Six on Saturday (24 November 2018)

“What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.” I’ve always taken heed of these wise words of the poet William Henry Davies. Every morning, before setting off for work, I take a moment to look out at the garden and watch the antics of the birds on the feeders. As a worrier this provides me with a moment of calm, a minute or two where I take a brief break from trying to anticipate what lies in store for the rest of the day. However, as winter fast approaches and the hours of daylight continue to dwindle, I’m aware that very soon I’ll only get to see the garden and its feathered visitors on Saturdays and Sundays and the odd day off. I’ll miss these early morning pre-work worry free moments but I’ll make the most of the calming and restorative power of garden gazing and pottering during the winter weekends.

1. Every spring I admire tulips in other people’s gardens and eye them rather enviously on Gardeners’ World when Monty or Carol wax lyrical about the beautiful varieties that are available. However, the last time I attempted to grow tulips (in a pot) they didn’t do very well and I’ve given them a miss ever since. Yet tulip bulb planting has featured a fair bit in other gardening blogs and tweets over the past couple of weeks and I began to wonder whether it was time to give them another go. Last Sunday I succumbed to the lure of the tulip and purchased a few packs during a visit to our local garden centre. I’ll be planting them later today or tomorrow, as soon as I’ve retrieved a few pots from behind the blue shed (never an easy task).

2. I think the Viola may be my favourite plant. Pansies are a bit too blowsy for me, but there’s something very endearing about violas.

They provide a welcome splash of cheerful colour during the winter, offer a bit of scent up close, and will go on flowering well into the spring.

With any luck they’ll do a bit of self-seeding and pop up elsewhere in the garden. And there’s a huge variety of colours to choose from.

3. Talking of cheerful colour and self-seeding. The Snapdragon growing in the crack between the house and the drive is flowering again.

And there are still a few flowering in the back garden too. I think these may run violas a close second.

4. Sea pinks (or thrift) remind me of holidays on the Isles of Scilly. This clump grows outside the front door and has started flowering again.

5. The Japanese anemone that I purchased last month is still in bloom. I still haven’t decided where to plant it yet. Maybe near the Daphne odora (which, rather surprisingly, appears to be doing okay after its move a month or so ago).

6. And finally… My wife and I went for a walk in Taunton’s Vivary park last Saturday to suss out a new cafe for my weekly Saturday coffee and cake fix (Americano, black, no sugar in case you’re interested and pretty much any cake really, though I am particularly partial to carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting).

After a nice coffee and generous slice of vegan chocolate and cherry cake we walked back through the park and discovered this lovely scented Viburnum:

Initially I identified it as Viburnum ‘somethingorotherus’. But yesterday evening, when I was scrolling through Twitter, I came across this tweet asking if anybody knew what this was…


A knowledgable tweeter identified it as a Viburnum bodnantense. I reckon the one we saw in the park could be the same variety. What do you think?

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


20 thoughts on “Six on Saturday (24 November 2018)

  1. As far as I know there are three clones of Viburnum x bodnatense, ‘Dawn’, ‘Deben’ and ‘Charles Lamont’, of which ‘Dawn’ is by far the commonest. They all have AGM’s, you pays your money …..You’re the second person I’ve read recently who says violas have scent, I must have another sniff of mine when it stops raining.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have to get your nose close up and personal to a viola to appreciate its scent. I’ll have to look up those three viburnums. Thanks.


  2. Seeing the Sea pinks (or thrift) reminds me of when I was a small child. I collected several piles of grass cuttings and put them on the garden beds. Horrified my mum asked me what I was doing. ‘making more pink flowers’ I said as I pointed to several clumps of pink flowers growing out of what I assumed were grass cuttings.

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  3. I should think so. I’ve just this minute put all of them in pots though (there weren’t many bulbs in the pack) but I could try the ground next time as a comparison.

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  4. I’m all for plants that self seed in a polite kind of way, and violas are top of the pops for me. I’m just pulling mine out as it’s too hot for them now, but they’ve been wonderful. I’m with you on tulips. Mine were very disappointing except for the species tulips which I loved. The one on the right in your photo looks like one of those.

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    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one to have been unsuccessful with tulips. They have one more chance. If they don’t do well I think I’ll stick with admiring them afar.


  5. Good luck with the tulips! I had a good display this spring after going to town on bulb planting this time last year. I have the same viburnum. I didn’t like the shape when I bought it so I pruned it back – it has sulked. Hope it grows on more this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I hope the tulips do okay. The sulkiest shrub in my garden is the fuchsia. It was a monster, got moved in the spring and has barely grown more than a foot this year. It’s getting moved again in the spring. Hope your viburnum perks up.


  6. The viburnum around here are going crazy, too. Such a lovely surprise, especially if they’ve been let grow taller & peer at me over a hedge or fence. I’ve never gotten close enough to a viola to smell it, but shall try my best. Am thinking if I can catch a scent, this is something to put up closer to my face rather than crouching down, arse in the air, catching a whiff. Good luck w/the tulips! You’ve got some stiff competition in that dept here. (Not me, of course.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I can get any least one nice looking tulip for a SoS I’ll be happy (though I wouldn’t grow them again!) Violas are best sniffed at the garden centre on a high up bench therefore helping to maintain a more dignified posture!

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