Six on Saturday – Firsts

You cannot get away from “Firsts” at this time of year.  Wipe the slate clean and start all over. There is a lot to be said for that.   A good approach to life.  As the year tootles along these firsts will become fewer and far between, but not yet.  And today was full of them, perhaps ad nauseam.  It was my first time scrabbling about in the garden thinking “what on earth am I am going to take photos of and isn’t it about time the gardener sorted out this chaos” whilst trying to avoid the gaze of the curtain twitching neighbours who are nodding to each other in a knowing manner.  It was my first proper gardening session.  My first time driving since the leap of faith that was unfounded.  And they are all good firsts.   OH has a man cold so I offered to go to the supermarket.  As I got in the car, turned on my music and shot off up the road I felt liberated.  Torrington Tina told me that the worse thing about her injury was that she couldn’t drive and until earlier I hadn’t realised quite how much I had missed it.  Later pootling about in the garden, getting reaquainted, I felt positive and inspired.  So it is in this frame of mind that I present to you my first Six on Saturday of the year along with my first mention of our leader The Propadoodle.

My first picture, is of Fat Ol.  He has been mentioned before and is my No. 1 favourite cat that doesn’t live in my house.  I love him because he is big and ginger and has an extremely high-pitched meow.  In human terms, he looks like a docker but speaks like the John Inman.  And I love even though he poos in my pots.  He accompanied me on my rummage before retiring to more important pursuits such as sleeping and snoozing.

Next we have my Tibouchina urvilleana, although you may not recognise it as such.  The threat of imminent frosts meant a quick wrap around with horticultural fleece, not enough but I didn’t have much and there are plenty of other needies.  It is still flowering beneath, which is a little bit sad.  Shopping list for Monday includes more fleece.

Now we have a very persistent pelargonium.  Situated in a pot at the front of the house, the land of perpetual winter gloom.  This morning I picked off mouldy leaves and spent blooms.  It won’t have any protection, there is neither room nor inclination and there are several around the gardens.   It is every pellie for themselves.  Who knows what the rest of the winter will bring, it might make it through!

Now for some pomegranate seed ….. not really, this is the burst seed pod of Sauromatum venosum.   I sowed my first seed of the year today.  A very restrained two.  Big Orange Tomato and some mixed species plectranthus.  Not these yet.  I’m planning to do a little research as to the best way to sow these ruby nuggets.  This may or may not happen.  I may just bung them in a pot full of compost tomorrow and hope for the best.

Next we have proof that the nasturtium is not wholly indestructible.  Today I pulled up reams of sog, finding all kinds of exciting things beneath, some I recognised, some not.  Hopefully tomorrow I will have space enough to plant the alliums that are begging to be in the ground.  Mind you, there are a few corners that the nasturtium still reigns supreme.

Lastly we have the husk of a flower.  It took me a while to work it out, but I think it might be the remains of a sunflower.  Whatever, I thought it looked pretty good lolling about in the rosemary.  I’ve let it stay.  For the moment.

There we have it, another first done and dusted.  Have a look at what the other SoSer have been up to over at SoS Headquarters, you still have time to join in the fun!

 

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – Festive Frolics

Vinca 'Jenny Pym'

Today I tentatively ventured up the slippery steps in order to inspect the top garden and take a few photos.  And why, you may well ask, would I put myself at such risk?  All for you Mr Prop, all for you.   Also for all the other Six on Saturdayers and their followers.  And for my followers and those that just happen upon me and wonder what the bloomin’ Nora is going on here.  And of course for Father Christmas and all his little helpers.  Which brings me nicely back to The Prop again.   Yes, in case you hadn’t noticed, it is that time of year again.  The gardens are not awash with brightness, but who cares, our Christmas jumpers make up for any colour deficit.   Without further ado, here are my festive Six on Saturday.  Before I start I should make something clear, they are “festive” because it is that time of the year, not because they have anything with Christmas, unless I can find a tenuous link.  Or I might not bother.  Let’s see how it goes.

Let us begin with Vinca difformis ‘Jenny Pym’, with its pretty blushing flower.  This has been in the front garden for a couple of years and is bulking up beautifully.  As is my wont, I had forgotten about its presence until it caught my eye as I hobbled up the path yesterday.  I think I love it more each year.  And then I forget about it for nine months.

Next is my new greenhouse, complete with intact door and free from holes in places that there should not be holes.  The odds on my cuttings and seedlings making it through the winter have grown.  When a cold snap threatens I will wrap some horticultural fleece around and about.  They should be snug enough.  OH is vindicated.

Tibouchina urvilleana

We have had some dreadful weather in the last couple of weeks, driving rain coupled with persistent gales.  During this time I have been worrying about the plants “up the steps”, many of which need winter protection.   I need not have worried as they seem to have coped quite well without my rapt attention.  Much to my amazement/joy thisTibouchina urvilleana is in full flower, as are Salvia corrugata, Salvia leucantha and Lavandula pinnata. 

I had been warned, and the description was accurate.  The builders had indeed macheted a trail through the Bed of Anarchy.   It is what it is.  We can fix it.

Teasels are a tradition in our garden.  They pop up wherever and whenever and hopefully always will.  Earlier this week I was called to the window, the goldfinches had found their winter snackbar.  It all makes sense when you see these glamorous birds swaying in the wind on the barbed heads.  You will have to imagine them, or not, they look quite good alone in their spiky splendour.

nasturtium

The late, great, Freddie Mercury once sang “don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time” and many have since echoed his plea, including this nasturtium.   Many of its fellows have been frosted to mush or stomped into the ground, but this one, clambering through the rosemary bush, is determined to see Christmas.

So there we have it, six things that are happening today in the garden, where I was, the first time for a month.  I enjoyed my mini-sojourn and it has fuelled my will to get back to full health as soon as possible.   And even better!

Thank you to everyone who reads my blog, both those who make witty, kind, entertaining and, sometimes, challenging comments and those also who linger in the shadows (not in a scary way).  I really do appreciate it.   I wish you all a wonderful festive period, I hope it bring you everything you need and a little bit more.

ps Not one tenuous link, I must be losing my touch!

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – Dreary

Osteospermum

It always takes me a few weeks to accustom myself to the shortening days and falling temperatures.  All week I have struggled to get up in the morning and when I drag myself out of bed I am more belligerent teenager than disco diva.   Today was no exception.  There is one word that concisely sums it up.  Dreary.  The weather is dreary, I feel dreary, all is bloomin’ dreary.  Still, I suppose it is all part of life’s rich tapestry, complaining will get me nowhere, least of all with you lot, so I will proceed with the always spectacularly undreary The Propagator’s meme, Six on Saturday.  I can’t be bothered to explain what it’s all about, if you haven’t a clue what I am talking about (which to be honest is a regular occurrence for some) pop over to his pad and he can tell you all about it.  Let’s get started.

We begin with a reluctant osteospermum.   Petals held tight, closed until at the very least a single ray of sunshine warms it’s aching heart.  I feel its pain.  Hyperbole, moi?

Geranium 'Blue Orchid'

Next an out of focus Geranium ‘Blue Orchid’.  This is at present lodging at the far end of the alley to nowhere, out of harm’s (read builders and scaffolders, but of course I am just kidding myself nothing is totally safe from their tentacles of destruction) way.  No I haven’t got over their recent little oops but I am working on it.   This lovely little geranium was a gift from Julie, my friend from horti college.  I could see a glimpse of blue out of the window so I went on a trek to find out who it belonged to.   Shimmying through and around I could just about, at arm’s length, with a sophora getting a little fresh, snap a photo.  It was a miracle of perseverance.

Liquidamber and nasturtiumOne of the reasons that it is becoming increasingly difficult to venture down plant alley is the relentless march of the nasturtiums.  Here they are shown avalanching over a liquidambar, whilst a cosmos admires their exuberance.  I keep pulling at it, it keeps on keeping on, laughing at me all the while.

Cosmos budsAnother plant which is showing no signs of slowing down is the cerise pink cosmos.  After a very slow, snoozing sloth-like start, buds are popping up like chickenpox.  This is a good thing.  And not in the least dreary.  I’m bored with dreary now, it is so, well dreary!

Rosa 'Rhapsody in Blue'It was a tough year to be a rose in a pot, even more so in a garden full of container grown plants where you have to jostle for attention.  Even so, it flowered well at the beginning of the year and has in the last few weeks gifted us some stragglers, this being one.

perlargonium

Lastly we have this diamond of a pelargonium and a confession.  This was given to me last year by Mrs Bun and I was supposed to be donating it to Nancy Nightingale for her garden.  For some reason it never ever made it there.  In fact it didn’t get much further than outside my back door.  My soul feels much better now.  It is very beautiful.

Another Six on Saturday week completed, and yes it definitely is getting trickier each week.  It is good to have a challenge.  Which is no doubt just what I will be saying next time.

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – Still Hurrying

Crazy times are unabating, so once again I must be brief. Easier said than done. As you may have guessed I tend to go on a bit. Briefish is perhaps more accurate. I don’t want to aim too high. Here we go. Six on Saturday, horrah for the Grand Old Duke of Prop, he knows the business, he is the business. Sashy over and find out all about the Sixers.

It hasn’t made it any easier that I have had to follow that smarty pants brother of mine. Ever the bridesmaid, never the bride. Shall we get started, before I get too self-indulgent?

First of all we have apple blossom. We have two apple trees in our our tiny garden, both planted by the previous owner. I could think of better use for the space, but sentimentality means they stay. For the moment.

Next we have a crop of nasturtiums. A myriad. A self sown plague. Some will be saved, the rest culled. Harsh but fair.

Then a brand new shiny rodgersia. Bronze and beautiful.

Next a candelabra primula, bought from a garden society plant stall, unnamed but no less for it.

Then Rhodotypos scandens, in my front garden. A great favourite of mine and a complete mystery to me why it isn’t grow more widely.

And finally, last week’s hairy bud, now a fully fledged, paid up member of the poppy family.

Thanks Prop me old darling. Next time, all will be calm, time will be plentiful, and I will devote my full attention on the cause. Until then, nanoo nanoo ….

March of the Nasturtium

Nasturtium

There is seldom need to sow nasturtium more than once.  Not in my world anyway.  In this garden we dance a horticultural dance, sometimes I am leading, more often not.  At this time of year they are ever marching like a marauding army.  Tumbling through and over and round, charming constrictors in opal fruit hues. Rarely do I have the inclination to pull them aside.  It could be that I am aware that their days are naturally numbered.  The caterpillars are munching and before long a wayward frost will turn them to mush.  I am confident that next year they will return as strong as ever, just a few months hiatus in their domination.  And yet again I will let them run wild.