Six on Saturday – 23/6/2018


There have been times when finding six things was a challenge; this week twenty six would be inadequate. What to put in, what to leave out; that is the question.

Astelia chathamica. Aka Astelia ‘Silver Spear’. This is a large plant in a prominent position that has come through at least fifteen winters without turning a hair. Not this time. The damage has only become apparent over the last month, but large chunks have been slowly turning yellowy and collapsing. A few days ago I saw new shoots coming up amongst the ruins, so I cut away all the dead shoots and I’m hoping for a slow but complete recovery. I might end up cutting down the rest of it so that it’s all at the same stage of growth; I think it might look better. Someone is bound to ask why there is a rhubarb pot there.

One of the spin offs of SoS is that because you’ve chosen to go public with something, it seems wise to appear to know what you’re talking about. Occasionally a book will be referred to for the first time in years, more often it’s the Google/Wikipedia double act. I have a couple of low growing and spreading Campanulas. I had a couple of names rattling around in my head but were they the right ones and which was which. I now know that one is the Serbian Bellflower, Campanula poscharskyana, a rampant spreader by runners and seed. It has never flowered as well as this year. The other is the Dalmation bellflower, from the Dalmatian Mountains in Croatia. It is a deeper blue, flowers a week or two earlier, is much less aggressive but still manages to grow out of hairline cracks in a seemingly solid brick wall. There are Dalmatian Islands too. I just didn’t know, I thought it was just dogs.

Geranium ‘Nimbus’. As featured in the post by the host with the most just last week, this was looking so good I thought I’d turf out some lesser item and stick it in instead. I was just looking it up in Bob Brown’s Encyclopaedia and he gives it 7.5, which is good for a Geranium and mentions that the leaves are gold when young. I can’t say I’ve noticed that. It doesn’t carry on flowering like some do, but is lovely none the less.

The humble Fuchsia is by no means in the doldrums to the extent that conifers are, but the specialist growers seem to be a dwindling group, making it difficult to get hold of anything other than the same couple of dozen stocked by every garden centre. We have around 90 varieties and struggle to keep them all going. This one is ‘Black Prince’, which is probably widely available. It deserves to be, it’s a cracker. It’s hardy for us.

Talking of good doers, what about Sweet Williams. I’ve rediscovered them after a gap of at least fifty years and I love them. They’re happy in poor soil and part shade, have an infinite variety of white, pink and red colouring, last for ages, are good for cutting and should have scent though mine don’t have much.


Lathyrus grandiflorus. Number six is where the final decisions are made about what is not going in. Ironic then that Daphne, Philadelphus and Trachelospermum, all beautifully fragrant, get muscled aside by a scentless sweet pea. Not that anyone calls it sweet, it’s the two-flowered everlasting pea. This was given me at least three years ago and has finally got itself established and flowered. Like much else it struggles to get past the stage where the slugs keep pace with new growth. It also spreads by suckers; I have yet to find out how quickly.

Hypericum calycinum didn’t make it in. Or Iris ensata, Dianthus deltoides and Erodium. Stipa gigantea sneaked in unannounced. Another time maybe. Perhaps I should have included my watering can, we’ve covered some miles together this week. One day I’ll do six vegetables.
I’ve had a quick look at host The Propagator’s six for this week and they are mighty fine. And the links to other sixes are pouring in. Another weekend of virtual garden visiting. Good thing I can do it in the evenings, daytime is for watering.


22 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 23/6/2018

  1. I also have Campanula poscharskyana near my terrace. So close that year after year, new shoots creep under the planks of wood. You’re right, beautiful and better bloom this year … Otherwise, Lathyrus grandiflorus has beautiful colors. The sweet peas will be a first for me this year, I’m waiting for their flowering (and their smell that Grandiflorus doesn’t have I guess – is it hardy in your zone or does it restart from below? )


  2. OK. I’ll ask the question. “Why is that rhubarb pot there?” and if you don’t want it send it to me, I have fancied one for years, but they are so very expensive!


    1. I looked in the rhubarb pot earlier, long after posting my six, and it’s hiding a tree stump. The Astelia was hiding the rhubarb pot, but no longer. Useless for rhubarb, I’d need one ten times the size for my clumps. I don’t remember where it came from, it seems highly unlikely that I bought it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m watching a Lathyrus grandiflorus that’s flowering along a footpath I use to walk the dog. When the seeds ripen I’m going to pounce! I’m convinced I can smell a scent from it but no-one else can


      1. I can’t find an explanation of it not setting seed. One book says not in UK, possibly implying it does elsewhere which may be why seeds are offered online, or they could be the wrong thing. Single clone grown in UK maybe, and not self fertile, or sterile polyploid possibly?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Postscript on Lathyrus grandiflora seed. My gardener friend who gave me my plant has some seed pods on her plant, for the first time, which suggests it needs the right sort of weather. Whether it sets good seed remains to be seen but the pods don’t look empty.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’d think all this hot weather and good light levels would be enough – the bush I’m watching doesn’t look too hopeful – the flowers are fading/drying and no seed pods to be seen yet.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I had to giggle at your comment about needing to seem knowledgeable… I’m one of those trial and error gardeners. Plants seem to live to prove us all wrong and provide a challenge. A lifetime ago I used to try to be knowledgeable and my Grandad and Grandma would prove me wrong time and time again that experience and enthusiasm is more important 😂😂😂.
    Yours is the second rhubarb pot in the sixes this week! When you mentioned someone would ask why my gut said “because it looks fabulous?”. A lovely six as always.


    1. I think all good gardeners are trial and error gardeners. I’m forever trying new plants and new methods, inevitably with numerous failures. Even repeating the exact same thing you’ve done for years is a trial, just because it worked before doesn’t mean it will again. I’ve learned a lot from failure, very little from success.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Totally agree. My failures have been many but so valuable. Generally if something goes well first time I put it down to luck more than anything.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes! I’ve been eager to see Sweet William on someone’s post, and here it is. Mine are faithful perennials and just thinking about opening. Sorry about the lack of fragrance there… maybe the soil contributes?


  6. Thank you for identifying the Campanula poschyskyarna – may stick with Serbian bellflower – pretty sure this is the one that grows rampantly in our front garden – in fact in every front garden on our street!


  7. Watering watering watering. I had the hose on pretty much all day yesterday, or it felt like it. I had neglected to water the front garden, parched it was. No rain in sight here…


    1. Payback time for having a bigger than average garden, and three glasshouses, and a polytunnel, and an allotment, and loads of stuff outside in pots, and toms & cucumbers in 10’s not 20’s to save on compost and……


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