Six on Saturday – Anarchy

I’m not very happy with my garden at the moment, and I’m sure the garden would say exactly the same about me.  I have once again slipped into a cycle of neglect – no dead heading, no slug watch, no bother.  And it shows.  Anarchy has ensued.  My Six on Saturday this week is a reflection on that state, some have overcome, some have suffered.  If you still haven’t caught on about the cause for world peace that is SoS, then check out The Propagator’s blog and he will tell you all about it and you can also indulge in stories from across the world.

First we have a success, Tibouchina urvilleana, which hasn’t turned a hair through assault by wind, rain and scorch.  The downy buds are almost as beautiful as the deep purple flowers, yet to come.

Next we have Dahlia ‘Candy Eyes’, another plant ear-marked for a client which never managed to escape my clutches.  Situated just outside the back door, it has still been victim of the dreaded molluscs and is fit to bust out of its pot.  Still I think we can look past a few nibbles and appreciate your pretty pink face, no need to hang your head.  I’ll repot you soon, promise.

In the world of mollusc gastronomy, gazanias appear to be the latest trend, the sought out delicacy.  All the cool snails in town are raving about it.  Not just any old part of the plant however, the petals are the most sought after, leaving unattractive stumps in their wake.  No wonder these two new blooms are staying firm shut, too dangerous to go out there!

This is part of the bronze fennel forest that is engulfing the back of one of my borders, squishing and squashing as it expands.  Strange, as the year before last I dug up every last piece.

Now for a plant that gets ten out of ten for fortitude.  This Dahlia coccinea was sheared off at the ground earlier in the year, before rising like a phoenix out of the ashes.  Just coming into bloom, a agapanthus fell on its head.  Some years are like that.

Lastly a fuchsia.  This lives in the front garden and has been subject to the most rigorous of storms over the last few weeks.  Who would have guessed it?

All done, until next time!

Six on Saturday – Brrrrrr!

Galanthus 'S. Arnott'

Happy Six on Saturday to you all!  It has been a week of weather; from the unimaginable cold in the North of America to the searing heat in parts of Australia.  We had some of the white stuff in the UK too, which has been followed by the inevitable chaos on the roads and the panic buying of Mother’s Pride and Chardonnay.  In Ilfracombe we had a pathetic smattering, but you didn’t have to venture far to see the real McCoy.  But I didn’t bother venturing anywhere.  I decided to just imagine it instead.  This morning I asked OH if it was too late to indulge in a little panic buying.  We bought a multi-bag of snacktastic crisps and a pack of blood oranges just in case.   If you are tempted to join the not-so-secret society of SoSers or would like to be shown how it is supposed to work by more sensible folk, pop over to King Prop’s blog and all will be revealed.  Let’s get on with it, too cold to hang about.

First we have a snowdrop.  A distinct feeling of déjà vu?  This is in fact my other snowdrop Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’, also bought at Helen’s Little Ash Garden open day.  Don’t worry, this is the extent of my snowdrop collection.  I’ve got a long way to go before I can be classed as a true galanthophile.

Although we had but a mere smidgen of snow, it has been both very cold and exceptionally windy.  So windy that in the early hours of Sunday morning, after lying awake listening to the roaring and scaffolding boards dancing, we got up and listened to the World Service until light.  We then called the builder who came to tie down the boards again.  He was grumpy to have been roused from his weekend slumber, I hadn’t slept a wink all night, he didn’t stand a chance.  This Lycianthes rantonnetii is paying for its vigour, the leaves are withered and lifeless after the desiccating gales.  I am hoping that beneath all is well.

papaver

On to my oriental poppy.  It is in the middle of the superhighway that the builders macheted through the Bed of Anarchy.  By some quirk of fate it escaped a size ten steel toecap.  They were back yesterday, the Velux in the office roof has sprung a rather impressive leak.  Before they started I pointed it out to them  “That is a poppy” I said “It is called Simon and I would like you to do your utmost to avoid standing on it.”  They did their best.  Quite sensibly they were concerned about the potential for retribution by someone who names their herbaceous perennials.

hedychium It appears that one of my hedychiums has set seed.  This is good.  I have grown a ginger lily from seed before and it only took a few years to get to flowering size.  These will stay on the plant for as long as possible.  Perhaps Mr P would like some?  What do you mean “creep”?

Rose

Lastly we have an example of the importance of being in the right place at the right time.  The crimson tinged foliage of this rose, which could be ‘Peace’, has not suffered in the slightest in the recent inclement weather.   It is as fresh and pristine as the moment it unfurled from the bud.   I hope I haven’t summoned the demons of fate tempting.

gazania

And second lastly is a gazania that was in hiding, possibly due to the fact it doesn’t want to be spotted by the evil north wind.  Did I get away with it?  Maybe not.

Another SoS completed, always a triumph.  Until next time!

 

 

Six on Saturday – If you think I am going out in that you’ve got another thing coming

lobelia

Afternoon all, it has been a challenging day on the Six on Saturday front.  In fact I am finding it tricky to comply with any of the criteria, including the most basic “six” and “Saturday” aspects. It is tipping down outside, the wind is howling and I am still indisposed in the foot department.  Am I going out to take photos? No way José! Never mind, as it is nearly Christmas  I am sure that our very own purveyor of comfort and joy, The Prop, will be lenient.

I haven’t been in the garden proper for a while, so I can’t report first hand what is happening out there.  There have been rumours and I have imaginings.  The builders traipsed back and forth through the Bed of Anarchy to repair the tiles that the scaffolders broke.  The wind has been so strong and spiky that many of my sensitive souls stored in pots in the top garden, yet to return to the warmth of the courtyard, are no doubt distressed.  All these things will have to wait until I brave the steps and investigate.  Possibly best not to know at the moment.  Let us head off down the road and see where we find ourselves.

First we have a lone lobelia flower, this photo was taken yesterday and I can say without fear of contradiction that it is probably looking even more sorry for itself now.  I am very fond of lobelia, they are tougher than they look, need little maintenance and come in some wonderful colours.  Their only downside, and this is being picky, is that they are a bit of a faff to grow from seed.

Allium aflatuense 'Purple Sensation'

Next we have a packet of Allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’, who with its twin is yet to be planted.  I thought they would bring some early colour and later structure to the garden.  I was waiting until the BoA died down a little so I could push these in between the other perennials.  Things don’t always work out the way you planned it. They were very cheap, so no great financial disaster if they don’t get in the ground.  As soon as I can I will shove them in somewhere, where there is life there is hope.

primulas

Now another job not done.  I bought these primulas a few weeks ago, to brighten one of the planters in the front of the house when the resident annuals had given up the ghost.  Perhaps in the next week I might manage it.  It won’t take long and I need to keep my hand in.

Allan Jenkins

This morning OH greeted with “I’ve cut the door off your plastic greenhouse, it was flapping about all over the place.”  I will leave that with you.

The postie bought me a parcel today and inside was a book, a present from Phlomis Phlo.   Not a Christmas pressie, a pass it on gift from a thoughtful someone to another body who might have a little extra time for reading at the moment.   I have heard about this book, and am looking forward to discovering its treasures.

gazania

Shall we finish on this plucky gazania?  Bedraggled but not beaten.

We did it.   Some days it is more difficult than others, that is true, but all the more fun for it.  Pop on over to Prop’s site to find out what is going on in the rest of the world, and yes, I mean The Whole Wide World.  You never know what you might find.

 

Six on Saturday – A Challenge

When I switched my phone on this morning the first thing I saw was a message from my sister-in-law “have you two tied yourselves to the house?”.  Curious.  And then it dawned on me, the news of our very own cuddly Storm Callum had reached the Netherlands.  For your information we are managing to stay attached at the moment, without the need for baler twine.  Unfortunately the plants are not doing quite so well, it has been quite wild out there in the big bad world.  Hence, it is a miracle that there are any photos today.  A feature peculiar to Chez Nous is that the weather is often different in the front of the house to the rear.  When it is sultry summer in the back garden it can be an arctic winter on the seaward side.  Today the front was merely dark, dreary and dank, a little horizontal rain but that is par for the course.  The rear however was a raging bough-splitting, swirling cataract of tempest.   I exaggerate not.   Photography was a challenge.  I took at least 5 million pictures and have managed to glean a scant six from the dull blur of the rest.  What I am blithering on about? Why the urgency?  I had to get enough photos to contribute the The Propagator’s Six on Saturday phenomenon of course!

There are positives and negatives to my first photo.  This is the little alley to nowhere flanked by the house on one side and the garden retaining wall on the other.  There is a shelf (rotting, I might add) on one side where I cosset the special ones.   Pots are stored underneath for winter protection and shade lovers are given some shelter beneath the whitewashed wall.   This is where all and sundry have been shoved in order to avoid damage whilst works are continuing to the house.  Whilst these unceremoniously shoved-in pots (not by me, I hasten to add) have been protected from the worst of the weather, all but a few on the margins are totally inaccessible.  Who knows what high jinx my nemses are up to?   And the interminable nasturtium is marching ever closer …….. It is a worry.

gazania

Come on, less of this misery, let us have a bit of good cheer! Here is a plucky gazania, continuing to flower in spite of the inclement weather.  Actually it is not strictly “continuing” as it, as well as others in the garden, had a short hiatus during the best/worst of the dry summer.

Magnolia 'Heaven Scent'

Next we have the tawney veined leaf of Magnolia ‘Heaven Scent’, clinging on for dear life.  This tree was inappropriately purchased for reasons of name and cost alone.  I never said I was perfect.

Chilli Bishop's Crown

This chilli pepper, Bishop’s Crown, was rescued from the home for wayward plants a few weeks ago.  In a pot, far too small for its dimensions, I repotted it and then ignored it.  Really they should do some kind of home check before these neglectees are allowed into the hands of the public.  The fruit don’t look very Bishop’s Crown-y, not that I am an expert in this department.  I might try and over winter the plant, and be nicer to it next year.

Whilst much else is closing down and shutting shop for the season, this hydrangea thought fit to throw out another couple of flowers.   Blooms in minature, but the colour is just as fine, if not better, than earlier in the year.

Dicentra formosa 'Bacchanal'

Lastly we have Dicentra formosa ‘Bacchanal’, again flowering out of season.  This is a plant that has been on The List for a while and I was hyperventilating slightly when I spotted it last month on a stall at RHS Rosemoor Garden Show.   These flowers are much paler than I remember them being and I am optimistically presuming that this is due to the season, weather, planets aligning or some such variables.  We will see.

And that is it, the wind is still roaring and whistling around the scaffolding like something out of a Hammer Horror film, but I am cosy, unlike my poor plants, at the mercy of the monsters who roam ….

Thanks Mr P, take a look at his site and find out what else has been going on in the world of the SoSers.  It will keep you entertained, but I can’t promise that it will keep you out of trouble.

 

Six on Saturday – Raindrops keep falling on my flowers

gazania

Someone must have speeded the film up.  It can’t possibly be Saturday again.  There is so much to cram into every week, it doesn’t seem fair that the time seems to pass more quickly at this time of year.   As we are pondering this anomaly, puzzled looks on our faces, gaining yet more wrinkles, there is a more than likely a crack team of scientists studying this very phenomena.  Let us hope so.  I could do with a few more hours at the very least.  The hard fact is that we are back in our happy place again.  Six on Saturdayland.  Take a look at the website of The Grand Vizier of the Independent State of SoS where you will find other Islanders and a guide to help you on your way if you wish to join in with the conga.  Let us proceed.  Due to circumstance all of my flowers this week are a little wet.  It has mizzle/drizzle/rained all day and although this scuppered my plans I am pleased for the garden.

First of all we have a gazania, the first flower to open from a couple of trays of locally grown mixed plants.  I’m sure they have been enjoying the hot sunny spell we have had up until today.  Quite what this sun-loving, South African daisy will think of the dreary North Devon weather I can’t be sure.  Might make a nice change, although this is unlikely.

Salvia argentea

Next we the Salvia argentea, silver sage, a fabulously furry creature that I have mentioned before in Six on Saturday – Monochrome.   I am pleased to report that it over-wintered and is as adorable as ever.  A pet without the vet fees.

Hosta

Now we have a hosta, which has so far escaped the inevitable ravages of molluscs.  In order to keep a keen eye on it, it lives in pot outside the front door.  It was a gift, along with a couple of others, from Chambercombe Bob and is just about to flower.  I am very fond of it.  Bob’s nice too.

Nasturtium 'Black Velvet'

On to Nasturtium ‘Black Velvet’, which although is quite velvety isn’t terribly black.   A bit out of focus, but it was raining and I was balancing and who cares.   This seed was purchased at an end of season cut price jamboree/full-on-combat event.  Everything was fifty pence, I am hyperventilating just thinking about it.  Myself and Nancy Nightingale wrestled a rather persistent lone male shopper for the spoils.  No prizes for guessing who won the bout.  We make a fine tag team.

pelargonium

A rather pretty pink pelargonium is next, unnamed, bog standard, generic and quite beautiful.

primula

Finally, a little late on parade, we have a buttercup yellow primula.  Bought on a stall somewhere on my travels, perhaps car boot sale or open garden.  It is a welcome splash of colour before my tardy dahlias begin their display.  If I can keep them safe.  Which is not a given.

That is your lot my lovelies.  Until the next time!

Caution

Hosta

It is all about getting your timing right.  As gardeners we walk the dangerous spit between the first damaging frosts and the desire to admire the swansong of our tender plants.  Lord and Lady Mantle’s estate is protected from wind but prone to cold and in my wisdom I have introduced some delicates to their merry band of players.  These were not purchased to be canon fodder, we want them to survive the winter war to shine another day.  But still they flower, innocent of the enemy that lurks just around the corner.  What to do?  Dare we wait?  No.  Today we erred on the side of caution and, whilst the warm sun stripped our backs of jumper and fleece, we potted up gazanias, tuberous begonias, osteospermums and zantedeschia.  The new greenhouse will be fully glazed by the end of the week and its new tenants are forming an orderly queue outside.  Perfect timing.

This hosta’s albino leaves indicate it is sensibly preparing itself for autumn.  If you peep below these corrugated parchments you will find fresh green shoots.  It is not quite ready to slumber yet. Impetuous fool!