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.

Six on Saturday 10-7-21

I’m not sure how much gardening is going to happen today. Ah, summer in Scotland: outside is grey, damp, drizzling….perhaps I’ll pop into the greenhouse and feed all the lovely veggies in there. On that note, veggies are now ready and the first harvests are coming in. I love this bit of the GYO year. So here they are, my #SixonSaturday features edibles today.

On a recommendation from a friend, I’ve gone for one courgette plant in the greenhouse this year, leaving the rest to shiver away outside. The strategy has paid off and courgette Atena is already delivering for stir-fries and pizza topping.

This year I’ve, as usual, chosen a few new tomato varieties. I was promised by the wonderful ‘Real Seeds‘ that Latah would be an early fruiting ‘sprawly bush’ (rather than a cordon) that fruits very early. And so she does. Here’s my first fruit, just a couple more days and I’ll be able to try these.

Outside, this year’s cool May and sunny June have been loved by several varieties of lettuce. This lot will soon go over, I wonder if I remembered to sow some new ones? There’s so much to eat here, anyone got any recipes?

I’ve tried a few different varieties of tattie too this year. They were all planted very late, the first being Shetland Black. The stems have just a hint of red in the centre, the tatties themselves are the deepest blue, with white flesh and a simple purple ring near the skin, but inside the flesh itself. Very hardy, small, excellent roasted whole….will be looking forward to the harvest in another few weeks.

There are lots of peas ready, or at least on their way. I think these are Kelvedon Wonder. The pods are beginning to fill with sweet delicious fruit. I find it hard to cook peas from the garden as they are so sweet eaten in a salad, straight from the pod.

Last, but by no means least, this year’s strawberry harvest is rather late, but just about managed to make it to UK tennis season. The fruit are large, sweet, glossy, fragrant, and carefully netted to avoid the blackbirds sharing too many (they get the tiny wild ones that I use for ground cover in other parts of the garden). I will need to pick more today, to try and get in there before the wet weather damages them.

That’s my edible #SixonSaturday for this week. Will be back to the blooms next week as so much is growing. 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 3-7-21

The thing about summer that I always forget is just how fast the garden grows, how floriferous it gets, how quickly things flower. Summer feels like it will last forever, and at the same time each blooms lasts just a few hours or days. There’s so much to choose from. Unusually, I’ve gone for a set of pale blooms this week. First, whitest of white, Canterbury bells are really going for it this year, I’ve ended up with mostly white ones.

Also purest white, a large climbing hydrangea on the garage wall, takes it’s time, flowers slowly, but stays in flower for months on end. Each petal is picked out against the dark background.

Heading just a touch towards pink, my favourite rambling rose is a real thug, but grows us its own support, makes a haven for small garden birds, and smells divine in the first couple of weeks of summer.

The peony season is almost over. I don’t know the name of this variety, but it’s huge blooms are rather rose like, delicate, yet very robust.

Moving away from white a touch, this year’s lupins were late, but have stood tall and strong even in high winds. I’m hoping for a second flush in a couple of weeks, if I’ve time this weekend to start the deadheading of some of the other plants.

Last, but by no means least, I’m not sure how much I love alchemilla mollis, but the ground cover this plant gives can be a blessing (or a curse), and the blooms look lovely in a vase with a few larger, more robust flowers.

That’s my pale #SixonSaturday for this week. If you like Six on Saturday, do join in, there are lots of contributors on Twitter, and more via the regular blog from #SixonSaturday initiator, the great Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 26-6-21

I was away last week, enjoying the tiny alpine wild-flowers in Scotland’s far northwest. Not a warm mid-summer, but a light one, with sunset at 10.36pm on the solstice. It appears to have been a warm week back in the balmy southeast of Scotland, though we dragged cool and pouring rain back home with us, all the way down the A9 trunk road. After the sparsity of the north, there’s nothing for it than to celebrate summer with some big blousy colour. This week, I will focus on blues, reds and pinks. First up is centranthus ruber, red valerian, growing nicely in a very dry warm bed, against a big stone wall.

Having started with a couple of large poppies a few year’s ago, I have propagated via splitting clumps, and now have them scattered through several borders. They don’t last long, but these flowers are gorgeously worth it.

My garden has a quite a few borders, I have found that hardy geranium provide wonderful ground cover, the mid summer flush of flowers is superb, and is much loved by bees.

I love lilies: this year I’ve managed to plant lots of pots, and have been donated a couple more by a friend. I love the colour she chose.

Not everyone likes astrantia, they do have an ‘already dried’ look, though are good for moist and shady corners. This variety seem to have made it out in the full sunshine, another fabulous shade of dark pink/red to brighten up a dull weekend.

Last, and very much not this week, my peonies flowered during the week I’ve been away. Perhaps the cool weather will make them last. This is bowl of beauty, she has to be my favourite.

That’s it for this week, I hope you enjoyed a few blooms from my lush colourful garden. If you like Six on Saturday, do join in, there are lots of contributors on Twitter, and more via the regular blog from #SixonSaturday initiator, the great Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 12-6-21

An abundance of growth, it always amazes me how much the garden grows in June. Feels like at least 40cm in the past week. Finally the veg are on their way (I’ll feature more of that action next week). For now, I found it very hard to choose what to feature this week. In the end, I’ve decided on just one type of plant. So below follows a series of aquilegia. From the palest of pinks….

…through a decent ‘proper’ pink…

…via purple, which always dominates the main flower beds…

…..to a good solid almost-red….

…via a colour I think I’ll describe as simply dark red….

To……well….chocolate?

And for once, a sneaky extra shot to demonstrate how these beauties really do totally take over the flower borders at this time of year.

That’s it for this week, hope you liked the simple blog this week, early summer is here and I want it to last forever. If you like Six on Saturday, do join in, there are lots of contributors on Twitter, and more via the regular blog from #SixonSaturday initiator, the great Propagator himself.

Six on Saturday 5-6-21

A combination of warmth and a little damp means that everything in the garden seems to have grown about 20cm this week, expect my not-yet-planted veg, still loitering in pots. Must get them into the ground this weekend. Now that June is upon us, I’m focusing on colour this week, lots of lovely lovely colour and sumptuous blooms.

First up this week, welsh poppy. A weed perhaps? Certainly an opportunist that pops us and suns itself all over the garden.

Nicely contrasting is another thuggish ‘weed’, but one that I let grow almost anywhere, and that i find so pleasing, from afar and close up, aquilegia.

We’re almost past full late-spring rhododendron season in Scotland. The cool weather has made the season a long one, this is my favourite, just peaking now, this plant catches the late rays from the evening sun.

Back towards more purply shades, aliums don’t seem quite as prolific as in 2020, but their strong stems and wonderful flowers last a while, catch the eye, and feed the soul.

Fully back to blue for a ceanothus. Only one of my pair of plants has made it through a very harsh winter. Perhaps it’s time to strike a cutting or two from this one, as these plants are barely hardy enough for the harsh winter winds that feature here.

I will finish, where I started, with another lovely yellow. Laburnum have done their thing this week. This has been in about 4 years now. The label promised it would ‘thrive in a windy spot’. Its right on the west wall, facing the prevailing wind. Despite being blown down to the ground in it’s first spring, it has stood the test and grown itself into a very pleasing small tree.

That’s it for this week, it was so hard to choose what to put into the blog this week, early summer is here and I want it to last forever. If you like Six on Saturday, do join in, there are lots of contributors on Twitter, and more via the regular blog from #SixonSaturday initiator, the great Propagator himself.