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


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.


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.


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.


Six on Saturday – Immobile

There have been happenings this week.  Those who have missed out on recent events can find all the juicy details in my post A Different Boot.  Ok, it’s not terribly juicy, but I was trying to entice you in.   Will this accident keep me from my Six on Saturday obligations?  I think not.  I am made of much sterner stuff.  It would take something far more catastrophic to stop me contributing to The Propagator’s  worthy meme.  Oh, and Saint Propesa of Caversham told me to pull myself together, stop whingeing and get SoSing or feel the brunt of his wrath.  So I have. There may however be some bending/deviating from the rules which I generally adhere to like gorilla glue. In the circumstances I think I should be allowed a little leeway.  If you are in the slightest bit interested in how this all works, and quite frankly who wouldn’t be, check out this caring soul’s site for details of how to join in and who else is trapped in his evil grasp involved.

First we have a view from my front window, looking out, which I expect you had gathered.  The scaffolding is still in place and yesterday we had even more put up, an extension out over next door’s roof so the builders can render the chimney in safety.  I suggested holding the renderer by the heels whilst it worked but it was vetoed.  Something about health and safety.  Wimps.  We asked to keep the cracked chimneys when they were removed during Phase 876 of the work.  The plan is to use them in an imaginative and innovative way in the garden.  Yes, we will stick some pots in the top.

Next we have a view from the rear door, the scaffolding has gone, horrah!  It is all looking rather empty, but that won’t last.  A short stride up the steps into the main micro-garden and there are at least a million pots that need to come back down to the relative warmth of this little courtyard for the winter.  Looking for volunteers…..


Now we have my beautiful jacaranda tree.  The Borrowers would definitely recognise this as a tree, however most normal sized humanoids would view it as a nondescript plantlet.  It is all relative. This is my number one specimen, Big Daddy, which is why it has been brought into the house for the winter.  Anther one, which I affectionately call “squirt”,  will have to tough it out in the big bad world.  No room at the inn.

From a tree (yes it is) that lives in the house, to a house plant that lives outside.   Not this actual plant, but another, less lush looking one.  We have a lot of aspidistras in the house.  Too many.  They belong to my OH, dragged around with him from house to house for the last forty years.   At all too regular intervals he splits them to make more and they magicaly appear in new places around the house.  We also force other people to take them.  “Sorry no biscuits, but please take an aspidistra with your cup of tea?”  They are like tribbles.  In amongst the herd are a couple of variegated specimens.  Whether  this is a sport or there more than one variety, I have no idea.  I won’t bother asking.  Up until very recently I didn’t realise this variegation was a good thing.  I may be warming.

Enforced immobility has opened  the door to other more gentle activities.  I have mentioned before my surfeit of garden related books.  It is also true that I am an avid reader.  However I rarely read horticultural books.  Sometimes but not often.  As it happens I am reading two at the moment.  An upstairs book, Alys Fowler’s Hidden Nature, and this one, my downstairs book. This  has sat in my pile for a while.  Partly because I want to give it the careful attention it deserves.  Now I have the time.  I have read several of Richard Mabey’s books and enjoyed them immensely.  Having dipped my toe (one from the good foot) in yesterday, I have no doubt that I am going to love it just as much as the others.

yellow rose

And now a warning:  I am about to get serious.  Perhaps even a little sloppy, maybe sentimental.  Number six is a get well soon bouquet from my next door neighbour.   Not only neighbour but friend, the wonderful Michelle helped me and OH in our hour of need.  I am sure she won’t mind but I going to share this perfect yellow rose with everyone who has sent me good wishes and bad jokes.  For the friends near and far, real or virtual, who took the time to comment and sympathise.  All hail the positive power of the internet.  It is also for the NHS staff at North Devon District Hospital, who did their jobs with efficiency and kindness in equal measures and smiled while they performed them.  Superheroes, every one of them.

An eventful week, but certainly not all negative.  Stay safe everyone.



Six on Saturday – Autumn Antics

It has been a rather discombobulating week, with midweek shenanigans and not much work.  The little work I did proved to be rather beneficial, it seems that I am no longer in denial about the onset of autumn.  It appears that I have caught up with everyone else, just in time for winter to rear its, potentially, ugly head.   This week I have enjoyed being wrapped up against the elements, the drizzle didn’t bother me, the urge to tidy was strong and truly enjoyable.  So much so, I worked in my own garden yesterday, before the “weather” arrived and I was reluctant to come in when it did.  Today I will be celebrating the autumn garden. Well my autumn garden anyway.  Six things in fact, which is just as well as this is Six on Saturday time again.  Swan on over to The Propagator’s site to discover what it is all about Alfie, where to send your blank cheques and read contributions from other mugs like myself SoSers.

First we have more from the Bed of Anarchy, which on reflection does sound like a death metal band.  The late flowering cerise cosmos are supporting themselves on the now monstrous Lycianthes rantonnetii.  This Paraguayan nightshade is also commonly known as the blue potato bush, neither of which are particularly decorative names, and has grown to its predicted 2m in one bizarre growing season.   Whether or not it will be allowed to stay is the subject of heated debate (with myself and therefore could run for weeks).  It may be located to someone with a more appropriately sized garden.


Next we have some pyracantha fruit, admittedly looking quite beautiful.  I may have mentioned it before (perhaps one hundred times) but I am not a fan of prickly plants.  And they know it.  This one, purchased by OH, is in a pot and has viciously stabbed me on numerous occasions.  Intentionally.   It knows it is quite safe.

Salvia 'Phyllis' Fancy'

Now for a newbie to the Heavenly Horti Family.  This is Salvia ‘Phyllis’ Fancy’ gifted to me by my old friend Hero.  I have long loved this salvia; hardy and long flowering and of course dreamily delicious with its violet calyx and tinged white flowers.   It was necessary to prop her up against the scaffolding for a spot of industrial chic and the fact that she is rather floppy.  At present she is banished to the naughty corner, as she brought a cargo of unwelcome whitefly with her.  All the same, a lovely present.

Honeysuckle berries

Onto more fruit, this time of the honeysuckle.  These strawberry jelly orbs are tasty morsels for hungry birds, fresh flowers are opening on a daily basis and it is quite thornless.  Am I making myself clear?


Now we have a slightly battered flower of the osteospermum that never sleeps.   A slight exaggeration perhaps (moi?).  The Beasts stopped it in its tracks, but after a rather harsh chop back earlier in the year and some encouraging words it has come back fighting.  Always a joy.

Salvia leucantha

Lastly we have Salvia leucantha, doing a fine impersonation of a purple wet dog.  It has been featured before, but realistically this is going to happen more often as the year progresses.  I am hoping that rather like myself, your memories are more patchy than photographic.

That’s it!  Another SoS completed!  Thanks Mr P for your leadership.  Same time, same place?



Six on Saturday – Accusations


There have been accusations.   Wicked and cruel lies.  Rumours abound that I have been flaunting the Six on Saturday rules.  It would be unfair to name names as to the source of this gossip, but I will give you a couple of clues to their identity – Haribos and edifices.

I would like to put things straight.  Firstly, I must reiterate that I am far too scared of Our Leader (who has a chart and gold stars and black grim reaper stickers) to waiver from anything but the strict party line.  Secondly, there are rules?  Why didn’t anyone mention this before?

Onwards and upwards.  The first goodie of the day is an unnamed rose, already in the garden when we arrived.  A couple of days ago my OH made a special request for a photo of this beauty.   He says it reminds him of me – prickly and a bit rough around the edges.  It could have been much worse.  Unlike me it is deliciously fragrant and a repeat flowerer.  I really should take some cuttings.

Scabiosa 'Plum Pudding'

Next we have Scabiosa ‘Plum Pudding’, which has been bashed and buffeted about but is still hanging on it there.  The flowers out of season are lighter in colour and smaller in size than a few months ago, but still worthy.  Earlier in the week I sent The Prop some seed of this wonderfully richly coloured scabious.  Yes, that is right, a little bribery and corruption, anything to get another gold star, although to be honest he hasn’t mentioned one.  A little lax in habit, when placed with some supportive friends it will thank you (just like me).

Lavandula pinnata

Now the first Lavanula pinnata flower of the year, with a few more coming along in the background.  At first I thought it was a snail nestling in the bloom, but I’m wondering if it is the rear view of a ladybird.  I suppose I could go and check, but I’m not going to, looks cold out there, another storm on the way.   Whichever, it is probably quite happily in dreamland, overcome by the lethean effect of the lavender.


This is a new one to me, a tentacled fruit of Liquidambar styraciflua.  I have never seen one before, on our tree or any other, however I might just have been looking at my feet at the vital moment.  The RHS website describes them as “inconspicuous” – not so Your Highnesses, not so!  Once ripe I will of course be collecting the seed.  If I have plenty, I might share with anyone who likes growing things from seed ……..

Salvia corrugata

On to Salvia corrugata, just beginning to come into flower.  The mother plant died last winter, which is not really surprising as its home range is Peru, Coloumbia and Ecuador.  This is a cutting that was kept safe and sound.  Apparently seed was first collected from the wild in 1988 and all plants in cultivation come from the six seeds that germinated from that trip.  Precious.

Lastly we have a view of a section of the Bed of Anarchy.  Left to its own devices it has gone from strength to strength.  A few plants are struggling in the fray, but mostly they are finding their way and giving protection one another from wind, rain and chill.  Read whatever you will from that.

Another SoS completed, in time and on budget.   And the rules obeyed.  I must find out just what they are in time for next week.




Six on Saturday – Dreary


It always takes me a few weeks to accustom myself to the shortening days and falling temperatures.  All week I have struggled to get up in the morning and when I drag myself out of bed I am more belligerent teenager than disco diva.   Today was no exception.  There is one word that concisely sums it up.  Dreary.  The weather is dreary, I feel dreary, all is bloomin’ dreary.  Still, I suppose it is all part of life’s rich tapestry, complaining will get me nowhere, least of all with you lot, so I will proceed with the always spectacularly undreary The Propagator’s meme, Six on Saturday.  I can’t be bothered to explain what it’s all about, if you haven’t a clue what I am talking about (which to be honest is a regular occurrence for some) pop over to his pad and he can tell you all about it.  Let’s get started.

We begin with a reluctant osteospermum.   Petals held tight, closed until at the very least a single ray of sunshine warms it’s aching heart.  I feel its pain.  Hyperbole, moi?

Geranium 'Blue Orchid'

Next an out of focus Geranium ‘Blue Orchid’.  This is at present lodging at the far end of the alley to nowhere, out of harm’s (read builders and scaffolders, but of course I am just kidding myself nothing is totally safe from their tentacles of destruction) way.  No I haven’t got over their recent little oops but I am working on it.   This lovely little geranium was a gift from Julie, my friend from horti college.  I could see a glimpse of blue out of the window so I went on a trek to find out who it belonged to.   Shimmying through and around I could just about, at arm’s length, with a sophora getting a little fresh, snap a photo.  It was a miracle of perseverance.

Liquidamber and nasturtiumOne of the reasons that it is becoming increasingly difficult to venture down plant alley is the relentless march of the nasturtiums.  Here they are shown avalanching over a liquidambar, whilst a cosmos admires their exuberance.  I keep pulling at it, it keeps on keeping on, laughing at me all the while.

Cosmos budsAnother plant which is showing no signs of slowing down is the cerise pink cosmos.  After a very slow, snoozing sloth-like start, buds are popping up like chickenpox.  This is a good thing.  And not in the least dreary.  I’m bored with dreary now, it is so, well dreary!

Rosa 'Rhapsody in Blue'It was a tough year to be a rose in a pot, even more so in a garden full of container grown plants where you have to jostle for attention.  Even so, it flowered well at the beginning of the year and has in the last few weeks gifted us some stragglers, this being one.


Lastly we have this diamond of a pelargonium and a confession.  This was given to me last year by Mrs Bun and I was supposed to be donating it to Nancy Nightingale for her garden.  For some reason it never ever made it there.  In fact it didn’t get much further than outside my back door.  My soul feels much better now.  It is very beautiful.

Another Six on Saturday week completed, and yes it definitely is getting trickier each week.  It is good to have a challenge.  Which is no doubt just what I will be saying next time.




Six on Saturday – Sunny

Cosmos 'Purity'

The weeks are shepherding us towards winter, a time when finding suitable subjects for Six on Saturday becomes increasingly difficult.  The Lord of the Prop, whose mighty hand rules us SoSers, has followers from all corners of the earth and beyond.  For some of us spring is just getting into its stride, whilst for others the cold has already set in.  In this neck of the woods we are experience some deliciously clement weather, the sun is shining and although the mornings have a rousing chill, there is enough midday warmth to warrant a partial striptease.  Let us enjoy it whilst we can and get going on this week’s contribution.

After the hiatus in flowering, that I can only assume was caused by such heat and dry that nonplussed both plant and gardener, we are now making up for time.  There are many first time bloomers this week, including this Cosmos ‘Purity’ which although short in stature is forgiven for its perfect flowers.

Garlic 'Dario'

Top of the list for yesterday in the garden was getting my garlic planted.  This is a cultivar called Dario which is new to me, but I liked the name and felt like trying something new.  It is supposed to be strong-tasting and the word “excellent” was in the description.  Yes, I do believe everything I read.  We will have to wait until next summer to find out.   For the literatii amongst you, yes Mr K I’m taking about you, this photo is pre-planting.  It is posed.  If I posted a picture of a pot of planted garlic (tongue twister, give it a go) it would look like, well, a pot full of compost.   Rest assured that moments later the tubby cloves were pushed down to just cover their pointy heads.  Now we wait.

Salvia atrocyanea

Another later flowerer is Salvia atrocyanea, the Bolivian Sage.  Blue flowers have a special place in my heart and this is no exception.  Tall and vigorous once it gets going, this tuberous perennial is relatively hardy given a well-drained soil to snuggle up in.


The parent of this osteospermum didn’t make it through the various beasts of last winter/spring.  Luckily I had a back up which flowered earlier in the year and now is having another go.  Which has reminded me that I haven’t taken any cuttings.  Hopefully it isn’t too late, I am living rather dangerously.

Fuchsia 'Börnemann's Beste'

Now another plant that I have featured before, Fuchsia “Bornemann’s Beste”, which is also coming into its own at the moment.  It was glistening bewitchingly in the sun today, closer inspection (with specs on) revealed that it is covered with tiny silver hairs.  The gift that just keeps giving.

Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'

Lastly we have a tatty old leaf of Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’.  It is featured for its pure resilience.  I was certain there would be not a leaf left in the whole Shire after Storm Callum bullied his way through last week.  A round of applause for FP please.  You can let go now.

That’s it my lovelies, another SoS completed.  Don’t forget to see what the rest of his disciples have been up to over at The Prop’s.  Until next time …….





Six on Saturday – A Challenge

When I switched my phone on this morning the first thing I saw was a message from my sister-in-law “have you two tied yourselves to the house?”.  Curious.  And then it dawned on me, the news of our very own cuddly Storm Callum had reached the Netherlands.  For your information we are managing to stay attached at the moment, without the need for baler twine.  Unfortunately the plants are not doing quite so well, it has been quite wild out there in the big bad world.  Hence, it is a miracle that there are any photos today.  A feature peculiar to Chez Nous is that the weather is often different in the front of the house to the rear.  When it is sultry summer in the back garden it can be an arctic winter on the seaward side.  Today the front was merely dark, dreary and dank, a little horizontal rain but that is par for the course.  The rear however was a raging bough-splitting, swirling cataract of tempest.   I exaggerate not.   Photography was a challenge.  I took at least 5 million pictures and have managed to glean a scant six from the dull blur of the rest.  What I am blithering on about? Why the urgency?  I had to get enough photos to contribute the The Propagator’s Six on Saturday phenomenon of course!

There are positives and negatives to my first photo.  This is the little alley to nowhere flanked by the house on one side and the garden retaining wall on the other.  There is a shelf (rotting, I might add) on one side where I cosset the special ones.   Pots are stored underneath for winter protection and shade lovers are given some shelter beneath the whitewashed wall.   This is where all and sundry have been shoved in order to avoid damage whilst works are continuing to the house.  Whilst these unceremoniously shoved-in pots (not by me, I hasten to add) have been protected from the worst of the weather, all but a few on the margins are totally inaccessible.  Who knows what high jinx my nemses are up to?   And the interminable nasturtium is marching ever closer …….. It is a worry.


Come on, less of this misery, let us have a bit of good cheer! Here is a plucky gazania, continuing to flower in spite of the inclement weather.  Actually it is not strictly “continuing” as it, as well as others in the garden, had a short hiatus during the best/worst of the dry summer.

Magnolia 'Heaven Scent'

Next we have the tawney veined leaf of Magnolia ‘Heaven Scent’, clinging on for dear life.  This tree was inappropriately purchased for reasons of name and cost alone.  I never said I was perfect.

Chilli Bishop's Crown

This chilli pepper, Bishop’s Crown, was rescued from the home for wayward plants a few weeks ago.  In a pot, far too small for its dimensions, I repotted it and then ignored it.  Really they should do some kind of home check before these neglectees are allowed into the hands of the public.  The fruit don’t look very Bishop’s Crown-y, not that I am an expert in this department.  I might try and over winter the plant, and be nicer to it next year.

Whilst much else is closing down and shutting shop for the season, this hydrangea thought fit to throw out another couple of flowers.   Blooms in minature, but the colour is just as fine, if not better, than earlier in the year.

Dicentra formosa 'Bacchanal'

Lastly we have Dicentra formosa ‘Bacchanal’, again flowering out of season.  This is a plant that has been on The List for a while and I was hyperventilating slightly when I spotted it last month on a stall at RHS Rosemoor Garden Show.   These flowers are much paler than I remember them being and I am optimistically presuming that this is due to the season, weather, planets aligning or some such variables.  We will see.

And that is it, the wind is still roaring and whistling around the scaffolding like something out of a Hammer Horror film, but I am cosy, unlike my poor plants, at the mercy of the monsters who roam ….

Thanks Mr P, take a look at his site and find out what else has been going on in the world of the SoSers.  It will keep you entertained, but I can’t promise that it will keep you out of trouble.