Six on Saturday (3 July 2021)

Yesterday morning I awoke with a start. I had this horrible feeling I’d forgotten to do something. But what? Had I left the front door unlocked? No, I’d definitely jiggled the handle before heading up the wooden hill. Had I left the skylight windows open in the conservatory? Again, no. I remembered leaping up to grab the handle of one of them to shut it and standing on the small coffee table to reach the other one. I’d definitely put the recycling out. Ah-ha! I’d forgotten to set the alarm! Nope, that had been set. Hmm, perhaps it was nothing after all.

It was only as I was getting dressed, 20 minutes later, that it suddenly dawned on me what it was I’d forgotten to do. I hadn’t returned the Zinnias to the security of the swing seat after watering them the previous evening. I’d foolishly left them on the ground, within easy reach of the slimy plant assassins of the night.

Abandoning socks and all thoughts of bringing the milk in or putting the kettle on, I raced downstairs, unlocked the back door and bounded over to the patio, fearful of what I would find. Just the other morning I’d discovered the stalky, leafless remains of what may have been either Dahlia or Coreopsis seedlings (identification proved tricky as the label had either a) been stolen or b) had never existed in the first place). Thankfully, all was well. The Zinnias had made it through the night unnibbled. Whether they’ll fare quite so well once planted in the wilds of the borders time will tell. My home brewed garlic spray is ready to be deployed though. Anyway, after that long winded introduction, it’s time for Six on Saturday.

1. First up is Penstemon ‘True Blue,’ grown from seed. On the front of the original packet it proudly says “flowers in the first year.” Well, this has taken over two but I’m not complaining. I had two plants originally, but its sibling appears to have gone AWOL. Never mind. Hopefully, once it’s a bit bigger, I’ll be able to take some cuttings. For some reason it looks more purpley than blue in this photo.

2. I think I buy a white Ragged Robin every year. They don’t appear to self-seed in my garden, dying back over the winter never to be seen again (unlike the reddy-pink variety that self-seeds all over the wildlife border). I always vow I won’t bother again and then I see one for sale. The stems appear to have turned purple lately (the photos with green stems were taken a few weeks ago).

3. Phacelia Tanacetifolia has featured in quite few Six on Saturdays of late. I found myself with a packet of seed in the spring and gave it a go. I wish I’d sown more now. Popular with the bees, it’s often grown as a green manure apparently.

4. Another annual sown from seed this year is this Orlaya grandiflora (White Lace Flower). Alas, only a few have made it to flowerhood but I will definitely be sowing some more next spring.

5. Next up is a plant described by Sarah Raven as “a new generation foxglove.” Digitalis x ‘Foxlight Rose Ivory’ is apparently a perennial and should go on flowering for a while. It’s rather nice and and I might see if I can divide it in time.

6. And finally… An Aquilegia. Bought as a plant last autumn it’s looking rather eye-catching, despite having been trod on a few times in an attempt to get to a bird feeder.

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


35 thoughts on “Six on Saturday (3 July 2021)

  1. The Foxglove is rather nice. I think I recall you growing some yellow foxglove perhaps Grandiflora (I maybe wrong of course). Mine have just come into flower although they are all facing towards the hedge for some reason.

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  2. I enjoyed your introduction to this week’s 6! Thank goodness they were fine! I grew One lonely Phacelia a year or two ago, and vowed that I would sow more seed again……and I still have not got around to that! They are a really pretty plant and flower. The fact that they are bee magnets has encouraged me more. I will have to order some seed! I was interested to read about the new foxglove. A perennial would suit me, so I will have to keep a lookout for one over here.

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  3. I have a packet of Phacelia ready for sowing as green manure on my allotment, it hadn’t occurred to me to grow some in the garden. I also grew Orlaya for the first time this year; very nice but I’d hoped for it to be taller. Pestemon from seed is another thing I hadn’t considered and evidently should have.

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  4. That white ragged robin is lovely, so dainty. And I’m with you on phacelia, I can’t think why it isn’t used more in gardens. Lovely summer flowers – the foxglove is gorgeous. And I’m so glad the zinnias survived! there is a huge bed of them in the town gardens and they look fantastic in the sun. I hope yours thrive.

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  5. I am so glad your Zinnia have survived. Mine (the few that germinated) are still sitting on a chair in the garden. Dare I ever plant them out? That is a nice foxglove, do the perennial ones have the massive foliage? I have to remove self-seeded biennials as they take up so much room. Penstemon ‘True Blue’ is a lovely shade. I might have to look out for that one. My Sour Grapes is very slow to get going this year.

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    1. I’ve just peered through the blinds of the conservatory to check the foliage of the perennial foxglove. The leaves are a lot daintier than those of a regular one. I’ve had flowering issues with Sour Grapes the past few years, although I have a suspicion mine may not actually be SG now – the Garden News says it’s often incorrectly sold under this name but is in fact another variety.

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  6. I was going to show 6 penstemons this week, but got sidetracked with the nasturtiums amongst other things. Your first picture is a lovely colour, I’m pretty sure I have one of those too. Nice selection again.

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  7. That is a very fine foxglove, and I wait for frequent reports of its performance. I laughed at your wondering what you had forgotten, I have lost two plants I paid good money for a couple of weeks back so can understand your dilemma.

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  8. A fine selection of flowers, as usual. I’m glad the Zinnias made it through the night – what troopers!

    The Foxglove looks great. There are some great Foxgloves around – the result of crossing plants with some of the more exotic Foxgloves, I think.

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  9. Could you share your garlic spray recipe? And does it really work? The Penstemon looks great, I should try growing some from seed. The white ragged robin is charming, I see why you fall for it each year.

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    1. I think it was this one and the other one suggests when best to apply it I applied it almost every day and just added some to a spray bottle, diluting it with far less than 5l of water. It didn’t work for every plant (I found snails happily munching on some sprayed leaves one evening) but I think the time of application might be key.

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