Six on Saturday (15 October 2022)

I visited a garden centre last Sunday (purely for the benefit of my mother-in-law you understand as she was after some heathers) and was alarmed to discover it was Christmas. Baubles, illuminated mini festive villages, twinkling fairy lights, elves, artificial trees, glittery toadstools (because nothing says Christmas more than a glittery toadstool), tinsel, chocolate sprouts… Had I stepped through a time portal and skipped October and November altogether I wondered? When my mother-in-law offered me a mince pie with a cup of tea later that afternoon I was really starting to worry. But no, it was (and still is) October, which is a relief as I haven’t planted any bulbs yet, including a packet of yellow tulips and two packets of alliums that were situated a mere fake snowball’s throw away from a giant cuddly toy Christmas rat at that garden centre. Anyway, moving briskly on…

1. Up first, Erigeron karvinskianus, otherwise known as Mexican fleabane, otherwise known (in our house at least) as Hestercombe Daisy. A seedling of this prolific plant hitched a ride with a potted rose that we brought with us from our first rented home over 10 years ago. Alas, the rose is no more but the Hestercombe Daisies are growing everywhere and have now colonised the crack between the driveway and the side of our house…. and that of the neighbours too. It is pretty though and flowers for months on end.

2. More white, this time courtesy of Fuschia ‘Hawkshead.’ A friend grew it from a cutting a few years ago and I’ve been nurturing it in a pot waiting for it to get a bit more established before planting it somewhere. I’ve yet to figure out where that somewhere is.

3. Temperatures got as low as 2 degrees Celsius one night last week so I’m not sure how much longer the summer annuals will be around for. After something of a Cosmos disaster last year, they’ve mostly done okay this time around (apart from one that got flattened by my better half while she was negotiating the herbaceous obstacle course created by yours truly enroute to the electric and gas meters).

4. As the nights grow colder I must decide whether to dig up some of the more tender perennials and overwinter them indoors or risk leaving them in the ground. Osteospermums have proved a bit hit and miss survival-wise when left in the ground. If I opt for the indoor overwinterage option again though I must remember to water the things occasionally. Last year’s batch were stored in the shed, next to a window, and completely forgotten about. Result? Deceased Osteospermums.

5. Thankfully my first attempt at overwintering Agastache ‘Black Adder’ indoors was more successful (they never survive winter outdoors here). Stored in the mini greenhouse, they were far less out-of-sight-out-of-mind than the Osteospurmums. This one is still flowering and mingling rather nicely with Erysimum Apricot Twist’.

6. And finally…. remember the buds of the back-from-the-dead Clematis ‘Freckles’ that featured last week? They’ve opened.

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.

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Six on Saturday (6 August 2022)

Another week and still no rain. Actually, no. I tell a lie. We had the briefest and lightest of showers on Wednesday where the rain pretty much evaporated on impact and that was that. Buying new plants during this drought would be foolhardy given the amount of watering they’d need initially… and yet I still found myself returning from Taunton Flower Show yesterday afternoon with several new purchases. However, I’ll save those for next week’s Six on Saturday (oh the suspense). Today? Today we start with brown and crispy.

1. Now brown and crispy isn’t usually something you’re aiming for in a garden during the summer… unless you’re wanting to collect seeds. A few of these seedheads from Aquilegia ‘Yellow Shooting Stars’ have been plonked in an envelope and labelled. I really need to get a move on and sow the Sweet Williams and Foxgloves this weekend if I want them to flower next year.

2. For the first time ever I managed to successfully overwinter Agastache and Verbena hastata (they were dug up and placed in the mini greenhouse). However, those that were were replanted in the sunniest borders (including this ‘Black Adder’) have really struggled over the past three or four weeks, requiring watering on a regular basis to reverse leaf droopage. I have a feeling I should have replanted them much earlier in the year so that they could get more settled in root-wise. Ah well.

3. When we moved here 10 years ago I spent a few years getting shot of an orange variety of Crocosmia that was taking over the garden. I think it may have staged a sneaky come back (it certainly isn’t the other variety of orange Crocosmia ‘Ping-pong’ I introduced a few years ago). It is pretty though.

4. Another plant that has a tendency to run a little too rampant is Linaria vulgaris (common toadflax). First sown from a packet of seed around 6 to 7 years ago out in the front garden, it’s not faring too badly in these arid conditions. It’ll need a spot of ‘editing’ at some point.

5. The pinkification process of the flowers of ‘Miss Belgium’ is now complete. This Hydrangea has coped well with the dry spell, no doubt helped by its shady position.

6. And finally… Zinnia. There have been but two Zinnia casualties so far, yet they’ve been down to the heat rather than the slugs or snails for a change (one of the few benefits of all this dry weather I guess). With the exception of Zinnia elegans ‘Envy’ (the green one) these are Zinnia haageana ‘Jazzy Mixture.’ They’re shorter, bushier and, for the second year running, far more slug and snail resistant than other varieties.

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 (22 January 2022)

The past week has been decidedly chilly. It’s been rather nice, like what winter days were like when I were’t a lad. Friday was by far the frostiest day and, as luck would have it, I happened to be working from home that day. Come tea break time I nipped out into the garden, phone in hand, and snapped a few frosted foliage photos for Six on Saturday, including this one…

1. Daphne x transatlantica ‘Eternal Fragrance.’ The pink variety. Well, the one that has flowers that are pinky-white as opposed to whitey-pink (you can compare the two here).

2. Taken earlier in the week, this Allium seed head looks as though it’s floating across the border. That’s the other Daphne x transatlantica ‘Eternal Fragance’ behind it… the whitey-pink flowered variety (its still sporting the odd bloom here and there).

3. Over the past couple of summers I’ve bought and planted an Agastache ‘Blackadder.’ Every winter they’ve snuffed it. Back in the autumn I dug this one up and put it in the mini greenhouse. I’m hoping these seedlings are little mini Agastache ‘Blackadders,’ although there’s something oddly familiar about them which makes me wonder whether they might be something totally different. We shall see… if they survive. I’ll have to give this seedhead a shake later to see if there are any seeds lurking.

4. Having spent years secretly wondering what all the fuss over Hellebores was about, I found myself converted back at the beginning of 2021 and ended up ordering four varieties. The gardening devil on my right shoulder encouraged me to buy more, including a rather lovely but pricey yellow variety. The gardening angel on my left shoulder advised caution, suggesting I wait to see how these faired the following year. For once I listened to the little gardening angel. Only one plant is showing any signs of flower buds so far (possibly Helleborus liguricus), although it’s early days yet.

5. Next up, another frosty foliage pic. This time a close up of a Box ball.

6. And finally… yes, it’s Clematis ‘Freckles’ again. I read somewhere that the flowers are fragrant so decided to sniff one of the speckled beauties. I can report they are, although it’s a faint fragrance. The bees seem to love them.

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. I may not get a chance to reply to comments or leave comments on other SoSs over the next couple of weeks as I’m frantically studying for exams. In my youth I was something of a last minute revision crammer but I’m not chancing that in my more forgetful middle ageyness. However, normal service will be resumed come the 12 February.

Six on Saturday (21 August 2021)

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.

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 (8 August 2020)

Is it me or have the past couple of mornings had a slightly cooler feel? Condensation on the car windscreen. A heavy dew on the grass. The odd leaf on the turn… and on the ground. I could swear there’s a whiff of the ‘A’ word in the air. I’ll try and ignore it as ’tis far too early for such goings on. Anyway, time for Six on Saturday.

1. First up is Rosa Flower Carpet Ruby ‘Noafeuer,’ a standard rose that was planted behind the garden bench back in May. Lightly scented, it may get moved to make room for a more fragrant rose come November (my wife has fallen for ‘Chandos Beauty.’) However, it’s adding a splash of vivid scarlet to the back border and appears remarkably healthy.

2. I feared I was heading for another sweet pea disaster this year as the seedlings looked rather ropey when I planted them a month or so ago. However, they’ve pulled through and whereas we had only one meagre picking last year we’ve enjoyed a living room filled with the heady scent of sweet peas for a few weeks now. As always, I’ve grown them in a big pot but this time I added some chicken manure pellets to the compost and placed them in a slightly shadier spot.

3. An update on the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise.’ The flowers are beginning to turn pink. I talked myself out of getting one of these last year thinking the great big blooms might be a bit much. I was a fool.

4. Alas, the Taunton Flower show couldn’t take place this year for obvious reasons. One of the purchases made this time last year was a Verbena hastata. Having mistaken the corpse of a perennial wallflower for the Verbena in the spring, I ordered another one, only to find the original (or perhaps a seedling) some time later. Still, can you ever have too much of a good thing?

5. One Flower Show purchase that definitely didn’t survive the winter was an Agastache ‘Black Adder.’ A replacement was ordered at the same time as the Verbena hastata and this time I’ve taken some cuttings as insurance. The bees love the flowers and I find myself rubbing the aromatic leaves as I pass by.

6. And finally… Back in June Margaret Merrill had just a few blooms. Her second flush has been far more impressive. I’ve been good this year and fed all of the roses on a regular basis. They seem to appreciate it.

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.