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 – Tempus fugit

viola

Pay attention impetuous youth!  All you downy-haired saplings listen carefully to what I am about to say and take heed!  The rumours that Old Father Time presses his foot firmer on the gas with each passing year is in fact a painful truth.  Was it really a week ago since the last Six on Saturday?  Hard to believe.  Quite why this acceleration occurs is a mystery to me.  I am sure it has been pondered in scientific papers and debated long into the night by academics.  Whatever the reason may be, I don’t like it.  And rest assured I will be making an official complaint to the management.  Talking of highest authority, our SoS CEO The Propagator might be able to shed some light on this annoying phenomena.  If not he will definitely be able to explain the modus operandi of this Six on Saturday malarkey.  Anyway I haven’t got time to hang about.  It will soon be next Saturday.

To begin we have a viola, one of my favourite winter bedding plants.  That is once you come to terms with the fact that it often stops flowering over the worst of the weather and you start wondering why you didn’t chose cyclamen or primulas instead.   Then, just before your patience wears  dangerously thin, it bucks up its ideas and flowers its pretty little head off.  I planted some yesterday (including this darling) in the Belfast sink at the front of our house, before which I had rammed in 12 orange and 12 purple tulip bulbs.   In my mind’s eye these will make a dramatic display in the spring.  The truth of the matter may be quite different.

epimedium

As well as sorting out one of the planters I also cleared some of the rampant geranium and replaced it with an ompalodes and an epimedium.  I am a huge fan of epimediums, sometimes known as barrenwort or bishop’s hat, so it has been a great mystery (to myself only, no one else is the slightest bit bothered one way or the other) why I haven’t acquired one before.  I say acquire because this wasn’t actually bought.  It was half inched (with permission) from Lady Mantle.  Autumn colour in herbaceous perennials is often overlooked as a bonus.

bindweed

I am sure that many of you are well acquainted with the common bindweed, which has the great accolade of being my favourite weed, although I am also very fond of enchanter’s nightshade.  As a child (and even now when I get the chance) I loved to pinch the back of the flower and catapult the bloom out into space.  I find pulling up the long brittle roots very therapeutic, a challenge and conundrum.  As they don’t start into growth until quite late in the season, much else gets a head start which is very thoughtful.  They are good fun all round.  These days all bets are off when they get to the stage of flowering; a quick tug and a telling off and all is well in the world again.  If only it was so simple to solve other global problems.  This one is growing high in the hedge, out of reach of my twitching hand, and was looking very pretty in the sunshine today.  It was awarded a stay of execution until I find something to stand on.

Trachycarpus fortunei

When grown well Trachycarpus fortunei, known to its pals as the Chusan palm, is a fine and dramatic specimen to grace the garden.  Here is the rub.  This specimen is not grown well.  It is crammed into a pot, fair bursting at the seams, situated in the windiest position of the garden.  It is not happy.  It is ugly and angry but defiantly continues to produce new fan-like leaves, which before too long become burnt and ragged.  Sad really.  It should be rescued by someone kinder.

To add insult to injury, the poor palm has to share it’s already cramped living quarters with a tatty old ivy.  Where this Hedera helix came from, I have no idea, possibly snaked in from somewhere close by.  In part variegated, the rest reverted to dull type, it too is struggling.  Now they are inseparable in their agony, a chimera of pain.  I think I might be getting a little carried away.  Swiftly onwards …….

Fuchsia microphylla

We will end on a happier note, Fuchsia microphylla, the small-leaved fuchsia.  Also in a pot, but a quite different story this time, it has been tended to and adored.  Although not entirely happy with the stresses of the searing summer, it is now relaxed and healthy.  At the moment is has both fruit and flower adorning it.  Even better.  Talking of fruit, if you fancy a challenge take a look at  Mr K’s SoS, he has posed a little puzzler for us all.

That is it!  Done and dusted.  See you all in the gloaming.

 

 

Six on Saturday – It’s a Miracle

Parahebe catarractae

It is Saturday.  Outside it is blowing a hoolie and periodically horizontal rain joins in the fun.  My ‘to do’ list makes War and Peace look like a novella.   I have writing to finish and don’t need any diversions thank you very much.  All great excuses not to participate in The Propagator‘s Six on Saturday.  But as I can be contrary even to myself, I thought, “why not, the rest can wait, I will brave the storm”.  And so I did.

First a stalwart of this little garden, Parahebe catarractae, which I believe might be now called Veronica catarractae, feel free to take your pick.  It was here when we arrived and flowers almost non-stop.  It was tempting to save this icy blue maiden for another day, for when I am desperate for blooms, but it deserved better than to be a fill-in.  Delicate, reliable, undemanding, all worthy attributes.

Liquidambar styraciflua

Liquidambar styraciflua

Next is our Liquidambar styraciflua, the American Sweetgum, which grows in pot in the small courtyard outside the kitchen door.  Totally inappropriate, but like a small child who wanted it now, I wanted it NOW.  Asking an assistant at a reputable plant centre (very very very reputable) if they sold liquidambars he said he had never heard of it and did I know the Latin name.  Um.  We found one in the end at “I can’t remember where” and it will have to stay in its temporary accommodation until we move to a mansion in the countryside with a couple of acres of land. Um again.

Argyranthemum

Argyranthemum

Right, who’s next?  Oh yes, this little argyranthemum, rescued in the spring from the bargain bin at a garden centre. It has battled, as everything out the front has, with prolonged and vicious mollusc attack.  Still, it has struggled through and hopefully will last the winter.  The Great Hedge of Ilfracombe next door has been cut down to a couple of feet, which has been wonderful for us and our sea views.  This might however be to the detriment of some of the more vulnerable over the winter months when the wicked winds pick up.  We will see.

Hedychium 'Tara'

Hedychium ‘Tara’

Now we have another of my beloved ginger lilies the exotic beauty, Hedychium ‘Tara’.  I think she speaks quite nicely for herself.

Pelargonium 'Calliope Hot Pink'

Pelargonium ‘Calliope Hot Pink’

On to a relatively new arrival to the fold, Pelargonium ‘Calliope Hot Pink’.  We are lucky hereabouts that pelargoniums often over-winter in our benign climate.  Cue the worst winter in living memory. Favourites do get protected from the worst of the rain and I think this may be one of the cossetted ones.  Just in case.

Fuchsia microphylla

Fuchsia microphylla

It wouldn’t be a Six on Saturday without a fuchsia.  So to conclude, the final contestant in today’s beauty contest is the diminutive and most charming Fuchsia microphylla.   When I was a child I loved visiting model villages, where everything was in miniature perfection.   This fuchsia evokes the same Lilliputian love in me.

There we have it Mr P.  Four weeks on the trot.  It’s a miracle.  It can’t possibly last.