Six on Saturday – Pale and Interesting

In my late teens, a few months after moving to Bristol, I returned to Cornwall for a first visit home. Whilst catching up with friends, someone commented that I was now “pale and interesting”. I interpretted this as he thought I looked ill. He was possibly right. This week’s Six on Saturday are pale and interesting, although none are, as far as I am aware, homesick.

First, we have Linaria ‘Fairy Bouquet’. As I am sure our Worshipful President The Prop, has a spreadsheet listing all entries in microscropic detail, double referenced, I would do well to confess that this little lovely has been featured before quite recently. This is a much paler seedling, and valiantly continuing to bloom, so doesn’t count.

Next we have a bonasi brugmansia. Brugmansia should not be bonsaied, it desperately needs to be repotted but the gardener has been lax. It is rather an embarrassment. The early morning dew captured on its hirsute foliage was an indication of the cold night. No frost yet though.

Now the ever delightful and diddy, Fuchsia microphylla. The common name is the small leaved fuchsia, although it is also small flowered. Pretty as a pixie picture. Try saying that after a pint of rough cider!

Next we have the skeletal remains of flower heads on the deep red hydrangea in the front garden. At the moment this shrub is holding new born, young, middle-aged and elderly flowers at the same time. I liked grandma the best.

Onto a rather tatty Salvia atrocyanea, doing its best in the circumstances. Blue flowers always make me a little giddy.

Lastly a magnificent tibouchina flower, but not the specimen featured last week in bud. I must confess to owning two plants, this one is Tibouchina ‘Groovy Baby’. Although not pale, it is very interesting and of course groovy, baby!

Stay safe and well my friends, I am especially thinking of those of you across the pond. Take care.

A Solstice Six on Saturday

In the northern hemisphere, tomorrow is the winter solstice.  It is a time of optimism, an opportunity shout “up yours” to winter and, whilst shaking an angry fist, “your reign is nearly over Baby”.  The currently submissive Day will begin to nibble at the dominant Night, slowly at first, getting hungrier as the weeks pass.  Before we know it spring will be making its welcome presence felt and we will have more hours of light to practice our noble profession.  Some perhaps not so noble.   It might take a while but at least we are the right road.  Before our very own Arch Druid, The Prop, starts prancing about in the altogether around the local football pitch, you could pop on over to his blog and find out what everyone else is up to.  I would keep your clothes on though, ’til tomorrow anyway.  Shall we proceed with SoSing?

First we have a viola, looking a little bit sad but soldiering on valiantly.  They usually have a nap through the worst of the winter, returning triumphant as the season wanes.  Although not vigorous these are popping open flowers on a regular basis.  It is much appreciated.

Next we have a swelling seed pop of Tibouchina ‘Groovy Baby’.  This little shrub has been flowering continually through hell and highwater.  Literally.  It is the first time I have noticed it setting seed and am keeping half an eye on its progression.  This might not be enough; I must be more vigilant.

Onto one of the bedding primulas which are planted in the Belfast sink at the front of the house.   The incessant harsh weather seems to have melted the petals.  Interesting.

Now a feisty soul, this pelargonium still battling through, deliciously dark flowered and edged with raspberry.

And the plucky Nerine undulata, bowed and ragged.   You can’t knock the intent.  Do you get points for “trying hard”?  I certainly hope so, both for the nerine and myself.

And lastly, the world.  Every year I buy at least one new decoration for our overladen tree.  This year it is a globe.  It appears that it is being pecked at by a gigantic bird.  Unfortunately, that is the least of its problems.

Happy solstice everyone, the only way is up!

 

 

Six on Saturday – Forlorn

Well Mr Prop you’ve really done it this time.  It has been my first day off for a while.  We have been away, dodging showers in Cornwall, and before that we had visitors to entertain, with more due next weekend.  How have I spent this glorious nugget of a free day?  Enjoying an aromatherapy massage, or perhaps brunching on avocado smashed onto spelt toast whilst perusing the weekend papers?  No, I have been wandering around my gardening in the pouring rain and howling gale trying to take photos for my Six on Saturday.  I am seriously annoyed.  And wet.  I will never forgive you.

I’m over it now.  All in the past.  I still admire you from afar.  Shall we get on?

First is a view out onto the courtyard from the relative dry and warm of my home.  I was contemplating.  I was revving myself up to venture forth.  No doubt I sighed a little.  You can see the green watering can that is too heavy for me to lug up the steps when it is full.  An anemic tomato plant, a stoically unflowering nerine and a few equally unfloriferous dahlias huddle on the step.  My pathetic greenhouse is flapping about like a demented seagull.   The ‘mind your own business’ is doing its utmost to treacherously smother the brick steps up to the main garden.  All is sog and forlorn.

I will try and cheer up as we proceed, but I can’t promise anything.  It might be a good idea to brace yourself for all eventualities.

Next is Solonum atropurpureum which is one of this year’s tranche of seed grown plants.  The decision to attempt to propagate this monster must have been made during a “what on earth was I thinking of” moment.  Alternative names are purple devil and malevolence so it is indeed surprising that I thought it would be a cuddly addition to the throng.  It is spiky and ugly and it is doing exceedingly well.

Now we have a bedraggled Dahlia australis and resident nibbler.  This plant was also grown from seed and turned out not to be the true species, a random bee must have snuck in with outsider pollen to the parent plant.  Still it is both pretty and reliable, two fine traits.  My dahlias have been dreadful this year, partly due to weather conditions and partly due to neglect.  Possibly in a ratio of 1:99.

Onto a depressed Rosa ‘Symphony in Blue’.  The first flush earlier in the summer was glorious.  Seems a little sad to see this battered shadow of its former self.   Time for it to have a sleep now and rest up until next year.

I have a confession, I have not one but two tibouchinas.  I say this tentatively as I’m a little worried that the Redistribution of the Tibouchina Party will come and liberate one of them.  But I need both, really, I do.  This is Tibouchina ‘Groovy Baby’, a diddy little shrub, but with flowers as large as its full-sized friend.  I would like a dress in this colour if anyone is feeling creative.

Lastly the delightful, Fuchsia ‘Bornemann’s Beste’.  This determined soul has thrived in the Bed of Anarchy, elbowing its way through the expanse of agapanthus and over exuberant salvias.  Sturdy and full of flower, it is a winner.

All done, until the next time, over and out.

 

 

Six on Saturday – Late on Parade

Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'

Sorry, I’m a little late on parade.  I would love to say I had a pressing engagement, possibly top secret, which prevented me posting yesterday.  The truth is, however, other mundane stuff got in the way and the day slipped by on a banana skin.  Still I am here now and The Propagator, who manages the Six on Saturday Team, is very forgiving.  Hopefully.

My first contestant this week is Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’.  This variegated Japanese grass has a wonderful lax habit and its golden striped leaves are a joy.  As autumn proceeds red tinges are beginning to appear in its foliage.   It has just begun to flower, these are not showy plumes, but dainty has its place in my garden too!

Phyllostachys nigra

Phyllostachys nigra

The next contender is Phyllostachys nigra otherwise known as the black bamboo.  This was very fashionable (and we all know how much a follower of fashion I am) in the same decade as the ra ra skirt.  Luckily for the great British public, I only embraced one trend.  Unfortunately it is confined to a pot where it struggles on, giving me a dirty look each time I pass by.

Salvia atrocyanea

Salvia atrocyanea

Eventually the Salvia atrocyanea has come into flower.  And I mean flower, singular.  Just the one.  Next year Rodders, we will be millionaires.

Paraserianthes lophantha

Paraserianthes lophantha

And now for teacher’s pet, Paraserianthes lophantha, formally Albizia lophantha.   I have grown this fast growing tree from South Western Australia before.  Unfortunately it succumbed one especially chilly winter and I have mourned its passing ever since.  I sowed seed earlier this year and this one plant is the result.  Now all I have to do is get it through the winter!

Heliotropium arborescens 'Chatsworth'

Heliotropium arborescens ‘Chatsworth’

Next a fragrant one, a lavender coloured heliotrope, Heliotropium arborescens ‘Chatsworth’.  The bloom is looking a little weather-beaten, the leaves yellowing, but still the perfume is delicious.

Tibouchina 'Groovy Baby'

Tibouchina ‘Groovy Baby’

Lastly we have the small but perfectly formed Tibouchina ‘Groovy Baby’.  I bought this last year at Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens in Dorset, wooed by both the manageable size and its funky name.  The shrub might be miniature but the flower certainly isn’t.

So that is it for another week.  Better late than never.  Thanks Mr P!  Will set my alarm clock for next week.