Six on Saturday

Six on Saturday, here we go again. Admittedly it has been a few weeks since I dabbled, but I’m sure I will pick it up again; the subtle nuances, the intricacies. Just like riding a bicycle. Unfortunately, I can only ride a bike in a straight line, as long as there are no cars, or other bikes, or pedestrians to distract me or I will wobble and fall off. Which is not good news for hopping back on the mega-tandem. However, I’ll do my best. I do remember that I have to name-check the illustrious Prop, our mentor with a dubious tulip affliction. Check out his blog and you will be introduced to folk from across the known universe, who have been more loyal to the cause than I have been of late. Shall we proceed?

First, we have a cyclamen which, along with assorted violas and primary coloured primulas, were bought to titivate the planters at the front of the house. I can just imagine them, waiting optimistically in the garden centre, dreaming of who will buy them and where they will make their loving home. Well my dearios, I’m afraid you drew the short straw. You will be living in the teeth of the evil northerly wind, where the sun has retired for the season. I am sure you will do your best.

Next, we have the rough tree fern, Cyathea australis, which has enjoyed the recent damp weather. Since it came to live at Chez Nous earlier in the year, it has outgrown two pots and is still curling out new fronds. Hopefully it will over-winter without too many dramas.

Onto a slack cosmos, both in habit and personality. My favourite annual has not thrived for me this year, with just this one plant flopping about popping out the odd flower as it felt fit. Not that I am complaining. At this time of year, you can forgive most slovenly behaviour.

The teasels have passed through their bee-magnet stage onto the goldfinch-larder stage, and we have already had the joy of watching these beautiful finches feast on the seeds. Again, these are in the front, Frozen North, garden, which wouldn’t seem the ideal place for a snooze. However, it appears that the snails in these parts are well ‘ard, not only cocking a snook at the cold wind but also at the thorny bed it has chosen to rest on.

Now an impatiens. I’m slightly embarrassed to say that until it flowered I wasn’t sure which one. The label just said impatiens, and I can’t blame the label because I wrote the label and I’m pretty certain that it said a lot more than that in the past. Now it is doing its floriferous thing, I am pretty certain that it is Impatiens flanaganae. It is doing very well and is perfectly pretty. I will now complete the label, so we don’t have this uncertainty again. Probably later today, or maybe tomorrow ….

Shall we finish with love? There are just two leaves left on the Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’, and this is one of them. A love heart.

That is your lot. As Woody Guthrie said “take it easy, but take it”. And stay safe and well, my friends.

Six on Saturday – Compass Point

It is Six on Saturday time again, which is serving as a welcome compass point. Although hard to believe, the days this week have seemed more confused than ever. Cancellations, rearrangements and future plans, when the future was previously barely credible, have all served to muddy my already murky waters. For that reason it is nice to know that this is Saturday and only Saturday, for that is all it could be. If you wish to discover further benefits to SoS participation, then pop over to The Propagator to find out more, or perhaps even less, my compadres are also often muddled. Let us get on or I will be getting in trouble with the Strict Task Master across the Channel, no Fred, not you, the other Channel.

First, a leaf of Brugmansia ‘Grand Marnier’ and friend. You must forgive for the blurry photograph, it was early morning, before my 100% proof flagon of coffee. During my garden meanderings I spotted this critter and ran (wobbled) back to the house to get my camera. All that exertion was too much for me, hence shake. And no, it was nothing to do with gin. This brugmansia has not thrived, possibly due to being in too small a pot. Last weekend this was rectified, so now has absolutely no excuse not to do something fabulous.

Next, a dear little erodium, nestled in an alpine planter bought lock, stock and barrel from a bargain bin, far, far away. It has subsequently been ignored. Everyone loves a trouper.

Now the absolutely gorgeous Diascia personata, a gift from my friend Chloris. She is not only generous, she also has impeccable taste. Its common name is masked twinspur. After absolutely no research on this matter at all, I can only surmise this is due to its twin spurs which are masked. I wouldn’t quote me on it.

On to a teasel water reservoir. This is son of, son of, son of etc the teasel that hitched a ride from our previous home in Bristol. We love teasels in our house. Although none of the current generations have reached the dizzying heights of their predecessor, all are loved. Next door has a new bird feeder which has attracted a family of goldfinches, hopefully they will still be about to enjoy our offering. Yesterday I was watching a fledgling on the telephone wire outside our bedroom window, gloriously twittering for some grub. A joy.

Now for Impatiens puberala, just coming into flower. A great favourite of mine, although I am sure it would be happier in the ground or living with someone with a better watering ethic.

Lastly Dichelostemma ida-maia, which I featured as a mere shoot in an earlier SoS. It has suffered badly from the onslaught of molluscs. The attack has been relentless. Although the flower is not fully out, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to share. It might be in the belly of a snail tomorrow.

That’s it, all done for another week. Take care my friends.

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

Scabiosa drakensbergensis

Scabiosa drakensbergensis

I’m not much of a joiner-in.  Its not that I don’t want to, but I lack focus and commitment. However I have decided to have a go at The Propagator’s meme, Six on Saturday.  For those of you who don’t know The Propagator he is best described as The Terminator in reverse.  His remit is simple: post six photos of plants from your garden on a Saturday.  That can’t be too arduous can it?  Apart from the small fact that most of my pictures are taken in my esteemed client’s gardens and I never work at the weekend.  Um.  Could be tricky.

I have asked Mine Host if I can use photos from other places and he most kindly agreed.  I haven’t mentioned the “not taken on a Saturday” bit yet as I don’t want to push my luck.  I will promise to stick to six if that helps.

So in an uncharacteristic willingness to conform, I have on this occasion battled through the chaos and managed to find the magic six in my own garden.  As I have mentioned before my own garden is full of good intentions and neglect.  This was therefore not an easy task.  But I was brave.

The opening photo is Scabiosa drakenbergenis, which is a cutting from a plant at Cliffe.  That plant was grown from seed.  It is loyal and undemanding, winding its way through and around others in the border, popping its head up in unexpected but welcome places.  It comes from the Drakenberg Mountains in South Africa, reaches 1m tall and is tough and beautiful, a perfect combination.

Fuchsia hatschbachii

Fuchsia hatschbachii

Next comes Fuchsia hatschbachii.  This fuchsia came into my possession whilst on a trip with Torrington Tina.  That is all you need to know, except no criminal activities were involved.  None that might result in a prison sentence anyway.  I like to think we liberated it.  Compact in form, dark green foliage, masses of slim red and mauve flowers.  No wonder both myself and TT had independently admired it from afar.  Sometimes you do get what you wish for.

Verbena bonariensis

Verbena bonariensis and friend

Now for the ubiquitous Verbena bonariensis.  Self-seeder and butterfly magnet extraordinaire, it was doing its job well this morning.  This little chap was hanging on for dear life as the stems almost doubled in the brisk breeze.  Others might have called it a raging wind.  Hopefully his persistence paid off.

Rosa 'Rhapsody in Blue'

Rosa ‘Rhapsody in Blue’

Oh yes, the rose.  The Rosa ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ that I bought earlier this year from Cannington Walled Garden has just begun its second flush of flowers.  The scent is delicious, the flowers a treat. It is doing very well in its pot, has avoided any blackspot and is growing just a little too vigorously!

Dahlia australis

Dahlia australis-ish

We must have a dahlia.  This is one that I grew from seed and is purported to be Dahlia australis.  I have an inkling there may have been some shenanigans with an interloper.  Although this has the slightly nodding habit of the species, it is supposed to be single flowered.  Oh well, you win some you lose some, and it is very pretty.  It shall be known as Dahlia australis-ish, which is quite hard to say after a couple of babychams (or equivalent).

Teasel

Terrific Teasel

And lastly the magnificent teasel.  These self seed in the front garden and are direct descendants of The Giant One.   TGO lived in our garden in Bristol and hitchhiked a lift on one of plants we brought with us.  For the past 10 years they have appeared without fail, to the great joy of local bees and finches.  When the winds come from the North, they dance a merry dance.

So there we have it, Six on Saturday.  Thank you Mr P for hosting this meme.  I hope I have passed the test.

Sway

teasel

We have a thing about teasels in our house.

When we lived in Bristol we grew a monster teasel.  In truth we neither planted it or nurtured it, it just appeared.  Then one day it was so large that we could watch the goldfinches feast on the seed from our first floor bathroom window.  It was truly a monster teasel.

When we moved to North Devon a seedling piggybacked on one of the many pots we brought with us.  This seedling in turn has spawned others that appear regularly in our front garden.  Now they have moved next door, much to the amusement of my lovely neighbour.  “What is it?” she asked, “Don’t worry” I said “It is son of Monster Teasel and it will bring you good luck and feasting birds.” She agreed this was reason enough not to dig it up.  When the northerly winds visit they sway in unison, spreading any remaining seed far and wide.

We love teasels in our house.