Six on Saturday 13-8-22

I’m very excited this week that my local village hall flower and produce show is back on, for the first time in 3 years. My #SixonSaturday this week are therefore simply 6 of my entries in the fruit and vegetable sections.

First, my dilemma, should I show the 3 small chillies, one of which has a little stretch mark down the side, or the chunky ones, one of which still has a little green colouring at one end? I’m very proud of the big ones, so went with them in the end.

Given how many courgettes there have been this year, I was a little disappointed regarding my options. I suspect the dry weather has paused fruiting on some of the plants. Ah well, knowing that uniformity wins points, I’ve had to go for 2 biggies and a small one.

French beans, on the other hand, are looking rather good. I went for uniform length, and plumpness. Not perfect, but I’m fairly happy with this lot.

Tomatoes have fruited early and are looking gorgeous, leaving me quietly confident. There are two classes: ‘3 tomatoes’ and ‘5 cherry tomatoes’, I’m going for both, with aurora and chocolate cherry.

On the fruit side, there isn’t much left. Strawbs are long-gone. Autumn raspberries appear to be taking a little rest. After picking a few white currants and red currents, the blackbirds got in and scoffed the rest. but they didn’t get into the blackcurrent net, and some have been shaded enough to last until now. Quite pleased!

Finally, sharing the net were my 3 gooseberry bushes. One has had a rough summer. The red on produced huge numbers of fruit, but rather small. My last bush has delivered plump, juicy, sweet fruit. I hope the judges like them too.

That’s my #SixonSaturday this week. Wish me luck, I’ll be heading down to the hall later to bask in veg-winning glory. Stay safe, take care out there, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on twitter and via the web from links to the originator of #SixonSaturday, the Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 6-8-22

The first #SixonSaturday of August brings a tired garden (and gardener). There has finally been some rain, but not enough to revive the flower beds: there has been lots of clearing of dried up flowers to get to. Life is happier in the greenhouse, with tomato varieties now ripening apace. I’m hoping there will be some good one to take to my local flower and veg show in a week’s time: the first in 3 years, I’m really looking forward to it. In anticipation, this week’s #SixonSaturday is a tomato special.

As advertised by the wonderful realseeds.co.uk, Urbikany, is a bit of a sprawling bush, that sits well on the greenhouse bench and produces very early delicious juicy tomatoes. We’ve been eating these beauties for a while (though I didn’t use fresh seed this year, I had had a few left over from 2021, and the plants have been a bit weedy by comparison).

Far less satisfactory, both this year and last, are another variety from the same supplier. Millefleur are supposed to produce a big cluster of tiny little toms. They are not ripe yet, and when they are, the fruit will be a pleasing yellow, but so many of the flowers don’t yield fruit. Any suggestions?

Perhaps my favourite tomato in terms of flavour is the sungold. A good, vigorous cordon, with a good few sets of lovely orange fruit that are super sweet. And they don’t all ripen at once (though I hope a few do for the show, I need five for the ‘cherry tom’ category).

A new variety for me this year has been aurora. I wish I’d read the instructions properly, where it did clearly say the bush/cordon would only make it to about 4ft. At least I know I didn’t do anything wrong. There are not many fruit, but they are huge, sweet and very juicy. I’ll have another go at these next year.

My second favourite cherry tom is the chocolate cherry, very sweet and a lovely colour, what’s not to love?

Last, and I hope not least, it looks like it might be a few more weeks before we get to try tigrella. This stripy little number will turn red, but will retain the dark/light stripes. Fun in the salad bowl.

That’s my #SixonSaturday Anyone got any suggestions for must-try tomato varieties for next year? Have a good weekend. Stay safe, take care out there, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on twitter and via the web from links to the originator of #SixonSaturday, the Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 30-7-22

Five Saturday’s in July, how did we get to the end already? A more normal summer has resumed in Fife this week, a little rain to perhaps bring the flower beds back to life , and properly cool. Lots to see now, on both the veg and flower fronts. I’ve hoped to add a little sunshine by going for a yellow theme for this week’s #SixonSaturday.

Starting with edibles, I’ve tried to do a bit of successional planting of tomatoes this year. The first of the crop are now ready to eat, while a few plants are still producing flowers. Finger’s crossed there will be enough light for these to flourish.

From the greenhouse to the garden. Apparently ‘Fremontodendron’ (from California) can be tricky to grow in the UK. My small tree sits on a south facing wall, and probably loves the dry and sandy conditions. It also somehow manages to weather the fierce westerlies and rain of a Scottish winter.

Most years I bring on 6 or more courgette plants, assuming that a few will droop and die on cold spring/summer nights. They’ve all made it this year, and here’s a lovely yellow fruit from courgette ‘atena’. I’m inundated already, anyone got any recipes?

Although not the regular St. John’s Wort, I think this is also a hypericum. In a usual summer, it flowers for weeks. This year, most flowers got hammered by the heatwave. I’m going to try more deadheading in the hope that they might have another go. This flower comes with a free hoverfly.

To edibles again. I planted a few squash ‘Kuri’ this year, but only in early July. I hope they will pull themselves together and get fruiting. The flowers have started, fingers crossed.

This week’s sixth choice is a snap of monkey flower. Living near the pond, this plant has spread about 2/3 of the way round. It offers a blast of summer colour and lots of nectar for the bees. Wonderful.

That’s my #SixonSaturday Have a good weekend. Stay safe, take care out there, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on twitter and via the web from links to the originator of #SixonSaturday, the Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 23-7-22

How hot did it get in your garden? I felt privileged to be in Scotland during the heat emergency. Here it got to 29 deg C, with what I think of as ‘proper hot weather’ for just two days. I must admit to enjoying to novelty, though inspection of the garden has since revealed quite a bit of stress: not least because we have not had rain for weeks! In honour of what I hope is a very rare phenomenon, here are some hot reds for this week’s #SixonSaturday, to commemorate the heatwave.

Most interesting first? I picked up a few cala lily quorms at the Chelsea Flower Show in May. This one is a gorgeous rich red, as are its stems.

Despite the heat, some careful feed and watering has allowed a few sweetpeas to keep going, one of them a rich red (shame the resting hoverfly wasn’t quite in focus!).

I’ve shown these as one of my six recently, but here they are again, as I can’t look at them enough. I love a big blousy bright red dahlia.

A couple of edibles next. I kept the greenhouse as cool as I could with wide open doors and windows, and regular dousing of the floor with buckets of water (still great to work at home sometimes!). The tomatoes loved it, and the first few are ripening now.

The heat also seems to have boosted the beans. This year, I have fewer plants, but each one is producing swathes of red flowers. It’s almost time for beans.

Last, one of my favourite flowers of the summer (though I can’t quite work out how we got here so fast) has just started to bloom. Crocosmia lucifer is here.

That’s my #SixonSaturday Have a good weekend, the weather here is back to normal, I’ll be harvesting lots of berries which instantly ripened in last week’s heat. Stay safe, take care out there, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on twitter and via the web from links to the originator of #SixonSaturday, the Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 16-7-22

Fife is SO dry, and even here we’re going to hit mid-high 20 degC in the next 4 days. It seems that the dry spell has brought on the dahlias, so THIS is the week for my first dahlia special #SixonSaturday of the season. I bought a couple of mixed collections, and have some old favourites, from tubers kept from previous years, and even from some plants that have been grown from seed. The absolute classic is a bright red, full-on perfect dahlia.

Some of the new plants have flowers that are gorgeously hard to describe, like this one, a sort of peach-to-red, with a dark centre that will end up with little yellow flecks (I think).

A small plant last year, now I have a 30cm high, 20cm wide robust plants with a very simply single-colour pink flower, the bees love this one.

Back to a newby, I was going to call this one peach-red. The complexity is stunning, starting from the bi-coloured outer petals, to the inner flame-like small petals, and captivating wine-yellow centre. I think it’s my new favourite.

Next up, another simple beauty, pink with a hint of yellow near the centre. Could be ‘Bishop’s Children’, she’s not quite a perfect specimen, but illustrates a hoverfly getting drunk on her nectar.

Last, another classic full, yet simple dahlia, in a pale orange-yellow. I got one plant last year, it flowered for many many weeks, it’s much bigger this year, and has just started to flower for me.

That’s my #SixonSaturday Have a good weekend, I’m off to give my MANY pots a good long drink and a feed, as they will need to weather the incoming heat next week. Stay safe, take care out there, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on twitter and via the web from links to the originator of #SixonSaturday, the Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 2-7-22

Thank goodness for the garden. I’ve been at home for a week with my first experience of Covid. One I’d rather not have enjoyed. The garden has been a great place to sit and fight the virus, and is now easing me back into some gentle exercise. Lots to do now that we’re into July. I’ve gone for pink this week, from the slightest hint, to the hottest intensity.

Starting with just a reminder of pink, bits of the complex astrantia flower are pink, making for an intricate pinkish flavour.

From pink, fading to white as the flowers finish. A rambling rose rambles up its pole to form a 3x3m cloud of fragrant pinkness.

For years I didn’t think much about snapdragons. Last year a friend gave me a few seedlings, which have run right through a winter into flowering glory in their 2nd season.

Hardy geranium fill many of my garden’s extensive borders. This one flower for weeks and weeks with small, but copious blooms.

I’m suspicious that dahlia are going to be my ‘flowers of the year’. This is the third type to flower so far, and WOW….pink, with hints of peach right through to a wine-red centre.

And for my last flower this week, we’re back to the humble rose. I don’t know the variety but it has a strong ‘rosy’ perfume and is SO hot pink that the camera can only handle pics taken on a part-shady morning. JOY.

That’s my six for this week. I hope there’s a good warm weekend coming to enjoy the garden even more. Stay safe, take care out there, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on twitter and via the web from links to the originator of #SixonSaturday, the Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 25-6-22

I love the light nights around midsummer, walks in the evening, sitting outside for drinks. This year is a bit subdued as Covid finally came to the house: my partner is positive and needs his feverish brow mopping regularly. So, haven’t been out much. But that’s left lots of time for the garden. And I’m celebrating a midsummer #SixonSaturday by focusing on red flowers this week.

We’ll kick off with the cheerful window boxes of geranium in the courtyard house entrance. It can be a very hot and dry location, these plants seem to love that.

I supposed one could argue this rose is close to pink, but it’s such a lovely rose (with a superb fragrance) that I wanted to include it.

It seems rare, to me at least, to find a red shade loving plant. Here’s the one I love: astrantia.

I like to pick up bulbs, quorms, etc while visiting garden shows. I remember that these lilies came from the Malvern RHS show, spring 2019. Wow.

One or two of the garden beds are south facing, with poor soil, and stone walls behind: it gets hot and dry, even in Scotland. thus making a fine spot for valerian to grow.

Last, but very much my favourite flower this week, is the first of the dahlia. What a rich red, handful of joy.

That’s my six for this week. I hope there’s a good warm weekend coming to enjoy the garden even more. Stay safe, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on twitter and via the web from links to the originator of #SixonSaturday, the Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 18-6-22

Wow, what a couple of weeks. I’ve travelled overseas for the first time in 3 years, to enjoy a couple of weeks hiking in the Austrian Alps. The flower meadows and mountainsides were just stunning. For my #SixonSaturday here’s some of my memories of the native rock gardens, to celebrate wild plants.

I’ve always loved to hike, though these days hikes take longer and tend to be lower. However, I managed to view a whole range of habitats in both the Seefeld and Achensee regions by walking from the valley floor, or taking the gondola to start above 1700m. The best plant of the trip was found in fairly low level (900m-ish) dark, damp, shady forest. We saw just one flower in the whole trip, but WOW…ladies slipper in the wild.

Orchids abound in the wet damp forest clearings, most commonly (and really common, sometimes 10-20 flowers in each sq-m) the pink ones.

In sunnier spots there were often clumps of white flowers, that I THINK are also an orchid species.

Another favourite landscape for the trip was the harsh quick-drying limestone. I had to look these up, but I think they are pyrola rotundiflora, appearing in large clumps at the very edge of limestone rubble areas.

Higher up, near the limestone peaks, anemonies appeared in the afternoons — though I’ve no idea where they were hiding in the morning.

Finally, and perhaps my favourite, the glory of the highest pastures, gentian were everywhere, glowing with blueness.

What a trip! I dreaded the travelling, and it wasn’t fun now I’m out of the habit, but what a beautiful magical landscape. By next weekend I’ll have had time to appraise what early summer has brought to my own garden. Stay safe, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on twitter and via the web from links to the originator of #SixonSaturday, the Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 11-6-22

Rather than a colour theme, I’m trying a shape for my #SixonSaturday this week: pointy plants. First up, I love a solid-colour lupin, and I particularly love this rich pink one.

And for a cool look in a hot border, white lupins are looking lovely too.

Both the above plants were offspring of this next one. It does seem popular to breed multi-coloured lupins, and this one is fun, but I do actually like too plainer ones better.

I picked up a bag full of persicaria a few years ago. I’m not hugely keen on the foliage, it looks a little wild, but the flowers, ooooo, lovely lollipops.

This next plant is a bit of a cheat, the red hot poker is only JUST colouring up, but I’m already pleased with it.

Last, but very much not least, this is the very first of the foxglove. Gorgeous.

That’s my #SixonSaturday for this week. Stay safe, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on twitter and via the web from links to the originator of #SixonSaturday, the Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 4-6-22

My #SixonSaturday this week was so hard to choose, the joy of the June garden. As they are so fleeting I’ve gone for an iris special. The first few of these are found in the pond. First, and best, a stunning white-blue water iris.

These are complemented by a variegated yellow water iris, not as delicate, though the foliage gives plenty of pond interest once the fleeting flowering season is gone.

Also in the pond, we allowed someone to give us a UK-native flag iris some years ago. Although lovely, they do grow and grow and spread and spread.

Now for the drier spots in the garden where iris thrive. I love iris siberica. There’s a deep lovely purple one that looks superb just now.

And on close inspection, I never noticed before that I own another blue variety too, this one with a hint of yellow.

That’s my #SixonSaturday for this week. Stay safe, and don’t forget to follow the crowd on twitter and via the web from links to the originator of #SixonSaturday, the Propagator himself.