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.

 

 

Six on Saturday – Brrrrrr!

Galanthus 'S. Arnott'

Happy Six on Saturday to you all!  It has been a week of weather; from the unimaginable cold in the North of America to the searing heat in parts of Australia.  We had some of the white stuff in the UK too, which has been followed by the inevitable chaos on the roads and the panic buying of Mother’s Pride and Chardonnay.  In Ilfracombe we had a pathetic smattering, but you didn’t have to venture far to see the real McCoy.  But I didn’t bother venturing anywhere.  I decided to just imagine it instead.  This morning I asked OH if it was too late to indulge in a little panic buying.  We bought a multi-bag of snacktastic crisps and a pack of blood oranges just in case.   If you are tempted to join the not-so-secret society of SoSers or would like to be shown how it is supposed to work by more sensible folk, pop over to King Prop’s blog and all will be revealed.  Let’s get on with it, too cold to hang about.

First we have a snowdrop.  A distinct feeling of déjà vu?  This is in fact my other snowdrop Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’, also bought at Helen’s Little Ash Garden open day.  Don’t worry, this is the extent of my snowdrop collection.  I’ve got a long way to go before I can be classed as a true galanthophile.

Although we had but a mere smidgen of snow, it has been both very cold and exceptionally windy.  So windy that in the early hours of Sunday morning, after lying awake listening to the roaring and scaffolding boards dancing, we got up and listened to the World Service until light.  We then called the builder who came to tie down the boards again.  He was grumpy to have been roused from his weekend slumber, I hadn’t slept a wink all night, he didn’t stand a chance.  This Lycianthes rantonnetii is paying for its vigour, the leaves are withered and lifeless after the desiccating gales.  I am hoping that beneath all is well.

papaver

On to my oriental poppy.  It is in the middle of the superhighway that the builders macheted through the Bed of Anarchy.  By some quirk of fate it escaped a size ten steel toecap.  They were back yesterday, the Velux in the office roof has sprung a rather impressive leak.  Before they started I pointed it out to them  “That is a poppy” I said “It is called Simon and I would like you to do your utmost to avoid standing on it.”  They did their best.  Quite sensibly they were concerned about the potential for retribution by someone who names their herbaceous perennials.

hedychium It appears that one of my hedychiums has set seed.  This is good.  I have grown a ginger lily from seed before and it only took a few years to get to flowering size.  These will stay on the plant for as long as possible.  Perhaps Mr P would like some?  What do you mean “creep”?

Rose

Lastly we have an example of the importance of being in the right place at the right time.  The crimson tinged foliage of this rose, which could be ‘Peace’, has not suffered in the slightest in the recent inclement weather.   It is as fresh and pristine as the moment it unfurled from the bud.   I hope I haven’t summoned the demons of fate tempting.

gazania

And second lastly is a gazania that was in hiding, possibly due to the fact it doesn’t want to be spotted by the evil north wind.  Did I get away with it?  Maybe not.

Another SoS completed, always a triumph.  Until next time!

 

 

Six on Saturday – Dark Weeks

Back so soon?  Taking part in Six on Saturday is a splendid way to mark the passage of the darkest weeks, which I am making a concerted effort not to wish away. This wild beast is overseen by our very own lion tamer The Prop.  It works like this, he point an upturned chair at us, cracks a whip and we occasionally try to eat him.  Something like that anyway.  If you would like this confirmed, pop over to his blog and check out what is going on.

First we have a heart, suspended on our bijou cherry.  I would like to say that it was a gift from Tom Hardy, but that would be at best misleading.  In fact I bought this tiny terracotta tile for myself along with two other similars.  They hang on the cherry tree, which was grown from a pip and therefore unlikely to doing anything of much merit, to add ornament where there is none.

Geranium bohemicum

Next we have Geranium bohemicum which I grew from seed last year.  A few SoS’s ago I featured a geranium given to me by my college friend called ‘Blue Orchid’ . I have since discovered that it is actually called ‘Orchid Blue’ and is a cultivar of this very plant.   Both are flowering now, they look the same, you would have thought I could have worked it out before.

Galanthus 'Magnet'

Now onto Galanthus ‘Magnet’ a strong and upright chap, purchased last year when visiting Helen’s wonderful open garden at Little Ash.  Later I transferred it into a terracotta pot, so it wouldn’t get lost in the fray.  It has particularly long pedicel, the bit that attaches the flower to the rest of the plant, and therefore is noted for its fine bobbing.  In fact, as I write I can see it, bobbing away in the breeze.  Later there are gales forecast, I hope it doesn’t over-bob and lose its head.

Mummified apples

Then some mummified apples and associated damage, is it canker?  Perhaps.  This is one of two apple trees in our garden, and they have outgrown the space.  The jackdaws scoff the fruit before we can get to them and they aren’t all that special when we do.  I have attempted to keep them pruned to size but it is a case of wrong plant, wrong place.  Or is that a double negative and mean it is the right place?  Whatever, my saw twitches when I am close by.

Tibouchina urvilleana

Another hit for Teacher’s Pet Tibouchina urvilleana.  Although it keeps shrugging off the overcoat I so lovingly draped around its shoulders, it is still looking quite happy.  One leaf has turned.  And very beautifully too.

“Did you put a pottery horses head in one of the pots”  I asked OH.  “Yes” he replied.  “Thank goodness, I thought the ceramics mafioso had been calling”.

That is it, all done for another week.  Another day, another dollar!

Six on Saturday – Time Flies

anemone

Six on Saturday time again.  The weeks are passing quickly and soon I will be back at work.  I am half looking forward and to half dreading this.  I will be very unfit, I am little nervous I will hurt my foot, and it is bloomin’ cold out there!  But on the plus side I will see all my lovely clients again, watch spring arrive in their gardens and have the joy of helping them plan for the future.  I spent  one lovely day in my own garden this week, and I picked a good ‘un.  It was sunny and warm and the ground was easy.   Not a great deal was achieved, except a lot of pottering and pondering.  Perfect.  Now on to what I found during my rumagings.

Our first picture is of the emerging foliage of Anemone coronaria ‘Bordeaux’.  As I am “on the wagon” at the moment, this is the closest I am going to get to a bottle of red.  I planted them in  the pot where the Hedychium ‘Pradhani’ lurks, they will be long over by the time that exotic creature wakes.

euphorbia

Next we have a blushing Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae, the wood spurge, looking like it is contemplating flowering.  This plant had a severe chop back last year after it was decimated by some strong winds.  Now it is a sturdy and strong specimen.  Rather like myself.  Admittedly I have never needed a chop back.  Next to it you can just about see the browning foliage of Salvia corrugata, which although a little tatty around the edges is still flowering.  Rather like …. you get the picture.

Miscanthus nepalensis

Now for Miscanthus nepalensis, whose golden tresses are now turning to silver.  It has done very well this year, for a young ‘un, and I am hopeful that next year it will be even better.

pyracantha

There is not a single fruit left on the pyracatha, stripped bare but for a couple of manky looking specimens.   As far as I am concerned this has negated its reason for existence, to me it just represents pain.  However, I am sure whoever has feasted on the succulent orange baubles will be looking forward to next year in anticipation.  It will therefore stay.

This was a hooray moment, pulling back the mat of dead monbretia foliage and finding these ruddy shoots below.  They belong to Paeonia mlokosewitschii, known to her friends as Molly the Witch.  She was a gift a few years ago and has yet to flower.  This year, it surely will be this year.  Someone has been having a bit of a nibble, hopefully I have now deterred them.

Lastly we have Pelargonium cordifolium var. rubrocinctum with friend and associated poo.   The caterpillar is so perfect in its Kawasaki greenness, and the matching heart-shaped leaves with tiny scarlet pin heads at the end of each tooth equally as wonderful.   We could do without the poo in the picture, but that is nature for you.  And yes, I let the caterpillar alone.  And yes, I realise that soon all will not be perfect.

Thanks for hosting this shindig to the caller of the dance The Propagator, long may he rule!

 

 

Six on Saturday – Firsts

You cannot get away from “Firsts” at this time of year.  Wipe the slate clean and start all over. There is a lot to be said for that.   A good approach to life.  As the year tootles along these firsts will become fewer and far between, but not yet.  And today was full of them, perhaps ad nauseam.  It was my first time scrabbling about in the garden thinking “what on earth am I am going to take photos of and isn’t it about time the gardener sorted out this chaos” whilst trying to avoid the gaze of the curtain twitching neighbours who are nodding to each other in a knowing manner.  It was my first proper gardening session.  My first time driving since the leap of faith that was unfounded.  And they are all good firsts.   OH has a man cold so I offered to go to the supermarket.  As I got in the car, turned on my music and shot off up the road I felt liberated.  Torrington Tina told me that the worse thing about her injury was that she couldn’t drive and until earlier I hadn’t realised quite how much I had missed it.  Later pootling about in the garden, getting reaquainted, I felt positive and inspired.  So it is in this frame of mind that I present to you my first Six on Saturday of the year along with my first mention of our leader The Propadoodle.

My first picture, is of Fat Ol.  He has been mentioned before and is my No. 1 favourite cat that doesn’t live in my house.  I love him because he is big and ginger and has an extremely high-pitched meow.  In human terms, he looks like a docker but speaks like the John Inman.  And I love even though he poos in my pots.  He accompanied me on my rummage before retiring to more important pursuits such as sleeping and snoozing.

Next we have my Tibouchina urvilleana, although you may not recognise it as such.  The threat of imminent frosts meant a quick wrap around with horticultural fleece, not enough but I didn’t have much and there are plenty of other needies.  It is still flowering beneath, which is a little bit sad.  Shopping list for Monday includes more fleece.

Now we have a very persistent pelargonium.  Situated in a pot at the front of the house, the land of perpetual winter gloom.  This morning I picked off mouldy leaves and spent blooms.  It won’t have any protection, there is neither room nor inclination and there are several around the gardens.   It is every pellie for themselves.  Who knows what the rest of the winter will bring, it might make it through!

Now for some pomegranate seed ….. not really, this is the burst seed pod of Sauromatum venosum.   I sowed my first seed of the year today.  A very restrained two.  Big Orange Tomato and some mixed species plectranthus.  Not these yet.  I’m planning to do a little research as to the best way to sow these ruby nuggets.  This may or may not happen.  I may just bung them in a pot full of compost tomorrow and hope for the best.

Next we have proof that the nasturtium is not wholly indestructible.  Today I pulled up reams of sog, finding all kinds of exciting things beneath, some I recognised, some not.  Hopefully tomorrow I will have space enough to plant the alliums that are begging to be in the ground.  Mind you, there are a few corners that the nasturtium still reigns supreme.

Lastly we have the husk of a flower.  It took me a while to work it out, but I think it might be the remains of a sunflower.  Whatever, I thought it looked pretty good lolling about in the rosemary.  I’ve let it stay.  For the moment.

There we have it, another first done and dusted.  Have a look at what the other SoSer have been up to over at SoS Headquarters, you still have time to join in the fun!

 

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – Festive Frolics

Vinca 'Jenny Pym'

Today I tentatively ventured up the slippery steps in order to inspect the top garden and take a few photos.  And why, you may well ask, would I put myself at such risk?  All for you Mr Prop, all for you.   Also for all the other Six on Saturdayers and their followers.  And for my followers and those that just happen upon me and wonder what the bloomin’ Nora is going on here.  And of course for Father Christmas and all his little helpers.  Which brings me nicely back to The Prop again.   Yes, in case you hadn’t noticed, it is that time of year again.  The gardens are not awash with brightness, but who cares, our Christmas jumpers make up for any colour deficit.   Without further ado, here are my festive Six on Saturday.  Before I start I should make something clear, they are “festive” because it is that time of the year, not because they have anything with Christmas, unless I can find a tenuous link.  Or I might not bother.  Let’s see how it goes.

Let us begin with Vinca difformis ‘Jenny Pym’, with its pretty blushing flower.  This has been in the front garden for a couple of years and is bulking up beautifully.  As is my wont, I had forgotten about its presence until it caught my eye as I hobbled up the path yesterday.  I think I love it more each year.  And then I forget about it for nine months.

Next is my new greenhouse, complete with intact door and free from holes in places that there should not be holes.  The odds on my cuttings and seedlings making it through the winter have grown.  When a cold snap threatens I will wrap some horticultural fleece around and about.  They should be snug enough.  OH is vindicated.

Tibouchina urvilleana

We have had some dreadful weather in the last couple of weeks, driving rain coupled with persistent gales.  During this time I have been worrying about the plants “up the steps”, many of which need winter protection.   I need not have worried as they seem to have coped quite well without my rapt attention.  Much to my amazement/joy thisTibouchina urvilleana is in full flower, as are Salvia corrugata, Salvia leucantha and Lavandula pinnata. 

I had been warned, and the description was accurate.  The builders had indeed macheted a trail through the Bed of Anarchy.   It is what it is.  We can fix it.

Teasels are a tradition in our garden.  They pop up wherever and whenever and hopefully always will.  Earlier this week I was called to the window, the goldfinches had found their winter snackbar.  It all makes sense when you see these glamorous birds swaying in the wind on the barbed heads.  You will have to imagine them, or not, they look quite good alone in their spiky splendour.

nasturtium

The late, great, Freddie Mercury once sang “don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time” and many have since echoed his plea, including this nasturtium.   Many of its fellows have been frosted to mush or stomped into the ground, but this one, clambering through the rosemary bush, is determined to see Christmas.

So there we have it, six things that are happening today in the garden, where I was, the first time for a month.  I enjoyed my mini-sojourn and it has fuelled my will to get back to full health as soon as possible.   And even better!

Thank you to everyone who reads my blog, both those who make witty, kind, entertaining and, sometimes, challenging comments and those also who linger in the shadows (not in a scary way).  I really do appreciate it.   I wish you all a wonderful festive period, I hope it bring you everything you need and a little bit more.

ps Not one tenuous link, I must be losing my touch!

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – If you think I am going out in that you’ve got another thing coming

lobelia

Afternoon all, it has been a challenging day on the Six on Saturday front.  In fact I am finding it tricky to comply with any of the criteria, including the most basic “six” and “Saturday” aspects. It is tipping down outside, the wind is howling and I am still indisposed in the foot department.  Am I going out to take photos? No way José! Never mind, as it is nearly Christmas  I am sure that our very own purveyor of comfort and joy, The Prop, will be lenient.

I haven’t been in the garden proper for a while, so I can’t report first hand what is happening out there.  There have been rumours and I have imaginings.  The builders traipsed back and forth through the Bed of Anarchy to repair the tiles that the scaffolders broke.  The wind has been so strong and spiky that many of my sensitive souls stored in pots in the top garden, yet to return to the warmth of the courtyard, are no doubt distressed.  All these things will have to wait until I brave the steps and investigate.  Possibly best not to know at the moment.  Let us head off down the road and see where we find ourselves.

First we have a lone lobelia flower, this photo was taken yesterday and I can say without fear of contradiction that it is probably looking even more sorry for itself now.  I am very fond of lobelia, they are tougher than they look, need little maintenance and come in some wonderful colours.  Their only downside, and this is being picky, is that they are a bit of a faff to grow from seed.

Allium aflatuense 'Purple Sensation'

Next we have a packet of Allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’, who with its twin is yet to be planted.  I thought they would bring some early colour and later structure to the garden.  I was waiting until the BoA died down a little so I could push these in between the other perennials.  Things don’t always work out the way you planned it. They were very cheap, so no great financial disaster if they don’t get in the ground.  As soon as I can I will shove them in somewhere, where there is life there is hope.

primulas

Now another job not done.  I bought these primulas a few weeks ago, to brighten one of the planters in the front of the house when the resident annuals had given up the ghost.  Perhaps in the next week I might manage it.  It won’t take long and I need to keep my hand in.

Allan Jenkins

This morning OH greeted with “I’ve cut the door off your plastic greenhouse, it was flapping about all over the place.”  I will leave that with you.

The postie bought me a parcel today and inside was a book, a present from Phlomis Phlo.   Not a Christmas pressie, a pass it on gift from a thoughtful someone to another body who might have a little extra time for reading at the moment.   I have heard about this book, and am looking forward to discovering its treasures.

gazania

Shall we finish on this plucky gazania?  Bedraggled but not beaten.

We did it.   Some days it is more difficult than others, that is true, but all the more fun for it.  Pop on over to Prop’s site to find out what is going on in the rest of the world, and yes, I mean The Whole Wide World.  You never know what you might find.