Six on Saturday – Balance

Here we are again, happy as can be, all good friends and jolly good company. Another Six on Saturday and quite frankly I’m not sure I’ve got a lot to offer; no tales to tell, no yarns to spin. I have got a few plants to share with you, which after all is the point, it is all about the garden not the gardener. But surely the garden is the gardener. Unless you have a gardener. Too many gardeners? Can you have too many gardeners?

On reflection, I have possibly gone on a bit in the past. Perhaps I should aim for a more succinct approach. It is all about getting the balance right. Someone who would never fall off the balance beam of life is Olga Propagator, pop over to his site to see him in his leotard and meet all his lovely cheerleaders. Let us proceed.

First, we have Primula sieboldii ‘Winter Dreams’. This was a No. 1 Lockdown on-line purchase. It was transported with great care, and a few other bits and bobs naturally, from the wonderful Bluebell Cottage Nursery. This is its first flowering. I am not disappointed. Yesterday I discovered that Mr and Mrs Bun have moved to within 10 miles of this nursery. I am green.

Next, is my meagre collection of sempervivum, released from captivity and now in their summer home. No room for bottoms on benches around here. There is a fleece at hand just in case of arctic conditions, but so far this has just been used by Fat Ol for his afternoon snooze.

Onto a Mukdenia rossi flower spike. Rushing ahead of the leaves, which are only just beginning to emerge from the ground, they are a happy spring addition. One of the flowers has a red centre, whilst the rest are green, I wonder if the former has been pollinated. What do you think?

There was great excitement Chez Nous when a lone flower was spotted on our “grown from kernel” peach tree. We live in hope but are girded against disappointment. Expect tears.

Now another Primula sieboldii, this time ‘Essie’ which came home with me from Penny’s Primulas a few years ago. I was visiting the nursery in order to write an article about their National Collection and it would have been rude not to show willing. She is a great beauty and I am growing very fond of these Japanese primroses. I think I should get another, two is not a good number.

Lastly, Tulipa sylvestris and friends, who have since moved on. Although it has to be said that the vivid green aphid does rather set off the vibrant yellow flower. Not enough to be allowed to remain.

All done, hope all is good with everyone. ‘Til next time.

Six on Saturday – Waiting

My photos for this Six on Saturday were restrained by the fact I had to be within hearing distance of the phone. OH was out doing the weekly shop, God bless him, and I was on high alert, loitering within ear-shot. Therefore, all pictures had to be taken within two leaps of the back door. As it happens, I could have wandered further. I was waiting for the call that never came, like some love sick teenager. Please pop on over to The Prop’s site and check out the other SoS who I am sure were more adventurous. Let us proceed.

First, we have a peek-a-boo Fuchsia ‘Eruption’ screaming “why are you denying my time to shine!”. Fleeced up for protection, it has managed to poke a couple of flowers out of a weak point in the defences. You will be pleased to hear, it is all tucked back in and cosy again.

Next, a Cornus ‘Porlock’ seedling, which is supposed to be deciduous but hasn’t been caught on yet. Perhaps cornus are like beech trees and hold onto their leaves whilst young. Yet another plant in waiting, we are all waiting.

Now, a ravaged leaf, ripped from the nearby brugmansia by the wicked wind, dumped on the steps and subsequently chewed.

Onto Callistemon masotti, presenting fat buds to aid our dreaming.

Whilst lurking I opened up my little plastic greenhouse for a breath of fresh air and at the same time had a poke about to see what had been happening. All the while listening out for a ring, of course. The sempervivum were looking quite fine and most dandy.

Lastly, hidden beneath the shifted fuchsia fleece, a lone Iris reticulata bud. This is the lolly-labelled pot, whose identification had biodegraded rather prematurely, so I’m afraid I can’t tell you the cultivar. Made me smile though.

Six on Saturday completed for another week, I hope you lot are all doing well and staying safe. All fine here. Like Vladimir and Estragon, I’ll must be getting on with my waiting.

Six on Saturday – No Name

Sometimes you can get caught up in your own little world of misery. Which is what has happened to me this week, or perhaps a fortnight. It is tooth related, a design fault to my mind. In the scheme of things, it is small beer, but still, the mire of my mood persists. Weakness is sometimes hard to acknowledge, which is unfortunate as troubles are seldom unique.

Less of my self-pity. Let us get on with proceedings, that is, my Six on Saturday. Please pop over to our magnificent Prop’s to find out what else has been going on in the world this week. Gardenwise and perhaps other-wise.

First we have a glorious, unnamed, hydrangea which we inherited with the house. The spider came too. The flowers are such a wonderful colour, the photo only a meagre reflection of reality. Flowering perhaps a little bit early?

Next Penstemon ‘Gurt Big Purple’, grown from a cutting from an ex-client’s garden. Lush. I made up the name, just in case you wondered.

Now a fragrant-leaved pelargonium. I haven’t a clue what it is called; I can’t even remember where it came from. Although you can’t appreciate the scented foliage, you can admire the very pretty blushing flower.

Onto a scabious that, before it flowered, I thought might be ‘Blue Jeans’. It appears not. It is possibly a self seeder from the original that has now popped its clogs. Twice the height of its parent, this cuckoo is rather lovely with its pink brushed flower.

Now a flowering sempervivum which is a combination of obscene and wonderful. It came in a job lot from Lidl and, with its assorted mates, sailed through winter protected from the worse of the wet. I have grown rather fond of them.

Lastly a geranium, pilfered from a client’s garden, which has made itself at home on top of the cut-and-come-again lettuce. They look quite happy together.

That is yer lot, my friends. Have a good week. I’ll try to jolly up by next time.

Six on Saturday – From a Safe Distance

Harold Wilson once said that a week in politics is a long time.  Over this past week so much has been happening worldwide that it feels like an eternity.  Still spring skips along and stuff is happening; good things both in the garden and out.  If you want to see how alike we are around the world, in our gardens but also in our woes and joys, pop over to The Prop’s site where all will be revealed.  Here you can find out what our fellow humans have been getting up to and how many extra hours they have been in the garden when they should have been “working from home”.

First we have the same Muscari latifolium that I featured a couple of weeks ago, now all grown up.  Fabulous.

Last year my little brother and his family went to Tanzania on holiday.   As they are what we affectionately know as “The Cloggies”, ie they are mostly Dutch and live in the Netherlands, they very kindly posted me some African coffee instead of a postcard.  Unfortunately, possibly due to my extensive criminal record, the Customs and Exise people intercepted it.  They then proceed to break the seal, rootle around inside for a bit, before sending it on to me.  I decided not to drink the coffee.  The empty tin makes a rather nice container for a couple of baby sempervivum.  Thanks bruv, it was a nice thought.

Now we have a pot of radish and spring onions, well the potential for them anyway.  This is a feeble grow-your-own attempt.  I made a bit of a boo-boo and bought seed tape for the radishes.  It is weird stuff.  A bit like knicker elastic.  Nothing has germinated yet.  Perhaps it was knicker elastic after all.  Like the true professional I am, I have been checking for action several times a day.  Nowt yet.  Do you like my “no poo-ing in this pot” defence system?  For the cats you understand.

A couple of days ago OH decided to dead-head the hydrangea.  “Don’t stand on the bleeding heart that is growing underneath” I pleaded.  He gave a look, and it wasn’t the look of love.  He didn’t.   Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Valentine’ is quite safe.

I am trying to get my Jacaranda mimosifolia re-accustomed to life in the big bad world by moving it outside during the daytime and bringing it back into the relative comfort of our dining room at night.  It has been “in, out, in, out” but as yet there has been no “shaking it all about”.

Lastly we have the unfolding fresh foliage, red-edged and vulnerable, of one of our many Woolies acers.  Every one a winner baby.

‘Til next time my friends, stay safe and well.

 

Six on Saturday – I’m Back

After a couple of weeks absent from Six on Saturday-ing (what do you mean you didn’t notice?), I am back in the loving arms of the SoS family.   You might imagine that whilst away I was undertaking exciting and adventurous exploits, about which you would be only half right.  Half of the time, not half of me.   For the uninitiated pop over to The Propagator’s blog where you will be able to find out exactly what you are missing.  You can then choose to either run for the hills or join in.   ps escape while you still are in control of your own destiny.  Let’s get on, there is fish curry to prepare!

First we have a marigold, Calendula ‘Neon’.   The garden has taken on a life of its own and I am just letting it get on with it.  I have relaxed into the anarchy.  This was planted at the base of the Forest Pansy and was nibbled and struggled through drought.  Still it give pleasures.  Respect.

Next we have Cosmos ‘Seashells Mix’, that has eventually got a move on and bothered to flower.  The seeds were either a freebie or in the bargain bin, as I wouldn’t normally have chosen this make and model.  However, I must admit I rather like its flounces.  Another plant is yet to open, but the buds suggest that it will be a dark pink – watch this space for the outcome!

The pack of assorted sempervivum’s I bought a few weeks ago, have eventually been potted up and just to prove that I didn’t copy Jim completely, I put them in a square seed pan.  Oh yes, and a round one which admittedly is the same …….  Never mind, as they say, immitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Now the glorious Salvia involucrata ‘Hadspen’.  And friend.   The flower looks rather random in its form, which is in part due to the angle of photography but also because it is a curiously beautiful creature.

Next a little tomato, hiding so a big gardener doesn’t eat it.  Failed!

Finally we have Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’ which has rampaged through the border, terrorising all the other occupants.  It is forgiven because it has furry flowers.

That is it, all done, I’ll see you in the gloamin’!

 

Six on Saturday – The Moment

August: ready or not here we come!  Soon there will talk of cool nights and shortening days, but let us not wish our lives away.  There is plenty of time left to fret about watering and dead heading and whether we have fed our tomatoes enough or are the slugs and snails attacking whilst I take five minutes to read The Garden magazine, was that an aphid I saw, should I have staked the delphiniums, and such like.  As the Six on Saturday rules stipulate, and you know me I like to follow any rules to the letter, the following photos represent what is happening in my garden right now, unless you are watching on demand when the moment may well have passed, or on crystal ball when it is possibly yet to happen.  Pop on over to our very own Grand Magician to catch up with other SoSers from across the known universe, enchanted by his evil spell, trapped in his web of deceit.  Sorry, I may have got a little carried away.  I love him really.

First we have what I like to call The Giant Mutant Orange Tomato.  It is the spawn of The Giant Mutant Fasciated Tomato Flower.   Soon we will dissect it to reveal its alien innards.

Already inspired by Jim’s post last week and further prompted by trays of sempervivum appearing at our local Lidl awaiting to be mistreated by uncaring employees, any resistance on my part was futile.   There was no doubt that it was a sign from the horticultural gods, and who am I, a mere mortal, to defy them. In order to doubly placate them, I bought two packs, just in case someone else I know would like some.  Spread the love and all that nonsense.  However I have decided that I am not going to tell anyone that I have them so I can keep them all.   Perhaps inspired by the horticultural demons.  But I have grit, I have compost, now all I have to do is plant them artistically.  Which is where it might all go astray.

I discovered something new today, and it is another name change.  This time it is our beloved hedge bindweed.  I may be late to the party, but apparently Convolvulus sepium is now Calystegia sepium.  Who would have thought it?  I was trying to photograph a bee feasting on the honeysuckle and as my camera swung in an attempt to capture it, horror of horrors it nipped into a bindweed flower.  A weed in my garden.  Unthinkable!

Kniphofia ‘Tawny King’ is planted in a position possibly a little too shady for optimum flowering, but in spite of that it is making a sterling effort.  Not terribly “tawny” at the moment, perhaps it will darken as it matures.

I bought plugs of this Begonia ‘Glowing Embers’ months ago, the idea being that I grew them on and then passed them on to one of my clients.  They staggered along, one foot in the compost bin, for weeks, not good enough for anyone else.  I planted them in the barrel in the front garden and left them to it.  “Sink or swim” I told them, and they have eventually decided upon breast stroke.  I would have preferred front crawl.

Finally we have Grewia occidentalis, the African Starbush.  This beauty is not frost tolerant so will join the queue for preferential treatment come winter.  As we are not thinking about that just yet, living in the moment, we can just enjoy the fabulous flowers, of which there are many to come.

All done, until next time!

Six on Saturday – I made it in the end

Dahlia coccinea

I definitely wasn’t going to do a SoS this week, categorically not.  Then I relented, I changed my mind.  Which is par for the course.  Please bear this in mind if you are trying to persuade me to co-star with Hugh Jackman in a remake of Les Mis.

Here we are again, and which means so is the King of Prop-ing (if you say it right it does scan, you may have to practice or take my word for it), pop over to discover what is happening in the Kingdom of Prop.

Let us begin with Dahlia coccinea, grown from seed several years ago, and only now coming into flower.  All my dahlias stayed out last winter, with little if any protection.  This is not a boast.  My head is hung in shame.  And for this neglect I have been rewarded with sad plants that are blooming late.  Next year ….

Hibiscus syriacus

Secondly is an unnamed (names cost more) hibiscus, rescued from the bargain bin of a supermarket.  Most probably a cultivar of Hibiscus syriacus, it deserved better treatment.  I am yet undecided whether it will remain Chez Nous, or be adopted by one of my lovely clients.

agapanthus

Now an agapanthus, the old faithful who never fails to perform.  But all is not sweetness and light. Over winter it acts as a cosy hostel for the all especially delinquent snails in the neighbourhood.  As I am on to this ploy, they are gathered up and relocated, mainly to snail heaven.  If I am feeling particularly magnanimous they are put in the green bin where they go to ….. well who knows?!

Scabiosa 'Plum Pudding'

Next we have Scabiosa ‘Plum Pudding’, itself a rather unruly customer, lolling all over the place with little if any decorum.  Luckily the flowers are so ripstockingly wonderful, it is forgiven this lacking in the grace department.

sempervivum

How are we getting on?  Are we there yet?  Not quite.  Here is a little sempervivum.  It thrives on sun and neglect.  Double whammy.

Salvia 'Nachvlinder'

And finally we have Salvia ‘Nachtvlinder’ and friend.  I snapped away at this for a while, flowers dancing in the wind, bee holding on for dear life.  All the fun of the fair.

Another SoS under my belt.  And to think I wasn’t going to bother.  Thanks Your Propping Highness, until next time.