Six on Saturday – A Catalogue of Errors

Another Six on Saturday, which for me has been the most discombobulating week since lockdown.  I can feel tension in the air.  Not in this house, luckily.  Not often anyway.  Strife is almost unheard of in the Six on Saturday Brotherhood, have a look at Our Guru The Most Properly Master of all Thing Prop’s post to find out what is going on in the rest of the world.  Hopefully all will be as well as can be expected.

Before we continue, I’ve heard a rumour, it is just a rumour so keep it to yourselves.  I wouldn’t want to get anyone excited just for their hopes to be dashed on the rocks of disappointment.  But still, there is a chance that someone is coming back.  But we must remain calm.  Let’s get on.  This week I am concentrating on my errors.  So good for the soul.

A few weeks ago, my Canadian friend Gabby asked if I grew any sisyrinchium in my garden.  I told her I didn’t.  Oops!  This is Sisyrinchium ‘E.K. Balls’, can you hear it sniggering at my ineptitude?  Quite how I forgot this little beauty is a mystery.

Onto Lilium ‘Forever Linda’, the one I mixed up with the stunning ‘Forever Susan’.  I’ve warmed to this lily.  I’m often inspire to hum the Luther Vandross song “Love the one you’re with” as I pass.

Yes, the boys are back in town.  The Bed of Anarchy is peppered with nasturtium seedlings, and they have now spread to the further reaches of the garden.  I was supposed to be vigilant.  I must have drifted off again.

Now for the heinous crime of  the “lost label”.  These are possibly a Rhodohypoxis baurii cultivar, or one of its mates.

Next a totally inappropriate purchase.  Yes another one.  May I introduce you to the magnificent Hydrangea aspera ‘Hot Chocolate’.  Fabulous foliage, and this shrub can reach 3m in height to show off all that beauty.  Never mind, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Finally, Geranium sylvaticum ‘Mayflower’.   Hard as I try, I can’t find fault with this one.  Ethereal blue, fine form, unfussy and very pleasing on the eye.

That’s it done for another week.  Keep safe and well my lovelies.

Six on Saturday – Hearts and Flowers

This is a special Six on Saturday.   Today was to have been the wedding day of my nephew Adam and his fiancée Jess.  Instead of white gown and morning suit they will be donning PPE’s, both at present working on Coronavirus isolation wards in The University Hospital of Wales.  I am immensely proud of them both.  I am sure they will be feeling a little sad today, so in a feeble attempt to sooth, I thought I would dedicate this post to them.  Be warned, there will be tenuous links, but they are all made with love.

It is only fitting that we start with a heart, the newly emerged leaf of Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’.  This small tree staggers on year on year, confined by a pinching pot.  Each spring, new growth is both a joy and a surprise that it has made it through another winter.

Now, as tradition would have it, Something Old.  Here we have the Helen Mirren of tulips, growing old beautifully.   Conveniently for the theme, photobombing from behind are a handful of violas, which are sometimes known as heartsease.

Something New is a double first.  A new frond for my new fern Cyathea australis.  Again, this plant is Jim’s fault.  I am definitely not buying any more plants.  However, I have just seen a very tempting protea.  One doesn’t count.

Something Borrowed, is a magnificent peony from The Buns’ garden.  The Chinese name for the peony means “beautiful”, which I cannot deny.  More appropriately to our cause, according to the language of flowers, it represents a happy marriage and good fortune.  Both of which I wish our heroes in the future.

Now for something blue.  Bluebell, obvs.

To symbolise our celebrations after the ceremony, I searched the garden for hanging vines or laden pomegranate trees.  I delved deep for sweet strawberries and lush ripe apples.  There were no fresh quinces or passion fruit.  Unfortunately, all I could come up with was a beer trap.  Needs must.

But everywhere there were hearts.  These are the new leaves of a dwarf green bean, Tendergreen.

And more hearts, this time Cercidiphyllum japonicum.

And even more hearts.  This is a young Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’, the name of which is most fitting.

For those of you out there clicking away on your abacuses, I agree, this is not strictly six.  It was the hearts that done it.  But surely you can never have too many hearts on your substitute wedding day?  If anyone has a problem they can contact my minder/legal advisor/fashion consultant/confessor The Prop and he will undoubtedly ignore you.

Finally, a message to the wonderful Jess and Adam.  Keep on keeping on, my heart swells when I think of you, but not in a bad medical way.  Shall we try again next year?

There is a plus side though, I have a while longer to get into my dress which appears to have shrunk on the hanger.

Stay safe and well everyone, ’til next time.

 

 

Six on Saturday – Befuddled

Not only am I confused about what day it is, I am a little befuddled as to which week of the year it is.  Hence, I spent a fair amount of time on a blog which is appropriate to next week.   No matter, it is money in the bank I suppose.  We are getting paid for this right?

“Paid for what?”, you might ask, for Six on Saturdaying of course! That universal weekendly past-time of the great and the good.  To join our blissfully happy, mind-controlled crew, just pop on over to Propfessor X to find out what is going on.  There are definitely no subliminal messages hidden in this blog, definitely not.  Just don’t blink.  Shall we proceed?

First, we have Allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’, one of many this week I should imagine.  In a slow crawl towards extending the season in The Bed of Anarchy, I planted these bulbs last year.  Or was it the year before?  Whichever, there aren’t enough of them to make a good show.  They move around the border all on their own, as if looking for more of their own kind.  I may well have to rectify that.

Now we have a lone lithodora flower.  Blue.  That is all that needs to be said.

Onto my arty-farty shot of the week and the interpretation therein.

The raindrops, suspended on the waxy surface of a hosta leaf, illustrate how we are living in our individual bubbles at the moment, where we have little choice but to reflect on inner demons and angels. There is no escape, we can see our loved ones in their respective bubbles, but can’t reach them.  If we did, we would destroy them.

A moment after this shot was taken next door’s cat knocked the leaf with her tail and the drops fell to the ground and disbursed.  I like to think this symbolises the futility of me trying to be serious.  The End.

Next strawberry flowers.  So white, such promise.  And if you are listening out there; Mr Slug, Mrs Snail, The Blackbird Clan; I am not sharing!

Then we have Aquilegia ‘Egg’, a flower I have featured before.  It is called Egg because OH nicked the seed from the farm where we used to get our eggs.  Later I asked the farmer’s wife what had happened to the mother plant, she said it had died.  My noble plan is to grow another and, at the dead of night, possibly wearing a balaclava, anonymously leave it on her doorstep.  Otherwise she might arrest me for seed theft, although it wasn’t me, honest guv.  She is rather scary, and looks very strong.  The farmer’s wife that is, not the aquilegia, which isn’t scary at all.

And finally, the biggest and most beautiful of our Woolies Acers.  The young leaves are at their best at the moment.  The stresses of grown-up life, the sporadic watering and summer winds that go with maturity, have yet to distress them.

That is my lot for this week.  Hope you enjoyed them.  Keep on keeping on, my friends.

 

Six on Saturday – Celebration

On the face of it there hasn’t been much to celebrate recently.  For quite a while now.  Most of the reasons, and there have been a fair few, have been, and are continuing to be, well documented.   Too many commas?  Perhaps.  In our little corner, just to add some spice to the mix, we have a new leak at the back of the house and our boiler threw a hissy fit on Tuesday and will not be fixed (at the earliest) until Monday.  Good job it isn’t cold and wet and miserable, that would be truly horrendous.  Wait a minute ……..  Still, where there is life and a multi-pack of kettle crisps there is hope and there is generally something to smile about in the garden.  My Six on Saturday will therefore be a celebration.  I will not be thwarted.  Not this week anyway.  If you would like to read the rest of the gangs’ contributions, a lovely optimistic lot they are too, pop on over to The Maestro Prop’s site to find out what is going on across the globe and beyond.

First we have a primula, and a rather lovely one at that.  It has been left to its own devices and, as things do, it has bulked up in a pleasing way over the last few years.  I don’t remember planting it, but this means little.

Now the seed head of Micanthus nepalensis, its contents jettisoned.  The skeleton a reminder of what was and what is to come.

A large piece of this rosemary snapped off a few weeks ago.  “Helpfully”, and yes the inverted commas are significant, my OH tidied up the broken piece that was sheltering a friendly snail.  Although a little battered, the flowers are defiant.

Well hello Muscari latifolium, please feel free to grow and become the beauty you are destined to become.  No need to be shy, we are all friends here.

I love the fiery red that some of the Pelargonium cordifolium var. rubrocinctum leaves have turned this winter.  Although this could possibly indicate stress, unhappiness or indeed despair, I dismiss this negativity and just enjoy the show.  Harsh, and not in the slightest bit fair.

And to conclude I will share something that is not lurking in my garden.  I hope I am forgiven.  Let me take you to the romantic setting of an industrial estate on the edge of Bideford, not far from the recycling centre and around the corner from the furniture warehouse.  It was here, after 34 years of unwedded bliss, myself and OH had a civil partnership.  It was very low key, just ourselves and our witnesses, the glorious Lord and Lady Mantle.  We then scooted off to the Burton Art Gallery for lunch.  As would befit the ocassion, myself and OH had chips and beer whilst the Mantles enjoyed galettes and fizz.  The sun shone.  It was lovely.  Although to be honest Lady M. could have looked a little jollier.  I am also slightly concerned that it was the registry office we visited and not Screwfix …..

Stay well friends, keep your chins pointed towards the sky and don’t lose the faith.  ‘Til next time.

Six on Saturday – Between Storms

Are we still hanging on?  Hope so.  Welcome to another Six on Saturday.  If you need to know more or you would like to see what the others are up to, and quite frankly you would be daft not to, pop over to The Maestro Prop’s site and all will be revealed.  A tricky week, but it has passed.  Shall we proceed.

We’ll kick off with Paeonia mlokosewitschii, conveniently known as Molly the Witch.  Every year she puts in an appearance, but she is yet to flower.  This year, or perhaps next, might be her inaugural season.  It doesn’t really matter; it is always good to have a witch in close proximity.

On to Lachenalia quadricolor, which by some kind of Disney miracle I have managed to keep alive.  So far anyway.  I bought it last March at the HPS Lecture Day.  This flower is far from the ideal, but still it makes me happy.  It reminds me of a giraffe and that can only be a good thing.  My mum loves giraffes.

Next is horticultural fleece on the washing line.  The storms unceremoniously peeled it from the plant it was supposed to be protecting.  It had become a pathetic wet mess, only kept from blowing away by the amount of rainwater it was holding within its fibres.  I hung it on the line to dry, along with its similarly inept colleagues, during our short respite.

On to a crocus.  Fabulous!  Just look at the delicate purple veins on the blue-white of the embracing petals, their deep violet bases leaching upwards.  Doesn’t it make your heart beat a little faster?  I don’t want this flower to do anything else; no opening, no ripening.  I want it to hold tight onto this moment, it is perfect as it is.

The Exochorda x macrantha has decided to have a little bit of a bloom.  I don’t mind.  Although not my favourite, it is rather nice in its virginal simplicity.  Just nice though, no quickening of the pulse.

Lastly, an ever-faithful stalwart of my SoS, Tibouchina urvilleana, which is tucked in under a tree.  For extra protection, it was supposed to be swaddled by one of the previous fleecy offenders.  Seems she shrugged off her constraints, like the diva that she is, and have a tentative attempt at flowering.  Again, all to my benefit.  Make the most of it gal, you may well have to be rewrapped very soon.

All done.

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu
Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu.

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.