Six on Saturday (23 July 2022)

Oh for some rain. Some proper, water butt replenishing, soil moisture deficit correcting, Gene Kelly song-and-dance-number-inspiring rain. Despite a few minutes of drizzle Friday afternoon, there was no sign of the MET Office ‘yellow warning’ thunder storms. Over the past few weeks three and three-quarter water butts have been emptied (I’m trying to eek out what remains of the fourth and final one to top up the mini pond for the frogs and newts) and bucketing has commenced in an attempt to minimise mains water use. Note to self: take note of last year’s note to self and actually cut down on pots next year.

Arriving back from North Wales on Tuesday I was relieved to discover that most of the newly planted Cosmos and Zinnias had survived the heatwave. However, the Salix gracilistyla ‘Mount Aso’ was decidedly crisp of leaf and the Hibiscus that was plonked back in the ground in early spring (having spent the previous summer in a pot) didn’t look too clever either. Fingers crossed we get some plant-reviving precipitation sooner rather than later. Anyway, time for Six on Saturday.

1. First up: tomatoes. I didn’t bother growing any from seed this year, buying plants instead. This one is ‘Tumbling Tom Yellow.’ Truth be told they’re a bit tough skin-wise and I won’t bother with them next year. I’m hoping the other two varieties I’ve planted in the same pot will be tastier.

2. Back for a second year, these ‘Drumstick’ Alliums are proving popular with the bees. If someone could remind me to plant some more in the autumn it would be much appreciated.

3. Also proving popular with the bees is ‘Miss Manners,’ Physostegia virginiana (the Obedient Plant). I really should try propagating it.

4. Next up, Sidalcea ‘Party Girl’ (Prairie mallow). A bit like a diminutive Hollyhock, I’ve decided to look up what other varieties are available as they’ve coped with the recent heat rather well.

5. Alas, none of the annual Rudbeckia from 2020 survived a second winter (I must have got lucky last year). However, a new batch (‘Gloriosa Daisies’) are just getting going. Expect to see more photos of these over the coming months… if they survive.

6. And finally… Way back in the spring of 2020 I sowed some Dahlia ‘Bishop’s Children.’ They didn’t flower that year, nor the year after that (although in fairness most of my Dahlias were a complete disaster last summer) and one assumed one had got shot of them all. Apparently not. Potentially siblingless, this one may get pampered.

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 (7 August 2021)

I visited the Taunton Flower Show yesterday and although a far smaller affair than usual there were several plant stalls selling their tempting leafy-petally wares. However, while many of my Cosmos and Dahlias are languishing this year, I was determined not to make any purchases, trusting that my existing plants would pull through. Oh yes, I was going to turn over a new leaf by not acquiring anything in… err… leaf. I would be strong, steadfast in my resolve. I’d give plants an appreciative glance but say no thanks. If something caught my eye I’d just walk on by. If… What was that? Just get on with it and tell us what plants you bought? Okay, a white Cosmos, a little Allium, a sneaky fern (don’t tell my wife) and a lemon-yellow Coreopsis. But none of these feature in today’s Six on Saturday.

1. First up, Verbena hastata. A white one. I’m never sure whether I should chop them back to encourage a second flush or not. I might give it a go and see what happens.

2. I wanted to add quite a bit of white to the garden this year so instead of sowing the more colourful Antirrhinum ‘Circus Clowns’ I opted for this one instead (free with the Garden News Magazine). Over the past few summers many of the snapdragons have succumbed to a sort of rust. Thus far only one plant has developed it. Fingers are crossed it doesn’t spread to the others.

3. Next up, ‘Jackie in Yellow.’ Planted back in 2020, this is the first year this Verbascum of short stature has flowered. Whether it will reappear again next year I’m not entirely sure as it’s described as a short lived perennial.

4. Thankfully, there’s no such uncertainty when it comes to ‘Miss Manners.’ Purchased from Ford Abbey many moons ago, the Obedient plant comes up faithfully each spring. I always intend to get a pink variety but never do. Maybe next year.

5. Oh yes, more white. The leaves of this Phlox are prone to droopage during dry spells, something that hasn’t been an issue this summer. I must split it in the autumn and plant some elsewhere in the garden.

6. And finally… Some full on colour after all that white and pale yellow. Alec’s Red is enjoying a third flush of flowers. Big bold blooms with a big bold rosey fragrance and, being a standard, they’re at handy nose height 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.

Six on Saturday (25 July 2020)

Fingers crossed a garden arch will be arriving next week. After the best part of a year umming and ahhing over whether there was room for one without impeding laundry drying (the whole garden is designed around the rotary washing line), if such a thing was necessary (it was), and whether I could find one one small enough to fit the only space available (hopefully it’ll be wide enough to walk through without turning sideways… although I didn’t factor in extra lockdown pounds) I finally ordered one last month. I have a sneaky suspicion the Dwarf Korean Lilac, the Mrs Bradshaw Geum and a few of the stepping stones may have to be moved slightly to accommodate it, but I’m hoping the rose tree I planted last November can stay where it is. We shall see. Anyway, it’s time for Six on Saturday.

1. Let’s start with another Phlox, a white one this time. I think I’m going to divide all of the Phlox plants come the autumn as they’re beginning to take over this border and, as lovely as they are, I’d like to create some space for other plants.

2. I don’t remember acquiring this Penstemon and yet here it is. It’s quite similar to Laura but more purple than pink. I assume I must have planted it last year and I’ll have a rummage through the shed later to see if I can find a label. Will I find it? I suspect not.

3. Next up we have a Physostegia virginiana (or an Obedient Plant) called ‘Miss Manners.’ She grows near the wildlife pond and every spring I nearly pull her up, mistaking her for a weed. It’s one of those plants that looks just as good in bud as it does in full flower.

4. In an attempt to create some breathing space for a Verbena hastata I decided to pull up a few stems of the Poulton’s Pride rhubarb. It’s a variety that can be eaten from February through to November. Planted last year it has only really started to get going this past month or so. The stems that were pulled up were used in a rather tasty rhubarb and sour cream cake and the Verbena now has some more space to do its thing. Win win.

5. Some more of the Cosmos grown from seed are starting to flower. This one might be Sensation Mixed… or it might be something else.

6. And finally… During the lockdown quite a few plants were purchased online. Most turned out to be great, some were ever so slightly disappointing size-wise and a few turned out to be disastrous. A quarter standard Minerva rose arrived at the start of May with shrivelled leaves and never recovered. It was formerly declared deceased last weekend and a refund was provided. Soon after the Minerva arrived I foolishly ordered a quarter standard Rosa ‘Friesia’ from the same company hoping I’d just been unlucky. The rose that arrived at the beginning of June was alive but looked like it had only just been grafted onto the stem. I didn’t dare remove the elastic band.

It’s doing well enough and has just produced some lovely highly fragrant yellow flowers, but the graft seems very precarious, so much so I’ve strapped it up. As soon as the rose finishes flowering I’ll chop the flowering stem back to try and encourage some more shoots lower down, plonking the cuttings in the ground in the hope that some will take. I haven’t committed to planting it yet.

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: Rain (20 July 2019)

Finally, some of the wet stuff. Well, quite a bit of the wet stuff actually. Two water butts completely replenished and the third now half full… or half empty, depending on your outlook on such things. The rain has flattened the cornflowers and the slugs and snails are no doubt celebrating the downpours by having an all you can eat buffet, probably starting with the dahlias before moving onto the zinnias and finishing with a few strawberries for dessert. However, the garden certainly needed it. The lawn was beginning to look rather parched, the beds were bone dry and in an attempt to save on the old tap water for the pot plants I’d resorted to collecting our shower water with a bucket. However, a few plants have been thriving in the dry weather which leads me to my first Six on Saturday…

1. The annual Rudbeckias supplied as plants from that free nursery up in North Wales. They’ve survived neglect (I left them in their module tray for months, often forgetting to water them), the odd mishap (they were trod ) and since planting, a mini drought (which my lack of watering as seedlings no doubt prepared them for), but they’re looking rather well at the moment.

And the flowers last for weeks. I’m going to make enquiries regarding the variety and sow some of these myself next year.

2. Physostegia virginiana ‘Miss Manners’ next. I almost lost her last spring when she was swamped by the Sour Grapes penstemon. She was moved and survived but didn’t flower particularly well. This year Miss M’s putting on a much better show, sending up several spires of flower buds…

… that have just started to open.

3. As have those of the crocosmia Lucifer. I was rather ruthless with this in the spring, digging up all but a few plants as it was threatening to take over the bed. Still, I’m sure it’ll stage a comeback over the next year or two.

4. While I’ve had success controlling Lucifer (for now) the same can’t be said for the Jasmine. Despite hacking it back every year it grows back and rampages up, through and over the trellis fence on one side of the garden. I’ve never quite figured out whether it was planted on our side of the fence originally or the neighbours’. It’s great at providing privacy and the heady fragrance of the simple yet elegant white flowers is lovely in the evenings. But by ‘eck it’s a thug.

5. The Verbena bonariensis has been flowering away for a month or so now. It’s more prolific in the sunnier front garden but it has seeded itself around a bit in the back too. There’s no sign of the lollipop variety I purchased last year though which is a bit disappointing.

6. And finally… Brachycome Surdaisy Strawberry and Calibrachoa Calita Special Blue Star (two plant names I will never remember in a million years). These were bought a few months ago as cheap plants to add a bit of cheerful and surprisingly colour coordinated cheer to the new shelf near the side gate.

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.