Six on Saturday: garden therapy (30 July 2022)

Thank goodness for the garden. A place to retreat and sigh a contented ‘aaaaaah’ after the nine to five stuff has gotten a little too ‘aaaaragh.’ A little patch of green (well, greenish and crispy brown at present) to forget your troubles for a moment and switch off. The resident wildlife has also provided some uplifting moments this week. My wife discovered a young frog that had somehow made it’s way into the conservatory. It raised a chuckle and some brief concern when we discovered it’s leg had got tangled in some fluff and cotton (we really must hoover under the bureau more often). Thankfully it all ended well and ‘Froggy’ (my wife’s choice as she formed a bit of a bond with him) was released back into the wildlife border.

And I discovered a young toad, ‘Ted’ (my choice), late one evening outside the back door. It was a moment of great excitement as I didn’t know there were any around here. It was too dark to take a photo so here’s an ancient biro sketch of a toad (made in 1996) that I knew would come in handy one day. Alas, we’ve still not had any proper rain, although the forecast is looking promising for tomorrow (fingers crossed). Some plants are coping well with the dry weather, others not so much, and that leads me to my first Six on Saturday.

1. A Phlox. A white one. The leaves get alarmingly droopy at times but thankfully recover fast after an emergency watering session. Supposedly fragrant but I beg to differ.

2. Sticking with Phlox, here’s another one, growing up through the foliage of the Sambucus nigra ‘Golden Tower.’ Also scentless but rather pretty.

3. Weirdly, the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise,’ usually the first to wilt during a prolonged dry spell, has fared much better than in previous years. The flowers are developing nicely.

4. Alas, the foliage of the Sweet Peas is looking suspiciously mildewy in places, no doubt due to the heat. Thankfully they are still flowering away. They’ve been grown in large pots this summer and trained up the sides of the new swing seat so that their fragrance can be enjoyed whilst gently swaying back and forth.

5. Most of the Cosmos are still alive (a huge improvement over last year), including ‘Antiquity.’ Its flowers fade with time, producing a variety of shades of burgundy and pink on the same plant.

6. And finally… Agapanthus, looking a bit dark and moody in yesterday’s evening light. This plant (known as Aggie) has developed a predictable pattern: it flowers every other year. It first bloomed in 2018 after a mere wait of 5 years. In 2019 there wasn’t a bud in sight. 2020, flowers aplenty. 2021, nada. I suspect you won’t seen Aggie again until 2024.

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 https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. Right, I’m off to look up a support line telephone number to help me come to terms with the end of Neighbours (Take That fans like my sister got one I seem to remember back in 1990s when they split up). Teatimes are never going to be the same again.

27 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: garden therapy (30 July 2022)

  1. Very interesting details about the Agapanthus. I have 4 from bulbs or corms planted this year, but only one shows signs of flowering. Then I was given seed which I had to try twice before results. I now have several seedlings ready to plant our next year. So I might have to wait a while for flowers! My sweetpeas are also have mildew.

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    1. Fingers crossed yours develop and flower more quickly! I’ve been offered lots of advice about agapanthus and it’s left me none the wiser. I’d hoped feeding each year would help but it hasn’t made any difference. Half tempted to plonk it in the ground but I fear the pot will need to be smashed to get it out!

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  2. I have the same impression here with my hydrangea Vanille Fraise. It resists heat very well compared to other hydrangeas. A great year for the Agapanthus here too! Countless flowers for all varieties…(3 varieties )

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  3. I enjoyed your froggy tales and toad sketch, very toad-like! I agree that Vanille Fraise seems to handle the heat, better than other hydrangeas. Mine is by the pond that might help. Pass on the support number when you find it. I used to eagerly await each Neighbours episode after school when I was a bit younger!

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    1. Will do! I’m feeling oddly down about it which I know is daft, but it’s been a constant for 37 years and the only soap I stuck with. It went out on a high though. My Hydrangeas are in a shady spot which is certainly helping and I think they’ve finally got their roots deep into the soil.

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      1. I feel strangely bereft about the ending of Neighbours too, despite the often idiotic story lines. I have been watching it since the beginning when I had only recently returned to England from living in South Africa and my hope was to move to Australia at some future date (never happened) so Neighbours gave me that bit of southern hemisphere I was missing. Sigh…

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      2. The storylines were a bit out there sometimes. The most wacky was the spermalogically challenged Toadie fathering a child with his presumed back-from-the-dead wife of a mere few hours Dee (but really a fake Dee lookalike who ultimately turned out to be the unknown long lost evil twin of the actually not dead at all real Dee) in full view of his then wife Sonia after forgetting to hang up on her on Skype after a major falling out. And then there was the whole pretend nanny/actually the mother of the fake and real Dee, weed killer laced brownies get shot of Sonia so Toadie and fake Dee can live happily ever after plot. Poor Sonia.

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      3. Haha… yes that was an extreme example. I was also thinking of the Finn saga, plus the bombing on the plane and Harold’s disappearance. In fact a lot of the storylines suspend belief!

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  4. I think the paniculata hydrangeas are more suited to the drier conditions than the mophead varieties. Certainly, the dry summer of 2018 knocked the stuffing out of a bed of mopheads here. Some died, others lingered on and were removed and have been replaced with paniculata varieties.

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      1. Yes, same experience with a well-established viburnum here. I had to cut out several branches yesterday because of dieback.

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  5. Nice sketch! We used to have a toad living in our rainwater run-off drain. I suspect they’ve found it too dry over the last few years as there is no natural water source around and I don’t have room for a pond. I’ll look out for that cosmos when I’m next ordering seeds.

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  6. Your toad sketch is lovely! I found one in my car park area in the spring when I was digging out a load of overgrown stuff. Haven’t seen him since but I hope he is around and eating his fill of slugs! I had a visitor in the conservatory this week too. And I don’t think my phlox is scented either. I shall have to go and stick my nose into it.

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  7. I remember when Mrs Propagator was at university, everything stopped for the lunchtime episode of neighbours every day. Well, what other reason would she have for attending said place of learning and intellectual improvement? 🤔😉 🙄 Those agapanthus are lovely.

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