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 – Happy Holidays

osteospermum

After a week or more away, I have come home to builders, scaffolding, inaccessible plants and a really vicious cold.  For this reason (and I will continue to blame everything on the builders including my poor health, who in reality are rather nice chaps, until further notice) my Six on Saturday will dwell on holiday snaps.  Of course these consist, on the whole, pictures of plants.  This is probably just as well you wouldn’t want to see myself and OH in our “kiss me quick” hats, trousers rolled up daringly above the ankle, having a paddle.  If you would like to share in the experience of other SOSers, with or without builder input, pop on over to our Site Foreman to find out more.

First we have an osteospermum, growing in the recess of a wall overlooking St Ives.  Always a joy to visit, come torrential monsoon and high winds or shine.

bamboo

Next is a golden bamboo, possibly Phyllostachys aurea, but I’m not absolutely sure as I wandered off to admire it and I was reined back in.  Which happens unsurprisingly often. This photo was taken at The Leach Pottery, also in St Ives.  It is located about 100m from my childhood home and we always visit when we are down.  Incredible pots and wonderful memories.  Not that we were aware of it as kids, we were just kids.  In those days we were just interested in playing on the beach/woods/moors and eating Mr Kipling’s produce.  And yes we did buy more pots.  Very beautiful they are too.

Bidens

Then on to Penzance to catch up with old friends and continue our hedonistic adventures.  Our guest house had a rather amazing garden, which not only had sea views but was packed with colour.  These bidens were a treat, as was the Hummingbird Hawk Moth feasting on the Verbena bonariensis, which unfortunately avoided my lens.  You will have to trust me on that one.  On our last morning we were waiting for our taxi to take us to the train station, when a gentleman in a rather flamboyant shirt left the house.   He started a conversation, asking us where we going and the like.  He then dropped into the conversation, like a feather into a vat of oil, that he was returning from Kew Gardens to Tresco where he is the curator of Abbey Gardens.   I may have fainted.

Colquhounia coccinea

During our stay we visited the small-but-perfectly-formed Penlee Art Gallery and Museum, which is situated in Penlee Gardens.  I almost didn’t get in the door.  Waylaid variously by swathes of Tulbaghia violacea, a largeTrochodendron aralioides full of Sputnik fruit, white crinum and night scented Cestrum parqui.  The treasure which made me squeal with glee was this Colquhounia coccinea, unlike my own specimen, a strong and flower-full example.  When I got home I rushed to see if a miracle had happened.  No.

Fascicularia bicolor

I had a hunch when I saw the expanses of swordfish foliage that it might be something special.  A little poke about and I found what I was looking for, the outlandish flower head of Fascicularia bicolor .   Planted in a tiny garden, come seating area, just opposite the Jubilee Pool, this is another example of the exotic as ordinary.  Wonderful.

Peggy Pearlers

On our last day we had an itinerary.  We were having a day out with my good friend and jeweller to the stars (and me) Duibhne Gough, known to her pals as Div.  She would take us to The National Dahlia Collection, then lunch, then to a nursery, then to see her new workshop before home, tired but happy.  I have long wished to visit the dahlias at Varfell Farm, even more so since I named a dahlia after my Mum, read all about it here It Is All In The Name.  It was a fabulously sunny day with bloom after bloom after beautiful bloom.  But none were the special one.  Soon I was beginning to doubt myself and that it was in fact a cruel hoax.  Then a point and smile from the lovely Div and there she was in all her glory.  I can quite honestly say, in a totally biased manner, that Peggy Pearlers was the most beautiful specimen in the field.

After a delicious lunch our itinerary was scrapped, as £20 worth of unleaded had found its way into the diesel Citroen.  It turned out for the best, a balmy afternoon of laughter and lager (and the odd house white but that didn’t scan as well), and I didn’t buy a single plant!

Thank Mr P for being the host with the most.  Until next time!

Six on Saturday – Static

It is not as if Storm Brian snuck up on us unannounced.  We have been warned of his imminent arrival for days.  In my heart I know I should have gone out in the garden yesterday to take my photos, when it was warm enough to dry the washing.  But I didn’t.  And today I have paid the price for my bad planning.   Today’s Six on Saturday, run by the our illustrious leader The Propagator, has necessitated a bit of a rethink.  I was tempted to post unrecognisable blurs and try to convince you they were specimens of the extremely rare Amazonian Giant Poodle Grass or even the Tasmanian Snucklewurgle.  However the angel on my right shoulder managed for once to out shout the wicked chap on my left and I opted instead for honesty.  My cunning plan is to concentrate on the more static of the garden community, apart from the first one which is used purely for effect, having fallen in the gale.

Let us begin with my one plant contribution this week, a toppled Phyllostachys aurea, which like its companion from last week the black bamboo, is grown in a pot.  This golden bamboo is occasionally divided, when a saw is definitely needed, and repotted in fresh compost. Generally it is ignored until attention seeking behaviour such as this necessitates some action.  It falls over several times each winter, in fact today I left it where it fell, it will be fine.

ladybird

This chap is the only ladybird I have seen in the garden this year, which is rather sad.  Not just my garden but also the ones I work in.  There has been plenty of aphid, so no lack of food for them.  Has anyone else noticed a dearth in the spotted one?

Next we have our Welsh dragon, he guards the front door and so far has been very successful at keeping intruders at bay.  Long may he continue his vigil.  Do not be fooled by his comical demeanour, he is quite fearless.  Reminds me of someone, can’t quite put my finger on who that might be …….

snail

This mammoth mollusc moves around the garden, filling a space when and where they appear.  Luckily for me he is totally plant friendly, no nibbling going on at all, which is just as well as he is quite large and could do an awful lot of damage if he was that way inclined.  I was hoping that he would scare off the others, but unfortunately not.  Perhaps they worship him as some kind of Venerable Snail God and are actually attracted rather than repulsed.  That didn’t work out as planned.

This is an ornamental key stone.  It came from a reclamation yard in Bristol many years ago.  I loved it then and I love it now.  Hopefully someone didn’t just nick this from the rest of the arch and run!

Finally our sundial.  I was working in a garden just outside Bristol, where a builder was renovating a house.  This was in the garden and he said I could take it if I wanted to.  It was in the back of my car before he finished his sentence.  Around the face is a short saying, I thought it was appropriate for today, “Let others tell of storms and showers, I’ll only count your sunny hours.”

Thank Mr P, who knows what next week will bring.  Hopefully it will involve plenty of sunny hours and very few storms and showers.