Category Archives: Gardening

Six on Saturday 23-10-21

In a week when I’ve had a few days away in the mountains, bathed in the misty chestnut hues of autumn, it was startling to come home to a garden still showing off it’s vibrant colours. Here are some of my best reds this week for #SixonSaturday.

In the greenhouse, a few toms and chillis hold on, with most leaves stripped off the bright sun is achieving some ripening. You can’t get redder than this.

Having dug the last of my potatoes on Friday, one of the veg beds has had its cardboard jacket put on for winter. In the other, there is still much deliciousness, including a favourite patch of rainbow chard, this one’s one of the best.

I’ve grown more and more nasturtiums over the last few years. When the sweetpeas die back, I have these in the same pot and they grow up and over the drying sweetpea stems. This year it looks like they will make it until November. A new mix this year has thrown up some extra-red flowers.

Despite a major sulking period in the middle of a wet spell in August, what appeared to be a poor showing from autumn raspberries turned out to merely be a delay. The fruit are huge, shiny, juicy, and starting to fill my freezer. I can feel some jam-making coming on soon.

There are some plants that sit in the middle of the border looking boring all year, then they do this: smokebush doing its rich smoky purply-red thing.

And last, but by very no means least, I’ll try to keep adding a dahlia into my six until they have all finished….will this be the last week? Has got to be one of my favourite flowers of all this year.

That’s my passionate red #SixonSaturday for another week, hope you enjoyed the view. Stay safe, keep yourself and others safe by wearing a mask, 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 16-10-21

As we descend into the dark months, I’m taking cheer from the pinky-purple warmth of autumn blooms, and a few summer survivors that are still going. To start, a rather suprising hanger-on, chives having probably their 4th attempt at flowering this year.

Made slightly bedraggled and tatty by the season (a bit like me), I can’t resist showing what is probably the very last flower from the grown-from-seed dahlia. This was the first year I tried growing dahlia from seed. The result has been a bit mixed, but is fun. I’ll do it again.

On the more elegant side, I grow several fuschia, not sure how much I like their fussy form. But flowering well into October, their delicacy and detailed beauty does bring joy.

A second summer champion is osteospermum. In my Fife garden, these are grown in pots so that they can be wintered in the greenhouse. The rich purple is set off well by the rich green leaves that are sometimes evergreen.

Hesperantha flower for just a few weeks at this time of year, when they come into their own, I always wish I’d got more. They seem to spread very slowly indeed.

I will finish this week with a stalwart of the season. I wish it hadn’t changed it’s name, I keep having to look this one up: hylotelephium.

That’s my #SixonSaturday this week. Trying to get into the garden on bright weekend days, there’s lots to do, though the storms have started. Have a good gardening 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 9-10-21

This was a week when the weather changed for the cold and breezy, then changed back to Indian summer with a couple of very strange days of warmth, but drizzly rain. Doesn’t make for much joy in the garden, yet the raindrops on the still-resiliant blooms are lovely. So this week’s #SixonSaturday focuses on wet stuff, mostly pastels. To start, echinops are doing their best to stay in bloom, rain drops seem to cling to each little set of petals, seedheads still look very good too.

Foliage can looks gorgeous in the rain, the soft leaves of purple sage almost look shiny. Sages have had a wonderful time in this warm summer, it must be time to dry some soon for my Xmas stuffing.

Many plants that show up in my garden have invited themselves. Mallow is a plant that is around locally in hedgerows, and it popped up near the brick path this year. By now, the leggy stems have been chopped back a couple of times, yet still they flower. Delicate, and pretty.

The gardening blogs and programs suggest that hardy geranium will re-flower after a chop back in July. few do, but this little pink beauty came back this year. I’ve been getting lots of physio to fix my dodgy knees, I can finally get down to see low-growers like this one.

Perhaps the warm autumn has perked up the large hebe shrubs again, several are having another go at flowering. Flowers and glossy leaves do give a very nice display in the rain.

Finally, this is the second Saturday in October, and STILL I have cosmos that are bursting into flower, with many buds following on behind. Keep dead-heading, it seems to really do the trick while the frost stays away. What a joy!

That’s my #SixonSaturday this week. I do hope the sun comes out before the next working week begins. 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 2-10-21

An active weathery week has heralded proper autumn. Now that October is here, with high winds, driving rain, and day-time temperatures finally down into ‘normal’ figures, I’m shivering away, trying to keep cheerful by enjoying the beginning of the garden’s autumn colour. This week will be an autumn-foliage-filled special for my #SixonSaturday. My first this week is hypericum: leaves are losing their chlorophyll in a fascinating pattern, starting with red blobs symmetrically placed along each leaf. I wonder why?

A large cotinus is well into it’s autumn glory, green tones merge with purple as the winds tousle the broad leaves.

One plant that is barely showing the season yet is gunnera. Sitting by the pond overflow, the plant is statuesque, with leaves about 50cm across and the whole plant a couple of metres high and wide. Still looking lovely and green, I suspect one morning soon the frost will wilt it.

I always forget that alamancia has autumn interest. It is such a good value plant in spring, with delicate white blossom, and comes back into it’s own now, with vibrant, almost orange foliage.

Even garden perennials can do their thing towards autumn brightness. This vibrant red is provided by a couple of peonies: having hidden themselves in broad sight in dark green cloaks all summer, they finish with a colourful flourish. I’ll chop them down eventually, well into winter.

Last of my six this week, it’s hard to stop absorbing the limey brightness from a small old-fashioned mulberry tree. Each year it provides a few little fruit, but now, WOW, what wonderful colour to start a weekend on.

That’s my #sixonsaturday for this week. Hope the weather works out for a gardening 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 25-9-21

Indian summer has stayed with us in Scotland. Days are still warm and sunny with 19 deg C temperatures. As we move through the equinox and the light starts to fade, the miracle of giant courgette plants and sunflowers continues. This week I’ve chosen yellow-and-orange as a cheerful, warm, sunny theme, as we brace ourselves for the dark nights to come.

My first this week is the wonderfully wildlife-friendly buddlija weyeriana. This plant grows tall, like many buddlija, with yellow bobbles holding lots of tine flowers, that can last well into October to provide much needed nectar for Autumn pollinators.

On the more summery side, a mixed bag of nasturtium seeds has resulted in about 10% of this year’s flowers having a bright yellow flower, with red central streaks. Refreshingly bright on a dull day.

Clematis tangutica is next. For years I let this romp around a corner of the house with flowers up on the roof, then a friend pointed out that it could be chopped down to knee high each winter and the flowers might end up in reach next year….bingo. Here they are, each one a delicate yellow, leaving a springy seed head that will be used by small birds to clip off and make cosy roosting pockets for the winter.

Now for the late flowering big-guns. I’ve grown a rudbeckia in a pot this year, in the hope that i can nurture it in the greenhouse through winter. They should be hardy but I wonder if the winter wet gets them. This one is blooming away and looks like it will do for a while.

I may have shown this gorgeous dahlia before. I tend not to go for the big blousy ones, but this plant has been producing lots of delicate yellow-orange (or perhaps they are apricot?) flowers for what feels like months now, I love it!

To finish this week’s six it has, of course, to be the giant sunflower. This one was planted in a shady corner that I cleared for the first time in years. The soil must have been very rich, and the sun quite a struggle to find…the plant solved the problem by growing to about 9 ft tall….I had to stand on top of a bench to get anywhere near the flower. What a wonderful specimen!

That’s my #sixonsaturday for this week. A quiet weekend awaits me, where I’ll enjoy what must surely be the last warm weather. 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 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.