Six on Saturday: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (21 September 2019)

Well, all this warm sunny weather of late has been been rather pleasant. The butterflies have been enjoying the Buddleia, Zinnia and Verbena and providing quite a few photo opportunities.

Though two hummingbird hawk moths have continued to thwart my futile attempts to zoom in, focus and snap them as they dart about from flower to flower. I sat for a few hours with my camera zoomed in and focused on some Verbena that I’d seen one enjoy on several occasions in the past, only for it to choose the Buddleia and Jasmine when it finally showed up.

Alas, it sounds as though the clement weather is coming to an end as Hurricane Humberto drops by. Ah well, it was nice while it lasted. While there’s still a lot of colour in the garden of the petalled and fluttery wings variety (here’s another sneaky butterfly photo taken last weekend…)

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it’s not all photogenic loveliness out there. Oh no. This week’s SoS is a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly.

1. First up, the good. I tried sowing some seed from the Clematis montana earlier in the year. I didn’t want any more but I was curious to see whether any seed would germinate. Within a week one seedling appeared. However, it wasn’t a clematis. I wasn’t sure what it was until a few weeks ago, when a bud started to form, and to my surprise it turned out to be a sunflower.

I’ve never had much luck with sunflowers. They usually get eaten by the slimy plant assassins of the night and I’d long since given up trying to grow them. So I’m a bit puzzled as to where this one came from. The only sunflower seeds in the garden are the sunflower hearts I feed the birds. It’s rather nice though and of pleasingly short stature.

2. For the past few years I’ve grown annual varieties of Scabious from seed rather than purchase the perennial variety that I never seem to be able to keep alive for more than a year or two. These annual variety also last for a few years but cost peanuts. I’ve probably featured this purple variety before but it’s been flowering for months now and is looking particularly good at the moment. Even the seed heads are rather attractive.

3. Continuing with the good; following Fred’s advice a few months ago I chopped back the rather straggly looking perennial Evening Primrose and it’s given it a new lease of life.

The flowers add a lovely splash of yellow in the corner of the garden and their scent is lovely.

4. Okay, the bad next. I’ve tried a few late sowings of hardy annuals this year in the hope that they’ll flower earlier next year. These white cornflowers ‘The Bride’ were grown from a free packet of seed and were doing grand until last week. I started to leave them outside to harden them off, completely forgetting that the slugs and snails were partial to snacking on them. They may pull through… possibly.

5. More bad. Antirrhinums featured a lot in my Six on Saturdays last year. However, this year they’ve faired very poorly. I’m not sure what’s gone wrong. Many of last year’s plants came through the winter and flowered earlier in the summer.

Yet the new, batch sowed earlier in the year, were supposed to take over from them. They haven’t. Most are looking very sickly indeed foliage-wise and some have snuffed it.

6. And finally… the ugly. My wife tells me there’s no such thing as ugly, but when confronted with the Korean lilac Syringa meyeri Palibin at this time of year I’m not so sure. While a lot of shrubs gradually take on lovely autumnal hues and retire for the winter in style come October/November, this shrub, a fragrant stunner in June, always looks like it’s dying a horrible and unpleasant death come September.

Indeed, sometimes the sudden transformation from green to crispy brown can start as early as August. I’ve tried watering it, thinking that it’s in desperate need of a drink, but it doesn’t make any difference. ‘Tis a shame, as it stands out horribly next to its green neighbours.

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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28 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (21 September 2019)

  1. Your pictures of butterflies are very successful! I’m happy to see the evening primrose bloom again and I can see that this yellow is even brighter than mine.
    u changes at this time of year may also be due to lack of water. I have a lot of plants that turn colour abnormally early and not in the beautiful way … Let the rain come quickly!

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  2. The butterfly shots are wonderful. That sunflower is lovely, too. Goes well w/the dahlia (?) behind it. Those evening primroses seem to be doing their job well, May have to consider some. Do they produce for an extended period or is it quick & wonderful? I agree w/your wife – the korean syringa isn’t ugly, but it is a sign of things to come, unfortunately.

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    1. Lucky coincidence the sunflower being next the yellow dahlias! The evening primrose has flowered off and on for months. The indivual flowers are shortlived, opening in the evening and dying by mid morning but the buds seem to open in succession.

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    1. I has pondered getting another dwarf lilac, but a stardardised one. I changed my mind! Wouldn’t be without this one though.

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  3. Will anyone manage to snap the Hummingbird Hawkmoth? I reckon Heyjude would be the best bet. I usually have a few self-seeded antirrhinums but this year I have only seen one. I will show it in next week’s post. (Is that the correct spelling of antirrhinums?)

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    1. I think so! I usually go for ‘snapdragons’ as I have to check Google for the correct spelling of Auntyrhynum. You’re probably right about Heyjude!

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      1. Haha… thanks for the confidence guys, but I have yet to see an amazing humming-bird hawk moth. I’d also love to see an elephant hawk moth too. In fact they are all pretty spectacular. The only one I have managed to see and photograph is the more common Hawk Moth (Laothoe populi) which you can see here: https://wp.me/p79zFr-ed but if I get the chance I shall definitely have a try at capturing them.

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  4. The antirrhinum is a stunning colour. It’s a shame the other seeds did not pull through. After my Petrunia, Nasturtium and marigold seed disasters, I think I’ll abandon the idea of growing seeds and focus on buying plants already in flower. ๐Ÿ™‚ Fingers crossed the white cornflowers survive.

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    1. I think the cornflowers chances are about 50/50! I had Snapdragon issues a few years ago. Not sure what the problem is. Annoyingly the self-seeded ones growing in a crack between the drive and the wall of the house look far healthier.

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  5. Beautiful butterflies, you know how I love a flutterby photo shoot ๐Ÿ˜€ And I had to chuckle at the comment “…the slimy plant assassins of the night ” having picked off several this evening on my hydrangea! Is no plant immune from these killers? I also love your scabious. I didn’t know there were annual ones and I might try some of those if I see them as my perennials have not done so well this year.

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    1. I don’t think any plant is immune from them! Aphids don’t appear to be overly fussy either. It’s been a good year for butterflies in the garden. I’ve never seen so many before. Is the first butterfly a Painted Lady?

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      1. BTW When you leave a comment your link goes to a dead site ‘onemanandhistrowel.wordpress.com’ if I try and backtrack from the notifications. Something need changing in your profile? I assume you renamed your site at one point.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s good to know. Thanks. I vaguely remember changing it minutes after I set it up. I forsee hours of cursing and muttering this evening if I try and change it.

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      3. If you click on your image, top right on the toolbar, next to the notifications bell (I use a PC btw) you can update your profile and the website link is under account settings. Fairly straightforward.

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