Six on Saturday – Brrrrrr!

Galanthus 'S. Arnott'

Happy Six on Saturday to you all!  It has been a week of weather; from the unimaginable cold in the North of America to the searing heat in parts of Australia.  We had some of the white stuff in the UK too, which has been followed by the inevitable chaos on the roads and the panic buying of Mother’s Pride and Chardonnay.  In Ilfracombe we had a pathetic smattering, but you didn’t have to venture far to see the real McCoy.  But I didn’t bother venturing anywhere.  I decided to just imagine it instead.  This morning I asked OH if it was too late to indulge in a little panic buying.  We bought a multi-bag of snacktastic crisps and a pack of blood oranges just in case.   If you are tempted to join the not-so-secret society of SoSers or would like to be shown how it is supposed to work by more sensible folk, pop over to King Prop’s blog and all will be revealed.  Let’s get on with it, too cold to hang about.

First we have a snowdrop.  A distinct feeling of déjà vu?  This is in fact my other snowdrop Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’, also bought at Helen’s Little Ash Garden open day.  Don’t worry, this is the extent of my snowdrop collection.  I’ve got a long way to go before I can be classed as a true galanthophile.

Although we had but a mere smidgen of snow, it has been both very cold and exceptionally windy.  So windy that in the early hours of Sunday morning, after lying awake listening to the roaring and scaffolding boards dancing, we got up and listened to the World Service until light.  We then called the builder who came to tie down the boards again.  He was grumpy to have been roused from his weekend slumber, I hadn’t slept a wink all night, he didn’t stand a chance.  This Lycianthes rantonnetii is paying for its vigour, the leaves are withered and lifeless after the desiccating gales.  I am hoping that beneath all is well.

papaver

On to my oriental poppy.  It is in the middle of the superhighway that the builders macheted through the Bed of Anarchy.  By some quirk of fate it escaped a size ten steel toecap.  They were back yesterday, the Velux in the office roof has sprung a rather impressive leak.  Before they started I pointed it out to them  “That is a poppy” I said “It is called Simon and I would like you to do your utmost to avoid standing on it.”  They did their best.  Quite sensibly they were concerned about the potential for retribution by someone who names their herbaceous perennials.

hedychium It appears that one of my hedychiums has set seed.  This is good.  I have grown a ginger lily from seed before and it only took a few years to get to flowering size.  These will stay on the plant for as long as possible.  Perhaps Mr P would like some?  What do you mean “creep”?

Rose

Lastly we have an example of the importance of being in the right place at the right time.  The crimson tinged foliage of this rose, which could be ‘Peace’, has not suffered in the slightest in the recent inclement weather.   It is as fresh and pristine as the moment it unfurled from the bud.   I hope I haven’t summoned the demons of fate tempting.

gazania

And second lastly is a gazania that was in hiding, possibly due to the fact it doesn’t want to be spotted by the evil north wind.  Did I get away with it?  Maybe not.

Another SoS completed, always a triumph.  Until next time!

 

 

Six on Saturday – Accusations

rose

There have been accusations.   Wicked and cruel lies.  Rumours abound that I have been flaunting the Six on Saturday rules.  It would be unfair to name names as to the source of this gossip, but I will give you a couple of clues to their identity – Haribos and edifices.

I would like to put things straight.  Firstly, I must reiterate that I am far too scared of Our Leader (who has a chart and gold stars and black grim reaper stickers) to waiver from anything but the strict party line.  Secondly, there are rules?  Why didn’t anyone mention this before?

Onwards and upwards.  The first goodie of the day is an unnamed rose, already in the garden when we arrived.  A couple of days ago my OH made a special request for a photo of this beauty.   He says it reminds him of me – prickly and a bit rough around the edges.  It could have been much worse.  Unlike me it is deliciously fragrant and a repeat flowerer.  I really should take some cuttings.

Scabiosa 'Plum Pudding'

Next we have Scabiosa ‘Plum Pudding’, which has been bashed and buffeted about but is still hanging on it there.  The flowers out of season are lighter in colour and smaller in size than a few months ago, but still worthy.  Earlier in the week I sent The Prop some seed of this wonderfully richly coloured scabious.  Yes, that is right, a little bribery and corruption, anything to get another gold star, although to be honest he hasn’t mentioned one.  A little lax in habit, when placed with some supportive friends it will thank you (just like me).

Lavandula pinnata

Now the first Lavanula pinnata flower of the year, with a few more coming along in the background.  At first I thought it was a snail nestling in the bloom, but I’m wondering if it is the rear view of a ladybird.  I suppose I could go and check, but I’m not going to, looks cold out there, another storm on the way.   Whichever, it is probably quite happily in dreamland, overcome by the lethean effect of the lavender.

liquidambar

This is a new one to me, a tentacled fruit of Liquidambar styraciflua.  I have never seen one before, on our tree or any other, however I might just have been looking at my feet at the vital moment.  The RHS website describes them as “inconspicuous” – not so Your Highnesses, not so!  Once ripe I will of course be collecting the seed.  If I have plenty, I might share with anyone who likes growing things from seed ……..

Salvia corrugata

On to Salvia corrugata, just beginning to come into flower.  The mother plant died last winter, which is not really surprising as its home range is Peru, Coloumbia and Ecuador.  This is a cutting that was kept safe and sound.  Apparently seed was first collected from the wild in 1988 and all plants in cultivation come from the six seeds that germinated from that trip.  Precious.

Lastly we have a view of a section of the Bed of Anarchy.  Left to its own devices it has gone from strength to strength.  A few plants are struggling in the fray, but mostly they are finding their way and giving protection one another from wind, rain and chill.  Read whatever you will from that.

Another SoS completed, in time and on budget.   And the rules obeyed.  I must find out just what they are in time for next week.

 

 

 

Rogues and Roses

rose

Bill and Ben’s garden was well planted, albeit several decades ago.  To paraphrase Tennyson, it is “red in tooth and thorn” out there in the horticultural world.  And we are talking about plants not the gardeners!  Unchecked, interlopers invade, the vigorous stifle the slow-growing and the neglected grow unkept.  I have been clearing an area over the last few months; bramble, couch grass, willow, Iris foetida, ivy, all fighting to be alpha weed, growing through a mat of Geranium procumbens.  Oh, and a couple of roses.   Spurred on by their presence this was to become a rose and wildlife garden.  Today we reached a milestone.   Already there are feeders and bird baths in place.   Today it was planting day.   More roses, including two single flowered which are easily accessible for pollinators, lavenders and penstemon.

This photo is of one of the existing roses, which after a rather late but much-needed prune and feed, has flowered well and is continuing to do so.  There is hope in the wilderness.

Six on Saturday – Aforethought

Sophora microphylla

The weather forecast for today was dreadful; torrential rain, howling north easterlies, possibly frogs.  So, as a dedicated disciple of Six on Saturday, and a most sensible and organised person, I took my photos yesterday.  Today, so far, has been quite dry.  This is not the point, which is that I was prepared for all eventualities.  I doubt it will happen again.  It is however bitterly cold, so I am pleased that for once I thought ahead.  Some might say that the “Saturday” part of the title is an itsy bit fraudulent, but rest assured that little has changed since yesterday.  Can I depend on you not to tell The Propagator, our meme leader, whose name rhymes with “alligator” for good reason.  Please do pop over to his site to see what he has been up to, and also to check on the increasingly large number of SoSers.

First of all we have the wonderful Sophora microphylla, now in full flower.  I used to work with a mature gentleman (lovely old git) who had spent several decades travelling the world.  This included an extended stay in New Zealand, which is where this potentially small tree comes from.  He taught me several Maori names for plants including this member of the pea family, kowhai.  Imagine you are saying hello to a Jersey milker.  That’s it, you’ve got it!

Callistemon 'Masotti'

Next another Antipodean, Callistemon ‘Masotti’, a (hopefully) dwarf, red flowered bottlebrush.  It looks as if it is thinking about flowering.  It may be reconsidering this decision after the outrageous hail storm that just battered everything.  Now I feel vindicated.

crocus

A crocus, just about to unfurl, perhaps the perfect moment.

seedlings

Germination!  In order to fool myself into thinking that I am doing something right, I generally sow something very easy along with the trickier customers.  This year it was Tagetes ‘Red Cherry’ and it didn’t let me down.  Nothing yet from any of the others, but it is early days.  I have had my little thrill fix, it will keep me going for a while.

rose

Number five is tender new orange/red rose foliage.  Any aphids that are reading this will be salivating.  Bit too cold to venture out yet, ha!

Vinca 'Jenny Pym'

Lastly is Vinca ‘Jenny Pym’.  I was trying to take a picture of a hellebore, ill positioned for the photographer, I was struggling to hold the head, camera and focus at the same time.  In the background my eye was caught by this charming lady, a little pinker than usual, due to the chill perhaps.  Soon the hellebore was forgotten, for the moment anyway, perhaps next week I will get a little help from a friend.

Thanks Mr P, I think this might be becoming a habit.  There are worse things to become addicted to.