Six on Saturday: a case of mistaken identity (1 February 2020)

The garden is sodden. The lawns squelch underfoot and the borders are well and truly saturated. Despite a frost earlier in the week most days have been wet and grey. But there are signs of life in the garden that are helping to dispel the gloom a little, cheerful reminders that spring is on the way. However, some signs of life were not welcomed with open arms earlier in the week and that leads me swiftly to my first Six on Saturday.

1. Wandering around the garden, peering at this and that, I stumbled across what I thought were aphids on the dwarf Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis (or Christmas Box). I was far from impressed and, after taking their picture (poorly I might add), finger and thumb were swiftly applied. However, after tweeting about my discovery some knowledgeable individuals identified them as Globular Springtails (possibly Allacma fusca) and in theory harmless to plants. I felt rather guilty.

2. And my gardener’s guilt increased upon discovering these bulbs. They were unearthed after digging up the old tree back in November and I’d set them aside for replanting. Only I completely forgot about them. They don’t seem to have minded too much though and they’ve since been plonked in the bed near the back door. I’m not sure what they are. Possibly bluebells.

3. Next up, an emerging lupin. It looks like it’s already been nibbled on and to be honest I don’t care. As lovely as lupins are I find them far too needy. I have three or so that I grew from seed a few years ago. They flowered for the first time last year but required daily aphid squishing (big green blighters and definitely not springtails). Will I remain as hard-hearted if the lupins survive the slugs and snails, flower buds form and the sap suckers arrive? Nope, I suspect I’ll come running to their aid, just as I did before.

4. The Viburnum (possibly farreri) is also showing signs of leafy life. There’s something very pleasing about its newly emerging foliage.

5. Alas, the decidedly munched petals of this Iris reticulata aren’t quite so pleasing. Some more are opening nearby so hopefully I’ll get to photograph one before the slimy ones get to it.

6. And finally… The scented pea-like flowers of the Coronilla valentina subsp glauca are adding some much needed yellow cheer in the front garden. This one seems prone to windrock and after a few years the branches tend to give way at the base. I risked pruning it right back to the ground in 2018 and it recovered well. I may need to do the same again come April when it finally finishes 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


22 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: a case of mistaken identity (1 February 2020)

  1. Must admit I’d have made the same mistake with the springtails, if that’s what they were. Wonder what they were going for on the plant if they’re supposed to live in leaf litter. I wouldn’t have been feeling guilty about abandoned bluebells either. Love the scent of Coronilla, why don’t I have any?

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  2. I grew lupins from seed and thought they were great too, until the lupin aphids arrived. There did seem to be a few ladybirds hanging around who might have managed to eat a few, but they were mostly left for me to squish. Ugh!
    I like the Coronilla – it’s not a plant I’ve seen in real life.

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  3. Aha! Coronilla – so that’s what they are! I have loads in the new garden, they seem to have popped up everywhere and are covered in flowers. Good to know I can just chop them back when they’re over. No pics from me this week, The garden is a fright.

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  4. You’ve converted me as well w/the coronilla. Google tells me its common name is scorpion vetch, so I love it even more, tho I’m not certain there’s a place in my curtain garden arrangement for a shrub of that size. Altho I do love the smelly stuff . . . I’m w/you on lupins. Way too needy, but I still have them.

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