First blog post

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This is my first attempt at a Six on Saturday (also first attempt at a blog!). It’s all plants this week

My first plant is Schizostylis coccinea ‘Ice Maiden’ (I think we’re supposed to call it Hesperantha coccinea now). I have a three varieties of Schizostylis in my garden, all in various shades of pink. I found this one at a local garden centre a couple of weeks ago and have eagerly awaited the first flowers. It’s very nearly white! Just a touch of pink.

IMG_2016Number two is Begonia sutherlandii. I bought some as small plugs back in April and they have flowered non-stop ever since.

IMG_2020My third choice is Salvia patens. I haven’t grown this for many years and had forgotten what a beautiful colour it is. It’s taken a while to start flowering but is well worth the wait. IMG_2022Number four is another blue flower – Ipomoea tricolour ‘Heavenly Blue’. I sowed the seeds quite late as the plants don’t like the cold and have planted them to grow through many of my climbers. It’s a shame the leaves don’t last. The photo doesn’t do justice to the colour!

IMG_2035A couple of weeks ago I went to Picton Garden and nursery where they hold the National Collection of Michaelmas Daisies. It’s a beautiful garden and, needless to say, I came away with a couple (maybe slightly more) of plants. This is a photo of an unnamed variety of Michaelmas Daisy that I have had for a few years  it doesn’t seem to succumb to the slugs either


Plant six has to be Cyclamen hederifolium. It’s taken me years to get a decent show of these and now the seedlings are popping up all over the place. This particular one is a seedling from a large corm I bought in Amsterdam several years ago

IMG_2044That’s my six for this week. Happy gardening.

Six on Saturday 20/07/19

I’m writing this from a very wet Belfast and  just hoping that some of this rain is falling on my parched garden back home. Before I left I took pictures of some of the hardy Geraniums in my garden. I’ve quite a few of them in various sizes and colours. It feels a bit like not handing in your homework to miss doing a SoS, even when away, so here we go.

1. I tend to choose Geraniums with a long flowering season so that they earn their keep in my small garden. Geranium ‘Rozanne’ is growing in fairly deep shade, underneath an Amelanchier lamarckii ‘Ballerina’ and a Pieris japonica ‘Forest Flame’. While it may not flower as much as it might in a brighter position it covers the ground well, and flowers for months on end. It trails outwards for quite a distance over the growing season but cuts back to a central clump in the autumn. Very well behaved.


2.  A similar habit Geranium is G. ‘Bloom Time’. I only planted it last autumn but it’s doing well and the lack of water doesn’t seem to have affected either variety. This one is planted in a sunnier position but I’m not sure I’ve given it enough room.



3. There are several hardy Geraniums in the ‘Long’ border. This is G. ‘Chocolate Candy’. The foliage colour is rather different and combines so well with the soft pink flowers (spot the interloper!). It has slowly increased in size over several years.


4.  Next to it is a G. Variety Unknown . To be truthful, the variety was known but the label has faded completely. Can anyone help to identify it?


The last two were planted near to each other for contrast but, although not large, have both managed to grow mostly one way – towards each other and so need moving apart in the autumn. Another Geranium – ‘Renardii’ – is creeping in at bottom left of the next picture. It doesn’t flower very much but the velvety leaves add lovely texture.


5.  A bit further along from the last two is G. pratense ‘Dark Reiter’. The foliage is beautiful and the flowers are a vibrant lilac-blue. The hot weather seems to have shortened the flowering period. I wish this one would just grow a bit stronger.


6.  Lastly, Geranium variety unknown 2. I thought this was G. cinereum ‘Ballerina’ but it isn’t so if anyone can name this I’d be very grateful.


It flowers until the frost but I have to put a support at the front to keep it (nearly) off of the grass.

Thats my quick Six. Everywhere I go here in Belfast I see beautiful blue Hydrangeas. The intensity of colour in some of them is breathtaking. I’m not jealous!

Enjoy your weekend and keep checking our host’s site     https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/                           as all of the Sixes are added throughout the day. It takes me until about Wednesday to read them all now.

Six on Saturday 13/07/19

The weather has been beautiful all week but oh! for some rain. Some plants don’t seem to mind the lack of wet stuff too much but others are really suffering now, including the Sorbus ‘Autumn Spire’. When I looked out of an upstairs window yesterday I could see that the leaves at the top of the tree are all brown. I was hoping that it was established enough and so haven’t watered it this year but it’s had the trickling hosepipe treatment a couple of times now. Fingers crossed. On to this weeks Six things in my garden, all flowers this week.

1. Most of the Clematis are flowering now. This is C. ‘Aljonushka’. It’s a non-twining one that scrambles up wires on a fence usually with some support from Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’. However, this spring I gave the Viburnum quite a prune and, although I’ve had to tie in the Clematis more than usual it’s enjoyed the extra space and light.



2. On the other side of the Clematis is an arbour with a table and chairs underneath. A honeysuckle scrambles up and over it. When we moved here 33 years ago I found a honeysuckle seedling growing between some concrete slabs. I grew it on and the resulting plant gave pleasure for many years. A garden revamp several years ago meant that the plant was in the wrong place so I took some cuttings and now we have this wonderful display. The scent in the evening is a knock-out and travels through the whole garden.



3. The main border is absolutely full (which is a shame as I still have a few plants that I thought would go in there!) and in the last couple of weeks the flowers of Kniphofia ‘Timothy’ have shot up. It’s slightly more delicate than some Red Hot Pokers and is planted in the end of the border that doesn’t get the sun until a little later in the day. The plus side of the lack of rain means that there are a lot of pokers as the slugs that usually eat them just as they start to emerge are, presumably, hiding underground.


4. Further along in the border in the sunnier end is Francoa sonchifolia. The flowering stems are taller than I have ever known them to be but the lack of rainfall plus windy weather is causing them to fall forward. It’s not a plant that takes to staking up easily. It’s still beautiful though.



5. On the side of the garage is a small, quite sheltered border that I planted as a ‘Jungle’ border last year. It’s west facing and in the sun for a large part of the day. Last year I planted Lobelia tupa in it which grew quite well but didn’t flower. I’ve tried this plant before but lost it in a wet winter. I took a gamble and left this one in the ground and it’s come back and is in great shape. It should probably be further back in the border as it’s dwarfing the things around it.



6. Lastly, a Hydrangea the name of which has been consigned to that great black hole full of forgotten plant names. I remember that it had a Japanese name but that’s not a lot of help. The dried flowerheads hold their colour well in to winter so it will probably feature again later in the year. The leaves are a lovely dark green with a flush of red but are smaller than usual this year.



Thanks for reading about my Six. Work today sadly, but maybe a bit of gardening time on Sunday, if only to keep up with the watering. I bet there will be other Sixes, courtesy of our host, where people will be complaining about too much rainfall. We gardeners are never satisfied! Check out all the other gardens at


Six on Saturday 06/07/19

It’s been very warm and quite breezy this week with zero rainfall. The solar powered automatic watering system that I started using last year is working well in the glasshouse and as I was so pleased with it I ordered a larger one for the patio pots. The N-G set it all up but there was a fault in the control box so I’m waiting for a replacement. In the meantime the evening watering round is taking a lot longer than planned. Having done the good the bad and the ugly last week it’s just pretty things this week.

1. I bought a tuber of Zantedeschia ‘Picasso’, along with a couple of others, at RHS Malvern last year. Once it had died down I moved the pot into the glasshouse for the winter, repotted it this spring and it’s doing really well. I’m sure the others will feature in weeks to come.



2. Every year I vow to have less pots on the patio and every year there seem to be more pots on the patio – hence the new watering system. This is the view of the back wall of the house. I’m really pleased with the Fuchsias as they were badly affected by Capsid Bug last year. There’s some damage this year but it’s not too bad.


3. Salvia jamensis ‘Hotlips’ was also badly hit by Capsid Bugs last year. This plant was left in the border over the winter and then cut back in the spring. Until very recently the flowers were just red in colour but they’ve suddenly developed their lips. It’s getting rather large and I may have to give it a bit of a haircut soon.


4.  I adore Penstemon and used to grow lots of them. Over the years they haven’t seemed so happy and I now just have ‘Garnet’ and ‘Appleblossom’. I’m going to have another go with some new varieties. Someone told me that the narrower the leaf the hardier the variety which makes ‘Garnet’ one of the hardiest. I renew it every few years by taking cuttings and have it in a couple of places. It has burst into flower this week.


5. The Clematis enjoyed all of the rain that we had a few weeks ago and have put on a lot of growth. The blackfly are now enjoying the Clematis, sadly. This is C. viticella ‘Justa’. I bought it as a very small plant a few years ago and it grows up an arch post. It seems quite a compact variety and has been flowering for a couple of weeks so I thought I’d better include it this week as it is passing its peak.


6. I visited a local nursery a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t resist this dark stemmed Hydrangea. I haven’t a clue where I can crowbar it in to the garden so it’s in a pot on the shadier side of the patio for now. At least it’s a pink variety so it won’t mind my alkaline soil when I do find it a home. The small plants in front of it are from cuttings of existing Hydrangeas that I took in the autumn. The need to propagate plants is a terrible affliction!


That’s my Six for this week, where do the weeks go! A family weekend so not a lot of gardening time, I might actually get to sit in the garden and just look at it! Whether you’re working or relaxing in your garden don’t forget to catch up with the other Sixers courtesy of our esteemed host at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday 29/06/19

Not actually late, just somewhat later than planned. Welcome to my SoS. It starts with the good, then the bad followed by the ugly. Then a few pretty things bring up he rear.

1. I mentioned a few weeks back that there is a definite lack of ladybirds for the second year running. I was thinking about buying some larvae in (they’re expensive) but in the last few days I’ve seen a few of these around

I’m hoping that there are enough of these ‘goodies’ to tackle these ‘baddies’. I’ve been washing them off with the hose when I can.

Has anyone bought in ladybird larvae. Does it work and do they stay?

2. The aphids have caused lots of ‘ugly’ distorted foliage on all sorts of plants but I’ve noticed some other ugly leaves around the garden as well

Sorbus aucuparia ‘Autumn Spire’ – normally so healthy


Betula ‘Snow Queen’ –


and this Lonicera – this isn’t the aphid infested one above


Is it the weather having an adverse effect? It’s been exceptionally wet and very windy. Any suggestions/solutions gratefully received.

3. That’s enough negativity. The roses on ropes and posts in the front garden were glorious for a brief spell then got battered by the weather (sorry, more negativity). They are still making a valiant effort despite this Clematis doing its best to swamp ‘Graham Thomas’. The rain has certainly given it a boost.


While I was taking this picture I saw this May Bug inside a flower. I have uncovered dozens and dozens of the enormous larvae in my compost heaps so I’m surprised I haven’t seen more adults than I have. This one obviously overslept.


4. In the autumn of 2017 I planted out Canterbury Bells (Campanula medium apparently) that I had sown in July. The drought got some of them last year but the rest looked quite good. One plant didn’t flower but looked very healthy so I left it in. It’s turned into a bit of a Triffid (a good three feet high and as much across) and at the beginning of the week was smothered in flowers. A couple of days of heavy rain have sadly left their mark as the blooms filled with water and quickly turned brown. I’ve given the plant a bit of a primp for this weeks Six. There’s going to be quite a hole when the plant comes out.


5. I love the colour of Triteleia ‘Queen Fabiola’ but the foliage is so awful. It flops all over the place and I’ve been known to pull it off as the flowers open. It doesn’t seem to be too detrimental to the bulbs as they multiply like mad. As you can see, there’s a lot of competition!


6. Following a bit of a colour theme, this early flowering Aster comes back year after year. I’ve a pink one as well but it isn’t quite so robust. Looking at this picture reminds me that I’ve not done the lawn edges! Tomorrow.


It’s started to cool down a bit and has gone cloudy so I’m off to do the evening watering. I think I’ve finally finished planting up pots etc so tomorrow my aim is to get the watering system up and running, hopefully with a little help from the N-G.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend and when you’ve done enough gardening relax by looking at the other gardens at


Six on Saturday 22/06/19

Welcome to this weeks Six on Saturday. It’s a different one this week as we are in Falmouth visiting our daughter for a few days. The journey down seemed a good opportunity to fit in a garden visit. The Non-Gardener doesn’t mind toooooo much as long as it’s not too much of a diversion from our route, good to walk around and there’s coffee and cake to be had. I decided to make use of the Gardener’s World magazine 2 for 1 ticket and chose Pinetum Gardens in St Austell. The weather for our visit was perfect, blue sky, sunshine, a very light breeze and about 22 degrees C – so different to the last few weeks! There were quite a few cars in the car park but, due to the size of the garden, we didn’t see many other visitors.

The garden covers 30 acres and is divided into many different areas, each with a distinctly different feel but seamlessly linked with woodland paths. It has an amazing collection of trees and shrubs, a great number of which are labelled. There are also a lot of seats so you can take time to relax and enjoy the views. Due to the sunshine it was quite difficult to take photographs though.

1. There are a lot of shady areas in the garden due to the large number of trees. I was so envious of the Hostas – hardly any damage to the foliage and such huge clumps. The one in the first picture must have been 4 – 5 feet across.




2. This Cornus kousa chinensis was breath taking



3. Although I have a small garden I love to fill it with large plants and one on my ‘Plants I’ll Grow One Day’ list is Tetrapanex papyrifer. What an amazing leaf. Goodness knows where it will go though. There are quite a few of them in Pinetum Gardens and from the height of some of them they obviously don’t die back in the winter. These are a couple of baby ones.


4. There are sculptures throughout the garden, this one is near the entrance.


5. The lichen covered trunks and branches in some areas were beautiful but very hard to capture with the sunshine.


6. There was a lot of water in the garden, including a huge lake with Canada Geese and ducks and a very restful water area in the Japanese Garden. This water feature was surrounded by Astilbe in all shades.


Sitting here on a well placed seat looking through the Gunnera and across the water was very relaxing. It was alive with blue damselflies.


The visit finished with tea/coffee and cake and a visit to the plant sales area. Sadly (or maybe just as well) no Tetrapanex.

I’m hoping that by the time we’re home from our visit our garden will have dried out a bit after all of the recent rain. Have a great weekend and enjoy all the gardens courtesy of our host at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/


Six on Saturday 15/06/19

The rain arrived last week and it hasn’t gone away. Between work and the appalling weather time in the garden has been severely curtailed. I’ve had to cut off a lot of the Foxgloves as the wind and rain has beaten them down. It’s currently coming down like stair rods and forecast to continue for most of the day.                                                                                      I made a quick dash out between the downpours yesterday to take some pictures for this weeks Six so here we go.

1. I’ve tried to stake a lot of the taller plants over the last few weeks but the weather shows that I obviously haven’t got round to them all. Several of the A. Christophii are now horizontal, along with this Euphorbia.


The Verbascums are no longer stunning


and there are more Rose petals on the pavement and in the road than on the plants.


2. Heuchera ‘Peach Flambe’ is in full flower but badly weather beaten. The grass, however, has loved all of this rain!



3. Every year I pull out handfuls of Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum) seedlings. I must have sown some many years ago and they return every year. Sadly, most are a fairly bland colour (I probably pull up all the interesting colours) but this pink one that has just opened is a good colour.


4. I thought I was a bit late pruning my viticella Clematis this spring but they seem to be flowering really early. Despite the lack of sun in the last couple of weeks several are coming into flower already but the flowers are hanging their heads. This is the very reliable C. viticella ‘Margot Koster’. She grows through an unknown, highly scented Honeysuckle whose flowers get covered with greenfly every year. A nearby Honeysuckle remains aphid free. Still no ladybirds here, sadly.


5. The tomatoes in the glasshouse are getting rather drawn, I guess it’s due to the low light levels and lack of sunshine. However, the peppers don’t seem to be so affected. Is that because they’re slower growing? I only grow one chilli pepper as I don’t use a huge number of them. The first peppers have set.


6. I showed my succulent tower in last weeks Six. Luckily, I put in loads of grit as it’s been out in constant rain ever since. Before, I would have moved the succulents to give them some protection but the tower is too heavy to move. The flowers on Echeveria ‘Lepus’ have opened and are a lovely bright orange. I bought this when I visited Surreal Succulents earlier in the year.


That’s my soggy Six, I hope you liked them. Hopefully, you’ll be able to get out in your garden this weekend and then when you come back indoors you can check out all of the other Sixes courtesy of our host –




Six on Saturday 08/06/19

Well the rain arrived! And then some more rain arrived. Followed by thunder and lightning and now very strong winds are due today. The garden is taking quite a battering, especially things like Verbascums, Roses, Delphiniums and Alliums. All the lovely tall things. I’ve taken the hanging baskets down, rounded up and grouped pots together and generally battened down the hatches. I’m working all day today so can’t do any more. In between the downpours yesterday I managed to take some pictures for this weeks Six, so here we go –

1. I think this is Lonicera x tellmanniana. It has flowered so well this year (I should have taken a photo before yesterdays rainstorm knocked a lot of them off). The flowers glow in the sunshine but it has NO scent, not a hint. That’s the trouble with impulse purchases. I can’t decide whether to take it out and replace it with a scented one. There are three other Honeysuckles in the garden, all scented so maybe I can forgive it. 4929C89E-4705-4BE7-B6B2-73A6BED34DE5

2. This pot of bulbs spent the winter in the glasshouse and moved up to the patio in the spring. The leaves came and started to go again then suddenly the flowering stems emerged. They’re an amazing colour but the stems are too long to support the flowers. It’s Dichelostemma ida-maia or the Firecracker flower.


3. Astrantia ‘Ruby Wedding’  was in last weeks Six. This week it’s the turn of A. ‘Hadspen Blood’. I’ve had both for a few years and I think this one is the better variety (in my garden anyway) as it seems a stronger plant with the bonus of the lovely dark foliage.



4. I wanted a fairly bomb proof, but attractive, plant to grow in a large pot on the corner of the house to diffuse the view down the side. I chose Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’. It’s fulfilling the role quite well so far and stands up to the prevailing wind. The individual tiny flowers are amazing.



5. I’ve enjoyed seeing the bigger picture views of some of the Sixers gardens. My garden doesn’t lend itself to this so well but here’s one side of the main border. It’s quite mauve, I realise.


6. In the January issue of the RHS Garden magazine there was an idea for an Alpine Tower. It seemed a great way to display some of my succulents. Here is my version.


With hindsight, there maybe needs to be a bit more of a difference in size between the bottom two pots but i used what I had and I’m quite pleased. The photo angle makes the little robin cane topper look much bigger than he is. There were still some plants left (aren’t there always!) so they went in a couple of bulb pans.

Sundays forecast looks a bit better so I’m hoping to get out and finish planting. Have a great weekend and enjoy all of the other Sixes courtesy of our host