Six on Saturday (18 September 2021)

When the sun has shone, hot and summer-like, bees and hoverflies buzzing busily from one flower to another, I’ve been able to fool myself that Autumn is some way off. True, the sun is sitting lower in the sky with a tendency to dazzle of late, the days are getting much shorter, and leaves have begun to fall from the odd tree, forming blankets of yellow here and there. But I think I’ll continue to delude myself for just a little while longer yet, dead-heading this and that in an attempt to keep things blooming for as long as possible, including my first Six on Saturday…

1. An Osteospermum, possibly ‘Tresco Purple.’ I lost my two Osteospermum’s last winter but thankfully several cuttings survived in the mini greenhouse. Planted out in the front garden in early summer, they’re starting to form some nice bud-covered clumps. I think I may dig these up and put them back in the greenhouse in a month or so.

2. A plant that will definitely need cosseting over the winter is this Chocolate Cosmos. Bought as a bare-root plant from Wilko, it bounced back from a severe munching in the spring and has finally got into its flowery stride. It’s impossible not to walk past it without taking a moment to appreciate the chocolatey fragrance.

3. The Chocolate Cosmos wasn’t the only plant that proved popular with the gourmet gastropods earlier in the year. Having survived the winter in a pot, Helenium ‘Fuego’ was planted in a border near the patio and appeared to be doing well. So well in fact that I stopped checking up on it, assuming the slimy ones weren’t interested. Several weeks later and all that remained were a few nibbled stems. It was hastily plonked back in a pot and spent a month or two on the swing seat recuperating. The Sneezeweed has since been returned to the border and has been flowering for several weeks.

4. Next up, Garlic Chives. I don’t tend to have much luck with the regular edible chives for some reason, but these have done really well over the past few years. A late flowering Allium, they’re proving popular with insects.

5. As are the Sedums, which have been covered with bees. The tiny flowers are turning a deeper shade of pink with each passing day.

6. And finally… A new addition to the garden back in the spring, Fuchsia ‘Delta’s Sarah’ has put on quite a bit of new growth, producing beautiful white and purple blooms. I’m hoping it will prove to be just as hardy as ‘Army Nurse.’

They were my Six on Saturday. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, take a look at the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday: wanderings (11 September 2021)

I’m actually up in North East Wales, visiting the old Ancestral home for a few days. But before setting off I had a wander around the front and back gardens in Somerset, wondering as I wandered whether I’d find anything of wonder to photograph. Thankfully, my wanders led to the discovery of six wonders, putting an end to both wanderings and wonderings. What was that? You wonder when this wandery introduction will end and you’ll get to see these six wondrous wonders discovered on my wanders? Well wonder no more…

1. The very first time I grew honey scented Alyssum from seed I sowed it in trays, transplanting the seedlings to the borders. It was faff and the following year I was relieved to find it had seeded itself about a bit. Now I just sprinkle a packet of seed here and there in April and let it do its thing. Chopped back several weeks ago, it’s now having a second flush of flowers

2. Another plant I grow from seed each year is Cosmos. A few months ago I wrote about my ‘old reliables,’ plants that never let me down and flower for months. Cosmos was one of them. Well I take it all back. This year they have really struggled and the majority of flowers have been nibbled. I’ll still grow them again next year mind you.

3. Thankfully, Calendula ‘Snow Princess’ hasn’t let me down. In fact it’s one of the few plants thriving in the front garden at the moment. The mini heatwave earlier in the week left many of the plants out the front struggling. Despite a gloomy August I don’t think we had much, if any, rain. Thankfully we had some heavy showers on Thursday.

4. The Caryopteris ‘Heavenly Blue’ has been abuzz with bees and hoverflies for a few weeks now. I thought it was a bit behind compared to previous years but having done a a quick search of old Six on Saturday posts over the years it appears not. Beautiful flowers and the foliage is nice and fragrant when rubbed.

5. Talking of fragrance, the night scented phlox (Zaluzianskya) is flowering. Two earlier sowings of a different variety (‘Midnight Candy’) snuffed it soon after germinating. Undeterred but clean out of ‘Midnight Candy’ seeds I grabbed a packet of these in Wiko, not holding out much hope. But behold, flowers! They certainly live up to the ‘night scented’ thing as I can only detect their sweet fragrance (which reminds me of those pink, white and yellow alphabet letter sweets of my youth) at night.

6. And finally… a Rudbeckia of short stature called ‘Toto’ (does anyone else hear Dorothy shouting after her dog when they see that name?) Pádraig featured one of these a while back and by strange coincidence I spotted one for sale in the Country Market shop in town a week or so later. It was obviously meant to be and was purchased post haste.

And they were my Six on Saturday. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, take a look at the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday (4 September 2021)

Online plant purveyors are a canny lot. Despite a determination to remain strong and resist their cunning Bank Holiday free postage offers I ended up having a nose at this and that and before I knew it I’d ended up with Digitalis ‘Dusky Maid,’ Penstemon ‘Wedding Day,’ Rosa ‘Timeless Purple,’ Geranium ‘Lily Lovell’ and a fifth thing that I can’t remember. Some of them arrived yesterday and have been safely potted up.

As well as unplanned point and click plant purchases I managed to spend some time simply enjoying the garden as promised. The sun actually made an appearance on Sunday (as did a dragonfly) and Mrs OMAHGT and I visited a Sunflower field that afternoon, snipping the odd flower for some indoor sunshine. After a rubbish Summer weather-wise, fingers are crossed for an Indian Summer (aren’t they always?) and next week’s forecast certainly looks promising for both gardeners and six-legged wingy things, which leads me to my first Six on Saturday…

1. Ver-bee-na. I know, I know. I’ll turn myself in to the Poor Plant Punning Police later today. This photo was taken last Sunday. The Verbena has been flowering for months now and hopefully will go on flowering for some time to come yet.

2. Another week, another Crocosmia. When we moved here I spent a few years getting shot of an orange variety that was taking over the garden. A few years later I got a completely different orange variety that sort of looks the same as the one I got shot of and yet is totally different… I think. This is ‘Ping Pong.’

3. I always forget I have Gladioli for some reason. Purchased from Wilko a few years ago, they’ve proved very reliable but have a tendency to topple as soon as the flowers open. The Gladioli Byzantinus I planted in early Spring have yet to make an appearance.

4. Now this was a surprise. I don’t know how this Love-in-the-mist got here (I certainly didn’t sow it) and yet here it is. I didn’t think I was a Nigella fan but having inspected it up close I think I’ve changed my mind.

5. Aster frikartii ‘Jungfrau’ has been getting bigger and better each year. I must split it in the Spring to spread it’s lilac loveliness/lovely lilaciness (delete as appropriate) around the garden.

6. And finally… a miracle. All of the Dahlias I left in the ground over winter snuffed it. I bought a few new tubers and these, together with some that were overwintered in pots, appeared to be doing really well initially but then things started to go awry. Inevitably some were munched by slugs and snails but others just seemed to stall, perhaps due to a lack of sun and warmth. I was beginning to fear none would flower. But behold! ‘Honka Fragile,’ planted as a tuber in the Spring, has bloomed. Fingers crossed ‘Honka Red’, a survivor from last year, makes it to flowerhood soon.

And they were my Six on Saturday. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, take a look at the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. Oooh – I’ve remembered the fifth plant purchase: Pulmonaria ‘Sissinghurst White.’

Six on Saturday: a place to hideaway (28 August 2021)

For reasons unknown I haven’t done much stopping and staring in the garden this year. Admittedly, the weather hasn’t been particularly great these past few months (too hot, too wet or too windy) and pots of ‘delicates’ have occupied the swing seat and garden bench for much of the season. I’ve done the usual gardeningy things (sowing seeds, pruning, dead heading, pulling up this, planting out that… and moving it later) and I’ve spent a lot of time pondering what has worked and what hasn’t. But I’ve spent very little time watching the birds and the bees go about their business, switching off and simply enjoying the garden. It’s something I plan to rectify over the long bank holiday weekend… once I’ve mown the lawn, tied in a few errant rose stems and perhaps pulled up the odd weed. It will become a place to hideaway for a few days, surrounded by leafy, flowery things, including those chosen for today’s Six on Saturday…

1. First up is Hydrangea paniculata Vanille Fraise.’ Her white blooms are rapidly flushing pink. From this moment on there can be no denying that Autumn is fast approaching.

2. Another week, another Crocosmia. Planted a few summers ago, ‘Jackanapes’ is finally starting to form a nice clump. They say that breaking up is hard to do but I’m hoping this will be easy to split up in a month or two. Every time it flowers I just fall in love again.

3. I think the superstar of the garden this year has been the Erodium manescavii. Grown from some seed kindly provided by Jim a few years ago, this plant has flowered non-stop since June and is still going strong.

4. Sometimes you need a plant that just does it’s own thing. Originally sown way back in 2012, the California Poppy just seeds itself about the garden, adding cheerful splashes of yellow and orange here and there.

5. Come eventide this Japanese Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ really shines, glowing in the fading light. It has yet to make an attempt to take over the garden. Perhaps it’s just biding its time.

6. And finally… Zinnias. I’m beginning to have something of a caught-between-goodbye-and-I-love-you thing with Zinnias. When they do well, surviving the slugs and snails and flowering until the first frosts, I’m happy, on top of the world and think yes, I want you back in my life again. But when they get munched or simply die for no obvious reason I think ‘what’s the use?’ and need a reason to believe that they’re worth all that careful nurturing. Heck, on a recent late night slug and snail patrol I stared up at the stars and pondered calling occupants of interplanetary craft, just in case there was some form of intelligent life out there that could provide a foolproof method of growing them. What’s that? Yes, that sounds a little goofus to me too; I guess I just lost my head. However, one form of Zinnia appears to be proving a lot more resilient and reliable than the others: the diminutive ‘Jazzy Mixed.’ For all we know this could be the holy grail of Zinnias. Well, I can dream can’t I?

And they were my Six on Saturday. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, take a look at the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday (21 August 2021)

The train to Cornwall was caught with plenty of time to spare last Saturday and apart from a temporary blip at Plymouth where we ended up without a train driver (don’t ask) all went to plan. Four days were spent pottering around Truro (where I lived for over a year way back in the mists of time) and Falmouth. Despite the slightly gloomy weather spirits were high, helped by the tropicalesque gardens in Falmouth and the odd Roskilly’s ice cream.

August is racing by and, rather worryingly, leaves have begun to fall from some of the trees on the green. I’ve started pondering a few changes shrub-wise come the autumn, but in the meantime I’m going to enjoy the garden as is. Well, sort of as is. Some of the plants that usually provide lots of late summer colour have struggled so far and I’m beginning to wonder whether they’ll actually make it to flowerhood before the first frosts. An emergency plant has had to be deployed, and that leads me to my first Six on Saturday…

1. Dahlia ‘Dark Angels Mixed.’ I left most of my Dahlias in the ground over the winter (as I’ve done in previous years). This time the gamble didn’t pay off; they didn’t reappear. However, those that were left in pots survived and several new tubers were planted in the spring. All seemed to be going to plan initially but then the slimy plant assassins of the night struck. Hopes that any will flower are fading, hence this ‘here’s one someone grew earlier’ bargain purchase made yesterday.

2. A lot of the annuals in the garden are grown from packets of free seed that come with the Garden News Magazine. Rudbeckia ‘Sputnik’ was sown in the spring. Alas, only one plant has survived but it’s a good ‘un.

3. Another Garden News Magazine freebie up next: Cornflower ‘Black Ball.’ I rarely have much success growing cornflowers (I don’t think any of the blue lot have survived, despite sowing some in pots and scattering the rest here, there and everywhere). This is the only ‘Black Ball’ to have made it this far. I may try again next year.

4. Violas usually only feature in my SoSs in winter and spring. Removed from the tulip pots in May and plonked in the ground, some are still going strong, including this beauty.

5. Agastache ‘Black Adder’ has yet to overwinter successfully in my garden but I still find myself buying replacement plants each year. The flowers are popular with the bees and I enjoy the aromatic foliage. I may try digging some up come the winter.

6. And finally… Another yellow Crocosmia. Last week I featured ‘Columbus.’ I think this might be ‘George Davison.’ I have a plan to label all the yellow Crocosmia so that I can spread them around the garden whilst getting shot of some of the orange variety that is in danger of taking over. Whether I’ll actually get around to it though is another matter.

They were my Six on Saturday. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, take a look at the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday (14 August 2021)

A quick Six on Saturday today without preamble or preramble. There are bags to pack and a train to catch and, as usual, I’ve left everything to the last minute.

1. First up, a Penstemon, one that magically appeared in the garden last year. I must have planted it but I have no idea what it’s called. Cuttings will soon be taken.

2. Remember the tale of the Hibiscus? What was that? How could you forget as I post a link to it every year. Well here it is again anyway. It was planted to help provide a bit of privacy when sat on the swing seat. However, this exotic bloomed beauty has proved to be a painfully slow grower (or I’m just impatient) and so got dug up in the spring and plonked in a pot. It doesn’t seem to have minded but hopefully it won’t get too settled as it’s going back into the ground again come the autumn.

3. Now my next SoS has proved to be the complete opposite to the Hibiscus growth-wise. When I chopped back the Sambucus ‘Golden Tower’ in January I was a little concerned it would take a while to bounce back.

I needn’t have worried. Despite all the fresh new growth the aphids have proved far less troublesome than last summer, setting up home on the ‘Black Lace’ Elder instead.

4. Next up is one of my purchases from the Taunton Flower Show: Allium angulasum. I’ve just been looking it up online and apparently it’s also called ‘Mouse Garlic.’ Intriguingly, Ballyrobert Gardens writes “Can be used for cooking but poisons in large numbers.” I think I’ll stick to admiring its flowers rather than eating it.

5. A few months ago I was pondering getting shot of this new rose. The first flush of flowers were a bitter disappointment, barely opening and turning brown around the edges. However, Minerva has cracked it this time, producing fragrant purpley blooms. All has been forgiven.

6. And finally… a golden yellow Crocosmia. ‘Columbus’ I think. I do like a yellow Crocosmia and more will feature over the next few weeks.

They were my Six on Saturday. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, take a look at the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. Right, where did I put the train tickets?

Six on Saturday (7 August 2021)

I visited the Taunton Flower Show yesterday and although a far smaller affair than usual there were several plant stalls selling their tempting leafy-petally wares. However, while many of my Cosmos and Dahlias are languishing this year, I was determined not to make any purchases, trusting that my existing plants would pull through. Oh yes, I was going to turn over a new leaf by not acquiring anything in… err… leaf. I would be strong, steadfast in my resolve. I’d give plants an appreciative glance but say no thanks. If something caught my eye I’d just walk on by. If… What was that? Just get on with it and tell us what plants you bought? Okay, a white Cosmos, a little Allium, a sneaky fern (don’t tell my wife) and a lemon-yellow Coreopsis. But none of these feature in today’s Six on Saturday.

1. First up, Verbena hastata. A white one. I’m never sure whether I should chop them back to encourage a second flush or not. I might give it a go and see what happens.

2. I wanted to add quite a bit of white to the garden this year so instead of sowing the more colourful Antirrhinum ‘Circus Clowns’ I opted for this one instead (free with the Garden News Magazine). Over the past few summers many of the snapdragons have succumbed to a sort of rust. Thus far only one plant has developed it. Fingers are crossed it doesn’t spread to the others.

3. Next up, ‘Jackie in Yellow.’ Planted back in 2020, this is the first year this Verbascum of short stature has flowered. Whether it will reappear again next year I’m not entirely sure as it’s described as a short lived perennial.

4. Thankfully, there’s no such uncertainty when it comes to ‘Miss Manners.’ Purchased from Ford Abbey many moons ago, the Obedient plant comes up faithfully each spring. I always intend to get a pink variety but never do. Maybe next year.

5. Oh yes, more white. The leaves of this Phlox are prone to droopage during dry spells, something that hasn’t been an issue this summer. I must split it in the autumn and plant some elsewhere in the garden.

6. And finally… Some full on colour after all that white and pale yellow. Alec’s Red is enjoying a third flush of flowers. Big bold blooms with a big bold rosey fragrance and, being a standard, they’re at handy nose height too.

They were my Six on Saturday. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, take a look at the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday (31 July 2021)

Well, the heatwave seems like a distant memory. The garden certainly needed the rain but it could have done without the gusty winds of yesterday. However, everything is still standing, apart from a Verbena out the front that I need to prop up later today. The Zinnias and Dahlias are still doing okay, although the latter are dragging their roots rather; there’s not a sign of a flower bud on any of them. Despite the slugs and snails having an extra glide to their slide after all the rain, the Zs and Ds have remained largely unmunched thus far and I wonder whether that’s because they have been shunned in favour of my first Six on Saturday (if you have your sunglasses to hand you may want to put them on now…)

1. Nasturtiums! Orange ones. I’ve never grown Nasturtiums before but I’ll definitely be growing them again. This one is making its way up through the Sambucus. They were all plonked in pots with the tomatoes, which may have been slightly foolhardy as they seem vigorous enough without a weekly seaweed feed. Unlike the gourmet gastropods I’ve yet to sample the edible flowers or leaves. Talking of leaves…

2. Lamium maculatum ‘White Nancy’ was planted in the spring to help brighten up a shady spot and it’s doing rather well. It’s produced the odd white flower but the foliage is the main attraction.

3. Next up is ‘Compassion,’ a climbing rose that was planted last summer. I’m a bit worried it’s going to be a tad too rampant for the spot I chose for it. The other week I made an effort to implement some order, adding wires to train it artfully around the corner of the shed towards the door. However, I fear getting inside will soon become tricky (not helped by the monster Montana that I’ve trained above the door). It looks rather pretty though.

4. As do the Phloxes. This one has been in bloom for a few weeks now.

5. Right, time for a plant that was deemed a bitter disappointment a year ago. Grown from seed, Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherry Brandy’ took forever to flower back in 2020 and when one of them finally produced a solitary miserable looking bloom I wondered why I’d bothered. I thought I’d pulled them all up but apparently not. Left in a pot over the winter, they’re looking rather splendid at the moment, although my camera doesn’t quite capture the true colour of the petals. They’re a lot darker in reality.

In fact I’m so taken with them you’re getting two photos. And they’re not the only Rudbeckias to have survived the winter…

6. ‘Daisies Mixed’ has also made a comeback. These plucky plants, also sown from seed back in 2020, flowered all the way through to January before dying back. It would be great if they did the same again.

They were my Six on Saturday. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, take a look at the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday (24 July 2021)

By ‘eck it’s been hot. Thankfully, Mrs OMAHGT and I had last week off, enjoying days out in Killerton, Exmouth and Teignmouth in Devon, as well as Sherborne Castle Gardens in Dorset. The odd frozen dessert may have been consumed (Snickers ice cream, cider sorbet and a Solero in case you’re interested). In between gallivanting and consuming rapidly melting frozen confections there was time for a spot of gardening. After much dithering I finally committed to planting out the Zinnias and Dahlias (most of them have remained unnibbled so far) and on Friday it was bye-bye standard buddleia and hello standard Ligustrum japonicum ‘Texanum’ (or Japanese/Waxleaf Privet). I’ve been a bit free and easy with the watering during this heatwave but hopefully the rain in the night and the showers forecast for today will replenish all of the water butts. Anyway, time for Six on Saturday.

1. One lot of plants that haven’t minded the relentless heat have been the Lavenders. This may or may not be Hidcote, a nice compact variety, although a monster Lavender had to be given an emergency chop the other week to allow access to the front door. Talking of monster plants…

2. Behold, Linaria purpurea ‘Canon Went.’ I sowed this last year and planted several seedlings at the front of borders assuming they were a short variety (like Fairy Lights). They didn’t flower and remained short of stature. Not this year. On a par with Purple Toadflax for height and vigour, and just as popular with the bees, they’re going to have to be moved to the back of the borders come the autumn. Note to self: read seed catalogues more carefully.

3. Like the Lavenders, Sidalcea ‘Party Girl’ (Prairie mallow) has also been enjoying the sun and is doing much better than in previous years.

4. Up next, flying hedgehogs. Juncus ensifolius was plonked in the tiny wildlife pond in February and has done rather well. However, I very nearly added a quite different plant to the pond, one I already had growing in the garden…

5. This Lythrum (or Purple Loosestrife) really struggled in the south facing front garden and was accidentally dug up with a Buddleia ‘Buzz’ and plonked in a pot. It has thrived ever since, despite my shoddy pot watering regime. However, back in February I was surprised to learn it’s also sold as a pond plant.

6. And finally… Polemonium ‘Northern Lights.’ I’ve grown a self-seeding purple Jacob’s Ladder for many moons now, but I only became aware of this fragrant (and sterile) variety after reading a Six on Saturday by Alison Moore last year. Two plants were acquired from Bluebell Cottage Gardens Nursery in February. I’m pondering getting a purple-leaved variety called ‘Heaven Scent’ next spring.

They were my Six on Saturday. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, take a look at the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday (17 July 2021)

After a few weeks of very little gardening action (apart from a spot of dead-heading) I finally started planting some of the annuals, working late into the evening one day last week. It felt rather good and also taxed the old grey cells as I wandered around the garden, watering can in hand, trying to remember just where I’d put everything. There are some plants that I still haven’t risked plonking out in the wilds of the borders though, and that leads me to my first Six on Saturday…

1. Zinnias of various hues. I know, I know. When they reach flowerhood they should be allowed to leave the safety of the swing seat and make their own way in the world. But they look so healthy and flowery (much better than last year’s batch) I’m reluctant to allow them to leave ‘home’ and fend for themselves. Perhaps the swing seat isn’t required for sitting on this summer. There’s always the garden bench. Wait. No, that’s occupied by pots of Dahlias, a Chocolate Cosmos and a Helenium. I must accept there will be casualties and just plant them.

2. Do you ever find yourself with a plant you’d always thought you weren’t that keen on originally? I’ve never been sure about the purple berries of Callicarpa and yet I found myself ordering a standard Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Autumn Glory’ in the spring. Despite professing uncertainty about the purple fruit I’ve been channelling my inner bee and pollinating the flowers with a small paint brush as apparently you may need a few such plants to guarantee berries.

3. Next up, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer.’ A lot was pulled up last autumn (it was beginning to take over the conservatory border) but there are still quite a few plants growing here and there. When it flowers its leanings towards world domination are forgiven.

4. Growing nearby is the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise.’ Another standard form, it was given its first ever prune in the spring. I’m not sure I got it completely right as some branches are a tad bare of leaf in places. However, the flowers have developed surprisingly quickly over the past few weeks. I suspect they will feature again in future SoSs.

5. Now these were a pleasant surprise. They look like Allium ‘Drumstick’ and must have been part of the mixed pack of Alliums planted late last year.

6. And finally… Ripening tomatoes! A bushy cherry variety called ‘Minibel,’ the fruit are a slightly funny colour, almost a bit pink. I tried one yesterday and I’m not sure it was totally ripe. If it was then I may have to grow a sweeter variety next year. They’re doing a lot better than my 2020 toms though.

They were my Six on Saturday. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, take a look at the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.