Six on Saturday: 27 April 2019

I start this post with an apology to those who host their blogs on Google’s Blogger platform. Google’s pre-authentication system for blog comments is a mystery to many (I know from others the frustration it causes when a carefully crafted comment disappears into the ether as they press the submit button). Somehow, I’m not exactly sure how, I managed to beat the system. But since Google withdrew the Google+ service and I lost my profile on that, the system has beaten me again. So, sorry, until I find the time to beat Google reliably once again, I won’t be trying to comment on any Blogger-hosted blogs. 

What a glorious Easter we had. Despite vents and doors being open, and the earlier than usual fitting of shade netting and painting of shade goo, the temperature in the main greenhouse hit 40C peaks through the weekend. Thanks to a bit of rain in the preceding week, I started Good Friday with full water butts – 350 litres of lovely rain water. They were empty by Monday evening. Fortunately we had rain on Wednesday which filled them again. It’s surprising how much rainwater you can collect if you plan the pipework right; half an inch of rain was all it took. It’s also surprising how much water I used to take care of the main greenhouse (30 litres a day), mini-greenhouse (15ltrs/day) and cold frame (10ltrs/day).

And then the sun returned, just in time to put another six together, courtesy of the new phone, which I’m liking more as I find out what it can do!

1 Magnolia

This is a “patio” magnolia. A fiver as an order add-on last summer with Van Meuwen. Growing in a tub. It has flowered, singularly. Nothing spectacular but that will come in time.

2 Aethionema

It may look like Armeria but it’s not. Aethionema ‘Warley Rose’ is a member of the Brassicaceae family – related to cabbages and broccoli. Classed as a sub-shrub, it’s evergreen and flowers from late spring into early summer, growing to about 20cm high. It’s in one of the alpine beds of Edifice 2.

3 Creeping Phlox

Another fiver add-on, this time from Thompson and Morgan (sister company to Van Meuwen if you didn’t already know). I got twenty “garden readies” for that fiver. Shoved them in as ground cover around shrubs in Edifice 2. The pink ones start flowering first. Blues and purples will come later.

4 Trillium

’tis said that Trilliums like shade. Well bully for the sayers. Another inhabitant of Edifice 2’s alpine beds and in full sun. Trillium kurabayashii. Different. Nice.

5 Let the Geraniums Begin

Geranium phaeum ‘Rose Madder’. Unusual colour for a phaeum and the first of my geraniums to flower. Nice bright pink flowers. As well as the unusual colour, Rose is a much more dense, bushy plant than my other phaeums.

6 Antirrhinums

I tried out a “new” series of snapdragons last year, marketed as the “Fruit Cocktail Series”. I haven’t seen them on sale this year. They didn’t set seed and I forgot to lift them for a bit of winter cossetting in the greenhouse. But not to worry. Through the winter they continued to grow, after giving up flowering in late October, and have now become really bushy plants. Indeed, so bushy that I’m going to have to lift a few and plant elsewhere to reduce the overcrowding. And they’re already flowering well. If they’re still like this in October this year I will be well pleased.

Now, perhaps, you would care to join me over at the propogenic blog of our great (despite getting loads of calorie-burning exercise) leader. Visiting his blog is essential on a Saturday (and Sunday and Monday and sometimes Tuesday in order to get through the multitude of other blogs of sixes).

Until next time, enjoy your garden.

PS Thus far, I’m having no problem with slugs and snails. Nor am I having a problem with the (currently) five hedgehogs that visit the garden every evening. Three (I think a mother and two youngsters) arrive at 9pm sharp. Or 9pm prickly if you prefer. They have been well trained and always turn up on time for their starter of a dish of scrambled egg. They seem unphased by my proximity (one of the little ones sat on my foot for a while). The other two run away or freeze when they see me.

PPS Rumours that Gill Heavens is about to leave the country are unfounded. Airports have been alerted in any event. There are rumours of a bidding war between certain newspapers for the serialisation rights to an expose of her gardening activities by a (currently anonymous) author known only as “LM”.

PPPS As at last evening (6pm Friday), my lily beetle squishing count stood at 73. This is not a good year! The number included several copulating couples and a first: a copulating thruple. Though the one at the back was probably being hopeful and the one in the middle was probably being painful! Perhaps Monty will give me a certificate of achievement. When it comes to lily beetles, I’m an enthusiastic proponent of coitus interruptus!

PPPPS This may be a bad year from my perspective for lily beetles but it also seems to be a bad year from the frogs’ perspective. I usually get so many clumps of spawn that I wonder if I should scoop some out and let it die. After all a pond can only sustain so much. This year, though, only one small clump appeared, about 4 inches across. The taddies have hatched OK but I wonder if last year’s duckweed infestation might be responsible in some way in denying anything under the surface whatever it needed to survive. Any ideas? Anyone? Meanwhile I have to stop scooping the weed out of the water as each scoop also nets a contingent of taddies.

PPPPPS Making up a bit for last week’s absence of Ps, thanks to Paul, over at Sedums, Dahlias and Hayfever, I’ve learned that they still make, and hence you can still buy, Bassetts Fruit Salad. And it’s (or more correctly, they’re) surprisingly healthy, having zero of all the things like calories, sugars and fats that we need to avoid. It’s surprising how much useful knowledge you can gain from Six on Saturday!

22 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 27 April 2019

  1. I love all your Ps – your posts always amuse me! Pretty lot of pink flowers this year, the snapdragons are particularly pretty. Your garden looks lovely.

  2. Gosh I haven’t seen a hedgehog for years and you have 5! Like your geranium, looking forward to mine this year.

    1. I usually get two or three hogs but so far I’ve seen five in the garden at one time, several times. Other phaeums are now starting to flower so I may have a couple more next week.

  3. I’m also finding it harder to add comments these days. I barely know how to use my own blog let alone use Twitter or any of those modern things.
    The frogs in my little pond made all the right noises in February but there isn’t any spawn at all. First year ever.

    1. Some others have mentioned the lack of spawn. I have one friend who’s bucking the trend and offering buckets of spawn to others. I don’t think that’s a good idea!

  4. Your hedgehog story delighted me & incited much envy. Interesting about your frog spawn. Didn’t know duckweed could do that. Also, I’d just about decided not to buy anything else this year, even though I had an idea twirling around in my head, then you go remind me of Van Meuwen’s. That magnolia is certainly a beauty & if you lived closer, I’d steal it.

    1. I don’t know how duckweed might affect pondlife though I do know it can reduce oxygen levels in the water. But others say it’s a bad year for frogs. We’ll have to wait and see. At least the extra hogs are filling in the slug-eating gap. Leave my plants alone please 😉

  5. Oh I do like that aethionema, not one I’ve heard of before, evergreen is good too. I did my first squishing this week, but only a measly 10, keep up the good work over there. Lucky you to have hedgehogs! I don’t think I’ve seen one since I’ve lived in North Devon, not even a squashed one. 🙁 Anyway, as you may have guessed, I was stopped at border control and sent back to meet my fate. Whatever that might be!

    1. I used to give the hogs a dish of scrambled out-of-date eggs. Now I’m buying 6-packs to keep them coming. Spending more on feeding animals than on feeding me! We can only wait for Lady M ……. 😉

  6. I’m having problems with WordPress for some reason…sigh.
    Interestingly I’ve had more frogspawn this year and no newts so the tadpoles are in their tens of thousands….I kid not…..the crows have been feasting on them too so great all round. I’ve hardly had any slugs and snails either but shhhh don’t say that too loudly otherwise they’ll all appear…maybe they are waiting until after this Storm Sarah to pass. Anyway, great 6; I love that those snapdragons are still going strong from last year. Have a great weekend.

    1. I’ve had newts for years but they never seemed to impact on the taddies at all. Now I think of it, no sign of newts this year.Found a slug last evening whilst clearing up after that storm. Hunted around but couldn’t find any more. They’re hiding somewhere …….

  7. I too have problems with Blogger. I try but it never works, so I comment only via Twitter.
    It is true that the Aethionema resemble the armeria but in more flowers. In fact it’s almost prettier!
    Triliums are things that I miss here in the garden … and it’s not easy to find in France in garden centers or nurseries: a fashion issue, I think. (As for tricyrtis, we see them on sale for 1 year whereas it is current in the UK since many years)

    1. Have you thought of ordering Trilliums from the UK? The nursery I get most of my alpines from ( will ship to EU. They list three varieties. Shipping is bare root by air mail from Feb to May.

  8. Lovely snapdragons. A few of my antirrhinums have survived the winter outside, though by far the healthiest looking one (which is also in flower) is the one that seeded itself between the wall of the house and the driveway. The Aethionema is very nice. Might have to seek some out.

    1. If you’re after Aethionemia, check out alpine nurseries such as I’ve had Antirrhinums survive for several years before now but they seem to stop growing through winter. This variety have all kept on getting bigger, which is a new experience for me.

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