Six on Saturday 18-9-21

I am finally willing to admit that it is really autumn now. What’s great, though, is that the weather has been warm and clement and thus there are so many flowers smiling their colour and form at us. I’m going to focus on pink colours for this week’s #SixonSaturday, here we go. First, hot pink comes from knautia macedonia, this plant has been blasting out stunning colour in the middle of the border for many weeks.

I sowed many different colours of cosmos this year. The warm summer, and the wet spell in August has suited them very well. I had lots to choose from for the pink theme, a duo-tone little number has got to be my favourite this year.

Back to the hot pink theme, with burst of brightness from the rose. I don’t know the variety, sadly, there is no perfume. But this one is a shrub rose that flowers for months when deadheaded regularly.

Japanese anemone is a lovely autumn flower. This one sways away in some of my shady borders, robust to winds, pale enough to glow in the evening light (despite the melancholy of that evening light come awfully early now.

A good friend gave me a few snap dragon seedlings this year, most of which have romped along, some in striking colours, some more delicate. A very pale pink shows how the pastels can really show off the interesting form of the flower.

Last, but by no means least, the real hero of the season is colchicum. This garden makes them thrive. A few years ago a generous neighbour gave me a dozen clumps. They have spread to really fill the front of several borders. Always a nice surprise when some of the summer growth splurge of other plants is cleared away.

That’s my #sixonsaturday for this week. I’m off to show some family visitors round the garden today, I’ll be sharing all the wonderful plants with them this weekend. Stay safe, keep gardening, 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 11-9-21

After the shocking Indian Summer heat of early this week, there’s much hope for still not using the A-word for this week’s #SixonSaturday. Whatever the season, it is time to show off some of the ripening greenhouse harvest. A range of new tomatoes were tried this year, with various levels of success. Mille Fleures was advertised as having dozens of little toms on single trusses. There were huge numbers of flowers, but not that many set, though those that did have been sweet and delicious so far.

For year’s I’ve struggled with what kinds of tomato to grow on the greenhouse bench. There’s about 1m of height, too high for a typical bush, too low for a cordon. Realseeds.co.uk offered a couple of what they called ‘sprawling bush’ varieties this year. This one is Latah, and has been just the trick, filling the spaces near the windows very nicely, about 1m high, quite sprawly, and producing early and very sweet fruit.

My next two varieties are of the more traditional cordon type. Jen’s Tangerine have delivered middling numbers of very orange-yellow fruit, which looks great in a mixed-tomato bowl or salad, tasty too.

Last of my favourite toms for this season are Trixie, with fruit on long trusses and a wonderful rich red colour and sweetness. It’s been a very warm summer in Scotland, the toms have done their best and I’m currently looking for recipes to use them most deliciously.

Other plants that have really benefitted from the heat have been chillies. All are still ripening. Regulars in my greenhouse are pyramid, pointy and fairly mid-heat, these will go into most dishes.

I will finish this week with the most exciting new plant in the greenhouse this year: Chinese Dragon’s Tail, these are very fiery, even more so if they are left to ripen to a full red. Great in a Thai curry or jamabalaya.

I hope you enjoyed my greenhouse six for this Indian Summer Saturday. Stay safe, keep gardening, 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 4-9-21

The garden and I are determined to hang onto the end of summer. This week I suspect we have hit peak dahlia. I’m therefore dedicating this week’s Six to #dahlialove. First up, this year a friend gave me some of her spare dahlia seeds. I’ve never grown dahlia from seed before, but I certainly will again. This pair of blooms show the possible range. Most of my 6 plants are now pretty large, not all have flowered, but those that have are prolific, with the simple bright flowers loved by bees and hoverflies.

Sticking with the simple flower, theme, I have very much enjoyed growing “Bishop’s Children” this year. Again, simple flowers, each produced on gorgeous purple foliage, and each plants has a slightly different colour form. My next two show some of the range.

In previous years I have shied away from the full fluffy gaudy dahlia, partly because they are not very insect friendly. This year I really fancied trying a few. My last 3/6 for this week demonstrate what a great decision that was. They are are in pots, scattered around a large area of pots in a hot sunny corner next to the greenhouse. One of the plants has blooms so dark they almost look chocolate, against pale green foliage that really sets them off.

The next, I was very unsure of on purchase, and even as the first flower opened. I’m almost converted to the huge blooms (bigger than an outstretched hand), and duo-colour. Here she is.

Finally, I am head-over-heels with one plant, purchased for a pretty penny from one of those ‘posh plant’ suppliers. But this one was SO worth it, showing off an intricate pattern of spiky petals, each one a mic of peach-pink. It is so delicate, and so simultaneously blousy. This beauty is one of my favourite flowers of the whole year.

I hope you enjoyed my six for this late summer Saturday. Stay safe, keep gardening, 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 28-8-21

Another sunny weekend demonstrating that my moping about the rainy weather last weekend did the trick. As indeed did the rain. The garden borders are full of late summer colour. I’m planning to sit back and relax in the garden this weekend (not a bank holiday for all of us, so will have to make the most of Sat-Sun), and just look at it (no weeding, honest!….well maybe just a little). So I bring you hot summer colours to celebrate that it IS STILL (just) SUMMER. First up, I managed to bring on many cosmos this year, and have all kinds of colours bobbing away in the breeze, keeping the hoverflies happy. This is one of my favourites.

Having enjoyed some regular rain, and unusual warmth, crocosmia lucifer has lasted longer, and grown taller, than in many summers.

Despite a late flurry of the delicate, beautiful, pesky large white butterfly, nasturtiums have blasted away as usual. This year, I’ve grown them in the same pots as sweetpea. At this time of year they nicely cover the faded sweetpea foliage.

Pelargoniums have had a good year, they respond well to under-watering (I have so many pots this year, it has been hard to keep on top of the action. In recent years I have focused on growing only the very brightest red ones to maximise that happy summer feeling.

When earliest August delivered a deluge of rain, a couple of my rose bushes lost pretty much all their flowers, which went totally to mush. Some quick dead-heading (I’m getting better at that) results in another flush of blooms…..these don’t have a scent, but do look lovely.

I’d been tempted to focus on dahlia this week, but there are a few about to bloom (some for the first time this year), so maybe that theme will appear next week. For now, I’ve gone for my best ‘hot-colour’ dahlia of the year. This could be ‘Bishop’s Children’. Whatever it is, the mix of orange-pinky flowers on purple foliage is an absolute wonder, so seems a fitting end to this week’s hot-summer #Six.

I hope you enjoyed my six for this late summer Saturday. Stay safe, keep gardening, 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 21-8-21

August has been a bit disappointing with lots of rain, but it seems that eastern Scotland has had the best of the weather in the second half of this week. Lots of warm sunshine to tempt me out of endless worky zoom meetings. After last week’s veg-fest, I will head back to a colour theme this week. I’m finding choosing a colour very satisfying as there are still very many lovely blooms to choose from. This week I thought I’d indulge you in my favourite colour, purple (-ish). I possibly wasn’t aware that some of my new clematis would be late flowering. This was one, and has been very much worth the wait for it’s velvety richness.

From large blousy flowers to tiny productive ones. Marjoram pops up in many of my sunny borders. Loved by bees and hoverflies, looks nice to fill odd corners in a vase of flowers, and then it can be cooked with. What a versatile all-rounder.

Perhaps I don’t have this next plant in the sunniest border, for me it does not deliver it’s spiky alien-like flowers every year, but the warmth of July has coaxed acanthus into action this year.

August is a time for butterflies, and if one wants butterflies, then budlija has got to be the one. This one is almost violently fragrant, tall, statuesque, each plant hosts half a dozen gorgeous peacock butterflies (other lepidoptera species are also available).

A new departure for my garden this year, I always wanted a late-flowering allium. Turns out that if you forget your leeks and leave them to blot, this is what happens in August. Wow.

Last for me this week is another favourite, again doesn’t flower every year, and from viewing others ‘sixers’ I had to wait a good 4-6 weeks longer than many. The agapanthus are out and waving exotically in the warm breeze….ahhhh.

I hope you enjoyed my purply six as we cling on to summer…a few more weeks perhaps? 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 14-8-21

This is the Saturday that would have been the date of the village Flower and Produce show. Although most restrictions are now lifted, I can understand why it’s cancelled (for the 2nd year running of course), a small hall, people handling produce, judges to organise, the worry that many might stay away. Instead, I’ll spend the weekend harvesting and admiring my own fruit and veg. So my #SixonSaturday this week is very much a ‘not the village show’ offering. The irony is that this year I have fabulous courgettes. Some years, when cold weather stalls the plants, there are a few shrivelled little fruit. I even won 3rd prize one year with one (of the 3) fruit that was just a wee bit mouldy…but not this year, look at this beauty.

It has been a good pea season. These last couple of years I’ve paid more attention to variety, growing one ‘standard’ pea..Kelvedon Wonder this year, and one climbing snap pea, Spring Blush. The latter have been lovely, crisp and crunchy, the former have grown very well, enjoying the long periods of warm dry, then cool wet. There would have been a bowlful to show.

I will admit that a lot of my more reliable veg are grown in the greenhouse. Tomatoes are a bit slow off the mark this year, but here they go. These are Latah, sold as a bush tomato, so easy to deal with, kind of sprawly, but about the right size to grow on the 1m high greenhouse bench.

Chillies are beginning to fruit well too, they are a little green (we’ve had some cool weather), but good enough to cook with already. I think these are a simple jalapeno. More exotic varieties may appear on the blog in later weeks.

I also grow achocha, a south American vine, best in greenhouse (but will also grow up a warm south-facing wall). About 3-4cm long. Don’t eat the scary spikey black seeds, but deseed, chop, and they are good in a stir-fry in place of bell peppers.

Back outside finally to the finale of the soft fruit season (excepting the autumn raspberries that are still maturing). Currants, my favourite are black, sweet and sharp, my other-half’s favourite are white (or might these be called pinkberries?). In a good year, I often win prizes for both of these — this year well focus on the eating of them.

That’s my #SixonSaturday for this week. I hope to sit in the garden today with a friend and she can judge my veg. I hope we’ll be able to get together for a local veg-growing group event next year. 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 7-8-21

It’s a birthday #SixonSaturday for me this week, so it simply has to be lots of August border flowers. The form of astrantia has appealed to be for a long time. Each flower is incredibly detailed and delicate, yet these hard workers are long lasting and robust.

August in my garden means crocosmia season. Lucifer is tall and brilliant red. This year has delivered fewer blooms, but I’m still managing a bit of ‘drift’ across the width of the border.

I dug up a few root cuttings from a neighbour a couple of years ago, and now have helianthus rising tall and proud in several small clumps. I’d love to see these in the wild, north American prairie I think…one day….

Calendula are grown from seed this year, and planted close to the veg beds to bring in pollinators. Seems to be doing the trick as the runner beans are starting to set, and flowers on calendula so pretty too.

I don’t think I ever planted oxeye daisies, them seem to have invited themselves to the party. Wonderful in the garden and the vase, I’d better pick more before the rain sets in again.

Last, but not least, the later lilies have begun to bloom. I sort-of-love that sweet sticky smell that pulls in the hoverflies, I certainly love looking at them.

That’s my Six for this week, I think I’ll sit in the storm and view the flowers all weekend. I hope your garden is delivering on warmth and garden joy, wherever you are. 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 31-7-21

This weekend starts with an ‘extra’ July Saturday, and thus an extra July #SixonSaturday too. I’m still loving the unexpected warmth, the threatened rain this week was heavy, but not flattening, and has perked up the parched borders. Back to blooms this week, and to limit my currently bewildering choices, I’ve chosen a colour theme: yellow. About 10 years ago I was given a tiny piece of mimulus to pop into the pond. Now the pond is swathed in a band of the stuff, right round the perimeter, lasting for weeks on end, with facinating flowers that each have their own insect landing lights.

Out of the pond and into the shady borders, St. John’s Wort is a local native and self-seeds as a smallish shrub. Nicely fills a space, has lovely flowers, and great berries into Autumn.

A related plant, but somewhat more sun loving is a larger-flowered hypericum, the variety of which I don’t know the name of. Flowers are teacup sized and full of detail.

On a sunny wall I grow a Californian native, that has travelled with me since I bought my first little flat years ago in Newcastle. Fremontodendron is a small tree with a long name, and somehow makes it through a Fife winter when growing against a south-facing and cosy wall. Similar sized flowers to the big hypericum, but on an actual tree growing about 3m tall…..NICE.

Back to the dry sunny borders for my last couple of favourites. Bobbing about above the border are a group of giant scabious dressed in pale yellow flowers. Loved by bees, and a gentle speader, these plants tend to move around the border rather than clogging it.

Last for me this week is a real garden border thug. Loosestrife will take over if left to itself, but the swathes of bright tall stems filled with flower and worth losing a few smaller plants to. These are ever cheerful, and make a great statement when plonked into a vase.

That’s all from me this week, stay safe folks. I hope your summer is delivering on warmth and garden joy, wherever you are. 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 24-7-21

A week of summer heat. Even in Fife the temperatures got to 25 deg C this week, followed by a fair few cool nights when the sea haar came in and took until midday to burn off. We’ve had 10 days with warm sunshine so far (shhhh, think the weather is due to break….). My garden has held up, despite the dry and warm weather. I use the can to water sensitive clematis and some of the delicate annuals, a sprinkler on the veg bed, everything else takes its chances. Somehow the slug and snail fest seems worse than usual, I wonder if the little critters are using my dahlias as their main drink of the day? With that in mind, and while they are still gorgeous, I’m going to choose dahlia as my #SixonSaturday this week.

A new try this year, Mignon Purple has huge blooms on a long stem. My partner loves these, but I’m still not sure.

There is something understated yet lovely about the singles, this is Happy Single Flame, with wonderful bronze foliage setting off simple flowers (and bees love them).

My first ever white dahlia, I like My Love much more than I’d expected too, she almost lives up to her name.

Until realising ‘it was a thing’ via Gardener’s World, and a friend who had a seed packet, I’d never thought of trying to grow dahlia from seed. A few plants are well on their way now, this is the first to flower. I like the simple plant form, and this one is covered in flowers.

Back to showy now, this year I invested in a few tubers from more ‘upscale’ suppliers. This is the lovely Summer Flame. I have just the one plant, but it is full of rich oranginess, very pleasing.

Last and by no means least, WOW, Babylon Red is a tall plants with really huge, really really red flowers. This one greets me every morning at the greenhouse door. I hope there will be more blooms after the first flush, stunning.

I grow almost all my dahlias in pots so that they can can a good start in the greenhouse before moving outdoors. They’ve done a great job so far this year, adding colour and joy to the mid summer garden.

That’s all from me this week, stay safe folks. I hope your summer is delivering on warmth and garden joy, wherever you are. 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 17-7-21

In a stark yet satisfying contrast to last week, I’m writing my #sixonsaturday garden blog on a wonderfully warm summer evening. 9pm, in Fife, and its 22 deg. This kind of summer’s evening is full of delicate scent, long-suppressed joy, and just a hint of nervousness that we’ll have 3 days of this summer and then it will be gone. To celebrate, my Six this week will focus on some of the hots reds that are showing off this week.

I’m not a huge rose fan, and despite my neglect this summer has really come up roses. They are spectacular this year, including this big blousy red variety. I don’t know the name but the scent is gorgeous.

Next is a more dainty proposition by far. Knautia macedonia is shaking her rich blooms in the evening light.

Pelargonia are enjoying the heat of the full sun on the stone courtyard each day. These are on year 3 or 4, I winter them in the greenhouse and they deliver for me each summer.

I’ve been augmenting salads for a week or so now with a range of spicy nasturtiums. This year, a pack of mixed seeds have given quite a few plants with rich red flowers that look and taste stunning in a green salad.

Apart from some slug and snail damage, I’m doing well with dahlia this summer. My new trick is to grow them on in the greenhouse until 30cm tall, or more, before hardening off. This has resulted in stronger, sturdier plants that are flowering earlier than in many years. First, a ‘real red’.

And for my sixth and last bloom of the week, a darker richer, red. That’s my #sixonsaturday for the week. I hope your summer is delivering on warmth and garden joy, wherever you are. Don’t forget to follow the crowd on twitter and via the web from links to the originator of #SixonSaturday, the Propagator himself.