Six on Saturday – Greatest Hits

This week, in the pretence of treating you to some joy at this festive time but in reality is because it is tipping with rain and I am in a grump, I will be presenting to you lovely folk six happy recollections of the year past. Whether or not this is permitted, perhaps an addendum in the tome that is the Six on Saturday rule book, quite frankly my dear etc etc. Please feel free to pop over to see what the generally law abiding SoS elves have been up to and if our very own Santa Prop has got his gardening mojo back. Let’s get this party started.

In the eye of the storm I managed two visits to RHS Rosemoor in the space of week. They were both joyful events. This photo is not staged. At the time I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I am still undecided.

In February, when we were all still innocents, we had an amazing few days in London. Always on the lookout for the green, on the banks of the Thames I spied some valiant lichen and evidence of a passing angel.

This picture always makes me happy. It is the seedling of, what I believe is, a lesser spotted orchid which has made its home in the furry arms of a large fern at Westwell Hall. And why wouldn’t you?

Onto a green variegated zantedeschia, donated by Mrs Bun to Max. It is always good to share, especially a plant which sounds so unlikely to be beautiful, and never fails to prove you wrong.

My cosmos were rubbish this year. Nancy Nightingale’s were wonderful. More than wonderful.

In August, as a birthday treat, Hero whisked me off in her campervan. After visiting Atlantic Botanic and a delicious picnic, we went for a walk on Braunton Burrows. I spent much of the time with my head down, marvelling at the wildflowers, including this little echium, growing in almost pure sand. A memorable day.

And to finish (and yes, I can count but refuse to cull any of the above photos, so stuff that in your pipe and smoke it) three doves. They are the symbol of peace and hope and of course love. Which is exactly what I wish for you all.



It is all about getting your timing right.  As gardeners we walk the dangerous spit between the first damaging frosts and the desire to admire the swansong of our tender plants.  Lord and Lady Mantle’s estate is protected from wind but prone to cold and in my wisdom I have introduced some delicates to their merry band of players.  These were not purchased to be canon fodder, we want them to survive the winter war to shine another day.  But still they flower, innocent of the enemy that lurks just around the corner.  What to do?  Dare we wait?  No.  Today we erred on the side of caution and, whilst the warm sun stripped our backs of jumper and fleece, we potted up gazanias, tuberous begonias, osteospermums and zantedeschia.  The new greenhouse will be fully glazed by the end of the week and its new tenants are forming an orderly queue outside.  Perfect timing.

This hosta’s albino leaves indicate it is sensibly preparing itself for autumn.  If you peep below these corrugated parchments you will find fresh green shoots.  It is not quite ready to slumber yet. Impetuous fool!



What a glorious day!

For a start the sun shone, admittedly it was intermittent but every beam was absorbed and stored in my sunshine bank.  We shuffled the extended border, digging up many of the plants and rearranging to give them more room and fill the gaps, pausing occasionally to appreciate the warmth of the rays.  This was a most satisfying and agreeable experience, we even found a missing astilbe, always a good thing.

Today there was a diverse assortment of bloomers in Bobbies’ garden, many that haven’t read the manual.  Roses, poppies, saxifrage and zantedeschia were all happily flowering alongside the usual December display of mahonia and cyclamen.  None, however, reflected the return-to-light more perfectly than this golden perennial wall flower.  It would make the brightest buttercup look dowdy. Although it has flowered for most of the year, it is now that it has come into its own, so deliciously hot you could run your underfloor heating off its energy.

Someone else thought that on the contrary, it was her that was the belle of the ball!  I am inclined to agree.