Six on Saturday (24 July 2021)

By ‘eck it’s been hot. Thankfully, Mrs OMAHGT and I had last week off, enjoying days out in Killerton, Exmouth and Teignmouth in Devon, as well as Sherborne Castle Gardens in Dorset. The odd frozen dessert may have been consumed (Snickers ice cream, cider sorbet and a Solero in case you’re interested). In between gallivanting and consuming rapidly melting frozen confections there was time for a spot of gardening. After much dithering I finally committed to planting out the Zinnias and Dahlias (most of them have remained unnibbled so far) and on Friday it was bye-bye standard buddleia and hello standard Ligustrum japonicum ‘Texanum’ (or Japanese/Waxleaf Privet). I’ve been a bit free and easy with the watering during this heatwave but hopefully the rain in the night and the showers forecast for today will replenish all of the water butts. Anyway, time for Six on Saturday.

1. One lot of plants that haven’t minded the relentless heat have been the Lavenders. This may or may not be Hidcote, a nice compact variety, although a monster Lavender had to be given an emergency chop the other week to allow access to the front door. Talking of monster plants…

2. Behold, Linaria purpurea ‘Canon Went.’ I sowed this last year and planted several seedlings at the front of borders assuming they were a short variety (like Fairy Lights). They didn’t flower and remained short of stature. Not this year. On a par with Purple Toadflax for height and vigour, and just as popular with the bees, they’re going to have to be moved to the back of the borders come the autumn. Note to self: read seed catalogues more carefully.

3. Like the Lavenders, Sidalcea ‘Party Girl’ (Prairie mallow) has also been enjoying the sun and is doing much better than in previous years.

4. Up next, flying hedgehogs. Juncus ensifolius was plonked in the tiny wildlife pond in February and has done rather well. However, I very nearly added a quite different plant to the pond, one I already had growing in the garden…

5. This Lythrum (or Purple Loosestrife) really struggled in the south facing front garden and was accidentally dug up with a Buddleia ‘Buzz’ and plonked in a pot. It has thrived ever since, despite my shoddy pot watering regime. However, back in February I was surprised to learn it’s also sold as a pond plant.

6. And finally… Polemonium ‘Northern Lights.’ I’ve grown a self-seeding purple Jacob’s Ladder for many moons now, but I only became aware of this fragrant (and sterile) variety after reading a Six on Saturday by Alison Moore last year. Two plants were acquired from Bluebell Cottage Gardens Nursery in February. I’m pondering getting a purple-leaved variety called ‘Heaven Scent’ next spring.

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.

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Six on Saturday (4 July 2020)

A quick Six on Saturday today without any preamble about accidental plant purchases (two clematis plug plants arrived earlier in the week), plant disasters (something has polished off one of the three Himalayan blue poppy seedlings), the ongoing has-he/hasn’t-he-planted-the-Zinnias-yet? saga (he hasn’t; they’re still living on the swing seat) or mutterings about the gloomy, damp and occasionally blustery weather of late (I really should have cut the lawn earlier in the week when I had the chance). Oh no, we’re straight into Six on Saturday this week…

1. First up, Rosa ‘Violet Cloud.’ This vigorous patio rose has been flowering for well over a month now. Once it starts it doesn’t tend to stop. Lightly fragrant, pretty and popular with the six-legged wingy things, it seems to just get on with things with the minimum of fuss.

2. I’m sure Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ flowers earlier each year. It was beginning to go a little wild so I dug up quite a few clumps last autumn in attempt to keep it under control. When it flowers I’m a huge fan. When it goes over I’m less keen. I was good this year and put in plants supports early on to prevent them flopping over.

3. Another plant that is prone to spreading, although in a far more stealthy way, is Phlox. There are several large clumps that have been split over the years and seedlings often appear nearby. I was pondering removing a few to create extra space for annuals, but like Lucifer, once they start flowering I have second thoughts. This is the first of the Phlox to flower this year. I always chicken out of trying the Chelsea Chop to stagger their blooms, although deadheading usually produces a second flush of flowers in August.

4. Next up, a thyme of some sort. Very popular with the bees and me. I may dabble in some propagation.

5. I spotted this Jacob’s Ladder when I was refilling a bird feeder. A self seeder, it does particularly well in shadier spots.

6. And finally… You may want to sit down for this one, I know I did. One of the delphiniums grown from seed last summer has survived to flowerhood. I think it might be the only one and there’s no sign of the plant purchased last year. ‘Tis a miracle.

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 (25 April 2020)

Other than pulling up the odd weed during tea and lunch breaks, administering a spot of emergency watering to parched looking seedlings on window sills or taking in yet another delivery of some plant or other that someone in this household must have ordered, working from home isn’t providing any extra time for gardening. However, it is providing an opportunity to appreciate the comings and goings of the birds in the garden, especially since I relocated my ‘office’ from an upstairs room to the conservatory a few weeks ago. I’ve started to view these feathered visitors as work colleagues; it makes the working day a bit more interesting. What’s that? Am I going a little doolally during the lockdown? That’s certainly what Dave, the Blackbird, thinks after I accused him of nicking my mug the other day. But enough of this madness, time for Six on Saturday.

1. First up is the rock rose growing in the front garden. It was acquired from the free nursery up in North Wales (my mum’s garden) several years ago and could do with a good prune after it finishes flowering. I tried to take cuttings from it last year, without success. I’ll try again this summer.

2. The Rosa banksiae in the back garden has been in bloom for a few weeks now. I’m hoping it will take off this year and help to cover the back fence. Alas, it isn’t scented, unlike my next SoS…

3. The new Lilac ‘Belle de Nancy’ was planted at the end of January. She’s looking well and has been flowering for a couple of weeks now. A few more buds look like they might be forming too. I’ve come to the conclusion her flowers would stand out more if those of the Montana weren’t the same colour. Poor planning on my part but hey-ho.

4. More fragrant blooms up next; Narcissus ‘Pheasant’s Eye.’ I’d forgotten all about them as they flower a lot later than the other daffs. I’ll be planting more come the Autumn.

5. My wife was given this Morrisons Acer as a gift last year. I’m ashamed to say I was rather anti Acer initially, mainly because I didn’t know where it would go. The unloved tree of short stature has been living outside the back door in a shady spot. Now that it has its fresh red foliage (which will turn green in time) I’ve been won over… for now. I think it may have to spend its life in a pot though.

6. And finally… This pink ‘I’ve-lost-the-labellous’ Jacob’s Ladder was bought last spring but didn’t flower for some reason. I wasn’t sure it would come back again but it has and it’s redeemed itself.

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 (18 January 2020)

Well that was a wet and blustery week. Initially I thought everything in the garden had escaped the storms unscathed. However, yesterday evening I noticed that a branch had been snapped off the Coronilla that grows outside the front door. A branch with emerging fragrant yellow pea-like flowers too. On the plus side, the fact that it was still light enough to spot this mini calamity when I returned home from work means the evenings are getting lighter. Thankfully several calm, sunny days have been forecast. We even had a frost last night. Anyway, let’s get straight on to my first Six on Saturday…

1. Last Sunday morning, in-between the odd shower, I planted my latest acquisition, a new standard lilac ‘Belle de Nancy’. There had been a brief moment of panic a few days earlier when, unpacking the tree from its sodden cardboard box, I glanced at a label attached to one of the branches. ‘3-4m in 10 years’ was considerably larger than the 2-3m maximum height in 20 years listed on the supplier’s website (and a few others). But after a hasty email to the supplier it turned out the label was incorrect. Hmm, I hope so. After multiple ponderings, re-positionings, more ponderings and a few more re-positionings I finally settled on a spot, dug a hole (slicing through several new bulbs in the process) and planted it.

Only later, as I was drinking a coffee and helping myself to a fourth After Eight, did I think to check photographs of the garden taken during the summer. And that was when I was reminded how big the Buddleia gets.

The Butterfly Bush had received a light pruning in the Autumn and I’d based my positioning of the lilac on its current size. I think I should have planted it further to the left, nearer the fence post. Then again, perhaps I should leave it where it is for now and see how things go. Okay, who am I kidding? The lilac’s getting moved later today.

2. My attempt at taking cuttings of this Iberis failed last year, possibly due to a lack of watering. However, I’m going to give it another go as I’d like more of its evergreenyness elsewhere in the garden. It’s already started flowering and should continue to do so for many months.

3. The majority of the Jacob’s Ladder plants in the garden are the offspring of a pale purple one that was planted 6 years ago. I’ve tried growing some white and pink varieties but they always tend to disappear. It’s one of those plants where the foliage is just as pleasing as the flowers.

4. A Hydrangea next. Miss Belgium flowered for the first time last summer and her blooms, in all their various stages, have provided many months of interest. I should have got a Hydrangea years ago.

5. There are numerous bulbs coming up all over the garden. I can’t for the life of me remember what most of them are. However, even I can recognise the leaves of a crocus when I see them. Alas, a few of those near the small pond got trampled on by some clumsy clot planting a lilac tree.

6. Talking of which, when I was over on the other side of the garden planting the aforementioned tree I caught a whiff of some sweet fragrance. I was initially puzzled as there was nothing flowering nearby. Following my nose, I walked across the lawn to the curving path and found the source of the heady scent: the dwarf Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis (or Christmas Box).

Tiny flowers. Mighty scent. This is another plant I’d like to have more of. It’s much more compact than other varieties and is perfect for a small garden.

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 (15 June 2018)

It’s been a week since I set foot in the garden having spent a week in Cornwall, walking, eating, boating, eating, crazy golfing, eating, shopping and err, more eating. The picture above is a view from Lamorran House Gardens which are well worth a visit if you’re ever in St Mawes and it’s a Wednesday or Friday.The garden doesn’t seem to have faired too badly during my week off. All the pots are doing well (my mother-in-law has been in charge of watering duties) but overall the garden does seem very parched and the water level of the pond has fallen a few inches. The builders are still at work and there have been a few foxglove casualties. Other plants have also taken a bit of a bashing in the wind this afternoon which has led me to the conclusion that I really need to get more plant supports, though I come to this same conclusion every year. Anyway, here are my Six on Saturday…

1. The Philadelphus ‘Manteau d’Hermine’ was looking a little ropey earlier this year but it’s not looking too bad right now. A lovely compact mock orange that’s ideal for a small garden. Wonderful scent too.

2. The purple Jacob’s ladder has colonised the shadey area at the front of the conservatory over the past few years. I moved a couple of them 2 weeks ago as they were in the direct path of the builders (they wouldn’t have stood a chance!) and this one seems to be doing okay in its more sunny location. Hopefully it’ll seed itself in this part of the garden too. The bees and hoverflies love it and you usually get a second lot of flowers later in the summer if you chop it back.

3. The Sweet Williams in the back garden are in full flower now, and I’ve just realised I still haven’t sown any for next year. Here are a selection…

4. Now the next plant nearly brought my post holiday zen to a grinding halt within minutes of returning home today (this de-grumpified zen state normally lasts until 10 minutes into the first day back at work). It’s supposed to be a Daphne x transatlantica ‘Pink Fragrance’ and it was purchased online a month ago as the ‘Eternal Fragrance’ has done so well in the garden. It was going to be planted next to the back door after the building work was finished. Now it may be going back from whence it came. The flowers are clearly white……and it looks suspiciously like the Daphne x transatlantica ‘Eternal Fragrance’ which is in full flower now and filling the garden with its flutey scent. What do you think? It’s the same plant isn’t it?5. The nursery is all safe and sound. A few fat aphids were beginning to get cosy on the lupins but otherwise they’re doing okay. There are snapdragons and scabious and also some Linaria Marccana and purple zinnias (both free with the Garden News). I usually sow far too many seeds but I’ve been more restrained this year. The swing seat is rarely available to sit on during the early summer months as it provides the more vulnerable young plants the best protection from slugs and snails (I think it’s too much hassle for them to bother making the long journey up the legs, along the metal hooks and down the hanging poles).6. And finally, a penstemon. Sour Grapes I think. A daft name for a lovely looking plant!Want to join in with the Six on Saturday posts but not sure how? Then visit the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com