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 (25 June 2022)

Why does a week off work always fly by compared to a regular working week? An overnight stay at Lyme Regis and a day trip to Minehead hasn’t left much time for gardening. However, I did make a start planting the annuals one evening. Any half-hearted plans for a sort of colour-themed planting scheme have gone straight out the window after realising I’d forgotten to label everything at the potting on stage. Still, the usual multicoloured mish-mash approach tends to work fine most of the time, even when it comes to orange…

1. Although, I’m not totally convinced my first Six on Saturday is all that orange. Rosa ‘Simply the Best’ (a bold claim and apologies if anyone ends up with that song in their head all day) looks more yellow in reality, especially compared to the orange California poppy that has self seeded nearby. This is its second summer and it has yet to thrive, in fact the lower leaves are succumbing to black spot. I can’t help thinking I should have gone for a more obviously orange variety. It’s nice enough, don’t get me wrong, and fragrant… just not quite as fragrant as on the online descriptions led me to believe.

2. From subtle yellowy-orange/orangey-yellow to Penstemon ‘Garnet.’ There were a few Penstemon casualties over the winter and I foolishly didn’t bother to take any cuttings last year. This one is doing well though (and hopefully distracting one’s gaze from the washing in the background). I’ll be doing a spot of ‘Garnet’ cloning soon.

3. Now let’s cool things down a bit with Anemone leveillei. At least that’s what it’s supposed to be, but the flowers are lacking the blue pollen and are more pointy of petal than those shown on the websites of plant purveyors.

4. Another Rose up next. I don’t think I included ‘New Dawn’ last year, rather taking it for granted. A healthy climber that doesn’t seem to suffer from black spot, ‘New Dawn’ is doing particularly well this summer.

5. As is this Lily. For the third year running there’s been neither hide nor hair of a lily beetle. Weird.

6. And finally… California poppies. First sown almost 10 years ago, these have seeded themselves around the garden ever since. Most end up orange but there are a few yellow varieties here and there. They can get a bit sprawly, swamping nearby plants, but they usually recover after a chop. The flowers last several days indoors in a vase, closing up in the evenings and unfurling each morning.

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 November 2021)

All of a sudden it’s gotten cold. So cold that a heavier tog duvet was deployed a few days ago. And a duvet of the several-sacks-of-manure kind has been acquired ready for the garden beds later in the month. In the meantime some more of the ‘delicates’ have been dug up and brought indoors (although I very nearly forgot about the Chocolate Cosmos) and while we’ve not had a frost I suspect it won’t be too long now. Bulb planting has yet to commence but I’m hoping to make a start this weekend. Possibly, once I’ve emptied a few pots of this and that, moved the odd perennial here and there and biggerfied the wildlife pond. I just need to remember that I don’t need to do it all this weekend. There’s plenty of time yet. Anyway, let’s get on with Six on Saturday.

1. And we start with the Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ which has gone full-on autumn. Planted back in 2018, this top-grafted half standard was supposed to grow upwards and help hide the tops of vans above the fence behind the garden. That was the plan, but it’s turned out to be a very slow grower. I had been entertaining thoughts of replacing it with something else but after looking back at old photos it’s definitely wider and perhaps a little taller than it once was. It is also rather splendid in the spring and autumn. I will stick to the plan and try to be patient.

2. I’ve moaned about the Cosmos quite a bit this summer. ‘Gazebo White’ is another one that did really well last year but has struggled this time around. However, a few are still flowering.

3. While some plants appear to have good and bad years, the Verbena bonariensis has just gone and done its spready-abouty thing without any fuss ever since it was first introduced to the garden back in 2013. True, it can topple over sometimes and pop up in rather daft places (getting to the patio has proved tricky at times this summer) but the butterflies and bees love it.

4. Another week, another Viburnum. This one (Viburnum carlesii ‘Compactum’) has always been a spring flowerer. This year it’s making a halfhearted attempt at blooming for a second time.

5. Next up we have Penstemon ‘Garnet.’ For reasons unknown I’ve neglected to take any cuttings of it this autumn. Hopefully there are enough scattered around the garden to guarantee at least one survives the winter should it prove to be a harsh one.

6. And finally… The flowers of the Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’ have opened and proved to be something of a hit with a few wasps and an ant the other day. I can’t detect any fragrance though which is ever so slightly disappointing.

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 (14 August 2021)

A quick Six on Saturday today without preamble or preramble. There are bags to pack and a train to catch and, as usual, I’ve left everything to the last minute.

1. First up, a Penstemon, one that magically appeared in the garden last year. I must have planted it but I have no idea what it’s called. Cuttings will soon be taken.

2. Remember the tale of the Hibiscus? What was that? How could you forget as I post a link to it every year. Well here it is again anyway. It was planted to help provide a bit of privacy when sat on the swing seat. However, this exotic bloomed beauty has proved to be a painfully slow grower (or I’m just impatient) and so got dug up in the spring and plonked in a pot. It doesn’t seem to have minded but hopefully it won’t get too settled as it’s going back into the ground again come the autumn.

3. Now my next SoS has proved to be the complete opposite to the Hibiscus growth-wise. When I chopped back the Sambucus ‘Golden Tower’ in January I was a little concerned it would take a while to bounce back.

I needn’t have worried. Despite all the fresh new growth the aphids have proved far less troublesome than last summer, setting up home on the ‘Black Lace’ Elder instead.

4. Next up is one of my purchases from the Taunton Flower Show: Allium angulasum. I’ve just been looking it up online and apparently it’s also called ‘Mouse Garlic.’ Intriguingly, Ballyrobert Gardens writes “Can be used for cooking but poisons in large numbers.” I think I’ll stick to admiring its flowers rather than eating it.

5. A few months ago I was pondering getting shot of this new rose. The first flush of flowers were a bitter disappointment, barely opening and turning brown around the edges. However, Minerva has cracked it this time, producing fragrant purpley blooms. All has been forgiven.

6. And finally… a golden yellow Crocosmia. ‘Columbus’ I think. I do like a yellow Crocosmia and more will feature over the next few weeks.

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, where did I put the train tickets?

Six on Saturday (3 July 2021)

Yesterday morning I awoke with a start. I had this horrible feeling I’d forgotten to do something. But what? Had I left the front door unlocked? No, I’d definitely jiggled the handle before heading up the wooden hill. Had I left the skylight windows open in the conservatory? Again, no. I remembered leaping up to grab the handle of one of them to shut it and standing on the small coffee table to reach the other one. I’d definitely put the recycling out. Ah-ha! I’d forgotten to set the alarm! Nope, that had been set. Hmm, perhaps it was nothing after all.

It was only as I was getting dressed, 20 minutes later, that it suddenly dawned on me what it was I’d forgotten to do. I hadn’t returned the Zinnias to the security of the swing seat after watering them the previous evening. I’d foolishly left them on the ground, within easy reach of the slimy plant assassins of the night.

Abandoning socks and all thoughts of bringing the milk in or putting the kettle on, I raced downstairs, unlocked the back door and bounded over to the patio, fearful of what I would find. Just the other morning I’d discovered the stalky, leafless remains of what may have been either Dahlia or Coreopsis seedlings (identification proved tricky as the label had either a) been stolen or b) had never existed in the first place). Thankfully, all was well. The Zinnias had made it through the night unnibbled. Whether they’ll fare quite so well once planted in the wilds of the borders time will tell. My home brewed garlic spray is ready to be deployed though. Anyway, after that long winded introduction, it’s time for Six on Saturday.

1. First up is Penstemon ‘True Blue,’ grown from seed. On the front of the original packet it proudly says “flowers in the first year.” Well, this has taken over two but I’m not complaining. I had two plants originally, but its sibling appears to have gone AWOL. Never mind. Hopefully, once it’s a bit bigger, I’ll be able to take some cuttings. For some reason it looks more purpley than blue in this photo.

2. I think I buy a white Ragged Robin every year. They don’t appear to self-seed in my garden, dying back over the winter never to be seen again (unlike the reddy-pink variety that self-seeds all over the wildlife border). I always vow I won’t bother again and then I see one for sale. The stems appear to have turned purple lately (the photos with green stems were taken a few weeks ago).

3. Phacelia Tanacetifolia has featured in quite few Six on Saturdays of late. I found myself with a packet of seed in the spring and gave it a go. I wish I’d sown more now. Popular with the bees, it’s often grown as a green manure apparently.

4. Another annual sown from seed this year is this Orlaya grandiflora (White Lace Flower). Alas, only a few have made it to flowerhood but I will definitely be sowing some more next spring.

5. Next up is a plant described by Sarah Raven as “a new generation foxglove.” Digitalis x ‘Foxlight Rose Ivory’ is apparently a perennial and should go on flowering for a while. It’s rather nice and and I might see if I can divide it in time.

6. And finally… An Aquilegia. Bought as a plant last autumn it’s looking rather eye-catching, despite having been trod on a few times in an attempt to get to a bird feeder.

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 (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

Six on Saturday (11 July 2020)

It’s all change come Monday. After working from home full time since the 19 March I’ll be heading back to the office next week. While it felt strange initially, I got used to this working from home lark. I’ll miss the regular supply of coffee, the radio playing in the background and the snacks. So many snacks. But most of all I’ll miss the view of the garden from my ‘office’ (the conservatory) and the comings and goings of the birds throughout the day.

Ah well. As I’ll no longer be able to do any emergency midday waterings of seedlings I’m going to plant out the remaining pots of this and that over the weekend, including (drum roll please) the Zinnias. I have a late sowing of the troublesome annuals in reserve in case the slugs and snails polish off the first batch. But as no rain is forecast for a while perhaps they’ll do okay. Here’s hoping anyway. Right, time for Six on Saturday…

1. I don’t have much luck with Clematis. They rarely thrive and, more often than not, tend to snuff it. However, undeterred my wife and I purchased this ‘Nubia’ the other weekend. I’m planning on growing it up an arch… when the arch arrives (another thing I’ll miss about working from home; being in for deliveries). It looks the picture of health at the moment, flowering away in its pot. Little does this Clematis know that its chances of a long and happy life are slim.

2. Another Phlox is in full bloom. I call it the ‘Pink One’, not to be confused with the ‘Other Pink One’ which is a slightly different shade of pink and which will no doubt feature next week. In the distance is a plant that I’ve been meaning to feature for a while now but I’ve kept substituting it for something else at the last minute.

3. Not this week. The Veronica has thrived since it was moved to this spot last year and has been flowering away for weeks. Popular with the bees, I’m tempted to get a smaller variety for elsewhere in the garden. The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted the Jasmine. Despite a severe chopping back last November it’s as monstrously climby and twiny as ever.

4. I’ve grown a few varieties of Linaria from seed this year, including Linaria maroccana ‘Licilia Red.’ It’s rather nice.

5. This slender Penstemon is in full flower. I think it might be ‘Garnet.’ A new purchase last June, it survived the winter and I have a few more growing in pots that I propagated last Autumn.

6. And finally… Crepis rubra (Pink Dandelion). They’ve been in bloom for a few weeks now. Keen to extend the flowering period of these delicate pink beauties I tried a second late sowing of seed direct in the ground a few weeks ago. The seedlings popped up within days… and then vanished. I was puzzled initially but the other morning I watched a young blackbird throwing soil here there and everywhere in the very same spot I’d sown the late batch. Mystery solved.

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 (12 October 2019)

I have a long list of tasks that need doing, including planting the Sweet Williams, Foxgloves, Aquilegia, Sweet Rocket and bulbs, not to mention giving the lawn a trim.

Yet with the relentlessly wet weather and the increasingly short days it’s been tricky finding an opportunity to do any gardening of late, except for a spot of deadheading. My first SoS suggests I’ve been neglecting my gardening duties far longer than I thought…

1. Weed or wildflower? With leaves like that I’m afraid I class it as a weed. Quite how it slipped under my weedar for so long I’m not sure. Still, the flowers are pretty. Having consulted my wild flowers of Britain and Europe book I think it might be Smooth Sow-thistle. If I see any six-legged-wing-ed things enjoying the flowers I may just deadhead it until it finishes. Hmm, I must be getting soft in my middle age.

2. The Verbena bonariensis has been flowering for many months now. I don’t deadhead these as the flowers continue to form on top of the spent blooms. There are quite a few seedlings growing in the gravel that I’ll need to dig up and move at some point.

3. I think this is Penstemon ‘Garnet’. A new purchase back in June, it has a narrower leaf than some other varieties. It didn’t really do much earlier in the year but is flowering away nicely now. From past experience the finer leaved varieties haven’t proved as hardy as other Penstemons so I’ll attempt a cutting or two at the weekend.

4. This gladioli took me by surprise with its sudden growth spurt and buds. This photograph was taken a few days ago just before it started to topple over. Gladioli were a new addition to the garden this year. As nice as they are, I’m tempted to dig them all up and try a smaller, more vibrant variety next year.

5. Next up, another Zinnia. Possibly ‘Whirligig.’ It’s determined to add a bit of cheer amidst the gloom.

6. And finally… I think this is Hesperantha. It was acquired from my great aunt up in North Wales at the end of July. I only got around to planting it in the ground last month but it appears to be doing well. I’m tempted to see what other colours are available as the prospect of adding more late colour to the garden is rather appealing.

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 (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