Six on Saturday: 7 October

As usual, thanks, praise and a little bit of grovelling go to our Head Wally, The Propagator, for coming up with the original idea for this meme and hosting it ever since, dashing back to the UK for a few hours every Saturday despite the ravages of a job that takes him to the luxury hotels of the USA and of the need to deliver a family holiday which takes him to the budget hotels of Europe. Do pop along to his blog; his post today will be his contribution to this escapade and the comments on that post will link to a growing number of other posts on the same subject (including the occasional sneaky Sunday post pretending it’s Saturday).

If you’d like to contribute to the meme but don’t know how, the “Six” button over on the right (not the one on the left though they look remarkably similar) will take you to a thoughtful post explaining how this meme works.
It’s been a few weeks since it dawned on me one afternoon (I slept late) that I have very little in flower. The usual autumn culprits flowered early and the only real colour (other than dying) is provided by Hylotelephiums (which I don’t mention much as I need to be sober to spell that) and Alstroemerias (we Welsh aren’t phased by dipthongs). It gets a bit boring. Still, there’s always hope for next year. NExt week I’ll probably mention six different lots of seed or something.
Right then. Enough of this waffle. On with the mottley or whatever the appropriate saying is. Now I’m trying to remember which opera the phrase “On with the mottley” is associated with. Help please!
My first sixth today is an unphotographed something. It’s entirely textual. I rabbited on last week a bit about nomenclature: this thing that some people have about taxonomy and plant names and species. I thought I’d seen the back of that for a while. But during the last week I wanted to get my hands on some Stipa tenuissima. Sorry, I’m impatient and can’t wait for the HPS seed handout and everything that comes after. I was looking for something like 2 litre pots, 1 litre as a minimum as I’m not going to get 9cm potted things through the winter here. But everywhere I went, I kept getting “Out of Stock” messages. “Odd,” I thought, “No-one has any Stipa tenuissima for sale.” Then I chanced on a site that did have some, though only in 9cm pots. “Not interested,” says I. But as I was about to close the tab, I noticed something. Stipa is now Nassella. I retraced my steps. In no time I found a nursery with a substantial quantity of Nassella tenuissima for sale in 2 litre pots at a price I was happy with (actually cheaper than the 9cm pots of Stipa!).
Image from internet. Unattributed. Hope whoever took the photo doesn't mind me using it.
OK, I’ve relented. Here’s a photo of Stipa (or Nassella) tenuissima.
Now I’m wondering how many sales are lost because a nursery is keeping up to date with the latest plant names. The place I bought Nassella from indicated Stipa as out of stock.
My second sixth is a repeat performance, in tribute to Gill Heavens who blogs over at Off the Edge Gardening. She gave me the seeds from which Chesney grew. Chesney’s a survivor (you need to go into my blog history to learn why that is). This is actually his third flower. I accidentally decapitated his second when planting a Trachleospermum (see last week). And there are more flowers to come. I’m getting quite attached to Chesney who, for some reason, goes un-attacked by slugs which, despite nematodes and now iron phosphate slug pellets, are the bane of my life at the moment.
Snails, on the other hand, are a doddle to control. I have my methods. I’m not telling in case anyone reading is the Edward Snowdon of Snailipedia!
My third sixth is empathic and is yet another tribute to Gin Heavens. Last week I couldn’t bring myself to dig out the still-blooming summer bedding to get the spring bedding in. Gill, sloshing a glass of gin around in the air, was empathetic. She was with me, offering comfort. So I dug, feeling the pressure of her golden boots beside mine on the garden fork. Also feeling the dampness in my wellies as the gin sloshed around. It is thanks to Gill that instead of this:

I now look on this:



The compost worms are grateful. Next week I will have (I hope) a post-planting photo to share.

Number four is Hydrangea pyramid “Red Angel”. I have two of these dark-leaved hydrangeas. They’re supposed, over a few years, to develop a neat pyramidal shape. They’re in their second year so are not there yet. One’s in the ground; the other’s in a container. This is the container one. The flowers are dying for this year. But, I think, they are doing so artistically. The mix of red/deep pink and the paper cream of death looks, to me, very attractive, certainly compared to most hydrangeas which simply die unartistically. The one in the ground isn’t entering it’s seasonal death throes yet; I must cogitate over this difference and try to establish why.



Number 5 returns to the Heavenly Gill theme. It is thanks to her poking me with a cattle prod that I got myself  a Tricyrtis. The leaves are dying back but I have my first flower. Small but punchy. I’m happy.


Moving on to my final sixth of the six, I’m getting weedy. OK, I know I need to get in there and clean out the dead stuff but I’m not showing you that; it’s just making a guest appearance. What I am showing you is the rather odd appearance of both blanket weed and duck weed. I know you can introduce these things along with new plant introductions but the planting is now a few years old. Not only have all the weeds appeared but there’s a lot of grass growing in there too. But the weed stops at the edge of the planted area. The clear water is, well, clear. I seem to have very well-behaved weeds here.



So there we are for this week. Until next time, enjoy your garden. And remember that, even if you think your plants are past bothering with, an application of Nemaslug nematodes now will knock back your slug population for the winter. You’ll appreciate that next spring.

Now I’ll go back to playing with WordPress. I’ve been playing with WordPress for over an hour, trying to find out why, all of a sudden, it just won’t be consistent in offering my readers a bit of clear, white space (which is technically a contradiction in terms) around the images in this post. This irritates me even more than typos!

Though not quite as much as slugs.

Please carry on enjoying your gardens until we meet again.

16 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 7 October

  1. I love a good garden pond, especially when the water is dark and mysterious and there are weeds for exciting things to lurk in. Who knows what might be in there. Newts? dragonfly larvae? water beetles?

    Oh, incidentally, when I try to “like” your posts on my phone or ipad, nothing happens, but I can “like” them when I’m reading the blog on my PC. Not sure if it’s just me or if its a glitch in the way the blog talks to iOS.

    1. I know I’ve got more frogs than the pond should sustain though haven’t had newts for a few years. Dragonfly larvae are a regular find when I’m dredging the bottom; water beetles are plentiful as are water boatmen (who seem to live upside down most of the time). There is also occasionally a cat in there having a little swim. Idiot cat!

      I’m totally at a loss re the liking problem. I’ve just checked a simple radio button in Settings/Sharing to turn liking capability on for all posts. I’ll add checking the WordPress support pages to my ever-growing to do list to see if I can find anything there.

    1. Technically that isn’t my Stipa (or Nassella or whatever it’s called today), it’s a borrowed photo but, for some reason, the copyright attribution has vanished. Must put that right. But I agree, they can make a wonderful addition to the border, wafting around other plants in the breeze. Hope to plant six here tomorrow.

  2. The tricyrtis is beautiful, and so is the hydrangea, they do look good as they fade and go over. I like that you can leave them to enjoy in the frosts, because they seem to be able to be pruned at absolutely any time at all.

    1. True. I’m in the “prune hydrangeas in the spring” school as the expired heads look quite architectural through the winter and probably provide housing for some bug or other.

  3. Glad to know I helped you out John, always a pleasure! So pleased to see that Chesney is doing well, make sure you collect seed, seems he is a super snail repellent Cosmos. Loving that hydrangea, not heard of the pyramid thingy before but I do love them when they go over. ps after last weekend gin is off the menu, for a little while anyway ….. 🙂

    1. Chesney may be a third of his original height but you’ve got to praise his perseverance. Collecting seed requires allowing seed to develop which in turn requires leaving the dead flowers on the plant. I can’t bring myself to put an end to the development of further flowers. So seed collecting may be limited to the final bloom, unless both remainers flower together. I have no other geraniums that produce this effect as the flowers die; they just go a manky dead sort of colour. Not crisp. Sorry about the gin.

    1. Thanks Brigid. I have a few Stipa (Nassella) around the place already as dot plants; I’m now planning a more concentrated planting to provide interest around a collection of daylilies. I’ll have to wait and see if it works next year.

    1. Thanks. You see? Gardening is so educational and informative.

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