Grevillea ‘Olympic Flame’

This beauty is Grevillea ‘Olympic Flame” with its exotic flowers that remind me of tropical birds of paradise or perhaps scorching uncut toenails.  Take your pick.  One image is definitely more attractive than the other.

Which ever you decide upon, it is a fabulous shrub and hardier than its fancy plumage would suggest.   I have decided to dwell upon the avian simile.




The wilds of the last few days have diluted into dull murk with a smattering of hail.   Last week was a washout workwise and I am twitching in my enforced respite.  I am hopeful for the coming week, the last before my January sabbatical.  And then respite of choice.  Before we know it, spring will be sprunging and skipping will be skipped.

In the meantime we could do with a bit of sunshine.  And, like this aralia at RHS Rosemoor a couple of weeks ago, we can reach to the skies.



A frosty morn; a road trip with Hero, warmed by winter mixture; a coffee rendevous with Torrington Tina, Rusty Duck and Mrs Bun; a lesiurely wander around sugar sifted gardens, enjoying the familiar and admiring the new; chickens and fir cones and deer and ferns; icy rills and the ghosts of water lilies; soup, cheddar and chatter; bargain buying; squashes and pak choi; conifers and grasses; reflections and back lighting; and laughter, of course, laughter.  Everything a trip to RHS Rosemoor with your friends should be.  And more.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better.

A ginormous disco ball hanging in a stately oak.

Six on Saturday – Regime

Saturday is flying away and I can’t keep up.  Unfortunately my usual weekend regime: dawntide 10k run followed by toasted quinoa breakfast with a quick scan of Plato’s Symposium, then a brisk hike up the Matterhorn, fitting in a visit to the local nursery on the descent and some hands on gardening when reaching home base, has meant that I have only just got around to writing my Six on Saturday.  Oh, hang on a minute, I think I might be getting myself mixed up with our guru The Dalai Propa.  My truth is that we went to Lidl and then on to ‘Spoons for a large glass of red and some chunky chips.  Never mind, I am here now.  It is Saturday and I have Six.  Which, if I have interpreted the rules correctly, is all that is required.

Strawberries is a great place to start.  Some have been munched already, which is fine.  But not by me, which is not.  I have picked a few to ripen fully indoors to foil the little slimy blighters.

Rosa ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ is flowering well, and not yet complaining for her pot restraints.  Obviously not blue in even the widest sense of the word, but I do love this colour, a mauvish grey perhaps?  The white stripes are also nice, but possibly indicate impending doom or nunglewurzles or even Serengeti fever.

Our shopping list today included beer, limes and donut peaches.  We came home with all of the above plus Aloysia citrodora, Lemon Verbena, and an Arts and Crafts sideboard.  These things happen.

Continuing in the herbalistic vein, is a beautifully variegated mint snuggling up to Viola ‘Molly Sanderson’.  The mint came from Mrs Bun.  It was very late on parade and we wondered if it had died “but you can’t kill mint!” we said.  Then, giggling I believe, it popped up everywhere. This is a little that was destined for the green bin.  Needless to say, it is corseted in a pot.  Its name is out there somewhere.

Now we have Glumicalyx nutans bought last year at RHS Rosemoor’s garden show.  I must hold my hand up and admit it was partly bought for its name, although I am very pleased that I did.  It is now planted by the side of the steps, so we can look up into the wonderful pendulous rusty orange flowers.

And lastly the lily that wasn’t the lily that I wanted.  It is forgiven.

All done, all dusted.  Until next time!



Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’

Acer japonicum 'Vitifolium'

Hero and myself spent a wonderful day at RHS Rosemoor, successfully dodging heavy showers and small children dressed as gruffalos.   It has been very difficult to pick just one photo to sum up the day.  The magnificent cheese scone from the restaurant before we got going was a contender (had to build up my strength for the trek ahead and previous experience told me I wouldn’t be disappointed) as were callicarpa, kale and kniphofia.  After much deliberation this Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ won the contest.  A vision indeed of autumn incarnate.


Folk, they get in the way.

Some say “I like having people in my photos, they add scale and interest”.  Not me.  They clutter and blot and spoil everything.

Trying to photograph the Hot Garden at RHS Rosemoor on a Saturday in August without including a member of the public is as tricky as unicorn hunting.  I was tempted at one point to shout “duck” and take my chances, but chickened out at the last moment.  I tried glaring, and dodging, and sighing, all to no avail.

So here is a smidgen of the wonderous garden, looking fabulous, free from those creatures, who as I snapped were stampeding towards my people free corner, to ruin everything.

Six on Saturday – Wise Words

Buddleja 'Black Knight'

Another day, another Six on Saturday.  As I am on a jolly holiday trip today I have risen very, very, very early* to contribute to this popular meme, for fear of the wrath of The Emperor Prop if I should miss another week**.  Due to my extreme rushdom these photos could have done with a retake/delete, but as these pictures where snapped at the crack of dawn*** this was not possible.  In an attempt to justify excuse disguise my bad craftmanship explain, I decided to use the noble medium of metaphor to get me out of a sticky situation enlighten you.

Lesson One.  Do not judge a flower by its lazy photographer.
Let us begin with the moody tones of Buddleja ‘Black Knight’.  From this, carefully selected, angle the blooms are mostly in the shade.  We have been robbed of an accurate representation of its beauty.  This requires the viewer to exercise their imagination to complete the picture.  It is important to keep the brain muscle active.  Basically I am doing you a favour.

Roscoea purpurea

Lesson Two.  Out of sight is out of a scatty mind.
Earlier in the year I dug up this Roscoea purpurea and potted it up for safe keeping.  This spring, although I was patient, nothing came up in the pot.  This poked up its cheeky head last week.  In the ground.  At the exact spot that I had dug it up.  The question is what did I cosset through the harsh spell?  A figment of my imagination perhaps.

Meconopsis napaulensis

Lesson Three:  All that glistens is not gold platform boots.
Even when it is out of focus.  The flower heads of Miscanthus nepalensis are sprinkled with pure sunlight.  These gilded strands carry the seeds which will make more of these stunning plants. Once into their stride, this is but a baby, they produce spectacular, polished metallic, rasta dreads.  A very special sight.


Lesson Four:  Ignorance is sometimes bliss
Or, don’t believe anything you are told.  Except of course that you are lovely.  This white sidalcea was sold to me as an unknown geranium.  Unknown, yes, geranium, no.  The result is quite blissful.  To represent the hazy nature of my knowledge off this plant, I have employed this vaseline smeared effect.

Fuchsia hatchbachii

Lesson Five:  Behind every great fuchsia is an great one.
Could be construed as, “don’t always look at the ones that push themselves to the front, the ones just behind are sometimes much clearer”.  Fuchsia hatchbachii, a favourite of mine, is proving this point.

Hedychium 'Tara' seedling

Lesson Six:  Honesty is the best policy.
Usually anyway.  Sometimes, in order to avoid misunderstanding or misrepresentation, words are not necessary.  Here Hedychium ‘Tara’ is speaking for herself using her beauty alone.

That is your lot.  Now you can nip on over to The Propagator’s site and find a cornucopia of SoSers, that should keep you out of mischief for a little while.  As for myself, I must bid you adieu, off to RHS Rosemoor Flower Show ……

*If you believe this, you would believe anything
** I’m just kidding myself, he doesn’t even notice, he has so many loyal subjects, I am just another acolyte.
*** See * above

Other Plans

Eccremocarpus scaber

The plan was that the Eccremocarpus scaber would scramble up the dark leaved Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’.  The orange tipped scarlet flowers would be shown off beautifully by the close-to-black backdrop of the Eastern ninebark.  I must confess, this brilliant idea was a blatant rip-off from something I had seen in the Hot Garden at RHS Rosemoor.  Here they are grown through the fastigiate beech, Fagus sylvatica ‘Dawyck Purple’ and Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’ or suchlike.  Unfortunately the Chilean Glory Flower didn’t get the memo outlining the preferred route to be taken.  Instead it thought a much better option was to use a variegated myrtle as a crutch and however much I tried to gently suggest otherwise, its mind was set.  It had other plans.  Not quite so dramatic perhaps, but definitely more original.


Soleirolia soleirolii

Directly outside of our back door there is a small courtyard, jammed with pots, a small plastic greenhouse and a bench.  A set of red brick steps lead up from this area, to the main garden above.  A couple of years ago I fell down these steps.  I was carrying the dried washing and attempting to stroke Fat Ol, next door’s cat, at the same time.  A classic case of multi-tasking gone wrong.  There is no doubt in my mind who the villain is here, Mind Your Own Business.  No I am not being rude, I slipped on the invading tyrant Soleirolia soleirolii,  the scourge of many a garden. I have been fighting a battle with this monster ever since.  Sadly, I must confess that I am coming a very poor second in this contest.  It is invincible, Stephen King should make a film about it.  I am not exaggerating as to how cruelly encompassing and relentless it is.

So it made me chuckle when I saw this sign at RHS Rosemoor.

Soleirolia soleirolii

It may have been a chuckle, it may have been a sob.  Hopefully this label was educational rather than celebratory!


Daphne bholua 'Garden House Enchantress'

Daphne bholua ‘Garden House Enchantress’

There have been complaints.  There have been mutterings that John’s comments are longer than my posts.

Be careful what you wish for.

Yesterday I cranked up the new charabanc and chauffeured a select few to RHS Rosemoor.  It couldn’t have been a better day.  A glorious morning, sunglasses on, unruly passengers sedated with liquorice and blackcurrant sweeties, hyper-drive engaged and off we headed down the frost edged roads of Devon.  Soon, with little if any screaming, we safely landed and those of us who had remembered our membership cards entered with little drama.

After obligatory reviving coffee, we headed out into the sunlit garden, trying hard not to squeal in anticipation (that might have just been me).  And what a treat we had.

We had cleverly (fluke-ily) coincided our visit with a sculpture exhibition.  So our horticultural journey was interspersed by octopuses, birds of prey and dinosaurs.


But it wasn’t all metal, plastic and carved wood, as wonderful as it was.  There was plenty more to see.

Around every corner a parrotia was in full flower, hellebores were getting into their stride and the snowdrops were not waiting for the appointed Snowdrop Day. Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ filled the air with syrup.  A cultivar new to me, Daphne bholua ‘Garden House Enchantress’, was equally as fragrant, also being enjoyed by an early rising honey bee.  The sarcococca and witch hazels were in full flourish, my favourite being the dusky Hamamelis × intermedia ‘Diane’.

Hamamelis × intermedia 'Diane'

And we watched staff lay out the new Devon heritage orchard as the sun thawed the icy ground.


Then I spotted a shrub at the back of a border, a mystery, one I didn’t recognise, the label hidden by vegetation.  I really needed to know what this was.  Really, really, really.  Being the evil temptress that I am, I encouraged (mainly by pinching) one of our innocent party to investigate. Just as he was returning hot foot from his illicit foray a faithful RHS employee appeared.  To this day I can only imagine she teleported in as I was on full security alert. We even had a warning sound (“hoot, hoot” since you ask).  But there she was, suddenly scolding. Of course she was quite right, you shouldn’t walk on the borders, for all sort of reasons. I confessed that it had been all my doing and I had persuaded the Perp to do the devilish deed.  I am not convince this helped.  As it is, I can’t remember the name that he shouted out to me.  My head is yet again hung in shame.

Soon after we spotted this flowering cherry, two pink flowers, standing proud and rebellious amongst the white. Surely we need a rebel, every once in a while.  Or perhaps more often.


I can’t tell you the exact name of this tree as I couldn’t read the label properly.  Strangely there were no volunteers to venture forth and uncover it.