Six on Saturday: Is summer finally here? (22 June 2019)

What’s this? Warmth? Sun? Could it be? No, surely not? Has summer finally arrived and bang on the 21 June too? I’m in denial that from here on in the nights will be drawing in; I won’t notice that for a while yet. Nope, all is good. Well, apart from the slugs and snails that have ravaged the dahlias (I’ve yet to brave planting out the dwarf variety or the zinnias) and the leafless mostly dead/still slightly alive hibiscus. I’ve finally dug Twiggy up (which was rather easy as it had no roots) but I’ve plonked it in a pot for now just in case a miracle occurs.

The garden was left to fend for itself for a few days early last week while my wife and I spent a few days in London, including a trip to Kew Gardens.

There was a lot to see but I think my favourite bits were the newly restored Temperate House (a beautiful building) and the Ewok-Endoresque treetop walkway.


Alas I don’t think I’m going to be able to recreate either in our garden. Anyway, onto my first Six on Saturday, and it starts with a confession.

1. I’m Graeme and it has been 3 months (more or less) since I last moved a shrub. Alas, I had a relapse on Friday. Back in October I committed to planting the Daphne x transatlantica ‘Pink Fragrance’. I tried it out for a month in its pot in the newly extended bed, near the back door. Measurements were taken, anticipating future growth based on its white cousin near the patio. I was confident I’d found the perfect spot and that there would be absolutely no reason to move it. No reason at all.

It’s flowering away rather nicely at the moment and has a more pinkish hue than the white Eternal Fragrance that featured last week. What was that? It looks exactly the same? Ah! While they are very similar there is a subtle difference. The white one (below) has flowers that are whitey-pink whereas the flowers on the pink one (above) are pinky-white. I hope that was helpful.


Anyway, over the past few weeks I’d been looking into what I could get to put in the hibiscus’s spot if it didn’t pull through and a replacement wasn’t possible. After a lot of internetting I decided a Sambucus nigra Golden Tower (a compact and narrow elder) was the way to go. However, towards the end of last week the supplier of the hibiscus contacted me to say they’d be sending a replacement. Great news. Yet I still fancied a Sambucus nigra Golden Tower. Was there anywhere else in the garden that I could put a hypothetical elder? I decided there was, but only if the new daphne was moved ever so slightly. And so I’ve shifted it a foot or so to the right (I’m hoping it won’t notice) and at some point, possibly after pay day, I’ll order the Sambucus.

2. The deliciously scented mock orange (Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’) has just started flowering. This year I was much more diligent in my squishing of the black fly that seem to love this plant. Lately the house sparrows have been helping to keep them in check and my feathered friends have also discovered the aphids on the lupins.

3. An anonymous patio rose that my wife and I were given as an engagement present by our colleagues at work 13 years ago. It was looking a little ropey last year after being swamped by neighbouring plants but is now doing much better after a bit of rearranging.

4. A geranium of unknown variety that has been flowering for weeks. It came from that free nursery up in Wales.

My mum originally gave me one plant but I’ve split it a few times over the years, planting it in both sunny and shady spots.

5. Next up, Virginian Stocks. They self-seed here there and everywhere, blending in nicely with their neighbours. The flowers are small but rather pretty up close. Supposedly fragrant but I’m not convinced.

6. And finally… Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium caeruleum) is a favourite of mine. They started off in a bed on the other side of the garden but last year I transplanted a few to the bed near the patio. A great self-seeder and it has rather nice foliage. The bees like it too.

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


27 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Is summer finally here? (22 June 2019)

      1. We didn’t actually choose the wedding flowers. With the drought last year specifying flowers was going to cost a fortune but if we were happy to have whatever the florist had in it was cheaper. But it was a stunning combination.

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  1. I had a beautiful Philadelphus over 40 years ago in front of our compost heap in our Staffordshire garden. It bloomed each year and smelled wonderful and bloomed profusely. I had our one here removed when the fence was fixed because it was pathetic and rather ugly, sadly. Yours looks very pretty. Lovely photos.

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    1. I was tempted to get shot of it when the blackfly struck again but now it’s flowering and I’m enjoying the its scent I’ve had a change of heart. I’ll see how it does during the rest of the year.


  2. Very funny, I do like a good old plant shuffle myself. Those daphnes are glorious! Hopefully they can get settled now. Blue flowers are a weakness and the yellow anthers/stamen of the jacob’s ladders really set the whole thing off. Beautiful.

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    1. We finally found some purely blue delphiniums in our local County Market shop. Not prize winning specimens and they’re bound to be eaten but you can’t beat a bit of blue in the garden!

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  3. Lovely six. The Philadelphus is pretty. Mine gave up after two very hot summers, but perhaps I should have another try…. Nice that you have the engagement rose still going strong, it’s a delicate sweet colour.

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    1. I love the sent of the Philadelphus but sometimes I wonder if it’s more trouble than it’s worth (I spoke too soon about blackfly – they’re back again in force!) I think the rose starts off slightly apricot and fades to a cream colour.


    1. Naturally! I wish I’d kept the label for it but that’s the case with quite a few now anonymous plants in the garden.


  4. Love all the pinks & purples in your garden at the moment, plus that peachy coloured rose. I hope your new hibiscus does better than the last one did.

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    1. Me too. No sign of the new one yet. I was eying some in a garden centre the other weekend thinking ‘so that’s what a hibiscus is supposed to like that – all leafy and green.’

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  5. I want a Daphne or two, but they’ll have to go in pots as I have no room for shrubs in the garden. I love your explanation of the difference! ‘Belle Etoile’ looks fab too, but I remember blackfly on Philadelphus, though I do have a lot of sparrows that visit the garden. Your Polemonium is very pretty and very big. I have one but mine doesn’t seem to be growing very well and the flowers (what I have seen) are tiny! Perhaps it needs to be moved. Do you know of a plant remover… ?

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    1. I do! The scent of the philadelphus is very strong in this heat. The strong winds are helping to waft its fragrance around too!

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