Six on Saturday: 10 February 2018

The portents are ominous. I don’t know why there is so much controversy when Wales play England. If we win, we don’t gloat (not half), if we lose, we congratulate the victors with good humour. We have to, of course, under duress, when we’re playing away and we’re looking for a friendly pub. Beating Italy last week doesn’t count of course. They’re great sportsmen (and can sing quite well too) but not quite up to the standard of the home teams. We let the English win occasionally because we’re kind like that. Don’t want to draw attention to their inferiority complex. We’ll happily celebrate whatever the result is with the French, Scottish, Irish and Italians (who, remember, only got in because the English got out and we wanted to keep the numbers up).

Last week. Johnny Sexton’s drop goal won it for Ireland. Sorry Fred in France. In the past, Jonny Wilkinson was a potent drop goaler and penalty kicker for England and we all recognised his talent and respected it. I’m John. Mr Propagator’s Jon (the English always drop their aitches). I doubt either of us could step up to the mark on the rugby field. We’ll probably be reduced to flinging clods of earth at each other. Figuratively speaking of course. I’m keeping a lump of concrete handy. Freshly dug from above one of stumpy’s roots (if that mystifies you, check some of my back-blog-posts).

Anyhow, whilst we’re still on speaking terms, here’s my contribution to this week’s Six.

1 The Edifice2 Saga Moves Forward

Was January 13 ominous? My #SixonSaturday post that day set out my plans for Edifice2 in the front garden. The bits are here. A lot of the plants are here. But Stumpy and his associated roots defeated me. Well, finding an unexpected 8″ diameter root running into my neighbour’s garden was the final nail in my aged back’s coffin. I could have got round the problem by ignoring it but that would have meant an aesthetic disaster. I want this to look good when I’ve finished the job so am not going to scrimp on the preparation.

So, on Tuesday, the professionals turned up, complete with younger backs and all the right equipment. The quote was good and covered all eventualities, as they say. I’d known of the company for ages so wasn’t worried about their credentials. They’d expected to do the job in under three hours but it took them close on six thanks to some mysterious lumps of concrete that got in the way and turned out to be the remnants of an aborted fence installation before my time (I bought the house “new” so before my time is anyone’s guess). They also cleared a far greater area of roots than I’d expected. I offered them a bit more than they’d quoted but they refused. “A quote’s a quote.” My back will live to do something another day.

We won’t mention the 12″ diameter root they found and removed. I didn’t know that was there. Honest!

Now on with the mottley build. Looks like I’m going to get wet.

2 Not Quite

This is a bit early but my (currently) solitary Camellia is showing signs of waking up. At least it’s not an emerging bulb.

3 Cyclamen Reprise

Last week there were photos of Cyclamen coum coming in to flower. I’ve tried for years to grow them but, whether I start from potted plants or bulbs, I can never get the damned things to go beyond a year; indeed I’m lucky if I get bulbs to grow in their first year. Investigative digging reveals that the bulbs have not been dug up by squirrels nor eaten by mice though some have clearly rotted. The area I’ve tried to grow them in isn’t that wet, though it is a clay soil, albeit augmented. Anyhow, I decided to give up on this expensive Cyclamen hobby and buy “disposables”. Last autumn’s tray were in flower then and now, in early February, they’re still in flower. They’ll do for another month or so before they snuff it. I’ll try, as always, to pot them up and keep them going until the autumn but I know I’ll fail. I’m just a sucker for punishment.

4 Non-Tender Tender Fuchsia

About 12 years ago, I filled this wall planter with tender fuchsias for the summer. I didn’t empty the planter that autumn and, lo, the so-described “tender” fuchsias regrew for a second year. Since then, I’ve left them year after year, unprotected, at the mercy of the elements. I hold my breath each spring, waiting for signs of awakening and wondering whether, should death finally embrace these gallant plants, I would leave the planter untouched as a sort of memorial to unexpected longevity.

Well I can stop wondering for another year as new growth has appeared. I’ll leave things for a while before some careful pruning.

5 New Tools

After breaking a spade and digging fork a fortnight ago, I thought I’d better get replacements. I like the Spear and Jackson offerings but they’re damned difficult to get around here. So I relented and looked on Amazon. I promise to do penance. I found, in that over-sized emporium, a matching set of digging spade and digging fork. There was also a matching border fork on offer so why not, I thought. Well I need some smaller tools for working in Edifice 2, when I eventually get round to building it.

Amazon then, in its wisdom, decided to speed up my order by delivering the three items on three consecutive days using Amazon Logistics. Round here you can set your watch by the different courier companies. They each turn up within their allotted one-hour window. As long as you know which courier is being used, you know which hour to be around to receive your goodies. But not Amazon Logistics. Any time between 7am and 9pm. Thanks Amazon for effectively sterilising three days of my life. Next time, a single delivery perhaps?

Still, I have nice new shiny tools. And the news that Niwaki have now brought out a border-sized Sukoppu. So I’ve ordered one, along with some other Niwaki goodies. I know when the parcel will arrive, day and time-slot.


6 A Word

Finally, as fellow SoSer Mrs Daffodil will know, I often invent new words. Well this isn’t one. It’s in the Oxford English Dictionary, don’t you know? Abbie Jury, who gardens in New Zealand and who I’ve featured in a previous six, blogged about it so I thought I’d give it a mention as our host plans a replan of his garden and I start to think about removing the large front lawn ….. I give you



Image “nicked” from Abbie’s blog. Click it to read her full post about the joys of godwottery.

So There We Go!

Of course, if England win later, it’ll be entirely down to home advantage, as we won’t be able to blame a blind Irish referee* (the referee’ll be French and I have a lot of French friends, all growing in Fred’s garden), unless they beat us by at least 27 points and so demonstrate that they have learned to play rugby properly.

It’s all good natured fun, of course. Whoever wins, I hope it’s a good game and that no limbs get detached during proceedings.

Of course, there is the war of words going on. Which reminds me of an ancient story. It involves Julius Caesar on his second, and more successful, attempt to conquer Britain. Having beat the crap out of the English, he eventually came face to face with the Welsh (we called ourselves Celts then) army.

The Romans were lined up on one side of the valley, the Welsh on the other. The bottom of the valley was full of mist.

Out of the mist came a cry. “Hey Caesar! I’m Caradog, the Welsh Champion. I’ll fight the best of your men!”. Caesar sent his champion down into the mist. There came a clanging of swords and a smashing of shields together. All went quiet.

Out of the mist came a cry. “Hey Caesar! I’m Caradog, the Welsh Champion. I’ll fight ten of your best men!”. Caesar couldn’t admit defeat so he selected the ten best of his army and sent them down into the mist. There came a clanging of swords and a smashing of shields together. And screams. All went quiet.

Out of the mist came a cry. “Hey Caesar! I’m Caradog, the Welsh Champion. I’ll fight a hundred of your best men!”. Caesar couldn’t admit defeat so he selected the hundred best of his army and sent them down into the mist. There came a clanging of swords and a smashing of shields together. And screams. All went quiet.

Out of the mist came a cry. “Hey Caesar! I’m Caradog, the Welsh Champion. I’ll fight a thousand of your best men!”. Caesar was now in a real panic. He couldn’t refuse the challenge but this Welsh champion was just too good. He was about to select the best thousand soldiers from his army and send them down into the mist when he heard a groan and, out of the mist crawled a badly wounded soldier. In his death throes, the soldier called to Caesar: “It’s a trap! There’s two of them down there!”

In the meantime, pop over to our host’s blog, find his SoS post for today and scroll down to the comments to see links to the contributions of other worthies. This process, of course, sends his blog stats through the roof. Which will at least console him in the event of an away win today. To be honest, I have some doubt that he’s the slightest bit interested in rugby, preferring the round ball sport where someone whacks a ball somewhere low down and then everyone runs round hugging and kissing each other. So football IS a contact sport after all!

I won’t be around for a couple of Saturdays. Next week is the Alpine Garden Society’s South Wales show and the week after I have a Hardy Plant Society do to go to. But there will be some edifice construction blogs in the interim and one about coir. So, until we meet again, enjoy our rugby victory your garden, and Thomas Stone’s plants of the week, if your wallet or purse can stand it!

 * Max often refers to blind Irish referees. Max Boyce that is.  Gill Heavens gardens with a Max (look him up). So safe to assume that she’ll be rooting for Wales today. I aim to plug her somehow in every SoS post so I’ve sneaked her in as a footnote. She may be English but her mum lives in Wales. Mum clearly has better taste than daughter.

31 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 10 February 2018

    1. Almost everyone else is overdosing on emerging bulbs and seedlings. I’m just being stubbornly different. I don’t think I’ll use the tools. They’re too clean and shiny to look at. Maybe mount them in a frame on the lounge wall?

  1. I love that you have Fuchsia’s seemingly breaking away from their label of being ‘Tender’ what little rebels they are but wonderful you get to see them bloom again.
    Godwottery is a good strong word isn’t it! I must try and slip that into a conversation somewhere 😉

    A lovely Six on Saturday and have fun using your lovely shiny new tools!!

    1. I suppose my garden shed is full of gotwottery now. What do you mean? Use the garden tools? They’re too shiny and clean to actually use. I plan to frame and hang them on the lounge wall.

  2. So impressed that you are still avoiding posts of emerging bulbs. They are about all I have at the moment but it exciting for me as this is the first year of bulbs in the main border. Time for me to give my one fuchsia a good looking at!

    1. Maybe I’ll relent and produce a retrospective of half-a-dozen sixes in a row completely devoted to emerging bulbs. Followed by a series on emerging shoots of the herbaceous stuff. 😉

  3. I am very very envious of your gold plated Niwake spadey shovel thingy. Can you leave it to me in your will please? Really looking forward to watching your project proceed. Now back to the rugby, what is the score …… ?

    1. It was a good game but a pity that the result is disputed. I haven’t yet heard an English person who hasn’t said that try should have been allowed. But the referee doesn’t have the benefit of lots of TV cameras and eyes watching from every angle. And the referee rules. So England won. But I would have preferred they won without the controversy – which is no consolation to Wales and takes the gloss of the English victory. On Monday there will be two Niwakis. Do you want the big one or the little one? Or both?

      1. not necessarily to be friendly but for me the Wales’ try should have been allowed … I’m with you ( until the final match…)

  4. “Godwottery”. Very good. I’ve seen the word and the definition. Now, use it in a sentence, please. I’m envious of your new tools – so straight and shiny. Definitely not envious of the 8″ and 12″ diameter roots. I suspect I’ll come across something like this at some point in the future. Younger, stronger backs are the only solution.

    1. Hows about “I’ve seen lots of gardens with a stumpery but I plan to create my very own godwottery comprising a collection of about a hundred pink plastic flamingos, with one leg, standing in my garden pond.”

  5. Great ! I enjoyed reading this post today … maybe because the main thread was talking about rugby (??) Jonny Wilkinson was a great champion but in your team, Dan Biggar is also a very good one … Back in the garden (for a moment because at 5PM I will also watch ENG-WAL) I was amazed by the fuchsia: a stunning growth! About gardening tools, I didn’t know Niwaki but even if they look very beautiful, I hope they will be resistant to remove other roots and shrubs that you have to move… Good match !

      1. The only trouble with ITV showing the matches is that the players have to stop what they’re doing every so often while the adverts roll. Picture Jonny swinging his foot towards the ball and then freezing with the toe of his boot half-an-inch away from it whist we are persuaded to buy the latest Kia. (Kia should bring out a model called the “Ora”.)

    1. Those Niwaki sukoppus are solid forged Japanese steel. I have what’s called here a “wrecking bar” as used by firemen to prise apart cars for lifting out roots and things. But I tend to use the sukoppu to lever just about everything out of the ground. Had I used it on the latest set of tree roots, I wouldn’t have ended up with a broken fork and spade.

  6. I don’t mind a bit of rugger, Six nations especially given the clear numerical link to our weekly horticultural exchange. England Wales at HQ is always a good game. I shall have a nap in front of it later on.

  7. Loved the photo of the worker behind the tree – is it a crabapple? Wonderfully shot. Have spade envy & am dying w/mirth over the tender fuchsia! Have to love a plant that does what it wants, which most do. As to godwottery, it sounds like a word to describe my life – what the godwottery are you up to now, woman? – but the definition is quite the opposite. Think I’ll rename my blog, the anti-godwottery patch. Nice Six, as per usual on your part.

    1. Thanks Lora. Yep. A crab, aka Blackbirdicusshitticusoncaricus tree. 😉 I have grown quite attached to those fuchsias. And no sign of anything happening yet with the hardies, Though, too late for #SixonSaturday, the pond has just come alive. The annual orgy has started!

  8. I like your new tools despite their provenance. I too have broken my only spade and fork in recent weeks (must be the damp penetrating the wood) so am sorely tempted.

    1. I dislike Amazon for all sorts of reasons but sometimes needs must. The spade I broke was the last of my wooden-shafted tools. Everything’s steel/aluminium/polycarbonate now. Those Niwaki spades are wonderful things. I’ve really pushed mine but have yet to find the limit of its strength.

    1. Thanks Linda. “Godwottery” rolls off the tongue nicely. In a few months’ time I’ll look at that photo and think how nice those tools looked before I started using them!

  9. Mmmmm not sure about this sport you are talking about, I like round balls and multi millionaires who can only be bothered to kick the thing is they get paid in millions rather than enjoyment
    But that tree stump looked a right pain in the backside in the end! Like the new tools a lot Been looking at the Niwaki spades as well, that small one looks damn good! Might have to spend some more money there
    I hope you have a great couple of weekends away and sorry I couldn’t meet up with you
    Take care fella

    1. I’m not actually away but face two very long Saturdays so may be sleeping on Sundays. Those golden spades are worth their weight in gold (excuse pun). Just keep them sharp and they’re strong enough for almost anything you can throw them at. I’ve levered out some pretty hefty roots with mine. You can always tell a footballer. Walk up to a chap and flick his ear with your finger. A footballer will then roll around on the ground for five minutes, clutching his shin and screaming in agony. 😉

    1. The English were playing Italy. Courageous and real sports but not quite up to the standard of the home teams. So England were eased in gently.

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