Six on Saturday 24/07/21

What a difference 24 hours makes. At the moment it’s literally 10 degrees cooler than this time yesterday. Here in North Somerset we had quite a lot of rain last night which, combined with a gusty wind, gave the plants a bit of a battering. Most (I’d love to say all) of them are supported though so the bowed heads and split centres will, hopefully, come back up. I started taking pictures for todays Six in the sun yesterday and finished them in the rain this morning.

  • I mentioned last week my love of large leaved plants so first up is a new addition to the garden last autumn. After a slow start because of the cold and wet Ensete murielae ‘African Breeze’ is living up to expectations. It’s another plant that will become too big for my garden but that’s nothing new.
Beautiful spiralling as the new leaf unfurls
  • I have several varieties of Eucomis that have all provided regular meals for the SnS this year. Several flower spikes of E. bicolor have been eaten through as they emerged so there isn’t such a good show this year. I keep them in pots down by the shed and glasshouse as the flowers have a smell rather like rotten meat. Definitely not one for the back door step! I guess this smell is to attract flies. The stems have gone wandering more so than usual this year and I haven’t found a good way to support them.
E. bicolor.

I’ll get around to painting the shed one day. The individual flowers don’t really get noticed but are very interesting

  • The front garden is very much left to get on with it. Like the rest of the garden, it’s mostly herbaceous plants and some self seeding annuals. After reading Sarah Raven’s new book I recently added some Salvias as companion plants to the Roses but when I looked yesterday they are being swamped by the neighbouring plants. I will have to get my machete out later and regain a bit of control. The front door is north facing and had a Clematis either side, one of which grows up through a Pyracantha. C. viticella ‘Alba luxurians is a very enthusiastic plant, so much so that a few years back I removed as much of the root as I could as it was much too large for the space available. There must have been enough left in the ground for it to have another go at world domination and I’ve been very happy to see it appear each spring. I may have to repeat the exercise again though. When the flowers first appear the sepals can’t quite make up their mind if they want to be a flower or a leaf. As more flowers appear the white becomes more dominant. There’s a Pyracantha in there somewhere.
Getting there.

On the other side of the porch for over 20 years was C. alpina ‘Francis Rivis’ but, sadly, it didn’t make it through last winter. A new planting opportunity for the autumn.

  • At the base of the Clematis is Corydalis lutea. This plant borders on invasive and every spring I pull out hundreds of tiny seedlings from the surrounding gravel but at this time of year I can forgive it everything.

I’ve tried to grow other Corydalis but don’t seem to have the conditions (skill?) to keep them from one year to another.

  • Only the tough survive in the front border and the next two are definitely tough!
Lysimachia clethroides

This spreads by underground runners and needs a firm hand to keep it in its place.

Rudbeckia lanciniata

This Rudbeckia seems to revel in the heat and laughs at the cracks in the ground all around it. It has reached over seven feet tall this year and last nights rain hasn’t made it flop over. It’s somewhat out of scale I suppose but the bees and hoverflies love it, the SnS ignore it and the seedheads persist well into winter. What’s not to like?

The rain seems to be holding off for now so I’m going to take the opportunity to do some repotting in the glasshouse in the cooler conditions. It’s almost been out of bounds in there this week with the temperature getting up well into the 40’s every day.

Have a great weekend, I hope the weather is kind, wherever you are. Keep in touch with our host to see what’s going on in other Sixers gardens.

Six on Saturday 17/07/21

The weather seems to have gone from one extreme to the other and summer is definitely with us at the moment. The watering systems have been turned back on for the pots and the glasshouse and the plants seem to be revelling in the sun. I have a digital thermometer in the glasshouse and yesterday afternoon it recorded a high of 46.5 degrees! That was with four roof lights, five side louvres and the door all wide open. It was about 28 degrees outside. I damped the path down a few times during the day and will be doing the same today as well.

  • The visitors have, sadly, returned home so it’s been time to catch up with the garden. It seems only a few weeks ago that I was ‘complaining’ about how many Forget-me-Nots I’d allowed to grow in the long border. It seemed to take forever to remove them all so you can imagine the look on my face when I looked into the border and saw the next crop of seedlings 😱
How could I forget them???

There were several blocks like this that took quite a lot of time to weed out but the border looked better for it. I’ll be doing another cull in a couple of weeks, I’m sure

  • It took me a long time to work out why there were certain plants that I didn’t particularly like and then I realised that the thing that they had in common was tiny leaves. It’s a bit of a generalisation because there are, of course, exceptions to the rule but I do like interesting leaves and leaves that move. One of my favourite at this moment in time is the leaf of Ipomoea lobata. The warmer weather has given these a boost and they are ascending through various plants in the garden with great speed.
  • Zantedeschia ‘Picasso’ has been flowering for a couple of weeks so I thought it had better make an appearance this week as next week might be too late.
  • The picture above was photo-bombed by some succulents so I thought I’d include one of my bowls next.
Sempervivum ‘Burnt Embers’, Sedevaria ‘Letizia’ and Echiveria chihuahensis ‘Raspberry Dip’
  • A couple of years ago I succumbed to one of those “5 unnamed Hostas for £3” or something similar offers. My previous experiences with Hostas hadn’t been great but who can resist those offers. The bare roots were duly planted in pots and all grew. Three of the plants seemed to be the same variegated variety, one had a plain leaf and the other was a (possibly) blue mouse-ear variety. I’ve kept them in pots by the froggy pond ever since and the frogs seem to keep slightly ahead of the slugs.
Mouse-ear Hosta?

There is a slight perfume to the flowers and they are beautifully marked. Apologies for the bad picture.

It co-ordinates perfectly (I’d like to say that I’d planned it but I would be lying) with Hydrangea serrata ‘Miranda’ in the border behind.

Hydrangea serrata ‘Miranda’ with it’s perfectly co-ordinated friend. The sun is making the flowers look far more pink than they are though my alkaline soil will cause that to happen in future years.
  • The Clematis continue to do well. When I planted the Amelanchier and Birch trees I planted a Clematis with each. Not unexpectedly, as the trees grew the Clematis diminished due to the dry conditions. The wet weather has given them a bit of a new lease of life.
C. ‘Etoile Violette’ in the Birch tree
C. ‘Madame Julia Correvon’ in the Amelanchier

Next week might be too late so I’m going to push my luck and include another Clematis here. I don’t know it’s name as it isn’t what I thought I was buying but it’s a very reliable variety. It has completely covered one of the Non-Gardener’s obelisks.

I’d better stop there. There’s a few plants to get in the ground before it gets too hot and a whole lot of dead heading to do. Enjoy your weekend and don’t forget to make some time to catch up with all of the other Sixers at

Six on Saturday 10/07/21

It’s been fairly overcast most of the week and we’ve had a good deal of rain. We’re a week into July, the water butts are all full to overflowing and I’ve actually turned the automatic watering systems off as the pots are all so wet. It’s certainly a strange year.

  • The patio pots are filling out despite the weather.
  • The herbaceous border is filling out, despite the slugs and snails best efforts. There have been a few losses after the wet winter and spring that will need addressing in the autumn. I would usually fill such spaces with annuals but between the weather and the pests I haven’t been left with anywhere as many as I was hoping to have. On the plus side, there are some pleasing combinations.
Achillea ‘Terracota’, Eryngium bougatii ‘Pico’s Blue’, Heuchera ‘Orangeberry’ and H. ‘Wild Rose’
  • A bit further round is Anthemis tinctoria ‘E. C. Buxton’
  • The Penstemons have finally kicked in. They didn’t do very well last year so I took loads of cuttings to overwinter and it seems to have paid off.
P. ‘Stapleford Gem’ and P. ‘Blackbird’
  • I planted Allium ‘Sphaerocephalon’ last year and didn’t see a single flower but this year –
  • The rain has suited the Clematis and they are all much taller and leafier than the previous few years. It might be my imagination but the flowers seem paler. Maybe the lack of heat and sunshine?
Clematis ‘Margot Koster’

Thanks for reading and thanks to our host at

Six on Saturday 03/07/21

  • Last year I had more pots on the patio than normal as it was lockdown time and I needed to keep myself occupied. Strangely, there seems to be rather a lot of pots out there again this year. This one is just outside of the back door and is lovely and bright to look out on, especially in this mornings rain.
Bronze Osteospermum, Solenostemon ‘Campfire’ with Ipomoea ‘Heavenly Blue’ to grow up the wall
  • A lot of my succulents live on the patio. I’ve been growing Aeonium arboreum ‘Schwarzkopf’ for a few years but vine weevils caused the plant to be re-started a couple of times and I’ve always envied the lovely tall, multi-headed specimens that other people seem able to grow. However, this year one of my plants has had a growth spurt.

The tallest branch is even developing a multihead.

  • I have a few different Zantedeschia and the first to flower is Z. ‘Red Charm’. The sun was a bit bright for the picture.
  • The fern wall is seen as a whole but some of the individual ferns are so beautiful in their own right and deserve a spotlight feature. This one is very prolific and the new fronds have a lovely pinky-bronze tint to them.
Dryopteris lepidopoda or the Sunset Fern
  • The fern wall is on a north facing fence behind a Birch tree. Just along from it is an arch with some trellis to the side. This makes rather a dark corner and it needed something to lighten it. I liked the idea of a white flowering Hydrangea and spent many a happy hour researching varieties last summer and settled on H. macrophylla ‘Dancing Snow’. I had to order it on line as I couldn’t find one locally so chose another variety as well to act as a travelling companion, wouldn’t everyone? One for a future Six. It can be a rather dry part of the garden but the wet winter and spring have helped it to settle in well and give just the effect I was after.
H. macrophylla ‘Dancing Snow’ with Dryopteris sieboldii in front
  • The front garden very much fends for itself and the gaps fill with self seeded Verbena bonariensis, Calendula, Nigella and a few others. I keep the Forget-me-Nots out of here though. Having admired them a few years ago in a friend’s garden I planted some clumps of Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’. The leaves emerge quite early in the year followed by the flowers in June. As the flower spikes ascend the leaves flop into a real mess and so last year I decided to give them the same treatment as I give the Alliums – remove all of the foliage as they come into flower. They came back just as strong this year so it doesn’t seem to have had a detrimental effect so I have repeated the process.
Most of the front garden. The Stipa gigantea has reached new heights this year.

We have family staying this week, so lovely after all of this time, so there won’t be any time for gardening, just any necessary watering. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to catch up with all the wonderful gardens brought together by our host at

Six on Saturday 26/06/21

It’s been a week of trying to catch up with the garden this week but it’s an impossible task at this time of year. Most things are growing well and the aphid infestation seems to be slowing/reversing. I haven’t seen many ladybirds, sadly, but having bought some in last year I’m hoping that their offspring are out there under cover happily munching.

  • The Fern Wall, constructed during the first lockdown, has been slow to get going after the cold spring but I’m really pleased with the effect. This is one of the few areas that can be seen from inside the house and I have really struggled over the years to get anything to grow against this north facing fence behind the Birch tree.
  • We were cat ‘owners’ for years and now we are cat-less are really enjoying welcoming the birds into the garden. Unfortunately, all of the neighbourhood cats are enjoying the birds in our garden as well. We have had to get quite cunning in the way that we feed the birds to try to foil the cats. The pots of Busy Lizzies in the above picture are to stop cats jumping up from next door and sitting on top of the Fern Wall. The pots are stood inside of fixed pots so they can’t be knocked off. Fat ball feeders are on a pulley system, only enclosed small seed feeders are now used and the N-G has raised up arms on the black crook. We’ve also bought an ultrasonic cat deterrent which seems to have reduced the cat numbers 🤞So how do the birds repay all of this kindness? By caking the plants below with poo!😂
I buy heat treated seed but the seeds in the fat balls still germinate.

From a distance the border doesn’t look too bad though

  • Further down the fence line the panels drop to four feet high, a tricky height as it’s too low for most climbers and is still north facing, although it gets sun in the middle of the day. I’ve been trying one of the lower growing Clematis, bred for pots. It’s been here for two and a half years and is slowly filling out.
Clematis ‘Samaritan Jo’

Being a bit sneaky, still under the subject of Clematis, in the main border Clematis integrifolia has come into flower this week. This is a shrubby, non-twining Clematis that I grew from seed several years ago. No doubt the lovely seed heads will appear in a Six later in the year.

  • I love the Cow Parsley type flowers and have tried to grow Ammi majus and visnaga for several years but without any great success, despite Christopher Lloyd saying how easy it is. The seeds germinate readily enough but, if I can keep the SnS away from them, the plants are nearly always rather floppy and too weak to make a great deal of impact. While reading one of my favourite seed catalogues (Chiltern Seeds) in autumn 2019 I came across Cenolophium denudatum. It’s common name is Baltic Parsley and it’s a perennial. It didn’t germinate as readily as Ammi (for me, anyway) but I had several plants to plant out this spring. It seems to be just as attractive to the insects as well. I’m very pleased with this alternative so far but time will tell.
Spot the Rose Chafer
Spot the Ghost Spider

I’ve also grown some wild carrot seed this year so should be in umbel heaven next year.

  • The Stipa tenuissima I grew last year has done so well that I’ve reluctantly pulled several out as it was going for border domination. The heavy rain earlier in the week flattened them somewhat but they’re bouncing back.
  • Not all of the hardy Geraniums made it through the very wet winter and early spring but ‘Black Beauty’ has made a very welcome return. I must divide it this autumn as it is reluctant to clump up but the dark foliage and violet-blue flowers make a beautiful combination.
Geranium pratense ‘Black Beauty’

That’s my Six (and a half) for this week. I’m going to the Rare Plant Fair near Dorchester tomorrow and can’t wait. Unfortunately, the forecast for there is heavy rain most of the day. At least the plants won’t get too dry.
Thank you for reading about my garden, enjoy your weekend, whatever the weather, and do make some time to look at the other Sixes at

Six on Saturday 19/06/21

I was going to take the pictures for todays Six yesterday afternoon and then it rained. Not heavy stuff, just enough to be a real inconvenience without actually doing much for the plants. So this really is Six on Saturday.

  • I can finally say that I have finished removing all of the Forget-me-Nots. Half a compost bay and three huge bags later I was then able to see the gaps and the slug and snail devastation 🙁 But I did gain somewhere to plant the half hardy annuals 😁
Now you see them…..
Now you don’t
  • Several years ago I planted nine Allium christophii in three groups of three in this border. I leave the seedheads on through the summer and it took a few years for me to realise that virtually every seed germinates. For the last couple of years I have pulled out literally hundreds of the grasslike seedlings but there’s still a lot of this Allium. I cut the foliage off as the flower heads start to rise but that doesn’t seem to slow them down at all. Can you have too much of a good thing? By contrast, ‘Purple Sensation’ really struggles (and the flower doesn’t last half as long).
These Alliums are from one of the original clumps
  • The Clematis got off to a great start with the wet winter and early spring and this group is looking good by the side of the garage. The Allium christophii must have come in with the homemade compost.
‘Doctor Ruppel’ and ‘Black Tea’ on the obelisk and ‘Blue Angel’ on the garage wall.

I moved ‘Blue Angel’ in early spring and it has settled in well.

  • As most of the garden can’t be seen from indoors I keep most of the winter bulbs near to the house, especially Snowdrops. Being a small garden every bit has to earn its keep through the year so in this small border I have over planted the bulbs with Hackonechloa. Probably neither plant does as well as it could on its own but it works (for me, anyway).
  • At last! I have Roses! These grow on posts and ropes at the front of the house.
R. ‘Graham Thomas, ‘White Swan’ and ‘Crown Princess Margareta’

Clematis ‘Betty Corning’ grows rather too well through the first ‘Graham Thomas’ especially on the outer, north facing side.

  • I’ve added a couple of other climbing Roses into the garden this year, one on a Clematis obelisk in the main border and a climbing ‘Gertrude Gekyll’ on a fence at the back. They’ve taken a while to get going but Gertrude has burst into bloom this week, although she’s still very short.
I hadn’t realised how busy the leaf cutter bees had been until I took this picture!

I’ve managed to plant most of the HHAs and todays job is to find a home for all of the Ipomoeas and Cobaeas. One year I might try being boring and just growing what will fit in😂

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into our garden (the Non-Gardener has to have a lot of credit for the garden diy) and there are a lot more gardens to see at

Six on Saturday 12/06/21

I was really hoping that I’d be able to say that I’ve finally finished pulling all of the Forget-me-Nots out of the borders but, sadly, I can’t. I knew there were a lot of them but it’s been ridiculous. I need another compost bin just for them! I must be more ruthless removing them next year (I have a feeling that I said that last year). The SnS have, of course, been having a field day while under cover and the Heleniums have been particularly badly eaten. I’m hoping that there’s time for them to stage a comeback. Meanwhile, here’s six other things going on in the garden this week.

  • Lonicera tellmanniana has been flowering prolifically for a couple of weeks. The volume and colour of the flowers make up for the fact that it’s scentless.

By flowering early this Honeysuckle beats the aphids, unlike L. periclymenum which, in my garden anyway, is infested every year. However, things are different this year.

Sadly, L. periclymenum is even worse. Where are the ladybirds?

  • I was admiring the Verbascums then realised that the Mullein moth had paid a visit
  • It was only a few weeks ago that I was wondering if the rain would ever stop and yet cracks are already appearing in the borders. No wonder this grass that has been swamped by F-me-N as well is suffering.
  • Allium christophii does (too) well for me but ‘Purple Sensation’ has never established itself. I read that ‘Globemaster’ is better at establishing itself so decided to try a few. It’s not as dainty as ‘P. S’ but I like. I planted five but one didn’t show.
  • I’ve not noticed one of these in the garden before – a Speckled Wood butterfly, apparently.
  • A succulent to finish with. I bought it as Tacitus graptopetalum but on the RHS website it’s name is Graptopetalum vellum.

Right, back to the Forget-me-Nots then later off to a bbq with some of the Non-Gardener’s family. First get together since before Covid! Enjoy your weekend and don’t forget to make time to peep into everyone else’s garden courtesy of our host

Six on Saturday 05/06/21

With the sunshine comes the weeds and I spent an afternoon tackling the ones in the front garden. As the saying goes, a weed is just a plant in the wrong place and I could really relate to that as I pulled out, among other things, Verbena bonariensis, Calendula, Nigella and miscellaneous poppies. There were some weed weeds as well but it’s funny to think that I spent several years trying to get the Verbena to spread around and now I compost soooooo much of it.
Enough of weeds, it’s time for six things from my garden.

  • Sorbus ‘Autumn Spire’ is still quite a young tree and hasn’t flowered much in previous years but is having a good go this year. The bees are really enjoying themselves.

As well as the bees the Rose Cockchafers have arrived. On Gardeners Question Time the other week someone was asking if they were harmful to the plants. The answer was that some damaged flowers was a small price to pay for having a few of these beautiful beetles in the garden.

However, things can get out of balance! I found these, and many, many more, grubs in the compost bin last spring. The pot is 8” in diameter! You can have too much of a good thing.

  • I’ve started putting some of the succulents on the new ladder and this weeks favourite is Sedum furfuraceum.
  • The herbaceous plants are really enjoying the warmer weather. I moved this Astrantia to its new location last spring and it sat and sulked through the hot, dry summer (despite me watering it) but was, presumably putting all its efforts into root growth. The bright conditions don’t do it photographic justice, or maybe it’s just the ‘photographer’ that doesn’t. The Verbascums are starting to do their thing to add to the picture.

Climbing Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ was planted against the fence in the spring and is growing well but not yet visible.

  • I usually plant a lot of Fuchsias in the summer patio pots but took the decision to have a break from them for a while (so hard to do) due to a big gall mite problem. I’m hoping that with a break and then fresh stock plants the cycle will be broken 🤞. The only one not affected last year was F. ‘Lechlade Gordon’. In previous years it has flowered late in the season but last years cuttings have decided that now is a good time to flower.
  • The late frosts caught a lot of the new growth on plants but the Nandina was sensible and delayed producing new shoots until now. Rather late but very welcome colour. Nandina domestica ‘Obsessed’
  • I rely on self-seeded Foxgloves around the garden and they seem to be in short supply in the back garden this year. I’ve sown seed for next year to bulk them up and also transplanted some seedlings from the front garden to plant out later on. This Foxglove put itself in the perfect spot in front of the purple Hazel among emerging Allium christophii.

The Non-Gardener is out for the day so it’s a day in the garden for me. It’s time to start removing the Forget-me -Nots and seeing whether the slugs and snails have eaten everything that has been hidden from view by the sea of blue.

Thank you for reading, have a great weekend and don’t forget to make time time to visit

Six on Saturday 29/05/21

Finally, some sunshine and warmth in the forecast. Long overdue and well deserved I reckon. Outside, things are a bit slow because of the cold weather but it’s showing mostly in the glasshouse. A while back I was worried that the first sowing of Cosmos wasn’t doing very well and so sowed some more. They germinated well, were pricked out and potted on and have sat and sulked ever since. They were very spindly and the leaves were very stunted (note the use of the past tense) and so this week I made the hard decision to compost them. The first sowing plants have done better but are still quite small and it’ll be a few weeks before I’m planting them out. There’s a few other things that have been given the “you’re running out of time to prove yourself” talk but I’m hoping the warmer, lighter weather will spur them into growth. Meanwhile, here are my Six for this week.

  • I have two varieties of Geum and this is the first to flower.
Geum ‘Mai Tai’
  • I sowed some Aquilegia ‘McKana Hybrid’ seeds plus seeds that I’d saved from a dwarf variety in autumn 2019 and left them in the coldframe. The germination rate wasn’t great but the resulting seedlings were grown on and planted out last autumn. The parent dwarf Aquilegia has disappeared but I’m very pleased with it’s offspring.
  • The Clematis have thrived in the damp conditions and ‘Dr Ruppel’ has produced its first flower. The outer edges of the sepals are usually a bit lighter so it will be interesting to see what happens as the season progresses.
  • The Heucheras have, mostly, done well and are adding some lovely colour to the borders.
H. ‘Wild Rose’. The colour has come out very true in this photo
  • The last Heuchera is at the front of a south-west facing border and these next ones are facing north as the paler leaves varieties don’t like too much sun, apparently.
H. ‘Caramel’ and, hidden in the Forget-me-Nots, H. ‘Guacamole’
  • The Dutch Iris have finally opened this week and add some lovely colour and height to the main border at this time of the year.
I’m hoping that the slugs and snails have left some of the plants that have been smothered by the Forget-me-Nots.

We’re leaving the travelling to everyone else this bank holiday (in the UK) weekend and are going to enjoy the good weather at home. I’m not sure what the Non-Gardener has planned but I’m planning to spend most of it in the garden 😁

For inspiration and ideas head to

Six on Saturday 22/05/21

Welcome to another soggy, windy Six on Saturday. I went outside between the downpours yesterday to take some pictures for today and found the ground littered with leaves that have been blown off of the Birch and Amelanchier trees. The weather has certainly given them a hard time recently. The Cosmos, Zinnias and other seedlings in the glasshouse haven’t really put on any growth this last week so I decided to take the shading down on Thursday to see if the increased light level would help. They could do with an increased temperature level as well! Enough of the moaning – here’s my Six.

  • The Caltha palustris looked better when it was standing upright but it’s still a lovely splash of colour on these dreary days.

  • The front of the house faces virtually due north and I have spent years trying to get plants to grow on the porch steps. A few years ago I tried some ferns and they have done really well since. The new growth on Dryopteris wallichiana (Alpine Wood Fern) is very striking at the moment.

Dryopteris wallichiana
  • The roses on the ropes and posts in the front garden have responded well to a very hard prune this year and are full of buds. This time last year they had been flowering for several weeks though.
Rosa ‘White Swan’
  • Weigela florida ‘Variegata’ is in a mixed hedge along the drive. It’s somewhat overshadowed by a Viburnum and a winter honeysuckle and so is a bit weedy. But when it flowers ………

  • Variegated Honesty self seeds about and some years there are a lot of plants in the garden and some years there aren’t. This is a not many year but those that have made it are an impressive size.
Despite the rain the Dutch Iris are starting to flower
  • Amazingly, Tulip ‘Groenland’ is still standing, sort of

It’s forecast to be mostly dry today here, a respite before tomorrows rain. I’m hoping to get outside later to do some clearing up and some SnS rounding up (they’re having a field day) – exciting stuff 😂. Have a great weekend and thanks for reading.

See all of the other Sixes at