Six on Saturday – Arrival

It cannot be denied that I have been a little distracted of late. In fact it has been previously noted. I wish I could say there were noble intentions afoot, that I’ve been performing the complete works of Gilbert and Sullivan at the home for delinquent seniors or knitting ponchos for orphan lambs, but no. Selfish to a fault. It cannot be denied, m’lord, I have been navel gazing. Do not lose hope; we may be at a turning point in my self-obsession. Yesterday, eventually, after much wailing and head bashing, our house sale was completed. Feel free to set a taper to the firework display you have been saving for this very ocassion. If necessary, a sparkler will suffice. Someone who will undoubtedly not care a jot about my personal life is maestro Prop, whose consciousness is busy with all kind of important bulb and seed issues, with perhaps a little judicious seasonal pruning. And of course SoSing. Check him and our gang out, it will definitely be educational and you might well find some sunshine. This week’s six are neither colourful nor in focus, but it seems I am on a slightly off kilter road at the moment. Let’s shake a leg, or there will be complaints from the management.

First we have Phyllostachys aurea, the golden bamboo, in a particularly notable blue sky. I believe this is called pathetic fallacy to those who enjoy wordy definitions. Whatever it is, it was very welcome.

Next a frazzled leaf of Geranium maderanse ‘Guernsey White’. Serves you right for poking your paw out from under the fleece. Don’t worry, the rest of the plant is quite plump and healthy ready to crack into action later in the year.

Now the raddled trunk of our rosemary, under which was the lounging place of choice for our dear departed Charlie Cat. A soft heart has saved this whale of a herb. There is nothing wrong with a bit of sentimentality.

Onto the remaining stamen from the still flowering Tibouchina urvilleana, which is yet to be protected from the elements. I am slightly shamed by this lack of care, slightly proud of the shrub’s resilience. As we know pride comes before a fall. I, and possibly the tibouchina, are bound for a plummet. It is also a particularly poor photograph. Lose, lose.

Next, a phormium, grown from seed by a client/friend in Bristol. To my shame I rarely acknowledge it except in winter. After 14 years I think I should acknowledge this as a trend.

Now Helichrysum bracteatum, which it seems, is truly everlasting. Whilst much of the plant is frost-induced sog, it is making an admirable effort to flower again. There is possibly a lesson for us in this; I will leave you to ponder it.

That is it, another week passed in our seemingly unrelenting crawl towards spring. Stay well and safe, my friends.

Six on Saturday – The Right Direction

February has arrived; the month of love, the last hurrah of winter, a time of increasing optimism.  In theory anyway.  The shortest of month of the year can sometimes seem the longest, plodding through to March which itself can be slow to reveal spring.  However, there are definite advances in the garden, subtle often, but all the same heading in the right direction.  Why don’t you take a look at what The Prop and all his acolytes are up to, I’m sure they will prove my point.

What better place to begin than my waterproof trousers on the washing line in the pouring rain.  I came across them when I was sorting my tools out earlier in the week.  They were very muddy and, taking full advantage of the dreadful weather, this was my cunning plan to wash them.  My very helpful OH pegged the legs up as they were caught on the pyracantha.  Could have sprung a leak.  Another disaster averted.

Next is Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’.  I think it might be a Six on Saturday law to feature a snowdrop before the winter is out.  Any SoSers out there yet to comply had better act quickly or risk the wrath of Mr P himself.

I was very pleased to find this Eschscholzia californica ‘Red Chief’ looking so healthy.  And yes, Mr T, I know you aren’t keen on these cultivar infiltrators.  Will you let me off with a foliage shot?  I’m very happy as it looks strong which bodes well for flowers in the nearish future.  I know that there is a long way to go, but a good base is always useful.

Now we have the monster that is Salvia gesneriiflora, just coming into flower.  It has almost taken over the Bed of Anarchy and bang on schedule is beginning to bloom.  Some culling will almost certainly be necessary.

Onto Iris reticulata, a great favourite of mine.  Sorry I don’t know which one it is.  Blame the labeller.

Lastly a bowed Calendula ‘Neon’, a survivor from last year, snuggling up to a phormium.  Always good to find a rogue having a go out of season.  Showing willing.  An example to us all.

All done, ’til next time!


Six on Saturday – If I must


I had decided that I wasn’t going to SoS this week.  Lots to do, miserable outside, lacking motivation, Madagascar 2 on the TV, crisps in the cupboard.  However, such is the hold that The Propagator has on me, I have relented.  I am hoping that eventually he will return the incriminating photos.  Until then, let’s go!

My first picture is of an argyranthemum, rescued as a plug from local garden centre.  It has flowered all summer, even though the gardener failed to dead head regularly.  Hopefully it will survive until the spring and be even bigger and better next year.   I will have a word with the staff.


I have had this pelargonium for several years, found on a table of assorted plants at an open garden.  Although it has never thrived in our damp Devon air, it is doing a sterling effort of hanging on in there.


This phormium was given to me as a seedling by one of my old clients in Bristol.   She had a wonderful garden, was ambitious and imaginative.  Looking at this plant reminds me of her.  This is one of the many wonders of gardening.  The sharing and the receiving and the memories.


This is a peach tree grown from a kernel.  It hasn’t flowered yet, it is growing like a cuckoo, but the autumn colour is fabulous.  Thanks Storm Brian for leaving us a couple of leaves to admire.  So kind of you.

As I live by the sea, it is compulsory (a local bye-law) to grow at least one armeria in your garden.  This variegated form is looking quite healthy but hasn’t flowered since I bought it last year.  Good job it has such pretty foliage or I would be whispering “compost bin” in its direction.


Lastly we have a little cuphea, which lives in a planter at the front of the house.  Soon he will be jettisoned as I have recently bought some cyclamen and violas to replace him and his straggly lobelia companions.  I’m tough, take no prisoners.  When a plant is finished, out with it.  No qualms.  Stop looking at me like that.  Is that a small tear rolling down his face?  Come on, it is the right thing to do!  OK, I might pot him up and try and over-winter him.

Once again, thanks Mr P for hosting this meme (a word I never though I would type).  Check out all the other SoSers on his website.  Another link here , if you dare ………..

GPAP and there’s more ….


You could be forgiven for thinking that I had painted the thin cerise lines down each side of this phormium’s gloriously strappy leaves.  Then you would remember that if I had attempted the job it wouldn’t be half as neat, so beautifully applied, so perfectly framing the stripes of green and cream.  This plant was given to me by a lady in Bristol who had grown it from seed and I often wonder if the other seedling grew up to be so fine.  Then it was barely out of nappies, now it has grown into a stunning specimen.  For all this, I must admit that I rarely look at it for most of the year.  This is in part due to chronic ostrich-itis; it is desperate for re-potting and rather than spend 15 minutes doing just that I would rather spend six months averting my eyes.  But it is for the main because it is now, in the depths of winter, that it really comes into its own.