Six on Saturday – Befuddled

Not only am I confused about what day it is, I am a little befuddled as to which week of the year it is.  Hence, I spent a fair amount of time on a blog which is appropriate to next week.   No matter, it is money in the bank I suppose.  We are getting paid for this right?

“Paid for what?”, you might ask, for Six on Saturdaying of course! That universal weekendly past-time of the great and the good.  To join our blissfully happy, mind-controlled crew, just pop on over to Propfessor X to find out what is going on.  There are definitely no subliminal messages hidden in this blog, definitely not.  Just don’t blink.  Shall we proceed?

First, we have Allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’, one of many this week I should imagine.  In a slow crawl towards extending the season in The Bed of Anarchy, I planted these bulbs last year.  Or was it the year before?  Whichever, there aren’t enough of them to make a good show.  They move around the border all on their own, as if looking for more of their own kind.  I may well have to rectify that.

Now we have a lone lithodora flower.  Blue.  That is all that needs to be said.

Onto my arty-farty shot of the week and the interpretation therein.

The raindrops, suspended on the waxy surface of a hosta leaf, illustrate how we are living in our individual bubbles at the moment, where we have little choice but to reflect on inner demons and angels. There is no escape, we can see our loved ones in their respective bubbles, but can’t reach them.  If we did, we would destroy them.

A moment after this shot was taken next door’s cat knocked the leaf with her tail and the drops fell to the ground and disbursed.  I like to think this symbolises the futility of me trying to be serious.  The End.

Next strawberry flowers.  So white, such promise.  And if you are listening out there; Mr Slug, Mrs Snail, The Blackbird Clan; I am not sharing!

Then we have Aquilegia ‘Egg’, a flower I have featured before.  It is called Egg because OH nicked the seed from the farm where we used to get our eggs.  Later I asked the farmer’s wife what had happened to the mother plant, she said it had died.  My noble plan is to grow another and, at the dead of night, possibly wearing a balaclava, anonymously leave it on her doorstep.  Otherwise she might arrest me for seed theft, although it wasn’t me, honest guv.  She is rather scary, and looks very strong.  The farmer’s wife that is, not the aquilegia, which isn’t scary at all.

And finally, the biggest and most beautiful of our Woolies Acers.  The young leaves are at their best at the moment.  The stresses of grown-up life, the sporadic watering and summer winds that go with maturity, have yet to distress them.

That is my lot for this week.  Hope you enjoyed them.  Keep on keeping on, my friends.

 

Six on Saturday – Return of the Sun

I am happy to report that this Six on Saturday is written with the sun in my heart and, more importantly, in my garden.  Yesterday, when I took these photographs, it was doing the usual, no need to dwell on that nonsense, that is the past.  Let us raise a cup of tea to the Return of the Sun.  Expect the mood to be optimistic and expectant of great futures.  Don’t forget to nip over to The Prop’s to find out what is happening in lots of other gardens.  If you are nosy like me this is a godsend, there is absolutely no chance of getting caught rummaging in someone’s herbaceous borders and being firmly asked to leave the premises or the local constabulary will be called forthwith.  Not that that has ever happened to me of course.

First of all we have a desiccated hydrangea flower.  In a few weeks these will be removed, giving space for the new growth to emerge and the cycle to continue.  It is worth keeping the heads on, both for protection of the vulnerable young foliage and for decorative purposes.  Even when soggy they look good.  I wish I would say the same for myself.

Next my bully-boy Narcissus ‘Tête-à-Tête’ who are exploding from the front planters at a rate of knots.  “I was here first!” they shout as they push the poor pansies out of the way, lifting great clods of composts as they rise triumphant.  I will not tolerate such behaviour, there is room for everyone.

Now the empty husks of hosta flowers.  These live in the front garden, in pots just by the front door so we can be ever vigilant in our war against the slimy ones.  They still get eaten.  Still, for a short while we will enjoy them intact and the flowers are rarely attacked.

On to Campanula poscharskyana, looking very washed out in this picture, which seeds itself in walls both front and back.  This piece is on the short pillar on the pavement.  This pillar is very important to the local dog population.  Messages are left here to be sniffed by the next passer-by which are then promptly replied to.  Doggie Post Office.

For many weeks I have thought that these hanging brown bats on the Begonia fuchsioides were the last of the flowers which had been caught in the light frost.  On closer inspection they appear to be seed pods.  I collected them and brought them in to dry.  Already the miniscule seed is spilling out.  Small things, big smiles.

Yesterday I sat at my computer, checking my dreary photographs, trying to pick something at least vaguely in focus.  My eyes turned towards the window, as I wondered whether I should go outside and try again.  A single white feather slowly drifted to the ground.  The feather is a symbol of the spirit in many cultures, and some believe that a white feather is the sign that an angel has passed close by.  It would be nice to think that.  Nothing to do with seagulls at all.  Nothing.

All done, until the next time.

Six on Saturday – I’m a Survivor

Back to my usual Six on Saturday timing, which I like to think of as fashionable late but some might call tardy.   This is not due to lack of enthusiasm for the task at hand, quite the contrary.  As the year ripens there are more and more lovelies which beg to be featured.   On a downward trajectory however is the time I have to share them with you, because, well, I am out there with them!  But if our very own Compulsive Propagator has time to look after his ever expanding menagerie of SoSer as well as his dealing with his even more expandinger family of plants, I can take the time to chuck half a dozen pictures of my garden residents your way.  Phew, that was a rather long sentence!   Today I have decided to feature members of my garden crew that for some reason or other have survived despite the odds.

First we have a pelargonium looking splendid in its shady hideaway.  It has spent the winter snuggled beneath a Phlomis fruticosa which will have protected it from the worst of the northerly gales, but not all.  A tender sun lover that has survived a winter exposed to the cold winds and thriving in heavy shade.   No one ever said it would make sense.

Next a diddy unnamed hosta which was a gift from a friend.  We keep our hostas in pots in the vain hope that they will be protected from the munching molluscs.  This safe haven usually lasts a couple of weeks before the cunning plan is discovered and the nibbling begins.  Not this little one though, it has avoided any unwelcome attention.  As you can see by the “mulch” of licheny mossy stuff, it hasn’t been particularly well cared for.  I do water it though.  Sometimes.

On to Eschscholztia californica ‘Red Chief’ that has come through the winter similarly unscathed.  It is the wet that is more likely to toll the death knell for the california poppies, rather than the cold.  This one is planted on the edge of a wall and has fared well in its well-drained position.  This is the first flower of the year and although it looks a little dishevelled is the same rich colour that I remember from last year.

A couple of years ago I rescued a pre-planted tufa container of alpines from the Death Row area of a garden centre.  Although I was full of good intentions, I am sorry to say it was out of the frying pan into the fire as it has been ignored ever since.  Today there are both a Lilliputian erodium and this bluest of blue lithodora flowering.  Seriously, I don’t deserve this forgiveness.  After I took this photo I half-heartedly pulled out some weeds and then forgot it again.

Now we have a wonderful fern that I bought last year called Pteris umbrosa.   I was well aware at the time that it was tender, like many of my plants, and would need some extra winter protection, also like many of my plants.   Unfortunately my ability to protect all these Softy Walters is lacking.  A huddle together of pots, a drape of horticultural fleece, and for those small enough and special enough, room in the plastic greenhouse.   When I eventually remembered to remove the fern from the frozen front of the house, this was placed in the “huddle and drape” category.  It subsequently became a little singed (read “crispy”).  A few weeks ago I repotted it and cut off all the fronds, whispered a few platitudes and for this pampering it has kindly rewarded me with some fabulous new fronds.  Next winter I will do better.  Possibly.

Lastly we have Geum ‘Blazing Sunset’ which I was surprised to find poking its head up above the surrounding vegetation.  I was sure this had copped it last year, flowered itself to death, which I am sure is a fine way to go if you happen to be a geum.  But I was wrong, and it has reappeared in all its glory, much to my joy, as I do love a geum.

There we have it, another six, another week.   You have got to love a survivor!

 

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!

Six on Saturday – Celebration

Welcome to another Six on Saturday, the meme of choice for the horticultural in-crowd.  Too cool for school, on-trend, leaders not followers.  You get my gist.  Contributors are herded by none other than the great cultural icon himself, The Propagator.

Before I go any further I have an apology to make, last week, in my haste, I forgot to mention the indomitable Mr K.  As today is his birthday, I will do my best to redress this error. Oh, and I will say, sorry, it won’t happen again.  Let us get a move on, or it will be Sunday before we know it!

Firstly we have a tulip and hosta combo.  After a slow start to the season things are beginning to catch up with themselves, meaning there are some interesting combinations to be seen.  The spring flowers are overlapping with early summer ones.  Strangers are making new friends.  These tulips have been in prime condition for a couple of weeks now.  They are in a rather shady and exposed spot.  Perhaps that is the trick!

aquilegiaLast year the aquilegias took over the garden and I vowed to ensure that this did not happen again.  It has.  When they have finished flowering and before they seed I will be ruthless.  I promise.

Next is Cerastium tomentosum, also known as dusty miller and snow in summer.  It lives on the wall between our house and our neighbours’.  On a regular basis it is squashed beneath sleeping cats, slices of apple pie, bowls of soup, cupcakes, magazines, plants and elbows.  Doesn’t turn a hair.

They have arrived, in fact they have been here for a couple of weeks, so much for a hard winter killing of pests!  In fact both the aphid and mollusc populations seem to be doing rather nicely, thank you very much.  Not sure what the white one is all about, perhaps it is the ghost of previously squished greenfly and it has come back to teach me a lesson. Gulp!

Another late on parade is Pulmonaria ‘Opal’, a plant that I rescued from a bargain bin somewhere earlier in the year.  I have grown this lungwort before and pounced on the pathetic specimen as soon as I realised what it was.  The colour is enchanting, everything I remembered it to be.

Lastly we have Geranium sylvaticum ‘Mayflower’.  I am big fan of geraniums, they are dependable and long flowering and come in many makes and models.  This wood cranesbill is a great beauty, understated and elegant.  Just like The Birthday Boy!

Thank you Mr Prop, why don’t you pop on over to his blog and find out what the rest of us hipsters have been up to.  Adieu.

 

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!