Six on Saturday – Hanging On

Everyone still attached? Hope so. A great point of contact, something to keep us grounded and in touch with the rest of the world, is Six on Saturday. And the glue that binds SoS together is our very own Mr Bostick. Have I gone too far with my analogies? Perhaps. If you’ve got a minute, pop on over and check out what everyone else is up to, you won’t regret it.

As you might have guessed, my theme today is Hanging On, although I may well run out of steam by the end. Shall we proceed, as always, with caution.

First we have Rosa ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ which has continued to pop open the odd bloom as it sees fit. I’m not complaining, keep on keeping on, my lovely!

Next we have Fuchsia hatchbachii which lives in the front garden, AKA The Frozen North. It is planted in a half barrel which is being held together with a forcefield of intent. Every leaf has been blown from its body. Still it holds on to a few flowers.

Most of the potted acers have now lost most of their leaves. This mummified acer leaf clings on tight, denying the onset of winter.

Now an unknown fuchsia, gifted by Steve and Dawn, again sited in the Frozen North. Again it has been stripped of all but a few blooms. In comparison, fuchsias in the back garden are quite lush still. I am slightly embarrassed at its naked state and I promise to treat it far better next year. In fact this very day I shall move it to a more sheltered position. Probably.

Onto the disappointing Cosmos, a little nibbled but still the pink eyed bloom is most welcome. I’m not sure what went wrong with them this year, but a few other SoSers have also complained. It is nice not to suffer alone.

Lastly, eventually this dahlia has bloomed. Although I am pleased to see it, I can’t help but think that the margin between first flower and first frost will be very narrow. The flower didn’t look familiar to me and I wondered which of my many under-performing dahlias it was. Luckily the pot had a label in it; unluckily it read “Mystery”.

Keep the SoS faith my friends, til next time.

Six on Saturday – Watches

Snake's head fritillery

This may be rushed.  Again.  I’ll tell you why.

The strap on one of my watches came apart so I asked OH, AKA Glue Monitor, to fix it for me.  I don’t have many watches, just three.  You may think that is a lot.  I suppose you only really need one.  My three perform different roles in my life, apart from telling the time, that is.  One is a work watch, it has a large dial so I know when it is coffee time without putting my specs on and I can press my nose to my client’s window and dribble as way of a hint.  It was also embarrassingly cheap so it doesn’t matter too much if I compost it by mistake.  My second watch is my goth watch, a black-faced, black strapped Swatch, for my moody moments which are few but intense.  My third is a Fossil watch, bought in an outlet store for a fraction of the retail price and is my favourite.  It is my favourite because it has embroidered flowers on the strap.  It was this very strap that needed mending.  Anyone still awake?  The fact is this watch was still resident at the in-house menders meaning that it didn’t spring forward last weekend with the rest of the timepieces in the house.  And today I have been wearing that very same, now fixed, watch.  Which means that all day I have been running on Greenwich Mean Time instead of British Summer Time.  This in turn means I have one less hour than I thought to cram all the things I had earmarked to do this afternoon before cocktail hour.   I know another excuse.  At least I have turned up.  And our very own Time Lord, The Propmaster,  won’t need a lie down as he does on the rare occasions that I’m early.

Less wittering more plants!  Firstly we have a not quite open snake’s head fritillary, Fritillaria meleagris.  These play “will they, won’t they” each year and then seemingly over night, and usually a little nibbled, they appear.  When I say “they” I mean three.  They never seem to multiple like you hear in fairytales.

Salix gracilistyla ‘Melanostachys’

Next is a great joy to me, the strong and healthy roots of the most wonderful and doomy Salix gracilistyla ‘Melanostachys’ or the black willow .  These cuttings were sent to me by my friend Chloris after I admired the puma paws of one in her garden.  They have been sitting in a cup of water for a couple of weeks and voilà.   Read more about it here: The Blooming Garden – Six on Saturday 2nd March.   When admiring this willow I shall be wearing my black Swatch.

Now it is time for a fat and hairy potato sprout.  You may well remember, as I am prone to over-sharing about my personal life, that every year I buy OH some chitting potatoes for either his birthday or Valentine’s Day.   I usually buy Rocket, but for a change I thought this time he could try Charlotte.  I’m wild like that.  Each year he plants them and tends to them in a completely different way as to how I would do it.  But they are his.  I will not interfere.  I will not even give my opinion, I have tried before and it has fallen on stony ground.  But it is wrong.   Unfortunately it works.

acer

What next?  Oh yes, the fresh young leaves of one of our acers.   A little burnt by the wind, but all the same a beautiful sight.   All our Japanese maples are named Woolworth, as it is here that we bought them, many moon ago, and very well they have served us too.  I still miss Woolworths.

blueberry

On to blueberry flowers, blushing bells all primed to provide a handful of fruit for a summer treat.

Dahlia 'Peggy's Pearler'

Lastly, I am pleased to announce that Peggy is back!  Has she arrived in South Wales yet Mr K? For any of you who don’t know who Peggy is and why I should be so excited at her return, then you can find out all about it here: It Is All In The Name.

All done, double checked my numbers, and I’m all linked out.  I cannot linger, that Moscow Mule won’t drink itself!

 

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – Happy Holidays

osteospermum

After a week or more away, I have come home to builders, scaffolding, inaccessible plants and a really vicious cold.  For this reason (and I will continue to blame everything on the builders including my poor health, who in reality are rather nice chaps, until further notice) my Six on Saturday will dwell on holiday snaps.  Of course these consist, on the whole, pictures of plants.  This is probably just as well you wouldn’t want to see myself and OH in our “kiss me quick” hats, trousers rolled up daringly above the ankle, having a paddle.  If you would like to share in the experience of other SOSers, with or without builder input, pop on over to our Site Foreman to find out more.

First we have an osteospermum, growing in the recess of a wall overlooking St Ives.  Always a joy to visit, come torrential monsoon and high winds or shine.

bamboo

Next is a golden bamboo, possibly Phyllostachys aurea, but I’m not absolutely sure as I wandered off to admire it and I was reined back in.  Which happens unsurprisingly often. This photo was taken at The Leach Pottery, also in St Ives.  It is located about 100m from my childhood home and we always visit when we are down.  Incredible pots and wonderful memories.  Not that we were aware of it as kids, we were just kids.  In those days we were just interested in playing on the beach/woods/moors and eating Mr Kipling’s produce.  And yes we did buy more pots.  Very beautiful they are too.

Bidens

Then on to Penzance to catch up with old friends and continue our hedonistic adventures.  Our guest house had a rather amazing garden, which not only had sea views but was packed with colour.  These bidens were a treat, as was the Hummingbird Hawk Moth feasting on the Verbena bonariensis, which unfortunately avoided my lens.  You will have to trust me on that one.  On our last morning we were waiting for our taxi to take us to the train station, when a gentleman in a rather flamboyant shirt left the house.   He started a conversation, asking us where we going and the like.  He then dropped into the conversation, like a feather into a vat of oil, that he was returning from Kew Gardens to Tresco where he is the curator of Abbey Gardens.   I may have fainted.

Colquhounia coccinea

During our stay we visited the small-but-perfectly-formed Penlee Art Gallery and Museum, which is situated in Penlee Gardens.  I almost didn’t get in the door.  Waylaid variously by swathes of Tulbaghia violacea, a largeTrochodendron aralioides full of Sputnik fruit, white crinum and night scented Cestrum parqui.  The treasure which made me squeal with glee was this Colquhounia coccinea, unlike my own specimen, a strong and flower-full example.  When I got home I rushed to see if a miracle had happened.  No.

Fascicularia bicolor

I had a hunch when I saw the expanses of swordfish foliage that it might be something special.  A little poke about and I found what I was looking for, the outlandish flower head of Fascicularia bicolor .   Planted in a tiny garden, come seating area, just opposite the Jubilee Pool, this is another example of the exotic as ordinary.  Wonderful.

Peggy Pearlers

On our last day we had an itinerary.  We were having a day out with my good friend and jeweller to the stars (and me) Duibhne Gough, known to her pals as Div.  She would take us to The National Dahlia Collection, then lunch, then to a nursery, then to see her new workshop before home, tired but happy.  I have long wished to visit the dahlias at Varfell Farm, even more so since I named a dahlia after my Mum, read all about it here It Is All In The Name.  It was a fabulously sunny day with bloom after bloom after beautiful bloom.  But none were the special one.  Soon I was beginning to doubt myself and that it was in fact a cruel hoax.  Then a point and smile from the lovely Div and there she was in all her glory.  I can quite honestly say, in a totally biased manner, that Peggy Pearlers was the most beautiful specimen in the field.

After a delicious lunch our itinerary was scrapped, as £20 worth of unleaded had found its way into the diesel Citroen.  It turned out for the best, a balmy afternoon of laughter and lager (and the odd house white but that didn’t scan as well), and I didn’t buy a single plant!

Thank Mr P for being the host with the most.  Until next time!

It is all in the Name

Dahlia Peggy's Pearler

To win a competition is great.  To win a competition that you didn’t even enter is amazing.

A few months ago I received an email from the National Dahlia Collection to say that I had won a prize.  Everyone who subscribed to their newsletter was automatically entered and I was one of the lucky ones.

The only other thing I have won of merit is a rugby player.  The college team auctioned themselves off to raise money for an upcoming tour.  As bad luck would have it, the chap I won was also a friend’s boyfriend. She gave me a “look”.  I knew just what that meant.  He took me for a meal and I returned him, before the witching hour and in good working order.

It seems that yet again I have gone off on a tandem.  Back to the story.

My prize was to name a dahlia.  At first I thought it was a hoax.  Hilarious.  Then gradually, as messages passed back and forth, I began to believe it was true. They showed me a photo and left me to it.   A deep rich pink, with a waterlily form, it looked a real beauty.  What a treat, what a responsibility!  I waited for inspiration.  It arrived.  I would called it Peggy’s Pearler.  After my Mum and also in memory of my Dad.  On occasion, if she got something mixed up or confused, my Dad would say “another one of Peggy’s Pearlers”.   Said with a twinkle and with fun and affection.  And they would both laugh.

Unfortunately, somewhere in the machine, the name was altered slightly so when I received the certificate from the RHS it read Peggy Pearlers.  No matter.  It still counts.  Unfortunately there is no photo on the website yet, but here is a link to the Peggy’s Pearler (which I shall continue to call it).  My picture of a not-quite-fully-out bloom will have to suffice.

As well as the honour of naming the dahlia, they sent me three rooted cuttings.  These I have been growing on, fending off the molluscs and generally cossetting, much to the chagrin of adjacent plants.  One of these will be heading to Wales this weekend, to meet its namesake.

Happy birthday to my best mum, from your best daughter. x