Six on Saturday: 6 October 2018 – My Garden of Friendship

Steinbeck made a reference to “The best laid plans …”. I had planned for last week a six-pack of garden tools. But Joshua, over at 30 Days of Wild Parenting offered his Batman tool belt the week before and, to avoid repetition, I had to recast my plans a bit. Then a four month saga called “The New Lounge Suite” reached its culmination on Friday and I spent most of Saturday dashing round lounge furniture emporiums in search of a lounge suite that wouldn’t take four months to arrive in the wrong size and then the wrong colour and ensure that I had something to sit on for Christmas. So last week’s post became this week’s post and what would have been last week’s post were it not for Joshua will now be a future post (or two).

But I take my inspiration from the aforementioned Joshua’s happiness in fitting lots of new plants received as wedding presents into his garden. It’ll no doubt be quite uplifting in the years ahead to be reminded of a happy day as he and his family stroll around the garden. And I thought why not make up a six of plants which remind me of friends. Not necessarily plants actively in flower or whatever today but, rather six plants that are still alive in the garden (which is an achievement in itself) which have a link to friends, both real and really virtual, that is they’re real people but I only know them virtually – online.

An ex-girlfriend (it’s somewhat odd that once she was a girlfriend but has now been demoted to “friend who happens to be a girl” (she’s young at heart)) once gave me a card with the message “In my garden of friendship you’ll bloom forever.” Nice thought and, with that in mind, here’s my six for this week. My garden of friendship. Some photos may be old, of course.

1 Jim Stephens

Most, if not all, Sixers will know of Jim’s blog Garden Ruminations but he also has another site, Jim’s Camellias. And he knows his Camellias. He introduced us to the glories of winter-flowering ones and I thought why not? Some winter colour in the front garden would be good. With the aid of his advice, three have been re-homed here. So these are for Jim. They’ll flower, I hope, over Christmas and early spring.

2 Thomas Stone

Long-term Sixers will remember Thomas Stone who was a regular contributor until late June when he took a break from just about all things online. Don’t worry, Thomas and I are in touch and he’s fine. But still taking a break. Though his blog’s still online and well worth a visit for lots of hints and tips, especially about roses.

I’ve always liked Stachyurus for its spring colour but was worried that it just wouldn’t survive here. Thomas convinced me the right variety would. So this Stachyurus praecox is for Thomas. Though it nearly didn’t survive, thanks to a dose of decapitation during Leylandii removal a couple of weeks ago. But the remains are doing fine and it will recover. Turns out it is rather like Thomas – may look cheerful and a bit delicate on the outside but tough as old boots underneath. And it’s budding nicely.

Thomas also persuaded me to acquire an out-of-the-ordinary buddleja (as he spells it) or buddleia (as I spell it) “Silver Anniversary”. You’ll have to put up with a photo from Burncoose Nurseries (Thomas and I share an admiration for that place) as mine hasn’t grown to flowering size yet. Unusual as buddleias go, silver foliage and striking flowers. Next year….

This variety is also known as “Morning Mist”. Which is appropriate. Come back soon, Thomas. You’re missed on a Saturday morning!

3 Karen Wells

Karen’s a keen plantswoman and, at one time, was an even keener spreader of wisdom and advice on all things gardening on social media. Then, as someone put it, she met a fella and disappeared from the scene. She went by the handle “Sanguisorba”. So for her I have Sanguisorba ‘lilac squirrel” which is really pink and frothy and, of course, totally different from Sanguisorba ‘pink elephant’.

4 Late Friends

At my time of life, friends passing on sadly becomes a regular feature of life. “Pat and Phil” won’t mean anything to you but their memory lives on for me in a “Peace” rose, one of their favourites. I find it a bit of a sod to grow as I fight off rust, greenfly (which don’t attack any other roses here) and brown spot but with flowers like this as a reward, the effort is worth it.

And a bright red Azalea which was donated from their garden as the last of them went into care as their health declined.

5 Luka

Who? Well Resident Cat’s Bro is named Luka. RC helps me in the garden a lot by flattening Nepeta (which cats crave as “Catnip” or simply “The Nip“) and by curling up in planting holes to make sure they’re big enough. When I was ordering some Alstroemeria (always bought from Viv Marsh), I noticed a variety called Lukka. RC decided this was a silly mistype by a stupid human and that it should really have been called Luka. So Lukka appeared in the garden as a tribute to RC’s Bro. Tall, bright, nice. RC’s real name is Pillster, by the way. I haven’t yet found a plant named for him but maybe one day …..

6 Gill Heavens

Prolific blogger, purveyor of general looniness and generous donor of cuttings, seeds and bits of her Mum, Gill is the source of a fair few plants here. And Haribos.

I can’t show you a photo of the Miscanthus nepalensis she gave me as Resident Cat ate it! and it hasn’t yet regrown. Or if it did, he ate it again.

And Flora must get a mention, of course.

And there’s the Tricyrtis cutting she gave me

which got me interested in getting some others

And it was Gill who gave me the seeds of which one produced the star of my blog last year as readers followed the story of Chesney. And I’ve left the best till last.

Chesney did produce some seeds but I didn’t think they would turn out to be viable. Then I ended up with some spare seed tray space this year so, with nothing to lose, I sowed them. One germinated. The seedling it produced was cossetted, lovingly tended, surrounded with copper tape when I planted it out, drenched with Nematodes and surrounded by (organic) slug pellets. But I didn’t plan to tempt fate by starting another weekly report card. I waited …

And so, supported by some Trachleospermum leaves through which it grew, I present child of Chesney. And there are more buds ,,,,,


So just six friends. I look around the garden and see many more. As I see memorials to pets. When resident cat’s time comes, he’ll go under some Miscanthus nepalensis and Nepeta. That’ll teach him!

Right then, I’m off for the day so will be reading others’ blogs tomorrow.

Until next time, enjoy your garden. And pop over to the Prop of Pop’s blog to amass a lot of links to other Saturday sixes. Or come and join us as a contributor. It’s easy when you know how.

10 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 6 October 2018 – My Garden of Friendship

  1. You’re very lucky in your friends, past & present. And cats, too.

  2. Fantastic! I need to be immortalised in more gardens. Plant swap ideas welcome! Really lovely blog post John.

  3. Of course it works both ways Mr K. Your osteospermum is doing very well here, inspite of builder and neglect. Great news about Chesney, hopefully there will be more seed for next year and so it will go on. Lovely to see Flora is well and still has that cheeky glint in her eye. Thanks for the mention, touche turtle.

    1. Just realised, the parent Osteo came from my mum so we each have a bit of the other’s mum to look at.

  4. Well, chuffed to bits am I. It would take at least 1000 new followers on Instagram to get me more chuffed and I don’t do Instagram so that won’t happen. Just need the plants to do their bit so I get credit not blame. I’ll send them some virtual TLC over the coming months.

    1. They’re all looking good. As the soil here is barely on the acidic side of neutral, they’re getting a weekly watering Vitax ericaceous feed. Can’t wait for Christmas and the turn of the year.

  5. You had a great idea this week, John …. assign a plant to a friend (real or virtual). And what beautiful photos! If I had to do the same thing, I could have found 6, but not 20 plants! ….
    Happy to hear from Thomas (that Jonathan also gave me a few weeks ago) and to have a second Jim site link

    1. Thanks Fred. I need to remember the camera more. I do things and forget to take “before” photos to compare with “after”, plants flower and I don’t take photos. Plants go over and then I remember that I should have taken photos. So when it comes to Saturdays it’s often hard to put six shots together. Hence ideas like this – born from sheer desperation!

  6. Nice idea. As I look at my garden, I see several plants either donated by friends or relations or bought to remember them. Anyway, off to the wedding. Maybe next week I will put in some photos of the flora at the do – they may be rather different from what would be expected!

    1. Thanks. Hope the wedding went well. Now I’m wondering whether you provided the floral arrangements. I’m imagining bouquets of rhubarb leaves.

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