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 https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

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Six on Saturday (4 September 2021)

Online plant purveyors are a canny lot. Despite a determination to remain strong and resist their cunning Bank Holiday free postage offers I ended up having a nose at this and that and before I knew it I’d ended up with Digitalis ‘Dusky Maid,’ Penstemon ‘Wedding Day,’ Rosa ‘Timeless Purple,’ Geranium ‘Lily Lovell’ and a fifth thing that I can’t remember. Some of them arrived yesterday and have been safely potted up.

As well as unplanned point and click plant purchases I managed to spend some time simply enjoying the garden as promised. The sun actually made an appearance on Sunday (as did a dragonfly) and Mrs OMAHGT and I visited a Sunflower field that afternoon, snipping the odd flower for some indoor sunshine. After a rubbish Summer weather-wise, fingers are crossed for an Indian Summer (aren’t they always?) and next week’s forecast certainly looks promising for both gardeners and six-legged wingy things, which leads me to my first Six on Saturday…

1. Ver-bee-na. I know, I know. I’ll turn myself in to the Poor Plant Punning Police later today. This photo was taken last Sunday. The Verbena has been flowering for months now and hopefully will go on flowering for some time to come yet.

2. Another week, another Crocosmia. When we moved here I spent a few years getting shot of an orange variety that was taking over the garden. A few years later I got a completely different orange variety that sort of looks the same as the one I got shot of and yet is totally different… I think. This is ‘Ping Pong.’

3. I always forget I have Gladioli for some reason. Purchased from Wilko a few years ago, they’ve proved very reliable but have a tendency to topple as soon as the flowers open. The Gladioli Byzantinus I planted in early Spring have yet to make an appearance.

4. Now this was a surprise. I don’t know how this Love-in-the-mist got here (I certainly didn’t sow it) and yet here it is. I didn’t think I was a Nigella fan but having inspected it up close I think I’ve changed my mind.

5. Aster frikartii ‘Jungfrau’ has been getting bigger and better each year. I must split it in the Spring to spread it’s lilac loveliness/lovely lilaciness (delete as appropriate) around the garden.

6. And finally… a miracle. All of the Dahlias I left in the ground over winter snuffed it. I bought a few new tubers and these, together with some that were overwintered in pots, appeared to be doing really well initially but then things started to go awry. Inevitably some were munched by slugs and snails but others just seemed to stall, perhaps due to a lack of sun and warmth. I was beginning to fear none would flower. But behold! ‘Honka Fragile,’ planted as a tuber in the Spring, has bloomed. Fingers crossed ‘Honka Red’, a survivor from last year, makes it to flowerhood soon.

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. Oooh – I’ve remembered the fifth plant purchase: Pulmonaria ‘Sissinghurst White.’

Six on Saturday (16 January 2021)

A wet and miserable day like today seems the perfect time to start planning and placing my seed orders. But before any hasty online purchases are made I’m going to spend an hour or so sorting through my leftover packets of seed, reminding myself of what grew well (Cosmos) and what was disappointing and will never be grown again (Rudbeckia ‘Cherry Brandy’ will top that list). I’m also going to ponder whether to have a third and final attempt at growing the “easily grown in a cool greenhouse or sheltered spots” (but apparently not for me) South African Foxglove. Anyway, time for Six on Saturday.

1. Last year’s crispified flowers of the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’ are still adding some structural interest in the garden, although I find quite a few of the flower heads on the lawn after a breezy day. I must look up how to prune this come the spring.

2. I spotted a goldfinch enjoying the seeds of a Verbena bonariensis earlier in the week. Those in the south facing front garden have started to sprout new growth. Although it readily self-seeds around the garden, I tried taking cuttings of these new shoots last year, without success. Undeterred, I’m going to give it another go.

3. There are signs of new life elsewhere in the garden too. The Black Lace Elder is covered in leaf buds. Alas, the Golder Tower Elder that I over zealously sprayed with a home made aphid-zapping soapy concoction last summer is not. Lesson learnt. There are plenty of buds lower down the 7 foot stems though. I’m considering chopping it right back to the ground in the spring in the hope of generating some vigorous new growth.

4. Next up is something of a panic buy. It seems a little early to be purchasing Dahlias but I spotted these in Wilko, there were only a few left and it would have been madness not to acquire a pack there and then along with another variety that I’ll share next weekend.

5. The Dahlias haven’t been the only plant purchases though, oh no! I had a £10 voucher from Sarah Raven last month and last Sunday, with just 1 day left before the voucher expired, I started making my way through her spring catalogue. Several plants and a packet of seed were ordered but before I knew it I had strayed onto the websites of other plant purveyors. Several more purchases may have been placed, most of which won’t be dispatched until March. However, one lot arrived on Friday, which took me by surprise. I’d not purchased online perennials before the first Lockdown. I quickly discovered that posted perennials can be somewhat underwhelming, so my expectations regarding the contents of this box were far more realistic than they would have been in 2020.

Hopefully these will one day become a fully grown Geranium of some sort, Anemone leveillei and Anemone ‘Wild Swan.’ I think I’ll leave them in their pots for now.

6. And finally… Around this time last year I bought a few pots of bulbs to create some early indoor pre-Spring cheer. I’ve done the same again. This photo was taken 2 weeks ago.

And this is it now.

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. Stay safe.

Six on Saturday: frosty foliage (2 January 2021)

Before I had a garden I used to think January was a gloomy old month. Nowadays I feel a bit differently about it. Though there’s a while to go until spring arrives, there are early signs of hope as bulbs begin to poke up through the soil and the days gradually start to lengthen. There are winter flowering shrubs to appreciate, the antics of the birds to enjoy and beautiful frosty morns to marvel at. Talking of frosty morns…

1. Thursday and Friday dawned bright and sparkly, turning most of the evergreens into variegated versions of themselves. While the Daphne x transatlantica ‘Pink Fragrance’ hasn’t flowered anywhere near as prolifically as the white Eternal Fragrance, it’s starting to add some welcome structure to the border near the conservatory door.

2. The standard Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ is also helping to provide some evergreen winter interest in a nearby border. It looks like there’ll be flowers soon too.

3. For reasons unknown I don’t think I featured a flowering Verbena in 2020. Madness. Still, it looks just as lovely with its frosted seedheads.

4. Before the frost I was struggling to think of six gardeny things and feared I may finally have to resort to a Box Balls SoS. But you’ve been spared that fate. Here’s a close up of one instead.

5. Next up, the prettified foliage of the patio rose ‘Violet Cloud’.

6. And finally… a Rudbeckia. Yes, it’s still going and looks very much like it has been sprinkled with sugar in this photo.

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. All the very best for 2021 everyone. Stay safe.

Six on Saturday (8 August 2020)

Is it me or have the past couple of mornings had a slightly cooler feel? Condensation on the car windscreen. A heavy dew on the grass. The odd leaf on the turn… and on the ground. I could swear there’s a whiff of the ‘A’ word in the air. I’ll try and ignore it as ’tis far too early for such goings on. Anyway, time for Six on Saturday.

1. First up is Rosa Flower Carpet Ruby ‘Noafeuer,’ a standard rose that was planted behind the garden bench back in May. Lightly scented, it may get moved to make room for a more fragrant rose come November (my wife has fallen for ‘Chandos Beauty.’) However, it’s adding a splash of vivid scarlet to the back border and appears remarkably healthy.

2. I feared I was heading for another sweet pea disaster this year as the seedlings looked rather ropey when I planted them a month or so ago. However, they’ve pulled through and whereas we had only one meagre picking last year we’ve enjoyed a living room filled with the heady scent of sweet peas for a few weeks now. As always, I’ve grown them in a big pot but this time I added some chicken manure pellets to the compost and placed them in a slightly shadier spot.

3. An update on the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise.’ The flowers are beginning to turn pink. I talked myself out of getting one of these last year thinking the great big blooms might be a bit much. I was a fool.

4. Alas, the Taunton Flower show couldn’t take place this year for obvious reasons. One of the purchases made this time last year was a Verbena hastata. Having mistaken the corpse of a perennial wallflower for the Verbena in the spring, I ordered another one, only to find the original (or perhaps a seedling) some time later. Still, can you ever have too much of a good thing?

5. One Flower Show purchase that definitely didn’t survive the winter was an Agastache ‘Black Adder.’ A replacement was ordered at the same time as the Verbena hastata and this time I’ve taken some cuttings as insurance. The bees love the flowers and I find myself rubbing the aromatic leaves as I pass by.

6. And finally… Back in June Margaret Merrill had just a few blooms. Her second flush has been far more impressive. I’ve been good this year and fed all of the roses on a regular basis. They seem to appreciate it.

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.

Six on Saturday (7 July 2018)

Finally, we had some rain here in Somerset. The garden is still looking a little sorry for itself, and the front lawn is decidedly crispy underfoot. However, the wet stuff was welcomed with outstretched arms by this gardener who took the opportunity to plant out some young snapdragon and scabious plants, oblivious to his increasingly drenched state until his wife poked her head round the back door and enquired whether he was aware that it was raining. He looked up, gazed at her lovingly and replied…

Anyway, here are my Six on Saturday…

1. The Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ has now exploded into flower and is looking rather vibrant, though not quite as vibrant as this picture would seem to suggest. My phone struggled to accurately capture the flaming red, adding a rather yellowy luminescence to the petals. As usual they’re begining to fall over, despite support, but they do look rather impressive when you’re looking out from the conservatory.

2. This shrub form of honeysuckle is doing particularly well this year (it appeared to enjoy being dug up and placed in a pot when the builders came). It never gets much taller than a foot or two as it’s pruned back each spring. Unfortunately this means you have to bend down quite a bit to appreciate the scent, which I’m finding increasingly trickier to do as the years go by (I think I may need to take up yoga) but it’s worth it.

3. The Californian Poppy tends to do it’s own thing each year, seeding itself wherever it fancies. I prefer this yellow version so naturally the orange one is proving far more successful in its going forths and multiplings and my frequent attempts at sowing the red Californian Poppy have been a dismal failure every time. It’s rather perplexing. They can get a little big and unweildly after a while but they don’t seem to mind being chopped back hard. The flowers last several days in a bud vase, closing up in the evenings and opening up again in the morning which is strangely saitisfying.

4. When we moved here 6 years ago I think the Jasmine had only been in the garden a short time, presumably planted to weave itself through the top row of trellis that runs along the fence and provide a bit of privacy. It’s hard to determine whether it began on our side of the fence or the neighbours’ side, but it’s really taken off over the past year or so. If the back door is left open in the evening and there’s a gentle breeze, its wonderful scent can fill our living room at the front of the house.

5. Verbena bonariensis is one of my favourite plants. It seeds itself around the garden, it doesn’t take up much room, the bees and butterflies love it (we’ve even had the odd hummingbird hawkmoth drinking from its nectar rich flowers) and once it starts flowering it goes on flowering throughout the summer and well into the Autumn.

6. And finally, water butts. Two of them. It seemed a shame to be limited to just the one slim line water butt when there was the potential to fit another to double the amount of free water for the garden. Admittedly two slim line water butts probably take up the space of one normal size one and it’s a bit trickier for my wife to squeeze past with her bike, but they’ve already proved a great success. The rain we had last Sunday filled the first one and half filled the other. The sound of the rain water trickling into them was strangley exciting and when the new one started to fill up filming was required to capture the momentous occasion. Prepare to be awed (if you’re viewing this on a web browser)…

By Wednesday the new one had already been emptied (despite the rain the ground is still bone dry) but as luck would have it we had more of the sweet smelling wet stuff leaving us with two completely full water butts and a very happy gardener.

Want to join in 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