Six on Saturday – 15/9/2018

I don’t know how many different plants I grow, it’s several, if not more. Some are rarities, some are not. Some are big and bold and brash, some so restrained they’re hard to spot. I’m a gardener, I grow plants; for me, two different plants are more interesting than two the same.

Each of us has a different list of elements for what constitutes a good garden, and for each of us the prioritising of the list is different. For me it would depend on the mood I was in when you asked the question. Variety and colour generally occupy first and second slots on my list, usually in that order.

Variety means there’s always something happening, always a reason to go and see how or whether something is coming along. Colour is for me one of nature’s greatest gifts, the more so for being, or at least seeming, like an unnecessary extravagance. Grasses get along just fine without bright colours, why do Dahlias need such gaudery? And why does it seem universally true that when we are surrounded by flowers, be it tulip fields, desert flowers, a field of poppies or the National Collection of Dahlias; our mood is lifted by the experience. We’re not bees, it should mean nothing to us.

Time to cut to the chase. Arthropodium candidum ‘Little Lilia’. Looks rather like the spider plant in the porch, but more compact. Having visited both, I’m vulnerable to the charms of any plant from New Zealand or Tasmania, the former in this case. Bodmin Nursery, where I was surprised to find this, often surprises me with something unexpected. I think I will keep it in a pot and put it under cover for the winter.


A view. The longest axis of our garden. You’re facing north-west in this picture, with much shadier areas just out of shot to left and right. This strip gets sun for a lot of the day. Dahlias provide vivid colour for a long time, supported by Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Fuchsias, Salvias and plenty of coloured foliage. Herman (the head) needs a new wig. Some of the Dahlias over by the tunnel are 6 feet tall, if they were in the right place they’d hide the tunnel.

Some of the begonias we had last year survived the winter, others succumbed to cold, wet and wine weasles. I had no idea what colours they were when I planted half a dozen in this big terracotta pot in the spring. The pot was given us by our elderly neighbour who moved into an old folks home a few months ago and won’t be back. We used to plant and maintain a trough of flowers outside his front door and he would sit in his porch and enjoy them. I’m sure he’d be pleased with how the begonias turned out.

Our floral display at the front of the house is a mix of things moved out of the glasshouse for the summer and pots of bedding plants. And the odd Dahlia that I didn’t get round to planting. And the Impatiens auricoma x bicaudata that were cluttering the conservatory and actually do very well outdoors. And the Coprosma that needs planting out and kept blowing over round the back.

Dahlia of the week. We visited the National Dahlia Collection field last weekend, must be one of their worst years ever, and still it’s fabulous. (and free). I bought this as a rooted cutting from them last year but it struggled somewhat; probably more my fault than theirs. It’s a collarette variety called ‘Danum Torch’.

Colour disharmony. I don’t care, you hear me! Right of the path is the oranges and yellows bed, except it used to be the pink bed and there are one or two still left and the whole clump of Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’ died mysteriously in the winter so gap plugging was called for and someone gave me a handful of roots of the anemone and it needed to go in somewhere quick. Excuses, excuses. The dahlia is one of my seedlings, that’s the most flowers it’s had all summer. Solidago ‘Fireworks’ is looming over everything; I’m still not entirely convinced it’s a great plant.
Left of the path hasn’t benefitted from a unifying theme. Zingiber mioga ‘Crûg’s Zing’ is intent on pushing everything else out. Its comeuppance is not far off. It sets off the purple aster, (I assume “aster” is still acceptable as a common name, even if it had too few syllables for the botanists) There’s a camellia at the back, it’ll get huge; a Schefflera top left, it’ll get huge; a magnolia far left, it is huge.

What, please can I have some more sir. I haven’t mentioned Haemanthus albiflos, or Molinia caerulea ‘Heidebraut’. Fuchsia ‘Papoose’ will be over by next week.

Humph, six it is then. Weekends wouldn’t be the same without a few more sixes popping up as links from The Propagator’s post every time I come in for coffee or lunch or whatever. Garden voyeurism of the highest order.

27 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 15/9/2018

  1. …The colour disharmony. I don’t care too. It must be said that I have a (small) color blindness: this explains that, but I reassure you I distinguish very well the red and the green. These are the little nuances that are delicate to me. I trust my instinct (and my son who has a certain taste of the arrangement of plants and their colors)
    Nice Six, though ( PS : I love Herman !)


  2. Your last phrase sums up the Sixes-on-Saturday perfectly! Funnily enough, I was wondering what it was about the whole thing that makes it so addictive and, hey presto…. Jim has the answer! Enjoyed your Six again. (PS. Nobody’s counting if you want to slip in a couple extra!)


  3. I’m struggling to find 6 things in my garden & yours is running riot. The difference btwn someone who plants things (me) & a real gardener. I love your place.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Re: your comment to N20, the way you generously share your plant passion, you (& others’ve) become great resources to SoS. We’re all at different stages w/gardens that are differently cooperative. I’m quite happy to learn & steal ideas from the lot of you!


    1. I was feeling just like Lora. There’s so much repetition in my sixes and every week you produce something new and always at least one thing I don’t know! But that is why your posts are so interesting. Lor a and i will just have to keep planting!


      1. I do worry that my posts come across as egotistical or intimidating. I would be mortified if someone was holding back from joining in because they felt their contribution wouldn’t measure up. Very few people are foolish enough to grow as many different things in a medium sized garden as I do so most people who’ve been on board the SoS express for a while are repeating themselves. Perhaps we need to come up with some new angles before people start dropping out.


  4. How lovely your garden looks. Great view towards the polytunnel. And I do like the ‘Little Lilia’ I must get over to Bodmin nursery next year as they have lots of herbs, I believe, and I want to get some more for my raised beds.


  5. I like your planting style (I have to as it’s mine too). Bit of bare earth, a plant I’ve bought cos I like it but it needs a bit of bare earth ….. Sorted. IMO, garden design is something which gives garden designers something to talk about with other garden designers whilst we, the hoi polloi, get on with enjoying our gardens. If Herman is a planter whose contents have died, frankly I’d leave things as they are (OK, if dead plant rots away, replace with another dead plant). Somehow that bit of dead plant looks right. (And I’ve added number 1 to my want list. Fair exchange.)


    1. I think you just wrote the book on garden design I’ve been looking for. Short too. Herman’s hair was Carex ‘Frosted Curls’; the dead look is fine, but I don’t want it to actually be dead, hence the NZ sedge.


  6. I hear you on the gardening style. Pretty much the way I do it too. Fill it up, keep the weeds down! I love the view down your garden, spotted the red and yellow dahlia, wondered what it was, and then, in number five, I think I had the answer! A very colourful six, Jim.


  7. Looks fabulous Jim. If I’m ever in Cornwall I shall insist on the guided tour! I am mourning the loss of your sahins ef. Whilst it’s always an opportunity to plant something else I love that particular plant, i want more.


    1. If you’re ever in Cornwall you’d be most welcome. Sahin’s was very odd. I had about five clumps all of which died while three other varieties just feet away all survived. It left a big hole and filling it has created a bit of a mess if I’m honest.


    1. Carex Frosted Curls is the only suitable thing I have around at the moment, I have a few ideas for next year. It’s blowing a hoolie and hosing it down right now so I don’t know how many flowers will be left by tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

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