Six on Saturday (1 June 2019)

Tomato plants should come with a health warning. Oh they look all innocent enough in their little pots, waiting to be planted outside in big pots where, hopefully, they’ll spend the rest of their days flowering and producing tomatoes. But over the past week I’ve become rather wary of them. Last Monday, when I was removing the first young tomato plant from it’s pot, I felt a sharp pin-prick type sensation on my finger. Puzzled I looked down and found a bee on the root ball. We looked at one another for a while, both a little baffled, before I gently placed it on the lilac. After seeking out a bit of sympathy from her indoors (I felt my first ever bee sting was worthy of some fuss) I carried on where I’d left off and planted all but one plant which I’d promised someone at work.

On Wednesday morning before heading off to work, I nipped outside to collect the aforementioned tomato plant, casually bending over to pick it up. While I was straightening up I felt a slight twinge but didn’t give it another thought. But as the day wore on the twinge became less twingey and more oooh-ee, by evening rather aaargh-ee and by the middle of the night decidedly oooh-aaaarah-ee (though slightly less yokelly sounding). My back is still giving me some grief but keeping active seems to help ease the pain so there’ll be a bit of light gardening over the weekend, even if it is only squishing aphids. And that leads me to my first SoS…

1. Oh yes, ’tis lupins again! A few of them are flowering away nicely now, though it’s a constant battle keeping on top of the sap sucking pale green aphids that enjoy them so much. Yet they seem less of a problem when compared to the sap sucking black aphids that are appearing everywhere; on the garlic, the chives, the philadelphus, red campion and dahlias… But back to the lupins. Some of them are actually looking rather well.

However, is it wrong to feel a little dismayed that so far the only lupins that have made it to flowerhood are all purple? Don’t get me wrong, I like purple. Very much. Still, I’d have quite liked the odd yellow or pink one. That’s the problem with a packet of mixed seed, you never know what colours you’re going to end up with. I also have a suspicion that the one below might actually be a cutting I took from the more sturdy Persian Slipper variety rather than one grown from seed.

2. Next up, a mystery plant. I think my wife spotted this at the East Lambrook nursery section last year but I can’t find a label. Does anybody recognise it?

Here’s a close up.

3. The pyracantha is looking rather ropey at the moment. Some of the flowers are fine.

But others are not.

It tends to look a little sickly during the winter but usually perks up at this time of year. I’ve started watering it each evening in case it’s down to a lack of rain (it grows right up against the fence) but in the back of my mind I’m thinking fireblight. I hope not.

4. These metallic looking spiky alliums appear to have benefited from mulching as they’re much taller than they’ve been in previous years. I really need to add some later flowering varieties to the garden.

5. Back in 2013 I purchased one meagre looking ox-eye daisy. These days I spend a fair amount of time pulling it up from here there and everywhere. I don’t regret introducing it to the garden though. The flowers are lovely and the insects like them. I only wish they’d stand up straight and unsupported as they do when you see them in meadows and on verges.

6. And finally… A geum. Mrs Bradshaw. We have two and they’re doing well this year, adding a splash of red around the place along with some poppies.

She looks rather nice next to the orange perennial wallflowers that are still going strong weeks after they first started flowering.

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.

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33 thoughts on “Six on Saturday (1 June 2019)

  1. Omg the black fly this year! They’re everywhere. On things I haven’t noticed them on before. I squish the smaller infestations but for larger colonies I am jet washing them off. Not sure if that kills them or just moves them, but it certainly moves them on sharpish. Haven’t seen any lupin aphids. Yet.

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    1. Lucky you! The black fly are a menace this year. I tried a soapy water mix but I think I overdid the soap the first time – the leaves of the Philadelphia turned a bit brown after I applied it! I’ll water it down next time.

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    1. Someone on Twitter has identified it as phuopsis stylosa. It does look like it could get out of hand. I’ll keep an eye on it!

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  2. I’ve had plenty of lupin sucking green aphids in recent weeks. It was a tough battle with a spray of soapy water with a tea spoon of vinegar … I won!
    Mrs. Bradshow is also out in my Six, this week ….

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    1. Thank you for the ID. I’ve just been reading up on it. Lupins do seem popular with the beasties. Nearly bought a pink one today but resisted. Decided it was too much like hard work.

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    1. When I was using the water butt behind the blue shed I noticed lots of the ladybird ‘crocodiles’ enjoying aphids on the tree. I think I may transfer a few to plants where their services would be more useful. It’s odd though as I’ve not seen any ladybirds in the garden this year.

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  3. I’m a teeny bit envious of the lupins as I had difficulty growing them myself, and then I over-watered them (easily done here) and they rotted. Your purple ones look splendid. I find it hard to imagine that pyracantha could suffer from lack of water. They grow along the roadside here and receive only what comes from the sky, which isn’t very much.

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  4. I would have blue lupins and wouldn’t complain, except I don’t know where I would put them! I will report on the success or otherwise of my garlic, mint concoction over the next few weeks, I will be brewing it tomorrow, or later today if it doesn’t stop raining.

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  5. Did the bee live after stinging you? Aw poor thing…

    How is your finger? You were lucky it was not a scorpian…. they are always my biggest fear.

    Your lupins look cool and one colour is easier to colour co ordinate with other plants. I grew my petunias from a mixed seed packet and I regret it. NExt year… I will be more selective πŸ™‚

    I see your swing seat is still covered in plants 😦

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    1. I’m afraid I would never live in a place where scorpians reside in gardens!

      I worried about the bee but I couldn’t find it later so perhaps it was fine. It’s odd though as I thought it was a honey bee and apparently they die as their sting gets left behind in the stingee. But there was no sting to be found in my finger. Maybe both the bee and I got off lightly.

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    1. I found a slug in the mini greenhouse munching away on some dahlia seedlings in broad daylight. I wasn’t impressed.

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  6. I have some dwarf lupins this year (free with other stuff) and they were growing well until this week when the snails made their annual invasion (not sure where they have been until now) and one plant is just a stalk! The snails also ate an Aubrieta and a Campanula plant! Grr… Hope your back improves quickly, after 8 weeks of intense Sciatica pain after doing a little light weeding I can sympathise with you!

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    1. 8 weeks? That must have been tough going. It’s at night that it’s the worst and when putting my socks on! Some slugs have found the dahlia seedlings in the mini greenhouse. I knew it was foolish to try growing some.

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  7. I was quite taken w/your mystery plant until I sw Chloris said it smelled of fox. Both your geums & oxeyes are looking great! Hope the back gets better.

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    1. Thank you. I think it smells more soapy than foxy. Read something that said it smells of cannabis! Back a bit better thanks.

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  8. Phuopsis stylosa is one of my favourites in the garden at present…I posted about that one last week. Very easy to propagate, and although I smell the foxy bit at some times of the year…at other times it is fine!

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