Six on Saturday – The Long Goodbye

It has been a week of fare-thee-wells and packing; a few tears, plenty of reminising and a fair amount of box action. And we are not over quite yet, another week and a bit to go ’til M Day. I’m sure I will be lost for words when we are eventually settled into Nouveau Chez Nous (Fred?). Still all this turmoil is little excuse not to participate in the meme of champions, presided over by The Wizard of Prop and ably supported by multinational team of Munchkins. Time waits for no Munchie so let us proceed or we will never reach the Emerald City in time. Wagons Roll!

First we have Phlomis fruticosa, just coming into flower. I can’t praise this shrub highly enough for its resilience in the face of much torment and torture from wind and rain. It rocks and rolls all winter and then calmly produces a myriad of sunshine blooms. Top marks, my friend.

I am pretty certain that there used to be hyacinths where these flowers are blooming.  They seems a little loose to be hyacinths, but a little full flowered to be the evil Mata Hari known as the Spanish Bluebell.  Can these two related plants hybridise?  Are they Bluecyinths or Hybells?  Should I have a lie down?

There are undeniable signs that the Colquhounia coccinea has survived the winter. I gave a cutting to Jim last year which I believe flowered. This one has never flowered. Bitter? Moi?

Rain sodden strawberry flowers, escapees from the orginal pot, which are thriving jammed between wall stones. Read into that what you may.

If anyone is paying attention they might at this moment be sighing and thinking “what another aquilegia?”. However this one is featured as it is raising its head uncharacteristically in a “come on photograph me” kind of way. It was futile to resist. Either that or it was raining and I was in a hurry and looking for an easy option. You choose.

Lastly, you will have to indulge me once again. The above photo is not from my garden, but from Nancy Nightingale’s. This week was my last visit to her and her crazy garden. We dashed around in the rain, doing what we could whilst I gabbled instruction for the future. Things like “be gentle” and “I’ll be watching”. Digging a hole to plant out one of her many dahlias was enhanced/disrupted by puppy giant Snoop Dog, who admirably assisted me with my excavations. From my prone position, I noticed how he had carefully/fortuitously avoided the marigold with his great big delicious paws.

That is your lot, my friends. Have a good one and stay safe and well.


At Nancy Nightingale’s today we planted out more bulbs, dug up dahlias for their winter sojourn and said “NO!” and “DROP IT”, on repeat, to Scooby the puppy.

Whilst stuffing the compost bin with the defunct dahlia vegetation, I rescued some seed heads, certain that my collection needed a boost. Which of course are the thoughts of a delusional idiot. Still, it makes no difference, room for another little bag and they will happily join the throng. When I got home I (unusually) remembered that I had stuffed them into an empty Gladious nanus bag and then into my handbag. I tipped them onto a piece of printing paper and started to process them, breaking open the pale husky layers to reveal the dark potential within. The problem is, where do I stop? I have plenty sorted, more than plenty if I were to be honest. But there is a nagging voice whining in my subconscious; what if one of the rejects, the seed not yet in the “to be dried and stored” pile is The One. The outstanding specimen, the one that folk will swoon over, will arm-wrestle each other just to get a glimpse, who will remortage their homes for a slender tuber. But can I be bothered to continue my search on this dismal afternoon when a new novel beckons and the chance of dahlia breeding superstardom is slim?

Luckily there is a handy equation to help in such trying circumstances:

For those of you unaccustomed to the intricacies of pure mathematics/high-faluting nonsense, I will simplify it for you. The amount of seed extracted equals the potential for a humdinger divided by ennui.

A few more wouldn’t hurt. You just never know. And I can always share my treasure.

Wrong and Right


Today I went to Nancy Nightingale’s for a singing lesson.  Unfortunately I am booked in for tomorrow.  The wrong day.  Embarrassing.  It has happened before.

So without pause, ostensibly to divert attention away from my stupidity and inability to read a diary, I am going to share a picture of Cephalaria gigantea.  Definitely one hundred percent right.

Just Borrowing

Parthenocissus tricuspidata

I think this is Boston Ivy, Parthenocissus tricuspidata.  I have a good excuse for not being certain, as it has come over the wall from Nancy Nightingale’s neighbour.   Looks great against the shining lime/lemon walls, with its quaint scarlet sucker pads and crimson foliage.  We may well keep it for a while.