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 – Celebration

On the face of it there hasn’t been much to celebrate recently.  For quite a while now.  Most of the reasons, and there have been a fair few, have been, and are continuing to be, well documented.   Too many commas?  Perhaps.  In our little corner, just to add some spice to the mix, we have a new leak at the back of the house and our boiler threw a hissy fit on Tuesday and will not be fixed (at the earliest) until Monday.  Good job it isn’t cold and wet and miserable, that would be truly horrendous.  Wait a minute ……..  Still, where there is life and a multi-pack of kettle crisps there is hope and there is generally something to smile about in the garden.  My Six on Saturday will therefore be a celebration.  I will not be thwarted.  Not this week anyway.  If you would like to read the rest of the gangs’ contributions, a lovely optimistic lot they are too, pop on over to The Maestro Prop’s site to find out what is going on across the globe and beyond.

First we have a primula, and a rather lovely one at that.  It has been left to its own devices and, as things do, it has bulked up in a pleasing way over the last few years.  I don’t remember planting it, but this means little.

Now the seed head of Micanthus nepalensis, its contents jettisoned.  The skeleton a reminder of what was and what is to come.

A large piece of this rosemary snapped off a few weeks ago.  “Helpfully”, and yes the inverted commas are significant, my OH tidied up the broken piece that was sheltering a friendly snail.  Although a little battered, the flowers are defiant.

Well hello Muscari latifolium, please feel free to grow and become the beauty you are destined to become.  No need to be shy, we are all friends here.

I love the fiery red that some of the Pelargonium cordifolium var. rubrocinctum leaves have turned this winter.  Although this could possibly indicate stress, unhappiness or indeed despair, I dismiss this negativity and just enjoy the show.  Harsh, and not in the slightest bit fair.

And to conclude I will share something that is not lurking in my garden.  I hope I am forgiven.  Let me take you to the romantic setting of an industrial estate on the edge of Bideford, not far from the recycling centre and around the corner from the furniture warehouse.  It was here, after 34 years of unwedded bliss, myself and OH had a civil partnership.  It was very low key, just ourselves and our witnesses, the glorious Lord and Lady Mantle.  We then scooted off to the Burton Art Gallery for lunch.  As would befit the ocassion, myself and OH had chips and beer whilst the Mantles enjoyed galettes and fizz.  The sun shone.  It was lovely.  Although to be honest Lady M. could have looked a little jollier.  I am also slightly concerned that it was the registry office we visited and not Screwfix …..

Stay well friends, keep your chins pointed towards the sky and don’t lose the faith.  ‘Til next time.

Six on Saturday – Resilience

It has been an eventful couple of weeks for the world; fire and flood, plague, false prophets, the whole shebang!  In my own small and insignificant world we have soldiered on, protected from all but a smidgeon of the evil portents, although not always with our smiley faces on.  There have casualties and but many more survivors.  This weekend is set to bring more challenges, which we have no option but to endure.  But there is nothing like nature to demonstrate resilience, the urge to survive is paramount.  To see how the rest of the Six on Saturday world is faring, check out what is going on over at The Prop’s where I am sure positivity will abound.  Let us get on.

First we have a hellebore which, with a little help from its lovely assistant, is showing its hidden beauty.  With its head hung low it has escaped the worst of winds.  Each year I promise to move it to a more accessible position.  Each year I forget/lose my bottle.

The bully boy in yellow pants, Narcissus ‘Tête-à-Tête’, was ravaged by our recent weather.  These flowering spikes were ripped from their planter several feet away and dumped unceremoniously on the ground.  I have no doubt they will return next year, despite their rough treatment.  I am very pleased to see the Aquilegia canadensis showing a leg in the background.

Next the glossy bronzed leaves of Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’ which is snuggled between a hydrangea and buddleia.  No sign of trauma here.  God bless hardy evergreens.

One of the branches of a large and very woody rosemary toppled during the reign of Ms Ciara.  I have decided to leave it be until the weather moderates.  A snail is very pleased that I have chosen a non-interventionist approach.

The Solanum rantonnetii is looking a little worse for wear.  Fried to a crisp and, bearing in mind the toxicity of the plant, not as tasty.  The plant is vigorous and I have every faith it will come back fighting in the spring.

Lastly an osteospermum providing breakfast, lunch and dinner for a small green caterpillar.  I wondered if it was an inch worm of some sort.  Perhaps.  It has had a good munch, which even the most hard hearted could not deny.

Stay safe, keep your chins up and dream of happy days.




This morning I went for a walk, slowly and carefully, around the gardens of Chambercombe Manor.  It was mizzling and muddy, but I placed each step with caution, and managed a much longer walk than I had first envisaged.  The camellia were full of fat buds, there was a lone flower on the hypericum, the cornus was laden with succulent baubles and the prostrate rosemary was heavy with dewy flowers.  As we walked I distributed our stale bread and soft apples under shrubs and in borders, an early Christmas present for the wild things.  Soon I will be running, that’s for sure.

Happy Christmas you lovelies!  Hope you have the best time possible.  I will see you on the other side.

Six on Saturday – For Joy

Aunty Joy

Today is damp and dismal yet again.  According to the Met Office, and they are quite trustworthy, Devon was the wettest county in the UK in March, being the recipients of a generous average of 192.5mm of precipitation.  Yep, a lot, unless you are reading this in the Amazon or monsoon country when I expect you are thinking “moaning minny” and I wouldn’t blame you one iota.

This morning the incoming tide carried the mist with it and then the rain began in earnest.  Oh the wonders of a maritime climate!  It is also, of course, time for our Six on Saturday contributions.  Headmaster Propagator will be expecting our homework, and he is too cute to fall for my feeble excuses anymore.  Therefore, I will not shirk my duties, but you will forgive me if I put a little twist on proceedings.

Yesterday afternoon my Aunty Joy died.  She was a couple of months short of 102 years old and had lived independently up until the last year or so of her life.  Nothing to complain about there, a long and healthy life is a blessing indeed and I am aiming for one myself.  Still, sadness is inevitable, celebration most necessary.  Don’t worry, there will be no gloom here, just beauty and devilment, which is so much more appropriate.  I believe she would have been thrilled to be written about, so this week’s Six on Saturday will be for the wonderful Joy.

It was only recently that I discovered that her real name was in fact Irene.  I was rather shocked.  Had she been a secret agent, was she in a witness protection scheme?  No, her pseudonym was given to by her doting father because she brought him such joy.  My dad called me Gin.  This is true, but not for the reason you are thinking.

My first photo is of course the lady in question aged, I would imagine, about 2 or 3 years old.  She looks like an urchin fallen straight from the pages of Dickens novel.  For those who know me, not unlike yours truly.   Dishevelled, hair in the air, mud on the pinny, looking defiantly into the camera.  And just a little bit faded.

London PrideShe was a London girl, born and bred, and proud of it.  To recognise that, we have Chas and Dave singing ….. not really, I’m not that cruel, here we have Saxifraga x urbium otherwise known as London Pride.


Joy was very fond of Italy.  She visited frequently, took Italian lessons and recounted tales of her travels, including walking on the glorious beaches eating gelato.  This conjured up, to the little girl that I was, the most exotic images I could imagine.  Actually, sounds pretty attractive to me now!  This prostrate rosemary represents Italy.  I couldn’t find a picture of an ice cream, they don’t last long enough around here to be photographed.

pelargoniumA couple of years ago I bought her a Pelargonium called Joy.  In Joy’s later years she was quite hard of hearing and had a hate/hate relationship with her hearing aids.  I was never quite sure if she understood that the plant had the same name as herself, or not, as it comes to pass.

Fuchsia macrophyllaDriving was not Joy’s forte, I believe it took her 7 times to pass her test and then it might have been on the proviso that she only drove to the shops and not very often at that.  She drove a natty purple mini, for a while anyway.   For that reason I have included a “mini” purplish fuchsia, Fuchsia macrophylla.

roseOnce, as a wet behind the ears lass from Cornwall, I travelled across London with Joy during the rush hour.  This was Joy’s world and took the pushing, shoving and general chaos all in her stride.  A kind gentleman offered me his seat, much to her astonishment and amusement.  Apparently no one gave up seats to anyone during the rush hour, NO ONE!  I must have looked so terrified, uncomfortable, unqualified, that I melted even the hardest commuter heart.   Joy loved roses, we bought her one for a birthday and she would always report back on how well it was doing.

We will finish with another photo of our star of the day, taken at the end of 2014 with the ceramic poppy she was so proud of.  This was one from the installation at Windsor Castle, a sea of poppies, one for each of the UK fallen in the First World War.  Including Joy’s doting dad.

Shall we celebrate this strong, resilient, funny, kind woman who I was so proud of?  I think it would be wrong not to.

Thanks for keeping us all in order Mr P, could you do something about the weather for next week please.  Pretty please?