Six on Saturday – You can’t keep a good fern down

February has arrived; which is officially the last month of winter. That is if like me you prefer to adhere to the meteorological interpretation of events, at this end of the year anyway. And it’s a shortie so should fly by. Then, baby, the only way is up! My Six on Saturday this week has no particular theme, which is remiss as I do love a theme. It is however led by endeavour and finished with love. Any newbies to the SoS phenomena should pop on over to The Prop’s site and all will become perfectly clear, or perhaps not so. If in doubt treat it as a Dadaist interpretive inter-planetary art project.

Let us start with a sight that made me grin when I saw it, a coyly unfurling frond of Cyathea australis beneath its veil of fleece. You can’t keep a good fern down.

Next, we have the front garden hellebore, which has done very well this year and seems to have multiplied admirably. Unfortunately, I failed to undertake the promised move, so to admire its mottled flower face requires the flexibility of Simone Biles. I will move it for the new owner.

Onto cyclamen seed pods, which have corkscrewed down and are now poised to push into the soil. Self-sowing; nature is a wonderful thing, and we are part of this amazing world. How this indisputable fact is continually over-looked is a complete mystery.

Question: What could possibly be better than a bud? Answer: A furry bud! The Phlomis fruticosa in the frozen north is gearing up for an early display.

Now we have a defiant osteospermum, its blue boss hinting of its hardiness. The petals are curled in defence of the weather, slimming its profile, looking quite different to its summer appearance. Two for the price of one!

Lastly, we have a heart-shaped leaf of Pelargonium cordifolium var. rubrocinctum, having absorbed its chlorophyll ready to drop. On reflection I should have saved this picture for Valentine Day, but you can’t go wrong with a symbol of love, there is more than enough to go around.

That is your lot, you lovely people. Hope all is good in your worlds. Stay safe and well.

Six on Saturday

Six on Saturday, here we go again. Admittedly it has been a few weeks since I dabbled, but I’m sure I will pick it up again; the subtle nuances, the intricacies. Just like riding a bicycle. Unfortunately, I can only ride a bike in a straight line, as long as there are no cars, or other bikes, or pedestrians to distract me or I will wobble and fall off. Which is not good news for hopping back on the mega-tandem. However, I’ll do my best. I do remember that I have to name-check the illustrious Prop, our mentor with a dubious tulip affliction. Check out his blog and you will be introduced to folk from across the known universe, who have been more loyal to the cause than I have been of late. Shall we proceed?

First, we have a cyclamen which, along with assorted violas and primary coloured primulas, were bought to titivate the planters at the front of the house. I can just imagine them, waiting optimistically in the garden centre, dreaming of who will buy them and where they will make their loving home. Well my dearios, I’m afraid you drew the short straw. You will be living in the teeth of the evil northerly wind, where the sun has retired for the season. I am sure you will do your best.

Next, we have the rough tree fern, Cyathea australis, which has enjoyed the recent damp weather. Since it came to live at Chez Nous earlier in the year, it has outgrown two pots and is still curling out new fronds. Hopefully it will over-winter without too many dramas.

Onto a slack cosmos, both in habit and personality. My favourite annual has not thrived for me this year, with just this one plant flopping about popping out the odd flower as it felt fit. Not that I am complaining. At this time of year, you can forgive most slovenly behaviour.

The teasels have passed through their bee-magnet stage onto the goldfinch-larder stage, and we have already had the joy of watching these beautiful finches feast on the seeds. Again, these are in the front, Frozen North, garden, which wouldn’t seem the ideal place for a snooze. However, it appears that the snails in these parts are well ‘ard, not only cocking a snook at the cold wind but also at the thorny bed it has chosen to rest on.

Now an impatiens. I’m slightly embarrassed to say that until it flowered I wasn’t sure which one. The label just said impatiens, and I can’t blame the label because I wrote the label and I’m pretty certain that it said a lot more than that in the past. Now it is doing its floriferous thing, I am pretty certain that it is Impatiens flanaganae. It is doing very well and is perfectly pretty. I will now complete the label, so we don’t have this uncertainty again. Probably later today, or maybe tomorrow ….

Shall we finish with love? There are just two leaves left on the Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’, and this is one of them. A love heart.

That is your lot. As Woody Guthrie said “take it easy, but take it”. And stay safe and well, my friends.

Six on Saturday – Hearts and Flowers

This is a special Six on Saturday.   Today was to have been the wedding day of my nephew Adam and his fiancée Jess.  Instead of white gown and morning suit they will be donning PPE’s, both at present working on Coronavirus isolation wards in The University Hospital of Wales.  I am immensely proud of them both.  I am sure they will be feeling a little sad today, so in a feeble attempt to sooth, I thought I would dedicate this post to them.  Be warned, there will be tenuous links, but they are all made with love.

It is only fitting that we start with a heart, the newly emerged leaf of Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’.  This small tree staggers on year on year, confined by a pinching pot.  Each spring, new growth is both a joy and a surprise that it has made it through another winter.

Now, as tradition would have it, Something Old.  Here we have the Helen Mirren of tulips, growing old beautifully.   Conveniently for the theme, photobombing from behind are a handful of violas, which are sometimes known as heartsease.

Something New is a double first.  A new frond for my new fern Cyathea australis.  Again, this plant is Jim’s fault.  I am definitely not buying any more plants.  However, I have just seen a very tempting protea.  One doesn’t count.

Something Borrowed, is a magnificent peony from The Buns’ garden.  The Chinese name for the peony means “beautiful”, which I cannot deny.  More appropriately to our cause, according to the language of flowers, it represents a happy marriage and good fortune.  Both of which I wish our heroes in the future.

Now for something blue.  Bluebell, obvs.

To symbolise our celebrations after the ceremony, I searched the garden for hanging vines or laden pomegranate trees.  I delved deep for sweet strawberries and lush ripe apples.  There were no fresh quinces or passion fruit.  Unfortunately, all I could come up with was a beer trap.  Needs must.

But everywhere there were hearts.  These are the new leaves of a dwarf green bean, Tendergreen.

And more hearts, this time Cercidiphyllum japonicum.

And even more hearts.  This is a young Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’, the name of which is most fitting.

For those of you out there clicking away on your abacuses, I agree, this is not strictly six.  It was the hearts that done it.  But surely you can never have too many hearts on your substitute wedding day?  If anyone has a problem they can contact my minder/legal advisor/fashion consultant/confessor The Prop and he will undoubtedly ignore you.

Finally, a message to the wonderful Jess and Adam.  Keep on keeping on, my heart swells when I think of you, but not in a bad medical way.  Shall we try again next year?

There is a plus side though, I have a while longer to get into my dress which appears to have shrunk on the hanger.

Stay safe and well everyone, ’til next time.