Six on Saturday: 6 June 2020

Today’s post was going to feature a guest blogger who is, unfortunately, no longer able to be with us. So this post is, unusually, actually written on a Saturday and is late because other things needed to be done first. There we go.

It’s surprising how, with all this talk about technology making life easy, sometimes tech actually makes things harder. Like having all the photos on one device and composing a post on another. Cue setting up the easiest way to share images across devices without, as I’ve been doing in the past, taking the smartphone apart to remove its microSD card, putting it into a full-size SD card adapter, shoving it into a slot on the desktop PC and copying files over before getting the MicroSD card back into the phone. Enter “The Cloud”. Took a while but now things whizz along happily and quickly. Take a photo and it’s automatically uploaded to the cloud. Simples.

Then I had to get to grips with the fact that the WordPress block editor behaves differently on different devices. OK, cue a return to the Classic editor plugin which, it seems, will work on a self-hosted site until the end of 2021. It may work after then, though will not be officially supported. The poor poor people of Devon will probably not enjoy this ability, though.

One of the hardest parts of joining in with this Six on Saturday malarkey is coming up with original ways to give a shout-out to our great inventor, Mr Propagator, frequenter of pity benches in the sheds, over-sower of seeds, splitter of plants and general keeper-of-order. If you prop (or is that pop?) over to his blog-of-the-day and aim for the bottom, you will find links to other contributions  originating from the length (and longth) of the planet celebrating the seasonal joys of the garden. You’ll need more than a cup of coffee, though, as the list is long and the joys are many.

Enough. On with the show.

1 Helianthus and Them

Helianthus (Sunflower to those who like the easy names) “Brown Eyed Girl” has been around for a few years now. Bred, I believe by Thompson and Morgan, it’s quite a pricey annual but rewards the outlay with a fantastic, long running, show of flowers. This little girl doesn’t waste energy on seed and so flowers her socks off for a long period. But, I think, the “you get what you pay for” thing doesn’t apply. My first of the six is in two parts.

Part The First is a pair of plants from Thompson and Morgan. Cost £24.94 delivered.


Part The Second is a pair of plants from You Garden. Cost £26.98 delivered.

It’s surprising what a difference £2 can make! Somehow, the only thing I can think of saying to Thompson and Morgan is “you MUST be joking”! Oh, and yes, there is some photobombing WoodblocX in the background of pic 2. All will be revealed in time. Patience Fred.

2 Read the Manual

Last year a rather old Amaryllis kicked the bucket. So I decided to get three different ones and plant them together in a large container. I looked forward to the timely display of flowers. Well one did the biz. Two nice blooms. Amaryllis 2 sent up leaves and nothing more. Amaryllis 3 stayed in bed. Now is (supposedly) not the time but it has woken up and produced two flower stalks. One has a single bloom, the other has four! Needed propping up. But even if it’s a bit tardy, it brightens up the conservatory.


3 Breeding Rabbits

Heading back out to what’s known as Edifice 2 and we have a fine display of Hesperis. I planted a couple of these in Edifice 1 a few years ago. They flowered and then disappeared. I planted one in Edifice 2 last year and this year have been rewarded (is that the right word?) with this display (about half pictured!), which has grown from its allotted place in the perennial compartment of Ed2 into the alpine compartments. I guess I have two things added to my to-do list. First, dead-head religiously and, second, dig a lot up!

4 Highs and Lows

Some people say that Alstroemeria can be difficult to grow. I’m not some! Here, they happily romp away quite quickly, forming ever-growing clumps and flowering from late March through to November. And there’s an Alstroemeria for all places. From the six-inch-or-so lows to the three-to-four feet highs. So here’s a random selection. Click any circle to see a biggie. Names available on request.

5 Agave My Love A Something or Other

I like having the odd “statement” plant. In January 2019 I got myself an Agave americana with the intention of planting it in the middle of a lawn somewhere. The sceptics said I was wasting my time and that it wouldn’t even survive the mild winters we tend to get in these parts. “Piffle”, I said, in one of my Boris Johnson moments. In 30+ years here, I’ve never recorded a winter temperature below -2C and any temperature below zero is unusual. Anyhow, I prevaricated about location, as is my wont and it was not until July last year that it made its way into the ground.

As I started to dig the hole, my erstwhile gardening companion decided it wasn’t deep enough. C’mon, I’d only removed the grass.

Whenever I dug a hole for a shrub, Resident Cat, aka Pillster, would try to curl up in it. If he couldn’t, the hole wasn’t big enough and I would be made to correct my error. Once his requirements were met, I’d have to evict him from the hole to plant the shrub. It was fun.

Once I’d dug deeper, in went the Agave. I used a Everedge plant circle to tart up the planting hole.

Nice and comfy.

Eleven months later, the sceptics are proved wrong. Not only has it grown a fair bit but it’s already throwing out babies all around its base.

And today.

6 A Job For Next Week

This isn’t in the ground yet and when it goes in, it’ll be somewhere other than its intended spot (I’ve ordered another for that). Syringa ‘Palibin’ is a standard lilac, currently about 5 feet tall and it won’t grow too much more. Prunable to contain the head shape, according to the book it should flower about now from next year, which will be appropriate, and may flower again later in the year. It had better have read the manual!

That’s going to be one planting hole from which Resident Cat won’t be evicted.

14 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 6 June 2020

  1. I must have missed an episode last week John and I’m only reading your last Six now … Nevertheless, things that are still interesting like this wonderful cat that has been replaced by something that also claws, but obviously requires less cat food. Pretty alstroemerias and this red amaryllis is very pretty (Bordeaux wine color)

    1. One thing that Pillster didn’t do was claw (only the occasional accidental catch when we were playing). He was very much a “claws retracted” cat. I like to push boundaries sometimes and, of course, planting three Amaryllis in one large container rather than, as they prefer, constricting them into smaller, individual ones was definitely pushing. I’ve been pleased with the results, though they didn’t co-operate by flowering at around the same time. I’ll repot them individually once the time is right. This red (‘Charisma’) is the deepest red I’ve ever had.

  2. Glad to see you back SOSing. I have missed the edifices, cats and humour. Also very pleased to hear Classic Editor will be around or a while, I don’t seem to have the time to master BE. Let alone take phones apart and do whatever with whatever. Sorry did you post about flowers as well? I seem to remember the alstroemerias looked good. 🙂

    1. Thanks. Though I cats will be absent in future. If you’re hosted at WordPress, you’ll soon have to get used to BE. I’ve found it’s much easier if you’re composing on a smartphone. On a PC, it’s a pain. But such is progress, I suppose. Good luck when your time comes.

  3. The predictable names request for Alstroemerias, bottom middle and bottom right, though I think I’ve already identified the latter as Elvira from Viv’s website. One day my Agaves montana and parryi will be too big to pot on again and will need a big open space to go in, which I don’t have. Did it draw blood when you were planting it?

    1. Bottom middle is Lucca. Bottom right is a bit of a mystery. There is an Elvira about three feet away. She’s a tall one. The plant in the picture appeared this year and the flowers are those of Elvira though how it jumped three feet I can’t say. The odd thing is that the plant shows no sign of aiming to grow more than six inches! I’ll be keeping an eye on it. If it returns next year and stays small, I may contact Viv and try a bit of propagation.

      I got attacked when first unpacking the Agave but planting was a doddle thanks to the Niwaki of garden gloves, Gold Leaf. Specifically

  4. Alstroemeria, one of my favourites. I have a 6-inch-or-so variety bought from Wisley a few years ago that is thriving in my heavy clay soil … though it is only just beginning to flower.

    1. The short ones can probably see the manual more easily and so know they should start flowering around now. Taller, short-sighted ones here haven’t deciphered the text. Lucky you getting a baby to grow in heavy clay. My little uns are all growing in raised beds in more normal soil. I doubt they would survive in the ground.

  5. My goal is to get a few Alstroemeria! I keep seeing it and coveting it for my own garden. How can you be “late” when it’s not even 9:00am yet!

    1. Setting the clock late so you can stay in bed longer is cheating!

  6. A very interesting six. I hope you put in a complaint to T&M? I must admit I am very wary of online nurseries after getting some really tiny plants that take such a long time to grow, if they live that is. On the other hand there are nurseries that are excellent. One day I might even get around to doing a post about them. I am rather envious of your Agave. I have an Agave americana ‘Marginata’ (at least I think that’s the one) in a pot. Still not much bigger than when it was bought a couple of years ago. New leaves grow and I have to peel away old dead ones. Maybe it should go in the ground, but given how wet it is here I thought it safer to be able to bring indoors in the winter.

    1. I usually post annually about my experience with different “suppliers” (most don’t fit my definition of “nursery”). I’ve gradually become disenchanted with T&M over the last few years and don’t order as much from them as in the past. I’m starting to think that this will be the last year for them. The Agave is a risk, I suppose, but it seems to be doing OK in our South Wales climate. I haven’t been able to just “strip away” dead leaves though. I’ve had to cut, almost saw, them off! Time will tell, I guess.

  7. I was worried you were going to be a no show. Love the agave, it has certainly has made itself at home. Watch out for those spines though, they are mean beggars. Nice amaryllis colour. Always a joy to see on of your edifices. Don’t get me started on Block Editor …… do you know how to make the tag stick around and not vanish into thin air when you type a new one? And yes I was pressing enter or comma. sigh

    1. C’mon Auntie. Give me a bit of credit for perseverance. I only came back last week so I’m not going to become a no-show this soon, even if I have to post six pics of different blades of grass! I promise to be careful with those pointy things. Can’t help with tags, sorry. I don’t tag photos in posts, only the posts themselves which ain’t a problem. And, wonder of wonders, tagging the original photos as I take them seems to have become automatic when I use the phone. It’s a technological miracle how, most of the time, something out there identifies a plant as at least the species.

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