Six on Saturday – The Cupboard Isn’t Bare

Earlier this week, my old man said follow the van and don’t dilly dally on the way. Never one to miss the opportunity for a little van following, off we scooted to South Wales, hot-tailing a Luton full of plants from our garden. These cherished ones are now residing in my brother’s garden, where I am sure they are being tended and cherished as if they were his own. Or perhaps his lovely wife is in charge of the T & C. I am confident they will be quite safe for the scant four weeks we have before we leave here. I mean what could go wrong in 4 weeks? Perhaps it is best not to dwell on the subject. Do not fear, my friends, there is plenty left in the garden to share in this week’s Six on Saturday and lots more to come. More spring/autumn madness, hemisphere dependent, can be found with The Prop and the gang, pop over and take a look. Shall we proceed?

First, we have my mini-greenhouse, emptied of its precious cargo, now holding a pair of my wellies and a pair of ousted trainers. Oh, and a couple of pots of late/early cuttings: big purple penstemon and a double purple osteo. These need a keener eye than the transported ones.

Next is the bronze fennel, yes, the one that I spent many happy hours removing every single piece of from The Bed of Anarchy. The moral of this story is that when you name a border you have to accept the consequences. And this glorious thug will follow us. Many of the pots that have been stored below are already blooming a purple skirt of seedlings.

Onto Lavandula pinnata which has strolled through winter, flowering intermittently whilst cocking a snook to the season. I forgot to take any cuttings, and it is too late now I suppose, still it might come my way again.

Now an osteospermum which had been in a pot, but has now been transferred into the garden. The flower is looking a little cold nipped; still a beauty though. I have had to make painful decisions as to which to abandon and which to take with me. It is happy here, so best left to its Devon destiny.

Next, a wild strawberry, which I am quite sure will continue to delightfully pop up around the garden. I have potted up some cultivated strawberries for the new owner, hopefully they will give her fruit this year.

Finally, Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Valentine’, nestled between the phlomis and hydrangea in The Frozen North. A little beauty and happy as Larry.

That is your lot. Same time, same place? Possibly different time, but same place. Take care my friends.

Six on Saturday – Anarchy

I’m not very happy with my garden at the moment, and I’m sure the garden would say exactly the same about me.  I have once again slipped into a cycle of neglect – no dead heading, no slug watch, no bother.  And it shows.  Anarchy has ensued.  My Six on Saturday this week is a reflection on that state, some have overcome, some have suffered.  If you still haven’t caught on about the cause for world peace that is SoS, then check out The Propagator’s blog and he will tell you all about it and you can also indulge in stories from across the world.

First we have a success, Tibouchina urvilleana, which hasn’t turned a hair through assault by wind, rain and scorch.  The downy buds are almost as beautiful as the deep purple flowers, yet to come.

Next we have Dahlia ‘Candy Eyes’, another plant ear-marked for a client which never managed to escape my clutches.  Situated just outside the back door, it has still been victim of the dreaded molluscs and is fit to bust out of its pot.  Still I think we can look past a few nibbles and appreciate your pretty pink face, no need to hang your head.  I’ll repot you soon, promise.

In the world of mollusc gastronomy, gazanias appear to be the latest trend, the sought out delicacy.  All the cool snails in town are raving about it.  Not just any old part of the plant however, the petals are the most sought after, leaving unattractive stumps in their wake.  No wonder these two new blooms are staying firm shut, too dangerous to go out there!

This is part of the bronze fennel forest that is engulfing the back of one of my borders, squishing and squashing as it expands.  Strange, as the year before last I dug up every last piece.

Now for a plant that gets ten out of ten for fortitude.  This Dahlia coccinea was sheared off at the ground earlier in the year, before rising like a phoenix out of the ashes.  Just coming into bloom, a agapanthus fell on its head.  Some years are like that.

Lastly a fuchsia.  This lives in the front garden and has been subject to the most rigorous of storms over the last few weeks.  Who would have guessed it?

All done, until next time!

Good Contacts

Fennel

What better way to pass a free morning than spending it repeatedly poking yourself in the eye for a few hours?  Yes, I have been trying out contact lenses.  What fun!

I have been finding wearing glasses whilst working very tricky.  It is gradually descending from mildly irritating to downright tedious.  I don’t need to wear specs all the time (yet) but can’t read a word without them.  This translates in gardening terms to “spot weeds”, “find pests”, “read plant labels”. As anyone who has tried to walk about wearing reading glasses will know, this veers from comical to dangerous. So my specs go on for close up work and then off again to visit the compost bin.  When not in use they sit on the top of my head where they get caught up in my hair which necessitates an inelegant and often painful removal when I need them next.

Only last week the pound shop glasses Farmer Tony generous donated to me, when I had forgotten mine and was squinting like Mr Magoo, fell off the top of my head at which point I promptly stepped backwards  and crunched them.   Tricky.

There has to be a better solution.

So when at a recent eye test they suggested contact lens, I thought, “why not give it a go?”  They also mentioned the words “free trial”.  Even better.  I am not naturally squeamish.  I love watching a good operation on the TV, but when it comes to the eyes being treated I can be found hiding behind the sofa looking for lost crisps.  I am definitely eye squeamish.

Still I was game.  Faint heart never won good eyesight.  This morning was my initial appointment. All was well until I had to put them in.  “What I have to do it myself?”  Eventually I managed it, after much pushing and prodding and stretching and thoughts of “beam me up Scottie”.   My tutor was a saint.  And the result was great.  No irritation, just much better eyesight, it was truly amazing.  All was well.  We had this cracked.  Then I had to take them out.  Or not, as the case might be.  After an age trying, with eyes red and sore, I admitted defeat.

My humiliation culminated in an ethereal optician putting me in a headlock and removing the offending lenses.

But I’m not giving up.  Yet.