Monthly Archives: August 2022

Six on Saturday 27-8-22

Normal summer has resumed in beautiful Fife, rainy (and boy we need it!), cool (18-20 degC) and windy: a proper end-of-summer feel. And yet, dahlias this year are my best ever. It could be because of the unusual heat a few weeks ago, it could be because I now know how to grow: mostly in pots, keep away from damp walls, and feed heavily. And it could be because I’m now more adventurous with my choices. I LOVE my dahlias this year, so for the second time they feature as my #SixonSaturday.

I’m going to follow a colour theme. This one is a ‘proper’ pom-pom. I’ve never had these open fully before. This plant sits in a big pot that is sunk slightly into the depths of the border. And she’s looking perfect.

For those who don’t want to pay for the spring bulbs/tubers, a friend gave me a simple pack of seeds a couple of spring’s ago. From this I’ve raised 8 good plants (whose tubers are stored dry over winter). Each plant has simple single flowers, this one is a lovely peach/apricot. Insects love the simple open flowers, and so do I.

I don’t know this variety, but it’s a real winner (‘very bonny’ according to my Geordie partner: for those who are lost now, try wikipedia: Admittedly, it did come from from a not-so-cheap tuber this spring.

A similar plant next, indeed it might have come from the same dahlia tuber ‘collection’, I really like the simplicity of this flower. As it ages, a central dark band forms around the inside of each petal…looks like a trick of the light here, but it is a feature of the petal coloration.

Wow, this next one is pretty hard to photograph. One of the largest flowering dahlia that I have, with wonderful spiky petals and just so BRIGHT red.

Last this week, another wonderful pom-pom flower, in a really rich dark red. looking splendid with a coating of raindrops. This one was a very recent gift from a fellow-dahlia grower, who just had this one going ‘spare’. It offers a beautiful addition to my collection, and I hope will keep for years to come (simple regime: keep out in pots until frost kills top-growth, then take out of pots, leave to dry in dark low greenhouse shelves, then keep cool – not below 0 – until April).

It has been such a joy showing off my dahlias this year. I know I’m lucky to have a garden full of birds that love those pesky snails. They require a bit of effort (ie take out of ground in winter), but can be really worth it. That’s my #SixonSaturday for this 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 20-8-22

For those who follow me regularly, last weekend was my village Flower and Produce show, the first since the onset of covid. I entered in 12 categories, did fairly poorly for my veg: just a handful of 1/2/3 including a 1st for chillies (the only entry!), a 2nd for ‘veg not in schedule’ where I bamboozled people with achocha, and a disappointing 3rd for my fabulous cherry toms. BUT, it turned out I’d got ‘best fruit in show’ for blackcurrants (scroll down to last weeks blog for a photo) and enough points in the fruit competition to be the overall winner. I can’t remember if I ever won a cup before, thrilled! So here we go:

OK, enough of the grow-your-own bragging, we’re back to flowers for #SixonSaturday, this week I’ve gone for purple (though it was touch and go whether it would be another dahlia special, maybe next week). First up, I picked up a few zantedescia bulbs at the Chelsea Flower Show, so glad I did, this one is pinging up bloom after bloom.

Geraniums are such good value. I don’t think I remembered to cut this one back hard in June. Perhaps the hot weather did it for me, as it has burst back into bloom now. This one also comes with a ‘free’ michaelmas daisy, a thug that pops up everywhere.

Mediterranian herbs are doing well this year (can’t think why). Here’s a close up of marjoram, lovely in a vase, or in a tomato sauce.

Despite the heat, I have religiously watered my sweet peas, and they are still trying (though a little faded by now), and still lusciously fragrant.

Twitter has been full of echinops for weeks, in my garden they are just coming into flower, loved by a host of insects, and here’s a hoverfly to illustrate the point.

The Scottish summer has crept back to normal (18 degC daytime high), we’ve had (thankfully) some thunderstorms and torrential rain this week, pouring plenty of water into the but for the veg garden. Yet, I still love the cool feel of water mint in the pond.

That’s my #SixonSaturday this 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 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, 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.