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 – 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!

 

 

 

Thelma and Aunty Louise

tibouchina

One of the many benefits of my job is that, whether I’m looking for them or not, I acquire new friends along the horticultural way.  As a matter of course my employer ends up becoming my buddy as well as my client.  Perhaps I should warn people of the risks involved before they take me on.

Tomorrow I am going on a road trip with Nancy Nightingale.  We are going all the way to Cardiff to what I believe is called a “gig” in modern parlance, after which will be staying at an, almost inevitably, dodgy hotel.  The band is a Swedish sisterly duo called First Aid Kit and one of their songs is on my “imagined” greatest hits album.  This is in partnership with my esteemed singing teacher who sings over my mistakes.  My Mum, with tongue firmly ensconced in cheek, said “if they need a break you could always take over”.  It will be risky to rely on them to need the toilet on demand, we may need to plan a stage invasion.  I just have to work out how to get a step-ladder through security.

It should be a fun couple of days, involving music and plants and laughing, some of my favourite occupations.  However, I am a little nervous.  NN is a fully paid up, card holding, Rock Chick.  I am, a rather scruffy, definitely uncool gardener.  This presents one almost insurmountable problem.  Seriously folks, WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?!!!

This Tibouchina urvilleana, gifted to me by one of my clients turned friend, the lovely Penny (Mrs Fish).  She headed south for the summer and hasn’t returned.  And I miss her and her gang.

Blame

Tibouchina urvilleana

Some plants are very late coming into bloom in our garden.  As we live in a blame-blame culture I am going to point the finger at a hard winter, a late spring, followed by a sweltering summer.  It could be one, the other, a combination of any, whatever, they are tardy.  This reluctance to flower may have been exacerbated by inadequate cold protection and lack of watering during the great drought of ’18.  Unlikely though, it couldn’t possibly be anything to do with my poor husbandry or lack of enthusiasm after tending to other peoples’ little darlings all day.  Crazy talk.

Dahlias, fuchsias, salvias, are all dawdling along as if they had all the time in the world.  Well let me tell you something my lovelies, you laid-back-to-vertical slovens, the winter is fast approaching and do I need to remind you what happened last year!  Get a move on, flower, shut down and prepare for the worst!

A beauty that is often late on parade is Tibouchina urvilleana, the Brazilian Glory Bush.  A gift from Mrs Fish before she headed south for the summer, the buds are almost as glorious as the flowers.  Not quite.  But almost.  Won’t be long.

Six on Saturday – The Nearlys

Salvia corrugata

Saturday again and here is my contribution to The Honourable Mr P‘s Six on Saturday.   There is a thread running through this post, all my featured plants have something in common.  They are all Nearlys.  Not quite flowering.  Bearing in mind the recent weather, I can quite understand their reticence.  In the hope that by next week at least some of them may be in bloom, I will keep my words sparse.   It might help build the drama.

Our first plant is Salvia corrugata which is a little way off blooming, but with a sun-filled week it might be performing by next time.  So it is likely to be the week after.

Catananche caerulea 'Alba'

Catananche caerulea ‘Alba’

Next we have a white cupid’s dart, Catananche caerulea ‘Alba’.  It was grown from seed so we will see if it comes true.  Soon.

Tibouchina urvilleana

Tibouchina urvilleana

On to the delightfully diddy, dwarf Tibouchina urvilleana.  I will try and find out its cultivar name for next time.  Looking hopeful for an imminent flowering.

Salvia atrocyanea

Salvia atrocyanea

Now for a salvia, Salvia atrocyanea, which is not only looking like flowering for the first time this year but for the first time ever.  Maybe a couple of weeks, fingers crossed.

Bulbinella frutescens

Bulbinella frutescens

What next, oh yes, Bulbinella frutescens, grown from seed this year.  Just beginning to show off its starry yellow blooms.  Perhaps by next week it will look a little more impressive.

Hedychium greenii

Hedychium greenii

And finally Hedychium greenii, perhaps my favourite ginger lily.  That I have met so far.  You never know what is around the corner waiting to tempt you.  Also a little way off flowering, you may have to wait a few weeks to see this little beauty.

Which makes six (I did check).  Thanks Mr P.  Same time, same place?