Six on Saturday: 13 June 2020

It is writ, multiple times, that a firm, if not the only, rule of this ‘ere meme thing is that due tribute and links shall be given to the founder, Mr Propagator. I’ve run out of appropriate wordings but a certain Devonian lass, frequenter of gin emporiums and equivalent of a herd of wildebeest stampeding whenever the words “free seeds here” are shouted, has got it down to a T so why not pop over to her place to get the full picture?

Up until yesterday, my memory didn’t stretch back to the last time we had any sort of precipitation beyond a light shower here. But the stored wetness had to fall sometime, I guess, and, yesterday, boy did it with a vengeance. A water feature whose contents had largely evaporated (I don’t fill things like that with a hose, I have a water meter!) refilled. Not a scientific measure but the water level in it rose just about 2″. It may have been more but there’s one of those overflow holes which meant that was as high as the water was going to get. Meanwhile, the average height of planting in the garden dropped a couple of feet. There was not even a gentle breeze to shift the downpour from exactly vertical and the poor plants suffered.

There was no way I was going to venture outside with my trusty camera but, a bit of sun this morning gave me an opportunity to nip out. Should I shoot six scenes of utter devastation? I had planned to feature another rose, some four feet high and a mass of blooms for the top three-and-three-quarters of those feet – the foliage was hardly visible, unless you looked really hard! Today it’s about two feet tall and a mass of mush. Indeed all my roses have been mushified. Get positive, I thought to myself, as I poured myself an illegally-early but totally necessary pre-breakfast glass of Southern Comfort to drown my sorrows (also wondering whether similar musings on the harshness of nature were resulting in gin levels reducing in Devon)! And I have just about made it with six for today. Not all is lost.

1 Antirrhinum

I featured these snapdragons back in 2018, when I’d acquired a small collection of a new variety (name forgotten) and was quite pleased that they had flowered profusely for around four months (they carried on for another month afterwards). Last year, while I was taking time out, they returned but only a couple of flowers opened. So I dug them up. Or so I thought. This year, they reappeared – I know not whether from a stray bit of root or some seed – and I have three plants. Front left a nice yellow-with-a-dash-of-pink, front right orange-with-a-dash-of-yellow and, if you look carefully, you can just see a red-with-a-dash-of-white poking above behind the one front right. I wish I could remember the variety so I could get more. Still, a nice surprise.

2 Sambucus

I planted the Sambucus you can see behind the adjacent lilac some 10 years ago. Perhaps weighted down by its full name – Sambucus nigra f.porphyrophylla Eva – it refused to grow more than a couple of feet tall and never flowered. Last year, I didn’t bother to cut it down, as the book instructs you to do each autumn, fully intending to dig it out this year. Maybe it realised its fate was almost sealed, maybe David Domoney sneaked in one night and dosed it with Viagra. Who knows? Suddently, it’s about six feet tall and has produced one flower head, albeit on a single stem. So it’s safe for another year. That’s if the rest of it catches up.

3 Pond Iris

I don’t grow Iris in the ground. Their short flowering season doesn’t justify their space save for a couple of clumps of alpine varieties which don’t take up much space in the alpine beds. But I have a number of varieties in the pond which I had planned to feature this week. Blues, reds, purples, yellows. They look nice for a short while and, if nothing else, the foliage provides exits for the flying versions of those little alien monsters that crawl around underwater for much of their lives. The morning after the rain, all I have left is this single flower. I salute its strength. The only survivor.

4 Clematis ‘Piilu’

No excuses here. She’s tied in to the trellis she shares with a couple of climbing Fuschia (which you may notice are coming into flower a bit earlier than usual). I still wonder whether she is actually Piilu, though. Whatever. I like the colour she gives.

5 Melittis

A smallish plant trying to live up to the size of its name, Melittis melissophyllum ‘Royal Velvet Distinction’, this has grown substantially in the two years I’ve had it. Nick in the USA introduced me to it and, at the time, I thought it a bit unusual as, to me, most of the plants Nick blogs about are unusual. But then Jim let me know he had lots of it growing wild near his place. I suspect I’m going to have to at least divide my plant later this year if not completely relocate it as it’s swamping its neighbours. I’ll have to read up on my options.

6 Mini-Ed 3

Readers who were around before I went to sleep a year ago will know of my “adventures” with WoodblocX which have resulted in what are referred to as Edifices 1-3 and Mini-Eds (currently) 1-5. It’s time to start mentioning them again.

A year ago, I put Mini-Ed 3 together and planted it up mainly with plants I’d won in a competition (the last previous competition I’d won had left me with five pairs of tights which were useless unless I planned to rob a bank in close company with another robber). Then it looked like this:

A year and three months later, it looks like this:

Did I overplant? I usually do though remember this is post-yesterday’s downpour so it looks a little flatter than usual. The main culprit in the distorted view is Helichrysum italicum, a.k.a. Curry Plant. I was already thinking that maybe it needed moving as it was getting a bit big (it’s flopping over on the left end from it’s position almost in the centre) and it was proving a bit more aromatic than I’d expected, assaulting the noses of visitors with it’s namesake smell. Everything else is behaving and early-flowering plants have flowered early and late-flowering ones have yet to flower. All in all, I’ll get colour from March through to November with evergreens carrying on being green through to next spring.

Within a week or two daylilies and roselilies will open to add to the colour. Nice.


Thassit for this week but I’ll end with an apology for not having yet got round to responding to every comment made in the last couple of weeks. Things have sort of got in the way but I’ll get through all of them, plus any that pop my way today, before I go to bed tonight.

And for those who’ve got in touch via email etc., to ask about Resident Cat, thanks. Your kind words are appreciated. He’s due back on Monday and will then have his permanent place in the garden.

10 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 13 June 2020

  1. i reckon it is piilu, i used to have one, killed it. dunno how, a horticultural mystery. i like your surprise snapdragons. i’ve never been able to grow a good one, they always get excessively leggy and untidy.

  2. I already had Clematis on the Web open from checking something on another six, so looked up Piilu. http://clematisontheweb.org/new-clemdetail.cfm?dbkey=374 Looks OK to me. My Melittis has scrambled up through my Muehlenbeckia astonii this year, which means it’s quite well supported. Also means I can’t really see it. The wild ones were superb this year, growing in full sun in competition with all the other stuff in the hedgerow.

    1. Ah! Knowledge gap. I hadn’t realised that Piilu could produce fully double flowers, which mine did a couple of years ago. I’ve been uncertain about it ever since. My Melittis has plenty of opportunity to climb but has shown no inclination, instead spreading out rather thickly over neighbours. I might try popping a small obelisk in and tying it to see if that sets it off.

  3. That clematis is like a Nelly Moser I had in my previous garden. Very pretty. Mini-Ed is looking good, I’m sure we will see him again in the future. I’ve not seen No:5 before…..most unusual.

    1. Nelly has a different centre to Piilu, although otherwise they are similar. My uncertainty stems from not knowing that Piilu can produce fully double flowers. That threw me a couple of years ago. But every time I ask, most agree that it is Piilu so I’ll stop worrying, I think. Both varieties are goo-lookers and I suppose it’s more a case of not wanting my ego shattered when some Clematis expert visiting the garden tells me my label’s wrong!

      I used to think Melittis was unusual in the UK but, it seems, it’s quite common in the wild in certain parts of the country.

  4. Love those snapdragons, I can’t be bothered to try to spell anti…, anthi, an…., what sadist came up with that spelling? The rain is most welcome, as is the gin. I can’t see too much damage out there, but to be honest I haven’t looked very carefully. Nice clematis and always a joy to see Mini-Ed. I don’t think it is over-planted. Resident cat no more? I am very sad to hear this. Sending a big hug x

    1. Yes Auntie. Taxonomists have a lot to answer for. Can’t wait for them to tackle the use of “niger” and “nigra” in horticulture. I didn’t need to look carefully to see the damage. The rain held off yesterday but the garden now looks like a collection of plant supports with the odd plant poking through. Pillster became ill rather suddenly (he had a full “pet MOT” in March cos he was 15 1/2 which is technically geriatric for a cat and was fine then). We tried but after a few days realised we couldn’t do anything so …… Thanks for the hug.

    1. It’s frustrating that I can’t remember the varietal name of those Antirrhinum. I guess they have regrown from bits of root as I do recall they flower long and strong because they don’t set seed. I’m going to try a bit of vegetative propagation though I realise that if I succeed I won’t now be able to send you some plantlets. Damn Brexit!

      I think I’ll stop being uncertain about Piilu as everyone else says that’s what it is. The link did work, thanks.

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