A brief Six on Saturday today as I’m about to set off for Lanhydrock, Cornwall… once I’ve figured out the trains to Bodmin.
1. First up is a Japanese Anemone ‘Wild Swan’ that was planted in the spring. It looks just as good from the back as it does the front.
2. There are a number of tender plants I’m planning on digging up soon and overwintering in the mini greenhouse, including several Osteospermum, grown from cuttings last year.
3. Growing nearby are these Cosmos. ‘Fizzy’ I think. The Cosmos have been something of a disappointment this year, most not really doing much of anything. I suspect these flowers will have been nibbled soon. In fact, is that a snail hiding in the flower on the left?
4. Continuing the tale of disappointment is this Black Eyed Susan ‘Sunset Shades.’ Grown from seed, they appeared to be doing really well initially but then vanished without trace. “So what’s this?” you ask. Ah, this one is growing in my mother-in-law’s garden, along with the others I gave her. All thriving… and bloomy. Pah!
5. Up next, a free Fuchsia (the best kind). Received as a cutting from a friend earlier this year, ‘Hawkshead’ is doing rather well.
6. And finally… Some casualties of the Zinnia ‘Jazzy,’ Calendula ‘Snow Princess’ and Chrysanthemum kind that are adding some indoor floral cheer in a little budvase.
Last Saturday I popped into Wilko on a mission to pick up some light bulbs and bird food, ignoring the baskets on my way in as I was certain I wouldn’t be making any plant related purchases. A fair few bulbs of the spring flowering kind had already been ordered online and besides, the last time I’d had a nose around the garden section of Wilko there was barely anything there as they’d already started clearing space for all things Halloweeny and the odd thing Christmassy. Yet ten minutes later I found myself pondering how best to pick up bulbs of the illuminating kind whilst overburdened with packs of bulbs of the Narcissi, Crocus, Iris and Camassia kind; sort of hoping for a light bulb moment I suppose (oh the irony). Anyway, it didn’t end well. There were several droppages and things only got worse when it came to picking up the bird food, much to the amusement of some passersby. Do I regret my lack of willpower? Not a bit and that leads me to my first Six on Saturday.
1. Narcissus ‘Thalia.’ I’ve been meaning to get my hands on some of these for a few years now but always forgot about them come the autumn. Thankfully, Thistles and Kiwis featured ‘Thalia’ in a post a few weeks ago and when I spotted some in Wilko last Saturday I took it as a sign.
2. Another week, another Zinnia. Possibly one of the ‘Funfair Mix.’ They’re still flowering away.
3. More bulbs up next. I discovered these lurking near the mini greenhouse, unlabeled and hidden behind a big pot of Petunias. I must have bought a pot of bulbs in flower last spring, intending to plant them once they’d finished. Evidently I didn’t. I’m assuming a mini daff of some sort but they’re ridiculously early.
4. A new addition to the garden back in March, this Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Profusion’ was purchased primarily for adding some tall leafy structure rather than its berries which I’ve always thought looked a little artificial whenever I’ve seen photos of them. However, I may have been converted… possibly.
However, it’s the autumn colour of the foliage that is proving to be its biggest highlight so far. Originally planted near the patio to replace the hibiscus of stubbornly short stature, it got moved a couple of weeks ago to the spot where a rather disappointing Lilac ‘Belle de Nancy’ once grew. What happened to the Lilac? Least said, soonest mended.
5. Growing nearby is Rosa ‘Compassion.’ A few months ago her thorny stems were all tied in, restoring order to chaos. Well, chaos has returned already and access into the shed is getting tricky (not helped by a Clematis Montanna that some numpty has trained across the top of the shed). Her fragrant flowers are beautiful though and seem to vary in appearance throughout the year.
6. And finally… a Scabious. A red one, grown from seed over a year ago. It’s been flowering for months now, although is a tad leggy. I must remember to collect some of its seed.
I can delude myself no longer; autumn is well and truly here. Mind you, a lot of the annuals and perennials are still going strong, even attracting a comma butterfly earlier in the week, a rare sight in the garden this year. Although not as rare as this lesser whitethroat that visited yesterday afternoon.
Thankfully it seemed happy hanging around in the Pyracantha, just outside the back door, giving me a chance to grab my camera and photograph it from indoors. I doubt there’ll be butterflies and warblers in the garden today though if the weather forecast is anything to go by. Anyway, time for Six on Saturday.
1. And we start with the Cyclamen that grows near the Pyracantha, that most vicious of shrubs that drew blood last week when I attacked it with the secateurs after discovering one of its branches had made it into the open mini greenhouse.
2. Growing just to the right of the Cyclamen is this Hesperantha coccinea, acquired a few years ago from the Great Aunt’s garden up in North East Wales. A white variety (probably ‘alba’) was purchased in the spring but appears to have vanished.
3. Now these next two photos were taken several days apart. An online purchase last year, Rosa ‘Friesia’ has surprised me and thrived, despite looking very ropey when it was delivered. This is its third flush and the fragrant flowers constantly change, starting off a rich yellow (occasionally tinged with pink in places) before fading as the days pass by.
4. While some of the Zinnias are looking decidedly nibbled, several have shrugged off the attentions of the gourmet gastropods, including this beauty. They’re doing much better than last year.
5. Next up, Salvias. My mother-in-law has gone in for them in a big way. Several tiny plug plants that she planted two summers ago have became large and shrubby. I took a few cuttings from them last year and they were doing great until I dropped them all on the floor last autumn. Thankfully two survived, although naturally they ended up being the same variety. It’s one of those plants, along with the Lavender and Agastache, where I find myself rubbing the aromatic leaves and sniffing my fingers every time I walk past them.
6. And finally… It’s another plant that drew blood the other week. The long thorny stems of the climbing Rose ‘New Dawn’ tend to hide amongst the monster Jasmine (which I’m forever trimming in an attempt to keep it in check) and occasionally surprise the forgetful gardener. The scented pale pink flowers are lovely though.
A fleeting Six on Saturday today as I have leaky water butt issues. Argos sent me two new water butts last year despite only paying for one, resulting in a brief moral dilemma. The little shoulder angel won out over the little shoulder devil (unlike a few years ago when I was deciding how much of the patio to take up), I alerted them to the error and they came and took the surplus one away. Now that WB-4 has developed a tiny hairline crack I’m rather regretting my decision. Ah well, time for Six on Saturday.
1. And we start with a close up of a Japanese Anemone ‘Whirlwind.’ It’s very similar to ‘Honorine Jobert’ that featured the other week but has more petals.
2. Sown from a packet of left over Wilko seed from last year, these Chrysanthemums have been flowering for months now. Allegedly ‘Eastern Star,’ this year’s batch hasn’t produced a flower remotely resembling the illustration on the packet either.
3. There are several Scabious/Scabiousses in the garden of varying hues, including this lovely lilac variety. Pardon? Is that a Gaura in the background? Well spotted, it is indeed.
4. The fluttering blooms (or flooms) of ‘Sparkle White’ appear to dance around in the slightest breeze. Getting a non-blurry shot has taken a while.
5. Next up, Linaria vulgaris (or Common Toad Flax). Sown from seed many years ago, I was a bit half-hearted in my attempts at keeping it in check last year and it has taken full advantage, spreading about even more than usual. I half expect them to start talking.
6. And finally… At long last a second Dahlia has flowered. ‘Honka Red’ is a survivor from last year and was well worth the wait. Little floral windmills of loveliness they are. Will any of the other Dahlias flower before the first frosts strike? I’m not getting my hopes up.
When the sun has shone, hot and summer-like, bees and hoverflies buzzing busily from one flower to another, I’ve been able to fool myself that Autumn is some way off. True, the sun is sitting lower in the sky with a tendency to dazzle of late, the days are getting much shorter and leaves have begun to fall from the odd tree, forming blankets of yellow here and there. But I think I’ll continue to delude myself for just a little while longer yet, dead-heading this and that in an attempt to keep things blooming for as long as possible, including my first Six on Saturday…
1. An Osteospermum, possibly ‘Tresco Purple.’ I lost my two Osteospermum’s last winter but thankfully several cuttings survived in the mini greenhouse. Planted out in the front garden in early summer, they’re starting to form some nice bud-covered clumps. I think I may dig these up and put them back in the greenhouse in a month or so.
2. A plant that will definitely need cosseting over the winter is this Chocolate Cosmos. Bought as a bare-root plant from Wilko, it bounced back from a severe munching in the spring and has finally got into its flowery stride. It’s impossible not to walk past it without taking a moment to appreciate the chocolatey fragrance.
3. The Chocolate Cosmos wasn’t the only plant that proved popular with the gourmet gastropods earlier in the year. Having survived the winter in a pot, Helenium ‘Fuego’ was planted in a border near the patio and appeared to be doing well. So well in fact that I stopped checking up on it, assuming the slimy ones weren’t interested. Several weeks later and all that remained were a few nibbled stems. It was hastily plonked back in a pot and spent a month or two on the swing seat recuperating. The Sneezeweed has since been returned to the border and has been flowering for several weeks.
4. Next up, Garlic Chives. I don’t tend to have much luck with the regular edible chives for some reason, but these have done really well over the past few years. A late flowering Allium, they’re proving popular with insects.
5. As are the Sedums, which have been covered with bees. The tiny flowers are turning a deeper shade of pink with each passing day.
6. And finally… A new addition to the garden back in the spring, Fuchsia ‘Delta’s Sarah’ has put on quite a bit of new growth, producing beautiful white and purple blooms. I’m hoping it will prove to be just as hardy as ‘Army Nurse.’
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.
Online plant purveyors are a canny lot. Despite a determination to remain strong and resist their cunning Bank Holiday free postage offers I ended up having a nose at this and that and before I knew it I’d ended up with Digitalis ‘Dusky Maid,’ Penstemon ‘Wedding Day,’ Rosa ‘Timeless Purple,’ Geranium ‘Lily Lovell’ and a fifth thing that I can’t remember. Some of them arrived yesterday and have been safely potted up.
As well as unplanned point and click plant purchases I managed to spend some time simply enjoying the garden as promised. The sun actually made an appearance on Sunday (as did a dragonfly) and Mrs OMAHGT and I visited a Sunflower field that afternoon, snipping the odd flower for some indoor sunshine. After a rubbish Summer weather-wise, fingers are crossed for an Indian Summer (aren’t they always?) and next week’s forecast certainly looks promising for both gardeners and six-legged wingy things, which leads me to my first Six on Saturday…
1. Ver-bee-na. I know, I know. I’ll turn myself in to the Poor Plant Punning Police later today. This photo was taken last Sunday. The Verbena has been flowering for months now and hopefully will go on flowering for some time to come yet.
2. Another week, another Crocosmia. When we moved here I spent a few years getting shot of an orange variety that was taking over the garden. A few years later I got a completely different orange variety that sort of looks the same as the one I got shot of and yet is totally different… I think. This is ‘Ping Pong.’
3. I always forget I have Gladioli for some reason. Purchased from Wilko a few years ago, they’ve proved very reliable but have a tendency to topple as soon as the flowers open. The Gladioli Byzantinus I planted in early Spring have yet to make an appearance.
4. Now this was a surprise. I don’t know how this Love-in-the-mist got here (I certainly didn’t sow it) and yet here it is. I didn’t think I was a Nigella fan but having inspected it up close I think I’ve changed my mind.
5. Aster frikartii ‘Jungfrau’ has been getting bigger and better each year. I must split it in the Spring to spread it’s lilac loveliness/lovely lilaciness (delete as appropriate) around the garden.
6. And finally… a miracle. All of the Dahlias I left in the ground over winter snuffed it. I bought a few new tubers and these, together with some that were overwintered in pots, appeared to be doing really well initially but then things started to go awry. Inevitably some were munched by slugs and snails but others just seemed to stall, perhaps due to a lack of sun and warmth. I was beginning to fear none would flower. But behold! ‘Honka Fragile,’ planted as a tuber in the Spring, has bloomed. Fingers crossed ‘Honka Red’, a survivor from last year, makes it to flowerhood soon.
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. Oooh – I’ve remembered the fifth plant purchase: Pulmonaria ‘Sissinghurst White.’
For reasons unknown I haven’t done much stopping and staring in the garden this year. Admittedly, the weather hasn’t been particularly great these past few months (too hot, too wet or too windy) and pots of ‘delicates’ have occupied the swing seat and garden bench for much of the season. I’ve done the usual gardeningy things (sowing seeds, pruning, dead heading, pulling up this, planting out that… and moving it later) and I’ve spent a lot of time pondering what has worked and what hasn’t. But I’ve spent very little time watching the birds and the bees go about their business, switching off and simply enjoying the garden. It’s something I plan to rectify over the long bank holiday weekend… once I’ve mown the lawn, tied in a few errant rose stems and perhaps pulled up the odd weed. It will become a place to hideaway for a few days, surrounded by leafy, flowery things, including those chosen for today’s Six on Saturday…
1. First up is Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise.’ Her white blooms are rapidly flushing pink. From this moment on there can be no denying that Autumn is fast approaching.
2. Another week, another Crocosmia. Planted a few summers ago, ‘Jackanapes’ is finally starting to form a nice clump. They say that breaking up is hard to do but I’m hoping this will be easy to split up in a month or two. Every time it flowers I just fall in love again.
3. I think the superstar of the garden this year has been the Erodium manescavii. Grown from some seed kindly provided by Jim a few years ago, this plant has flowered non-stop since June and is still going strong.
4. Sometimes you need a plant that just does it’s own thing. Originally sown way back in 2012, the California Poppy just seeds itself about the garden, adding cheerful splashes of yellow and orange here and there.
5. Come eventide this Japanese Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ really shines, glowing in the fading light. It has yet to make an attempt to take over the garden. Perhaps it’s just biding its time.
6. And finally… Zinnias. I’m beginning to have something of a caught-between-goodbye-and-I-love-you thing with Zinnias. When they do well, surviving the slugs and snails and flowering until the first frosts, I’m happy, on top of the world and think yes, I want you back in my life again. But when they get munched or simply die for no obvious reason I think ‘what’s the use?’ and need a reason to believe that they’re worth all that careful nurturing. Heck, on a recent late night slug and snail patrol I stared up at the stars and pondered calling occupants of interplanetary craft, just in case there was some form of intelligent life out there that could provide a foolproof method of growing them. What’s that? Yes, that sounds a little goofus to me too; I guess I just lost my head. However, one form of Zinnia appears to be proving a lot more resilient and reliable than the others: the diminutive ‘Jazzy Mixed.’ For all we know this could be the holy grail of Zinnias. Well, I can dream can’t I?
The train to Cornwall was caught with plenty of time to spare last Saturday and apart from a temporary blip at Plymouth where we ended up without a train driver (don’t ask) all went to plan. Four days were spent pottering around Truro (where I lived for over a year way back in the mists of time) and Falmouth. Despite the slightly gloomy weather spirits were high, helped by the tropicalesque gardens in Falmouth and the odd Roskilly’s ice cream.
August is racing by and, rather worryingly, leaves have begun to fall from some of the trees on the green. I’ve started pondering a few changes shrub-wise come the autumn, but in the meantime I’m going to enjoy the garden as is. Well, sort of as is. Some of the plants that usually provide lots of late summer colour have struggled so far and I’m beginning to wonder whether they’ll actually make it to flowerhood before the first frosts. An emergency plant has had to be deployed, and that leads me to my first Six on Saturday…
1. Dahlia ‘Dark Angels Mixed.’ I left most of my Dahlias in the ground over the winter (as I’ve done in previous years). This time the gamble didn’t pay off; they didn’t reappear. However, those that were left in pots survived and several new tubers were planted in the spring. All seemed to be going to plan initially but then the slimy plant assassins of the night struck. Hopes that any will flower are fading, hence this ‘here’s one someone grew earlier’ bargain purchase made yesterday.
2. A lot of the annuals in the garden are grown from packets of free seed that come with the Garden News Magazine. Rudbeckia ‘Sputnik’ was sown in the spring. Alas, only one plant has survived but it’s a good ‘un.
3. Another Garden News Magazine freebie up next: Cornflower ‘Black Ball.’ I rarely have much success growing cornflowers (I don’t think any of the blue lot have survived, despite sowing some in pots and scattering the rest here, there and everywhere). This is the only ‘Black Ball’ to have made it this far. I may try again next year.
4. Violas usually only feature in my SoSs in winter and spring. Removed from the tulip pots in May and plonked in the ground, some are still going strong, including this beauty.
5. Agastache ‘Black Adder’ has yet to overwinter successfully in my garden but I still find myself buying replacement plants each year. The flowers are popular with the bees and I enjoy the aromatic foliage. I may try digging some up come the winter.
6. And finally… Another yellow Crocosmia. Last week I featured ‘Columbus.’ I think this might be ‘George Davison.’ I have a plan to label all the yellow Crocosmia so that I can spread them around the garden whilst getting shot of some of the orange variety that is in danger of taking over. Whether I’ll actually get around to it though is another matter.
A quick Six on Saturday today without preamble or preramble. There are bags to pack and a train to catch and, as usual, I’ve left everything to the last minute.
1. First up, a Penstemon, one that magically appeared in the garden last year. I must have planted it but I have no idea what it’s called. Cuttings will soon be taken.
2. Remember the tale of the Hibiscus? What was that? How could you forget as I post a link to it every year. Well here it is again anyway. It was planted to help provide a bit of privacy when sat on the swing seat. However, this exotic bloomed beauty has proved to be a painfully slow grower (or I’m just impatient) and so got dug up in the spring and plonked in a pot. It doesn’t seem to have minded but hopefully it won’t get too settled as it’s going back into the ground again come the autumn.
3. Now my next SoS has proved to be the complete opposite to the Hibiscus growth-wise. When I chopped back the Sambucus ‘Golden Tower’ in January I was a little concerned it would take a while to bounce back.
I needn’t have worried. Despite all the fresh new growth the aphids have proved far less troublesome than last summer, setting up home on the ‘Black Lace’ Elder instead.
4. Next up is one of my purchases from the Taunton Flower Show: Allium angulasum. I’ve just been looking it up online and apparently it’s also called ‘Mouse Garlic.’ Intriguingly, Ballyrobert Gardens writes “Can be used for cooking but poisons in large numbers.” I think I’ll stick to admiring its flowers rather than eating it.
5. A few months ago I was pondering getting shot of this new rose. The first flush of flowers were a bitter disappointment, barely opening and turning brown around the edges. However, Minerva has cracked it this time, producing fragrant purpley blooms. All has been forgiven.
6. And finally… a golden yellow Crocosmia. ‘Columbus’ I think. I do like a yellow Crocosmia and more will feature over the next few weeks.
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, where did I put the train tickets?