Six on Saturday (17 September 2022)

Last Saturday afternoon I surprised myself with some impetuous on the hoof spontaneous pruning. The Escallonia hedge that is shared with the neighbours on the right was given its second trim of the year and, in preparation for a possible new fence in the back garden, the rampant yet sweet smelling Jasmine was given a severe prune (keeping a wary eye out for the thorny stems of a climbing rose and Pyracantha that lurk within its depths). I’ll have to ask the neighbours on the left to tackle their side of the fence the next time I see them. It wasn’t the only spontaneous thing that happened last week, oh no. My wife and I decided to spend a few days in Newquay.

We’d never visited this surfing mecca before and first impressions as we exited the train station were a bit ‘oh heck, what have we done?’ However, once we’d discovered the older sections of the town, Fistral Beach, the coastal paths, Trenance Gardens, the crazy golf course and some nice places to eat, we decided it was actually alright. Anyway, I’ve garbled on for far too long. ‘Tis time for Six on Saturday.

1. And we start with Cylamen hederifolium. Acquired from my mother-in-law a number of years ago, it has spread all over the garden and has been flowering for a while now. The foliage has yet to make an appearance.

2.  The pygmy water lily that grows in the mini wildlife pond failed to flower last year. Back in the autumn I enlarged the pond slightly and heeding Fred’s advice, repotted the lily in some new aquatic compost. After a slightly slow start (presumably it has been focusing its energy on producing new roots) the dwarf water lily has begun to bloom. The leaves are also much larger and more prolific this year and proving very popular with the young frogs. Thanks Fred.

3. Growing nearby, a Crocosmia is still sporting a few blooms. I think this is George Davison.

4. And behind George is this Cosmos somethingorotherus, grown from seen earlier in the year and looking just as good from the back as it does from the front. It’s growing in a border that I always think of as rather shady (not usually the best spot for Cosmos) and I suspect it was plonked here in a “I’ve run out of space and patience so you’re going here and will just have to lump it” moment. It’s doing much better than some of those that were planted in far sunnier locations.

5. Next up, a Japanese anemone. They’ve struggled somewhat this summer but all the rain we’ve had of late has helped revive a few. I think this might be ‘Honorine Jobert,’ although I’m sure I planted ‘Wild Swan’ nearby.

6. And finally… Another Cosmos: ‘Brightness Mixed.’ This started flowering back at the end of June/beginning of July and has continued to flower ever since. Short and Marigold like, I think it may be my most favourite plant this 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. Right, I’m off to Somerset Scythe School to do an ‘Introduction to Scything’ course. Wish me luck! Hopefully I’ll still have 10 toes when I return home this evening.

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Six on Saturday: a rhyming one (13 August 2022)

Rain? There’s been nowt and while not officially a drought, my Somerset garden could do with some water. Lovely fresh H2o, reaching roots down below, keeping leaves perky and green like it oughta. Yet alas, we’ve had none, only bright glaring sun, and many plants are finding it trying. And instead of bloomy and fab, the poor things just look sad as they sit there quietly frying.

But enough of my moaning, the other week I went roaming, perusing stalls at a large Flower Show. And yes, I’m afraid a few purchases were made. What was that? Err… no, not a hoe.

1. First up, say hello to this ‘Paul’s Best Yellow,’ a very fine Crocosmia indeed. Let’s just hope it’s not bad, like the orange one I had, taking over the garden once freed.

2. A late flowering Allium with blooms of soft pink, it’s a hit with the bees, providing nectar to drink. Millennium’s its name, I’ve bought one before, and oh heck! Did I remember to close the shed door?

3. ‘Karley Rose’ is a grass I’ve been coveting a while, and when I saw one for sale it was hard not to smile. T’would have been rude not to buy one, right there and right then, and perhaps gentle swayiness will aid inner zen.

4. Another purchase I made was Saliva ‘Nachtlvinder.’ Fingers crossed it survives and isn’t burnt to a cinder.

5. But it wasn’t just plants that were purchased. Oh no! These swallows will hang around come sunshine or snow.

6. To end with, some Tomatoes that were bought back in May and planted outside in a pot made of clay. ‘Sungold’ is a good ‘un with fruit small and sweet and has been positively thriving in this god-awful heat.

Keen for more Six on Saturdays, either now or perhaps later? Then head to the site of the great Propagator (https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com).

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 (9 July 2022)

A lightning paced, sneeze and you’ll miss it Six on Saturday today.

1. First up Crocosmia ‘Lucifer.’ I think this flowers earlier and earlier with each passing year; although I never check whether this is actually true. I’ve been half-heartedly pulling up the odd clump in an attempt to curtail it’s attempts at world domination, but when it flowers all is forgiven.

2. The Astilbes of short stature, ‘Rock and Roll,’ have returned, although one is looking a little ropey after getting swamped by the Forget-me-nots. I was never an Astilbe fan but this variety, with its red stems, has won me over. A groan inducing Astilbe joke can be found here.

3. After a slow start, Rosa ‘Minerva’ is off. It looks more pink than purple here, and all that rain a week or so ago has led to a bit of rose balling. It has a lovely rich fragrance though.

4. Another late bloomer, this is Digitalis ‘Elsey Kelsey.’ Sown from seed last year, I’d completely forgotten about her. I just wish a few more had made it to flowerhood.

5. Another Rose up next. I always have to look up my old online order to remind me what it’s called. I always want to go a bit Leia-insults-Han-Solo and call it Rosa Carpet ‘Nerf-herder.’ However, it is in fact Rosa Flower Carpet Ruby ‘Noafeuer.’ I was almost right.

6. And finally… Having vowed not to buy any more plants this year, and certainly not a Delphinium for the slugs, I ended up with a Delphinium grandifloum ‘Summer Blues’ last Saturday. I have a feeling I bought something similar a few years ago that never returned. But considering coffee and a slice of cake costs more than £3.50 it seemed madness not to get one.

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.’

Six on Saturday: a place to hideaway (28 August 2021)

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?

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 (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 (14 August 2021)

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?

Six on Saturday (17 July 2021)

After a few weeks of very little gardening action (apart from a spot of dead-heading) I finally started planting some of the annuals, working late into the evening one day last week. It felt rather good and also taxed the old grey cells as I wandered around the garden, watering can in hand, trying to remember just where I’d put everything. There are some plants that I still haven’t risked plonking out in the wilds of the borders though, and that leads me to my first Six on Saturday…

1. Zinnias of various hues. I know, I know. When they reach flowerhood they should be allowed to leave the safety of the swing seat and make their own way in the world. But they look so healthy and flowery (much better than last year’s batch) I’m reluctant to allow them to leave ‘home’ and fend for themselves. Perhaps the swing seat isn’t required for sitting on this summer. There’s always the garden bench. Wait. No, that’s occupied by pots of Dahlias, a Chocolate Cosmos and a Helenium. I must accept there will be casualties and just plant them.

2. Do you ever find yourself with a plant you’d always thought you weren’t that keen on originally? I’ve never been sure about the purple berries of Callicarpa and yet I found myself ordering a standard Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Autumn Glory’ in the spring. Despite professing uncertainty about the purple fruit I’ve been channelling my inner bee and pollinating the flowers with a small paint brush as apparently you may need a few such plants to guarantee berries.

3. Next up, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer.’ A lot was pulled up last autumn (it was beginning to take over the conservatory border) but there are still quite a few plants growing here and there. When it flowers its leanings towards world domination are forgiven.

4. Growing nearby is the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise.’ Another standard form, it was given its first ever prune in the spring. I’m not sure I got it completely right as some branches are a tad bare of leaf in places. However, the flowers have developed surprisingly quickly over the past few weeks. I suspect they will feature again in future SoSs.

5. Now these were a pleasant surprise. They look like Allium ‘Drumstick’ and must have been part of the mixed pack of Alliums planted late last year.

6. And finally… Ripening tomatoes! A bushy cherry variety called ‘Minibel,’ the fruit are a slightly funny colour, almost a bit pink. I tried one yesterday and I’m not sure it was totally ripe. If it was then I may have to grow a sweeter variety next year. They’re doing a lot better than my 2020 toms 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 (29 August 2020)

I had my first full week off work since Christmas and it’s been rather nice doing not much of anything. There was an afternoon garden centre crawl (several plant and bulb purchases were made), I wrestled with a floppy 8 foot Eucalyptus that came adrift from its support during Tuesday’s storm and the Lilac that I’d planted too close to the Buddleia got moved. My wife and I also visited my old ancestral home up in North Wales last weekend, once I’d figured out the various bubbling and extended household rules for England and Wales. Thankfully, as we were married when the moon was in Sagittarius, one of us had a pet budgie as a child and the other knew what eight sevens made without the aid of a calculator, fingers, baking beans or a Mr Men Times Tables book, it was fine to make the trip and stay over. Visits to the old ancestral home inevitably result in the odd plant acquisition or two and that leads me to my first Six on Saturday…

1. A Potentilla of unknown name. When I unpacked the car back in Somerset I also found what appeared to be a pot of soil. For the briefest of moments I was slightly concerned my mum had a gone a bit funny, but then I remembered they were the snow drops I’d pre-ordered during my last visit way back in February.

2. Next up, a pink Osteospermum. This was a new addition to the front garden a couple of months ago. It has taken a while to get going but has now got into its flowery stride. I hope it survives the winter.

3. Back in the spring I sowed some Chrysanthemum ‘Eastern Star.’ Some of them have just started to flower and apparently there must have been a mix up at the Wilko seed packing facility. It’s very pretty but ‘Eastern Star’ it ain’t.

4. I’d given this Aster frikartii ‘Jungfrau’ up for dead in the spring but it turns out it was just fashionably late. Purchased at the Taunton Flower Show last year, it’s bulking out nicely.

5. Which is something this Crocosmia ‘Jackanapes’ has yet to do. This might have something to do with the fact that I move it around every year to make room for this and that. I think I’ve finally found the perfect spot for it so hopefully it’ll start to do what all Crocosmia seem to do and spread around to the point where I’m pulling handfuls up to keep it under control.

6. And finally… I sowed a variety of Zinnia this year. While the slugs and snails have attacked a lot of the Zinnia elegans they appear to have left the shorter Zinnia ‘Jazzy’ alone. The flowers are smaller than those of Zinnia elegans and vary in colour and form. I have showed great restraint and featured just one this week, but I’ll feature some of the others in future SoSs.

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, time to deadhead some dahlias. What was that? What are eight sevens? Hang on, I’ll need to grab the baking beans…