Six on Saturday (5 February 2022)

Although it’s only February there were a few moments last week when it felt almost springlike at times. Birds have been singing, the evenings seem lighter, the odd daffodil of short stature is flowering and… there are blooming aphids on the emerging buds of my Sambucus nigra ‘Golden Tower.’ Colonies of the prolific sap sucking, parthenogenic-offspring-producing blighters. I’m beginning to wonder whether ornamental elders are worth the effort. Last year the aphids really went for the ‘Black Lace’ elder and it was a constant battle trying to keep them in check, squashing and hosing them off and getting all wet and aphidy in the process. The ‘Black Lace’ got chopped to the ground yesterday in an attempt to revitalise it but I found myself pondering potential replacement shrubs while I was doing it. Are their days numbered? We shall see. Anyway, time for Six on Saturday.

1. And we start with snowdrops. I think this clump was acquired from the old ancestral home up in North East Wales. I’ve noticed a few other little clumps coming up here and there, acquired in the green from the Country Market over the last few years. I’m still a long way off from having a carpet of snowdrops or even a small rug, but perhaps one day…

2. Next up, a plant that came with a label saying ‘Hug me! I’m soft.’ Delosperma echinatum (the Pickle Plant) was one of several succulents purchased last year to brighten up the south facing window sill in the living room, and they’re doing rather well. What was that? Err, no I haven’t. I’m not good with public signs of plant affection. However, I do often admire Pickles and the halo effect its soft hairs create in the sun.

3. Sitting to the right of ‘Pickles’ is ‘Sampy’ (I think it looks a bit like Samphire). Alas, it didn’t come with a label, just a ceramic pot.

4. Out in the garden the first of the Primroses has started to flower. Rather miraculously, it has remained unnibbled.

5. As have most of the variegated leaves of this half standard Euonymus japonica ‘Bravo’ that brightens up a border during the winter.

6. And finally… The first of the outdoor ‘Tête-à-tête’ have begun to flower. A rather pleasing sight, if a little early.

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


29 thoughts on “Six on Saturday (5 February 2022)

  1. Apparently you should leave the aphids alone for birds and ants and ladybirds to eat. Apparently a healthy plant can survive aphid attacks. (Didn’t work for my Selinum wallichianum BTW) I only seem to have two snowdrops this year, so far. Instead of multiplying they are definitely retreating! And how nice to see an unnibbled primrose.

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  2. I like that euonymous! Mine is good but not such a contrast between the green and cream colours on the leaves. I’m going to try to grow only those flowers and vegetables that the local beasties and birdies don’t like…….unfortunately, they aren’t that fussy about what they attack. 🤔🙄🐛🐦🐀

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  3. If I lived closer/in the same country I’d happily take an elder or two off your hands, been coveting one for a while. As per Hey Jude’s comment I have reformulated aphids in my head as ‘bird food’, work in progress! PS Dying to ask, how did you find the exams? I thought R2101 was ok and no nasty surprises, but was up against the clock for R2102 and got logged out at the end mid sentence!

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    1. Was yours online then? I had to go to the college and take them there (although the course is online). I nearly messed up big time with the monoecious and dioecious question – getting mixed up with monocotyledons and dicotyledons – thankfully I spotted it in time (there was much crossing out). Otherwise that one was okay I think. The 50 minute exam was trickier and I almost ran out of time too – not helped by having to remove my non-smart wrist watch. Hoodies were also outlawed for some strange reason, not that I have one, and one candidate had the label of her otherwise clear water bottle removed. Very strict. Not sure what they’d have done if a student had turned up with their arm in a plaster cast (have you seen the test scene in Spies Like Us?)


      1. Goodness they don’t sound very trusting, how odd that they even made you take your wrist watch off, did they think it was an extremely well disguised smart watch? 😆 I am doing mine with Royal Botanical Garden of Edinburgh so some students went there for the exams (staff were apparently very friendly) and others like me did it online, you register with the RHS for that option. They make sure you are not cheating by ensuring your pc camera is on and if you get up or look away into the distance for too long you get automatically ejected from the exam! I was a bit worried this would happen as I think by looking up and away! I guess the nice thing about doing the exam at a centre is you get to meet the other students, no such option online. PS I had the very same brain fog with monoecious and dioecious!

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