Six on Saturday: 6 January 2018

I had my dental checkup on Thursday. Having made myself comfortable in her chair, my dentist proceeded to fill my mouth with her fingers, that little round mirror she checks her make-up in, a sucky thing that she sucks with and one of those pokey things that she pokes with. Then she asked me how my Christmas had gone. I suppose most of her patients have the same sort of Christmas, “Ooh, aah, argh, ugg, ow, schlurp.” She announced that I didn’t need a scale and polish as my cleaning routine was still good. So we parted company, looking forward to meeting again next week as, for some reason, something always happens about a week after a checkup; a filling falls out or a crown works loose. I’m beginning to suspect that she does something with that pokey thing to keep the repeat business rate up. But no worries, I’ve also fired her interest in the Hardy Plant Society.

And today is a bit under a week since the New Year and my last post of what I could find in flower in the garden. But I nipped around with a camera, not a pokey thing, and so nothing was prodded into action ready to produce something new today. Should I repeat myself? Nah! I’ll get creative and go Antipodean.

Now that Eleanor has buggered off, things are quiet here in the northern hemisphere at the moment but down souf, they’re in the middle of their summer and gardening with the frenzy that we apply to our favourite leisure activity in our summers. So for two of my six, I’m going to introduce you to a couple of Antipodean bloggers who come at their topics from different directions. Gardening is all about contrast (when it’s not about blisters).


1. Tikorangi – The Jury Garden

Mark and Abbie Jury garden in the northern island of New Zealand. The garden’s been in Mark’s family for generations. Mark does the heavy work and breeds plants (I may have mentioned the Daphne he bred that I have in my garden). Abbie provides the creative brain, the environmental awareness and the blogging. Her blog is a varied mix of coverage of their own garden, writings about gardens they visit on their regular travels around the world – particularly interesting as they approach things from their “down-under” perspective – environmental campaigning and life in general down under. The image is a hotspot to the blog.

2. Diary of a Surburban Gardener

I think this blogger’s name is Sue but she chooses to go under the nom-de-plume of Catmint. She’s in Melbourne and has what she terms a “dry garden”.  She developed an interest  in photography and in the creatures that live in the garden and her passion evolved into thinking about how humans can learn to co-exist with wild animals and plants, especially in urban areas. Again, the image is a hotspot.

But that’s only two. I have to find four more things to entice and enthral you with.

OK, I held back just a bit on New Year’s Day. With an eagle eye to the future, I skipped a few bits.

3. Et Seq….Pyracantha

Specifically Pyracantha berries. Survivors! I have this trained up a 6×6 foot (or is it feet?) trellis along with a couple of Clematis montana. The idea is, or was, to provide some year-round interest. The clematis go all deciduous in the winter but the Pyracantha is evergreen. Then the clematis flower in the spring and, as they go over, the Pyracantha flowers. Then the Pyracantha berries. Then the blackbirds move in and strip it. Somehow they missed these three berries this year. So seeing them is an event! Not bad, I suppose. Three berries from 36 square feet of plant!

4. Sarcococca

Sarcocca confusa. Another great idea. I have two growing in containers which I can move close to the house in their flowering season which is usually mid-December on. They’re late this year. Mere tiny buds on New Year’s Day. But they’ve responded to a stern talking to and have started to flower. Lovely scent. Still carrying some berries from last year too.

In a week or so I’ll cut a couple of sprigs for a couple of stem vases in the hall and landing. They last well in the vase and will happily scent the house out. Quite nice to sniff as I walk out of doors too.

5. Emergings ….

Emerging hyacinths. I planted a row along the front of a raised bed a few years ago. I wasn’t aware that hyacinths naturalise but there are more emerging in the front row than I planted and I also seem to have a back row developing too. Now I wonder where the crocus are. And the daffs. No sign of either here yet.

I also seem to have acquired some Brunnera seedlings. I’ll leave them be for a while and see how they develop. They’ll be welcome to grow where they are. Or maybe I’ll pot some up. Decisions, decisions!

6. More Emergings (Unwanted)

And emerging not-so-welcome things! I am resisting the urge to swear long and loud. OK, it’s my fault! I shouldn’t have planted that damned Acanthus spinosus nor the other acanthus that’s never gone beyond chucking up some leaves. I’ve been trying for a few years to get rid of the damned things. I even left a couple of square metres of border fallow all last year, just digging out any emerging bits. I thought I’d succeeded but it seems not. Both types have thrown up new shoots. Oh well…..

I wonder if they sell Napalm on Amazon.

That adds up to six. OK.

There are going to be lots of other SoS contributions more worthy than mine. If you pop over to our Propagator host’s blog a few times during today and tomorrow you’ll find, in the comments to his SoS post for today, links to other bloggers.

See you next week when, maybe, just maybe, I’ll have a full six to report. Until then, enjoy what you enjoy doing (as long as it involves your garden).

And, in case you’re the least bit interested, I’ll be revisiting my dentist next week. A filling’s worked loose. It’s still there, for the moment, but …..

10 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 6 January 2018

    1. Thanks Chicu. I guess lobbing a few cannisters of napalm at those acanthus shoots would brighten things up around here too!

  1. What a great idea, sharing other blogs in your Six (even though you claim it was to pad the final tally). I loved both of them & will definitely keep an eye out for them. The comments to your acanthus hatred indicate I’m alone in my love of them, but they’ve never taken over any of my beds. As of yet. Possibly because I’m so nomadic, I don’t see the final outcome. And, I dearly love prickly pyracantha. It’s like a temperamental artist you have to coddle which is ultimately worth it in the end. At the moment, the sarcococca on our dog walk is in bud. I thought of your advice from another Six about cutting some for bud vases & am waiting for a day I won’t be seen. If I get fined, it’ll be your bad influence.

    1. Oh, so I’m now risking being arrested for incitement to commit theft! 😉 I’m happy with my Pyracantha which produces a mass of white blooms like frothy cotton but I’m not so happy with the blackbirds who line up watching for a berry to form. It doesn’t need coddling; though you need to prune carefully, a bit each year, if you want the flowers. Acanthus is fine for a few years while settling in but then ……. And it regenerates from the smallest bit of root left in the ground. I guess there are a few people who have inherited your gardens who are now cursing you (unless you’ve had very big gardens).

  2. Original Six with this dentist story … for your knowledge, the pokey as you named it’s called a probe I think …. Otherwise, I’m afraid to see happen these unwanted emergence of acanthus … I have to go outside to take a look at mine …

    1. From your photos, I guess you have a much larger garden than I and so can let Acanthus have its wicked way. Were it not for its invasiveness, once it settles in, I’d happily keep growing it. It was when it started throwing up shoots a couple of metres away from the original plant that I decided it had to go. That was nearly three years ago and I’ve been trying to get rid of it ever since. The “probe” is a very useful pokey thing. I used to have one in days when I made model things and needed to remove tiny bits of surplus glue from my sailing ship models.

  3. Funny enough I went to the dentist as well yesterday, well the dental hygienist not sure on the difference as I have spend my adult life avoiding them! The blogs look great follow the jury’s already, some great great magnolias from them as well, that’s the great thing about the www people from all around the world become know to each other so easily don they

    1. At my dentist, a referral to the hygienist is a veiled criticism of your tooth brushing! She’s the specialist hacker away of layers of plaque and stuff. Mark’s carrying on his dad’s tradition. It’s odd that people refer so much to “Jury magnolias” but Felix only released eight and Mark only four so far. All descend from a specimen imported from one of your favourite places – Hilliers.

  4. Great posts, where do I start? Acanthus – grrrrrrr I have dug plenty of this prickly monster up. Brunnera seedlings – yipppeee! The blogs – look really interesting, will pop by. Pyracanthus – another prickly thing so not so keen close up, from afar lovely. Sarcococca – tricky to spell but wonderful to smell. As for your visit to the dentist I have a similar-ish tale to tell. I went to the doctors yesterday, I like him and he is very thorough, when I thought we had finished he said “one more question” (I wondered if he had heard about the excessive gin consumption) “can I chop my cordyline back and if so when?”. Happy New Year John 🙂

    1. I have one piece of advice for anyone with less than a couple of acres of garden who is thinking of planting Acanthus: don’t! Or plant it in a big bucket. It has a Triffid-like quality. Originally planted right at the back of a deep border, over a few years it moved itself to the front and then flopped out over a path. Nothing kills it! I think you’ll like the Tikorangi blog in particular. Abbie’s latest post shows her hubby working on what she calls a “new border”. Looks bigger than most people’s entire garden! You are so modest about your gin consumption ;). Happy New Year Gill. x

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