Six on Saturday – All The Fun of the Fair

Outside the wind is shrieking like the waltzers and I’m fed up of spinning now. It has been a week of sadness and some pain. A dear friend died, leaving another dear friend broken hearted. And I have hurt my back. It is obvious which is the most important. I wonder if I will ever learn that somethings can’t be fixed by force, but only by time. I suspect I will keep trying.

An addiction to Six on Saturday is a sometime blessing and occasional curse, but for your delectation I struggled outside into the demon fairground to take some shots. For those of you unacquainted with SoS, and question what could inspire such noble devotion, nip over and introduce yourself to the legend that is The Propagator. You will not only uncover the intricacies of this cult but also those of his many sycophants. Chop, chop, let’s shake a leg!

First, we have a hellebore that was so desperate to be photographed it held its head uncharacteristically high, meaning no bending was necessary for the photograph. After all that effort, it would be contrary to resist. My aching back thanks its thoughtfulness.

Next, stripy crocus, shaming the under-performing violas they co-habit with. I am not surprised about the violas’ frankly disappointing show, the exact same happens every year and every year I despair. And then, just before I am poised to replace them, my trowel in vengeance mode, they go on hyper-drive and become irresistible. Each year I am fooled. There is nothing to suggest that this will not be repeated ad infinitum.

Less of the seasonal, onto the misguided. Here we have Lavandula pinnata, which has been popping out the odd flower since autumn. Respect.

Now we have a grumpy lion, a bench-end valiantly holding together a rickety seat. I am a Leo and sometimes a grumpy lion. It is all about empathy. A bench is good place to start.

Earlier in the week I started the rose pruning, perhaps a little late as they have already sprung into action. When I say “start” it is not because I am the proud owner of acreage of floribunda, but because there is a climbing rose that needs some serious reformative pruning. The green bin is now full, and my hands pin cushions, despite protective gloves. It was time for a break. This is Rosa ‘Peace’, as identified by SoSers, and is rather further forward than the others. This little shoot had a reprieve, to keep up the good work.

Whilst pruning, during several diversions, I investigated whether Molly the Witch had begun her journey. I ripped away the surrounding mass of damp crocosmia foliage, like some horti archaeologist, and low and behold there she was, Paeonia mlokosewkitschii (not an anagram). Perhaps a flower this year?

All done, six in the bag. Hope all is well on your planets. ‘Til next time.

Six on Saturday – Between Storms

Are we still hanging on?  Hope so.  Welcome to another Six on Saturday.  If you need to know more or you would like to see what the others are up to, and quite frankly you would be daft not to, pop over to The Maestro Prop’s site and all will be revealed.  A tricky week, but it has passed.  Shall we proceed.

We’ll kick off with Paeonia mlokosewitschii, conveniently known as Molly the Witch.  Every year she puts in an appearance, but she is yet to flower.  This year, or perhaps next, might be her inaugural season.  It doesn’t really matter; it is always good to have a witch in close proximity.

On to Lachenalia quadricolor, which by some kind of Disney miracle I have managed to keep alive.  So far anyway.  I bought it last March at the HPS Lecture Day.  This flower is far from the ideal, but still it makes me happy.  It reminds me of a giraffe and that can only be a good thing.  My mum loves giraffes.

Next is horticultural fleece on the washing line.  The storms unceremoniously peeled it from the plant it was supposed to be protecting.  It had become a pathetic wet mess, only kept from blowing away by the amount of rainwater it was holding within its fibres.  I hung it on the line to dry, along with its similarly inept colleagues, during our short respite.

On to a crocus.  Fabulous!  Just look at the delicate purple veins on the blue-white of the embracing petals, their deep violet bases leaching upwards.  Doesn’t it make your heart beat a little faster?  I don’t want this flower to do anything else; no opening, no ripening.  I want it to hold tight onto this moment, it is perfect as it is.

The Exochorda x macrantha has decided to have a little bit of a bloom.  I don’t mind.  Although not my favourite, it is rather nice in its virginal simplicity.  Just nice though, no quickening of the pulse.

Lastly, an ever-faithful stalwart of my SoS, Tibouchina urvilleana, which is tucked in under a tree.  For extra protection, it was supposed to be swaddled by one of the previous fleecy offenders.  Seems she shrugged off her constraints, like the diva that she is, and have a tentative attempt at flowering.  Again, all to my benefit.  Make the most of it gal, you may well have to be rewrapped very soon.

All done.

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu
Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu.

Six on Saturday – the Frozen One

Let’s be honest, hands up, who wanted to do a Six on Saturday today?  Not me.  But as I live in fear of a) being called a wimp and ridiculed even more than usual by Mr K and b) the wrath of Our Commandant Mr P, here I am.  Expect a lot of white.

There are many tender plants in my garden.  They are what I like to grow.  I’ve not got a proper greenhouse.  This is not grumble, after all I’ve got other things that people with lovely warm greenhouses don’t have, like gold platform boots and good strong calves.  Frosts are here rare, snow is as common as hen’s teeth.  Well Henny Penny bit me on the bum this week.  Days of heavy frosts followed by a layer of snow and freezing winds.  The whole point of pushing limits in the garden is the hint of danger, not necessarily for me, but for the plants.   It remains to be seen what has survived and what has not, and this could take months to materialise.  You pays your money you takes your choice.

The thaw has begun and today this little primula has been exposed from beneath its blanket of snow.  Looking a little squashed but not unduly bothered.  The Tracy of my garden.

Next we have tulips, pushing their noses out of the snow.  I have no doubt that soon these will be jollying up the front of my house.  That might well be the kiss of death.

Next the hellebore of previous weeks’ SoS, face harshly pushed into the frozen ground, crushed.  Like my heart.

Now Digitalis lanata looking like a plate of over-cooked cabbage.  Unlike the self-seeded monbretia around it, who haven’t turned a leaf.  Hmph!

Look closely and you will see a crimson shoot of Paeonia mlokosewitschii reaching like a hand from an icy grave.  Takes more than a little snow to stop Molly the Witch.

This dreadful weather has brought wild birds closer to our homes, looking for shelter and food.  It is a moral dilemma for us as we have many cats in the neighbourhood and we don’t want to set up a feline snack bar.  The teasels however have been attracting goldfinches, lovely to see pulling seeds from the spiky heads.  For those of you unsure, this is an artist’s impression, spookily accurate don’t you agree?!

Thanks again Mr P, hope you all have a good week!

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – Optimism

aquilegia

It is that time of the week again, the time for excuses and diversions.  But wait a moment!  This week, all is legitimate and legal, photos and text both created today.  Unlike some I could mention, however I do not like to tell tales, do I Mr K ?

Six on Saturday time again hip hip horray!  For those of you still unsure of what this entails, pop over to The Propagator’s site and find not only how it works but contributions from others in his control.  Once you have signed your name on the dotted line in blood, you will never escape his evil grip.  But don’t let that put you off, come on, join in, the more the merrier!

To begin we have a self seeded aquilegia.  Last year they got a bit above their station and I promised to cull them before they trampled everything else.  They are tricky to get out, with their fleshy taproots and indomitable will, but I will persist.

Iris reticulata

Next we have a lone Iris reticulata, leaning at a rather jaunty angle.   I am especially fond of these irises, although I don’t often manage to keep them going for more than one year.  This is, I believe, due to the fact that they should be in full sun and sandy soil, neither of which they are afforded here.  This chap might be the only survivor, jostled by Narcissus ‘Tête á Tête’, crocus and violas.  I am very proud of him.  However, there is plenty of time for the others to wriggle through.

Paeonia mlokosewitschii

Now onto the obligatory “emerging shoots” photo of the day.  This is Paeonia mlokosewitschii  which, unless you are Polish is best called Molly the Witch.  It was a gift from my extremely talented, virtual friend Sue and has yet to flower yet.  As always, I am hopeful for this year.

Hellebore

This hellebore is the tricky dicky that I tried to photograph a couple of weeks ago.  It is in completely the wrong place and slightly irritates me every time I see it.  Which is a shame because it is good one.  I will move it after it has flowered and hopefully it won’t sulk too much.

eranthis

A small parcel arrived this morning, with no return address.  I opened it and found a pot containing some plant material.  No note.  Very curious.  Then the two pound coin dropped.  The mystery plants were winter aconites, a gift from an extremely generous blogging friend, Chloris, who has an amazing garden in Suffolk.  I had been bemoaning (yes I know hard to believe) that I have never been able to grow Eranthis hyemalis  in our soil (a workman blames his tools) and she generously offered to send me some of hers.  They are now safely potted up and I am positive they will thrive in their new home.

vermiculite

For the finale I have chosen vermiculite.   Not a looker, but very useful.  On Tuesday I received a message from my friend Pat the Field asking if I had found the bag that she had left outside my front door the previous Friday.  “No”, I told her,”perhaps it has blown away”.  “I don’t think so” she said “it is quite big”.  So I asked my neighbour on one side, not a sign.  Then yesterday I saw my other non gardening, non going outside very much at all, neighbour on the other side “have you seen a bag of, um, light brownish stuff?”, “oh I wondered what that was”.  Luckily she had not thrown it away and popped it around later but asked no questions.  An animal feed bag full of vermiculite, what on earth did she think it was?  The mind boggles.

So there we have it, another week crossed off, soon I will be up before the parole board.  Until then, I will be under the control, for at least one day each week, of the magnificent Mr P.