Six on Saturday – You can’t keep a good fern down

February has arrived; which is officially the last month of winter. That is if like me you prefer to adhere to the meteorological interpretation of events, at this end of the year anyway. And it’s a shortie so should fly by. Then, baby, the only way is up! My Six on Saturday this week has no particular theme, which is remiss as I do love a theme. It is however led by endeavour and finished with love. Any newbies to the SoS phenomena should pop on over to The Prop’s site and all will become perfectly clear, or perhaps not so. If in doubt treat it as a Dadaist interpretive inter-planetary art project.

Let us start with a sight that made me grin when I saw it, a coyly unfurling frond of Cyathea australis beneath its veil of fleece. You can’t keep a good fern down.

Next, we have the front garden hellebore, which has done very well this year and seems to have multiplied admirably. Unfortunately, I failed to undertake the promised move, so to admire its mottled flower face requires the flexibility of Simone Biles. I will move it for the new owner.

Onto cyclamen seed pods, which have corkscrewed down and are now poised to push into the soil. Self-sowing; nature is a wonderful thing, and we are part of this amazing world. How this indisputable fact is continually over-looked is a complete mystery.

Question: What could possibly be better than a bud? Answer: A furry bud! The Phlomis fruticosa in the frozen north is gearing up for an early display.

Now we have a defiant osteospermum, its blue boss hinting of its hardiness. The petals are curled in defence of the weather, slimming its profile, looking quite different to its summer appearance. Two for the price of one!

Lastly, we have a heart-shaped leaf of Pelargonium cordifolium var. rubrocinctum, having absorbed its chlorophyll ready to drop. On reflection I should have saved this picture for Valentine Day, but you can’t go wrong with a symbol of love, there is more than enough to go around.

That is your lot, you lovely people. Hope all is good in your worlds. Stay safe and well.

Six on Saturday – Linkless

This is my first attempt at a Six on Saturday from scratch, using the new-fangled WordPress block editor. At the moment I haven’t located the link oojamaflip (I’ve never had to spell that word before, might need checking, I did, it was wrong, I corrected it, no-one will ever know) so you will have to find your own way to The Propagator and his blog of wonders. I have faith in your navigation skills. You know you can’t always have it handed to you on a plate, it is about time you did a little work for yourself. Having skilfully offended both the members of my audience, I will continue.

First, we have Rosa ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, a Six on Saturday favourite. And quite rightly so; although not blue, it is a rhapsody. The contemplation of this rose has taken me straight back to Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, and the dolly bird pilots Harmony, Melody, Rhapsody, and Symphony Angel. How I wanted to be in their gang. It turns out I never even got close.

Next, we have a pelargonium proving to the world just how wrong they can be. Over-wintered outside, sited in the shadiest spot of the garden, and happy as a pellie can be.

A wanderer in the garden, Gladiolus byzantinus, is always welcome wherever it pokes it head up. And always a relief that is not another bloomin’ crocosmia.

The tough as old boots Phlomis fruticosa is in full flower at the moment. It may be that I just haven’t noticed it before, but the blooms seem to be held on particularly long stalks this year.

I have become partial to a begonia. It might be an age thing, along with cardigans. Whilst doing some essential shopping I spotted these trailing variety and they became more important than the toilet rolls. Surely no-one could argue that point? I was tempted to draw two eyes on this flower. But that would have been very silly, and we can’t be having any of that nonsense.

The big red poppy, archetypal, is holding its flower heads to the side this year. Another strange phenomena (along with the long stalked phlomis, in case you skimmed over that bit). Lucky catch of a visitor to the busby centre.

That’s it for another week my friends. Next week, flaming June. Stay safe and well.

Six on Saturday – After the Rain

Flaming June was flaming wet yesterday.   It made Tuesday, when Rain Stopped Play if you recall, seem like a jaunt in the Gobi.  Today it has cleared, pushed onwards for the moment by bullying winds.   This has meant that although taking photos for my Six on Saturday has been a dry affair, it has not been without jeopardy.   In order to impress my Svengali, The Propmeister, I have battled through the gale to bring this Six to you.  And I only fell over once.  Which to be honest is good going on a non-windy day.  Shall we get this show on the road?

It could be the year of the geum, they seem to be very popular at the moment.  And for very good reason, to my mind they are invaluable in the garden.  This one is Geum ‘Prinses Juliana’ which is more delicate in form and fiery in hue than ‘Totally Tangerine’.  I bought ‘TT’ as a gift for Mrs Bun. She had expressed an interest in it so I treated her.  A couple of weeks ago she declared that she no longer wanted it.  “You mean the plant that I so kindly bought you as a present last year?” “Oh, did you?”  *sigh* “but it has grown too big for that position and I haven’t anywhere for it to go” *a lone tear trickled down my cheek* “are you sure that is the one you bought me?” *falls on the floor in a swoon*.  It is now planted in my garden.  Once we have recovered from the disappointment/rejection I will share a photo with you.

Next we have a crazy tomato plant.  This variety is called Big Orange from Martin at Sampford Shrubs, a pithy name if ever there was one.   It has lost its leader, which I vehemently deny removing by accident, but will be replaced by a shoot coming from the base.  It has also produced, alongside some very sensible if not rather buxom flowers, a giant possibly fasciated monster bloom.  I am blaming an incident involving radiation and Br…., oops almost said it!

Now a candelabra primula in a pot.   It seems to be coping quite well with this arrangement and I am sure enjoyed the dousing it had yesterday.  This is a “one day when I have a large garden I will find the perfect place for it” plant.  I am ever hopeful.

This is the first flower on the double osteo, which is possibly called ‘Double Berry Purple’.    Probably featured in a SoS before, but definitely worthy of a repeat.  The idea did spring into my devious head that I could just repost from the same time last year and see if anyone noticed.    But where would be the fun in that?!  Mind you, in an emergency SoSituation …….

You can’t beat a bit of fine foliage, which is just as well as this is the principle reason for growing Persicaria filiformis.   The pale green leaves have blood-red heart monitor lines chevroning across the width.   The delicate red flowers which are held on wiry stems, need to be observed close up and definitely with your specs on to be fully appreciated.

Lastly we have Phlomis fruticosa, which has been (and continues to be) beaten severely by the worst of the weather.  Apart from the odd frazzled leaf, it takes it on the chin, often bending into full blown Matrix positions and bouncing back just as well as Keanu Reeves ever did.   A trooper, and an important member of our horticultural family.

All done for another week, now that wasn’t too painful was it?  Don’t forget to take a look at what the rest of the SoSers are up to over on The Prop’s site.  Until we meet again!

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!