Six on Saturday: a mostly frosty one (17 December 2022)

Last Sunday evening I ordered a bare root rose online. ‘Order now for guaranteed delivery before Christmas’ it said on the homepage. “Yeah right,” I thought. I was still waiting for deliveries of this and that which were supposed to have arrived weeks ago. But I was fine with a later rose delivery. The last thing I wanted to do in this cold weather was dig holes and plant stuff.

On Wednesday evening, while Mrs OMAHGT and I were eating our tea and watching The Chase, the door bell rang, accompanied by loud hammering on the door. I jumped a little, nearly spilling the gravy that I’d applied a little too generously over my chips and mushroom pie.

“Sounds like a delivery,” my wife said calmly. “I reckon it’s answer ‘A'” she added, nodding at the telly. I raised a skeptical eyebrow. It seemed rather late for a delivery and it was far more likely to be answer ‘C.’

I got up and made my way to the door, a little apprehensive. Was I going to be greeted by a pushy sign-up-to-a-charity-there-and-then person, an axe murderer or perhaps burly carol singers that wouldn’t believe I was loose-changeless? I paused at the front door, took a deep breath and opened it. A driver in a van waved as he drove off and there, on the door step, was a large paper bag. It was the rose.

And was I pleased that it was neither charity person, axe murderer nor burly carol singers? Well, yes. Was I thrilled the rose had arrived so quickly? Err, not really.

“What was it?” my wife asked as I returned to the sofa.

“That rose has arrived,” I replied glumly. “Which means I’ve got to plant it out on Saturday, in the cold, with the ground all frozen and my hands all chapped and sore. Why did they have to be so efficient?” I paused. “Err… what was the correct answer to that last question?”

“It was ‘A.'”

And after that long winded introduction it’s time for Six on Saturday, most of which are ever-so-slightly out of focus as my phone camera seems to object to the cold almost as much as my hands do.

1. First up, a frosted Box ball. I discovered Box moths in some of these back in October; the first time they’ve been spotted in the garden. I fear I’m going to have to keep a close eye out for caterpillars next year.

2. The Zinnia ‘Jazzy’ flowers look almost as good dried and crispy as they do in when all fresh soft of petal.

3. Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’ grew quite a bit over the summer. The flowers have long since finished but the foliage is proving pleasing all year round.

4. It got down to minus 6.6 degrees Celsius on Thursday night. The Loropetalum chinense ‘Black Pearl’ has been wrapped up in horticultural fleece for a few weeks now, just in case conditions got a little too chilly for it. Peering underneath its protective layer yesterday evening it seems okay so far.

5. Continuing the frosty theme, Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ was looking rather sparkly the other morning.

6. As were the rose hips of the patio Rose ‘Violet Cloud,’ possibly one of the most floriferous and healthy roses in the garden. Talking of roses, I guess I’d better plant that new one if it thaws later today.

They were my Six on Saturday, a meme originally started by The Propagator. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, head over to the blog of the current Six on Saturday host, Jim.

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Six on Saturday (28 May 2022)

Apparently I’ve been participating in this Six on Saturdaying thing (a meme created by the Propagator) for 4 years. My, how the time has flown. I thought I’d struggle to find six garden related things to write about each Saturday but, to my surprise, it’s turned out that there’s more going on than I thought, even in the depths of winter. It has proved to be a great garden diary, allowing me to look back at what things were doing this time yesteryear. It’s also rather useful for looking up the names of plants that I’ve long since forgotten…

1. Like this Ixia. Back in the spring of 2020 I planted a packet of Ixia bulbs out in the south facing front garden. None of them made an appearance that first year and I’d presumed that was that. Then, last spring, one solitary specimen popped up. This year? We have two. They’ve grown on me and I may have to seek out some more bulbs when they’re back in season.

2. I also had to flick through some posts from around this time last year to remind myself what variety of Dutch Iris this is. It’s ‘Metallic Mixture’ and I think every single one of them has returned for a second spring.

3. Alas, my next plant may not feature in 2023. The Pyracantha has been trained to grow up against the trellis fence in an attempt to provide a bit of privacy between us and the neighbours. It’s taken 8 years or so, but it’s almost doing just that. However, the aging trellis fence may be getting replaced in the autumn with wonderfully anti-social, non-trellis panels, and I fear the Pyracantha may have to go, or at least get a very severe prune. One of its spiny branches nearly took an eye out the other day when I was pottering around the nearby mini-greenhouse and I sometimes wonder whether I planted it too close to the base of the fence, as it often requires watering during dry spells to prevent the leaves from turning brown and falling off. We shall see. The birds will miss the berries if it is got shot of.

4. Do you remember the rather shoddily grafted mini-standard ‘Friesia’ rose I purchased online during the first lockdown? Well, despite the dubious graft, it survived and is continuing to do well. I’ve not yet succeeded in taking a cutting from it but I’ll keep trying. The fragrance is wonderful.

5. More white up next. A perennial cornflower, Centaurea montana ‘Alba.’ I have a feeling this was originally from my mum who nabbed some from my sister’s garden.

6. And finally… An Aquilegia. There are a few starting to come into flower, but this one is probably the most striking colour-wise. It’s also prone to getting sat on as it grows near a rock that I often perch on to peer into the pond. It may need to get moved – or I may need to find another spot from which to pond watch.

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 (29 January 2022)

The past week has flown by with alarmingly speed. Out in the garden there’s not a great deal going on photogenic-wise. More bulbs are coming up and Clematis ‘Freckles and the Coronilla are still flowering away. But you’ve seen them all before and therefore, in order to shake things up a bit, we’re venturing indoors for my first Six on Saturday…

1. Yes, it’s a houseplant, not something I tend to feature very often. A succulent of some sort (a Sempervivum?), it was acquired on holiday in Truro back in August. And look! A flower bud. Err… does that mean the end is nigh for this little fellow?

2. While we’re indoors I might as well show you another houseplant: Houseplantus redshinyflowerus ‘a cutting from my mum.’ It went to look rather ropey last year but seems to be thriving since being moved to the landing window. This is its first bloom. A proud moment.

3. Out in the garden there are encouraging signs of life on this Rosa ‘Timeless Purple.’ Planted back in November near the patio (or what’s left of it), I seem to have created something of a rose border without really intending to.

4. Not all that far away is a bird box that was put up back in the winter of 2020. Nobody took up residence last year other than a few snails and a weird looking spider (there may have been a minor manly shriek when I cleaned it out). Perhaps someone will move in this spring, although I wonder whether the blue tits and great tits object to the local gang that tends to hang out in the garden most of the day…

5. Until relatively recently house sparrows were a rare sight in this garden. Goldfinches were by far the most common visitors to the feeders. Yet over the past two years the goldfinches have all but vanished and now the garden appears to have been adopted by this lot. When they’re not in the back garden they can be found furtling in the hedge out the front. They’re a cheerful, chirpy lot.

6. And finally… I had a bit of a premeditated shrub shuffle back in September in order to make space for a Salix gracilistyla ‘Mount Aso.’ As usual when it comes to online plant purveyor sites, the estimated overall height is a bit of a mystery. One site says this Salix will only reach 1.5m, another states it will grow to 3m in 20 years (but doesn’t say how much bigger it gets after that) and a third suggests a maximum height of 2.5 to 4m in 5 to 10 years. This standardised specimen was just over 2m tall when it arrived and though 4m would be far too big, it’s highly choppable so should be easy enough to keep in check. As well as providing a bit of privacy in the summer, it will hopefully provide some winter colour curtesy of its pinky-red catkins. A few have just begun to open…

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 (8 January 2022)

A blink and you’ll possibly miss it Six on Saturday today. And we’re diving straight in with…

1. The fragrant flowers of a Coronilla that are adding some cheer during the winter gloom. This is the paler yellow variety (subsp. glauca ‘Citrina’) that’s usually sold as a climber. What was that? Didn’t you show us this back in November? I did, and I suspect you’ll be seeing it again over the next few months.

2. Planted last September, these Cyclamen coum have been smothered by Foxgloves and were completely forgotten about until recently. Rounder of leaf than the Cyclamen hederifolium (although it took me a while to figure this out) the Foxgloves will be moved to another spot in the not so distant future. I’m hoping I haven’t missed the flowering stage.

3. Despite a very brief cold snap (still no frost mind you) it’s been a very mild winter so far down here. Quite a few plants have jumped the gun, including ‘Miss Belgium’ who was still sporting her old foliage until fairly recently. If frost doesn’t get these new leaves then the secateurs will come the spring.

4. It’s not the only plant that’s a little early. I’m assuming this is a Narcissi of some kind.

5. Next up, rose hips. I’ve taken a photograph of these most weeks but end up swapping them for something else at the last minute. Not this week.

6. And finally… another fragrant flowerer. The Lonicera fragrantissima is in full bloom and has been visited by the odd bee of late. I think that’s a tiny fly on the flower on the right.

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 (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.

Six on Saturday (9 October 2021)

Last Saturday I popped into Wilko on a mission to pick up some light bulbs and bird food, ignoring the baskets on my way in as I was certain I wouldn’t be making any plant related purchases. A fair few bulbs of the spring flowering kind had already been ordered online and besides, the last time I’d had a nose around the garden section of Wilko there was barely anything there as they’d already started clearing space for all things Halloweeny and the odd thing Christmassy. Yet ten minutes later I found myself pondering how best to pick up bulbs of the illuminating kind whilst overburdened with packs of bulbs of the Narcissi, Crocus, Iris and Camassia kind; sort of hoping for a light bulb moment I suppose (oh the irony). Anyway, it didn’t end well. There were several droppages and things only got worse when it came to picking up the bird food, much to the amusement of some passersby. Do I regret my lack of willpower? Not a bit and that leads me to my first Six on Saturday.

1. Narcissus ‘Thalia.’ I’ve been meaning to get my hands on some of these for a few years now but always forgot about them come the autumn. Thankfully, Thistles and Kiwis featured ‘Thalia’ in a post a few weeks ago and when I spotted some in Wilko last Saturday I took it as a sign.

2. Another week, another Zinnia. Possibly one of the ‘Funfair Mix.’ They’re still flowering away.

3. More bulbs up next. I discovered these lurking near the mini greenhouse, unlabeled and hidden behind a big pot of Petunias. I must have bought a pot of bulbs in flower last spring, intending to plant them once they’d finished. Evidently I didn’t. I’m assuming a mini daff of some sort but they’re ridiculously early.

4. A new addition to the garden back in March, this Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Profusion’ was purchased primarily for adding some tall leafy structure rather than its berries which I’ve always thought looked a little artificial whenever I’ve seen photos of them. However, I may have been converted… possibly.

However, it’s the autumn colour of the foliage that is proving to be its biggest highlight so far. Originally planted near the patio to replace the hibiscus of stubbornly short stature, it got moved a couple of weeks ago to the spot where a rather disappointing Lilac ‘Belle de Nancy’ once grew. What happened to the Lilac? Least said, soonest mended.

5. Growing nearby is Rosa ‘Compassion.’ A few months ago her thorny stems were all tied in, restoring order to chaos. Well, chaos has returned already and access into the shed is getting tricky (not helped by a Clematis Montanna that some numpty has trained across the top of the shed). Her fragrant flowers are beautiful though and seem to vary in appearance throughout the year.

6. And finally… a Scabious. A red one, grown from seed over a year ago. It’s been flowering for months now, although is a tad leggy. I must remember to collect some of its seed.

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 (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 (12 June 2021)

It’s a fast-paced, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Six on Saturday today. Alas, there’s no time to show off my newly clipped box balls, share my continuing Black Lace Elder aphid woes or provide an update on the nesting robins (although they got down and jiggy with it the other day). Oh no, I’m curtailing the preambleage and cutting to the chase.

1. And we start with Aquilegia, After a slow start they’re finally up, up and away, including this yellow variety, grown from a packet of seed that came free with The Garden News magazine a few years ago. If flowers made a sound I reckon these would make a wooshing noise. They’re like floral shooting stars.

2. Back in the spring of 2020 I planted a packet of Ixia bulbs of various hues. None of them made an appearance come the summer and I’d presumed that was that. However, this solitary specimen has popped up. I’m not sure I’d bother with them again, but the bees seem to like the flowers.

3. Another week, another ‘Metallic Mixture’ Iris, a yellowy-pinkish-brown one. Alas, they’ve not been quite as mixed as the Thompson and Morgan illustration led me to believe.

I’m beginning to suspect there aren’t going to be any reds, lilacs and dark purples pictured below. The Irises that have flowered thus far (the yellow variety above and the blue lot from last week) aren’t even pictured. It’s ever so slightly disappointing but hey-ho.

4. Up next, a Rock Rose or Helianthemum that made a cameo appearance in last week’s SoS. It’s another one of those plants acquired from the free nursery up in North Wales, with ruffled, crepe paper petals of red and yellow iridescenciness.

5. The almost metallic looking flowers of Allium Christophii have gradually been opening up in the back garden. They’re a new batch planted last November to replace those that have disappeared over the years. Fingers are crossed that these will gradually spread.

6. And finally…. the big blowsy fragrant flowers of ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent.’ A standard rose, this is her second year in the garden and so far she has remained black spot and aphid free.

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 May 2021)

Well, that was a wet week. The garden is certainly looking lush thanks to all the rain and milder temperatures, but some things have looked a tad soggy at times, including this gardener as he’s carried his seedlings outdoors in the mornings and brought them all back indoors in the evenings (having checked the bottoms of pots for sneaky slugs and snails). The juvenile plants have bore it rather well for the most part, except for a scabious that really hasn’t enjoyed it’s daily constitutionals. It’ll soon be time to start planting some of them out and that leads me to my first Six on Saturday.

1. Last year’s tomatoes were something of a disaster. They took forever to get going and by the time they’d finally started to produce fruit the summer was over and few tomatoes had a chance to ripen. This year is looking much more promising. I’m growing a cherry variety called Minibel. These small bushy plants shouldn’t require any support and will live outdoors in pots as soon as I’ve evicted the tulips.

2. As well as acquiring a few ‘Totally Tangerine’ Geums last year I also ended up with a ‘Scarlet Tempest.’ It’s been flowering for the best part of a month and is still going strong. On Wednesday I discovered I’d planted my two Totally Tangerine Geums right next to each other, so when this orange flushed red beauty wasn’t looking I dug it up and swapped it with the smaller TTG.

3. Each year I plant more of this fragrant Pheasant Eye. A late flowering Narcissus, it’s adding a nice dash of white to the garden. As these have opened I’ve been keeping an eye out for another white Narcissus that was planted in the autumn, Sinopel, but thus far I’ve only spotted one rather nibbled plant which is a bit disappointing.

4. Up next, a creeping Phlox. This variety never disappoints, although something has been nibbling on the flowers.

5. At some point I’m going to have to figure out where to plant this young climbing rose. I ended up with two accidental cuttings of New Dawn after I shoved two pruned offcuts into the ground back in 2019, not really expecting them to take. I gave one away last summer but this one has been kept for the garden.

6. And finally… something of a mystery but also a pleasant surprise. I grew some Hesperis from seed in 2019 and plonked them in the back garden where they bloomed the following year. Alas, they don’t appear to have produced any offspring out the back but somehow or other this one has appeared in the front garden.

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 (20 March 2021)

As the evenings get ever lighter I’ve started doing a spot of after-work gardening, chopping back this and tidying up that. The Hydrangeas have been pruned, last year’s deceased annuals have been pulled up and most of the old flower heads of the Hylo… Hylotelly… Hylotelephone… the Sedums have been removed. There’s still a fair bit to do though. The lawn needs sorting, there’s the big Buddleia to chop, a Lupin or two to relocate (once I’ve figured out where they can go) and I’ve yet to make a start on revamping the shady corner of the garden. One task I don’t need to worry about any time soon is the planting of a recent acquisition…

1. Last Saturday I remembered I hadn’t taken a nose at a recent David Austin rose catalogue. I spent a while flicking through its contents but nothing really tempted me and I soon found myself browsing other roses online. Before long an order had been placed for a fragrant repeat flowering purple patio rambler called Purple Skyliner. It arrived a mere 3 days later and I was all set to plant it until I glanced at the accompanying instructions. Apparently, as a recently dug up and potted plant, it needs time to ‘root out’ into the compost before it can be plonked safely in the ground. I will be patient and leave it a few months.

2. The rose wasn’t the only purchase last weekend. A trip to a garden centre resulted in a trolley filled with essentials like chicken manure pellets, a bag of grit, seaweed feed and some woolly slug pellets. It also resulted in a few accidental purchases, including a house plant (I give it 2 months before snuffage), a packet or two of seeds (having vowed I didn’t need any more) and this purpley blue Viola.

3. There are a number of varieties of daffodils in the garden and naturally I have no idea what most of them are any more. This pale and pointy petalled yellow one has been in the garden for a few years now. It’s rather nice.

4. Up next, Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign.’ I’ve been meaning to add one of these to the garden for a while now. It will be going in the shady bed, once I’ve dug up all of the Periwinkles. An attempt at keeping the rampant evergreens in check through regular chopping has resulted in fewer flowers and I’ve decided there’s not much point them staying. The Vinca’s voracious growing days are numbered (cue maniacal laughter).

5. This pretty Primula grows behind the bird bath. It’s looking rather nibbled, as are many of the spring flowers. It seems far too early in the year to be starting nightly slug and snail patrols but I fear action may have to be taken sooner rather than later.

6. And finally… One plant the slimy plant assassins of the night really seem to go for in my garden is the Chionodoxa. I’ve tried growing it on numerous occasions in the hope that I will end up with swathes of the blue beauties but they never do very well. The few that do come up are promptly polished off. I planted more in the autumn but I’ve only spotted two plants so far. Every single flower on one of them has been munched upon. Miraculously, this one has survived untouched so far.

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.