Six on Saturday: wanderings (11 September 2021)

I’m actually up in North East Wales, visiting the old Ancestral home for a few days. But before setting off I had a wander around the front and back gardens in Somerset, wondering as I wandered whether I’d find anything of wonder to photograph. Thankfully, my wanders led to the discovery of six wonders, putting an end to both wanderings and wonderings. What was that? You wonder when this wandery introduction will end and you’ll get to see these six wondrous wonders discovered on my wanders? Well wonder no more…

1. The very first time I grew honey scented Alyssum from seed I sowed it in trays, transplanting the seedlings to the borders. It was faff and the following year I was relieved to find it had seeded itself about a bit. Now I just sprinkle a packet of seed here and there in April and let it do its thing. Chopped back several weeks ago, it’s now having a second flush of flowers

2. Another plant I grow from seed each year is Cosmos. A few months ago I wrote about my ‘old reliables,’ plants that never let me down and flower for months. Cosmos was one of them. Well I take it all back. This year they have really struggled and the majority of flowers have been nibbled. I’ll still grow them again next year mind you.

3. Thankfully, Calendula ‘Snow Princess’ hasn’t let me down. In fact it’s one of the few plants thriving in the front garden at the moment. The mini heatwave earlier in the week left many of the plants out the front struggling. Despite a gloomy August I don’t think we had much, if any, rain. Thankfully we had some heavy showers on Thursday.

4. The Caryopteris ‘Heavenly Blue’ has been abuzz with bees and hoverflies for a few weeks now. I thought it was a bit behind compared to previous years but having done a a quick search of old Six on Saturday posts over the years it appears not. Beautiful flowers and the foliage is nice and fragrant when rubbed.

5. Talking of fragrance, the night scented phlox (Zaluzianskya) is flowering. Two earlier sowings of a different variety (‘Midnight Candy’) snuffed it soon after germinating. Undeterred but clean out of ‘Midnight Candy’ seeds I grabbed a packet of these in Wiko, not holding out much hope. But behold, flowers! They certainly live up to the ‘night scented’ thing as I can only detect their sweet fragrance (which reminds me of those pink, white and yellow alphabet letter sweets of my youth) at night.

6. And finally… a Rudbeckia of short stature called ‘Toto’ (does anyone else hear Dorothy shouting after her dog when they see that name?) Pádraig featured one of these a while back and by strange coincidence I spotted one for sale in the Country Market shop in town a week or so later. It was obviously meant to be and was purchased post haste.

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


35 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: wanderings (11 September 2021)

  1. I always just scatter some Alyssum seed in a tricky dry spot by the front gate and it comes up reliably and gently self seeds, with me topping it up occasionally. It’s a very handy little plant with a nice long flowering period. I think I have one of your Snow Princess calendulas from the seed you sent about to flower, fingers crossed – I saved it from slugs by bringing the pot up to the back terrace where I keep a close eye on it! The Caryopteris is lovely and that’s a nice photo of it.

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  2. I tried to grow Cosmos last year and ended up with one plant that produced just a couple of flowers. Undeterred (only just) I did them again this year and they’ve been fabulous. And Jill’s comment above confirms that it is worth saving seed, I’ve been dead heading religiously, now I hope they have time to ripen. I cut calendulas down when they stopped flowering a month ago, now I’m going to have to buy seed of them and will look out for Snow Princess.

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  3. The Caryopteris is really well named – a heavenly blue indeed, and the bee looks very happy to have landed there. The Calendula look good and healthy. Much better than they have done here. I’ve been fooled into thinking the garden didn’t need much watering because it hasn’t been hot, but apart from a one shower there has been no rain here for ages either.

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  4. Alyssum is everywhere in my garden, but I have never heard of it being called ‘honey scented’. I have no sense of smell which is a bad thing for a gardener, so I can’t tell. Is it the same thing? Or is there another of more elevated rank? Either way, they are great fillers of corners and bare patches.
    The Caryoptis is indeed heavenly and of fascinating floral construction.

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  5. The night scented stock is interesting, and also your tips for sowing the alyssum. I saw this growing at a posh garden recently:The Newt,where they were massed planted and the scent was wonderful.

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  6. Sweet Alyssum seems to flower all year round down here, but I still haven’t bought any! Do you sow your Cosmos and Calendula direct or in seed trays? The night scented phlox looks and sounds interesting. I love a scented flower.

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  7. The Caryopteris and the night scented phlox are new to me and I reckon worth a try (if I can locate some seeds! The cosmos is stunning. Unfortunately scattering alyssum seed in the garden does not seem to work here and I have to plant out seedlings instead. Calendulas are a great favourite of mine for spring colour.

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      1. About two years ago I had a mass of Calendulas in the garden during spring, and I dried the flowers, then infused some sweet almond oil with the flowers. I use the oil on my skin and it is lovely! I unfortunately have not managed to grow so many since….maybe next year?

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