Six on Saturday – The Right Direction

February has arrived; the month of love, the last hurrah of winter, a time of increasing optimism.  In theory anyway.  The shortest of month of the year can sometimes seem the longest, plodding through to March which itself can be slow to reveal spring.  However, there are definite advances in the garden, subtle often, but all the same heading in the right direction.  Why don’t you take a look at what The Prop and all his acolytes are up to, I’m sure they will prove my point.

What better place to begin than my waterproof trousers on the washing line in the pouring rain.  I came across them when I was sorting my tools out earlier in the week.  They were very muddy and, taking full advantage of the dreadful weather, this was my cunning plan to wash them.  My very helpful OH pegged the legs up as they were caught on the pyracantha.  Could have sprung a leak.  Another disaster averted.

Next is Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’.  I think it might be a Six on Saturday law to feature a snowdrop before the winter is out.  Any SoSers out there yet to comply had better act quickly or risk the wrath of Mr P himself.

I was very pleased to find this Eschscholzia californica ‘Red Chief’ looking so healthy.  And yes, Mr T, I know you aren’t keen on these cultivar infiltrators.  Will you let me off with a foliage shot?  I’m very happy as it looks strong which bodes well for flowers in the nearish future.  I know that there is a long way to go, but a good base is always useful.

Now we have the monster that is Salvia gesneriiflora, just coming into flower.  It has almost taken over the Bed of Anarchy and bang on schedule is beginning to bloom.  Some culling will almost certainly be necessary.

Onto Iris reticulata, a great favourite of mine.  Sorry I don’t know which one it is.  Blame the labeller.

Lastly a bowed Calendula ‘Neon’, a survivor from last year, snuggling up to a phormium.  Always good to find a rogue having a go out of season.  Showing willing.  An example to us all.

All done, ’til next time!

 

Six on Saturday – Return of the Sun

I am happy to report that this Six on Saturday is written with the sun in my heart and, more importantly, in my garden.  Yesterday, when I took these photographs, it was doing the usual, no need to dwell on that nonsense, that is the past.  Let us raise a cup of tea to the Return of the Sun.  Expect the mood to be optimistic and expectant of great futures.  Don’t forget to nip over to The Prop’s to find out what is happening in lots of other gardens.  If you are nosy like me this is a godsend, there is absolutely no chance of getting caught rummaging in someone’s herbaceous borders and being firmly asked to leave the premises or the local constabulary will be called forthwith.  Not that that has ever happened to me of course.

First of all we have a desiccated hydrangea flower.  In a few weeks these will be removed, giving space for the new growth to emerge and the cycle to continue.  It is worth keeping the heads on, both for protection of the vulnerable young foliage and for decorative purposes.  Even when soggy they look good.  I wish I would say the same for myself.

Next my bully-boy Narcissus ‘Tête-à-Tête’ who are exploding from the front planters at a rate of knots.  “I was here first!” they shout as they push the poor pansies out of the way, lifting great clods of composts as they rise triumphant.  I will not tolerate such behaviour, there is room for everyone.

Now the empty husks of hosta flowers.  These live in the front garden, in pots just by the front door so we can be ever vigilant in our war against the slimy ones.  They still get eaten.  Still, for a short while we will enjoy them intact and the flowers are rarely attacked.

On to Campanula poscharskyana, looking very washed out in this picture, which seeds itself in walls both front and back.  This piece is on the short pillar on the pavement.  This pillar is very important to the local dog population.  Messages are left here to be sniffed by the next passer-by which are then promptly replied to.  Doggie Post Office.

For many weeks I have thought that these hanging brown bats on the Begonia fuchsioides were the last of the flowers which had been caught in the light frost.  On closer inspection they appear to be seed pods.  I collected them and brought them in to dry.  Already the miniscule seed is spilling out.  Small things, big smiles.

Yesterday I sat at my computer, checking my dreary photographs, trying to pick something at least vaguely in focus.  My eyes turned towards the window, as I wondered whether I should go outside and try again.  A single white feather slowly drifted to the ground.  The feather is a symbol of the spirit in many cultures, and some believe that a white feather is the sign that an angel has passed close by.  It would be nice to think that.  Nothing to do with seagulls at all.  Nothing.

All done, until the next time.

A Solstice Six on Saturday

In the northern hemisphere, tomorrow is the winter solstice.  It is a time of optimism, an opportunity shout “up yours” to winter and, whilst shaking an angry fist, “your reign is nearly over Baby”.  The currently submissive Day will begin to nibble at the dominant Night, slowly at first, getting hungrier as the weeks pass.  Before we know it spring will be making its welcome presence felt and we will have more hours of light to practice our noble profession.  Some perhaps not so noble.   It might take a while but at least we are the right road.  Before our very own Arch Druid, The Prop, starts prancing about in the altogether around the local football pitch, you could pop on over to his blog and find out what everyone else is up to.  I would keep your clothes on though, ’til tomorrow anyway.  Shall we proceed with SoSing?

First we have a viola, looking a little bit sad but soldiering on valiantly.  They usually have a nap through the worst of the winter, returning triumphant as the season wanes.  Although not vigorous these are popping open flowers on a regular basis.  It is much appreciated.

Next we have a swelling seed pop of Tibouchina ‘Groovy Baby’.  This little shrub has been flowering continually through hell and highwater.  Literally.  It is the first time I have noticed it setting seed and am keeping half an eye on its progression.  This might not be enough; I must be more vigilant.

Onto one of the bedding primulas which are planted in the Belfast sink at the front of the house.   The incessant harsh weather seems to have melted the petals.  Interesting.

Now a feisty soul, this pelargonium still battling through, deliciously dark flowered and edged with raspberry.

And the plucky Nerine undulata, bowed and ragged.   You can’t knock the intent.  Do you get points for “trying hard”?  I certainly hope so, both for the nerine and myself.

And lastly, the world.  Every year I buy at least one new decoration for our overladen tree.  This year it is a globe.  It appears that it is being pecked at by a gigantic bird.  Unfortunately, that is the least of its problems.

Happy solstice everyone, the only way is up!

 

 

Six on Saturday – Guest Blog with Fat Ol

Before we begin let us get one thing straight, my name is not Fat Ol.  I am Perfectly Formed Ol.  Due to Gill being “too busy doing nonspecific important things” I have reluctantly agreed to stand in.  Between you and me, don’t tell a soul, she said (and this is a direct quote) “I can’t be bothered, you do the Six on Saturday, just waffle on a bit, no one will notice”.  Never one to baulk at a journalistic opportunity, I agreed.  To my mind it is about time a bit of class was introduced to the proceedings.  If you would like to discover more about the wonderful world of Six on Saturday, pop on over to the marvellous, nay inspired, blog of our master The Prop.  Her shirker self took these photographs as my delicate paws have trouble with the camera buttons, so I will have to make the best of what I am given.  Shall we proceed.

First we have a portrait of the gorgeous Me!  I think She might have been trying to photograph something else, but I pointed out the error of her ways.  A splendid shot I thought and looking rather swelte. Though I say it myself.

Next a rather boring shot, definitely lacking in the ginger department.  I believe it is called Lavandula pinnata.  Not much to see here.  Although I must admit it is flowering rather well at the moment and smells just lovely.

Now we have some under garments.  Specifically some new thermals.  I believe they worked very well.  I would have liked to show you her new longjohns, but unfortunately they have been censored, far too saucy.

Although I officially live next door, Gill’s garden is also my territory and therefore I am the one to come to for any insider information.  There is still plenty of jungle to crawl about in and hide and do other things that annoy her when she is weeding.  She always forgives me, especially as I blame my sister Daisy.  The agapanthus has had an unexpected last horrah.  It is looking a bit ragged.  I heard on Catlitter that last week her grumpiness had a problem with her spelling.  Embarrassing.  The Saliva ‘Phyllis’ Fancy’ is forming a perfect backdrop.  Cold weather on the way.  Things may well change.

The varietated wallflower is coming into its own now the surrounding show offs in pots have been snugged into corners.  Helpful as ever and, I am sure you will agree, such a lovely assistant, I helped by delicately pointing at the plant in question.

I keep telling her, “the watched nerine never boils” but still she stares and pokes and prods – when she should be stroking me!  Next week ……

That is my shift over, six of the perhaps not best but it’s all we’ve got.  ‘Til next time.

 

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – In Haste

Sorry folks, I am in a terrible rush today, so this is going to be heavy on the photos, light on the words.  Almost indetectable on the words.  Let us go, but don’t forget to pop over to The Prop’s site to find out what it’s all about Alfie.

First a cyclamen, a bit raged around the edges but that is the same for many plants in my garden.  Also for the gardener.

Now some “I should have bought them in for decoration but forgot” hydrangea heads.

Bulbs, in pots, but you will have to take my word for it, they could be just pots.  Muscari ‘Mount Hood and Tulipa orphanidea ‘Flava’.

Salvia elegans is always late on parade and I can never quite capture its true colour.

Going into its second winter, this pellie is not showing any signs of giving up.  I hope I haven’t just cursed it.

Lastly, a single flower spike of Nerine undulata.   Will it won’t it?  Hope so.

That is me done!  Must dash ……..

 

Six on Saturday – November Cheer

I am determined to remain upbeat for this week’s Six on Saturday.   Apparently, according to a memo I received this week from our mentor The Prop, it is important that we keep our happy faces on, given all that is going on at the moment.  And, as we all know, what The Prop wants, The Prop gets.  This morning’s result didn’t help.  Then I heard the story of the South African captain, Siya Kolisi, and my disappointment turned to love and respect.  There is always something there, something to turn things round.  We just have to look a little closer.

Shall we kick off with the psychedelic partnership of Begonia ‘Glowing Embers’ and Fuchsia hatschbachii.  Both were distinctly underwhelming earlier in the season.  The same can not be said for them now.  Planted in a collapsing half barrel in the frozen north, they get absolutely no direct sun now.  Do they care?  Not likely!

Next we have Jacaranda mimosifolia grown from Mallorcan seed.  It has had a good summer outside, growing well all things considered.  Last week I moved it to the waiting room, just outside the back door.  Soon it will be moved inside for a winter sojourn away from the elements, attempting to inflict a little class on the spider plants.

Onto nasturtium and friend.  I have reached the time of the year when I say “oh, bless its little cotton socks” rather than reaching for a brick.  This of course is very short sighted of me, they will return in droves to haunt me, punishing my soft heartedness.  You may have noticed by the attractive drops on the leaf that it is raining still.  On a day off I really don’t care.

Now an unknown penstemon, a cutting from a former client’s garden.  It has flowered all summer and is showing no sign of retiring from active duty.

The Lavandula pinnata has thrived this summer.  I really should have taken some cuttings but I didn’t so there is no point worrying now.  It is in a sunny, well drained spot, so the odds are stacked in its favour.  I may have just jinxed myself.

Finally, the exotic glamour of Impatiens flanaganae.  After a dramatic pause it has come into flower just in time to make number six.  Definitely worth the wait.

Not sure that was particularly cheery, but one does what one can, until the next time ….

 

 

Six on Saturday – Forlorn

Well Mr Prop you’ve really done it this time.  It has been my first day off for a while.  We have been away, dodging showers in Cornwall, and before that we had visitors to entertain, with more due next weekend.  How have I spent this glorious nugget of a free day?  Enjoying an aromatherapy massage, or perhaps brunching on avocado smashed onto spelt toast whilst perusing the weekend papers?  No, I have been wandering around my gardening in the pouring rain and howling gale trying to take photos for my Six on Saturday.  I am seriously annoyed.  And wet.  I will never forgive you.

I’m over it now.  All in the past.  I still admire you from afar.  Shall we get on?

First is a view out onto the courtyard from the relative dry and warm of my home.  I was contemplating.  I was revving myself up to venture forth.  No doubt I sighed a little.  You can see the green watering can that is too heavy for me to lug up the steps when it is full.  An anemic tomato plant, a stoically unflowering nerine and a few equally unfloriferous dahlias huddle on the step.  My pathetic greenhouse is flapping about like a demented seagull.   The ‘mind your own business’ is doing its utmost to treacherously smother the brick steps up to the main garden.  All is sog and forlorn.

I will try and cheer up as we proceed, but I can’t promise anything.  It might be a good idea to brace yourself for all eventualities.

Next is Solonum atropurpureum which is one of this year’s tranche of seed grown plants.  The decision to attempt to propagate this monster must have been made during a “what on earth was I thinking of” moment.  Alternative names are purple devil and malevolence so it is indeed surprising that I thought it would be a cuddly addition to the throng.  It is spiky and ugly and it is doing exceedingly well.

Now we have a bedraggled Dahlia australis and resident nibbler.  This plant was also grown from seed and turned out not to be the true species, a random bee must have snuck in with outsider pollen to the parent plant.  Still it is both pretty and reliable, two fine traits.  My dahlias have been dreadful this year, partly due to weather conditions and partly due to neglect.  Possibly in a ratio of 1:99.

Onto a depressed Rosa ‘Symphony in Blue’.  The first flush earlier in the summer was glorious.  Seems a little sad to see this battered shadow of its former self.   Time for it to have a sleep now and rest up until next year.

I have a confession, I have not one but two tibouchinas.  I say this tentatively as I’m a little worried that the Redistribution of the Tibouchina Party will come and liberate one of them.  But I need both, really, I do.  This is Tibouchina ‘Groovy Baby’, a diddy little shrub, but with flowers as large as its full-sized friend.  I would like a dress in this colour if anyone is feeling creative.

Lastly the delightful, Fuchsia ‘Bornemann’s Beste’.  This determined soul has thrived in the Bed of Anarchy, elbowing its way through the expanse of agapanthus and over exuberant salvias.  Sturdy and full of flower, it is a winner.

All done, until the next time, over and out.