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 – In Haste

Sorry folks, I am in a terrible rush today, so this is going to be heavy on the photos, light on the words.  Almost indetectable on the words.  Let us go, but don’t forget to pop over to The Prop’s site to find out what it’s all about Alfie.

First a cyclamen, a bit raged around the edges but that is the same for many plants in my garden.  Also for the gardener.

Now some “I should have bought them in for decoration but forgot” hydrangea heads.

Bulbs, in pots, but you will have to take my word for it, they could be just pots.  Muscari ‘Mount Hood and Tulipa orphanidea ‘Flava’.

Salvia elegans is always late on parade and I can never quite capture its true colour.

Going into its second winter, this pellie is not showing any signs of giving up.  I hope I haven’t just cursed it.

Lastly, a single flower spike of Nerine undulata.   Will it won’t it?  Hope so.

That is me done!  Must dash ……..

 

Soggy Six on Saturday

Another wet Saturday.  Another soggy Six on Saturday, SSoS.  If you would like to see how wet or dry my compadres are then pop over to the captain of our ship The Propagator and find out for yourself.

So let us splodge on.  Shall we talk about the rain? In order to accurately convey my feelings on the subject I have composed my own little ditty, based on an ancient English nursery rhyme, here we go: “It’s raining it’s pouring, good Lord it is so boring”.  I know, so many talents, it really isn’t fair on the rest. Across the road the local team are preparing to play a game endemic to these parts, swamp rugby with visibility of approximately 3m.  If it didn’t mean getting soaked myself, I think it would be a very amusing match to watch.  But I digress.  I had considered taking all my photos from indoors, where it isn’t quite as damp.  My first picture is an attempt at inside/out SoSing.  I am not sure it works.  Further fearing the ridicule of my peers I gathered courage and waterproofs and stepped out into the mire.

primulas

Earlier today, whilst shopping for provision for the ark (hay, spare wildebeests, ants and gin mainly) I spotted this tray of jolly primulas.  It would have been rude not to.  They will be ideal for one of my new pots.  As you can see I have already carefully positioned them.  At least they will be getting watered there, unlike in the place from whence they came.

Yesterday I spotted this germinated seed on top of the soil in the front garden.   I am hoping it is a Rhodotypos scandens, as it is not far from the shrub and looks vaguely familiar.  When it stops raining I will pot it up, unless someone eats it in the meantime.  What I should have done is push it gently into the ground and mark its position.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

cyclamen

Next this blushing cyclamen. No words needed. Except perhaps “yum”.

Now some good news.  The tulips I planted in the autumn have eventually begun to poke their noses through the compost.  I was beginning to doubt that I had actually planted them.

osteospermum

And lastly, the valiant osteospermum, native of South Africa, lover of hot, dry conditions, continuing to bud and flower in monsoon condition.   A repeat I know.  But I don’t care.  Respect.

There we have it, another Six on Saturday completed.  Thanks Mr P.  Another gold star on the chart for me?

 

 

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – Chocolates

Salvia leucantha 'Midnight'

Even though it was singularly uninviting, it being damp and windy and the weekend, I had to go out into the garden this morning.  Not just because of the pressing urgency of The Propagator‘s Six on Saturday, but because if I didn’t do certain jobs a visit from the local RSPCP officer was inevitable.  So I did, with dragging teenaged feet and hunched shoulders.  Not fair.  No one cares.  Not working?  OK.

Without further ado, or attention seeking behaviour, I will get back to the task in hand.  My Six on Saturday.  The first chocolate in the box today is the amazing Salvia leucantha ‘Midnight’.   It is tender, in spite of its furry coat, and takes a while to get up the energy to flower after the winter.  Hence it has only just begun to bloom here.  In my top ten of salvias.  For some reason marzipan springs to mind.  Purple marzipan, if it doesn’t exist it should be invented forthwith!

cyclamen

Now for the second morsel.  The aforementioned urgent job was to replant the containers outside the front door.  They were looking, let me chose my words carefully here, shameful.  I had bought replacements, including this cyclamen, a couple of weeks ago and they had been languishing patiently for me to uphold my part of the bargain.  Cyclamen are favourites of mine and even here, in the teeth of the wind, they will continue to flower until next spring.   What do you think, raspberry parfait?

viola

The next treat for you is a little viola, one of a mixed bunch also bought to jolly up the front of the house.  Although they have a tendency to stop flowering for a while, they always begin again just as I am thinking about chucking them out.   Somewhere beneath, I am hoping, are last year’s bulbs and corms.  Quite what these are will be as much of a surprise to me as it is to you.  I vaguely remember some crocus and perhaps Iris reticulata, oh and maybe some Jetfire.  You can’t beat a good surprise.  As for this one, I reckon it might be a mint chocolate.

apple

Now onto a definite hard centre, apple flavoured of course.  This tree was here when we moved in. Although it is undoubtedly on dwarf rooting stock, it is still too big for our little plot.  Each year the jackdaws find the fruit before they are ripe, pecking large holes in them, knocking many to the ground in the process.  When we do get to taste one they are delicious.  As it is unlikely that those clever corvids will forget where their late summer feast is, our share in the future is likely to be minimal.

fuchsia

Another of our inheritances is this fuchsia.  I am fond of fuchsias, and this is a rather pleasant one.  It is not however jaw-dropping, or stunning, or incredible, or magical.  Quite pretty, that is all.   If this was one of my chocolates it would be one of the last to be eaten, perhaps a toffee, or orange cream.   However I am well aware that there are plenty of people who would be picking this one first.  You are very welcome to my orange cream, I’ll have your praline.

Lastly we have some of the plants that have been replaced by the bright young things.  They are cuphea, argyranthemum and eccremocarpus.  These would be the misshapes, the ones that failed to meet the stringent standards.  After last week’s public outcry (OK, just John) I have potted them up to over-winter somewhere more clement, perhaps the Caribbean, most likely crammed into my tiny plastic greenhouse with a zillion others.

More thanks to Mr P for making me get out of bed early on a Saturday morning, stumbling around the garden taking photos, much to the amusement of my neighbours.  Mr P has the power.

 

 

 

Osteospermum ‘Double Berry White’

Osteospermum 'Double Berry White'

A day of dodging showers at The Farm.  No matter, most of the time I was in easy reach of a waterproof or a shelter.  There were plenty of indoor jobs to be done.  In the greenhouse the tomato vines, which had been allowed to express themselves freely over the last few weeks, were trimmed and tweaked and a bucket full of fruit collected.  The cyclamen that bloomed all last winter, providing a little cheer outside the office door throughout the gloomy months, were potted up and are already producing flowering stems.  No thanks to the general apathy toward them by the gardener.  Rooted Penstemon ‘Garnet’ were potted up.  Other cuttings were checked and any suspect material removed.  Belt and braces cuttings were taken of Osteospermum ‘Double Berry White’, just beginning to get into its stride after a winter knock back.

So along with a little weeding and planting out, it was a very successful day.   Oh and Farmer Tony gave me a brussel sprout hat.  Yes, it is true, a hat that ties beneath your chin and makes your head look like a sprout.  I was overwhelmed with emotion.  I may save it for Christmas.