Six on Saturday – PS Peggy

Shall we get the obvious out of the way before we get going? It has been hot. Hot for us Brits. We are ill-equipped for such things. We are sleep deprived and smelly. We are pink and dehydrated and grumpy. This week I have mainly been watering pots, talking about how hot it is, sweating and trying to sleep. I have woken to find the weather has broken; it is windy and wet and warm, a generous gift from the alliteration gods. It is too early to say whether this is a preferred option, it is undoubtedly one I am more accustomed to. Crikes, a garden chair just flew past the window! Wait a moment while I rescue it. Well, that was exhilarating and a little bit scary.

I’m trying to think of someone who would have stayed chilled this week and calm in a storm…… just a minute it is on the tip of my tongue ……. oh yes, our Six on Saturday leader, The Prop. Let us shake a leg, this SoS won’t write itself.

First, we have a plant that I took without the owner’s permissions. I nicked it. At the earliest opportunity I confessed, which makes it alright. I think. He didn’t call the police. But I have moved house since. Perhaps I am on the run and don’t even know it. It was however a crime of passion, so there is absolutely no way I would be charged in a Disney court of law. It is a rather beautiful geranium that I don’t know the name of, I didn’t go so far as to steal the label, but I call it Paul’s geranium.

My cucumber ‘Marketmore’ has taken off and there are more flowers and baby cucs on the way. I have been removing the male flowers, for no other reason that I thought the bad boys might make the fruit bitter. Or is that courgettes? The plant has decided that my cane support was not adventurous enough and headed in a tomato-ey direction. As the saying goes, “You can lead a cucumber to bamboo but you can’t make it climb it”. Unless you tie it on and cut off all the tendrils of course.

Last week it was Peggy’s birthday. As we skated to my brother’s house for a celebratory meal, mum on her rolator, me and OH on rollerblades, we bumped into a local gardener. “It is my mum’s birthday” I said, just like a three year old would. The generous woman disappeared into her greenhouse and came out with this little beauty, Salvia ‘Senorita Leah’. “Happy birthday” she said, and then to me “You can easily take cuttings”. I was already on it.

You might well hang your head in shame Dahlia coccinea! One day you have red flowers, the next you decide to start blooming orange. A mystery indeed. I blame Brexit/heatwave/alien invasion.

This is the first time that my Hydrangea aspera ‘Hot Chocolate’ has flowered. To be honest it hasn’t been a long wait, a little over a year, and you have to let a chap settle in. The lovely peachy blooms are a pleasant surprise. I bought the plant for its foliage (and name) and hadn’t considered flower colour. Very nice.

The watsonia seedling has also flowered for the first time. It was a gift from Steve and Dawn at Devon Subtropical. Here it is growing in association with a more reliable orange dahlia, Bishop of York. When I say “in assocation” I mean, I stuck the pot next to it.

And here is an extra. However I have got an exemplary excuse for this misdemenour. Are you sitting comfortably? Since we have been living with my mum, I’ve enjoyed sharing my plants with her. I bring the pots in that are small enough, or help her outside for the larger ones, and tell her a little bit about them. Yesterday afternoon we were looking at this Fuchsia procumbens ‘Variegata’ and she was smitten. “Shame, I’ve already got my Six on Saturday photos sorted” I told her. “Can’t you have it as a PS?” Of course I can. So here it is: the adorable variegated creeping fuchsia.

That is your lot. Rain this weekend, which is much needed. Hopefully not floods, which are seldom welcome. Take care, my friends. ‘Til next time.

Six on Saturday – Interloper

A Six on Saturday update from Inbetweensville; house viewings are proceeding and a couple of “close but no cigar”, life Chez Maman rumbles along nicely, gardening is good. The optimism tank is not empty just yet. The interim pot garden is doing well and Peggy is not subtle in her demands for the future, “As the plants are now in my garden, they are now officially mine and must stay when you leave.” she announced the other day. This reminded me of when my lovely Cloggie Sister-in-Law first visited the family mansion in Cornwall and foolishly left her chocolate unattended in the fridge. “Stop! That is Ellen’s chocolate!” my Mum proclaimed, as she caught my Dad unashamedly tucking in. “But is is my fridge” he reasoned. End of story. Where chocolate was concerned, there were no holds barred. Lessons were learned. In our house the Easter Bunny ate our Easter eggs, meaning they had to be secreted with the utmost stealth. Which might explain a lot. For less tragic, more floriferous, stories you would be advised to check out what our SoS leader, The Prop, is up to. I am sure he would never take candy from a baby.

Onto my contribution, as tempus is, as always, fugiting. This week, after an initial smack in the chops, my six are rather muted. I will explain. I have been let down. Again. Which has turned me from from the bright side to the subtle side. All will be revealled in the fullness of time. Actually in the next paragraph.

I should know by now not to gloat. It seldom ends well. A few months ago I swaggered, very unattractively, after finally acquiring Lilium ‘Forever Susan’ . Never believe what you read on the label. It is not even close. Still, it is big and bright and very orange and is getting on rather well with Rosa ‘Rhapsody in Blue’. Small mercies. I’m not giving up in my quest, I will nab that ‘Susan’ if it is the last thing I do! Until then I am focusing on delicate hues in the (my) pot garden.

Next, a darling, dusky, Primula capitata ‘Noverna Deep Blue’ which has got on and done the business without fuss or fancy. Respect.

Now, we have a stonking great seed capsule of Trillium sessile, the one I grew from seed and was recently reunited with. I am watching and waiting and wondering if I have the patience to sow more seed. Anyone interested? What I mean is, is anyone interested in some seed, not if I am going to grow any, which is not very interesting.

Onto, the first flower of my dwarf French bean ‘Tendergreen’. Very pretty. Now get on and give me a bean!

Number five is Impatiens arguta ‘Alba’, just coming into to flower and very welcome at that.

Lastly we have Dahlia merckii, a gift from the ever generous Anna in Cumbria. This year she has shined like the star she is! Thank you.

All done, keeping staying well and safe, my friends. ‘Till the next time.

Six on Saturday – Gloomy

We have got to the point in the year where acceleration has reached optimum velocity. Any pretence of control has been thrown out the window with the OS map. There is no brake pedal (one of my favourite anxiety dreams) and we just have to free wheel down the hill as best we can without causing too much harm. Perhaps we should just lift up our feet and shout “wheeeeee!”. Enough with the analogies? Quite right too. You won’t find any of those kind of fripperies over at Prop Central, take a look to find out what the rest of the world has been up to, you won’t be disappointed. Before we go any further, I must explain the title “gloomy”, it refers to the weather and photos, not my mood. Now let’s boogie on!

First we have an aerial shot of my radish seedlings, taken from a drone. Not really, I just stood over the pot. But you didn’t really think …….? Aren’t they bounding along? Someone has taken a nibble here and there, but I don’t mind sharing a little. Just a little.

Next a new member of the family. More compost was needed so we popped into the garden centre and somehow (I’m sure you know how it is) this little lovely ended up in the shopping trolley. Soon, and yes I really mean soon, it will be potted up in its own special terracotta pot and given pride of place.

Now a rather dusty cactus. On the epic crammed journey from North Devon to South Wales, OH held this and equally spiky friend in a box on his lap. Jeopardy.

Onto a pot of bedding I planted to cheer up the front of the house, which has settled in very nicely. What a wonderful daughter I am.

For years I lusted over a variegated jerusalem sage in Phlomis Phlo’s and TT’s garden. I took cuttings on several ocassions, always ending in failure. They also took cuttings will zero success. Just before we moved TT came to pick up a large potted to feed his Australisian habit and with him he bought the above plant. The reluctant Phlomis ‘Rougemont’ had seeded itself in the surrounding gravel. It was meant to be.

Finally, Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’, head hanging low due to the weight of her tresses. I liberated this from Zeus’ mum who was dismayed by her reckless habit. I was hoping she would behave herself a little more with me. Perhaps not.

And that is your lot, my friends. Hope you all have the requisite ratio of rain and sunshine in your lives. Til next time.

Sixish on Saturday

It has been a very good week. Highlights included: wheeless barrows, gin kits, a static Elvis, celeriac, a plethora of books, downward dogs in the rain and most importantly an adorable cat. I had tales to tell and pictures to share but not the time, or possibly the inclination, to write a blog about them. Hopefully I will catch up soon. Six on Saturday is a milestone in the week; even if I am not contributing I am thinking about whether I am going to or what excuse I can give myself not to. As you will have already deduced, this time I am. Before we get going, I must confess that I have strayed from the path, somehow an extra photo has snuck in. However, as one is for illustrative purposes only and should therefore not be counted, I believe I have staying within the perimeters and rigid guidelines as laid down in the three hefty volumes of SoS rules. In a futile attempt to conceal my rebeliousness from you top mathematicians I will use a) and b). I hope this is OK. Again, any complaints should be directed to my agent, Mr A Non, Refuse Lane, Bin Town, Rubbish County, Trashtopia. I doubt the Lord High Commander will give a fig, so neither should you. Shall we shake a leg?

First, residing at the opposite end of the tufa plant to the lithodora featured last week, is a fabulous little erodium. It is looking particularly lovely, bejewelled (a very Nigella word, don’t you think?) with raindrops. I must get more erodium, such great plants.

Recently I have getting in touch with my veggie side. When packing up to move I decided to send to storage all my flower seed but I brought my vegetables with me. This week, after a compost-buying visit to the local garden centre, I had a mini sowing spree. In this planter there is salad leaf, cut and come again, Mesclun Mix. In redundant terracotta window boxes I also sowed knicker elastic radishes and a mix of purple and orange carrots. In order to make quite clear to the local feline population that “this is not a cat litter box” I have placed twigs around the outside. I would be upset if my seedlings were disturbed. Even if it was Buster.

Whilst at the garden centre I was tempted (surprise, surprise) by the young tomato plants. Sungold is a long time favourite, Shirley the name of Peggy’s best friend. I bought an extra Shirley for my brother and his wife. I thought we could have a competition. Old habits die hard.

Onto a glorious yellow rose, unpruned and leggy, but still quite beautiful.

Aeonium ‘Zwartzop’ is a prime candidate for artistic raindrop shots. It would have been rude not to.

Lastly, a happy discovery in Peggy’s garden. I think this might be Jasminum beesianum but, as always, I am happy to be corrected. Whatever its name, the bees weren’t bothered, especially the diddy ones who are as zippy as they are petite. Five hundred and seventy six photos later, in the rain I might add, and I barely caught one of these allusive flitters. Still, after all that effort, you must see the bee in action, which somehow detracts from the beauty of the jasmine. So here we have it: a) bee and peripheral jasmine and b) bee-less jasmine in all its glory.

That is your lot, my friends. Have a good week!

Six on Saturday – New Friends

If it wasn’t for May, I think June would be my favourite month. There is still optimism in the air and the ravages of reality are yet to pay a visit. All is good. Anything is possible. Today is the first SoS of my second best month. All the pots have now been transported from the tender loving care of brother and sister-in-law’s garden to Peggy’s patio. I am very happy to be reunited. One was left behind, Magnolia ‘Heaven Scent’. This glorious tree is part payment for their kindness and a magnolia really should have its feet in the earth and not in compost. What is more, there is a perfect spot for it. Luckily/unluckily, Lazarus the acer failed to rise again this spring so there is prime real estate ready for moving into. And of course I am not the only Heavens in town. If you would like to take stock of this fabulous month in all its glory, at the four corners of the known universe, than you could hardly do better than to visit The Gamemaster and see what the other SoSers have been up to. All good clean fun, I am quite certain. Now we really should proceed.

First a self-seeded scabious that is possibly the godzilla off-spring of Scabiosa ‘Blue Jeans’. It is already attracting attention from the local bee population.

Next we have Aquilegia ‘Egg’ so called because …. suddenly I have a distinct feeling of deju vu. As I have told you the story a few time before, I will just precis it as follows: farm, eggs, aquilegia, heinous crime.

The sempervivum are picking up, seemingly nonchalant as to whether their most glorious and talented mama are by their side or not. To be truthful the same can be said for all of the other plants. I am trying not to take it personally.

Onto my yearly joy at the flowering of Rhodohypoxis baurii or equivalent. I am very happy to be corrected in its identification, but not by the fact they are little gems of wonder.

Now, we have something flowering in the little tufa planter that in its Devon life languished in the Frozen North. It seems, for some unexplicable reason, that since it has been in more convivial conditions it is growing splendidly. Any answers to this conundrum, please put them on a postcard and send to The Guilty As Charged. I think it is a lithodora, but I’m not certain. But still this blue makes my toes tingle.

Lastly, we have Potentilla atrosanguinea cosing up to Lilium ‘Forever Linda’, I have a feeling in my bones that we are all going to get on very well here.

That is your lot, my friends, have fun and be safe, until next time.

Six on Saturday – Happy Landings

The day finally arrived. Who would have thought it? On Wednesday the removal men carted most of our belongings to storage, all but the bare essentials to tied us over. Yesterday we loaded the charabanc to the rafters, every single item apparently crucial, and off we tootled to the land of TJ, MB, SB and JK. Today will be the first, hopefully, of many Welsh Six on Saturday’s. We are currently camping out with Peggy, until we find a house of our own, so all these flowers are from her garden. Like a returning student daughter I brought a bag of dirty washing with me. We are very pleased to be here, but it has been a long week and exhausting both emotionally and physically. Therefore, this will possibly be short, but hopefully will be sweet. Just like me. Pop on over to The Prop to find out what is in with the horti in-crowd. Shall we proceed?

First we have a Choisya x dewitteana ‘Aztec Pearl’. I remember buying this at the local garden centre. It is lovely but outgrown its space. The area where it flourishes at the moment apparently wants to be dug out and replanted with so it is full of colour. Not sure where Peggy is going to find a gardener to sort that out.

There are plenty of weeds, that is true, but this dandelion is looking very pretty. Not so keen about the horsetail that seems to have appeared.

Then a cistus which is long and leggy in the shady front of the house. Not an ideal place but it is valiantly flowering.

Onto the charming (and unplanned) partnership of persicaria and Euonymus fortunii.

Then a rogue euphorbia, surreptitiously spreading at the back of the border. Still, the flowers are bizarrely beautiful.

Finally, this aquilegia was here to welcome us when we arrived. A reminder that wherever you lay your granny’s bonnet that’s your home.

We are done! Take care my friends. Now where did I pack that cement mixer?

Six on Saturday – The Long Goodbye

It has been a week of fare-thee-wells and packing; a few tears, plenty of reminising and a fair amount of box action. And we are not over quite yet, another week and a bit to go ’til M Day. I’m sure I will be lost for words when we are eventually settled into Nouveau Chez Nous (Fred?). Still all this turmoil is little excuse not to participate in the meme of champions, presided over by The Wizard of Prop and ably supported by multinational team of Munchkins. Time waits for no Munchie so let us proceed or we will never reach the Emerald City in time. Wagons Roll!

First we have Phlomis fruticosa, just coming into flower. I can’t praise this shrub highly enough for its resilience in the face of much torment and torture from wind and rain. It rocks and rolls all winter and then calmly produces a myriad of sunshine blooms. Top marks, my friend.

I am pretty certain that there used to be hyacinths where these flowers are blooming.  They seems a little loose to be hyacinths, but a little full flowered to be the evil Mata Hari known as the Spanish Bluebell.  Can these two related plants hybridise?  Are they Bluecyinths or Hybells?  Should I have a lie down?

There are undeniable signs that the Colquhounia coccinea has survived the winter. I gave a cutting to Jim last year which I believe flowered. This one has never flowered. Bitter? Moi?

Rain sodden strawberry flowers, escapees from the orginal pot, which are thriving jammed between wall stones. Read into that what you may.

If anyone is paying attention they might at this moment be sighing and thinking “what another aquilegia?”. However this one is featured as it is raising its head uncharacteristically in a “come on photograph me” kind of way. It was futile to resist. Either that or it was raining and I was in a hurry and looking for an easy option. You choose.

Lastly, you will have to indulge me once again. The above photo is not from my garden, but from Nancy Nightingale’s. This week was my last visit to her and her crazy garden. We dashed around in the rain, doing what we could whilst I gabbled instruction for the future. Things like “be gentle” and “I’ll be watching”. Digging a hole to plant out one of her many dahlias was enhanced/disrupted by puppy giant Snoop Dog, who admirably assisted me with my excavations. From my prone position, I noticed how he had carefully/fortuitously avoided the marigold with his great big delicious paws.

That is your lot, my friends. Have a good one and stay safe and well.

Six on Saturday – Buddy

Time once more to join The Propagator in the jolly jaunt that is Six on Saturday. Before we get going, clutching at the slim chance that you might be interested, too late to protest I’m telling you anyway, I will update you on Life in General. This week has been an assortment of delights. Some might have been a little past their sell by date, but on whole the lead up to La Grande Move is progressing well (Fred will translate for you). The exception is the demon named EE, who are presently resident at the centre of the dart board. Although moving from one room to another entails negotiating chicanes of boxes full and boxes empty, demanding snake hips extraordinaire, we are coping admirably. 20 days to go. Shall we proceed?

Last weekend I accompanied Hero and another friend to a craft fair at Broomhill Art Hotel. It rained almost constantly, tipping from the moment we arrived to the second we left. When we arrived home it was apparent that not a drop had sullied the washing line. But all was not gloom. A delicious (although luke warm) truffle mac and cheese was scoffed in the drizzle and some very talented people admired. I had a nice chat with one stall holder who was selling tempting flower printed light shades and fabrics. The hot topic was the virtue of the bud. Yes, I am that exciting. Here is Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ not quite in flower, but nonetheless beautiful.

Aquilegia time is imminent and this is our garden forerunner. They are ever welcome and I hope will be loved as much as I have loved them. Then cursed for their wicked and wanton ways. It is the way of the world and cannot be defied.

I try not to mention Erigeron karvinskianus often, I much prefer to talk about fleabane. Just coming into flower, it is a great favourite. In fact, we have a much-loved water colour painting of this contrary plant. It is one I will be looking out for to grace the fabled and far off and perhaps ficticious (no!) “New Garden”.

Now a rather bizarrely cropped rose bud. More buds, more potential. This is Rosa ‘Peace’, I am led to believe, also a much loved plant. I attempted to take cuttings, but I was a) too late b) too impatient c) lacking motivation and they failed. It is not only a beautiful rose but a wonderful sentiment to pass on.

Osteospermum ‘JK’ has begun flowering. There is no need to take a cutting, I will be close enough to the real thing soon enough. Wish me luck.

This last one is not in my garden, but please bear with me. A few weeks ago a friend of mine died; too young, too cruel. Above the house where he lived is a nature reserve, which this time of year is blessed with an exuberance of orchids. A couple of years ago he was eager to share them in their full and bounteous beauty. When we reached the glorious zenith, he was just as thrilled as I was to see them, although he had walked there every day and this was my first visit. It is a moment that is held safe, for when a special memory is needed. Yesterday I went for a walk with his sorrowed partner, also a good friend. I had been thinking about the Cairn but had hesitated to suggest a visit, thinking it was insensitive. Instead, we travelled in the opposite direction taking the coast path, heading east not west. After a while we left the main path, investigating some old ways, pushing between trail-encroaching self-seeded sycamores, past cliff top rusting railings and fallen gateways. And then I saw it; a lone orchid, standing proud and defiant and, of course, most beautiful. It stopped me in my tracks. We only saw the one.

Until next time my friends. Take care.

Six on Saturday – The Cupboard Isn’t Bare

Earlier this week, my old man said follow the van and don’t dilly dally on the way. Never one to miss the opportunity for a little van following, off we scooted to South Wales, hot-tailing a Luton full of plants from our garden. These cherished ones are now residing in my brother’s garden, where I am sure they are being tended and cherished as if they were his own. Or perhaps his lovely wife is in charge of the T & C. I am confident they will be quite safe for the scant four weeks we have before we leave here. I mean what could go wrong in 4 weeks? Perhaps it is best not to dwell on the subject. Do not fear, my friends, there is plenty left in the garden to share in this week’s Six on Saturday and lots more to come. More spring/autumn madness, hemisphere dependent, can be found with The Prop and the gang, pop over and take a look. Shall we proceed?

First, we have my mini-greenhouse, emptied of its precious cargo, now holding a pair of my wellies and a pair of ousted trainers. Oh, and a couple of pots of late/early cuttings: big purple penstemon and a double purple osteo. These need a keener eye than the transported ones.

Next is the bronze fennel, yes, the one that I spent many happy hours removing every single piece of from The Bed of Anarchy. The moral of this story is that when you name a border you have to accept the consequences. And this glorious thug will follow us. Many of the pots that have been stored below are already blooming a purple skirt of seedlings.

Onto Lavandula pinnata which has strolled through winter, flowering intermittently whilst cocking a snook to the season. I forgot to take any cuttings, and it is too late now I suppose, still it might come my way again.

Now an osteospermum which had been in a pot, but has now been transferred into the garden. The flower is looking a little cold nipped; still a beauty though. I have had to make painful decisions as to which to abandon and which to take with me. It is happy here, so best left to its Devon destiny.

Next, a wild strawberry, which I am quite sure will continue to delightfully pop up around the garden. I have potted up some cultivated strawberries for the new owner, hopefully they will give her fruit this year.

Finally, Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Valentine’, nestled between the phlomis and hydrangea in The Frozen North. A little beauty and happy as Larry.

That is your lot. Same time, same place? Possibly different time, but same place. Take care my friends.

Six on Saturday – No Publicity

It is that time again, the weekly Six on Saturday fix, although I do seem to be a fortnightly kinda gal these days. Exciting/terrifying times and all that. The intention is strong, the ability weak. Someone, also with a lot on his plate but seemingly excuse-free, is our esteemed leader The Propagator. It goes without saying he is incredible/wonderful/magnificent and all that sycophantic blarney which quite frankly gets us no further up the leader board (and I am positive there is one) but does anyone else have a problem spelling his name? Each time I have a battle with o’s and a’s. Perhaps not. Just me. Ever wished you hadn’t mentioned something? Shall we?

First, we have the long awaited (in my house) arrival of the aeonium flowers. They have been mustering-up for many months and eventually they are letting rip. I realise it is the dance of death, but hey ho, easy come, easy go. *sobs*

Next the leaf bud of Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’. Can I depend on you to be discreet, as the subject is yet to be broached? The decision has been made that we will be leaving this beautiful young tree behind when we move. Too large, too delicate. Ten years ago, we crammed this young tree, already far from bijou, into the back of the Ford Fiesta as both an inappropriate and irresistible bargain bin purchase. I have enjoyed our relationship, time for us both to move on. *more sobbing*

Onto Anemone nemorosa ‘Robinsoniana’ which is growing in our front garden and was a gift from the fine folk at Andrew’s Corner on the edge of Dartmoor. I have left the majority for the new incumbent, digging up a few rhizomes for both myself and my friend Pat the Field. They will enjoy South Wales, I am sure of it, and soon enough form an impressive springtime clump of joy. “Clump”, although a good word, is not to joyful word, perhaps cluster would be better?

Pat the Field, when she picked up her anemones, brought with her a bunch of her wonderful cut flowers; crazy parrot tulips, anemones, chunky rananculus, multi-headed narcissus, camassia. Hers is not just any field, it is a flower field. I am enjoying her blooms immensely; they are not only beautiful, but grown organically and with love. You just can’t beat that.

Tulipa ‘Burgundy’, I believe. A wonderful purple/red, blue centred lily flower, full of stardust. Oh, and another of those darned aphids!

Finally, there is a little misunderstanding that must be resolved.  There have been outrageous suggestions that Fat Ol is the Nom de Guerre of my OH. Nothing could be further from the truth. His name is not Ol.  In order to set the record straight, above is a rare shot of the infamous FO. He is a shy and retiring chap and, although at pains to put the record straight, is no lover of publicity. Reluctantly he agreed to the above shot. I hope that you now satisfied.

That is it, another six sixted. I can’t promise when next time will be, but there almost definitely will be one. Take care my friends.