Six on Saturday

At the risk of sounding like a football commentator, it has been a week of two halves here. The first part was a continuation of the awful weather we’d been having for some time, torrential rain and storms that had left so many things battered, drowned, rotted or slug-eaten. Thankfully, the last few days have shown a marked improvement and I don’t want to shout too loudly but we have even had one day with NO RAIN and some SUNSHINE.

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Ups and downs, then – here are my six for today.

I lifted several self-set nasturtium seedlings from the polytunnel a couple of months ago and potted them up to sit in the top of an old milk churn I had painted turquoise – a bright splash of summery colour to brighten a dingy corner, I thought. They have been slow to get going, but last week had at last started to make a lovely colourful impact with those fiery oranges against the blue. Then it rained and rained and rained, reducing them to a soggy, see-through, slimy mess, echoed by the geraniums and petunias. Demoralising stuff.

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This vining ‘Costata Romanesco’  courgette has had a tough time of it, too.  It is such a great heirloom variety with a nutty flavour and ridges that give a pretty fluted cross-section and we should be eating the first courgettes by now. Some hope. Battered by the rain, blown inside out by the wind, buried under a huge soil slide (we garden on the steepest of slopes where gravity needs no encouragement once the rain starts) then munched by snails and slugs – leaves, stem, flowers, the lot. What a courageous little thing it has been to lift its head and have another go in the face of such adversity. Not too many passing pollinators in the pouring rain, though.

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On a happier note, here is a something that has made my heart sing this week. Last year we planted a citrus × sinensis ‘Sanguinelli’ or Spanish blood orange. It went into the ground as a two year-old pot-grown tree and spent much of the winter and early spring shrouded in horticultural fleece, not because frost bothers us here but we had a run of violent storms that shredded anything in their path (including our polytunnel). The good news is that it survived, is putting out plenty of new growth and has opened its first flush of flowers, waxy white and deeply fragrant. Will fruit follow? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Another little beauty has started to flaunt itself along the garden fence: a rather gorgeous passiflora. This was a cheap and cheerful supermarket buy that came with a label simply saying ‘passionflower’ so I have no idea about variety. It was a miserable-looking little stick when I planted it last year, planning to fan train it along a wire netting fence. It grew like crazy but this year has only sent foliage and flowers out in one direction which makes me suspect judicious pruning might be a good idea at some point? In the meantime, I’m enjoying those flowers;  they always seem so complicated and exotic and I love that bluey-purple fringe thing they do.

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Honeysuckles are one of my all-time favourite plants and in my humble opinion, you just can’t have too many of them. So, staying with the theme of supermarket specials, here is another climber that has started to make an impact this week. Lonicera, obviously, but again no information about variety (I do go to nurseries and do things properly sometimes – honest!). Last year this did a huge amount of growing up a stone wall but didn’t produce a single flower; this year it is absolutely covered in blooms and although the flowers are relatively small, they are certainly vying with the jasmine for Scent of the Week award. Gorgeous.

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Number six this week is a complete mystery but a lovely surprise. When we moved here a couple of years ago there was a lonely carnation plant growing along the lane. It was in a very sad and sorry state, but produced flowers in such a delicate peach that I thought it was worth taking a few cuttings and spreading them around the garden (which I did successfully). Bit of a surprise then this week as I went down the steps from our kitchen door in the pouring rain to see a dark red beauty that had apparently appeared from nowhere. There had been no sign of anything other than the show-off bright pink vygies (mesembrynanthemum) growing in that spot before but the new star is very much there now, exploding with blooms that are quite small but heavily scented like clove pinks. Maybe it was lying hidden beneath the Japanese quince and hibiscus waiting for its moment or maybe it was left by the dianthus fairy. Either way, it’s welcome to stay.

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Thanks to The Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday, such a great way for gardeners from all walks of life to share their trials and treasures. Why not pop across to his site now and catch up with what everyone else is up to? 🙂

19 thoughts on “Six on Saturday

  1. Sorry to hear about all your rain Lis, so often something seems to be wrong with the weather when you’re a gardener! I agree about the passiflora: what an amazing collection of shapes and colours all in one flower. Beautiful photos in your Six.

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    1. Thank you! We are running about three weeks behind this time last year, can’t believe how different the weather has been. Still, that’s gardening, isn’t it? I’ve just tried to comment on your Six but nothing seemed to happen – will try again, apologies if I repeat myself! 🙂

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      1. I received your comment Lis, and thank you. I had to approve it for some reason which is odd because it isn’t your first comment.

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  2. So that’s where our rain’s gone. Common blue passionflower, concentrate on covering the area you want to cover, to build a framework, then cut all the laterals back to a bud near the base each spring. Honeysuckle looks like a form of Lonicera japonica. What a lovely place, those views!

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    1. Thank you for the advice, Jim – I shall get on the case next spring. It is a truly beautiful place but we’re still getting to grips with climate as far as gardening is concerned. Still, I like a challenge!

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  3. Sorry to hear you have been storm battered. We had half a day of bad weather this week but was grateful for the rain. That passionflower is lovely and I think it is a good year for honeysuckle as I’m seeing them everywhere in our garden and others.

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    1. Well, at least we haven’t needed to do any watering which seems to have been a theme for everyone else in the past weeks. A balance is good, though, and I’m very happy to see some sunshine back this morning! Honeysuckles and foxgloves are certainly enjoying the season here, possibly because it’s been cooler than normal. Happy gardening! 🙂

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  4. Oooh drooling over the blood orange flower and wishing you yummy blood oranges mmm and lots of photos for us 😊. Can’t wait to see more of your garden!

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    1. Thank you! We are pretty much the only house in the village without citrus trees so we thought we needed to do something about that, We’ve planted a lemon, too, so very excited at the prospect of picking our own. Might have to take up gin and tonic . . . 🙂

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      1. It’s a ‘Eureka’ which we bought locally – interesting as I understand the most popular varieties grown in Spain are actually ‘Verna’ and ‘Fino.’ It had a rough start (blasted by a horrendous storm) but is looking good and is old enough to produce fruit this year. Fingers crossed!

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  5. Have to say, I’d be delighted if our outdoor courgettes looked like yours! And I’m sure the nasturtiums will rebound. No more watering here for the time being – hooray! The sweet rocket was the main casualty of Storm Hector. First strawberries this week, already nibbled a little mangetout, the crops are coming thick and fast. No two growing seasons are ever the same, are they?

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    1. No, they’re not and I suppose that’s what makes it all so interesting. Predictable gardening would be so dull! I think we just feel very frustrated this time because we seem to have copped everything and the garden is weeks behind last year. Still, the sun is now shining again and I know we won’t starve. It sounds like all is good with you, so lovely to have the crops coming now. Shame about the sweet rocket, though – funnily enough, I’ve been sowing seeds today in the hope they will appreciate Asturias! 🙂

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