Six on Saturday: 2 December

Well here we are again. Another Saturday. And it’s damned cold. But Semper Sursum* as my old school motto used to say. Another Saturday means another opportunity to rack my brains for a six of something or other. This week it’s a collection of things I may (probably have) mentioned before. But they’re still here, standing up to the cold. It’s a sort of “Six Things Left in My Garden” collection.

As usual, I need to pay tribute to fellow blogger The Propagator who, on discovering one day that he had nothing to hand to propagate and that “to do” lists hadn’t yet been invented, filled the gap by inventing this meme. If you pop over to his blog you’ll see his six-pack and, in the comments to that post, lots of links to other Sixers’ posts. It’s always worth checking back a few times through Saturday, into Sunday and even later to catch the contributions of the tardy. Or if you pop over to my other web site, Garden Blogs Online, there’s a page with links to most of the regular participants here (if I’ve missed you off the list, let me know in a comment here and I’ll put things right asap).

Nuff waffle! Here’s my six for today.

It may look a little bit bedraggled but this helenium’s been in flower for months. It’s not ready to give up yet.


Winston Churchill’s supposed to be a tender fuchsia. But despite some heavy frosts it’s still hanging in there, about 9 feet up a wall.


Lady Boothby, on the other hand, is a hardy fuchsia but even hardy fuchsias are supposed to behave and stop flowering after the first frosts. Maybe I should hang a notice from her.


This penstemmon stopped flowering ages ago. But I was surprised to see today that it’s decided to start again. Only a few flowers and looking a bit worse for wear but there are some flower buds about to break. Another notice required?


This heather isn’t so much a survivor as an early bird. It’s supposed to be spring flowering and is part of my plant collection designed to provide nectar for the early bees. But, for the second year running, it’s flowering in December. I’ll be running out of notices at this rate. And the bees will be short of nectar.


I make no apologies for featuring Chesney for the last time. The poor guy didn’t make it through last night’s frost. And he hasn’t produced any viable seed so he’s the last of his line.

He’s been a fighter, beating off the ravages of slugs and flowering nicely at his diminutive foot high.

I won’t consign him to the compost heap. Rather I’ll find a quiet corner and give him a decent burial. He deserves that.


* “Semper Sursum” was the motto of my high school. It should also have been the motto of my infants school where the wall between the boys’ and girls’ toilets didn’t go all the way to the ceiling and our favourite game was to see whether one of us could fire over the wall, so to speak.

18 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 2 December

  1. Amazing, that helenium. They are a great favourite of mine but, or course, there is nothing left here but brown husks.

    1. And I’ll give you another little conundrum. That’s Helenium “Short and Sassy”. It’s a low-growing container variety. I actually featured it first in a SoS post on 8 July ( When it was flowering in its summer orange. So it’s a colour-changer too!

    1. Well given the current cold spell, maybe we have all relocated to Scotland without knowing it! At least other heathers are better behaved.

    1. So will I. I don’t recall ever getting emotional about a plant before. And of course, he grew from one of the seeds that you gave me and which I initially labelled “Cosmos Anywhere” as that’s what you wrote on the envelope.

  2. The photo of the helenium is gorgeous. I really love Lady Boothby. You’ve caught her best angle, I think. I’m very sorry about your loss. May Mr Chesney rest in peace in a favourite patch of the garden. Is your weather always so mild over there? I’d love a flowering season that extended until December.

    1. I’m near the coast which tends to keep the temperatures up a bit. And I’m protected from the north by an embankment (disused railway line) and heavy overgrowth immediately behind the fence. In fact, the first frost was early this year – it’s usually about the end of first week of December but it caught me off-guard a week ago. Even then, the frost pattern was odd (I blogged a bit about it at I have a spot in mind for Chesney in the shrubbery where he’ll lie undisturbed. He may even get a memorial plant label.

      1. As is fitting for the chap. Your idea below of giving cosmos a miss next year, would he really want that? Would he revel in scarring you for life? No, sir, Chesney would not. Go out there & cosmos, I say. You’ve also dashed my idea of moving post haste to Wales. Bummer. I need to find a place to retire w/4 seasons but 11.5 months of growing. And no snow. I hate snow.

        1. There’s Wales and Wales, of course. Here in the central South Wales coastal belt, we do ok. The last appreciable snowfall here (i.e. it settled and remained on the ground overnight) was in 2011. Before that I think it was around 1995. Admittedly, head 10 miles east or West or a few miles north and things may be different (a mile south and I’d be very wet). Every winter, I stock up on canned things in case we get snowed in and/or get power cuts. Every March, when the risk passes, my diet is heavily oriented towards soup and baked beans! It’s no use opening the windows as all the neighbours are using up their baked beans too! Dried milk powder makes a great desiccant for storing seeds, by the way.

  3. Fantastic these fuchsias flowers! I’m really envious to have so much right now … especially the second hardy …

    1. It’s just a quirk of the climate and micro-climate here. Rather oddly, there’s been one night when temperatures have been higher than those in the days before and after. How long the stragglers will hang on in there, though, is a matter of luck.

  4. Your pitch for emotional involvement, empathy even, with a dead cosmos, is going to haunt me all weekend. RIP Chesney.

    1. Well he’s been the star of this blog for a while. I’m going to miss the fighting fella. I may give Cosmos a miss next year. You know, painful memories and all that.

      And those damned slugs!

    1. I was more surprised! I could have made a six out of different Alstroemeria but I tend to feature those too much in the blog. The Penstemmon was very unexpected. It’s a container variety and I’ve moved the container close to the house for shelter but still, it shouldn’t be coming into flower this late. I’ll have to wait and see how it does; there’s no room in the greenhouse!

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