Six on Saturday – Pot Wars

Reporting from Limboland. Still no news on the house, which I suppose would negate our citizenship of Limboland, but I wanted to make it quite clear. Quite clear as to the mood. Tettering. Possibly the best word. There might be other words more appropriate. Still, I am but a single grain of sand in the dune that is SoS, check out the others at Chez Prop, you will love it. I’m late already so we had better shake a leg.

First, we have Fuchsia ‘Thalia’ which is just beginning to come into its own. I especially love the dangly fuchsias, or the triphylla for the more botanically minded of you. In the past few weeks I have struggled to keep my pots watered sufficiently, many need transplanting into either larger pots or the ground and are bursting to get out. Still, I persist, but they complain however hard I try.

Even the ginger mint is moaning, frazzled and weary. The flower is pretty though and the pollinators love it.

Onto Mandevilla laxa which should be climbing but has, quite wisely, decided to stay closer to the ground until all this uncertainty is resolved.

I am pleased that this Hedychium ‘Tara’ seedling is flowering, I thought it might sulk for a while. I waited as long as I could before I dug a piece up from our old garden as, on excellent authority, I believe it is best to wait until they just come into growth to move them. The flowers are not as big and juicy as usual, but I can forgive her that.

Next Pteris umbrosa, Jungle Brake, a tender fern from SE Australia. This one was actually from mid Devon, as I bought it at a Hardy Plant Society AGM. I chuck a piece of horti fleece over it during the worst of the weather and it has so far served me well. I’m very fond of it.

Finally we have the lax and lazy Impatiens puberula that is only bothering to pop out the odd bloom and that in a half hearted way. Earlier in the season I repotted this and cut it back hard, which might explain the reticence. Perhaps more than any, the impatiens have hated the dry and are top of the list when I’m watering.

Next year will be different. This time next year, Rodney, we’ll be millionaires!

That is your lot. Hope you are keeping well and happy. ‘Til next time.

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 – An Easter Parade

Salvia gesneriflora

It is cold and miserable.  Yet again I did not want to go outside to take photographs for Six on Saturday.  Yes, I know I am a gardener and should be hardened to these things, but there is only so much dreariness a gal can take.   Then I had a little word in my own ear “Whoa now Neddy!  Less of that negative nonsense, slip off your marabou kitten heels, pop on your sparkling wellies and get your petite little rear out into the gloom.  Most importantly stop your incessant wingeing about the weather”.  And it worked!  I might try that again.  So just for you and our own Easter Bunny, The Propagator, (who will be handing out chocolate eggs to his favourite SoSers this holiday time) here is my Six on Saturday.  Yet again sharp focus has been forsaken in pursuit of the perfect art form (it was bloomin’ cold and I was therefore in a hurry).

Shall we proceed?  Some might have heard on the bloggy grapevine that last week I was hobbing with the nobs at the Hardy Plant Society AGM (unfortunately no oaty biscuits were involved).  Here I was honoured to meet the real life, not a robot after all, and champion blogger JK.  As reported by said supergrass, I may have purchased a couple of plants, but in my defence all but two were for my Esteemeds.  The best two of course.  I am a sucker for a salvia.  When I spotted this tall and handsome Mexican, Salvia gesneriiflora, our eyes met across the crowded room, my elbows went out and he was mine all mine.

Pteris umbrosaMy next purchase was a fern.  Now I generally have a problem with ferns.  I love them but find it tricky to distinguish one from the other.  Mostly.  There are some exceptions.  But not enough.  This little lovely is labelled Pteris umbrosa, the Jungle Brake Fern, from Eastern Australia.  However, it doesn’t look like any of the corresponding pictures on-line and isn’t mentioned in my new HPS Ferns book.  Perhaps it is because it is a youngster.  Any ideas anybody?  Nice to see it has made a new friend.  And that friend seems to have left a little gift.  How kind.

Hylotelephium spectabile Now we have a rescued Hylotelephium spectabile, found in the front garden being stifled under a carpet of ivy.  At the “do” last weekend Julian Sutton spoke at great length about plant names and how they have changed over the years and whys and wherefores and ifs and buts.  From both a scientific and a horticultural viewpoint.  This is a case in point, up until very recently it was known as Sedum spectabile. I am unable to comment on this change as after JS’s talk I was left feeling a little sorry for the botanists.  They need love too apparently.  And I have a blogging friend, the wonderful Diversifolius, who is one.  She also sells seeds!!!

BlueberryThe blueberry seems intent on flowering.  This is a good thing of course, flowers mean fruit, but only if they are pollinated.  There are not many pollinators about at the moment, and can you blame them?  I’d be snuggled up somewhere warm and dry too.  So I may have to help things along.  You never know the sun might come out and the insects with it.  I sincerely hope so.  It will be a squeeze getting into that bee costume after all my Easter eggs.

Last Sunday I potted up all my new bulbs, received earlier that week.   I’ve stored them underneath the bench, which might offer a smidgen of protection.  I know, going soft in my old age.  Nerine, leucocoryne, zephranthes and bessera, all putting down roots.  I am going to plant the chasmanthe direct into the garden, once the soil warms a little.  That will be August then.

ostrich eggsAnd finally, a couple of goose eggs, a gift from the Head Gardener at Marwood.  Apparently each one is the equivalent of four hens eggs.  That is some egg.  And I’ve got two!

Don’t forget to pop over to The Prop’s to check out all the other Six on Saturdays, and perhaps even be tempted to join in yourself!

Happy Easter to you all.  Anyone fancy an omelette ?!