Six on Saturday (24 September 2022): Farewell Summer

As an Astronomical Autumn chap I’ve had to face up to reality: summer is no more. While there’s still quite a bit going on in the garden there can be no ignoring the signs of the switching seasons. The sun is sitting lower in the sky and has been a bit dazzley of late. The car windows have been covered in condensation most mornings. It’s getting darker when the alarm clock goes off in the morning and it has been decidedly chilly at times, so chilly that I really need to do something about my first Six on Saturday…

1. A rather ancient indoor Pelargonium with sherbet lemon scented leaves got chopped back severely a number of months ago and I must have randomly shoved one of the discarded prunings into the pot with the dark leaved Dahlia ‘Dark Angels Mixed.’ I’d completely forgotten about it until recently when I noticed its vibrant green foliage contrasting nicely with that of the Dahlia. I really must dig it up, pot it on and bring it indoors before the first frost.

2. Another pleasant surprise: a flowering Abyssinian gladiolus. I’d given up on these, assuming I was only going to get foliage this year. I’m daring to hope some of the others will bloom soon. They’re nice and fragrant too.

3. While some plants are flowering for the first time, others are enjoying a late second flush of blooms. Rosa ‘nerf herder’ (far easier to remember than Rosa Flower Carpet Ruby ‘Noafeuer’ which I always have to look up) is blooming again. The camera sometimes struggles to cope with the full-on redness of this healthy standard Rose but it didn’t do too badly this time.

4. A plant that has pretty much flowered non-stop since the spring is this perennial Viola called ‘Etain.’ It was stuffed in a pot with the sweet peas, and while the sweet peas have long since gone over this super plant is still going strong.

5. A few weeks ago I was bemoaning my lack of Calendula success this summer. Well, I spoke too soon. A few others have appeared. What variety are they? Good question. I’ve no idea.

6. And finally… The Dahlias have done a lot better this year compared to 2021. Not well enough to convince me to acquire some additional varieties next spring but I’ll certainly attempt to overwinter my existing lot. Dahlia ‘Honka Fragile’ has become a firm favourite with flowers like little floral windmills (alas they don’t spin around in the wind).

And those crayon like markings at the centre are also rather lovely. Hmm, maybe I should try and take a few cuttings of this one next year if it survives the winter.

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


Six on Saturday (20 August 2022)

Finally, some rain. You could almost hear the garden breathe a sigh of relief as it fell from the heavens, although I fear it came too late for Clematis ‘Freckles’ and several Phlox that have been burnt to a crisp. Anyway, after a rhyming Six on Saturday last week, it’s back to the old standard prose today, and we start with the ever changing flowers of a shrub that last featured at the end of July

1. The standardised Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise.’ I was afraid its blooms were going to change from white to crispy brown, skipping the pinkification stage altogether in the heat. Hopefully the rain and cooler temperatures have turned things around.

2. Lythrum or Purple Loosestrife (although it looks more pink to me) has been flowering for a month or so now. It was accidentally dug up and plonked in a pot with a Buddleia ‘Buzz’ a couple of years ago. Every spring I intend to untangle it from the Buddleia and plant it in a border but, for reasons unknown, I never get around to it. Luckily it doesn’t seem to mind.

3. Last month my wife spotted a hedgehog on the housing estate and a few weeks ago I spotted what looked like hedgehog droppings in the front garden. I’ve since cut a hole in the bottom of the side gate in the hope one may venture into the back garden. In the meantime I’ll have to make do with this Juncus ensifolius (‘Flying Hedghogs’) that grows in the mini pond.

4. Next up, Dahlia ‘Dark Angels Mixed,’ a ‘here’s one someone else grew earlier’ bargain purchase made last year after something of a Dahlia disaster. Dug up and overwintered in a pot, this dark leaved beauty has just started flowering.

5. Poor old Hibiscus ‘Marina Blue’ the Second (the sorry tale of its predecessor can be found here) really struggled in the heat despite getting watered on an almost daily basis. It was planted back in the ground in early spring (having spent the previous summer in a pot) and I suspect hasn’t had a chance to get settled in root-wise. Despite being rather sparse of leaf it has been flowering for a week or so now. Currently tied for first place with the Prunus Incisa Kojo-no-mai in the slowest growing shrub competition, it may actually need a spot of pruning next year.

6. And finally… The Zinnias out in the front garden have certainly perked up since the rain. Unfortunately so have the snails, and they’ve always had a particular fondness for Zinnias. I’ve been carrying out a snail patrol at 10pm for the past 4 nights, collecting a pot full of the beshelled slugs each time.

Now it’s quite possible I’m collecting the same snails each night. Apparently snails have homing tendencies and, soft hearted thing that I am, I’ve merely been chucking them on the green opposite the house. Given the speed with which they manage to climb out of the collecting pot I wouldn’t be surprised if they managed to nip back across the road and into the garden within the space of an hour. Alas, this plant has started to look very nibbled of leaf.

Anyway, 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

Six on Saturday (23 July 2022)

Oh for some rain. Some proper, water butt replenishing, soil moisture deficit correcting, Gene Kelly song-and-dance-number-inspiring rain. Despite a few minutes of drizzle Friday afternoon, there was no sign of the MET Office ‘yellow warning’ thunder storms. Over the past few weeks three and three-quarter water butts have been emptied (I’m trying to eek out what remains of the fourth and final one to top up the mini pond for the frogs and newts) and bucketing has commenced in an attempt to minimise mains water use. Note to self: take note of last year’s note to self and actually cut down on pots next year.

Arriving back from North Wales on Tuesday I was relieved to discover that most of the newly planted Cosmos and Zinnias had survived the heatwave. However, the Salix gracilistyla ‘Mount Aso’ was decidedly crisp of leaf and the Hibiscus that was plonked back in the ground in early spring (having spent the previous summer in a pot) didn’t look too clever either. Fingers crossed we get some plant-reviving precipitation sooner rather than later. Anyway, time for Six on Saturday.

1. First up: tomatoes. I didn’t bother growing any from seed this year, buying plants instead. This one is ‘Tumbling Tom Yellow.’ Truth be told they’re a bit tough skin-wise and I won’t bother with them next year. I’m hoping the other two varieties I’ve planted in the same pot will be tastier.

2. Back for a second year, these ‘Drumstick’ Alliums are proving popular with the bees. If someone could remind me to plant some more in the autumn it would be much appreciated.

3. Also proving popular with the bees is ‘Miss Manners,’ Physostegia virginiana (the Obedient Plant). I really should try propagating it.

4. Next up, Sidalcea ‘Party Girl’ (Prairie mallow). A bit like a diminutive Hollyhock, I’ve decided to look up what other varieties are available as they’ve coped with the recent heat rather well.

5. Alas, none of the annual Rudbeckia from 2020 survived a second winter (I must have got lucky last year). However, a new batch (‘Gloriosa Daisies’) are just getting going. Expect to see more photos of these over the coming months… if they survive.

6. And finally… Way back in the spring of 2020 I sowed some Dahlia ‘Bishop’s Children.’ They didn’t flower that year, nor the year after that (although in fairness most of my Dahlias were a complete disaster last summer) and one assumed one had got shot of them all. Apparently not. Potentially siblingless, this one may get pampered.

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

Six on Saturday (16 July 2022)

Mrs OMAHGT and I will be heading up to North Wales this weekend to visit my parents’ new house for the first time. While it’ll feel a bit odd not wandering around the garden of the former old ancestral home, placing orders for this and that, I hear they’ve already taken up some of the lawn at their new residence and I suspect it may well become a handy free plant nursery in time.

In preparation for this far flung journeying I’ve spent the past few days frantically planting my seed-sown annuals, setting aside a few for my parents’ new garden. I’m hoping these straggly youngsters will stand a better chance in the ground than in pots during this heatwave. I’ll find out if this was a wise course of action when I return. Still, it felt strangely liberating cramming things in here and there and leaving them to fend for themselves, even my first Six on Saturday…

1. The Zinnias. Photographed whilst still living in relative safety on the swing seat, this may be the first and only shot of a flowering Zinnia I take this summer. If the heat doesn’t do them in then the slugs and snails probably will. Having said that, perhaps the heat will keep the slimy plant assassins at bay.

2. Last year Hydrangea ‘Miss Belgium’ put on a surprising amount of growth. Too much really. She was severely chopped in the spring and as a result is rather sparse of blooms at the moment. The few flowers it has are at that stage I like most: lime green and on the cusp of pinkification (a technical term).

3. Talking of pink, I feared my Penstemon ‘Laura’ plants had vanished and purchased a new one a few weeks ago. I’ve since discovered that the original plant, as well as some grown from cuttings, have in fact survived. Ah well.

4. As well as planting out the Zinnias I’ve also been plonking the rest of the Cosmos into the borders. I have a feeling this is ‘Sensation.’ Fingers crossed they fill out a bit over the next few weeks and that flowerage continues. What was that? Yes, I’m really going for it with the made up words today.

5. Next up, Argyranthemum ‘Molimba Pink.’ Two of these were purchased from the bargain plant stall in town. Alas, one has been set upon by slugs and snails (a common theme this year) and yet I’m still tempted to get some more.

6. And finally… a Dahlia that has made it to flowerhood. Last year I’d decided Dahlias weren’t worth the hassle. Most of them got eaten, very few flowered and those that did were hardly what you’d call floriferous. This year they have all been planted in pots rather than in the borders. It appears to have been the right decision. Dahlia ‘Honka Fragile,’ a new acquisition back in 2021, barely did a thing last summer. This time round I’m hopeful it’ll produce more than just one or two flowers. The Agapanthus lurking in the background has also decided to up its game after producing zero flowers last summer. I suspect it may feature next time.

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

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

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 Oooh – I’ve remembered the fifth plant purchase: Pulmonaria ‘Sissinghurst White.’

Six on Saturday (23 January 2021)

Brrrrr. It’s rather cold outside this morning and there’s talk of sleet and snow in these parts on Sunday. I’m considering venturing out into the garden later, after a coffee and a slice of leftover Christmas cake, to tie in a few climbing roses and to remove some of the duckweed from the pond. Then again, I might just make myself another coffee, have an After Eight mint or three and watch the birds from the comfort of the sofa. But first things first; ’tis Six on Saturday time.

1. Last weekend I went through my existing collection of seed, disposing of several packets of this and that. I was quite ruthless and yet I still have more than I probably need. And I placed an order for some more on Sunday evening… and bought two packets on Friday.

2. Back in November I committed to planting crocus bulbs in the lawn. I was beginning to think they were never going to make an appearance, but over the past week I’ve noticed several shoots. Alas, I didn’t really think it through as many are coming up along the routes taken to get to the shed, bird feeders and patio. I fear most will be trampled on before they reach flowerhood.

3. Yesterday, as I was making my way to the patio to chill out with a pair of robins that furtle beneath the Daphne, I detected the unmistakable fragrance of the dwarf Sweet Box. It’s covered in buds (and berries) that are poised to unfurl. Only a few flowers have opened thus far but it won’t be long until these tiny blooms are filling the garden with their sweet and wafty scent.

4. Next up, another Wilko purchase. I’ll probably regret this come early summer when the slimy plant assassins of the night are snacking on the new foliage. However, if it survives and the flowers resemble the photo all will be forgiven.

5. The frost hardy Gardenia ‘Crown Jewels’ purchased last summer appears to be sporting some new growth. Fingers crossed it shrugs off further colder snaps.

6. And finally… The skeletons of some little alliums over by the Daphne; a welcome reminder of last 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

Six on Saturday (16 January 2021)

A wet and miserable day like today seems the perfect time to start planning and placing my seed orders. But before any hasty online purchases are made I’m going to spend an hour or so sorting through my leftover packets of seed, reminding myself of what grew well (Cosmos) and what was disappointing and will never be grown again (Rudbeckia ‘Cherry Brandy’ will top that list). I’m also going to ponder whether to have a third and final attempt at growing the “easily grown in a cool greenhouse or sheltered spots” (but apparently not for me) South African Foxglove. Anyway, time for Six on Saturday.

1. Last year’s crispified flowers of the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’ are still adding some structural interest in the garden, although I find quite a few of the flower heads on the lawn after a breezy day. I must look up how to prune this come the spring.

2. I spotted a goldfinch enjoying the seeds of a Verbena bonariensis earlier in the week. Those in the south facing front garden have started to sprout new growth. Although it readily self-seeds around the garden, I tried taking cuttings of these new shoots last year, without success. Undeterred, I’m going to give it another go.

3. There are signs of new life elsewhere in the garden too. The Black Lace Elder is covered in leaf buds. Alas, the Golder Tower Elder that I over zealously sprayed with a home made aphid-zapping soapy concoction last summer is not. Lesson learnt. There are plenty of buds lower down the 7 foot stems though. I’m considering chopping it right back to the ground in the spring in the hope of generating some vigorous new growth.

4. Next up is something of a panic buy. It seems a little early to be purchasing Dahlias but I spotted these in Wilko, there were only a few left and it would have been madness not to acquire a pack there and then along with another variety that I’ll share next weekend.

5. The Dahlias haven’t been the only plant purchases though, oh no! I had a £10 voucher from Sarah Raven last month and last Sunday, with just 1 day left before the voucher expired, I started making my way through her spring catalogue. Several plants and a packet of seed were ordered but before I knew it I had strayed onto the websites of other plant purveyors. Several more purchases may have been placed, most of which won’t be dispatched until March. However, one lot arrived on Friday, which took me by surprise. I’d not purchased online perennials before the first Lockdown. I quickly discovered that posted perennials can be somewhat underwhelming, so my expectations regarding the contents of this box were far more realistic than they would have been in 2020.

Hopefully these will one day become a fully grown Geranium of some sort, Anemone leveillei and Anemone ‘Wild Swan.’ I think I’ll leave them in their pots for now.

6. And finally… Around this time last year I bought a few pots of bulbs to create some early indoor pre-Spring cheer. I’ve done the same again. This photo was taken 2 weeks ago.

And this is it now.

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 Stay safe.

Six on Saturday: stormy weather (22 August 2020)

Well that was a rotten week of weather. On Tuesday evening I started preparing the garden for the strong winds that were forecast for Friday. Metal supports and canes were shuffled around to aid those plants that looked most likely to topple over, including the pampered Zinnias. Whilst surveying my handiwork, feeling quietly confident all would be well, a wood pigeon landed smack bang on top of a small cosmos that was growing in a pot, flattening it. I wasn’t best pleased. It’s still a little breezy out there this morning but, thankfully, everything appears to be intact. Right, time for Six on Saturday.

1. First up is a yellow Crocosmia. I do like a yellow Crocosmia. I wish I could remember which variety it is.

2. The Caryopteris ‘Heavenly Blue’ has been flowering for a few weeks now. The flowers are popular with the bees and I enjoy the fragrant foliage. This used to grow in the front garden but has proved far happier in the back, next to the curving path.

3. Now I always mix up ‘Caryopteris’ and ‘Coreopsis.’ This is Coreopsis ‘Bengal Tiger’, so called because the flowers resemble tiger eyes. Admittedly I’ve never got all that close to a tiger but I don’t see the resemblance myself. I’ve been deadheading it every day… well, maybe every other day.

4. The Buddleia that I grew as a standard has reached mammoth proportions. It always amazes me how much growth this puts on despite chopping it right back each spring. Every August, just before it flowers, I ponder getting shot of it, replacing it with something smaller. Yet once in bloom I change my mind. Popular with butterflies, bees and hoverflies during the day, it’s just as popular with moths come dusk. I really should have planted the new Lilac further to the left though.

5. Growing near the Buddleia is this white Japanese Anemone. A well behaved one too that has yet to make any attempt at world domination. Pity. I wouldn’t mind a few more.

6. And finally… This Wilko pom-pom Dahlia (nicknamed ‘the Comeback Kid’ last year after it was nearly polished off by the slimy ones) survived the winter in the ground only to be set upon by the slugs and snails as soon as the leaves emerged. It was briefly plonked in a pot on the swing seat to recover and then planted out. It’s double the size it was last year and despite a slight mishap last week (the heavy rain snapped a stem off at the base) is flowering away happily.

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

Six on Saturday (30 June 2018)

Last weekend was a full on decorating and clearing up frenzy after the builders finally finished and my Six on Saturday was put on hold while order was restored. Inside, chairs, tables, bureaus (well, just the one) and other odds and ends were put back in their rightful place. And outside, plants that had been dug up and plonked in pots for their own protection were returned to their beds, some having faired far better than others (a perennial honesty is looking extremely ropey, while a shrub honeysuckle has never looked healthier).

It seems wrong to complain about too much sun and blue sky, but there’s no doubt a lot of plants in the garden are suffering, particularly those in the front which get the sun throughout the day. Pots are being watered every evening but everything else has had to tough it out thus far (apart from an echinacea which, having been rescued from near mollusc munching oblivion last summer, was returned to the flower bed in the spring and is being slightly pampered). The climbing roses and jasmine on the trellis are thriving however and filling the garden with their heady scent in the evenings. There’s talk of rain on Sunday and fingers are crossed that we get some (and I suspect the slimy plant munching assassins of the night are hoping the same). Anyway, here are my Six on Saturday…

1. This Dahlia was grown from seed a few years ago now. There was a red dahlia (which I initially hoped this one would be) but a few of the tubers had rotted over the winter and it’s now evident that only the white one survived. Still, it is rather nice.

2. The sweet peas have started flowering. I always plant them in a pot next to the swing seat. This is Painted Lady and has a lovely scent.

3. The Crocosmia Lucifer has gone a little wild in the back garden and I’m afraid some of it is coming up in the autumn to make room for a new Daphne. However, when it isn’t toppling over, it is a show. It’s poised at the moment, ready to unleash a red flowery inferno that will last for a few weeks.

4. I’ve never had much luck with garden centre Scabious plants. They cost a fair bit and don’t seem to last many years. However, those grown from seed (and described as a hardy annual) are a bargain and have made it through a couple of Somerset winters, including the last one with all the snow.

They’ve proved easy to grow and I’ve sown some dark red and white ones this year. The petals are fascinating to look at up close when they start to open, and they flower continuously which is always a bonus.

5. Snapdragons are a personal favourite. As kids we were shown how they could be made to talk (or snap I guess) by squeezing the back of the flower. It still amuses me. They’re grown every year from seed. These seem to be self sown from last year’s batch and have a head start on those sown in April.

There was a beautiful deep crimson one growing in a crack between the drive and the house. Alas, it was trampled on by the builders!

6. And finally, we have some tomatoes forming, Tumbling Tom Red and Yellow. I’m a bit weird when it comes to tomatoes. I’m not a fan of their texture, but I love the cherry types. I usually grow Sweet Aperitif from seed, but I left it too late this year and also fancied smaller plants that didn’t require support (they’re always grown outside in pots). These tumblers were bought as plants. So far, so good. However, I’m a bit wary as to how they’ll taste as the last time I grew a tumbling variety they weren’t very sweet or juicy. There’s no point me worrying yet though as they’re a long way off ripening.

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