Six on Saturday (15 February 2020)

Last weekend was spent in London. While my wife attended a course at Regent’s University I was left to explore the Big Smoke. On Saturday morning I wandered around Regent’s Park admiring blossoms and the early fresh green leaves of a hawthorn, gazed up at the exotic, if noisy, parakeets high up in the trees and watched a pair of nesting great crested grebes on the lake. Then in the afternoon I braved the Tube and headed to the West End to watch The Play That Goes Wrong, taking an accidental detour to Trafalgar Square after turning left instead of right out of Charing Cross Station. There was a definite springlike feel to the day.

A poor photo of great crested grebes

But come Sunday such springlike weather was but a distant memory. After battling against the elements to get to the British Museum, pondering the point of my waterproof coat as it channelled the rain directly to my trouser legs, I later pretended to be engrossed with one exhibit or another while secretly standing on top of or in front of heating vents in a desperate attempt to get dry, worrying whether our train would be running that evening and if our fences were still standing back home. Thankfully it did and they were. It appears we got off lightly in our part of Somerset. Whether we’ll be quite so lucky when Storm Dennis reaches us later today, who knows. The wind is already getting up. Anyway, time for my first Six on Saturday.

1. While admiring the blossom trees in and around Regent’s Park I felt a slight tinge of regret. This time last year I was writing about the flowers of the Prunus cerasifera ‘Hessei’. I chopped it down in November and replaced it with the Eucalyptus gunnii France Bleu, and while I’m fairly sure this was the right decision (the Prunus was getting too big, despite regular pruning) I can’t deny I’m missing it a bit. Still, the Eucalyptus leaves look good in silhouette against the sky.

2. This is exciting. Most of the Lupin Lilac Javalin seeds sown almost two weeks ago are up and they’re surprisingly chunky. The Antirrhinum ‘Circus Clowns’ have also appeared, but there’s no sign of the tomatoes yet.

3. This Primula featured a few weeks back but has upped its game since then, going full on floriferous. Something has almost polished off that centre flower though.

4. Next up, the unfurling red-tinged young foliage of the new rose tree Harlow Carr. Most of the roses in the garden are showing signs of fresh growth, including a patio rose that I really need to chop back as it’s become a little wild. Alas, Graham Thomas, the yellow climber that did so poorly last year, is showing no such signs of life. I fear he is no more.

5. The first of the new daffs have opened in the front garden. I suspect these are ‘Tete-a-Tete.’ I’ve tended to steer clear of tall daffodils in order to avoid any storm related casualties. I think I may have made the right decision.

6. And finally… Every year I admire the beautiful flowers of this Japanese Quince when I’m walking into town on a Saturday. Our neighbour has one too, growing against his south facing fence. I’m always tempted to acquire one, though where it would go I’m not quite sure. Perhaps I should be content to just admire them from afar.

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


26 thoughts on “Six on Saturday (15 February 2020)

  1. I have never been to Regent’s Park, but I have been to London several times. Still a lot to see in Great Britain!
    The first daffodil is always a good sign that spring is not far away … I’m still waiting for my first.
    I had a Japanese quince a few years ago and I had to sacrifice it because it was getting too big and I had a lot of trouble digging it up … By cons these flowers are superb!

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  2. I razed our fence high Chaenomeles to the ground, intending to let it regrow in more controlled fashion. Fat chance. It’s suckering everywhere but isn’t back to flowering well yet. It’s good value, flowers a long time.

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  3. An enjoyable little story about your visit to London. I’m pleased that your garden missed the worst of last weekend’s storm.

    But to your plants! Lupin Lilac Javelin is new to me – and I’ve googled it (of course). It seems to have more of an informality about it that I like, and the delicate colours are beautiful. I have seeds of Tutti Frutti, and I’m now thinking that I really like this far, far more – to the extent that I’ve ordered a packet of seeds from DT Brown & co. I hope you don’t mind!

    Sorry to hear about your Graham Thomas climber – perhaps it will surprise you yet? Your neighbour’s Japanese Quince is beautiful – maybe you could find a space for it. (I quote: “There’s always room for one more plant”). 😁

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    1. Ha! There is indeed, I’m just not sure there is for a Japanese Quince! I’d not heard of this lupin before but spotted it in a DT Brown seed catalogue last autumn. It’s supposed to be scented too. It would be madness not to try growing it! I just hope it’s less needy than the usual variety.

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      1. Yes, quince jelly is nice with ham or chicken or instead of marmalade, in my opinion. My roses seemed to have a lot of brown stems and I think those were dead but one of them (which I nearly composted) is the open, purple one I featured many times last year.

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  4. Japanese quince is always a winner. I planted one under a bay window and it hardly gets any sun at all. I have pruned it every year so it now forms a bit of a hedge wrapping around the window. Mine is a deeper coral red. I remember seeing a white one once that was simply stunning.

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