Six on Saturday – Compass Point

It is Six on Saturday time again, which is serving as a welcome compass point. Although hard to believe, the days this week have seemed more confused than ever. Cancellations, rearrangements and future plans, when the future was previously barely credible, have all served to muddy my already murky waters. For that reason it is nice to know that this is Saturday and only Saturday, for that is all it could be. If you wish to discover further benefits to SoS participation, then pop over to The Propagator to find out more, or perhaps even less, my compadres are also often muddled. Let us get on or I will be getting in trouble with the Strict Task Master across the Channel, no Fred, not you, the other Channel.

First, a leaf of Brugmansia ‘Grand Marnier’ and friend. You must forgive for the blurry photograph, it was early morning, before my 100% proof flagon of coffee. During my garden meanderings I spotted this critter and ran (wobbled) back to the house to get my camera. All that exertion was too much for me, hence shake. And no, it was nothing to do with gin. This brugmansia has not thrived, possibly due to being in too small a pot. Last weekend this was rectified, so now has absolutely no excuse not to do something fabulous.

Next, a dear little erodium, nestled in an alpine planter bought lock, stock and barrel from a bargain bin, far, far away. It has subsequently been ignored. Everyone loves a trouper.

Now the absolutely gorgeous Diascia personata, a gift from my friend Chloris. She is not only generous, she also has impeccable taste. Its common name is masked twinspur. After absolutely no research on this matter at all, I can only surmise this is due to its twin spurs which are masked. I wouldn’t quote me on it.

On to a teasel water reservoir. This is son of, son of, son of etc the teasel that hitched a ride from our previous home in Bristol. We love teasels in our house. Although none of the current generations have reached the dizzying heights of their predecessor, all are loved. Next door has a new bird feeder which has attracted a family of goldfinches, hopefully they will still be about to enjoy our offering. Yesterday I was watching a fledgling on the telephone wire outside our bedroom window, gloriously twittering for some grub. A joy.

Now for Impatiens puberala, just coming into flower. A great favourite of mine, although I am sure it would be happier in the ground or living with someone with a better watering ethic.

Lastly Dichelostemma ida-maia, which I featured as a mere shoot in an earlier SoS. It has suffered badly from the onslaught of molluscs. The attack has been relentless. Although the flower is not fully out, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to share. It might be in the belly of a snail tomorrow.

That’s it, all done for another week. Take care my friends.

Six on Saturday – Downhill

Well it seems that is it.  The solstice has passed and we are now on the slippery slope to winter.   Passed in a jiffy didn’t it?   Here is my midsummer Six on Saturday.  And perversely it actually looks like a summer’s day out there.   It is where I should be, not here at my desk.   As my heart is elsewhere, to be on the safe side, we should proceed with great haste.  I’m sure our mentor The Prop is not sitting at his computer wasting sunlight hours thinking of things to say to his flock.  He will be prepared and have done all this silly writing stuff ages ago and at this very moment be hard at work in his garden.  Not me.  Not organised at all.  If we get on I might be able to steal a few moments of pottering later.

Here we are, my first photo, Simon the poppy.   Simon was trampled on by steel toe-capped builders and scaffolders until I pointed him out in the nicest possible way and asked them to try their very bestest to avoid stomping on his head again.  They did their best and here he is blooming well to tell the tale.  I do love a good red poppy and Simon is one of the best.

In my little garden I don’t have the benefit of potting shed or proper greenhouse.  When I do any potting up, pricking out or some such fiddlings, I sit on the bottom step of the set towards the top of the garden with my compost, pots and the “to be sorted” arranged about me.  I then settle down with a nice cup of coffee, which in matter of moments has compost floating on the top, and enter my own little world.   It was then that I noticed this chap on a Salvia elegans, possibly the diddiest grasshopper in the world.  Splendid antennae though.

Next Allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’ which isn’t in the slightest bit sensational.    Perhaps it has a good excuse in failing to reach more than 20cm high.   They were planted late, they have been stood on (see above) and dug up by mistake (hangs head in shame).   Next year they will be wonderful, I can feel it in my bones.

A lovely surprise yesterday was to find that Peggy was flowering, albeit in a rather dishevelled way.  Like pancakes, the first dahlia flower is always a little bit dubious.

Next we have a horrid invasive geranium, it annoys me constantly by its continual march across the garden, swamping and strangling all that it passes.  Then the sun catches the veined indigo flowers and I am once more smitten.

Lastly the disgraceful sight of Big Ted after a night out on the tiles.   He has been severely reprimanded and is on house arrest for the foreseeable future.

All done, now let me out into the garden ……….

 

Six on Saturday – The Builders Are Coming …….

Mirabilis longiflora 'Angel Trumpets'

September, how did that happen?  This “time passing” malarkey is quite disturbing sometimes.  It is Six on Saturday time once more.  What Andrew Lloyd Webber is to musical theatre, The Prop is to the Meme.  But much more handsome.  Take a look at his blog and marvel at some of his greatest hits, the divas and the divans, complete with hissy fits and jazz hands.

“What has any of this got to do with builders?” you may well ask.  Well, the invisible leak in our roof has now become invisible “leaks”, and we are (yet again, using a different builder) going to try to get it, and its new buddy, fixed.  As we live in a three storey house this means a substantial amount of scaffolding.  Which in turn means (dum, di, dum, di, dum) scaffolders and builders.  Don’t get me wrong, they are noble professions, but in my experience they have little regard for what I hold dearly, that is “plants”.  Last time there were tears.  I am expecting more.

“No we definitely won’t be going over there”  “Nor there”  “Five foot (how quaint) from the front and rear, all will be safe”.  I could see the head honcho’s eyes glowing red as he attempted to placate me.  As we are having a royal visit next weekend, yes Her Not So Royal Highness, Peggy of the municipality of Creigiau, is visiting with her entourage.  There will be absolutely no hope of doing anything during this sojourn except fanning and curtsying.  Which means I made a start today.  In a feeble attempt at damage limitation I have started shuffling pots.  The following is what I saw (apart from a lot of sneaky slugs and mud) whilst I toiled and prayed for mercy.

Firstly we have the elegant and fleeting flower of Mirabilis longiflora ‘Angel Trumpets’.  Grown at extraordinary speed from seed this year, so fast that I have taken several cuttings already which are thriving.  It is currently languishing in amongst yet-to-flower salvias.  I don’t think I have placed it correctly.  It is pencilled in for a shuffle next year.

Crocosmia 'Coleton Fishacre'

Now we have Crocosmia ‘Coleton Fishacre’ just beginning to flower.  This was a bit of a surprise as I thought it was C. ‘Emily McKenzie’.  Now I wonder where she could have got to?  The scaffolders are definitely not going anywhere near this bed.   I have yet to give the builders my “do not throw anything, liquid or solid, on the borders, do not stub your fags out in my pots” instructions.  For them to ignore.  Obviously.

Armeria pseudameria

Although I only have a mini greenhouse, it is going to have to move, along with all my cuttings, sown seeds and newly potted-ons.  This sixer (all the best things come in sixes) of Armeria pseudarmeria  (that I have been spelling incorrectly according to the semi-diety of the RHS) may have to take its chances in the big bad world.  Needs to toughen up a bit before the winter.  Might be a good thing.  See, I’m looking on the bright side already!

Persicaria filiformis

This Persicaria virginiana var. filiformis, Fili to her mates, is just coming into its own after struggling through the winter.  All we need now is a size 12 steel toecap ……….. but of course this will not happen as neither scaffolder or builder will be anywhere near this area.  Grown primarily for its foliage, which I have always thought resembles a psychological ink blot test (beaked bird, possibly evil with big boots on), but also has the most delicate, and charming, red flower spikes.

grasshopper

This little chap was not happy about his home being shifted.  He lives in amongst the greenery of Dahlia ‘Peggy’s Pearler’ which is being very slow to flower.  There will be trouble if there is no action by next week.  I may have to stick some plastic ones on.  She will never notice.

Dahlia coccinea

Lastly we have Dahlia coccinea, the paintbrush washed orange and red petals are glorious. This bloom sits alongside standard deep red flowers.  It is known to be a variable plant, this might be a reaction to weather or perhaps just an attention seeker.

That is it for another week.   Don’t forget to see what everyone else has been up to at Chez Prop, who I thank for being a wonderfully magnanimous host.

With a fair wind, plenty of tea and chocolate hobnobs, with my menacing look saved for emergencies, in the next few weeks we might have a dry house and an undamaged garden.  Dreams do come true.  They do don’t they?  Tell me they do!

Six on Saturday – Ruthless

Bidens 'Firelight'

Beware, I am in a ruthless mood today.  Inhabitants of the garden that have not been performing to my exacting standards have been extradited to the green bin.  Oleander that has never flowered, promised once but was only joking – Out!  Dead stick thing that has been in extensive care for so long the label has rubbed clean – Out!  Scrubby grass with no aesthetic merit whatsoever but for some perverse reason I have always felt sorry for – Out!  OH has been hiding.

I feel cleansed and ready to write my Six on Saturday.  We are semi-anarchic group led by Prop Guevara, take a look at his manifesto and all will become clear.  You will also meet others in this band of merry folk.

My first offering is Bidens ‘Firelight’.  I am fond of bidens.  They seem to like me too.

Next we have Impatiens puberula,  which earlier this year I transferred from its pot in the back garden into a large barrel in the front garden.  After an initial period of homesickness, it has settled in very well, spreading dramatically and beginning to flower well.  It is not surprising that it is a little ragged around the edges.  The very un-British weather we are enjoying hasn’t really suited this native of cool moist forests in Nepal.

You can have too much of a good thing.  This Verbascum chaixii, the nettle leaved mullein, has done too well.  After it has flowered, in the autumn I suppose, it will be lifted and divided and shared to all and sundry.  In the meantime it is providing a feeding station for bees, no caterpillars spotted yet.

Catanache caerula 'Alba'

Catanache caerulea ‘Alba’, or the white cupid’s dart, is next.   I grew this from seed last year.   The joy of seeing a flower bloom that you have propagated never diminishes.

watsonia

Now a watsonia seedling, a bit of a tender Terry, it was one of the many I was worried about earlier in the year.  It is not flowering as prolifically as it did last year, but I can forgive it for the harsh treatment it withstood.  The colour is wonderful.

grasshopper

Sat on the steps earlier, worn out by my tyranny, I felt that I was being watched.  Glancing sideways at the pot of begonias to my right, I saw this little chap, who kindly stayed in position whilst I dashed inside to get my camera.  As for the rest of the plants, you can all relax now.  For the moment anyway.

That is that.  All done.  Thanks for your leadership Propman.  Next week perhaps …..