Six on Saturday – The Exceptions

There is a vague theme for my Six on Saturday this week. My contribution consists of mainly fuchsias with a couple of interlopers thrown in for a little spice. I find it difficult to focus on one subject for too long. Fuchsias were never my favourite, especially the frouncy, doily ones. As the years have passed and I have matured into a sophisticated citizen of the world (quiet in the cheap seats!), they have wheedled their way into my heart. Not so much Mrs Frillypants, but there is still time. Hop on over to our Leader, The Mighty Prop, to find out what the rest of the gang have been up to. Let us begin.

First, we have an unnamed fuchsia, which was in residence when we bought the house. It never disappoints. We give it a big chop back at the beginning of the year and if it oversteps the marks. It lives in the teeth of the north wind, which seems all too frequent even in summer, and never complains. I should take some cuttings.

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Another inherited plant is Buddleja ‘Black Knight’, lording over the aforementioned fuchsia in the front garden. Much loved by sparrows and flutterbys.

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Onto the diddy Fuchsia microphylla, or similar, there are many varieties in this category. Like many in our garden, it lives in a pot where it gets sporadic attention. It might be small in flower and leaf, but the shrub, if allowed to thrive, can reach 2m in height.

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Now Fuchsia ‘Thalia’, just coming into bloom. I am fond of the slender flowered specimens, members of the Triphylla Group, with their clusters of elegant drop ear-rings. They are somewhat tender, but this one has over wintered without protection for a couple of years. But if The Beast came a-calling, I would worry for its safety.

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Next Fuchsia hatschbachii. I rage against the inclusion of this, admittedly beautiful, fuchsia. Fabulous flowers, dainty pink boots, but a spelling nightmare.

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Lastly, the golden Crocosmia ‘Colleton Fishacre’. Dark foliage, shining flowers, the early morning sun. Win, win, win. Always end with a bang.

Adios my friends, stay well and safe.

Six on Saturday – The Builders Are Coming …….

Mirabilis longiflora 'Angel Trumpets'

September, how did that happen?  This “time passing” malarkey is quite disturbing sometimes.  It is Six on Saturday time once more.  What Andrew Lloyd Webber is to musical theatre, The Prop is to the Meme.  But much more handsome.  Take a look at his blog and marvel at some of his greatest hits, the divas and the divans, complete with hissy fits and jazz hands.

“What has any of this got to do with builders?” you may well ask.  Well, the invisible leak in our roof has now become invisible “leaks”, and we are (yet again, using a different builder) going to try to get it, and its new buddy, fixed.  As we live in a three storey house this means a substantial amount of scaffolding.  Which in turn means (dum, di, dum, di, dum) scaffolders and builders.  Don’t get me wrong, they are noble professions, but in my experience they have little regard for what I hold dearly, that is “plants”.  Last time there were tears.  I am expecting more.

“No we definitely won’t be going over there”  “Nor there”  “Five foot (how quaint) from the front and rear, all will be safe”.  I could see the head honcho’s eyes glowing red as he attempted to placate me.  As we are having a royal visit next weekend, yes Her Not So Royal Highness, Peggy of the municipality of Creigiau, is visiting with her entourage.  There will be absolutely no hope of doing anything during this sojourn except fanning and curtsying.  Which means I made a start today.  In a feeble attempt at damage limitation I have started shuffling pots.  The following is what I saw (apart from a lot of sneaky slugs and mud) whilst I toiled and prayed for mercy.

Firstly we have the elegant and fleeting flower of Mirabilis longiflora ‘Angel Trumpets’.  Grown at extraordinary speed from seed this year, so fast that I have taken several cuttings already which are thriving.  It is currently languishing in amongst yet-to-flower salvias.  I don’t think I have placed it correctly.  It is pencilled in for a shuffle next year.

Crocosmia 'Coleton Fishacre'

Now we have Crocosmia ‘Coleton Fishacre’ just beginning to flower.  This was a bit of a surprise as I thought it was C. ‘Emily McKenzie’.  Now I wonder where she could have got to?  The scaffolders are definitely not going anywhere near this bed.   I have yet to give the builders my “do not throw anything, liquid or solid, on the borders, do not stub your fags out in my pots” instructions.  For them to ignore.  Obviously.

Armeria pseudameria

Although I only have a mini greenhouse, it is going to have to move, along with all my cuttings, sown seeds and newly potted-ons.  This sixer (all the best things come in sixes) of Armeria pseudarmeria  (that I have been spelling incorrectly according to the semi-diety of the RHS) may have to take its chances in the big bad world.  Needs to toughen up a bit before the winter.  Might be a good thing.  See, I’m looking on the bright side already!

Persicaria filiformis

This Persicaria virginiana var. filiformis, Fili to her mates, is just coming into its own after struggling through the winter.  All we need now is a size 12 steel toecap ……….. but of course this will not happen as neither scaffolder or builder will be anywhere near this area.  Grown primarily for its foliage, which I have always thought resembles a psychological ink blot test (beaked bird, possibly evil with big boots on), but also has the most delicate, and charming, red flower spikes.

grasshopper

This little chap was not happy about his home being shifted.  He lives in amongst the greenery of Dahlia ‘Peggy’s Pearler’ which is being very slow to flower.  There will be trouble if there is no action by next week.  I may have to stick some plastic ones on.  She will never notice.

Dahlia coccinea

Lastly we have Dahlia coccinea, the paintbrush washed orange and red petals are glorious. This bloom sits alongside standard deep red flowers.  It is known to be a variable plant, this might be a reaction to weather or perhaps just an attention seeker.

That is it for another week.   Don’t forget to see what everyone else has been up to at Chez Prop, who I thank for being a wonderfully magnanimous host.

With a fair wind, plenty of tea and chocolate hobnobs, with my menacing look saved for emergencies, in the next few weeks we might have a dry house and an undamaged garden.  Dreams do come true.  They do don’t they?  Tell me they do!

Six on Saturday – Keeping Focused

hydrangea

It is incredible that I can manage to write anything at the moment.  The reason for my distraction is that seed from the Hardy Plant Society has arrived and I am very excited.   Possibly unnaturally so.  More of that tomorrow, today I must try to stay focused because it is of course Six on Saturday.   I missed last week and I am afraid I will be named and shamed or even worse, no one notices, if I don’t contribute.  For those of you who wish to join this not-so-secret sect pop over to the blog of our guru The Propagator and you will find out all about it.  Don’t send him any money though, he has all mine already.

Firstly we have some hydrangea flowers, well the battered husks anyway.  There are a few remnants left and I have begun thinking about pruning them.  Don’t cry out in fear my friends, the “thinking” is only stage one, the “actually doing” could be a few weeks down the line, by then hopefully the cold winds will have abated and the buds will be safe.

crocosmia

Next is a crocosmia shoot.  Anyone who has been listening will know that I am often cursing this sneaky cormous individual.  Many hours have been spent digging up montbretia, only for them to return the next year, if not sooner.  This one is however a little different.  It is Crocosmia ‘Coleton Fishacre’, syn. C. ‘Gerbe d’Or’, a wonderful (and well behaved) creature.  Rich olive green leaves set off the warmest of apricot flowers perfectly.  A gift from the lovely Hero, I am very happy to grow it again.

bug

Number three is a new garden resident, he is standing guard at the base of a Japanese acer, hopefully scaring away predators.

rosemary

Now onto Rosmarinus officinalis, just a bog standard Rosemary.  But it is very special to us.  Our beautiful Charlie cat, who features in the header of this blog, is buried beneath it.  She loved to sit underneath the large, gnarled and woody, specimen we have in the garden.  I often wondered if the fragrant oils soothed her as she slept, as now her place is taken by other visiting felines.  Charlie was left behind when our neighbours moved house and we took her in.  Before coming to us she lived outside for years, ever since they bored of her and got a puppy instead and the two could not live in tandem.  I like to think her final years with us were happy.  She soon became accustomed to laps and fires and cuddles and sofas.  Bless her.

Pelargonium cordifolium

Outside the back door I have a huddle of plants, that in a perfect world would be in a greenhouse, but as we all know it is far from that.  So I have herded them together for warmth.  One of these is Pelargonium cordifolium var. rubrocinctum (apologies).  It is statuesque, standing proudly in spite of its circumstances, and so far has not faltered in the winter weather.

horseshoe

Finally a horseshoe.  We bought this, and a couple of others, from a cardboard box of assorted sizes at National Trust property Arlington Court.  Here they have an amazing carriage collection and some magnificent horses to pull them.  Some say the shoes should be displayed prongs up in order to catch the luck, some say the prongs should be pointing downward to stop luck escaping.  Who knows?  Perhaps I will try turning them around and wait for the lottery win.  Or perhaps this life I have is considered lucky enough to be counted as lucky and I will be doomed if I move them.  I think I will leave well alone.

That, is that, my Six on Saturday.  Thanks Mr P.  Hopefully, if the horseshoes allow, I will be back same time next week.  If not, the puzzle may well have been solved.