Six on Saturday – Downhill

Well it seems that is it.  The solstice has passed and we are now on the slippery slope to winter.   Passed in a jiffy didn’t it?   Here is my midsummer Six on Saturday.  And perversely it actually looks like a summer’s day out there.   It is where I should be, not here at my desk.   As my heart is elsewhere, to be on the safe side, we should proceed with great haste.  I’m sure our mentor The Prop is not sitting at his computer wasting sunlight hours thinking of things to say to his flock.  He will be prepared and have done all this silly writing stuff ages ago and at this very moment be hard at work in his garden.  Not me.  Not organised at all.  If we get on I might be able to steal a few moments of pottering later.

Here we are, my first photo, Simon the poppy.   Simon was trampled on by steel toe-capped builders and scaffolders until I pointed him out in the nicest possible way and asked them to try their very bestest to avoid stomping on his head again.  They did their best and here he is blooming well to tell the tale.  I do love a good red poppy and Simon is one of the best.

In my little garden I don’t have the benefit of potting shed or proper greenhouse.  When I do any potting up, pricking out or some such fiddlings, I sit on the bottom step of the set towards the top of the garden with my compost, pots and the “to be sorted” arranged about me.  I then settle down with a nice cup of coffee, which in matter of moments has compost floating on the top, and enter my own little world.   It was then that I noticed this chap on a Salvia elegans, possibly the diddiest grasshopper in the world.  Splendid antennae though.

Next Allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’ which isn’t in the slightest bit sensational.    Perhaps it has a good excuse in failing to reach more than 20cm high.   They were planted late, they have been stood on (see above) and dug up by mistake (hangs head in shame).   Next year they will be wonderful, I can feel it in my bones.

A lovely surprise yesterday was to find that Peggy was flowering, albeit in a rather dishevelled way.  Like pancakes, the first dahlia flower is always a little bit dubious.

Next we have a horrid invasive geranium, it annoys me constantly by its continual march across the garden, swamping and strangling all that it passes.  Then the sun catches the veined indigo flowers and I am once more smitten.

Lastly the disgraceful sight of Big Ted after a night out on the tiles.   He has been severely reprimanded and is on house arrest for the foreseeable future.

All done, now let me out into the garden ……….

 

Six on Saturday – After the Rain

Flaming June was flaming wet yesterday.   It made Tuesday, when Rain Stopped Play if you recall, seem like a jaunt in the Gobi.  Today it has cleared, pushed onwards for the moment by bullying winds.   This has meant that although taking photos for my Six on Saturday has been a dry affair, it has not been without jeopardy.   In order to impress my Svengali, The Propmeister, I have battled through the gale to bring this Six to you.  And I only fell over once.  Which to be honest is good going on a non-windy day.  Shall we get this show on the road?

It could be the year of the geum, they seem to be very popular at the moment.  And for very good reason, to my mind they are invaluable in the garden.  This one is Geum ‘Prinses Juliana’ which is more delicate in form and fiery in hue than ‘Totally Tangerine’.  I bought ‘TT’ as a gift for Mrs Bun. She had expressed an interest in it so I treated her.  A couple of weeks ago she declared that she no longer wanted it.  “You mean the plant that I so kindly bought you as a present last year?” “Oh, did you?”  *sigh* “but it has grown too big for that position and I haven’t anywhere for it to go” *a lone tear trickled down my cheek* “are you sure that is the one you bought me?” *falls on the floor in a swoon*.  It is now planted in my garden.  Once we have recovered from the disappointment/rejection I will share a photo with you.

Next we have a crazy tomato plant.  This variety is called Big Orange from Martin at Sampford Shrubs, a pithy name if ever there was one.   It has lost its leader, which I vehemently deny removing by accident, but will be replaced by a shoot coming from the base.  It has also produced, alongside some very sensible if not rather buxom flowers, a giant possibly fasciated monster bloom.  I am blaming an incident involving radiation and Br…., oops almost said it!

Now a candelabra primula in a pot.   It seems to be coping quite well with this arrangement and I am sure enjoyed the dousing it had yesterday.  This is a “one day when I have a large garden I will find the perfect place for it” plant.  I am ever hopeful.

This is the first flower on the double osteo, which is possibly called ‘Double Berry Purple’.    Probably featured in a SoS before, but definitely worthy of a repeat.  The idea did spring into my devious head that I could just repost from the same time last year and see if anyone noticed.    But where would be the fun in that?!  Mind you, in an emergency SoSituation …….

You can’t beat a bit of fine foliage, which is just as well as this is the principle reason for growing Persicaria filiformis.   The pale green leaves have blood-red heart monitor lines chevroning across the width.   The delicate red flowers which are held on wiry stems, need to be observed close up and definitely with your specs on to be fully appreciated.

Lastly we have Phlomis fruticosa, which has been (and continues to be) beaten severely by the worst of the weather.  Apart from the odd frazzled leaf, it takes it on the chin, often bending into full blown Matrix positions and bouncing back just as well as Keanu Reeves ever did.   A trooper, and an important member of our horticultural family.

All done for another week, now that wasn’t too painful was it?  Don’t forget to take a look at what the rest of the SoSers are up to over on The Prop’s site.  Until we meet again!

Six on Saturday – Time Travel

This week I have had to enlist the assistance of the time machine again, on loan from our very own Six on Saturday Time Lord, Dr Prop.  At this very moment in time I am not only here with you I am also up to high jinx on another planet, possibly indulging in age inappropriate dance moves and eating too many vol au vents.  Something like that anyway.

First we have an argyranthemum.  A new purchase and a lovely one too.   It is very likely that I have said this before, but I will tell you again just in case you have forgotten.  A few years ago, when I asked his esteened opinion, a very knowledgeable, finger on the pulse, RHS type of person said that argyranthemums were the way forward.  I quite agree.

On to the demon hybrid bluebell.  They are here.  They look very pretty.  We cannot blame them for that.

Next we have a hellebore stuck in Groundhog Day.  I don’t mind in the slightest, although I do hope it doesn’t exhaust itself.  I don’t want to be hearing excuses next year.

Next another new purchase, an osteospermum.   It wasn’t in flower when I bought it, but I took a chance.  I am a wild child.  Perhaps more accurately a wild woman a little past the first flush of youth.  No matter.  You know what they say, “faint heart never won fair Whirlygig”  (possibly).

Last weekend we had some visitors from the Big City.   As the planters at the front of the house were very “Winter into Spring shabby and not in the slightest bit chic” I decided to install “Summer into Autumn fresh and unsullied by neither time nor mollusc”.  I think they were fooled into thinking I keep a tidy garden.  One of the newbies is this Bidens ferulifolia.  This lovely is everything a bedding plant should be, bright, floriferous with the possibility of surviving the winter to give us more joy next year.

And bringing up the rear is a mini cheat.  This tulip is not in my garden, nor was it ever.  However over the last few weeks I have greatly enjoyed the glorious rise and fall of the blooms.  Slowly transforming from tender young buds to silken brazen hussies.  Just wonderful.

There we have it, another six.  And don’t forget, if you need to borrow the time machine, just contact Dr Prop and he will put you on the waiting list.  It comes in extremely useful sometimes.

Six on Saturday – Stormzy and Soggzy

Of course it was too good to be true.  Last week was the intruder, the uninvited guest who agitated the party, whipping up the mob, charming us into believing we could have better.  But we can’t.  This is the south-west of the UK.  It rains.  It blows.  We have residual webbed feet.   I should have known better than to raise my hopes.  But I did.  Now everything is back to type and I feel disappointed.  Which is why I am here, far too early for a Saturday morning, on the set of Carry on Screaming.  The wind outside is making ridiculously clichéd sound effects, sleep is impossible.

But let us not descend into melancholia, this blip is nothing that a bit of Six on Saturday can’t sort out.  This cure-all is distributed by Dr Prop, medicine man and snake oil supplier to the stars.  If you dare, pop over and see what it’s all about.

To begin we have apple blossom, of which there is an embarrassment this year.  Or should I say was?  I am wondering how much will remain after these gales.   Still, we rarely eat the fruit these tiny twisted trees produce.  The jackdaws will be remiss, they love their autumn apples.

Next we have a surprise, to me anyway.  As the label had been stolen by the fairies/broken/never existed I was under the illusion that in this pot lurked a bizarre root vegetable I had bought from Lidl a couple of years ago.  Apparently not.  I believe I can say without contradiction that it is a fuchsia.  Then it all came flooding back.  It is Fuchsia jantasensis and it has been languishing for a few years not doing anything of merit, definitely not flowering.   I can quite honestly say that it was not worth the wait.  Apparently it is quite variable in form.  Not sure this is its best incarnation.  The pollen looks like broken biscuits which is rather sad.

Now for a something with a little more potential. Osteospermum ‘JK’ is just about to come into flower.  Dependable, weed smothering, bright and beautiful.  Sound like anyone we know?

What now?  Oh yes, strawberry flowers.  Shall we take a moment?  I think we need it.  Imagine a sun-warmed plump strawberry, plucked straight from the plant in all its virgin glory, at best wiped on the leg of your shorts to remove any slug slime, sweet and fragrant.  Better have another one.   Fabulous.  That feels much better.

The photo is a bit blurry because it was raining when I took the photo, and the wind had already begun its torment.  The things I do for you!

This little tulip, Tulipa batalinii, was bought at Marwood Hill Gardens a couple of weeks ago.  One pot for me, one pot for my friend.  For some reason we thought they would be bright red, possibly because this is what we wanted and somehow by wanting them to be that colour it would materialise.  Wrong again.  This flower has been wide open and has now quite sensibly decided that the better part of valour is discretion.    It is rather pretty, with its green tinged edge.  But definitely not red.

A few years ago I saw a truly gob smackingly amazing lily on the television which went straight to the top of the Lust List, Lilium ‘Forever Susan’.   Deepest mahogany petals, the tips of which are orange, as if someone has held onto the ends as each were individually dipped.   When I spotted a pack in a garden centre I was very excited.  When I came to plant them I realised that they were Forever Linda and not Forever Susan.  Close, but not close enough.  Nice, but not nice enough.  I mustn’t muddy my love.

There we have it, another week completed.  Stay safe.  Remember the strawberries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – Dyb, Dyb, Dyb

viola

I’m prepared this week.  No last-minute rush, all is calm and in control, just like a girl guide.  In real life I didn’t make it to the heady heights of girl guidom, but I was in the brownies, who quite frankly take anyone.  I can’t remember much of our exploits except there was a curiously large plastic mushroom placed in the middle of the room at all our gatherings.   Like many of my fellow gang members, my arm was bedecked with various badges.  Unfortunately they weren’t cool and sophisticated subjects in those days, no Inventing, or Aviation or Zero Waste.   Possibly there was Crocheting Toilet Roll Covers and Defrosting Arctic Rolls, although I can’t be certain.  The only one I remember for certain was the music badge.  Perhaps too well.  “What is this instrument?” the examiner asked pointing at a picture, “A bass” I replied.  “Can you be more specific?”.  I was puzzled, very puzzled, what could this highly technical terminology be.   I had studied my Ladybird book The Story of Music from back to front and front to back, I had been confident I had all subjects covered.  But I was flummoxed  No light bulb moments.  Eventually after much furrowed browing (which I blame for my present wrinkle predicament), some uming and a far amount of ahing, I conceded I didn’t know.  She made a terse note on her clipboard.  Now a little uncertain of myself, I went on to play my recorder solo, possibly a rendition of Handel’s Water Music, more likely Frère Jacques, as I say my memory is hazy.  It turns out this mystery instrument is called a “double bass”.  Give the gal a break!  And yes, I am still bitter.  And yes, I did get my badge.  And yes, it is time I moved on.

Seems I have wandered off the track once more.  I will lose my trekking award.  Back to the task in hand, which is Six on Saturday.  An event where billions of people from across the galaxy feature six items from their gardens, or an approximation on this theme, in a humongous horticultural jamboree.  If you wish to get your SoS arm badge then pop on over to our Akela’s site and you can discover much more, including the words to She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain which you will need for a sing-song later.

First we have a viola which is still in its reticent stage.  Each year is the same.  I plant them with great verve and expectation, praising and naming them with great aplomb No. 1 in my top ten of winter bedding.  Then they sit there. *time passes* Any flowers that deign to show their cutsie faces are nibbled by slugs in their overcoats, they grow lank and dishevelled.  *time passes*  Then eventually they wake up, read the contract and get into giving us a great display just when we are thinking about changing the display.  We are still at stage 2, although this little chap has avoided mollusc attack so deserves a show and tell.

Lamprocapnos spectabile 'Valentine'

Next we have the emerging foliage of Lamprocapnos spectabile ‘Valentine’,  or Dicentra specabilis ‘Valentine’ to those who knew it in its previous incarnation.  They are perfect in their infancy.  Scattered around are leaves from the large shrubby phlomis that shades it, torn off in the recent high winds.

Lillium 'Casa Blanca'

Now we have the first showing of the diva Lilium ‘Casa Blanca’.  This majestic lily was a gift from my favourite heckler.    I don’t wish to ruin his reputation so he will remain anonymous.

bindweed

Who invited you to the party?

potentilla

Onto the emerging leaves of Potentilla ‘Lady Mantle’.  This name has yet to be officially accepted by the Royal Horticultural Society.   Which is mainly because I dug a piece out of her ladyship’s garden and ran home with the hounds snapping at my ankles.  Without label naturellement.

camellia

Lastly a flower which is not in my garden, but it will be soon.  This beautiful camellia bloom belongs to our neighbour.  Soon, when it has bored of being splendid, it will drop over the wall onto the path that leads to our front door.   I think it is quite fair that I can share in its loveliness, the fee being that I will clear up the deceased.

There we go, six done and dusted.  Dyb, dyb, dyb, dob, dob, dob.

Six on Saturday – Ennui

Allium triquetral

Six on Saturday here we go again, all good friends and jolly good company.  Although I’m not feeling “jolly good company” this week.  On the contrary, I am rather uninspired.  Dull.  Boring.  Bored.  Perhaps a little bit grumpy.  But only a little.  Maybe I should ring in sick, but then again I’m away next weekend and it might look suspicious.  I can’t even think of anything cheeky to say about our leader The Propagator, other than he is our leader and of course that he is gorgeous (believe me flattery works every time).  I’d better just get on with, sitting here at the dining table, typing away within one hand whilst making a chilli for tea with the other, neither with much conviction.  OH is watching the rugby and shouting at the ref/touch judges/players/anyone who looks vaguely in his direction, his conviction never waivers.

On to the first photo.  This is no exotic bloom, but our very own, introduced invasive weed, the three-cornered leek, Allium triquetral.  I have no idea how it got into the garden, and although he denies it, I have my suspicions who smuggled this ferocious monster onto my patch. *follow my eyes to the hollering mad man on the sofa*.  It was looking rather lovely in the sunshine yesterday.

Papaver

Thank you to everyone who enquired as to the well-being of Simon the poppy, who had the misfortune to grow smack bang in the middle of the builder’s M4 motorway.  “Everyone” amounted to the grand total of “no one”.  As you can see, he is looking healthy and happy.  For all you lot care.

Sophora

Now we have Sophora microphylla which suffered terribly at the teeth of various beasts of 2018.  It has limped along ever since, like a horticultural Tiny Tim.  I am very pleased that it has gathered the strength to attempt a little flowering.  God bless us every one.

Exchorda macrantha

My relationship with Exchorda x macrantha ‘The Bride’ is turbulent.  Most of the year I am not enamoured with this tumblesome, unruly shrub, but as soon as the blooms begin I fall back in love.  A little bit of die-back there needs sorting, anyone know a good gardener?

hyacinth

I spotted this hyacinth skulking amongst the foliage of the libertia.   These loose panicled blooms are stunning, the iridescent blue of the bells perfectly set off by the midnight stems.

Salvia gesneriifolia

Lastly the Salvia gesneriiflora has just begun flowering.  Bang on cue, “late winter, early spring”.   But it was worth waiting for.  Furry.  Red.  Giant.  This was the one of the plants that I was unable to resist when I attended the Hardy Plant Society AGM last March.   I’m so pleased that my willpower is so weak.

I made it!  Now I’d better join in the shouting …….

Six on Saturday – Conform to Type

primula

For this Six on Saturday I have resolved to conform to type.   I will be featuring stereotypically seasonal issues only.  Possibly.  We shall see how that goes.  “What is this Six on Saturday?” I hear you ask.  “Have you just returned from trekking in the Amazon rainforest where you set up home with an indigenous tribe and lived isolated from western society for the past five years until you ran out of teabags and had to pop home to get some more?” I enquire.  No matter, I will explain.  It is quite simple: six, on Saturday.  For more details check out our very own tribal chief, The Propamaster, and he will get you up to speed on the fine print.

First we have a primula, primrose, first rose.  You might have noticed that it is blue, which is not totally traditional, but let us not get bogged down with the minutae.   I have a penchant for blue flowers so I was very happy to find this little lovely in the front garden.  I pointed it out to OH earlier and we agreed that neither of us had planted it there.  Or perhaps more accurately, “remembered” that we had planted it.

narcissus

Next the quintessential spring flower, all hail the daff!  No one can complain about any poetic licence with this choice, a classic yellow narcissus.  I was in Welsh Wales last weekend and was rather surprised to see they had seemingly shot up and budded in my absence.  Perhaps I was away longer than I imagined.

crocus

Now a crocus, bang on!  I imagine this little beauty was shifted out-of-place whilst I was rooting around removing summer bedding and planting out the violas.   A small joy, hugging the edge of the butler’s sink.

hellebore

Come on folks, I am surpassing myself here, now we have a hellebore!  This possibly has a name but I can’t be bothered to go out and look at the label.  Let us call it Purple Blotch.

slug

Not so welcome, but definitely a feature of the season, are the emerging slugs and snails.  This blatant destroyer was feasting on a pot of purple alstromeria that I am planning to pass on to Max.  Again, it definitely has a name.  Please see above for excuses.

Salvia corrugata

And here is the exception to prove my rule.  This Salvia corrugata has been flowering since time begun, and possibly a little before.  Unprotected, except by my love, it has weathered storms and a few degrees of frost.  Not classic winter/spring fare, but definitely worth a mention.

Now just a moment, we wouldn’t want a repeat of last week’s rather embarrassing faux pas …………… yep, we are definitely up to six, I checked twice.  That is it, another SoS completed.   Until the next time.  I will keep practicing my counting.