Six on Saturday (18 June 2022)

Urrgh. I hate the heat, tending to wilt easily. Friday was sweltering (the garden thermometer registered 36 degrees Celsius in the sun at one point) and resulted in some mid-afternoon lucky-I-had-the-day-off-work emergency pot watering and a vow to plant out the long since hardened off young plants next week, including my first Six on Saturday… the Cosmos.

1. So far the Cosmos have done a lot better than they did last year… they’re all still alive for one thing. Fingers crossed they continue to fare okay once planted out in the wilds. I don’t hold out much hope for the Zinnias though.

2. Out in the south facing front garden, this Helianthemum lostthelabelus has been flowering for a few weeks now, its yellow, crêpe paper-like petals looking rather splendid.

3. Also looking rather splendid is the Philadelphus ‘Belle Étoile.’ Once prone to annual aphid attacks, it was banished to the back of a border (behind the dwarf Eucalyptus) a couple of years ago. It has thrived ever since. In fact it’s thriving a little too much and could do with a severe prune once it has finished flowering. On a hot day like yesterday the heady fragrance can be delightfully wafty.

4. Back in November I expanded the mini wildlife pond. It’s getting more sun than it used to and the blue Flag Iris (Iris Versicolor) has flowered more prolifically as a result. Unfortunately, it’s prone to toppling sideways as my ‘shelves’ for the marginal plants proved to be far too narrow and, err…. not very level. Some thick wire has since been deployed to moor the pot to the edge of the pond.

5. Now apparently Valerian officinalis was all the rage at Chelsea this year. Well, I’ve been growing it for years don’t you know, although I think I saw a much shorter variety featured on Gardeners’ World last month that I’m tempted to seek out. Alas, there were a few casualties the other evening (venturing daintily into borders to pull up weeds rarely ends well when you have size twelve feet), including a stem of one of the Valerian plants. However, it has been providing a rather pleasing fragrance indoors.

6. And finally… The garden has been visited by a few butterflies of late, including this Small Tortoiseshell. Sweet Williams appear to be a particular favourite of theirs, as does this one solitary Chive flower (I never have much luck growing regular Chives).

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 (18 June 2022)

  1. What a lovely philadelphus, glad it has now escaped the evil aphid, do you think the eucalyptus has helped? Glad the cosmos are co-operating, they are my favourite annuals. I’ve got a mini pond now so I might be asking you some mini questions although I think ours might be minier that yours. 🙂

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  2. Your plants don’t look at all as though they’re suffering from the heat….such a lovely selection of flowers. I have to say that Valerian is an absolute thug in my garden and I’m often pulling it out. I planted the white one, but the red one appeared all by itself! Happy gardening and stay cool.

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    1. I suspect the Valerian you are referring to is really Centranthus ruber – often known as Red Valerian, but also comes in pink and white and yes it is a thug. The officinalis is the herbal one.

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  3. Your Helianthemum lostthelabelus is looking as good as all the wild ones on the Mendips, and I am looking out for some now for the front garden, of course not digging them from the wild. Similarly as seen on the hills Valerian is blooming well, and the likes of you and I are of course ahead of the Chelsea pack. I do however think the plants you sow were grown short somehow specially for the display garden. If you do find a truly shorter cultivar I too will be seeking it out. Maybe Jim would comment on the possibility of the trad’;s growing technique for making plants smaller for exhibits?

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    1. The exhibitors who regularly show out of season have the business of controlling growth down to a fine art, the rest (including me, back in the day) just pick out what is looking good at the time, from their own stock or wholesalers. The height stuff grows varies a lot from year to year, I doubt they were treated (Cycocel or some such) to make them short, though they may have been.

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  4. Nice, sunny, colourful pictures, as usual. I took my photos today in the duller light which does show the colours better. I like that Valerian, you are clearly well ahead in the horticultural fashion field! Isn’t the pink variety considered a weed down in the south? 😅

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  5. Cosmos are looking great. I tried growing mine from seed that I saved from last year and they are pretty small and so many didn’t germinate. I have a few perhaps they will be enough. Love all your colours.

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  6. I too am growing the Valerian here, bought it for its lovely perfume. My Philadelphus Belle Etoile isn’t flowering yet, it needs to get a move on! My chives seed about in the cracks on the patio, they are spreading far too far. The original plant in the border above died, didn’t like my wet soil, but the seedlings are quite often under water for most of the winter!

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  7. I ought to find some of the Valerian officinalis for my herb garden, it does look rather pretty. My Cosmos are also looking better this year, but none of my zinnia seeds germinated. Oh, well, less fodder for the S&S.

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      1. I managed to get two flowers last year! I have planted some that germinated this year into containers and so far they have not been eaten, but the ones in the ground are no more.

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  8. Love your butterfly pics. I am planning to take a cutting from my neighbour’s Philadelphus, yours is looking glorious and I can just imagine the fragrance. Good luck with the heat, sweltering here too.

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    1. I think I grew this batch from a packet of seed. I once foolishly bought some Prunella vulgaris from a ‘wildflower’ section of a garden centre. My mum went to pull it up when she visited that summer and when I stopped her she pointed to it growing throughout the lawn.


  9. I am also very inclined to wilting in the heat and find it very uncomfortable and we are here hoping for rain as the garden is so dry. Re the Valerian: another good one for the garden is V. pyrenaica which has a bigger head and larger basal foliage so good to fill a spot! Easy from seed too.

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  10. Bet the philadelphus smells heavenly. We had a hedge of it in our old garden, but it used to get murdered in the summer by black aphids. Valerian like a weed here, pops up everywhere. I’m a winter too, but I love the hot weather. I prescribe a shady corner and a huge parasol!

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