Six on Saturday (17 July 2021)

After a few weeks of very little gardening action (apart from a spot of dead-heading) I finally started planting some of the annuals, working late into the evening one day last week. It felt rather good and also taxed the old grey cells as I wandered around the garden, watering can in hand, trying to remember just where I’d put everything. There are some plants that I still haven’t risked plonking out in the wilds of the borders though, and that leads me to my first Six on Saturday…

1. Zinnias of various hues. I know, I know. When they reach flowerhood they should be allowed to leave the safety of the swing seat and make their own way in the world. But they look so healthy and flowery (much better than last year’s batch) I’m reluctant to allow them to leave ‘home’ and fend for themselves. Perhaps the swing seat isn’t required for sitting on this summer. There’s always the garden bench. Wait. No, that’s occupied by pots of Dahlias, a Chocolate Cosmos and a Helenium. I must accept there will be casualties and just plant them.

2. Do you ever find yourself with a plant you’d always thought you weren’t that keen on originally? I’ve never been sure about the purple berries of Callicarpa and yet I found myself ordering a standard Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Autumn Glory’ in the spring. Despite professing uncertainty about the purple fruit I’ve been channelling my inner bee and pollinating the flowers with a small paint brush as apparently you may need a few such plants to guarantee berries.

3. Next up, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer.’ A lot was pulled up last autumn (it was beginning to take over the conservatory border) but there are still quite a few plants growing here and there. When it flowers its leanings towards world domination are forgiven.

4. Growing nearby is the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise.’ Another standard form, it was given its first ever prune in the spring. I’m not sure I got it completely right as some branches are a tad bare of leaf in places. However, the flowers have developed surprisingly quickly over the past few weeks. I suspect they will feature again in future SoSs.

5. Now these were a pleasant surprise. They look like Allium ‘Drumstick’ and must have been part of the mixed pack of Alliums planted late last year.

6. And finally… Ripening tomatoes! A bushy cherry variety called ‘Minibel,’ the fruit are a slightly funny colour, almost a bit pink. I tried one yesterday and I’m not sure it was totally ripe. If it was then I may have to grow a sweeter variety next year. They’re doing a lot better than my 2020 toms though.

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


44 thoughts on “Six on Saturday (17 July 2021)

  1. I see what you mean about your colourful annuals. They do look rather happy on the swing seat. I’ve not come across a standard hydrangea. It sounds promising so I will look out for the update. I do like Crocosmia Lucifer and Iove those exotic looking flowers.

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  2. Your Zinnias look so pretty there, I understand your reluctance to move them – perhaps now the weather is better your slimey assassins won’t be quite so murderous. I envy you your Crocosmia, I’ve tried many times to get them to work in my garden without success, no idea why they don’t like it here.

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  3. Everyone has such colorful zinnias. Everyone but me. Mine always looks faded out. They do look pretty and happy right there. Purple coneflowers are my not-sure-about when they first bloomed. They grew on me. The pollinators go there as a last resort, so they aren’t the magnets they are said to be. It usually works the other way for me, plants I thought I wanted turn out disappointing.

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  4. There’s so much to like about this post (and therefore, I surmise, your garden)! Feel free to feature the Hydrangea on future weeks, it’s lovely. The Zinnias are great too – I never do very well with them. Perhaps I’ll have to purchase a swing seat, as it seems to be doing the trick. Enjoy your tomato!

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  5. I’m wondering if you get the prize amongst we SoSers for the best zinnia. They look amazing. So many of mine have been munched. We all need a swing seet it seems…

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  6. I’ve just been out to look at my ‘Vanille Fraise’ and there are not even buds on it, let alone flowers. After I pruned it in spring a lot of the buds were pecked by birds or chomped by slugs, so I had to cut several shoots lower down. It looks very healthy, maybe it’ll flower very late. I got rid of ‘Lucifer’; it seeded everywhere and always fell over to flower flat on the ground. Too much hassle for a very short flowering.


  7. My ‘Vanille Fraise’ is nowhere near as good as yours, it does have a lot of flowers this year though so I hope it will do better than last year. I cut mine back to a couple of shoots on each stem so maybe that is why it is late. I pulled out my Lucifer because like Jim it falls flat on its face, a shame because it is a lovely colour. As for your Zinnias, personally I’d leave them where they are! Mine are on a chair and nowhere near flowering. I really won’t bother next year despite liking them a lot. And my tomato plants (only three) are pathetic. Not sure whether it is the peat free compost or what, but they are still very small and only one has a truss with a pea size tomato. I think they may be composted very shortly, and all my aubergine flowers are falling over instead of fruiting. Not a great year for me and veg.

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    1. I had that very same problem with my tomatoes last year. They were like bonsai plants and only started to grow and produce fruit after months of feeding – but it was too late for most of tomatoes to ripen by then. I blamed the Horizon peat free compost. I’ve tried some different peat free stuff this year and they’ve done much better. I planted the Zinnias but fear I will regret it, especially after the recent rain!

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  8. The zinnia look very bright and happy, so hopefully they will survive out there in the garden! The hydrangea is really pretty too. Your tomato crop looks good. Tomatoes just do not do well for us (apart from the little cherry tomatoes which usually come up throughout the garden like weeds!).

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  9. I like ‘Vanille Fraise’ very much and there are a few others which are similar. There is a move towards these H. paniculata cultivars and away from the mopheads. They make great garden plants. There is one called ‘Eskimo’ which I have been looking for in the past years but have not come on it yet – huge flowers. It is growing in a local big garden and I have simply not yet asked for cuttings or a plants. Must do!

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  10. Likmany others I’m vert taken with the lovely Hydrangea. It looks very different to what I’d class as the usual flower type, not that I’d know too much about it or them.
    I tried Calkicarpa about three years ago. Was unable to keep it overwinter. I’ll just admire yours.

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      1. Actually, it may not be that they aren’t fully hardy. Mine was squeezed between two larger shrubs and it may just have suffered for it. Google or Alexa may provide more info. Fingers crossed.

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