Six on Saturday 20th July

I trundle along through life, as one does, trying to make the best of the virtues with which I was lucky enough to be born and appreciating the opportunities and joys which come my way but I’ve always been of the opinion that I missed my vocation (who hasn’t?) The problem was, I didn’t actually know what my vocation was. Well, folks, I think I may have found it this morning! Far too late to do anything about it (mortgage to clear, holidays to book, plants to buy) other than use it to brighten up my life and living room, but it’s quite a revelation to have found something that I appear to excel at without really trying, and which I really enjoyed. Of course, you good people might disagree once I reveal the product of my new found talent (self esteem, it would seem, I do not excel in) but I’m very pleased with it so I shall studiously ignore any criticism!

It started off when I went for a pootle around the garden to snap some photos to use for a Six post and I noticed that my Sweet Peas had produced more beautiful flowers. Monty Don advises to cut your Sweet Peas every eight to ten days to ensure a steady stream of blooms throughout the Summer, and I only gathered my first posy on Monday so I wasn’t expecting more just yet.

This was my first display.

They really don’t last long. They’d mostly faded when I looked this morning.

I was really enjoying my pootle, checking out progress in my veg plot, marvelling over the colours in my Coprosma and squinting at the tiny purple flowers appearing on my Callicarpa Bodinieri (which I assume will give rise to its purple berries in Autumn), but it started to drizzle so I got on with cutting my Sweet Peas (which is number one of six).

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I got quite a good bunch, as you can see, but as I was gazing at them and drinking in their heavenly scent, I thought to myself, some yellow would really look good with these to break up the pinks and purples and highlight the whites, why don’t you get yellow Sweet Peas?

So, I decided to add some and headed for my Coreopsis Grandiflora. As I wandered down the garden my Ox-Eye Daisies waved at me in the breeze. Yes! I thought, daisies look stunning in bouquets, so I gathered up both (number two).

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As I headed back up the garden to collect my Sweet Peas, my eyes were drawn to my Cosmos. Apt, I thought, given that my Sweet Peas and Cosmos were raised from seed side by side in the greenhouse (number three).

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The colours in the Cosmos bring together the colours in the Sweet Peas and the Coreopsis perfectly. I love those little star shaped stamens.

We have an abundance of hardy Geraniums in the back garden. More and more every year as they self seed to their heart’s content. I may have to divide some of them somewhen, but for now I decided to include them in my posy as a nod towards their ever presence. They are quite attractive with their veins of dark purple. Another plant that is self seeding all over the place is Oxalis. Considered a nuisance by some, we don’t have enough of it (yet) for me to be troubled by it. These two pink pals are number four.

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Any good bouquet has a Rose in it. I hesitated at first, because I do love my Roses as nature intended them, but after umming and ahing for a while I decided that the two Roses which best matched the colour scheme had enough blooms to spare a couple for my display, so here’s number five.

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Do you spy my little green snips in the background? These have come into their own recently – they’re perfect for the delicate little cuts needed for Sweet Peas and their tendrils.

Finally I decided that if weeds will insist on making repeat appearances in the garden, so much so that I can’t possibly keep on top of them, then they may as well make themselves useful. Number six, then, is wonderfully weedy!

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One of these isn’t a weed it’s one of my Hare Tail grass ears that I got from Gardeners’ World Live, but it seemed to fit with the the rest of these goodies so I included it. Apart from that, there is normal grass and a flower from Herb Robert, but I don’t know what the blue and yellow flowers are. The yellow looks like a tiny Cowslip (but definitely isn’t) and the mystery blue is lovely and delicate. Several of them have appeared in our path.

So there you have my Six, and soon I get to reveal the finished arrangement, but first a couple of ‘along the way’ photos.

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I love this. It reminds me of place mats that you used to get in the eighties and nineties that had drawings of plants with their scientific names written on in scrawny writing. I’m sure most households of my family had some of these (and I suspect some still have – waste not want not).

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Here they are all bunched up, as they were when I brought them in.

And now, the big reveal ….. drumroll …..

I really need to get one of those light box things for taking photos rather than having to balance tea towels on various kitchen utensils to get a decent background!

Here they are in situ, up high on the wall because the Sweet Peas at least are toxic to cats, and even if they weren’t, I don’t want my beautiful arrangement to be chewed by feline teeth! I hope you’re not disappointed after all my self indulgent hype up!

I couldn’t decide whether they looked better with or without flash so I’ve included both. The two on the left are with and the one on the right is without.

If you want to check out more Sixes, pop over to the Propagator’s page and have a snoop in his comments.

Toodleoo.

Six on Saturday 13th July

I’ve been AWOL from Six on Saturday for a couple of weeks now so I’ve made time to showcase six of my best flowers today. Luckily the Propagator doesn’t enforce participation so I’m pretty sure I’ve got away with my absence. Check out his blog for more Sixes.

I’ve gone all amateur photographer today and I’ve been taking close up pics of some of the prettiest flowers which are blooming at the moment in the garden so I’m choosing close ups as the theme of this week’s Six.

1. Rose Campion

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Oh I do like a close up of a flower glistening with water! These are such a shocking bright pink that I’m quite surprised no planes have mistaken them for the airport landing strip given that we live on the flight path! They were another gift from our cleaner at work’s garden – very generous she is with her self seeded plants.

2. Hebes

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know I’m a sucker for a Hebe. I have to blinker myself when I go through the Hebe aisle at the garden centre, and if I see one on a sale table, well, it’s coming home with me!

The one on the left above is Hebe Purple Pixie and I think it was my first ever sale table purchase. It flowered beautifully last year and is just starting to bloom again now. It lives in the shade and it seems quite happy with that situation. The one on the right is Hebe Celebration. It was also from the sale table last year and is actually still in its pot. It’s almost as shocking pink as the Rose Campion! I think I might plant it in the front garden tomorrow. The one in the middle was from a pack of four Hebes and it didn’t say which variety any of them were. It’s the only one of the four which has started to flower so far.

3. Roses

I have a few Roses in the garden, these are just three of them, all from various sale tables. I’m not sure of their names. It’s probably hard to tell the sizes from the photos, but the red one on the end is actually really small. That opening flower is probably only about an inch tall and I love how it looks like a mini version of a red Rose that a nervous young man might buy for his starry eyed sweetheart on a first date.

4. Buddleia

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Another sale table find. There’s a theme to my garden centre shopping! We’d wanted to add a Buddleia to our garden to try to attract butterflies. It was the tiniest little plant and I squeezed it into a tiny space next to our fence but it’s done really well and is flowering beautifully. I need to prune the Holly bush next to it because it’s in danger of crowding it. I think the Buddleia would benefit from something to grow up as well because it seems to be flopping over slightly.

5. Sweet Peas

These are one of my biggest successes of this year. I grew them from seed in the greenhouse and I made my own support, and now they’re rewarding my hard work with beautiful blooms. I’ll see how many have opened tomorrow and I may cut them to bring indoors. They’re toxic to cats so I have put up a wall mounted shelf of sorts in our living room in anticipation that the cats can’t get to so we can enjoy them inside all Summer. No doubt I’ll show you a pic on a future post.

6. Cosmos

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Another success from the greenhouse. I sowed these at the same time as the Sweet Peas. I planted them behind my birthday planter because the Cosmos I grew in a pot last year got really tall, at least four feet, if not more, so I thought we’d be able to see them over the planter, but these have only grown about a foot high. I love this photo, it looks somehow ethereal. Not of this world. Like it belongs in some kind of parallel fairy universe. Just beautiful!

What a lovely Six! I love all the colour in mine and everyone else’s gardens at the moment. Long may it last.

Annual Boosters

Evening all!

We had a stressful evening yesterday because it was time for that most awful of trips! Time to take our furry girls for their annual jabs at the vet.

Unless you have a very chilled out cat like our old cat Sherry, anyone who’s ever had a cat will sympathise with the ordeal of having to install your cat in his or her cat carrier.

We did everything right. We got the carriers out a few days before the appointment to get the girls used to them, and it appeared to be going quite well.

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Tink packed herself all ready to go, but unfortunately two days early! Olive curled up in the other carrier too but seemed to develop camera shyness so I didn’t manage to snap any evidence.

So far so good. However, yesterday, the day of the appointment, they knew! I have no idea how, but they knew something was going on and all of a sudden it became apparent why cat burglars are named after these beautiful furry escape artists of ours. Normally it’s no problem to pick up either of our girls but yesterday they wriggled, they stealthily slunk away and they used down right brute force!

I’m currently sporting the scars!

This was the work of Miss Olive.

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Looks like butter wouldn’t melt doesn’t she? Bless her, she was just scared. We gave up after the savaging and tried Tink instead. She wasn’t at all happy with the situation, but we managed to get her in the smaller carrier without further injury.

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Deep breaths! Back to Olive. We tried telling her it was for her own good but she didn’t believe us. We promised it wouldn’t be that bad and she’d be back home before she knew it, but she still didn’t want to go and kept running round the room with me trotting round behind her dripping blood as I went! Eventually I had the bright idea of putting a blanket over her and, boom, worked a treat. She was in!

See how they’re both studiously ignoring me and concentrating on something far less mean in the opposite direction.

We have to make sure they can see each other at all times when they’re in their carriers otherwise they panic and cry. The only time they’ve been apart throughout their four years was when they were spayed and had separate operations. Obviously they have times when they’re in different rooms, but they always know they could go to the other if they want to.

I didn’t take photos when we were actually in the consulting room – didn’t want the vet to think I was completely mad – but they were really brave. Olive didn’t want to come out of the carrier, having kicked up (literally) such a fuss about getting in! Not even a Dreamie could convince her! She curled her tail and legs under her and stayed that way no matter what the vet did! Tink was more brave. She came out with minimal coaxing but kept trying to seek refuge on hubby’s shoulders!

Anyway, ordeal over, they both got a clean bill of health and they’ve been jabbed for this year.

They both recovered quickly when we got home and assumed their usual sleeping and lounging activities with gusto.

It seems a real shame to put them through this every year. They’re house cats so are highly unlikely to come into contact with any nasties, and they don’t go to a caterie when we go on holiday. You never know though I suppose. We could move to somewhere in the future away from a busy road and it might be safe to see if they want to go out (although I doubt it – I have absolutely no intention of doing anything that involves a solicitor ever again if I can help it!)

I can look forward to the weekend now we’ve got this horrible event out of the way. It’s the biggest tennis weekend of the year – Wimbledon finals weekend!

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I’m not going to be able to watch the ladies’ final live tomorrow so I’ll catch the highlights but I’m fully intending to be ensconced in front of the telly on Sunday for the men’s final. Unfortunately, my fave, Rafa Nadal, got knocked out today in the semi-final by Roger Federer. I took the afternoon off work to watch it because there’s a finite time left in which these two champions could meet and play and I wanted to soak it up while I still have the opportunity. It wasn’t as epic as I was hoping it would be, and the result didn’t go my way, but it was a great match all the same. I’ll be Team Roger on Sunday now. Let’s go Roger, let’s go!

Toodles.