Six on Saturday (1 January 2022)

Will the relentlessly mild and miserable damp weather never end? Oh for some blue sky and winter sunshine to relieve the monotonous grey squelchfest of the past week or so. Oh for the chilly, sub-zero nights of this time last year to create some photogenic sparkly frost-tinged foliage to include in a Six on Saturday. Oh for… What was that? “And Happy New Year to you too?” Err… apologies. Happy New Year. On a more positive note, the days are getting longer (well, I assume they are, it’s been so dark and dank most days it’s rather hard to tell) and it’s the start of a new gardening year; time to start browsing the sites of online plant purveyors for seeds in readiness to sow this and that. Now there’s something to look forward to… and I’m sure all the slugs and snails that are enjoying this warm wet winter are thinking the same thing. Anyway, enough moaning. It’s time for Six on Saturday.

1. First up, a view of the garden in all it’s resplendent dreariness. However, there are a few ‘summer’ flowers to be found here and there, though just like the Christmas decorations once the festive season is over, they look a little sad somehow.

2. Like this Geranium sanguineum. Bloody Cranesbill, doesn’t it know what time of year it is?

3. The Lavender out the front also seems confused.

4. Rosa ‘Alec’s Red’ is still sporting the odd bloom.

5. As is Calendula ‘Snow Princess.’ She’s been flowering for months now and shows no sign of stopping.

6. Still, the Viburnum carlesii ‘Compactum’ has finally shed its leaves, festooning a nearby fern with its faded foliage. About time too.

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 make a cheese, Pastinaca sativa and Salvia officinalis roulade. Wish me luck with the rolling of the roulade stage.

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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.

Six on Saturday (27 June 2020)

Err, how did we get to the end of June already? Over the past few evenings I’ve pulled up poppies and chopped back some of the Aquilegia to create space for the annuals. While most of the Cosmos and Antirrhinums have been planted, I’ve held back planting the Zinnias. The garden has perked up no end after all the rain we had towards the end of last week, but alas, so to have the slugs and snails. They seem to have been making up for lost plant munching time, focusing their attention on the dahlias, and I’m afraid they’ll polish off my carefully nurtured Zinnias in one night if planted out. However, I’m going to have to risk it soon and hope the garlic brew made last weekend will deter the plant assassins once watered on to the leaves. We shall see. Maybe I should also set up an assault course of wool pellets, beer traps, copper barriers and a strategically placed frog or two, though I have a suspicion that slugs and snails can actually teleport. Ah well, let’s get on with Six on Saturday.

1. I only started growing Calendulas last year. They proved to be a great addition to the garden, flowering pretty much non-stop throughout the summer and autumn. A few of them (Lemon Cream) survived the winter and have been flowering since the spring. This year I’ve tried some other varieties, including Snow Princess. This is her first bloom.

2. Growing next to Snow Princess is a Lavender. I’m always sorry when Lavender finishes flowering but the fragrance that’s released when chopping back the stems is some compensation.

3. Now this was a pleasant surprise. I thought I’d done all of the Clematis in (apart from the Montana) but I found this one growing horizontally through the undergrowth when I cleared the Honesty and Periwinkles a month or so ago. I redirected it upwards and hey presto, flowers!

4. Growing in a shady spot, Miss Belgium, is quietly doing her thing. This is the second year she’s flowered and it’s fascinating observing how the booms develop. A recent convert to Hydrangeas, I added a Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’ to the garden back in March. Fingers crossed it does as well as Miss B.

5. Next up, a pond plant. I think it might be Greater Spearwort, but as usual I’ve lost the label. Added to the pond last year, this is the first time it has flowered. I suspect it’s going to be get too big and may have to be replaced with something smaller. The frogs like the cover it provides but I fear it’s creating too much shade for the water lily.

6. And finally… I’ve gone a bit mad with roses this year. Another standard rose, Princess Alexandra of Kent was planted in May. The petals start off coral pink with flushes of yellowy orange here and there…

… before turning a dusky pink. I’ve been burying my nose in the blooms every time I walk past them.

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. Hmm, it’s started raining here. A perfect day for plant munching molluscs to be on the prowl for newly planted Zinnias. It would be madness to plant them out this weekend. Maybe next week.

Six on Saturday (19 October 2019)

The slimy plant assassins have been loving all this wet weather. Everywhere you look there are tiny snails munching away on increasingly bedraggled looking petals and leaves. And there have been some scarily large slugs on the rampage in the evenings. Between them they’ve managed to finish off a few of the delphinium seedlings (I knew it was foolhardy growing them).

Last Sunday afternoon, during a respite from the rain, I rushed outside determined to get some gardening done. The soggy lawn was given a much needed trim, I potted on my Linaria and Candelabra primula seedlings and I took some cuttings of the Penstemon ‘Garnet’ which is still flowering its socks off.

There’s still a lot to do and according to the forecast things look set to improve weather-wise. Alas, I’ve succumbed to the lurgy so may have to make do with a bit of on-line gardening retail therapy this weekend from the comfort of a cosy sofa while nurturing a mug of hot lemon and honey. Top of the list of possible purchases? Roses. Which leads me to my first SoS.

1. A pink climbing rose. It’s been a bad year for roses in our garden. An old red one didn’t survive the winter. A pink one in the front garden went to look very sickly, was moved to the back and now looks decidedly deceased. And the lovely yellow Graham Thomas climbing rose also seems to have snuffed it, its one solitary stem having turned black over the past few weeks.

Still, this pale pink one has had a late flush of flowers. Last year it was identified by one knowledgeable reader as ‘New Dawn.’ I have a sneaky suspicion it’s been flowering more prolifically on the neighbours’ side of the trellis fence.

2. Next up, Cephalaphora, free with the Garden News magazine. The ‘flowers’ are sort of interesting and the strong pineapply scent you get if you rub them is sort of fun. However, I’m not sure I’d bother growing it again.

3. The ‘Comeback Kid’ pompom Dahlia from Wilko is flowering again, albeit with much smaller blooms. I think it might be my favourite dahlia in the garden. If it survives the winter I’ll try and take some cuttings.

4. Now this took my by surprise. The Lavender out the front has had a second flush of flowers.

I assume I must have chopped it back after it finished flowering back in July. The sun was actually shining when I took these photos during the middle of the week.

5. I was happily photographing a Coreopsis that has been flowering for many a month when I suddenly realised I was up close and personal with a spider that had set up home just above it. After a brief manly shriek (that I’m sure the neighbours didn’t hear) I decided to take its photo.

6. And finally… After many months of should I/shouldn’t I ponderings, I’ve decided the rampant Prunus cerasifera ‘Hessei’ tree will be getting the chop. I’m not looking forward to the task, especially as my wife and I moved it from one part of the garden to another seven years ago. However, it’s getting far too big, despite regular pruning, and I’m concerned it’s growing too close to a retaining wall. The plan is to wait until the leaves have fallen. However, its replacement has already arrived. So what’s in the box? Ah, all will be revealed next week…

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.