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 https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. 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?

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Six on Saturday: wanderings (11 September 2021)

I’m actually up in North East Wales, visiting the old Ancestral home for a few days. But before setting off I had a wander around the front and back gardens in Somerset, wondering as I wandered whether I’d find anything of wonder to photograph. Thankfully, my wanders led to the discovery of six wonders, putting an end to both wanderings and wonderings. What was that? You wonder when this wandery introduction will end and you’ll get to see these six wondrous wonders discovered on my wanders? Well wonder no more…

1. The very first time I grew honey scented Alyssum from seed I sowed it in trays, transplanting the seedlings to the borders. It was faff and the following year I was relieved to find it had seeded itself about a bit. Now I just sprinkle a packet of seed here and there in April and let it do its thing. Chopped back several weeks ago, it’s now having a second flush of flowers

2. Another plant I grow from seed each year is Cosmos. A few months ago I wrote about my ‘old reliables,’ plants that never let me down and flower for months. Cosmos was one of them. Well I take it all back. This year they have really struggled and the majority of flowers have been nibbled. I’ll still grow them again next year mind you.

3. Thankfully, Calendula ‘Snow Princess’ hasn’t let me down. In fact it’s one of the few plants thriving in the front garden at the moment. The mini heatwave earlier in the week left many of the plants out the front struggling. Despite a gloomy August I don’t think we had much, if any, rain. Thankfully we had some heavy showers on Thursday.

4. The Caryopteris ‘Heavenly Blue’ has been abuzz with bees and hoverflies for a few weeks now. I thought it was a bit behind compared to previous years but having done a a quick search of old Six on Saturday posts over the years it appears not. Beautiful flowers and the foliage is nice and fragrant when rubbed.

5. Talking of fragrance, the night scented phlox (Zaluzianskya) is flowering. Two earlier sowings of a different variety (‘Midnight Candy’) snuffed it soon after germinating. Undeterred but clean out of ‘Midnight Candy’ seeds I grabbed a packet of these in Wiko, not holding out much hope. But behold, flowers! They certainly live up to the ‘night scented’ thing as I can only detect their sweet fragrance (which reminds me of those pink, white and yellow alphabet letter sweets of my youth) at night.

6. And finally… a Rudbeckia of short stature called ‘Toto’ (does anyone else hear Dorothy shouting after her dog when they see that name?) Pádraig featured one of these a while back and by strange coincidence I spotted one for sale in the Country Market shop in town a week or so later. It was obviously meant to be and was purchased post haste.

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 (4 April 2020)

The weather is set to turn warmer from tomorrow but last week was decidedly chilly at times. Yet when the sun shone it was very pleasant indeed sat on the swing seat with my gilet on, warming my chapped, decidedly older looking but impeccably clean hands on a mug of hot coffee. The garden appears to be stepping up a gear. Colour is appearing everywhere but not just courtesy of flowers, oh no. And that leads me straight to my first Six on Saturday…

1. A lot of plants in the garden are sporting fresh new foliage, bare branches becoming greener by the day. The evergreen box balls are looking particularly vibrant at the moment with new, rather fetching lime green leaves.

2. This Iberis featured back in January just as it was starting to flower. It’s in full bloom now and mingling nicely with the Grape Hyacinths. I must have another go at trying to propagate it, or perhaps dividing it, so that I can have some more dotted around the garden.

3. Last weekend was spent braving a brisk wind to paint the folding metal garden bench. It was beginning to look very faded and was starting to go rusty in places. I applied a first coat of black paint on Saturday afternoon and a second coat on Sunday. Actually, that’s not totally true. Some of it got a second coat.

When I were’t lad my Head of Year at school told us a story in assembly about a furniture maker who spent just as long sanding and varnishing the underneath of a table as he did the top. Someone once asked him why he did this as nobody would know what the table looked like underneath. The furniture maker simply smiled and replied “But I would know.”

Come Sunday evening I’d finished giving the top of the bench a second coat. It was cold and it was late but the tale of the furniture maker sprung to mind, as it often does. Could I really just leave the underneath of the bench with one very patchy coat of black paint? I pondered this for a while (well, a few seconds) and decided “Sod it, I’ve had enough.” The fiddly/intricate interlinking arches on the front of the bench were left unpainted too; I’ve decided to make a feature of the contrasting black and copper for now.

4. While I was painting the garden bench I discovered this yellow Hyacinth in the border behind it. I always forget this is here, which is a shame as it’s rather lovely.

5. Next up, the undisputed stars of the garden at present, the ‘Brown Sugar’ tulips. Where have you been all my life? I’m burying my nose in the fragrant flowers every time I wander to the patio. These are in pots but I’ll plant them in the borders when they’ve finished. More will be acquired at the end of the year.

6. And finally… The bee fly has been an almost constant visitor to the garden over the past few weeks, enjoying the nectar of Saxifraga, Grape Hyacinths, Primroses and emerging Forget-me-nots. On Thursday afternoon I found it taking a rest on the bottom of a ‘Black Lace’ elder leaf. They’re cute looking things.

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.