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 – Aforethought

Sophora microphylla

The weather forecast for today was dreadful; torrential rain, howling north easterlies, possibly frogs.  So, as a dedicated disciple of Six on Saturday, and a most sensible and organised person, I took my photos yesterday.  Today, so far, has been quite dry.  This is not the point, which is that I was prepared for all eventualities.  I doubt it will happen again.  It is however bitterly cold, so I am pleased that for once I thought ahead.  Some might say that the “Saturday” part of the title is an itsy bit fraudulent, but rest assured that little has changed since yesterday.  Can I depend on you not to tell The Propagator, our meme leader, whose name rhymes with “alligator” for good reason.  Please do pop over to his site to see what he has been up to, and also to check on the increasingly large number of SoSers.

First of all we have the wonderful Sophora microphylla, now in full flower.  I used to work with a mature gentleman (lovely old git) who had spent several decades travelling the world.  This included an extended stay in New Zealand, which is where this potentially small tree comes from.  He taught me several Maori names for plants including this member of the pea family, kowhai.  Imagine you are saying hello to a Jersey milker.  That’s it, you’ve got it!

Callistemon 'Masotti'

Next another Antipodean, Callistemon ‘Masotti’, a (hopefully) dwarf, red flowered bottlebrush.  It looks as if it is thinking about flowering.  It may be reconsidering this decision after the outrageous hail storm that just battered everything.  Now I feel vindicated.

crocus

A crocus, just about to unfurl, perhaps the perfect moment.

seedlings

Germination!  In order to fool myself into thinking that I am doing something right, I generally sow something very easy along with the trickier customers.  This year it was Tagetes ‘Red Cherry’ and it didn’t let me down.  Nothing yet from any of the others, but it is early days.  I have had my little thrill fix, it will keep me going for a while.

rose

Number five is tender new orange/red rose foliage.  Any aphids that are reading this will be salivating.  Bit too cold to venture out yet, ha!

Vinca 'Jenny Pym'

Lastly is Vinca ‘Jenny Pym’.  I was trying to take a picture of a hellebore, ill positioned for the photographer, I was struggling to hold the head, camera and focus at the same time.  In the background my eye was caught by this charming lady, a little pinker than usual, due to the chill perhaps.  Soon the hellebore was forgotten, for the moment anyway, perhaps next week I will get a little help from a friend.

Thanks Mr P, I think this might be becoming a habit.  There are worse things to become addicted to.

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – Letters

red hydrangea

Here we are again, happy as can be, all good friends and jolly good company.  That’s right, it is Six on Saturday time again.  For anyone who has spent the last year lost in The Empty Quarter, or perhaps has been undertaking a silent vigil in a monastery somewhere deep in the Himalayas, and have missed this phenomenon, then I will explain what it is all about.  A certain gentleman called The Propagator has cast a spell over an increasing number of us innocent mortals.  It is not confined to the UK, his power extends across the globe and I have an inkling, even further.  This enchantment compels us to share six things that we find in our gardens every Saturday.  The only way to escape is if you have a note from your mum, a consultant surgeon or Gandalf.  As I haven’t managed to get any of these folk to co-operate this week, here are my SoS.  By the way, pop over to Mr P’s blog where you can not only read his contribution, but also those from his other captives.

First we have a hydrangea.  In the summer this shrub is a cheerful cherry red, small in stature but perfectly formed.  In early autumn it darkens to a deep maroon and now, as the gales have battered and desiccated, it has begun to turn the colour and texture of cornflakes (pre-milk).

garlic

Last week I planted some garlic in this trug.  It was a little later than I had planned to, but that is the way it goes in my world.  To some this container, with its invitingly soft compost, might look like a litter tray.  Yes, Fat Ol I’m looking at you!  Hence the sticks.

Pittosporum 'Tom Thumb'

A genera that has (not literally) grown on me is the pittosporums.  We have one in the front garden, it was in place when we arrived.  Luckily it is the diminutive Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’ and has barely grown in the ten years we have been here.  Its glossy burgundy leaves, frill edged, are especially welcome in the winter months.

Variegated Oleander

This variegated oleander rarely flowers.  It produces buds which just sit there waiting for some appropriate Mediterranean weather to open.  Which is extremely optimistic.  However it does over-winter outside with no extra protection.  Perhaps I should I say “so far”, I am a demon for tempting fate.

Bee House

Last Christmas I gave this little bug hotel to my OH, in reality is it more bijou B&B than Hilton.  Every so often I have a peer into it to see if anyone is in residence.  Other than a few spiders, I haven’t seen anyone yet.  Perhaps the leering human is putting them off.

Vinca 'Jenny Pym'

Last of all is the wonderful Vinca ‘Jenny Pym’.  The moment I set my eyes on this periwinkle, on a garden visit a couple of years ago, I was smitten.  Once I found a specimen and planted it out, I duly forgot all about her.  This is my fickle nature.  That is until this morning.  I see that she has done very nicely without my continuing doting.

Thanks again Mr P, for keeping us in order.  Now how about a letter from The Pope?  Does that count?