Six on Saturday – The Builders Are Coming …….

Mirabilis longiflora 'Angel Trumpets'

September, how did that happen?  This “time passing” malarkey is quite disturbing sometimes.  It is Six on Saturday time once more.  What Andrew Lloyd Webber is to musical theatre, The Prop is to the Meme.  But much more handsome.  Take a look at his blog and marvel at some of his greatest hits, the divas and the divans, complete with hissy fits and jazz hands.

“What has any of this got to do with builders?” you may well ask.  Well, the invisible leak in our roof has now become invisible “leaks”, and we are (yet again, using a different builder) going to try to get it, and its new buddy, fixed.  As we live in a three storey house this means a substantial amount of scaffolding.  Which in turn means (dum, di, dum, di, dum) scaffolders and builders.  Don’t get me wrong, they are noble professions, but in my experience they have little regard for what I hold dearly, that is “plants”.  Last time there were tears.  I am expecting more.

“No we definitely won’t be going over there”  “Nor there”  “Five foot (how quaint) from the front and rear, all will be safe”.  I could see the head honcho’s eyes glowing red as he attempted to placate me.  As we are having a royal visit next weekend, yes Her Not So Royal Highness, Peggy of the municipality of Creigiau, is visiting with her entourage.  There will be absolutely no hope of doing anything during this sojourn except fanning and curtsying.  Which means I made a start today.  In a feeble attempt at damage limitation I have started shuffling pots.  The following is what I saw (apart from a lot of sneaky slugs and mud) whilst I toiled and prayed for mercy.

Firstly we have the elegant and fleeting flower of Mirabilis longiflora ‘Angel Trumpets’.  Grown at extraordinary speed from seed this year, so fast that I have taken several cuttings already which are thriving.  It is currently languishing in amongst yet-to-flower salvias.  I don’t think I have placed it correctly.  It is pencilled in for a shuffle next year.

Crocosmia 'Coleton Fishacre'

Now we have Crocosmia ‘Coleton Fishacre’ just beginning to flower.  This was a bit of a surprise as I thought it was C. ‘Emily McKenzie’.  Now I wonder where she could have got to?  The scaffolders are definitely not going anywhere near this bed.   I have yet to give the builders my “do not throw anything, liquid or solid, on the borders, do not stub your fags out in my pots” instructions.  For them to ignore.  Obviously.

Armeria pseudameria

Although I only have a mini greenhouse, it is going to have to move, along with all my cuttings, sown seeds and newly potted-ons.  This sixer (all the best things come in sixes) of Armeria pseudarmeria  (that I have been spelling incorrectly according to the semi-diety of the RHS) may have to take its chances in the big bad world.  Needs to toughen up a bit before the winter.  Might be a good thing.  See, I’m looking on the bright side already!

Persicaria filiformis

This Persicaria virginiana var. filiformis, Fili to her mates, is just coming into its own after struggling through the winter.  All we need now is a size 12 steel toecap ……….. but of course this will not happen as neither scaffolder or builder will be anywhere near this area.  Grown primarily for its foliage, which I have always thought resembles a psychological ink blot test (beaked bird, possibly evil with big boots on), but also has the most delicate, and charming, red flower spikes.

grasshopper

This little chap was not happy about his home being shifted.  He lives in amongst the greenery of Dahlia ‘Peggy’s Pearler’ which is being very slow to flower.  There will be trouble if there is no action by next week.  I may have to stick some plastic ones on.  She will never notice.

Dahlia coccinea

Lastly we have Dahlia coccinea, the paintbrush washed orange and red petals are glorious. This bloom sits alongside standard deep red flowers.  It is known to be a variable plant, this might be a reaction to weather or perhaps just an attention seeker.

That is it for another week.   Don’t forget to see what everyone else has been up to at Chez Prop, who I thank for being a wonderfully magnanimous host.

With a fair wind, plenty of tea and chocolate hobnobs, with my menacing look saved for emergencies, in the next few weeks we might have a dry house and an undamaged garden.  Dreams do come true.  They do don’t they?  Tell me they do!

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.

sidalcea

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

Six on Saturday – Ruthless

Bidens 'Firelight'

Beware, I am in a ruthless mood today.  Inhabitants of the garden that have not been performing to my exacting standards have been extradited to the green bin.  Oleander that has never flowered, promised once but was only joking – Out!  Dead stick thing that has been in extensive care for so long the label has rubbed clean – Out!  Scrubby grass with no aesthetic merit whatsoever but for some perverse reason I have always felt sorry for – Out!  OH has been hiding.

I feel cleansed and ready to write my Six on Saturday.  We are semi-anarchic group led by Prop Guevara, take a look at his manifesto and all will become clear.  You will also meet others in this band of merry folk.

My first offering is Bidens ‘Firelight’.  I am fond of bidens.  They seem to like me too.

Next we have Impatiens puberula,  which earlier this year I transferred from its pot in the back garden into a large barrel in the front garden.  After an initial period of homesickness, it has settled in very well, spreading dramatically and beginning to flower well.  It is not surprising that it is a little ragged around the edges.  The very un-British weather we are enjoying hasn’t really suited this native of cool moist forests in Nepal.

You can have too much of a good thing.  This Verbascum chaixii, the nettle leaved mullein, has done too well.  After it has flowered, in the autumn I suppose, it will be lifted and divided and shared to all and sundry.  In the meantime it is providing a feeding station for bees, no caterpillars spotted yet.

Catanache caerula 'Alba'

Catanache caerulea ‘Alba’, or the white cupid’s dart, is next.   I grew this from seed last year.   The joy of seeing a flower bloom that you have propagated never diminishes.

watsonia

Now a watsonia seedling, a bit of a tender Terry, it was one of the many I was worried about earlier in the year.  It is not flowering as prolifically as it did last year, but I can forgive it for the harsh treatment it withstood.  The colour is wonderful.

grasshopper

Sat on the steps earlier, worn out by my tyranny, I felt that I was being watched.  Glancing sideways at the pot of begonias to my right, I saw this little chap, who kindly stayed in position whilst I dashed inside to get my camera.  As for the rest of the plants, you can all relax now.  For the moment anyway.

That is that.  All done.  Thanks for your leadership Propman.  Next week perhaps …..

 

Six on Saturday – Rush 2

The chilli is made, the guest room is ready, the shopping done, the fridge well stocked and the washing is on the line.  That leaves me a small window of opportunity to contribute to this week’s Six on Saturday before my nephew and his girlfriend arrive to stay for a couple of days.  Take a look at The Propagator’s blog and all will be revealed although it really is quite simple.  The concept, wait for it, is Six …… on ……. Saturday.  So here are mine.

The white lobelia in the front planters have eventually begun to flower.  As an added bonus this particular shade of white appears to be white and blue, which I am not complaining about, in fact I am really quite pleased.

Next we have a dark leaved geranium that I grew from seed.  It is in its second year and this is the first time it has flowered.  Again I am not disappointed by the ethereal blue, especially set against the moody foliage.  Looks like the molluscs have enjoyed it as well.

Eschscholtzia californica 'Red Chief'Another seed grown lovely is this california poppy,  Eschscholzia californica ‘Red Chief’, won in the same seed war as the nasturtium in last week’s Six on Saturday – Raindrops keep falling on my flowers.

Potentilla 'Volcan'

Now we have the deep dark Potentilla ‘Volcan’, with Festuca glauca ‘Intense Blue’ in the background.  The grass is looking surprising healthy, considering it is frequently used as a cushion by Fat Ol, the ginger not-tom-anymore, from next door.

Primula capitata 'Noverna Deep Blue'

A new purchase this week is this Primula capitata ‘Noverna Deep Blue’.  An impulse purchase.  But then they generally are.

Leucocoryne 'Andes'

Lastly a fluke photo.  Leucocoryne ‘Andes’ and friend.   Sometimes luck is on your side.

Bit of a rush through, but needs must.   Thanks again to Mr Propenstein, has he invented a monster?  It certainly is growing and growing and growing and growing …..

Six on Saturday – Raindrops keep falling on my flowers

gazania

Someone must have speeded the film up.  It can’t possibly be Saturday again.  There is so much to cram into every week, it doesn’t seem fair that the time seems to pass more quickly at this time of year.   As we are pondering this anomaly, puzzled looks on our faces, gaining yet more wrinkles, there is a more than likely a crack team of scientists studying this very phenomena.  Let us hope so.  I could do with a few more hours at the very least.  The hard fact is that we are back in our happy place again.  Six on Saturdayland.  Take a look at the website of The Grand Vizier of the Independent State of SoS where you will find other Islanders and a guide to help you on your way if you wish to join in with the conga.  Let us proceed.  Due to circumstance all of my flowers this week are a little wet.  It has mizzle/drizzle/rained all day and although this scuppered my plans I am pleased for the garden.

First of all we have a gazania, the first flower to open from a couple of trays of locally grown mixed plants.  I’m sure they have been enjoying the hot sunny spell we have had up until today.  Quite what this sun-loving, South African daisy will think of the dreary North Devon weather I can’t be sure.  Might make a nice change, although this is unlikely.

Salvia argentea

Next we the Salvia argentea, silver sage, a fabulously furry creature that I have mentioned before in Six on Saturday – Monochrome.   I am pleased to report that it over-wintered and is as adorable as ever.  A pet without the vet fees.

Hosta

Now we have a hosta, which has so far escaped the inevitable ravages of molluscs.  In order to keep a keen eye on it, it lives in pot outside the front door.  It was a gift, along with a couple of others, from Chambercombe Bob and is just about to flower.  I am very fond of it.  Bob’s nice too.

Nasturtium 'Black Velvet'

On to Nasturtium ‘Black Velvet’, which although is quite velvety isn’t terribly black.   A bit out of focus, but it was raining and I was balancing and who cares.   This seed was purchased at an end of season cut price jamboree/full-on-combat event.  Everything was fifty pence, I am hyperventilating just thinking about it.  Myself and Nancy Nightingale wrestled a rather persistent lone male shopper for the spoils.  No prizes for guessing who won the bout.  We make a fine tag team.

pelargonium

A rather pretty pink pelargonium is next, unnamed, bog standard, generic and quite beautiful.

primula

Finally, a little late on parade, we have a buttercup yellow primula.  Bought on a stall somewhere on my travels, perhaps car boot sale or open garden.  It is a welcome splash of colour before my tardy dahlias begin their display.  If I can keep them safe.  Which is not a given.

That is your lot my lovelies.  Until the next time!

Six on Saturday – Angels and Demons

rose

Hip hip hooray, it’s another Saturday!  I’ve had a haircut and a bowl of chips with mayonnaise and now I am ready for anything.  Even a Six on Saturday.  No idea what I am talking about?  Where have you been?  Lost in the Bornean jungle, or Ikea’s soft furnishing department? Don’t worry, Sir Propalot will update you on proceedings.

First we have a splendid rose.  It was in the garden when we moved here, so I have a valid reason for not knowing which one it is.  I suppose I could do a little research, but to be honest I’m not that bothered.  All I know is that it is beautiful and fragrant.  Which is adequate.

Parahebe 'Snow Clouds'

Next we have Parahebe ‘Snow Cloud’ which has weathered the hard winter admirably. The other parahebe in the garden, although alive, has not fared so well.  It is looking decidedly ropey and is on the “pull yourself together or you are out” list.  Swotty Snow Cloud is definitely not on that list.  Straight to the top of the class you go!

pyracantha

Spikey plants are not encouraged in the gardens that I work in, let alone in my own.  OH bought this pyracantha, even though when he suggested it I said through gritted teeth “if you want it, feel free”.   I concede that it is great for the wildlife and the flowers are rather lovely.  This does not detract from the fact it is a vicious monster to the gardener.

primula

A little late to the spring party, but none the less very welcome, this primula is strutting its stuff this weekend.

Geranium nodosum

Earlier this week I said to Ms Button, whilst attacking the forest of mint that someone decided was a good idea to plant directly into the ground, “Do you ever wish you had a time machine and you could go back to the moment the offending plant was being planted and say “stop, in the name of humanity, do not put that thug in what is to become my garden!””  I would say just that to whoever planted this pink geranium in my garden.  It is a thug and pops up in, under and over everything.  I believe it to be Geranium nodosum.  Ruthless.

Rosa 'Rhapsody in Blue'

Last, but definitely not least, we have Rosa ‘Rhapsody in Blue’.   Not blue, but a rhapsody indeed.  Fragrant and floriferous.  Wonderful.

That is your lot, another week passes, another six to savour.  Some demons, some angels, some demonic angels, some …. you know where I’m going.  Thanks to The Prop, onwards and upwards!

 

Six on Saturday – Another One

rhodohypoxis

Another Six on Saturday.  Another introduction to main man, The Prop.  Another invitation to join us.  Another attempt to take photographs that conceal the slug ravaged, garden mayhem that is my reality.  Here we go ….

Firstly we have Rhodohypoxis baurii.  With minimum (read no) effort, these little charmers come up every spring and flower their little flower socks off.  Even the ones that mysteriously “fell” out of the greenhouse when OH walked by and were stuffed back in the pot, have done their very best.  Lovely.

Geum 'Blazing Sunset'

Next we have Geum ‘Blazing Sunset’, enjoying this morning’s early sunshine.  Enormous, great gallumping flowers, but definitely not as vigorous as it was last year.  Perhaps it is dwindling.  I will try to remember to collect some seed.

Sisyrinchium 'E K Balls'

Sisyrinchium ‘E K Balls’ has decided that he is quite happy in his new planter and will therefore show his pleasure the only way he can.  By blooming.  And being blooming lovely.

allium

This lone allium, planted in the garden before we were dropped off by the mother ship, is just beginning to reveal its violet stars.

Brachyscome 'Magenta Delight'

A few days ago I succumbed to temptation of the worse kind.  Yes, I am talking about The Half Price Offer.  I was putty in their hands.  When I returned from work yesterday, a large box was waiting for me.  Balm indeed.  Along with this gorgeous little Brachyscome ‘Magenta Delight’ came pentemon, gaura and bidens.  All I can say is “welcome”, and don’t expect any special attention after the honeymoon period is over.  Which most probably will be tomorrow.

Osteospermum

Lastly we have an osteospermum.  Not just any pretty pink daisy.  This is the sole survivor of cuttings donated by the Notorious Mr K.  Not dead, just accustoming herself to a new life across the channel.

Thanks to the The Duke of Prop – shimmy over to his blog to find out what has been going on this week across the universe and beyond.   Adieu!