Six on Saturday – Mind Control

Until about an hour ago I was definitely not going to partake in Six on Saturday today.  I was strong.  I was recalcitrant.  I would not be bowed.  Exactly who does that Propagator chappy think he is anyway?  Controlling my Saturdays, forcing me to go outside into the big outdoors, rummaging around in my garden for worthy subjects, ruminating for hours to pick just the perfect words for a blog when I would much rather be lying on the chaise longue eating Monster Munch and watching reruns of The Dukes of Hazard.  Then I was reminded why.  The chip, which had been implanted when I was initiated into this strange cult, started tingling ominously.  And I knew just what this meant.  It was a warning from the Main Man that any further defiance would warrant a turn of the switch with my name on to Teach Her a Lesson.  For that reason I am very pleased to present my Six on Saturday, with a song in my heart and a skip in my step.

First of all we have a pretty pink aquilegia.  Yes, the march of the granny’s bonnets has begun.  Each year I vow to rid myself of them before they re-seed in every nook and cranny, pot and planter.  Each year I fail.  Until now of course.  This year will be the year that I tame the onslaught.

Now we have the flower buds of Libertia grandiflora.  With a following wind these should be in full bloom by next week, but I rather like the honeyed casing, looking more like a plump grain spike than a member of the lily family.

Earlier in the week I did a little shopping, of the horticultural variety.  Some things were for others, some for us.   One of the new addition is this purple sage, a replacement for the bog standard green variety that perished over the winter.  It is now planted up in a special terracotta pot, purchased from Fish Pye Pottery in St Ives, and is situated just outside the back door for easy access whenever I need some sage.  Which to be honest has, so far in my life, been a rare event.  Of course this might change now I have this lovely specimen.

Another purchase was a few lobelia and a tray of petunias.  The only problem is that I have nowhere to put them yet.   Those pesky primroses keep flowering and flowering and flowering and flowering.   What a fabulous problem to have.

Now an emerging rodgersia leaf.  This plant is in a pot and although I try my hardest to keep it well watered it isn’t very happy.  On days when it looks particularly sad I whisper “when we move to my fantasy garden you will have all the damp shade your heart could desire and you can relax into a humus rich soil on the banks of a cool stream and spread your leaves in joy.”  I did notice that for the first time a flower spike is forming.

And finally the Pelargonium cordifolium var. rubrocinctum is completely forgiven for its pretentious name.   Anyone with a heart ……

All done.  Back to the Monster Munch.

Just a thought.  If anyone from Monster Munch Inc is reading this, I will happily take a large box of pickle onion flavour in lieu of any sponsorship money.  I mean if Mr K has his Haribo ……….

Six on Saturday – Celebration

Welcome to another Six on Saturday, the meme of choice for the horticultural in-crowd.  Too cool for school, on-trend, leaders not followers.  You get my gist.  Contributors are herded by none other than the great cultural icon himself, The Propagator.

Before I go any further I have an apology to make, last week, in my haste, I forgot to mention the indomitable Mr K.  As today is his birthday, I will do my best to redress this error. Oh, and I will say, sorry, it won’t happen again.  Let us get a move on, or it will be Sunday before we know it!

Firstly we have a tulip and hosta combo.  After a slow start to the season things are beginning to catch up with themselves, meaning there are some interesting combinations to be seen.  The spring flowers are overlapping with early summer ones.  Strangers are making new friends.  These tulips have been in prime condition for a couple of weeks now.  They are in a rather shady and exposed spot.  Perhaps that is the trick!

aquilegiaLast year the aquilegias took over the garden and I vowed to ensure that this did not happen again.  It has.  When they have finished flowering and before they seed I will be ruthless.  I promise.

Next is Cerastium tomentosum, also known as dusty miller and snow in summer.  It lives on the wall between our house and our neighbours’.  On a regular basis it is squashed beneath sleeping cats, slices of apple pie, bowls of soup, cupcakes, magazines, plants and elbows.  Doesn’t turn a hair.

They have arrived, in fact they have been here for a couple of weeks, so much for a hard winter killing of pests!  In fact both the aphid and mollusc populations seem to be doing rather nicely, thank you very much.  Not sure what the white one is all about, perhaps it is the ghost of previously squished greenfly and it has come back to teach me a lesson. Gulp!

Another late on parade is Pulmonaria ‘Opal’, a plant that I rescued from a bargain bin somewhere earlier in the year.  I have grown this lungwort before and pounced on the pathetic specimen as soon as I realised what it was.  The colour is enchanting, everything I remembered it to be.

Lastly we have Geranium sylvaticum ‘Mayflower’.  I am big fan of geraniums, they are dependable and long flowering and come in many makes and models.  This wood cranesbill is a great beauty, understated and elegant.  Just like The Birthday Boy!

Thank you Mr Prop, why don’t you pop on over to his blog and find out what the rest of us hipsters have been up to.  Adieu.

 

Six on Saturday – Optimism

aquilegia

It is that time of the week again, the time for excuses and diversions.  But wait a moment!  This week, all is legitimate and legal, photos and text both created today.  Unlike some I could mention, however I do not like to tell tales, do I Mr K ?

Six on Saturday time again hip hip horray!  For those of you still unsure of what this entails, pop over to The Propagator’s site and find not only how it works but contributions from others in his control.  Once you have signed your name on the dotted line in blood, you will never escape his evil grip.  But don’t let that put you off, come on, join in, the more the merrier!

To begin we have a self seeded aquilegia.  Last year they got a bit above their station and I promised to cull them before they trampled everything else.  They are tricky to get out, with their fleshy taproots and indomitable will, but I will persist.

Iris reticulata

Next we have a lone Iris reticulata, leaning at a rather jaunty angle.   I am especially fond of these irises, although I don’t often manage to keep them going for more than one year.  This is, I believe, due to the fact that they should be in full sun and sandy soil, neither of which they are afforded here.  This chap might be the only survivor, jostled by Narcissus ‘Tête á Tête’, crocus and violas.  I am very proud of him.  However, there is plenty of time for the others to wriggle through.

Paeonia mlokosewitschii

Now onto the obligatory “emerging shoots” photo of the day.  This is Paeonia mlokosewitschii  which, unless you are Polish is best called Molly the Witch.  It was a gift from my extremely talented, virtual friend Sue and has yet to flower yet.  As always, I am hopeful for this year.

Hellebore

This hellebore is the tricky dicky that I tried to photograph a couple of weeks ago.  It is in completely the wrong place and slightly irritates me every time I see it.  Which is a shame because it is good one.  I will move it after it has flowered and hopefully it won’t sulk too much.

eranthis

A small parcel arrived this morning, with no return address.  I opened it and found a pot containing some plant material.  No note.  Very curious.  Then the two pound coin dropped.  The mystery plants were winter aconites, a gift from an extremely generous blogging friend, Chloris, who has an amazing garden in Suffolk.  I had been bemoaning (yes I know hard to believe) that I have never been able to grow Eranthis hyemalis  in our soil (a workman blames his tools) and she generously offered to send me some of hers.  They are now safely potted up and I am positive they will thrive in their new home.

vermiculite

For the finale I have chosen vermiculite.   Not a looker, but very useful.  On Tuesday I received a message from my friend Pat the Field asking if I had found the bag that she had left outside my front door the previous Friday.  “No”, I told her,”perhaps it has blown away”.  “I don’t think so” she said “it is quite big”.  So I asked my neighbour on one side, not a sign.  Then yesterday I saw my other non gardening, non going outside very much at all, neighbour on the other side “have you seen a bag of, um, light brownish stuff?”, “oh I wondered what that was”.  Luckily she had not thrown it away and popped it around later but asked no questions.  An animal feed bag full of vermiculite, what on earth did she think it was?  The mind boggles.

So there we have it, another week crossed off, soon I will be up before the parole board.  Until then, I will be under the control, for at least one day each week, of the magnificent Mr P.

 

Shade

Aquilegia

Dusky aquilegia in the dappled shade.

Which was where I was skulking most of the day. Unfortunately this did not involve a hammock, the latest hort-lit blockbuster or even a pint of piña colada.   Just spiteful nettles, strings of enchanter’s nightshade and stubborn self-seeded ferns.  Well you can’t have everything.

 

Negligence

Fuchsia procumbens 'Variegata'

I am sure I am not alone, but when I have been away from home, even for a short time,  I need time to reconnect.  As I by necessity I leapt straight from the frying pan into the fire, back to work with barely time to remove my sombrero, it has been a disconcerting week.   However today was a home day.  Time to re-accustom myself to real life.  Well my version anyway.  The morning was spent writing, the afternoon in the garden.  Aquilegias seem to have taken over.  When they were in bloom they were a blessing, now they are an irritation.  I cut off the flower heads, carefully avoiding seed spill, to attempt to stymie their progression. Gladiolus byzantinus, previously admired for their profusion, had forced their magenta heads through many, crushing and stifling.  Under one pushy group was this Fuchsia procumbens ‘Variegata’, barely surviving the thug’s presence.   I cleared and replanted, gave my apologies and hope that I will be forgiven for my negligence.

The First is Always the Best

IMG_0847 (2)This is my first aquilegia flower of the year.  Undoubtedly there have been some that I missed along the way.  I was probably admiring foals, sending WM’s into water butts, falling into nettles, eating my sandwiches, chitty chatting, digging, fighting ground elder, dancing or perhaps even day-dreaming.  Either way today’s columbine was looking marvellous, as Mr K* nearly said, it is an exceedingly good flower.

*For those of you not brought up on Mr Kipling’s Viennese whirls, cherry bakewells and french fancies then I must explain.  Mr K was/is a manufacturer of all things sweet, delicious and decidedly bad for you and his slogan is/was “Mr Kipling makes exceedingly good cakes”.  And he does/did!