Crying Time

A client couple made me cry today.  It wasn’t “a lone, elegant tear slowly tracking down my downy cheek” à la Sinead O’Connor.  It was a full-on, scrunched-up, red-faced, ugly blub.

I won’t mention their names, although I really should.  As they deserve to be recognised.  For their kindness; kindness over and beyond.  It was much appreciated.  In a very small way of thanks, here is a string of hearts just for them.  They are shining stars.

Six on Saturday – Racing Time

I have begun to wonder how I got everything done when I was working.  The time seems to fly between Six on Saturdays and I am only getting done half of what I set out to achieve.  There is definitely no time dragging around here.  Busy but not frantic is the best way to be in these strange times.  If you want to see what the other SoSers are up to, pop over to our leader,  Dr Prop’s, blog and all will be revealed.  Shall we proceed?

First of all we have Osteospermum ‘JK’, which has just begun to flower.  It got me thinking.  Every so often I promise someone a piece of something from my garden.  This is not lightly offered.  But I forget.  Now I started have a list.  I remember that I offered someone a piece of this osteospermum, but I can’t remember who it was.  Would you please remind me and I will write it down and then it will become real.  The same goes for any other non-appearing promises.  And no, Mr P, I didn’t promise you a tenner.

Another new bloomer this week is the much-mentioned Pelargonium cordifolium var. rubrocinctum which has sailed through another winter with little protection.  Mind you it was an extremely mild winter, but all the same Pellies aren’t partial to rain and we certainly had plenty of that.  I love the orange pollen, the giant veined upper petals and diminutive lower ones, and of course the heart-shaped leaves.  It is also a great favourite of bees, although I think they would single out the delicious pollen.

Next we have Jovellana punctata.  This Jim’s fault.  No argument, the blame can be laid one hundred per cent at his feet.  Last week he wrote (and I paraphrase) “I bought a gorgeous plant from Treseders, a nursery packed full of temptation for even the most hard-hearted gardener, and don’t you know they have an on-line delivery service, please google them immediately and have a rummage”.  I mean seriously, I had no chance whatsoever!

The apple trees are in blossom, as I am sure they are across the northern hemisphere.  You just can’t beat it.  Simple.  And then a bee came along to complete the picture.  She may have previously visited the pelargonium.

Earlier this week I gave a big chop to the encroaching honeysuckle/exochorda melange. Underneath I found this white-with-a-hint-of-green aquilegia.  It is now possibly shielding its eyes crying “not the light”.  Sorry.

Crazy yellow fringed tulip.  There had to be one.  Out with a bang.

Until next week, stay safe and well my friends.  And keep on keeping on.




Today is shopping day, and for the past 4 weeks I have greeted it with trepidation.  Shopping is not my job usually.  As OH is on the endangered species list, now I do it.   Quite why I feel nervous is hard to say.  Generally it is had been a well-ordered affair.  Perhaps that is why.  I am not well ordered, it is not my natural state, but I realise that this is the way it has to be.  So when someone goes the wrong way on the one-way system, or encroaches into my space, or I see young fit people shopping in pairs, it makes me anxious.  Not because I am worried about my health, or indeed OH’s, but because these people are ignoring the rules.  Generally I am no fan of rules, but these particular ones are in place to protect us.  Does this flouting indicate arrogance, stupidity, ignorance or absentmindedness?  Or am I becoming intolerant?  Or perhaps a little paranoid?  Hard to say.

Thanks for the inspiration Kevin.

Daily Walk – Lilac Time

Today we took separate Daily Walks.  OH went one way this morning, I went the other way this afternoon.  We haven’t fallen out, it is just the way it happened.  There was an advantage to being on my own, I had more opportunity to be nosy.   I peered over walls and around fences, I crossed the road when something caught my eye.  I examined the ground, I looked into the sky, all the while retaining my best suspicion-free demeanour.  There were several rather pink people sunbathing in their front gardens, I kept my camera far away.  These were not my quarry, I was looking for flowers.  And I found them; back-lit tulips in a state of disrobing, forget-me-nots growing from cracks in the tarmc, marigolds perched on walls.  This was my favourite and, after first checking for bees in the buzzing bush, I buried my nose into the blossom to enjoy my first scent of lilac for the year.

Wonder Days

Lurking within these time-skewed days of isolation there have been moments of wonder.  The nature of these nuggets is varied, differing from household to household, human bean to human bean.  It might have been proudly presenting your first ever sourdough loaf straight from the oven to rapturous applause of one.  Perhaps it was completing the 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle called Shades of Black, which had been sending you boss-eyed for the last 3 weeks.  Or maybe it was getting into the lotus position without putting a hip out.  Mine, and I can only speak for myself, it is a little muckier.  And no, we haven’t suddenly become X-rated.

There is little more distressing, for a gardener and plant obsessive, than being separated from our drug of choice.  Therefore, the arrival of a box containing some prize specimens was an event to be celebrated.  This particular box came from the wonderful Bluebell Cottage Nursery in Cheshire, which is run by Sue Beesley, former winner of BBC Gardener of the Year.  It was beautifully packaged and, snug and safe beneath the protective paper spaghetti, were my brand new morsels of delight.  These treats included plants that had been on The Lust List, including Campanula ‘Loddon Anna’; ones new to myself, such as Pulsatilla vulgaris ‘Papageno’; and some old friends like Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’.  A few I will keep for myself, others I will pass onto clients.  If they can get me to let go of the pot, that is, I can have a very firm grasp when I want to.   I smiled from the second the box arrived at the front door, through the leisurely reveal (I always forget what I have ordered so the surprise adds to the thrill), to the savouring of each label, to the sitting back and considering my choices.  It made me very happy, very happy.  I am sure I heard a tut, a mutter, or even a sigh or two, coming from somewhere in the house.

It is always good to support independents, especially in these difficult times, and I am pleased to report that many nurseries are offering a mail order service.  I am further pleased to say that they have been very popular.  For more information check out The Independent Plant Nurseries Guide, although I must warn you, it is very hard to resist temptation on such a scale.  Myself, I am too scared to look.  Although a little peek wouldn’t hurt, surely …..

Six on Saturday – Top Secret Kittens

It was touch and go as to whether I would make this week’s Six on Saturday.  Luckily, I got back in time from my top-secret kitten-rescuing mission to complete my task.  Rest assured that all kittens are safe and well.  I hope you are too.  Any more information needed then pop on over to P’s and you can find up what is going on around the planet.  There may be more kittens and they might even be real.  Shall we proceed ……

First, we have Tulipa ‘Burgundy’ a lily-flowered beauty.  When it first started to bloom, I wasn’t sure about the colour.  It seemed a bit dull and lifeless.  Then it bucked up its ideas and now I love it and its fellows.  This pot is in a more protected position so hopefully will avoid the fate of last week’s purple tulip.

Next, we have an attention seeking Hoya bella.  This wonderfully fragrant exotic was given to me as a cutting by my ex-client, the lovely Lavinia.  It lives in my office, perched high on top of my box files, where I can appreciate the waxy flowers and their accompanying aroma.  Over the last few weeks, I have been mainly working downstairs and as such I may have neglected it somewhat.  In defiance, it threw itself off the top leaving a trail of compost in its wake.  It was nothing to do with the fact that it was bone dry.  Nothing at all.  It is now outside getting rehydrated in the rain.

My Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ has begun to flower.  It reminds of Mrs Bun.  Just why it reminds me of her is documented in Six on Saturday – After the Rain.  She was forgiven a long time ago, possibly 30 seconds after the rejection.  I miss her muchly.

This is Bellevalia pycnantha, syn. Muscari paradoxum, which is new to me this year.  Not only haven’t I grown it, I hadn’t heard of it before.  But I liked the picture and thought I would give it a go.  Then, as these things often happen, I was reading my friend Chloris’ Six on Saturday and there it was, in all its glory!  As she has a wonderful garden and great taste, I was quite chuffed.  I’m looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

It’s that time of the year again, the time I say “look at the aquilegia and look how they are taking over every corner of the garden”.  Then I say “I will dead head them before they seed themselves and dig most of them up, reserving a select few”.  Then I don’t.  Groundhog year.

Earlier in the week, when myself and OH went out for our daily stroll, I spotted an interesting box outside the house of our neighbour across the road.  Of course we crossed to examine it.  Any little excitement is welcome.  In the box were pots of aeonium and a sign saying “£1 each, all proceeds to the Citizens Advice Bureau”.  On the way home I said to OH “have you got a pound?”, as like all royalty I rarely carry cash.  Here, potted up into one of my old terracottas, is our new aeonium.

Stay safe and well, my friends.  ‘Til next time.




Sticky Tape

Over the past few weeks I have given some remote advice to my esteemed clients.  There have been a few phone calls, a couple of WhatsAps, some dodgy “is this a weed?” pictures and the like.  Today I received the above photo from Nancy Nightingale with the caption “Is this the done thing?”.

Like you I hope, it made me smile, chuckle even.  I replied encouragingly “you never know it might work”, because although unlikely, it just might.  I have used a similar method myself in the past, albeit in slightly different circumstances.  A snapped twig or stem has been bound using electrical tape because, for some bizarre reason that even I don’t understand, that was all I had at hand at the time.  And there were many successes with this method.  After all professionals grafters, propagating roses, fruit trees or perhaps vines, use grafting tape to secure their creations until the scion and roots bind together.  Posh sticky tape.

Then I messaged “but you could just chop the leaf off, it will grow another one.”  Possibly the best option.  Ten out of ten for ingenuity though.

The Mighty Fallen

When I ventured out into the chilly morning air, to put yet another Dom Pérignon bottle in the recycling bin, I was met with a sorry sight.  Lain dead centre of the path, pathetic and crestfallen, was the mighty purple tulip featured in this week’s Six on Saturday.  It had been unceremoniously ripped from its base by the brisk easterly wind and dumped without grace upon the ground.  Without hesitation, I swept it up and popped it into a vase along with some daffs.  I’m sure they won’t mind sharing.