Six on Saturday (29 October 2022)

It has been unseasonably mild of late; positively balmy at times when the sun has shone. However, the clocks go back tonight and it’ll soon be November. Hardly a sensible time for my first Six on Saturday to think about blooming and yet here it is…

1. … a Delphinium requienii, on the cusp of flowerhood. I read about these in an SoS at the beginning of the year and decided to give them a go. Unlike regular Delphinums, which I never have much luck with, it’s glossy of leaf and slug resistant. I assumed it would bloom next summer (it’s classed as a biennial on a lot of websites) but these seem keen to give it a go now. I just hope the buds open before the first of the frosts.

2. Some plants have flowered all summer long, including Erysimum ‘Apricot Twist.’ Planted in the spring, I wasn’t sure about it initially, preferring the Siberian Wallflower, but I’m now a big fan. It also goes rather nicely with the blue shed.

3. The Zinnias growing in the south facing front garden have done really well this year, especially Zinnia ‘Jazzy Mixture.’ It’s featured quite a bit in my SoS’s over the past few months.

4. Another fantastically floriferous plant (adorned with a sleepy bee in this photo) is Alyssum which has formed a soft white blanket of honey-scented flowers in the patio border.

5. Now I must confess I’ve always been a bit anti-Mahonia. The flowers are lovely and fragrant, but I find the spikey leaves a bit strange proportion-wise for some reason. Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’ won me over though with its pleasingly ferny and perfectly proportioned foliage. It’s just a pity the flowers (which are very popular with wasps, bees and ants) aren’t fragrant. Ah well.

6. And finally… a Chocolate Cosmos. Now in its second year, it struggled a bit during the heatwave and has only produced a few flowers. In the not too distant future it will get dug up and overwintered in the mini greenhouse.

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 (10 September 2022)

Let’s just get straight into Six on Saturday today…

1. Mrs OMAHGT and I headed to London last weekend to see Eric Hutchinson give a rare UK concert. While we were there we did a few touristy things, including a visit to the Tower of London. After 3 hours we were well and truly historied out and sought some quiet solace at ‘Superbloom,’ the flower garden in the Tower’s moat. If I’d been a bit quicker with the old camera phone I’d have included a photo of a hornet mimic hoverfly that landed on my knee whilst I was sat down applying the old spf30 sunscreen.

2. On my own little patch of green is this Fuchsia ‘Army Nurse.’ She’s looked very sorry for herself this summer, struggling with both the heat and a lack of H2o. Thankfully, she’s perked up a bit after all the heavy rain we’ve had of late.

3. The border in the front garden is also looking more cheery, thanks mainly to the Zinnias that appear to be shrugging off the attentions of the slugs and snails. What was that? Famous last words? You’re probably right.

4. Also growing out the front is one of the few Calendula to have made it to flowerhood this year. Still, one Calendula is better than no Calendula and ‘Snow Princess’ is a beauty.

5. The Astrantia that last featured back in the beginning of July is having a second flush of flowers. And very lovely it is too…. whatever variety it may be.

6. And finally…ish… Aster frikartii ‘Jungfrau,’ bejeweled with raindrops. Around this time last year I said I was going to divide it to create a few more plants. And have I? Err… no.

To end, a sneaky flashback to some Lily of the Valley, one of the late Queen’s favourite flowers. Rest in peace HM Queen Elizabeth II and to quote P. Bear, thank you Ma’am, for everything.

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 (6 August 2022)

Another week and still no rain. Actually, no. I tell a lie. We had the briefest and lightest of showers on Wednesday where the rain pretty much evaporated on impact and that was that. Buying new plants during this drought would be foolhardy given the amount of watering they’d need initially… and yet I still found myself returning from Taunton Flower Show yesterday afternoon with several new purchases. However, I’ll save those for next week’s Six on Saturday (oh the suspense). Today? Today we start with brown and crispy.

1. Now brown and crispy isn’t usually something you’re aiming for in a garden during the summer… unless you’re wanting to collect seeds. A few of these seedheads from Aquilegia ‘Yellow Shooting Stars’ have been plonked in an envelope and labelled. I really need to get a move on and sow the Sweet Williams and Foxgloves this weekend if I want them to flower next year.

2. For the first time ever I managed to successfully overwinter Agastache and Verbena hastata (they were dug up and placed in the mini greenhouse). However, those that were were replanted in the sunniest borders (including this ‘Black Adder’) have really struggled over the past three or four weeks, requiring watering on a regular basis to reverse leaf droopage. I have a feeling I should have replanted them much earlier in the year so that they could get more settled in root-wise. Ah well.

3. When we moved here 10 years ago I spent a few years getting shot of an orange variety of Crocosmia that was taking over the garden. I think it may have staged a sneaky come back (it certainly isn’t the other variety of orange Crocosmia ‘Ping-pong’ I introduced a few years ago). It is pretty though.

4. Another plant that has a tendency to run a little too rampant is Linaria vulgaris (common toadflax). First sown from a packet of seed around 6 to 7 years ago out in the front garden, it’s not faring too badly in these arid conditions. It’ll need a spot of ‘editing’ at some point.

5. The pinkification process of the flowers of ‘Miss Belgium’ is now complete. This Hydrangea has coped well with the dry spell, no doubt helped by its shady position.

6. And finally… Zinnia. There have been but two Zinnia casualties so far, yet they’ve been down to the heat rather than the slugs or snails for a change (one of the few benefits of all this dry weather I guess). With the exception of Zinnia elegans ‘Envy’ (the green one) these are Zinnia haageana ‘Jazzy Mixture.’ They’re shorter, bushier and, for the second year running, far more slug and snail resistant than other varieties.

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 (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 https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday (11 December 2021)

Another week, another storm. Thankfully all the fences are still standing and the swing seat cover didn’t take flight. Now let’s see, what else has happened since last I wrote? Oh yes, those spur of the moment tulip bulbs I ordered weeks ago finally arrived on Wednesday together with a rather hideous watering can bauble (kudos to the photographer who somehow made it look rather charming in the catalogue). The decidedly dubious decoration will get hidden at the back of the Christmas tree, out of sight, out of mind, and the bulbs will get planted in a pot tomorrow. Talking of bulbs and pots…

1. I found this lurking behind a large terracotta pot last weekend. Initially I was stumped but I have a feeling these may be some Narcissus ‘Tête-à-tête’ that were purchased in bud to add some early indoor spring colour at the beginning of the year. I thought I’d planted them in one of the borders after they’d finished flowering. Apparently not.

2. Zinnia ‘Jazzy Mixture’ has proved to be surprisingly hassle free and low maintenance as far as Zinnias go. Two solitary flowers remain. I’ll miss them when they finish.

3. The strong winds have left the translucent silvery seed-heads of the Lunaria annua looking a little ragged in places. A biennial, it can get a little bit too enthusiastic with its self-seeding but is easy enough to pull up or move elsewhere.

4. Next up, Fuchsia ‘Army Nurse.’ It featured a while back but when a plant is still looking this good it seems a shame not to share it again.

5. Nearby, over in the patio border, there are a few Garlic Chive skeletons. I should probably collect some of the seed and have a go at sowing it next spring. It makes a rather lovely late summer flowering allium. Tasty too.

6. And finally… yes, it’s another Viola.

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 (17 July 2021)

After a few weeks of very little gardening action (apart from a spot of dead-heading) I finally started planting some of the annuals, working late into the evening one day last week. It felt rather good and also taxed the old grey cells as I wandered around the garden, watering can in hand, trying to remember just where I’d put everything. There are some plants that I still haven’t risked plonking out in the wilds of the borders though, and that leads me to my first Six on Saturday…

1. Zinnias of various hues. I know, I know. When they reach flowerhood they should be allowed to leave the safety of the swing seat and make their own way in the world. But they look so healthy and flowery (much better than last year’s batch) I’m reluctant to allow them to leave ‘home’ and fend for themselves. Perhaps the swing seat isn’t required for sitting on this summer. There’s always the garden bench. Wait. No, that’s occupied by pots of Dahlias, a Chocolate Cosmos and a Helenium. I must accept there will be casualties and just plant them.

2. Do you ever find yourself with a plant you’d always thought you weren’t that keen on originally? I’ve never been sure about the purple berries of Callicarpa and yet I found myself ordering a standard Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Autumn Glory’ in the spring. Despite professing uncertainty about the purple fruit I’ve been channelling my inner bee and pollinating the flowers with a small paint brush as apparently you may need a few such plants to guarantee berries.

3. Next up, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer.’ A lot was pulled up last autumn (it was beginning to take over the conservatory border) but there are still quite a few plants growing here and there. When it flowers its leanings towards world domination are forgiven.

4. Growing nearby is the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise.’ Another standard form, it was given its first ever prune in the spring. I’m not sure I got it completely right as some branches are a tad bare of leaf in places. However, the flowers have developed surprisingly quickly over the past few weeks. I suspect they will feature again in future SoSs.

5. Now these were a pleasant surprise. They look like Allium ‘Drumstick’ and must have been part of the mixed pack of Alliums planted late last year.

6. And finally… Ripening tomatoes! A bushy cherry variety called ‘Minibel,’ the fruit are a slightly funny colour, almost a bit pink. I tried one yesterday and I’m not sure it was totally ripe. If it was then I may have to grow a sweeter variety next year. They’re doing a lot better than my 2020 toms though.

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.