Six on Saturday – In Haste

Sorry folks, I am in a terrible rush today, so this is going to be heavy on the photos, light on the words.  Almost indetectable on the words.  Let us go, but don’t forget to pop over to The Prop’s site to find out what it’s all about Alfie.

First a cyclamen, a bit raged around the edges but that is the same for many plants in my garden.  Also for the gardener.

Now some “I should have bought them in for decoration but forgot” hydrangea heads.

Bulbs, in pots, but you will have to take my word for it, they could be just pots.  Muscari ‘Mount Hood and Tulipa orphanidea ‘Flava’.

Salvia elegans is always late on parade and I can never quite capture its true colour.

Going into its second winter, this pellie is not showing any signs of giving up.  I hope I haven’t just cursed it.

Lastly, a single flower spike of Nerine undulata.   Will it won’t it?  Hope so.

That is me done!  Must dash ……..

 

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 – 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 – 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!

Hope

caterpillar

Not today’s photo, in fact it is ancient history, taken at the beginning of last week.  I spotted this little monster happily scoffing the flowers of one of my ever-flowering osteospermums.  Potential for Six on Saturday, I thought, if I ever get around to taking any more pictures.  Which I didn’t.

Since then all has changed.  You may have heard about it.  It has turned a little nippy again.  In an attempt to rescue at least some of my plants, the osteo and its neighbours have been wrapped in horticultural fleece.  This time I actually managed to protect them before the weather turned for the worse.  Earlier today I removed the snow that was weighing down their cosy blanket.  But it was too soon to release them from their corsets, another threat had emerged.  At irregular intervals globs of thawing snow were falling from the roof above.  These were unceremoniously splatting atop the already irritated plants below.  I believe it is called, adding insult to injury.

I wonder if Katrina the Caterpillar has hunkered down, snuggling up between the various pelargonium, tibouchina and salvias.  If there is hope for her, then there is hope for the poor unfortunate plants.  And I do tend to live in hope.

New Year’s Pelly

Happy New Year!  To those of you who are here intentionally, to the glam rockers who just happened by after googling “gold platform boots” and to the poor souls who thought that Offtheedge was a place in North Wales and are now terribly disappointed, come on in, you are all welcome.  Although a little late in my good wishes at least it wasn’t never.  To everyone I wish lots of wonderful things;  sunshine and puppies and aphid free roses, and definitely no storms which are beginning to get on my nerves now whatever their stupid names might be.

I am fully aware that this “I might not be working but I am certainly not having a break from blogging” is beginning to look very much like my “I’m having a little break from blogging”.  Rest assured, normal service will resume soon.  I blame the twiglets.

Here is a pelargonium that didn’t want to miss out on the celebrations.  Whether it will have any petals left after the storm is debatable.

A Good Day

pelargonium

That is exactly how it should be.  Spot on.  Today was a dictionary entry for autumn.  The essence.  Like in fairy tales and East Anglia.  New England-esque, but lacking the pretty leaves.  Dry and sunny, the low light warming our souls.  Forgive me for pressing the point, but after last week’s persistent misery it was twice as welcome.  In fact I wouldn’t complain if every day was like it.  Don’t you think about changing a thing!  Maybe a few degrees warmer once in a while, just for a  change.  But mainly the same.

You may remember that last week it was half term in this neck of the woods.   The Farm was full of the wellied and the excitable.  This week, all was calm and controlled.  Most of my day was spent rescuing the delicate and taking them to their winter snoozing ground, the greenhouse.  Here I potted them up, labelled them as accurately as I could (“Dahlia from outside the office, not the orange one” “blue” “hanging basket plant”) and lined them up in an orderly manner.  Then I planted out cyclamen.  All was well.

A very special ten minutes of my day was spent watching a goldcrest flit about the old apple trees.  I followed as it darted from branch to branch, tree to tree, at times no more than 3m away.  It was mesmerising.  This country’s smallest bird, giving this gardener the biggest thrill.