Six on Saturday (3 October 2020)

Well, bulbs have been ordered, bags of pungent manure have been collected and stored down the side of the blue shed ready for mulching, and the new sonic cat scaring device has been tested. A few days ago I spotted a bold ginger cat in the back garden, sitting on the fence near the bird feeder. After it blatantly ignored my half-hearted shooings and pishhings I nipped to the front garden to retrieve the new gadget. I squared up to the moggy menace, pointed the device in its direction and casually passed my hand in front of the motion sensor to activate it. I expected great things but, much to my dismay, the cat simply sat there giving me a bored ‘yeah, so what?’ kind of look. I tried again, slightly less casually this time. Same result. The motion sensor activation hand waving became increasingly frantic, fascinating the fearless feline who appeared to make itself even more comfortable. Then, just as I was about to admit defeat, I remembered there was a setting to up the sonic frequency. I turned the dial, paused for dramatic effect… and tried again. The scaredy cat scarpered. Result!

Most of the photos for today’s Six on Saturday were taken earlier in the week in anticipation of Storm Alex. The majority of plants were still standing at the end of Friday but alas, there was a Cosmos casualty. It’s even wetter and just as windy out there today and things are looking decidedly bedraggled.

1. Although not this Calendula. An orange one. Possibly the best sort, especially when bejewelled with rain drops.

2. I sowed several varieties of Scabiosa/scabiouses this year. The bees love them and they flower throughout the summer and well into autumn. This might be Scabiosa ‘Tall Double Red’… or it could be a red variety from ‘St George Mixed.’ As usual I lost track of what was what when I planted the seedlings out.

3. A clump of Garlic Chives has been growing in the garden for several years now but this is the first time they’ve flowered. I must divide them next spring as I wouldn’t mind a few more late flowering alliums.

4. Next up, Dahlia ‘Bishop’s Children’ that were sown from seed in the spring. Alas, I highly doubt they’ll flower before the frosts strike. Hopefully, they will do better in the ground next summer. They’ve taken forever to get going, as have most of the plants grown in pots this year.

5. It’s been a similar tale with the tomatoes. However, a handful of tomatoes have finally been picked from this cherry variety ‘Apero.’ It’s the first year I’ve gone totally peat free and I’m wondering whether I picked the wrong brand; or is it only a bad gardener that blames their peat free New Horizon compost? I’m going to try another sort next year, perhaps Dalefoot. Germination has been fine, the issue seems to have been post pricking out and potting on. Chicken manure pellets and a regular seaweed feed have got most of the pot planted things going eventually.

6. And finally… Calendula ‘Snow Princess’ featured a few months ago, but when a plant is still blooming away and is this lovely it seems wrong not to include it again.

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. Stay safe.

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39 thoughts on “Six on Saturday (3 October 2020)

  1. Good to know that your sonic device is working – you’ve reminded me that I need to change the batteries in mine.

    Lovely shot of the calendula with raindrops – your scabious looks good, sadly mine seem to have given up. Calendula ‘Snow Princess’ is a favourite of mine, I think have a few seeds left but will probably get another packet for next year. I have a dahlia in the ground – grown from a tuber that still hasn’t flowered but this week produced a few buds, so perhaps there’s a chance for your seed-grown plant yet.

    I haven’t tried peat free yet – I’ll hang onto my regular stuff until more people confirm that it’s really great stuff. I wouldn’t know whether to blame the compost or the weather if plants were failing, and that combination could go on for a few years. Monty Don gave a ‘recipe’ some time back for mixing peat-free with something else, but I can’t remember enough about it to suggest you try it.

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    1. Yes, I vaguely remember Monty doing that. Grit seems to be an essential ingredient in GW!

      The main issue I’ve had with this compost is toadstools. I used it last year though for a lot of things and I don’t remember having any issues.

      I also have another dahlia (tuber grown) that has just developed some buds. Fingers crossed they open…

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  2. It’s a shame for your tomatoes… For next year, if possible, try to plant them in a greenhouse or polytunnel, or with a roof that will shelter them. Use tomato or strawberry fertilizer (the same thing), add a good handful at the planting, when the flowers arrive, and when the fruits are formed.
    Don’t overwater them, the best is drip system . (I put the equivalent of 25 cl in the evening only at the beginning and end of the season, and morning and evening in summer.)
    Remove side shoots regularly, preferably shake the plants when they have flowers in the morning for good pollination ( once a day for a week or 2 to help get started) . I hope that will help you…🤞

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  3. I’m with you on Scabious. My garlic chives too are flowering and they stand out beautifully in this low dismal light. I didn’t realise that one had to divide them…another gardening tip. Many thanks.

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  4. There is a general reluctance to treat cats/dogs which are allowed stray into one’s property with the disrespect they deserve – a good kick up the behind or whatever – a serious moving on, at any rate. At times, a different approach is suggested. A few years ago, two alsatians chased my neighbour’s herd of cows – this upsets the cows; they don’t milk well as a result; loss of milk; bad for cows holding milk etc etc not to mention my neighbour’s nerves with two threatening animals! The dogs came into the farmyard, into an outhouse and he closed the door on them. When he called the Guards (police) he got the reply – “Do you really expect me to go out and face two alsatians for you?” When he asked what he should do then he was asked, “Don’t you have a gun?”

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  5. Sorry about the tardiness of your dahlias and tomatoes. Here, everything seems too slow until about August — then BAM. I also grew annual scabiosa next to my perennial scabiosa and have enjoyed the dark and white varieties intermingled, but I really was surprised by how much the new ones (annuals) flop. I guess if one doesn’t want to stake every plant, a type of netting could be used…

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  6. You really can’t beat calendulas for early or late blooms. Mine self-seeded early in the season, and the new plants are blooming now. I don’t get so cold they ever fully die.
    I would love to be able to keep cats out of my front yard, but my own indoor cats are just behind the window (sometimes open) near them, so anything would affect them. One of the owners doesn’t provide a litter box, he thinks they are “gross.” Yeah, they are… but not as gross as what his cats do in my flowers!

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  7. I couldn’t claim to know for sure but it seems to me the main problem with peat free is that it doesn’t have the ability to hold onto nutrients like peat, releasing them when the plant needs them. The base fertilizer it has when new disappears very quickly, in just a couple of weeks, long before the plants need potting on, and the plants stop growing because there’s no nutrition. In a bigger pot, with controlled release fertilizer granules added, the same compost grows things just fine.

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  8. My seed grown Bishop’s Children have been a bit slow this year but still a few weeks to form another burst of flowers I reckon. The ones grown last year have been amazing though. Towering up in the border. Nice strong stems, which is good as I didn’t stake.
    I’ve used a few of those sensors. Worked for a bit but ran out batteries too quickly and ran off batteries I didn’t have rechargeable options for. But I think they’ve changed them since to working off AA batteries.

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  9. I used New Horizon for my tomatoes last year – grown in pots in the greenhouse and regularly fed with tomato feed. They had terrible blossom end rot, which they’ve never had before. The compost was so open it wouldn’t hold onto any water. It had the texture of a fine bark mulch. I had used the same brand before, but this batch seemed very poor. I would dearly love to be peat free but it’s hard when you have experiences like this.

    On a more upbeat note that is a lovely photo of the calendula with the raindrops on it.

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  10. i went peat free properly this year, buying a load of new horizon. my god it’s total rubbish. or i am. nothing grew well in it. i went back to evil devil’s compost with a heavy heart. next year i will try to get hold of sylvagrow which is supposedly very good and less pricy that dalefoot. never using new horizon again.

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  11. I had such a laugh about the cat!! I love cats, and while reading your tale of Ginger, I could just visualise the unfolding scene! Hopefully the moggy won’t be around again to challenge the sonic scarer!
    I love the picture of the raindrops on the Calendula, and the C. ‘Snow Princess’ is just beautiful. The Scabiosa is a lovely colour, one which I have not seen before – but then again, I don’t have much experience with Scabiosa! It was limited to seeing some in Kew, and a couple of other RHS gardens! I think they were a blue colour.

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  12. You certainly have a wonderful selection of flowers, trowel 🙂

    I am intrigued by your new sonic cat scaring gizmo. I wonder if it would scare away the destructive blackbird who has been terrorizing my veg area and digging up all my pots.

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