Six on Saturday (3 September 2022)

Well, that’s August done. As an astronomical autumn kind of guy I can pretend it’s still summer for a few weeks yet (although when it comes to spring I’m meteorological all the way). I’m hoping for a final herbaceous hurrah before summer says ta-ta for another year but I’m setting my expectations low given the sorry state of some of the plants at the moment. Perhaps the rain that’s been forecast for the next few days will make a difference. We shall see. Anyway, time for my first Six on Saturday…

1. Acquired as ‘here’s some a nursery raised from seed earlier’ plants back in May, ‘Supersweet 100’ (the red lot) and ‘Sungold’ (the orange lot) are doing quite well. I may go down the ready grown tomato plants route again next year. It’s been far less faffy, if slightly less satisfying, than growing them from seed.

2. The pinkification of the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’ is well under way. Unfortunately, pretty much everything else in this border (the Hydrangea ‘Miss Belgium,’ Rosa ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent,’ most of the Japanese anemones, the Astrantias, Rosa ‘Violet Clouds,’ and Daphne x transatlantica ‘Pink Fragrance’) is also pink. When I bought ‘Vanille Fraise’ back in 2020 I thought its snowy white blooms would help break things up a bit. And they do. For a while. I just didn’t factor in the colour change later on. It is lovely though.

3. As is Caryopteris ‘Heavenly Blue’ which has just burst into flower and is proving a big hit with the bees. I find myself rubbing the fragrant foliage each time I walk by. It’s also mingling rather nicely with a neighbouring plant…

4. … a self-seeded orange California Poppy that is also proving popular with bewinged six-legged buzzy things.

5. Towering above the Caryopteris and the California poppy (and not blending with them in the slightest) is ‘Alec’s Red,’ a Rose that’s having a second or possibly third flush of flowers. A standard, the perfumed blooms are at perfect nose-height for a six footer.

6. And finally… Some of the Cosmos are wonderfully feathery of leaf but oddly flowerless. Whilst others are rather spindly of leaf yet oddly floriferous. Will I bother with them again next year? Probably.

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 Right, I’m off to visit the Tower of London (I’m spending a few days in the Big Smoke) but not before I’ve made the most of the all-you-can-eat continental breakfast. Anyone fancy a croissant?


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 (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

Six on Saturday: garden therapy (30 July 2022)

Thank goodness for the garden. A place to retreat and sigh a contented ‘aaaaaah’ after the nine to five stuff has gotten a little too ‘aaaaragh.’ A little patch of green (well, greenish and crispy brown at present) to forget your troubles for a while and switch off. The resident wildlife has also provided some uplifting moments this week. My wife discovered a young frog that had somehow made it’s way into the conservatory. It raised a chuckle and some brief concern when we discovered its leg had got tangled in some fluff and cotton (we really must hoover under the bureau more often). Thankfully it all ended well and ‘Froggy’ (my wife’s choice as she formed a bit of a bond with him) was released back into the wildlife border.

And I discovered a young toad, ‘Ted’ (my choice), late one evening outside the back door. It was a moment of great excitement as I didn’t know there were any around here. It was too dark to take a photo so here’s an ancient biro sketch of a toad (made in 1996) that I knew would come in handy one day. Alas, we’ve still not had any proper rain, although the forecast is looking promising for tomorrow (fingers crossed). Some plants are coping well with the dry weather, others not so much, and that leads me to my first Six on Saturday.

1. A Phlox. A white one. The leaves get alarmingly droopy at times but thankfully recover fast after an emergency watering session. Supposedly fragrant but I beg to differ.

2. Sticking with Phlox, here’s another one, growing up through the foliage of the Sambucus nigra ‘Golden Tower.’ Also scentless but rather pretty.

3. Weirdly, the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise,’ usually the first to wilt during a prolonged dry spell, has fared much better than in previous years. The flowers are developing nicely.

4. Alas, the foliage of the Sweet Peas is looking suspiciously mildewy in places, no doubt due to the heat. Thankfully they are still flowering away. They’ve been grown in large pots this summer and trained up the sides of the new swing seat so that their fragrance can be enjoyed whilst gently swaying back and forth.

5. Most of the Cosmos are still alive (a huge improvement over last year), including ‘Antiquity.’ Its flowers fade with time, producing a variety of shades of burgundy and pink on the same plant.

6. And finally… Agapanthus, looking a bit dark and moody in yesterday’s evening light. This plant (known as Aggie) has developed a predictable pattern: it flowers every other year. It first bloomed in 2018 after a mere wait of 5 years. In 2019 there wasn’t a bud in sight. 2020, flowers aplenty. 2021, nada. I suspect you won’t seen Aggie again until 2024.

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 Right, I’m off to look up a support line telephone number to help me come to terms with the end of Neighbours (Take That fans like my sister got one I seem to remember back in 1990s when they split up). Teatimes are never going to be the same again.

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 (8 January 2022)

A blink and you’ll possibly miss it Six on Saturday today. And we’re diving straight in with…

1. The fragrant flowers of a Coronilla that are adding some cheer during the winter gloom. This is the paler yellow variety (subsp. glauca ‘Citrina’) that’s usually sold as a climber. What was that? Didn’t you show us this back in November? I did, and I suspect you’ll be seeing it again over the next few months.

2. Planted last September, these Cyclamen coum have been smothered by Foxgloves and were completely forgotten about until recently. Rounder of leaf than the Cyclamen hederifolium (although it took me a while to figure this out) the Foxgloves will be moved to another spot in the not so distant future. I’m hoping I haven’t missed the flowering stage.

3. Despite a very brief cold snap (still no frost mind you) it’s been a very mild winter so far down here. Quite a few plants have jumped the gun, including ‘Miss Belgium’ who was still sporting her old foliage until fairly recently. If frost doesn’t get these new leaves then the secateurs will come the spring.

4. It’s not the only plant that’s a little early. I’m assuming this is a Narcissi of some kind.

5. Next up, rose hips. I’ve taken a photograph of these most weeks but end up swapping them for something else at the last minute. Not this week.

6. And finally… another fragrant flowerer. The Lonicera fragrantissima is in full bloom and has been visited by the odd bee of late. I think that’s a tiny fly on the flower on the right.

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 (18 December 2021)

A brisk Six on Saturday today without preamble/pre-ramble. We’re jumping straight in with…

1. The faded flowers of the Hydrangea ‘Miss Belgium.’ She seems to have put on quite a growth spurt this year and is doing a good impression of an evergreen.

2. Growing nearby is the Cotoneaster hortizontalis originally acquired as a seedling from the free nursery up in North Wales (my mum’s garden). The berries were polished off long ago but the leaves are adding a nice splash of colour.

3. While the stems of the Cotoneaster will soon be bare other deciduous shrubs, like this Sambucus nigra ‘Golden Tower,’ are already sporting the buds of next year’s foliage.

4. It’ll be another month or so until the dwarf Sweet Box (Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis) does its wafty scenty flowery thing. Yet this is a plant that provides interest all year round with evergreen foliage and berries that turn from crimson to purpley-black as the year progresses.

5. Next up, a winter pot. Planted last winter, the variegated Ivy, Fern somethingorotherus and a red Cyclamen are still going strong, although the latter is getting a little swamped by its companions.

6. And finally… Last week I casually mentioned a hideous watering can bauble that I’d purchased online and had banished to the back of the Christmas tree. While there were a few comments about the featured plants, there were far more requests to see the dubious decoration. Well, here it is in all it’s overly large, splodgily painted, glittery golden glory. Annoyingly, it looks marginally better in this photo than it does in reality, the camera failing to capture it’s true awfulness (although this is its best side). Attempts to convince me that it’s actually rather nice will be greeted with a “PAH!”

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 Have a very Merry Christmas.

Six on Saturday (4 December 2021)

How did we get to December so soon? I feel far less prepared for the whole Christmas thing this year than last. There are cards to write, the artificial tree and decorations to retrieve from the loft and presents to shop for. On the plus side though, the garden is pretty much ready for the winter. Last Sunday the swing seat was covered up and the folding garden bench put away in the shed (much to the dismay of the sparrows that perch on it while they await their turn to use the nearby bird feeder). The lawn was aerated, the Banksia Rose chopped back, dug up and given away (a spur of the moment thing – trying to grow it against a 5 foot fence was pure folly) and the borders were mulched. Apart from a pack of tulip bulbs to pot up (when they arrive) and a rose or two to prune, that’s pretty much it gardening-wise for a few months. Anyway, time for Six on Saturday.

1. Thankfully, Storm Arwen left the garden unscathed. The only casualties were the brown crispified flowerheads of the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise,’ most of which are now scattered here and there in the borders.

2. Talking of brown and crispy things, the other month I adorned the garden arch with an allium seedhead. Despite the strong winds such adornage has remained intact, as have the flowers of Clematis ‘Freckles.’

3. Continuing with the brown and crispy theme, the seedheads of the Caryopteris ‘Heavenly Blue’ are just as lovely as the flowers when you get up close to them. The shrub will get chopped right back come the spring.

4. There’s still some proper colour to be found in the garden though. The green leaves of this Hydrangea ‘Miss Belgium’ have become tinged with red around the edges.

5. And the Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) is about to burst into flower, providing a succession of fragrant blooms over the coming months as well as pollen for the odd brave bee.

6. And finally… A Viola. Last year they didn’t do very well, many succumbing to some leaf spot disease or other. I’m hoping they fare better this 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 (27 November 2021)

Now the chore of bulb planting is over (well nearly, I ordered some more tulips earlier in the week; a special offer and t’would have been madness not to) I’ve almost finished putting the garden to bed for the winter. There’s just a spot of mulching to do, the folding garden bench to put away and the swing seat cover to deploy, although that might have to wait until a less wild and windy day. It’s blowing a gale out there. Thankfully, most of my Six on Saturday were taken earlier in the week when plants were less blurry.

1. First up… Pyracantha berries. Hang on. Where have they gone? I’ve not spotted a single blackbird in the garden for many a week so presumably they’ve been polishing them off while I’ve been at work.

2. There are still plenty of other berries to be found though. Back in July it was bye-bye standard buddleia and hello standard Ligustrum japonicum ‘Texanum’ (or Japanese/Waxleaf Privet). I felt strangely guilty at the time. A self seeded plant, I’d grown the Buddleia as a half standard shrub and kept it in check by pruning the branches right back each spring. Come late summer it could be a mass of blooms, visited by hummingbird hawk-moths and other nectar loving insects, including the odd butterfly… occasionally. However, the past few summers have been surprisingly breezy, snapping off stems before they could harden off, leaving the beleaguered Buddleia bare of both branch and bloom until much later in the summer. This year it was looking very sorry for itself indeed and a decision was made to replace it.

With flowers in early summer and berries in the autumn and winter, the evergreen Waxleaf Privet is proving to be a better shrub for my small garden. As for the butterflies, there are plenty of Buddleias growing nearby and a small Buddleia ‘Buzz’ in a pot for them to enjoy.

3. Up next is the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise.’ I have a feeling a few of the brown, crispified flowers will be found scattered around the garden later today.

4. Like the Hydrangea, the Sedums are also helping to provide some nice structure in the garden and will continue to do so until they get chopped back in early spring.

5. In early November 2019 I dug up an overly large Prunus cerasifera ‘Hessei’ and replaced it with an allegedly small Eucalyptus gunnii France Bleu. It’s grown quite a bit in the two years since it went in (I’m trying not to worry) but will be pruned annually to keep it reasonably compact and bushy and to produce vibrant fresh foliage.

6. And finally… It’s the return of the Hesperantha coccinea. It first flowered at the beginning of October but is blooming again. I hope it hasn’t been flattened by the wind.

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: 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