Six on Saturday (6 November 2021)

All of a sudden it’s gotten cold. So cold that a heavier tog duvet was deployed a few days ago. And a duvet of the several-sacks-of-manure kind has been acquired ready for the garden beds later in the month. In the meantime some more of the ‘delicates’ have been dug up and brought indoors (although I very nearly forgot about the Chocolate Cosmos) and while we’ve not had a frost I suspect it won’t be too long now. Bulb planting has yet to commence but I’m hoping to make a start this weekend. Possibly, once I’ve emptied a few pots of this and that, moved the odd perennial here and there and biggerfied the wildlife pond. I just need to remember that I don’t need to do it all this weekend. There’s plenty of time yet. Anyway, let’s get on with Six on Saturday.

1. And we start with the Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ which has gone full-on autumn. Planted back in 2018, this top-grafted half standard was supposed to grow upwards and help hide the tops of vans above the fence behind the garden. That was the plan, but it’s turned out to be a very slow grower. I had been entertaining thoughts of replacing it with something else but after looking back at old photos it’s definitely wider and perhaps a little taller than it once was. It is also rather splendid in the spring and autumn. I will stick to the plan and try to be patient.

2. I’ve moaned about the Cosmos quite a bit this summer. ‘Gazebo White’ is another one that did really well last year but has struggled this time around. However, a few are still flowering.

3. While some plants appear to have good and bad years, the Verbena bonariensis has just gone and done its spready-abouty thing without any fuss ever since it was first introduced to the garden back in 2013. True, it can topple over sometimes and pop up in rather daft places (getting to the patio has proved tricky at times this summer) but the butterflies and bees love it.

4. Another week, another Viburnum. This one (Viburnum carlesii ‘Compactum’) has always been a spring flowerer. This year it’s making a halfhearted attempt at blooming for a second time.

5. Next up we have Penstemon ‘Garnet.’ For reasons unknown I’ve neglected to take any cuttings of it this autumn. Hopefully there are enough scattered around the garden to guarantee at least one survives the winter should it prove to be a harsh one.

6. And finally… The flowers of the Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’ have opened and proved to be something of a hit with a few wasps and an ant the other day. I can’t detect any fragrance though which is ever so slightly disappointing.

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.

Six on Saturday (30 October 2021)

Last weekend I finally made a start on preparing the garden for winter. One of the South African Foxgloves, an Agastache and a Verbena Hastata were dug up, plonked in pots and put in the mini greenhouse (after a battle with the ‘easily adjustable’ shelving). And the other evening I took a few quick cuttings of the Salvia ulignosa ‘African Sky’. There’ll be no more brief after-work garden potterage from tomorrow though. Oh no. After the clocks go back tonight gardening will be restricted to the weekend-weather-permitting kind. And now that the big delivery of bulbs has arrived I must confess that I’m hoping the weather won’t permit gardening of any kind this weekend. I hate planting bulbs. Which make my first Six on Saturday all the more puzzling.

1. Another Wilko bulb purchase. I’ve never grown Camassia before but have decided to give them a go. I’m sticking to just the one pack for now to see how they fair. If they’re a success more will be acquired this time next year.

2. Back in April I planted a Mahonia ‘Soft Caress.’ The leaves are pleasingly ferny and I’m hoping the flowers will be as fragrant as those of the spikey leaved variety. I’ll soon find out looking at these buds.

3. While the Mahonia should be flowering my next Six on Saturday shouldn’t. At least I don’t think it should. This Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ certainly wasn’t in flower this time last year. I’m not sure what’s going on.

4. Next up we have a Cyclamen. One of those fancy varieties that’s not necessarily all that hardy (although a red one left outdoors in a pot last winter is in full flower again). This has been living outdoors for the past month or so, but the other day I suddenly remembered that back in 2020 Jim had mentioned a fragrant variety. Curious, I sniffed this one and was pleasantly surprised to detect a sweet fragrance. It is now living in a posh pot indoors.

5. ‘Rudbeckia ‘Daisies Mixed,’ sown from seed back in 2020, is still going strong. I hope it survives another winter as it’s been one of the stars of the garden this summer.

6. As has Fuchsia ‘Army Nurse.’ She resented being moved a few years ago but has finally forgiven me. Back in October 2020 Eileen’s Tiny Welsh Garden found some details regarding the background to its intriguing name (details can be found here).

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.

Six on Saturday (23 October 2021)

Well, we’re fast heading towards the end of October and I still haven’t done much of anything in the garden. In my defense the big online order of bulbs hasn’t arrived yet and quite a few plants are still flowering away. But I should probably make a bit of an effort soon, starting with the relocation of a few perennials and digging up the Ostespermums so that they can be overwintered in the mini greenhouse. I also need to decide what to do about my two Ceratotheca triloba (or South African Foxgloves). This is my third attempt at growing them. The first year I managed to raise two from seed only for them to be struck by frost before they could flower. The second year they all snuffed it at the seedling stage. And this year? I have two plants that have once again failed to flower. They seem to be described as an annual or biennial (I’m beginning to suspect the latter). So do I give up on the troublesome things (now and forever) or do I dig them up and plonk them in the mini greenhouse in the hope they might survive and flower next year? Answers on a postcard please (or in the comments section below). Anyhow, time for Six on Saturday.

1. And we start with a plant that was first featured back in May. Geum ‘Lemon Delight’ is having a second flush and I’d forgotten just how lovely the pale yellow flowers are.

2. A mere frog’s jump away is a new addition to the garden. My mother-in-law has a thing for Salvias and ordered several more from Hayloft the other month, including this Salvia ulignosa ‘African Sky’ (although it looks more purple than blue in this photo). Apparently it’s too similar to another variety she has and so a new home has been found for it. Fingers crossed it survives the winter in our North facing garden.

3. The first of the fragrant winter flowering shrubs has started to bloom, and a lot earlier than in previous years. Grown from a cutting taken by my wife from the tiny garden of our first rented home over 10 years ago, Viburnum farreri (I think) has taken a while to get established and has never been particularly floriferous. Admittedly, moving it on a regular basis hasn’t helped. However, it’s been three years since the great shrub shuffle so here’s hoping there’ll be flowers aplenty over the coming months.

4. Up next, the Pyracantha. I have a feeling I may have planted it too close to the fence as it appears to suffer from a lack of water occasionally, resulting in a loss of leaves, flowers and ultimately berries. Alas, it’s far too established and thorny to consider moving now. It’s only a matter of time before the birds start on the these.

5. Altogether now… another week, another Zinnia. Possibly ‘Purple Prince.’

6. And finally… After something of a Dahlia disaster this year, this old faithful has finally got its act together. Grown from seed around five years ago, it spends its life in a pot and is overwintered under the swing seat cover. I really must try and take some cuttings from it next summer.

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.

Six on Saturday (16 October 2021)

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.

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.

Six on Saturday (9 October 2021)

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.

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.

Six on Saturday (2 October 2021)

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.

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.

Six on Saturday (25 September 2021)

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.

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.

Six on Saturday (18 September 2021)

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.’

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.

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 https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday (4 September 2021)

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.’