Six on Saturday (23 April 2022)

April is flying by at an alarming speed, although not quite as alarming as the speed at which the aphids are reproducing on the one remaining Sambucus. However, for the first time in a few years I’ve spotted ladybirds munching on them which is encouraging (although I’m still doing a spot of squishing). The garden is looking rather lush at the moment. Most of that lushness is down to the foliage of spring bulbs that I’ll soon find myself impatiently willing to die back in order to get on with planting other things. For now though I should just enjoy them, including my first Six on Saturday…

1. ‘Purple Doll’ is the sole survivor from a small batch that were planted in the ground last year. Some of the potted Tulips haven’t faired too well of late and I have a feeling a lack of watering is to blame. Bad gardener.

2. Growing nearby, and producing a beautiful flutey fragrance, is Daphne x transatlantica ‘Eternal Fragrance.’ I think I say this every year, perhaps even a few times a year, but I can’t help feeling every small garden should have one of these. It certainly earns its keep, flowering off and on from March/April and into the Winter. It’ll get a light trim later in the year to keep it nice and compact.

3. Up next, a forget-me-not-like Navelwort: Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Cherry Ingram.’ Growing in the shady border, this is its second spring. I was afraid I’d done it in last summer after a trampling incident but thankfully it seems to be tougher than it looks.

4. Like the Daphne, Viburnum carlesii ‘Compactum’ is another great small garden shrub. The perfumed pompoms of floral loveliness only last a few weeks but what a few weeks. Besides, the developing pinky-red flower buds add a few months of pre-bloom interest.

5. Purchased in 2018, this mini standard Ceanothus thyrsiflorus repens grows in a pot in the front garden. Unlike the potted tulips it seems to thrive on neglect of the watering kind, which is a relief. The bees love it.

6. And finally… After 3 years and one fatality I have a flowering white Bleeding Heart. It was worth the wait. Hopefully Dicentra alba II (a bare root purchase from Wilko) will get bigger and better with each passing year.

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 (24 April 2021)

April seems to be racing by. Last Sunday I tackled a few jobs I’d been putting off, planting pots of this and that (including some Sweet Williams that really should have been planted last autumn), creating more planting space (another patio slab has come up) and potting on a few seedlings. Alas, there’s still no sign of rain and, as I’m down to my last water butt, ‘bucketing’ has commenced. It’s a term my wife came up with for the slightly tedious activity of showering with a bucket to collect water for the garden. It’s now a verb. He buckets, she buckets, we bucket, they bucket. To have to bucket in April seems odd though. It’s normally a summer activity. But enough preamble. It’s Six on Saturday time.

1. First up, Iberis something-or-other has been flowering for a a few months now. An attempt to take cuttings last year ended in failure but a few weeks ago I found a stem that had rooted in the ground.

I dug it up, planted it a little further along the curvy path border and behold! Flowers!

2. Another plant that has been flowering for a while now is the Daphne x transatlantica ‘Eternal Fragrance.’ I think I say this every year but every garden should have one. It produces fragrant flowers throughout much of the spring, summer and autumn. In fact it can be tricky finding a time to give it a light prune.

3. Next up, Tulip ‘Green Dance,’ one of many varieties planted back in November. Tall and rather elegant when the flowers are closed, most of these were planted in the ground. Will they reappear next April? I hope so but I won’t get my hopes up.

4. The cold spring has extended the flowering period of the narcissus but it’s held back a few plants. Back in 2020, the pink buds of the Viburnum carlesii ‘Compactum’ had begun to open by the 11th April. It’s a few weeks later this year. I think this could well be my most favourite shrub, producing deliciously fragrant flowers. It may feature again once in full bloom.

5. A last minute substitution (apologies to a white Saxifraga), this small standard Ceanothus thyrsiflorus Repens lives in a pot out in the south facing front garden. It will hopefully be covered in six-legged buzzy wing-ed things once the flowers open fully.

6. And finally… More tulips. Three varieties growing in pots on the patio. World Friendship (the yellow lot), Burnt Sugar (the orangey pink lot) and Purple Doll.

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 (27 February 2021)

It’s a few days shy of March but what the heck, I’m declaring spring sprung here. The birds are suddenly more tweety, leaves are beginning to unfurl and, for the first time ever, the frogs have spawned in the little pond. Yesterday, in preparation for seed sowing, I gave the mini greenhouse a clean. Tomatoes and sweet peas will hopefully be sown later today, after an apple and blackberry crumble has been made. But first things first; it’s Six on Saturday time.

1. And we begin with the fragrant flowers of the Daphne Odora. Planted around two years ago, it hasn’t put on much growth. In fact it looks rather bare of leaf and I wonder whether I should have plonked it in a less shady spot. I’ll give it another year and see what happens.

2. Growing next to the Daphne is this Oxlip. It has started to form a nice clump and will be split once it has finished flowering.

3. The Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ was a new addition to the garden last April. She has been covered in flower buds for months and they’ve finally started to open. Alas, they’re not fragrant but the flowers are pretty and it’s adding some nice evergreen structure to the East facing border.

4. Another Viburnum up next. A deciduous variety that was grown from a cutting nearly 10 years ago. It’s supposed to bloom during the winter months but has yet to fulfil it’s wintery-flowery potential. The unnibbled fresh new leaves are a pleasing sight.

5. Now you may want to sit down for this one, I know I did. A few of the white crocuses that were planted in the lawn have actually made it to flowerhood without toppling over or getting stood on.

They’re rather pretty but I’m not sure it was the wisest of ideas with such a small lawn. If they don’t return next year well, hey-ho. I definitely need to plant some of these elsewhere though.

6. And finally… Iris reticulata ‘Alida.’ Most were grown in pots but those in the beds have done just as well. I have my eye on a few other varieties for next spring, including ‘Blue Note.’

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 (9 January 2021)

One of the main things that Six on Saturday has taught me over the past few years is that even during the short cold days of Winter there’s always something going on in the garden. There may not be as many cor-look-at-that-stunning-flower photography moments, but when you start looking you always find some signs of life and reminders that the garden will be green once more and filled with floriferousness aplenty come the spring.

1. Some signs of life seem a little early though. These new unfurling leaves on the Hydrangea ‘Miss Belgium’ took me by surprise. It seems far too soon for such goings on and I’ve not chopped off her faded flowers from last year yet.

2. The Persian Slipper Lupin is also sporting new foliage. This variety tends to fare a bit better than other lupins when it comes to slugs, snails and aphids. It got relocated a few months ago when I was doing a bit of rearranging so it’s nice to see it has survived its move.

3. Now this one is more of a sign of signs of life; of the feathered variety. Over the past week the blackbirds have polished off most of the Pyracantha berries (with some assistance from a male blackcap). I guess they’ve been saving them for a cold spell. Only a few bunches remain, over by the mini greenhouse where they aren’t quite so easy to get at.

4. Next up, a photo of the frosted foliage of the Esceallonia hedge out the front. 20 years old and shared with the neighbour, it has been looking increasingly sorry for itself over the past few years. Sections have become brittle and bare of leaf in the summer and other Escallonia hedges on the estate appear to be suffering from the same problem. I tried cutting one plant right back to the ground last spring and a section of the stump sprouted some new growth, but not much. It was also sprayed every now and then with an organic black spot treatment and given a regular feed during the summer, but I’ve not noticed any obvious improvement. Our neighbour doesn’t seem too concerned but I wonder whether the whole lot will need digging up and replacing at some point. I hope not.

5. Since the Autumn the edge of the shed roof, just above the guttering, has been sporting an increasing number of green mossy clumps. I do like a bit of moss.

6. And finally… Daphne odora II is sporting flower buds. Hopefully it won’t be long until the fragrant flowers open and I can tiptoe across the border again, trying to avoid trampling on the emerging shoots of bulbs, to inhale their delicious scent and take another photo.

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: frosty foliage (2 January 2021)

Before I had a garden I used to think January was a gloomy old month. Nowadays I feel a bit differently about it. Though there’s a while to go until spring arrives, there are early signs of hope as bulbs begin to poke up through the soil and the days gradually start to lengthen. There are winter flowering shrubs to appreciate, the antics of the birds to enjoy and beautiful frosty morns to marvel at. Talking of frosty morns…

1. Thursday and Friday dawned bright and sparkly, turning most of the evergreens into variegated versions of themselves. While the Daphne x transatlantica ‘Pink Fragrance’ hasn’t flowered anywhere near as prolifically as the white Eternal Fragrance, it’s starting to add some welcome structure to the border near the conservatory door.

2. The standard Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ is also helping to provide some evergreen winter interest in a nearby border. It looks like there’ll be flowers soon too.

3. For reasons unknown I don’t think I featured a flowering Verbena in 2020. Madness. Still, it looks just as lovely with its frosted seedheads.

4. Before the frost I was struggling to think of six gardeny things and feared I may finally have to resort to a Box Balls SoS. But you’ve been spared that fate. Here’s a close up of one instead.

5. Next up, the prettified foliage of the patio rose ‘Violet Cloud’.

6. And finally… a Rudbeckia. Yes, it’s still going and looks very much like it has been sprinkled with sugar in this photo.

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 All the very best for 2021 everyone. Stay safe.

Six on Saturday: preparing the garden for winter (19 December 2020)

I’ve been re-reading the five books written by Lloyd Alexander that make up The Chronicles of Prydain series about a young assistant pig keeper called Taran. They’re a sort of Lord of the Rings for children and adults, only less wordy, more humorous, inspired by Welsh mythology, often profound and frequently moving. One of the characters, Coll, is a retired warrior-come-farmer who loves his garden, but I never really appreciated the gardening references until now.

“You are the oaken staff I lean on,” Taran said. “More that that.” He laughed. “You are the whole sturdy tree, and a true warrior.”

Coll, instead of beaming, looked wryly at him. “Do you mean to honour me?” he asked. “Then say, rather, I am a true grower of turnips and a gatherer of apples. No warrior whatever, save that I am needed thus for a while. My garden longs for me as much as I long for it,” Coll added. “I left it unready for winter, and for that I will pay a sorry reckoning at spring planting.” (from The High King)

I’ve been slightly remiss in preparing the garden for the winter this year. Not that I’ll be growing turnips come Spring, but I should probably give the standard Buddleia and the standard roses a slight prune to prevent wind-rock. I definitely need to clear the increasingly soggy piles of fallen leaves from the gravel path, and I still haven’t tidied the pond. I should have plenty of time to tackle these gardening tasks when I finish work on the 22nd December for Christmas (the days will start getting longer too!) Not that it feels much like winter temperature-wise at the moment and that leads me to my first Six on Saturday…

1. Strawberries. They’re free range, roaming about the garden mostly unchecked, and I rarely manage to get to them before the slugs or birds do during the summer.

2. Another week, another Ilex. This one is Ilex Crenata ‘Dark Green’ and it went to look very sickly back in the summer of 2019. I chopped the shrub right back, dug it up and plonked it in a pot, not holding out much hope for its survival. Left to fend for itself, the little Ilex appears to have recovered.

3. The Daphne x transatlantica ‘eternal fragrance’ is still flowering. There haven’t been many months this year when the semi-evergreen hasn’t been in bloom. A grand shrub that really earns its place in a small garden.

4. Back in the summer I felt the need to add some more evergreen structure to the garden. As well as acquiring a lollipop topiary Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ I also added a standard Euonymus japonicus ‘Bravo.’ The variegated foliage is helping to provide some cheer on gloomy days. I’m trying to ignore a nagging feeling that I may have planted it too near the blue shed and a climbing rose.

5. A ray of floral sunshine, this Calendula is still going strong out in the front garden.

6. And finally… Inspired by Pádraig’s Six on Saturday I decided to add some Christmas cheer to the garden, hanging the odd bauble about the garden.

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 and have a Happy Christmas.

Six on Saturday (12 September 2020)

There’s a chap who has a plant stall in town most Saturdays. My wife and I call him ‘the plant man.’ I try to walk past his stall in a nonchalant manner, casting but a fleeting glance at his tempting floral wares; partly because I don’t want to disappoint him if I don’t fancy buying anything, but mainly because I want to try and exercise a bit of willpower and resist acquiring yet another bargain that I don’t really have room for. However, more often than not my resistance crumbles and that leads me to my first Six on Saturday…

1. I don’t know if these Cyclamen will survive out in the garden over the winter (I suspect not) but I might put them in the north east facing conservatory just before the frosts arrive.

2. The flowers of the Sedums have started to open and the bees and flies are loving the tiny flowers. I’m sure they’ve bloomed a little later this year though.

3. Oh yes, it’s another Zinnia ‘Jazzy.’ These have been a pleasant surprise and I’ll certainly grow them again next summer.

4. The Daphne x transatlantica ‘eternal fragrance’ has lived up to its name this year. This hardworking shrub has been flowering off and on (mainly on) for many a month now, despite a prune earlier in the year. Every garden should have one.

5. Next up, Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Fizzy’ Series. This is ‘Fizzy Rose Picotee’ growing in the back garden. They tend to vary quite a bit pinky-white/whitey-pink-hue-wise. I suspect they will feature again over the next few weeks.

6. And finally…. Erodium manescavii. I grew a few plants from some seed kindly provided by Jim last year. Only one Erodium plant has survived to flowerhood but I have some leftover seed for a second attempt and I’ll harvest some seed from this plant later in the autumn. It has attractive foliage (though the leaves below belong to a Californian Poppy) and beautiful flowers that have this fascinating intricate pattern on three of the petals. I’ll hopefully have a few more next year.

Well, 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 (13 June 2020)

Finally, some proper wet stuff. Well, a lot of wet stuff actually, and about time too! All the water butts are full, including a fourth one that was attached to the white shed back in April. There’ll be no more showering with a bucket for a while. Fingers crossed the garden will start to perk up a bit now.

I got around to planting my sweet peas last weekend and a few tomato plants were purchased from a garden centre,  just in case the pitiful specimens grown from seed don’t pull through. Somehow or other I ended up with a Totally Tangerine Geum, a far bigger plant than the one I  purchased online and in flower too! Right, lets get straight to my first Six on Saturday…

1. The Sour Grapes Penstemon has been flowering for a few weeks now. I think I have another one growing elsewhere in the garden that was a cutting of this plant, though it could well be a different variety; I forgot to label it. I guess I’ll find out when it flowers.

2. Before the sun disappeared the Daphne × transatlantica Eternal Fragrance was filling the air with its heady, flutey scent. It was quite pricey and very small when it was first acquired about 7 years ago but it’s proved to be a quick grower. Infact, it was starting to get rather too big and a tad twiggy in places so I gave the shrub a prune after it had finished flowering in March. I was concerned I’d overdone it but thankfully it’s put on a lot of new growth and is flowering away again.

3. The bees are continuing to enjoy the Foxgloves, as am I. They’ve been sowing themselves around the garden for several years now.

4. This lily started life in a pot over 10 years ago. Rather bafflingly I’ve not spotted a lily beetle on it for the past two years now. All was going well until yesterday when I noticed that a few large buds on a third stem had fallen off. More appear to be suffering the same fate. It’s almost as if the buds are too heavy and are snapping off. Thankfully, the flower buds on the other two stems haven’t suffered the same fate.

5. More Sweet Williams up next. Slightly brighter than the one featured last week. Some of these have been flowering for weeks.

6. And finally… Remember the Poppy buds from a few weeks ago? Here they are now. The flowers are fleeting but loved by the bees.

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 (14 March 2020)

I don’t know about anyone else but March seems to be racing by. Next weekend isn’t going to provide any opportunity for gardening so I’ll be cramming in as much as I can over the next two days, if the weather plays nice. Although the forecast isn’t looking very promising for tomorrow there’s a rumour that things are set to improve next week. I hope so. There are perennials to move, seedlings to pot on, lawns to edge and seeds to sow. Well, more seeds to sow, which leads me pretty sharpish to my first Six on Saturday…

1. Last Sunday I had a bit of a seed sowing marathon. Dahlias, Rudbeckia, Calendula, Cosmos, Zinnias, Pink Dandelions and African Foxgloves were sown in somewhat breezy conditions, one or two seeds taking flight. Some pots are now sat on window sills upstairs while others are in the mini greenhouse. I’ve already run out of space, which is a worry as I ordered a few more packets of this and that after perusing the Chiltern Seeds catalogue earlier in the week.

2. To the right of the mini greenhouse is the Winter Honeysuckle which has been flowering since December. Now the leaves are back the flowers are coming to an end. It’s been providing a source of nectar to some big bumble bees over the past few weeks and I’ve been inhaling the fragrant blooms each time I pass, making the most of them while I can. As soon as the flowers are no more I’m going to chop one big stem to the ground to help encourage some new growth. That’s the theory anyway.

3. The flower buds of the Daphne odora that featured a few weeks ago have opened. Photographing this was no mean feat as the border in which it’s planted is a clayey claggy mess. Growing near the small wildlife pond, it’s not in the most sensible place to appreciate the fragrant flowers but it was the only spot I could find. However, my mother-in-law’s large and ancient Daphne manages to fill her garden with scent so hopefully this one may do the same in years to come (I have made a solemn oath not to move it, so hopefully it will do okay).

4. Now the Viburnum carlesii ‘Compactum’ was planted in a much more sensible location right next to the blue shed where its fragrant white flowers can be easily enjoyed come April. The buds are swelling nicely and the new leaves are looking all fresh and spring-like.

5. I experienced Jet Fire envy last spring as it featured in a lot of SoSs. Bulbs were planted in the autumn, though the clump on the left was purchased in bud from the local Country Market shop. Initially I was slightly disappointed when the flowers opened as the trumpets didn’t seem very orange, but as the days have gone by the colour has deepened and the petals have done their sweepy-back-whooshy thing. More will be acquired come the autumn.

6. And finally… I planted a rose tree (Harlow Carr) and a small rose (Togmeister) in the patio bed in November. I’ve been pondering getting a scented climbing rose for the tiny bed behind the swing seat in an attempt to make this area a fragrant hotspot during the summer and last Sunday, after a bit of research, I ordered a yellow climber called Teasing Georgia. This package was waiting for me on Thursday.

She’s supposed to be happy in bit of shade, something a Passion flower currently growing in this spot appears to struggle with. Alas, I’m off to work this morning (most inconvenient) so bare-rooted Georgia will be plonked in a bucket of water to await my return in the afternoon. I just hope there’s enough room for me to move the swing seat out of the way; it wasn’t something I planned for when I dug up some of the patio last year.

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 (29 February 2020)

Good grief. Another weekend, another storm. There have been moments of stillness during the week. Heck, there was even dazzling sunshine and blue sky. But when you’re stuck in an office all day this makes it all the more frustrating when you know, come Saturday, things will take a turn for the worse and you’re in for yet another weekend of wet and windy weather. It has toughened me up though. I’ve forced myself to get out in the garden to undertake this and that the moment the rain has stopped, and that leads me to my first Six on Saturday…

1. Last Sunday I made that trip to the garden centre to purchase a few bags of compost and to sample some carrot cake with a mug of coffee (it was raining, I needed a pick-me-up and I’m sure carrot cake counts as one of my five a day). Late in the afternoon the skies cleared a little and I headed out to sow my sweet peas in some seed trays that I’d made from leftover boxes. Some Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherry Brandy’ and Scabiosa ‘Summer Sundae’ seeds were also sown and I potted on the Lupin seedlings. Despite the gloom it felt good to be outdoors.

2. Fresh green leaves are unfurling everywhere at the moment. The Hydrangea, Miss Belgium, is sporting some nice, unnibbled foliage. I must chop off last year’s flower heads though.

3. Now this is freaky. The old Prunus cerasifera ‘Hessei’ got the chop last Autumn and I created a few log piles around the garden for wildlife. But look, it lives… sort of. Quite a few of the logs have sprouted new growth. I’m very tempted to try propagating some of the branches just out of curiosity.

4. The new Daphne odora, purchased over a year ago to replace the one that I’d moved around one too many times, is about to flower. I’m looking forward to appreciating their fragrance when they open.

5. I managed to photograph some of the crocuses as they opened earlier in the week. Some are still flowering though quite a few have got flattened in the wind.

6. And finally… During my trip to the garden centre last weekend I almost made it out without purchasing a plant. Almost, but not quite. Last February I purchased an Ilex Crenata ‘Dark Green’ as an alternative to box. It went to look very sickly in July and it’s never fully recovered. At the garden centre I spotted an Ilex crenata ‘Twiggy’ and initially I dismissed it, thinking it foolish to try a Japanese holly again. Yet I found myself walking past it again a little later. I picked the plant up, studying it more closely this time, but then put it down and walked away, feeling slightly smug at my demonstration of willpower.

Twenty minutes later, standing at a till, I found this in my trolley, shoved between the two bags of compost, two boxes of chicken manure pellets (it was a buy one get one free offer and t’would have been madness not to), a pack of coir pellets (I was curious), a bag of grit and another bird box. I’ve dug up the sickly ‘Dark Green’ ilex and planted ‘Twiggy’ in its place. Was it holly, I mean folly? Probably.

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