Six on Saturday: 3 November 2018

Last weekend was fun, tiring, hectic, mad, nuts, exciting and a few other superlatives. Whilst Gill Heavens spent time rewriting the Six on Saturday rule book, I had a quick play with a mini digger. I handed control of that over to the guys who were doing the real biz with my new drive after getting all discombobulated by the absence of a steering wheel and discovering that I could turn the machine on a sixpence by pushing one lever forward and pulling the other back. I got quite giddy. But the experts got on with the job and, from a 9.30 start, I had a new block-paved driveway by 5.00. I’ll call it “1” today.

They came back on Sunday to lay a bit of matching paving at the end of what will be Edifice 3 when I get round to finishing it. Which may take a while, what with all the other demands on my time. I’ve still got bulbs and stuff to plant, herbaceous stuff to cut back, hedges to trim, a house to clean and all the damned ironing.

However, they announced mid-afternoon on Saturday that they were unwilling to operate off plan and that I needed to get enough of Ed 3 built before Sunday to give them an end to work to. “No problem”, said I, somewhat unconvincingly, as I proceeded to build 11.775 metres (precisely) of the back and a metre and a half of one end, 2 layers high, in about 2 hours (including ground levelling). And as I proudly announced I’d done what they wanted, and they admired the job, I realised I hadn’t consumed a single Haribo.

I’ve covered the top with a bit of garden storage. It’ll hold all the recycling gear I have and free up the shed for better things. The facing round the edges may look naff but that’s for now. It’ll soon blend in with Ed 3 when I attach the proper facing.



I’m beginning to wonder whether the urge to purchase is an underlying problem in our glorious leader’s family. I mean, Mr Prop cannot go within a mile of a garden centre (or any place that sells plants) without nipping in to clear the place out. He cannot go within a mile of a seed without facing the irresistible urge to sow it. And if a plant is big enough to cut with a pair of scissors, he’ll make five hundred plants out of it. But it’s this buying urge. Out to spend a penny, come back with a boot load. And, it seems, Granny has got the bug too. Last week she nipped out for some cat food (which was out of stock) and managed to come home with £40 worth of other stuff. This condition seems to be contagious in the SoS community. I went out to buy a bucket on Monday and came back with £40 worth of supermarket shopping. The supermarket didn’t have buckets so I went somewhere else and bought two. And a load of “in case” DIY stuff. Well I like to be ready if I’m asked to dig a tunnel to somewhere.

The aforementioned Gill Heavens has a mild dose of this condition. She can sometimes resist the urge. But stand well clear if you hear the cry “free seeds”! She’ll hear from 50 miles away and trample you in the rush about 10 seconds later.

Now returning to the Six on Saturday rules, usually abused by anyone who professes to write any, this thing is all about six things in the garden on Saturday. The rules don’t say which Saturday or which garden. They don’t say photos have to be taken on a Saturday. But at least I can say every photo I’ve ever posted here is of something that’s in my garden on the day I’ve posted it (unless I say otherwise). I do check when I get up. I have reserves in case. Unlike some, I’m up at 6.30 5.30 every morning so have plenty of time to change things.

So here’s a selection. Photos may be a week old (or less). But what they show is still here (or not).

2 Frost

I had planned that four of my six today would be about frost. But when the alarm went off at 5.30 (I may be deaf as a post but my alarm tramples over my comatose body every morning until I get the hint) and checked my blog post whilst the alarm clock ate his breakfast, I realised I’d forgotten to take a photo I’d written about so had to hang around until it got light enough to take it. Whilst waiting, I started to read through the early-bird sixes and discovered that the aforementioned Granny had beaten me to this. Not working for the BBC and so not conditioned to endless repeats, I decided to recast the post a bit. So you get just one frosty photo.

Well it’s not here at the mo but ol’ Jack struck a few weeks earlier than normal this week. He did for the planter of begonias that I hadn’t had the heart to discard as they were doing so well. But they’re not now. The compost bins are full so the bedraggled remains remain until Monday, when my green recycling will have been collected and I can start refilling the containers.

On the other hand, Alstroemeria Lucca, which I featured in a post a few weeks back, has shrugged off the cold and is still happily displaying its wares. Unlike the dwarfer Alstros which gave up the ghost.

By the way, I am not bending the rules by giving you two photos within each of my sixes thus far. I’m just giving you the complete picture. Meanwhile, Jack buggered off after his short visit and hasn’t been seen here since.

3 New Kid on the Block

A new gardening magazine has been launched with the very gardeny name of “bloom”. At £8 an issue (plus p&p if you don’t live near one of the few stockists) it’s not cheap but it’s ad-free and, even more important for me, isn’t overloaded with photos of authors smiling stupidly at a camera whilst seemingly about to slice something off a plant (or their fingers) with secateurs in totally the wrong place. I’ll be reviewing it in more depth in the next few days but, in the meantime, more info can be extracted from the bloom website.

4 Iris Foetedissima

The berry pods are starting to open to display their bright red wares. It may sound strange but in all the years I’ve grown these (and the clump is getting quite big now) I’ve never noticed them actually flowering. They’re in a part of the garden I don’t usually visit much in the summer.

5 Mahonia

Something else in flower! Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ is flashing at me. She must be on something (actually it’s chicken s**t – before the house was built, this part of the garden was apparently a chicken run and anything I plant there takes off, almost literally). I cut her back to about six feet tall after she’d finished flowering and she’s now about twelve feet tall (three metres in new money).

6 Pieris

This Pieris is now showing the buds that will, in due course, I hope, produce her spring flowers. A nice little splash of froth in the north border. Any splash like this is welcome as the predominant colour in the garden becomes green for the winter.



Well I think that sorts of puts the place to bed now. Time to get creative with sixes for a while, methinks. Time to put the thinking cap on. I mean, do you want to see photos of herbaceous stuff cut down? Or of earth under which bulbs are planted? Or of grass? Well there’s always Ed 3 and the little Eds to get on with I suppose. And I have a few ideas. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, as we head to our winter, other parts of the world are entering their spring. Pop over to Mr Prop’s blog for links to gardens spread over the length and longth of the known world. A veritable treasure trove of all things gardening. There are so many now that I haven’t yet got round to reading all of last week’s posts. No rest for the wicked!

Until next time, wrap up warm and enjoy your garden.


18 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 3 November 2018

  1. I’ve got an Iris foetidissima on my six this week (incorrectly identified by me as a named hybrid). I snuck in a picture from back in the summer and they are rather lovely so maybe you’ll catch one in flower next year.

  2. Smart new drive. Gorgeous alstroemeria. Mahonia ‘Charity’ is very useful blooming in November. And it doesn’t seed or spread like the devil’s own weed Mahonia aquifolium. I can’t leave home without buying a plant or acquiring seeds or cuttings.It is a gardener’s disease.

    1. Charity doesn’t half grow upward though! I have weekly inoculations against the disease. They’re called antibuyotics 😉

    1. There are some extracts on the web site I’ve linked to. (hint – I’ve already subscribed for the next year).

  3. How did I break the rules any more than usual last week? All in my garden, all happening on Saturday. In fact I am rather disappointed in how much of a conformer I have become. Anyway. Love the new drive, very smart. Well done or not scoffing all the haribo in one go, and of course working so hard on Ed3. That altromeria is a beauty!

    1. You didn’t. You rewrote them and then accused me of breaking your rewritten effort. Which I didn’t know about when I wrote the post as you hadn’t, at that point, rewritten them.

  4. I am glad someone is keeping the Haribo makers in business. In the olden days when I was inspiring young minds to solve quadratic or simultaneous equations, or even quadratic, simultaneous equations, I used to give out the occasional Haribo as a reward. (Shock, horror, I know they probably contain sugar but it wasn’t such an evil substance then!) Anyway, I don’t like them myself, but back to the garden. The drive looks very smart and the alstroemeria are a lovely splash of colour at this stage of the year. Enjoy your weekend and keep away from any buying opportunities.

    1. My sister was a maths teacher until she retired. I will ask her what all those equations are. I have to nip to the garden centre one day this week for some peat free compost. I may take cash and leave the plastic at home.

  5. Oh! I have sort of dialled in an apology for this week but the dogged determination of everyone else is making me think again. And of course your impressive effort with ed 3 are an inspiration. I must shake off this flaky feeling. The alsros are stunning and I must get some. I’m now wondering if the mahonia would be a suitable replacement for my dead tree. And if I don’t write a six it will be because I’m reading Bloom magazine!

    1. Mahonia will spread out a bit and has very sharp spiny leaves. Not the best idea for a narrow border beside a path, I suggest. I’ve heard that the first issue of bloom is almost a sellout but there are extracts on the web site I’ve linked to.

  6. Amazing what you can do when you are up against it – would you have made such progress on Edifice 3 if you weren’t under time pressure? I am wondering why everyone else’s Mahonias are in flower and not mine yet. I had to scroll down to work out what the weird alien plant was at the top of your post, before I realised it was not a screen grab from Doctor Who but some frost blemished begonias.

    1. Building with WoodblocX is a doddle. Once I get going, I get going. But I spread things out usually because I’ve got a dicky shoulder and there’s a lot of dowel whacking involved. A 2-hour stint is usually about enough for one day, I spent 8 active hours building Ed 2 but that was spread out over about 7 days. I expect Ed 3 will take 10-12 hours but will be spread out over a couple of weeks as I have other things to do.

  7. Every week we have no idea, and every week we find 6 things to introduce to others. It is true that the season is less favorable, but still! This week I enjoyed your driveway block-paved. It makes me want to change mine with gravel…

    1. A gravel drive? Oooh! All the weeding! Mine was tarmac which looked horrible and needed to be “painted” every year. Blocks will look better for longer. Now I just need some dry days to put a seal over them.

      1. Yes, 40 m long gravel with regular weeding … ideal for rooting cuttings but not very aesthetic compared to yours. Advantage when there are showers, it doesn’t flood the garage because the soil/ground is well drained

        1. I have gravel soakways either side of the drive (I know, still need weeding but a lot less to worry about and I usually just swing a weed burner over them) and the guys that laid it made sure it had a sufficient camber and sloped gently away from the garage as well.

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