Six on Saturday – The Moment

August: ready or not here we come!  Soon there will talk of cool nights and shortening days, but let us not wish our lives away.  There is plenty of time left to fret about watering and dead heading and whether we have fed our tomatoes enough or are the slugs and snails attacking whilst I take five minutes to read The Garden magazine, was that an aphid I saw, should I have staked the delphiniums, and such like.  As the Six on Saturday rules stipulate, and you know me I like to follow any rules to the letter, the following photos represent what is happening in my garden right now, unless you are watching on demand when the moment may well have passed, or on crystal ball when it is possibly yet to happen.  Pop on over to our very own Grand Magician to catch up with other SoSers from across the known universe, enchanted by his evil spell, trapped in his web of deceit.  Sorry, I may have got a little carried away.  I love him really.

First we have what I like to call The Giant Mutant Orange Tomato.  It is the spawn of The Giant Mutant Fasciated Tomato Flower.   Soon we will dissect it to reveal its alien innards.

Already inspired by Jim’s post last week and further prompted by trays of sempervivum appearing at our local Lidl awaiting to be mistreated by uncaring employees, any resistance on my part was futile.   There was no doubt that it was a sign from the horticultural gods, and who am I, a mere mortal, to defy them. In order to doubly placate them, I bought two packs, just in case someone else I know would like some.  Spread the love and all that nonsense.  However I have decided that I am not going to tell anyone that I have them so I can keep them all.   Perhaps inspired by the horticultural demons.  But I have grit, I have compost, now all I have to do is plant them artistically.  Which is where it might all go astray.

I discovered something new today, and it is another name change.  This time it is our beloved hedge bindweed.  I may be late to the party, but apparently Convolvulus sepium is now Calystegia sepium.  Who would have thought it?  I was trying to photograph a bee feasting on the honeysuckle and as my camera swung in an attempt to capture it, horror of horrors it nipped into a bindweed flower.  A weed in my garden.  Unthinkable!

Kniphofia ‘Tawny King’ is planted in a position possibly a little too shady for optimum flowering, but in spite of that it is making a sterling effort.  Not terribly “tawny” at the moment, perhaps it will darken as it matures.

I bought plugs of this Begonia ‘Glowing Embers’ months ago, the idea being that I grew them on and then passed them on to one of my clients.  They staggered along, one foot in the compost bin, for weeks, not good enough for anyone else.  I planted them in the barrel in the front garden and left them to it.  “Sink or swim” I told them, and they have eventually decided upon breast stroke.  I would have preferred front crawl.

Finally we have Grewia occidentalis, the African Starbush.  This beauty is not frost tolerant so will join the queue for preferential treatment come winter.  As we are not thinking about that just yet, living in the moment, we can just enjoy the fabulous flowers, of which there are many to come.

All done, until next time!

Six on Saturday – Dyb, Dyb, Dyb

viola

I’m prepared this week.  No last-minute rush, all is calm and in control, just like a girl guide.  In real life I didn’t make it to the heady heights of girl guidom, but I was in the brownies, who quite frankly take anyone.  I can’t remember much of our exploits except there was a curiously large plastic mushroom placed in the middle of the room at all our gatherings.   Like many of my fellow gang members, my arm was bedecked with various badges.  Unfortunately they weren’t cool and sophisticated subjects in those days, no Inventing, or Aviation or Zero Waste.   Possibly there was Crocheting Toilet Roll Covers and Defrosting Arctic Rolls, although I can’t be certain.  The only one I remember for certain was the music badge.  Perhaps too well.  “What is this instrument?” the examiner asked pointing at a picture, “A bass” I replied.  “Can you be more specific?”.  I was puzzled, very puzzled, what could this highly technical terminology be.   I had studied my Ladybird book The Story of Music from back to front and front to back, I had been confident I had all subjects covered.  But I was flummoxed  No light bulb moments.  Eventually after much furrowed browing (which I blame for my present wrinkle predicament), some uming and a far amount of ahing, I conceded I didn’t know.  She made a terse note on her clipboard.  Now a little uncertain of myself, I went on to play my recorder solo, possibly a rendition of Handel’s Water Music, more likely Frère Jacques, as I say my memory is hazy.  It turns out this mystery instrument is called a “double bass”.  Give the gal a break!  And yes, I am still bitter.  And yes, I did get my badge.  And yes, it is time I moved on.

Seems I have wandered off the track once more.  I will lose my trekking award.  Back to the task in hand, which is Six on Saturday.  An event where billions of people from across the galaxy feature six items from their gardens, or an approximation on this theme, in a humongous horticultural jamboree.  If you wish to get your SoS arm badge then pop on over to our Akela’s site and you can discover much more, including the words to She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain which you will need for a sing-song later.

First we have a viola which is still in its reticent stage.  Each year is the same.  I plant them with great verve and expectation, praising and naming them with great aplomb No. 1 in my top ten of winter bedding.  Then they sit there. *time passes* Any flowers that deign to show their cutsie faces are nibbled by slugs in their overcoats, they grow lank and dishevelled.  *time passes*  Then eventually they wake up, read the contract and get into giving us a great display just when we are thinking about changing the display.  We are still at stage 2, although this little chap has avoided mollusc attack so deserves a show and tell.

Lamprocapnos spectabile 'Valentine'

Next we have the emerging foliage of Lamprocapnos spectabile ‘Valentine’,  or Dicentra specabilis ‘Valentine’ to those who knew it in its previous incarnation.  They are perfect in their infancy.  Scattered around are leaves from the large shrubby phlomis that shades it, torn off in the recent high winds.

Lillium 'Casa Blanca'

Now we have the first showing of the diva Lilium ‘Casa Blanca’.  This majestic lily was a gift from my favourite heckler.    I don’t wish to ruin his reputation so he will remain anonymous.

bindweed

Who invited you to the party?

potentilla

Onto the emerging leaves of Potentilla ‘Lady Mantle’.  This name has yet to be officially accepted by the Royal Horticultural Society.   Which is mainly because I dug a piece out of her ladyship’s garden and ran home with the hounds snapping at my ankles.  Without label naturellement.

camellia

Lastly a flower which is not in my garden, but it will be soon.  This beautiful camellia bloom belongs to our neighbour.  Soon, when it has bored of being splendid, it will drop over the wall onto the path that leads to our front door.   I think it is quite fair that I can share in its loveliness, the fee being that I will clear up the deceased.

There we go, six done and dusted.  Dyb, dyb, dyb, dob, dob, dob.

Six on Saturday – Tempus fugit

viola

Pay attention impetuous youth!  All you downy-haired saplings listen carefully to what I am about to say and take heed!  The rumours that Old Father Time presses his foot firmer on the gas with each passing year is in fact a painful truth.  Was it really a week ago since the last Six on Saturday?  Hard to believe.  Quite why this acceleration occurs is a mystery to me.  I am sure it has been pondered in scientific papers and debated long into the night by academics.  Whatever the reason may be, I don’t like it.  And rest assured I will be making an official complaint to the management.  Talking of highest authority, our SoS CEO The Propagator might be able to shed some light on this annoying phenomena.  If not he will definitely be able to explain the modus operandi of this Six on Saturday malarkey.  Anyway I haven’t got time to hang about.  It will soon be next Saturday.

To begin we have a viola, one of my favourite winter bedding plants.  That is once you come to terms with the fact that it often stops flowering over the worst of the weather and you start wondering why you didn’t chose cyclamen or primulas instead.   Then, just before your patience wears  dangerously thin, it bucks up its ideas and flowers its pretty little head off.  I planted some yesterday (including this darling) in the Belfast sink at the front of our house, before which I had rammed in 12 orange and 12 purple tulip bulbs.   In my mind’s eye these will make a dramatic display in the spring.  The truth of the matter may be quite different.

epimedium

As well as sorting out one of the planters I also cleared some of the rampant geranium and replaced it with an ompalodes and an epimedium.  I am a huge fan of epimediums, sometimes known as barrenwort or bishop’s hat, so it has been a great mystery (to myself only, no one else is the slightest bit bothered one way or the other) why I haven’t acquired one before.  I say acquire because this wasn’t actually bought.  It was half inched (with permission) from Lady Mantle.  Autumn colour in herbaceous perennials is often overlooked as a bonus.

bindweed

I am sure that many of you are well acquainted with the common bindweed, which has the great accolade of being my favourite weed, although I am also very fond of enchanter’s nightshade.  As a child (and even now when I get the chance) I loved to pinch the back of the flower and catapult the bloom out into space.  I find pulling up the long brittle roots very therapeutic, a challenge and conundrum.  As they don’t start into growth until quite late in the season, much else gets a head start which is very thoughtful.  They are good fun all round.  These days all bets are off when they get to the stage of flowering; a quick tug and a telling off and all is well in the world again.  If only it was so simple to solve other global problems.  This one is growing high in the hedge, out of reach of my twitching hand, and was looking very pretty in the sunshine today.  It was awarded a stay of execution until I find something to stand on.

Trachycarpus fortunei

When grown well Trachycarpus fortunei, known to its pals as the Chusan palm, is a fine and dramatic specimen to grace the garden.  Here is the rub.  This specimen is not grown well.  It is crammed into a pot, fair bursting at the seams, situated in the windiest position of the garden.  It is not happy.  It is ugly and angry but defiantly continues to produce new fan-like leaves, which before too long become burnt and ragged.  Sad really.  It should be rescued by someone kinder.

To add insult to injury, the poor palm has to share it’s already cramped living quarters with a tatty old ivy.  Where this Hedera helix came from, I have no idea, possibly snaked in from somewhere close by.  In part variegated, the rest reverted to dull type, it too is struggling.  Now they are inseparable in their agony, a chimera of pain.  I think I might be getting a little carried away.  Swiftly onwards …….

Fuchsia microphylla

We will end on a happier note, Fuchsia microphylla, the small-leaved fuchsia.  Also in a pot, but a quite different story this time, it has been tended to and adored.  Although not entirely happy with the stresses of the searing summer, it is now relaxed and healthy.  At the moment is has both fruit and flower adorning it.  Even better.  Talking of fruit, if you fancy a challenge take a look at  Mr K’s SoS, he has posed a little puzzler for us all.

That is it!  Done and dusted.  See you all in the gloaming.