Six on Saturday: Some things done but much still to do

There was not much opportunity for gardening this week, I had free time on Tuesday but the rain fell all day. I managed to plant out the actaeas late on Friday which gave a small sense of achievement. But I am frustrated in my early bulb planting as the long arm of Brexit has entangled itself in my order and I will have to be patient. Even as the garden falls away towards winter there is much to be done. Including finding six things from the garden each week. Here they are.

One

The rain brought down more of the persimmons and I doubt there will be many left to ripen but fortunately we had picked most of the apples over last weekend and they were taken off to the apple pressing farm on Monday. On Friday we collected the result which was 31 bottles. Slightly less than last year, possible due to us not picking from the Braeburn which looked as though it needed another month or so for the apples to get to a good size. We will taste the result today.

Two

Although I didn’t get the chance to garden much this week I did have the muscle in to deal with two variegated box shrubs that had lost the battle against box moth caterpillar. I can’t say I will miss them and I now have two planting spaces to fill. I am thinking hibiscus or perhaps an amelanchier. Suggestions welcome – something with white flowers would be ideal.

Three

Some plants are dogged survivors and although I dug out this aster last year I must have left a piece behind and it has duly fought its way through the echinacea to flower again. It looks quite good!

Four

This is an unknown hesperantha has made its usual re-appearance and reminded me how solidly reliable these are. I determined to invest in some more and have my eye on a pink variety called ‘Sunrise’.

Five

I really don’t grow dahlias in any great quantity but every now and then one makes an appearance in a SOS. This one grows in a pot and has done so for about four years. It’s ‘Blanca y Verde’ and is one of the few I have decided I like.

Six

Darcey Bussell rose has suffered very badly with blackspot this year and I worry for next year. But it has been in the garden for about four years so I’m hoping it is well enough established to cope with the attack. The flowers keep coming.

Jobs for weekend in this garden will be cutting back the agapanthus stems and calling time on the courgettes and cucumbers. The tomatoes have finally succumbed to blight so were culled last night. The empty spaces on the veg patch will give me a place for overwintering plants that are being dug up in the border rearrangement. I’ve decided that my grass border project will have to wait until next year as I fear I was being over optimistic about the amount of sunshine the chosen space received. I’m fine tuning my choices to ensure they are better suited to a shadier site. I doubt there will enough hours in the weekend for all I hope to get through and Sunday looks like being wet. My top priority is to sprinkle some bonemeal around the fruit trees and bushes so that it is watered in by Sunday’s showers. I hope you all have productive weekends whatever your tasks are. The Propagator shares his short but seminal thoughts as usual via his site and hosts all the links. Good on you!

Six On Saturday: buckets and spades

Having just returned from the perfect UK beach holiday: a week of beautiful weather with a sturdy on shore breeze off the North Sea to keep things comfortable, it was something of a shock to find the garden in total chaos. Despite a good round of dead heading before departure the roses were jaded and a heavy downpour of rain had brought down apples and persimmons. Picking the plums before we left was a job that didn’t get done and a week of sunshine seemed to have pushed them over the edge. There was not a plum left on the tree. On the veg patch there was of course the marker of the season – an overgrown courgette and the cucumbers had excelled themselves. I will need the garden bucket to collect all the windfalls and the spade will be put to use as I hope to make a start on a revamp of the borders. Here’s six this week from a challenging garden.

One

The most joyful sight was the Japanese anemones growing in the North facing border. They have performed superbly this year. They are, of course, ‘Honorine Jobert’. I was curious to see if I could establish who Honorine Jobert was but drew a blank. French no doubt as the flower was discovered in Verdun in 1858. Many thanks to whoever discovered her.

Two

Having finally understood that the lovely ‘Terracotta’ achillea doesn’t maintain its colour through the season but always fades to a mustardy yellow I invested in ‘Walther Funcke’. A variety with a hint of red among the orange, this one fades to a creamy yellow which I am hoping will look a little softer. And no, I couldn’t find out who Walther was either.

Three

Before I left for the week I sowed some green manure seeds on a empty veg patch. These clearly enjoyed the conditions and have come along well. I’ll leave them be for a couple of months and then dig them in as winter sets in. In the meantime they’ll keep the weeds down.

Four

On the return journey from the Suffolk coast a stop was made at the Beth Chatto Garden to buy one or two plants for the borders. I had decided to grow actaea ‘Brunette’ behind the roses for next year and so made my purchase. On returning to the garden I found the ‘Darcey Bussell’ roses virtually leafless due to blackspot. Previously I have grown this rose with salvia ‘Amistad’. The gardener Sarah Raven advocates rose and salvia combinations as protection against blackspot and I think she may have a point. Last winter the salvias failed and the roses have battled on without their support. It could be this year’s weather that has encouraged the disease or it could be the lack of salvias. I’ll give the actaea a go but I may be returning to the salvias soon.

Five

I didn’t sow the usual trays of cosmos this year but was lucky to have enough self seeders to sprinkle around the garden. They’ve done better than anything I’ve ever sown so I’m hoping they will self seed again. It saves all that potting on! This is ‘Dazzler’. Sadly the sage is in better focus!

Six

The final six for this week is a sneaky return to my daily view from last week, marram grass helping to stabilise the sand dunes, with sunshine.

This weekend I will be trying to re-establish some sense that this is a cared for garden and will stop by the links posted by other SOSers, hosted as always by the indomitable Propagator. He’s running again!

Six On Saturday: September sunshine on its way

There’s a week of good weather forecast which will lift everyone’s spirits. It’s a positive start to Autumn and I’m happy to say goodbye to that wet, grey thing that was optimistically called Summer. I’m adjusting to a new season and starting to forward plan. I’ve found a new (to me) variety of onion (Centurion) and an early potato (Cherie) to try out, I have good intentions to invest in some solid plant supports and for adding one or two more upright perennials to the border. Bulbs have been ordered and seed catalogues will be picked over. Even though Summer has wound down, there are one or two treasures in the garden to enjoy. Here are my choices for this week.

One

I had plans to plant a ‘Hawkshead’ fuchsia down at the far end of the garden and put in an order for one early this year. The nursery told me that they had had a poor start to the season and their plants in the polytunnels were a write off. They offered me a free twig of the fuchsia in with the rest of my order and I accepted. Six months on from its arrival it has been repotted twice and is flowering quite beautifully. I only hope that I can get it through the winter and then through another year or two before it becomes a properly grown up shrub!

Two

This is echinacea ‘White Swan’, a favourite of mine. I also have a couple of plants grown from seed that I hope will catch up with these purchased plants soon. I’ve sown a few more seeds this year, but just as I liberally covered them with vermiculite I re-read the sowing instructions – ‘Do not cover, needs light to germinate’. Have you every tried looking for seeds in vermiculite? Not recommended!

Three

I planted out some salvia ‘Nachtvlinder’ last year to fill up a space at the base of a climbing rose. So far these beautiful salvias haven’t quite climbed high enough to clothe the gap but I do like them. Maybe next year they will get a bit taller.

Four

And speaking of salvias, how about this for a surprise? I lost my main collection of salvia ‘Amistad’ over the winter so the ‘Darcy Bussell’ roses have been without their usual companions. This one is from a cutting I took two years ago and which also didn’t look like it was going to come to anything this year. It has suddenly shot up and produced flowers. I’ll try to get a couple of cuttings again for insurance.

Five

Not a treasure to enjoy but something that must be dealt with. There is always a problem corner in the garden and this is my current one. The rodgersias at the back failed to flower this year, most of the zinnias planted here fell prey to the slugs and although the fleabane looks happy it is camouflaging one of my most hated weeds – the cinquefoil. It sends out runners at an amazing speed and now has a strong grip on this corner. I pull it out as best I can but the plan is to dig out everything and try to take out every last scrap of cinquefoil too. I’ll do my best.

Six

The roses keep going and this deep magenta one is lovely and has a great scent. It’s ‘Madame Isaac Péreire’, a repeat flowering Old Rose. It doesn’t put out flowers all summer but after its first flush it starts again around now. It has the potential to be a mighty shrub in a couple more years, which will hopefully mean more flowers and more scent.

The Propagator hosts this meme and has kindly produced a participant guide in attempt to keep us all in good order, Take a look at the rules, then take part, the rules can be bent gently if you need to. Posts come in from all around the world so there is always a steady supply of garden colour.

Six On Saturday: Harvesting fruit and flowers

While it has not been a glorious year on my veg patch, we are enjoying some homegrown produce. Sadly the potatoes are all eaten and I need to consider growing more next year. The tomatoes in the greenhouse are ripening at a steady pace now, courgettes and cucumbers keep coming and the rather erratic strawberries seem to have finally found their fruiting time, clearly they are late risers. The figs are huge and too many for us to eat fresh, so I should be making jam, but I think the squirrels may get in first. I’ll gloss over the failures and enjoy the successes. This is the time of year for basil and tomato combinations: tarts, sauces and salads which are wonderful. But I should mention the excessive amount of whitefly in the greenhouse this year and give a nod to encarsia wasp cards as a bio control. I was late getting these going but they are in place and hopefully doing a grand job. Roses continue to do the heavy lifting for late summer here, ably supported by zinnias and a sprinkle of dahlias. Here’s my chosen six for this week.

One

Although I have sworn not to grow dahlias again, I confess that I am enjoying the cacti mix dahlias grown from seed for a cutting patch and so far, untouched by the slugs.

Two

I present this as a success but of course that’s only half the story, I should I say one twentieth of the story. Twenty tiny seeds of nicotiana ‘Whisper’ sown, three germinated and grown on, only one so far flowering in the garden. But it’s pretty!

Three

The autumn fruiting raspberries are just beginning to fruit. It doesn’t feel like as bountiful a crop as last year but they taste good.

Four

These are, I think, cox’s pippin apples. These don’t seem to have been affected by brown rot – long may that last. In a few weeks all the apples will be picked and taken off to be juiced. Last year’s juice ran out a little while ago and we are back buying supermarket juice which is so sweet in comparison.

Five

The scented leaf pellies were slow out of the blocks this year and this one ‘Pink Capitatum’ is only just putting on a good show. I grow them in pots, overwintered in the greenhouse. This year I took a few cuttings of this variety and they have really grown on well and are also in flower now. I use the pellies instead of buying in summer bedding for pots.

Six

My long struggle with the grapevine continues. I am always behind with the pruning and this year I discovered that I should be pruning back the long lengths from May onwards. I am usually thinking about doing this around July time, when they start to descend towards the ground. This year is the first year that some of the grapes look as though they might amount to something which given the amount of rain we have had this summer might suggest that I have underwatered in previous years. A crime I will readily confess to. The vine’s main duty is to provide some shade over the pergola so in truth I don’t worry about the grapes too much.

Forthcoming projects are bubbling away, some tweaking in the long border and the plan for the back border is coming together. There is always that moment when the grand scheme in the mind hits the reality of the limited space there actually is and everything gets scaled down. My plan is to buy the plants in the next couple of weeks so all will be revealed soon! More revelations will be found, as usual, on The Propagator’s site where he hosts the links to the SOS meme. I have plenty of reading to catch up with due to a spate of of dashing around with the family, which can’t be bad in the circumstances. For those in the UK, enjoy the long weekend!

Six on Saturday: The year is moving on

The apples are filling out and the hollyhocks are going to seed. There is definitely a feel of autumn in the air. I lifted the last of the potatoes this week and finally accepted that the onions are not going to get any bigger. They are pretty small in spite of the rain that we have had. But then it doesn’t feel like there has been enough sunshine. I am just keeping up with eating the courgettes but the cucumbers are out running me. The first pickings of the outside tomatoes have come through this week just as I bought some seed for next year. I also bought green manure seed which has been sown in the bare ground left by the potatoes. And so it all begins again. Meanwhile there are a few more months of flowers to enjoy. Here’s this week’s six.

One

It has been day lily time for a few weeks and every week I aimed to show my favourite white one ‘Gentle Shepherd’ but the rain turned each transient flower to a soggy mess. These ones, ‘Golden Chimes ‘ seem more resilient and do manage to put on a show despite their more shady location.

Two

I don’t usually see a second flowering from the weigela but this year’s weather seems to have suited it and I’m not going to object.

Three

This is very much a tale of two pots. Last year’s bulbs of gladiolus murielae were left in their pots and overwintered in the greenhouse. Wow, I thought, what a lovely show I will get from all these green leaves and what a shame that the other pot hasn’t done so well. But the reverse is true, not one flower stem is hidden amongst those leaves while the other pot has at least managed to flower.

Four

Something started for next year’s flowering. These are eurybia divaricata, or wood aster, sown from seed supplied by The Propagator himself. I have planted about half a dozen out in the garden already and I am planning to donate these to a local Horticultural Society Plant Sale. Always a satisfying part of gardening when you can pass on the good turn. Thanks Prop.

Five

The roses work so hard in this garden and although some have really suffered from black spot this year, ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ is holding strong.

Six

I am also enjoying the second, very generous, flush of ‘Blush Noisette’ growing along the wall. The gloomier days mean that the pink tinge stays a little longer. In bright sunshine they fade all too quickly to white. Every cloud has a silver lining!

My gardening jobs for this weekend will be to cut down the hollyhocks before they self seed too vigorously. And I’m planning out a new planting area for the very back border. It’s a difficult spot I think. Not enough sun to support my dream of an asparagus bed but, tantalising, it does seem to get a good amount of late afternoon sun. I want to grow tall grasses to hide the end of garden fence and so, throwing caution to the wind, that is what I am going to do. More to come on this one. More from other SOS gardens can be found at The Propagator’s site. Enjoy.

Six on Saturday: catching up, looking forward and enjoying the present

I had some time to do a catch up in the garden and rather later than usual I have cut back the last of the delphiniums. I was showered with seeds as the stems were cut back. I doubt they’ll come to anything but it would be fun if they did! Having completed the cut back I can see that there are way too many astrantias, which do self seed very well. There has been some pulling up but there is more to be done. The garden has a scruffy feel at this time of the year but the roses are coming through again which helps hold things together. Here’s this week’s six.

One

The cutting patch is just beginning to deliver the goods. I planted half with seed tray sown plants and half was direct sown in May. The May sown seeds unfortunately had to compete with the verbena bonariensis seeds that came through in the home made compost. The verbena won hands down and so that half was dug over and given to some lettuce plants and some very late sown cosmos. These are the China Asters which I really do like. Now I just have to cut them, which of course I won’t as they look so much better here.

Two

The other side of the asters is a patch of dahlias grown from seed. This was ‘cactus mix’ and there does seem to be a good variety of shapes and colours. The bees like this yellow one.

Three

I have several large pots of deciduous agapanthus, the ones that need to be fleeced over winter. They flower on much longer stems and look fabulous at this time of year. I have a record nine stems in one pot this year and I try to remember to feed them once a week with a seaweed feed.

Four

All the apple trees were summer pruned for the first time this year. About three years ago I took the decision to bring in a specialist to prune the trees back to a good shape and I planned to take over again once that had been achieved. How weak am I? He makes such a brilliant job of it that I have decided to use him every year. And this year he did the plum tree as well.

Five

I could fill the late summer borders with this rudbeckia, it spreads that quickly. But I reign it in every other year. It does cheer the eye on a cloudy day though. It’s ‘Goldsturm’. This I would cut for the house as it is so floriferous.

Six

Yes, the roses are back so I am featuring Jaqueline du Pre again. So very pretty.

I have many plans to move plants around this autumn and will have to add some things in to take the place of some of the astrantias. I’ve made a start by, late again, dividing some bearded irises and there has been much reviewing of the wish list and checking of prices on the internet. I’m really trying to resist the sprawlers and go for more vertical height. Much more research to be done.

If you are also seeking inspiration then there’s nothing better than reading a few of the #SixOnSaturday posts. The links are hosted by The Propagator, who has got a very fab gladioli this week. Enjoy the weekend.

Six on Saturday: Harvest thoughts

Is it too early to call time on the veg plot for this year? I dug some more potatoes and the result was not wonderful. This year’s rotation finds the potatoes in the space under one the apple trees and there is a bit of a rain shadow there. I would have thought that the torrential rain we have had would have found a way through. Damn, I wasn’t going to mention the weather this week. The onions are just about still growing and don’t look too bad. Shallots harvested, French beans are coming through so slowly and the courgettes are being well behaved, always ready to deliver a good sized courgette when needed. The best deliverers this year are the cucumbers and the sweet peppers. Tomatoes might just come good if the ripening continues. Since the cucumbers have done so well they get to be first in this week’s six.

One

I grew ‘Burpless Tasty Green’ this year. A variety I have grown before and previously they have produced long cucumbers. This year I have had a steady supply of short cucumbers. I don’t mind that, in fact it suits me better but why, I ask myself? I have one plant in the greenhouse and one plant outside. If I leave them a little longer before picking they grow fatter but not longer. Curious, but not a problem.

Two

My last hurrah with dahlias. I lifted two dahlia clumps last year and overwintered them wrapped in newspapers. I don’t usually lift dahlias but I wanted the space for tulips. I didn’t have a space for the dahlias when the time came to replant so, as is the way here, they went to veg plot end of the garden, underneath another apple tree. Amazingly this seems to be the space for them, untouched by slugs they are flowering quite happily. Now I have a quandary. To leave them, to lift them again, to throw them out?

Three

The erigeron karvinskianus that suffered so badly over last winter has bounced back and nature has decreed that it should be more forward growing than before and nature is absolutely right, giving me the opportunity to fill the middle ground with new plants.

Four

I have to show the flower of ‘Madame Alfred Carrière’ rose growing on the new arch. I took a cutting from the one growing over the back fence and a year later planted it at the base of the new arch. I am, of course, completely mad to be growing such a vigorous rose over an arch but I am going to be ruthless with the pruning. Fingers crossed.

Five

This veronicastrum ‘alba’ was subject to some moving in spring. Half the group went off to a sunnier spot and this group was moved a little closer to the front of the border. This group have done the best, remaining upright in all the wind and rain. Still not the impact I was looking for but I’ll leave them and see if they get settled in.

Six

Lastly, hosta ‘Francee’, growing in a pot and for the moment moved from its usual place by the back fence. There are plans for the back fence area, more of which later. In the meantime ‘Francee’ adds beauty to the scruffy greenhouse entrance.

Thanks go as always to The Propagator who hosts #SixOnSaturday and to everyone who takes part, sharing, commenting and liking. I’m off to inspect the newly developing bog garden if there’s a dry spell!

Six On Saturday: Out of control

It’s never a good time to have a twinge-y knee but this mixture of plentiful rain and some sunshine has sent the garden and its weeds into overdrive. Storm Evert blew through yesterday and the hollyhocks were swaying about like seasick passengers on a cruise ship in roiling seas. I nipped out in between the downpours to take some photos. These give you a selective view of the garden. In truth the long border is mass of geraniums that are still waiting to be cut back along with knautia, alchemilla mollis and of course a good selection of weeds. Here’s the good side of the garden for this week.

One

A few weeks back I had a good moan about the zinnias having been eaten by the slugs. Fortunately a small group of them survived and are now in flower. It’s such a shame that they are a slug favourite, I think they do a brilliant job of giving late summer colour. These are ‘Purple Giant’ and ‘Orange King’. I really am giving up dahlias but I will probably sow zinnia seeds next year.

Two

I am always a little amazed at the price of some 9cm plants from online suppliers. But having nurtured these echinacea pallida from seeds sown at least four years ago I can understand why. I can’t remember how many seeds were sown but I only managed to get three though to plants. They spent probably two years in pots until they looked strong enough to cope with those rougher plants in the garden, they flowered last year and look so much better this year. But I hear that echinacea are short lived. Time to sow more seed.

Three

These standard echinacea I did buy in 9cm pots and they have been in the garden for four years. It sounds as though this is a good span. They look pretty settled to me and I can’t believe they are going to disappear any time soon. They are not too crowded out by other plants which may help. Live long please!

Four

Agapanthus is another plant that costs an arm and a leg at the garden centres. After seeing an impressive group of dark blue ‘Midnight Star’ at Hidcote some years ago I decided that I must have some here. I bought some 9cm pots at the aforementioned arm and a leg price and waited for the impact. Three years on I think we are nearly there. They are fronted by achillea ‘Antique White’, a pity bench purchase from a few years ago.

Five

Echinacea is a bit of theme this week. I love these ‘White Swan’. I grew some from seed which are coming along well but I think this group is from a 9cm pot. I will definitely sow more of these to keep a continual supply for the garden.

Six

As posted earlier in the week on Twitter, the potatoes grown in a container were upended and the ever-pleasing job of rummaging for the treasure began. I grew Belle de Fontenay this year, which are classed as second earlies/main crop. Four small seed potatoes were planted in a 17 litre container which was half filled with compost. This was topped up as the leaves came through. I was very happy with the haul of 3kgs, some smaller but a good proportion were of a generous size. The best advantage of growing like this is that there’s no danger of leaving the odd potato in the ground to grow on next year. I might be a convert. I have two rows growing in the ground which will be dug up as and when needed.

More rain is forecast, at least the water butts are full and are being put to good use for watering in the greenhouse. Something has been eating the peppers but I have picked the first one, french beans are cropping slowly, tomatoes just beginning to ripen, courgettes coming through at a good pace and the loganberries and blackberries also just ripening. Don’t mention carrots this year, virtually no germination, the onions might get a little larger and the rocket which has been a steady producer has succumbed to flea beetle. Storm Evert brought down a few apples which reminded me the trees are in need of a summer prune as does the grapevine which is truly out of control. While it rained I watched the RHS video on what I should have been doing. Here’s hoping things are good in your garden. The Propagator has posted sunny holiday snaps and will still manage to host the links to other SOS gardens. More sun needed here please so that I can make a start on gaining control again.

Six On Saturday: The ruthless gardener stalled

For one brief moment the ruthless gardener was in full flow, cutting back hardy geraniums, pulling out surplus seedlings, felling a plum tree (well, not me doing that job) and condemning underperformers. Then some tennis was played and the left knee said ‘enough is enough’. On the upside the knee wrapped in ice felt wonderful when those temperatures were so high. Now the frustrated gardener is hanging around staring through the windows. At least the rain is taking one job off the ‘to do’ list and the garden is teeming with baby birds to offer distraction. Here’s six from the garden for this week.

One

The back garden white hydrangeas were well and truly scorched by the sun this week but in the front garden, with its all the more gentle aspect, the hydrangea was glowing vibrantly. I have no idea how this mix of colours has evolved, I am sure that on our arrival here five years ago this was universally pinkish.

Two

More vibrant colour coming through from magenta pink phlox, inherited and such a reliable steady performer at this time of year. I’ve started to move astrantia seedlings into this area along with some underperforming veronicastrums which were perhaps more in shade than partial shade. One to watch for next year.

Three

A plum tree has gone. A ruthless decision that took five years to make! When we arrived the tree had a nasty split in the trunk but it seemed be healing over the years. Sadly it then started to get die back from the new growth and despite beautiful blossom the fruit crop was minimal. It was just not worth the annual pruning so the tree surgeon was called in to do the deed. There is now a more open aspect to the border and the apple tree on the right hand side has room to breathe.

Four

This is a ‘Miss Wilmott’ scabious which is slowly bulking up and adding some airy height to this border. Miss Wilmott was a well known gardener in her day, contemporary with Gertrude Jekyll and is perhaps more famous today for the Eryngium ‘Miss Willmott’s Ghost’ also named after her.

Five

The hollyhocks have self seeded through the garden and in so many different colours. Here’s a small selection.

Six

Lastly the North facing border is bulking up well. The climbing hydrangeas on the fence are slowly climbing but they like to run up the fence panels rather sideways. I try to persuade them into the horizontal but I think nature will have its way.

Happy hols to The Propagator who presents a concise and colourful six this week. I had plans to visit an NGS garden but the weather does not look too kind. I am in search of inspiration for a small patch at the very back of the garden so it may be a case of wearing suitable clothing and going anyway. Enjoy your gardening time.

Six On Saturday: No more slug banquets

We had torrential rain on Monday evening which caused local flooding on some roads, nothing like that experienced in Europe this week for which I am grateful and this weekend we have a scorchio heatwave. It is feast or famine weather-wise and I had a nostalgic longing for the gentle summers of childhood. We did have them didn’t we? There is one aspect of the garden that is very much feast time and that is the dahlia banquet I have been serving up for the slugs. That’s it. I am done with dahlias, never much liked them anyway and as I don’t have that many they will not be missed. Also suffering this year are the lupins and zinnias. The new resolution is ‘if the slugs munch it, it is not staying in the garden’. In ruthless mode I also dug up an echinops ritro – globe thistle. Never much liked that either. It seemed to suffer from aphid attacks and then took on a bedraggled look until the next wave of growth came through. Not attractive and now gone for good. On the good news side, I have planted out all the salvias and some very slow to get going nicotiana ‘Whisper’ seedlings. Twenty tiny seeds sown, four germinated. They grew on so slowly that I had actually forgotten them. Yesterday, in some cobwebby corner of the greenhouse, I spotted the glowing green leaves and they were in the garden pdq. Here’s this week’s six.

One

Hebe, variety unknown. I inherited this in the front garden where it lurked under the magnolia tree doing not very much. Two years ago I dug up it and for the time being, as one does, put it in a corner of the veg plot. This year it has performed spectacularly. With fireworks of white spikes of flowers fizzing of in all directions. It is alongside the potatoes this year and I am very happy to let it stay there. Added bonus: no slug damage.

Two

Ever reliable, no slug damage, and so easily taken for granted, even moaned about occasionally, verbena bonariensis. Moaned about because here it self seeds readily. It seems to grow in every corner but does the best in the sunniest spot where it really does stand up well without falling over the path too much. I pull them up where they are flopping.

Three

Hollyhocks. Hmm, yes some occasional slime trails but the plants just push on upwards. Self seeding itself throughout the borders and I do nip out the seedlings when I spot them but of course some manage to elude me and then deliver a mid summer surprise as they soar above the other plants.

Four

The ever sunny leucanthemum superbum or shasta daisy. Now securely staked. I grew these beauties from seed when I first came to this garden and used them to front the wild blackberries, that I was going to dig out. Over the last few years the blackberries have been somewhat tamed and since they deliver a bountiful crop they get to stay. They are one of the few happy weeds that I inherited.

Five

I had to laugh as I saw glorious photos of lupins in SOS posts and then was told last week that one of the ‘jobs to do’ was to cut back lupins. Mine have barely got going. This one has just managed a flower spike, the others have been munched by slugs. I fully expect the blackfly to descend on the lupin this week. They are going and I think I’m going to use the space to plant another rose.

Six

Last of the slug free plants is euphorbia oblongata. Slightly past its flowering best but what a stand out colour in the garden right now. Grown from seed a few years back, and if I remember rightly I sowed a whole packet of 45 seeds and got three seedlings. But then what would I have done with 45 plants! Sometimes nature knows best.

We have been enjoying cucumbers from the greenhouse this week and I think the time has come to dig up some potatoes. My old allotment site issued a tomato blight alert this week – so far all looks okay here. The French beans are flowering and the courgettes will undoubtedly zoom away in this weekend’s heat. It’s also time to pick some currants and the last of the gooseberries. It’s not all bad, is it? Over at The Propagator’s garden all seems good too, with plenty of sunny flowers to enjoy. I hope, on balance, things are also good in your gardens.