Six on Saturday (7 July 2018)

Finally, we had some rain here in Somerset. The garden is still looking a little sorry for itself, and the front lawn is decidedly crispy underfoot. However, the wet stuff was welcomed with outstretched arms by this gardener who took the opportunity to plant out some young snapdragon and scabious plants, oblivious to his increasingly drenched state until his wife poked her head round the back door and enquired whether he was aware that it was raining. He looked up, gazed at her lovingly and replied…

Anyway, here are my Six on Saturday…

1. The Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ has now exploded into flower and is looking rather vibrant, though not quite as vibrant as this picture would seem to suggest. My phone struggled to accurately capture the flaming red, adding a rather yellowy luminescence to the petals. As usual they’re begining to fall over, despite support, but they do look rather impressive when you’re looking out from the conservatory.

2. This shrub form of honeysuckle is doing particularly well this year (it appeared to enjoy being dug up and placed in a pot when the builders came). It never gets much taller than a foot or two as it’s pruned back each spring. Unfortunately this means you have to bend down quite a bit to appreciate the scent, which I’m finding increasingly trickier to do as the years go by (I think I may need to take up yoga) but it’s worth it.

3. The Californian Poppy tends to do it’s own thing each year, seeding itself wherever it fancies. I prefer this yellow version so naturally the orange one is proving far more successful in its going forths and multiplings and my frequent attempts at sowing the red Californian Poppy have been a dismal failure every time. It’s rather perplexing. They can get a little big and unweildly after a while but they don’t seem to mind being chopped back hard. The flowers last several days in a bud vase, closing up in the evenings and opening up again in the morning which is strangely saitisfying.

4. When we moved here 6 years ago I think the Jasmine had only been in the garden a short time, presumably planted to weave itself through the top row of trellis that runs along the fence and provide a bit of privacy. It’s hard to determine whether it began on our side of the fence or the neighbours’ side, but it’s really taken off over the past year or so. If the back door is left open in the evening and there’s a gentle breeze, its wonderful scent can fill our living room at the front of the house.

5. Verbena bonariensis is one of my favourite plants. It seeds itself around the garden, it doesn’t take up much room, the bees and butterflies love it (we’ve even had the odd hummingbird hawkmoth drinking from its nectar rich flowers) and once it starts flowering it goes on flowering throughout the summer and well into the Autumn.

6. And finally, water butts. Two of them. It seemed a shame to be limited to just the one slim line water butt when there was the potential to fit another to double the amount of free water for the garden. Admittedly two slim line water butts probably take up the space of one normal size one and it’s a bit trickier for my wife to squeeze past with her bike, but they’ve already proved a great success. The rain we had last Sunday filled the first one and half filled the other. The sound of the rain water trickling into them was strangley exciting and when the new one started to fill up filming was required to capture the momentous occasion. Prepare to be awed (if you’re viewing this on a web browser)…

By Wednesday the new one had already been emptied (despite the rain the ground is still bone dry) but as luck would have it we had more of the sweet smelling wet stuff leaving us with two completely full water butts and a very happy gardener.

Want to join in the Six on Saturday posts but not sure how? Then visit the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

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16 thoughts on “Six on Saturday (7 July 2018)

  1. Haha… very amusing 🙂 Gardening in the rain. Must confess i was also outside as it started raining here, having just taken the camera out to photograph a spider I’d spotted on my ’round’. Like you, it hasn’t made much difference to the soil, I am hoping that a few inches down it is still moist. I have a jasmine like yours, but it was so overgrown when I moved here that last year I cut it right to the ground (can’t get the roots out as they are huge), but it has shot up again. How do you keep yours under control? As for water butts I did consider a slim one when I moved here, but considering the amount of rain we usually have didn’t think it necessary. Mmmm…

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    1. Sorry, I just realised my reply to your comment didn’t post for some reason. I’d definitely recommed a water butt. It took me a few years to pluck up the courage to connect it to the drainpipe (DIY is not my strength) and we originally filled it from run off from the hotwater tap and shower. However, it’s been great collecting free rain water. As for the jasmine, I chop it back close to the trellis late in the summer and attempt to pull up unwanted shoots, though with limited success. It certainly provides a bit of privacy from the neighbours.

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      1. My jasmine is just about to flower so I will leave it for now, but do as you suggest and cut it back to the trellis when it has finished flowering and also remove some of the shoots at ground level. They are rampant things aren’t they!

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    1. I hope you get rain soon. It’s not done much good to the soil here but the run off from the roof was very welcome. It seems we were lucky.

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  2. Why don’t you stack some of those bricks that you have back behind the fence to make a plinth to set the honeysuckle in a pot onto so you don’t have to lower yourself to smell it. It is a beauty too and would look nice perched on a plinth. Your water set up is nice.

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  3. I always seem to have to unblock the downpipe diverter to get water to run into my water butt. As soon as it rains after a long dry spell it washes lumps of moss down to block it all up. I get soaked every time. Running water would be a sweet sound just now.

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    1. Not had that problem yet, though water butt number one had a definite whiff about it yesterday evening. I wonder whether vegetation of some sort has been washed into it and has rotted with the heat.

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  4. Yes Californian poppy is strange. I’ve been warned that it can spread in a thuggish manner, but it never has in my garden. In fact, I wish it would!

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  5. We got a tiny shower here in Wiltshire but it was almost mean in giving the garden hope…oh well. I’m going away in a few weeks and I honestly think my whole garden will die. The ground is like dust. Anyway, lovely 6; love the colour if your crocosmia. They really are such vibrant colours.

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    1. Thanks. Fingers crossed you get some proper rain soon. My sister is a teacher and she’s convinced the weather always takes a turn for the worse when the summer holidays start, so we may be in luck.

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  6. I’m a huge fan of Lucifer in the garden, altho for some, it turns into a thug. Still, a handsome thug he is. I was about to suggest putting the honeysuckle back into a raised pot, but see that taking days to wade through the SoS posts had made me late w/sharing my genius. I’m surprised the smell doesn’t ascend to be appreciated. And California poppies, no luck for me in any colour. They are lovely tho. And now in awe, I shall replay your way-too-short video & dream of days when it may rain again.

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    1. I had a wander round the garden late in the evening/early at night and the scent of the honeysuckle did indeed ascend so I think it may stay put for now. I’m trying not to go mad with the watering in an attempt to make the water last for as long as possible. Not doing very well though as everything is parched. I’ll release the extended director’s cut of the filling water butt if this weather continues.

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  7. Not had that problem yet, though water butt number one had a definite whiff about it yesterday evening. I wonder whether vegetation of some sort has been washed into it and has rotted with the heat.

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