotten – Not a Plate

The unpacking has slowed to a snail’s pace. The initial enthusiasm has dwindled with promises for New Year and a fresh start. Possibly with fingers crossed. There is one thing, or rather four, that I would really like to find. Our best plates for Christmas dinner.

Today I had another heave ho ho ho and rummage through bubble wrap and newspaper, all to no avail and a twinging back. What I did find was this little doll, which coincidentally I had been talking to my mum about, only a few days ago.

This elegant lady was given to me when I was a little girl by a friend of Peggy. In fact Barbara had been her bridesmaid. For some time Barbara was a missionary in India and I can only assume this is where my precious doll came from. There are lots of things I don’t remember. I don’t remember being given her. I don’t remember playing with her, but at the same time I can’t remember being told I couldn’t. I do, however, remember that I have always loved her, her draping sari and ruby necklace. And I felt the very same this morning, as I unwrapped her from lace-edged napkins, which I picked up at a jumble sale years ago, in the hope the one day I either be posh enough to use them or find an alternative to justify their existence. I smoothed the folds of her skirt, ran my hand over her raven hair and admired her rosebud mouth. Still lovely to me.

Now you must excuse me. I’ve just had some inspiration. I have an inkling where those plates might be. One last hope.

Atmospheric

I believe there is an official point when mist becomes fog or fog becomes mist. Not a vague guestimate like when a courgette becomes a marrow or novella a novel; something scientific. It is possibly to do with how far you can see. If I were a deceptive soul I would look it up and pretend I knew, but I am not and I don’t. I am also feeling too lazy to do any research, although I do realise that it would take seconds to do so. It seems I am not such a good gal after all. What has fog/mist mist/fog got to do with anything, you may well ask? The answer is, it is how the day began and how it continued.

After lunch I decided to go for a walk. “Would you like me to come with you?” OH asked over his newspaper. “No thanks” I replied. Which might seem a little bit mean of me. It is not that I don’t like walking with him, it is just that when we do it is necessary to compromise our own personnal styles. Me: Brisk, then very slow when examining a dry stone wall or taking a photo of a tri-coloured bramble leaf, often tempted to leave the path, wandering into unchartered (by us) territory usually shouting behind “I think I know where this track might come out”. Him: Steady Eddy, likes a known route, sighs quite a lot.

Unhindered by disapproval I headed out for the village church and graveyard. Perfect atmospheric conditions. On the way was diverted a little and by the time I got there the mist/fog had cleared and the sun was shining. Still, I wandered and took photos and read stones and wondered about the residents. Then I realised I had dropped my phone. Luckily it was just a few steps away, face down in the grass. I really don’t deserve nice things. I brushed it off, and replaced it in my pocket.

On the way back home, I took a new faint path through some rough ground and to my amazement I found a Magic Tree. I was pleased to see signs of a pallet tree house and took photos from all angles. When I looked at them later I realised that I hadn’t dried off my phone very well and the resultant pictures were blurry in part. Or, as I like to put it, very atmospheric.

Six on Saturday – Imagination

You will need to use a little imagination to fully appreciate my Six on Saturday this week. You will have to channel your seasonal goodwill and indulge me, which to be honest you often do. There is not a lot to shout about in the garden at the moment and what does deserve a hip horray is blurred. Such is life. If you wish, and I highly recommend it, you can check out the rest of the SoS Community in Father Propmas‘ workshop and find out what he and his stocking clad helpers have been up to. Let’s get on, it will soon be Christmas.

We are still transporting plants and accoutrement from Peggy’s. This little chap arrived in his new home this week. The car was full to bursting with boxes and plants and he winked at me as if to say “don’t forget me”. I wrapped him in some kitchen towel and put him in my handbag. He was a gift from a very special friend and for that reason he is doubly loved.

Next we have the new diddy border. It seems that there are two schools of thought when planting: leave ample room between plants for maturing in an elegant and restrained manner or cram the little darlings in for instant impact. No brainer.

Earlier in the week I sorted through my seed box and found three packets that required cold stratification. Today I potted them up and abandoned them to their fate in the far reaches of the estate (easily viewed from the back door). I don’t want a cold winter, but if we do have one then I might well have germination of nomocharis, anemonopsis and roscoea. Win, win. Or perhaps lose, lose.

Salvia conferifolia is still valiantly flowering. I have yet to get a decent photo of this very special salvia. Today reinforced that fact. In fact I believe I am regressing.

Eventually, the Pyrus ‘Chanticleer’ is beginning to turn. About time too. I was beginning to wonder if it was some strange evergreen version. Once the leaves have fallen there will be a diminished sail effect and in turn less rocking and rolling in the wind. All of which will lead to a less stressed out Gilly.

Finally, under the evil influence of Professor Gadget, I have acquired some red hot pokers for the garden. To be more precise, four red hot pokers. They came bare-rooted and, it would seem, had been packaged up for a while. Still, where there is life there is hope, and if they fail His Gadgetship will be on the case. A fabulous collection: Nancy’s Red, Alcazar, Ice Queen and Sunningdale Yellow.

That is your lot. Next Saturday is the big day, so I’m unlikely to be on parade. Hope it’s a good one for you all, my friends, full of fun and laughter and lots of love and green triangles. ‘Til next time.