Six on Saturday (19 June 2021)

I’m going to try and ignore the fact that the longest day is almost upon us and the nights will begin drawing in. It seems too soon for such things. I’m also trying to ignore the daft Minerva Rose whose flower buds promise so much as they begin to open but then shrivel and turn brown around the edges for some reason. Hopefully it will sort itself out. I probably shouldn’t ignore the aphids that have now discovered the Golden Tower Elder nor the nibbled Zinnia seedling on the ‘slug and snail proof’ swing seat (I think a slimy critter has made its way across a stem of a nearby climbing rose that has formed a handy bridge to the delectable delights).

However, I can’t ignore the sorry state of the standard Buddleia. I blamed the wind for the snapped young branches initially. But the other day I observed a wood pigeon attempting to land on it (presumably channelling it’s inner sparrow) to get at a bird feeder. It flattened a few fairly substantial looking stems in the process and was swiftly seen off by an annoyed, arm waving gardener. Alas, I found another four long, leafy Buddleia appendages on the ground yesterday after a calm day weather-wise. The bird feeder has now been moved. But enough gardening gripes. There’s more good than not-so-good in the garden at the moment which leads me to my first Six on Saturday…

1. Several years ago I spotted a Common Valerian plant in a ‘wildflower’ section of a garden centre. It did well initially, producing the odd offspring, but numbers had begun to dwindle. I sowed some seed last spring and several plants have finally done their thing this year, producing tall stems adorned with frothy floating white clouds of fragrant flowers.

2. Grown from the same packet of seed as the yellow variety that featured last week, this Aquilegia was photographed in mid flight, zooming across the conservatory border.

3. Next up, Philadelphus ‘Bette Etoile.’ It was dug up and banished to the back of the hot dry border in early 2020 after I grew bored of its straggly nature and the annual aphid attacks. Left to fend for itself, I didn’t expect the troublesome mock orange to last long but it did surprisingly well and it’s doing even better this year. The easiest way to appreciate the orangey fragrance of the flowers is to make your way behind the blue shed rather than risk tiptoeing through the border.

Admittedly you have to be careful not to get snagged on the Gertrude Jekyll Rose or entangled in the dangling stems of a Montana Clematis. You also have to avoid skidding on some spilt horticultural grit or tripping over numerous stacked pots and the odd bag of compost. But once you’ve made it to the back of the shed, carefully squeezed your head through the narrow gap between the water butt and the fence, and inhaled deeply, the effort to get there all seems worthwhile.

4. This Erodium manescavii, grown from seed kindly provided by Jim, is flowering a lot earlier than last year. It’s also developing into a much more substantial plant. I’ve sown some left over seed so fingers crossed I’ll have a few more in the future.

5. Another week, another Iris. Presumably from the Iris ‘Metallic Mix,’ this one is all dark and brooding… and slightly out of focus.

6. And finally… A white Geranium (possibly ‘Alba’) from that free plant nursery up in North Wales. Which is where I’m headed today. I’ve studied the Covid rules for both England and Wales and I’m not really any the wiser to be honest, but I think so long as I don’t have more than 6 hamsters in the car from three extended households all is good.

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


40 thoughts on “Six on Saturday (19 June 2021)

  1. A laugh out loud post Graeme, with you, not about you obviously! The philadelphus looks worth the expedition to find its scent. Have a great trip to the “nursery”, hope you don’t get stopped by the Hamster Police, they will find and confiscate them, you know.

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  2. I too had a good chuckle, which almost sounded like the b*****d pigeons’ call. I too have no bird feeders due to this, and yes my Valerian too is in flower with its wonderful scent wafting around the garden, which I find very relaxing.

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  3. Erodium manescavii is one of my favourite plants, grown from seed many years ago but it was only this spring that I decided to propagate from it. I pulled off a dozen of the lowest growth, planted immediately in the garden, kept watered and they are in flower now. And, Philadelphus – it is the season of the most beautiful fragrance, a great shrub!

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  4. You have a lovely selection this week, and you made me smile throughout. I love the colour and markings on the Erodium, and the iris is spectacular. I can imagine the delightful fragrance from the Philadelphus, and I’m pleased to say that the 2 young plants I bought a few months ago are growing nicely, so fingers crossed there will be perfume in the garden from them later in the year. Luckily no hazardous route to them! The white geranium is really pretty.

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  5. Ahh the scent of Philadelphus, as I cycle down our hill there’s one in a front garden about halfway down, and I’m always careful to time my breathing so I can take a big deep breath at the right moment. A bit easier than your route to scented heaven! Your photo of the white Valerian with what looks like purple allium in the background is gorgeous, and the plants aren’t bad either. Enjoy your trip today!

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  6. How many people have followed your instructions and have their heads stuck between the water butt and fence? It’s one thing pushing your head through a gap but another to reverse the process. 🤔 Another beautiful iris, you keep finding new ones in your garden.

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  7. I don’t think any of us understand the rules anymore! Belle Etoile looks far too lovely to be stuck behind the shed (I assume you have a misprint) and I’m quite sure I’d get stuck trying to find her! The iris on the other hand actually looks quite frightening.

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  8. I’m fairly sure I have the same white Geranium and have been calling it G. sylvaticum ‘Album’ for years, but wrongly. I’m fairly sure it’s G. sanguineum ‘Album’ or var. album. I have a white meadow cranesbill as well, both are a lovely clean white, very pleasing.

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  9. That erodium is lovely. And there is no finer scent to catch in the garden than Gertrude Jekyll – unless it’s the flowers on our cordyline palm which are heady and wonderful. We have rain here much welcomed after a couple of very dry weeks.

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  10. That’s some obstacle course to get to the philadelphus but it’s certainly worth it. I’m loving all your close-ups this week. You’ve got some choice plants there Graeme.

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