Six on Saturday 13th November

Some of my Six points today don’t look particularly Novemberish because, although I have been complaining quite a lot about the advent of winter, I guess even I have to concede that it’s not actually that cold yet. I’ve only worn my big coat once, and that was only because I was walking round a steel works.

Anyway, on to my points, and I’m starting with a transformation. Our neighbour has had some tree surgery work done and it’s made a massive difference to us both in terms of light.

I can’t imagine how dark the back of his house must’ve been before the tree was felled. My home office is in the back bedroom and it’s made my work space much lighter, and we actually get sunshine in the kitchen now. I can’t wait to see the difference in the summer. We’ve offered to go halves with him on getting some more huge trees reduced in size and that should be happening in February, so watch this space!

Next up are some impressive fungi. These are so big that I can see them from the aforementioned home office and I decided they needed to be featured here. I went down the garden to photograph them this morning and they’re really quite spectacular. I’m never sure whether you should get rid of fungi or not. I guess I should google whether they do any harm.

I featured these nerines in the last Six I did before they’d opened up. They’re new to me so I didn’t know what to expect but I’m delighted with them. They’re such a welcome splash of colour when most of the rest of the garden is snoozing away. They came from granny’s garden, so wherever she is, I hope she can see them and they make her happy.

I included this in my last Six as well but I thought it was worth including an updated photo because the flowers have emerged and they’re really something quite special. They look like they should have fairies sitting on toadstools underneath them sheltering from the cold.

I’ve included a glorious splash of purple in my last two points. First is the last remaining verbena flower. They’ve got such cheerful colouring and, continuing the fairy theme, can’t you just imagine a fairy wearing these as a hat? What a beautiful fairy hat that would be. That fairy would be the toast of the town sitting on her toadstool underneath the fatsia Japonica wearing her exclusive verbena bonnet!

Whereas the verbena is clinging on to its final flower, the erysimum is still covered in flowers waving around in the November breeze. This was a sale table find and it flowers reliably, and beautifully, every year.

I won’t be doing my gardening today, but if it’s dry I might try to get out tomorrow to do some last minute tidying and make use of the last green bin collection of the year. I hope you all have a fabulous fun filled weekend, but maybe you’ll find some time to check out other Sixes on the Propagator’s blog.

Swimming Word Games

I’ve been having back problems for some time so, at the advice of my physio, I’ve foregone the leaping around like an idiot, sweat inducing step and combat classes that I used to do in favour of more sedate exercise. At first I was just walking but recently I’ve added swimming at our local baths which I’m really enjoying and, luckily, doesn’t trigger any back pain.

This is really a blast from the past because it’s where I taught myself to swim as a child whilst my parents were playing badminton in the neighbouring leisure centre, and where we were taken from school for our weekly swimming where we used to dive to the bottom to pick up big black bricks. Weird things you remember from your childhood. We used to go on a coach and there was a bump in the road on the way so if you bounced up and down in your seat (before seatbelts were compulsory) and timed it right, when you went over the bump you flew into the air. I’m surprised the teachers didn’t stop us doing this. Maybe they tried!

Back then the pool used to look like this.

I don’t remember them ever having the white divider across the middle – you could always swim the full length which was thirty three metres. I don’t even remember a barrier to stop swimmers entering the diving board area but that doesn’t sound safe, even for the 80s!

The pool was refurbished a few years ago. It was closed for years because they found asbestos in the roof and these recent visits were the first time I’ve been since it reopened but it’s not really very different. The cafe is no longer there, which is a blessing and a curse really. It always used to smell of delicious chips and those chips tasted amazing when you were hungry after a long session playing in the pool and I still think I can smell them, but it’s a good job they’ve gone because the temptation, I’m sure, would be too much to bear! Apart from that, the only major change is the addition of a wall to transform the L shaped pool into two twenty five metre pools.

I choose to swim in the health and leisure sessions in the top part of the pool in the above photo but the separation means they can have lots of dedicated lane swimming sessions in the diving board end.

My Apple Watch really comes into its own with swimming. I always used to forget how many lengths I’d done previously because my mind would wander but I don’t have to even try to remember now because my watch does the job for me.

Speaking of my mind wandering, I do like to keep my mind occupied whilst I’m swimming in order to not get bored, and this week I found myself playing word games with the words that I could see which, unsurprisingly, were deep water and shallow water, depending which way I was heading. First of all I found myself seeing how many smaller words I could make out of these words, and once I’d exhausted that, I started devising crossword clues for the words I’d found. I thought it might be fun to share some of these in case it might entertain the fellow linguists amongst you.

DEEP WATER

  • 1) mouse or honey
  • 2) not an apple
  • 3) found in a church
  • 4) unwanted garden inhabitant
  • 5) USS Enterprise speed

SHALLOW WATER

  • 1) gentle traverse around a park
  • 2) blue, pilot or narwhal
  • 3) wise adviser to Winnie the Pooh
  • 4) eye protector
  • 5) you can sow them or eat them

Hope that’s provided some light brain entertainment on a grey Sunday afternoon. If anyone wants any answers, shout up.

Six on Saturday 23rd October

Hi! I’m supposed to be doing my Tesco online shop, but the website’s been down all day, so here I am instead, having taken a sojourn in the garden to do some autumn tidying and found that, actually, there’s still plenty of botanical goings-on out there that are worthy of reporting.

It’s a mix of seasons out there so I’m going to start with a couple of reminders of summer that are still lingering on out there with hope in their hearts. The first is specifically for my aunt with whom I share a love of these gorgeous giant begonias in apricot shades. She sent me a picture of one of hers earlier this week and I reported back, with some envy, that mine were fading fast, but, look ……

….. this definitely isn’t fading!! How does nature know how to create something so beautiful?! I was intending to clear the wheelbarrow planter that the begonias lived in this summer, but I couldn’t resign this to the green bin.

The second point is cosmos. I grew these from seed and they’ve got huge!! I planted them in between my sweet peas (which were a bit of a flop this year) and my runner beans which were whatever the opposite of a flop is (flap?) I cleared the flop and flap and then had to prop the cosmos up once their bed fellows’ support had gone. Such a pretty colour and there are dozens of buds waiting to burst open. Fingers crossed that the weather stays mild enough to facilitate some late magenta blooming.

Moving on to more autumnal offerings and I decided to share some white frothiness.

On the left is my favourite eupatorium. I’ve a feeling I wrote a few weeks ago that the flowers of the eupatorium were somewhat of a let down after their beautiful purple and green foliage during the summer, but actually, this year the flowers are gorgeous and far more plentiful than in previous years. There’s something of a bubble bath about them.

Bubbling away next to the eupatorium is my fatsia japonica. The leaves are definitely the star of this mottled beauty, but the flowers and weird raspberry-esque fruits are worthy of a mention. They really are most unusual and eye-catching.

Next up, I’m forced to reluctantly admit that winter is on its way by the appearance of hellebore flowers in my birthday planter. Hopefully they’ll get a bit bigger because they’re currently hidden under the profusion of leaves and it would be nice to see them poke their little heads out to look around. I have another hellebore which bears velvet-like purple flowers, but there’s no sign of those appearing yet.

My granny is the link between these final two points, the first of which I think is appropriate to continue my winter theme from the previous point. I may be wrong because I’ve never grown these nerines before, but they look to me like they’re gearing up to do something! They came from granny’s garden after she passed away and I really wasn’t sure where they’d like to be, so I planted them here in the space left by a geranium that I removed, and kept my fingers crossed.

For the final point I’m thinking positive, and forward to next summer. I bought this rose after granny died because it shares her name, it’s Sheila’s perfume. I think I shared a photo of its flower in an earlier Six, it has stunning rhubarb and custard coloured petals and an amazing scent. I pulled out a tree rose that had some kind of infestation and put Sheila in its place. It had been in its pot for some time whilst I found space for it, so I was worried it might not thrive, but here you can see some promising new growth so I’m hopeful for success next year.

Right, I’m off to check Tesco’s website to see if I can update my order for tomorrow or if we’re going to get a bag of cat litter delivered!! Whilst I’m doing that, why don’t you pop over to visit the Propagator to see his Six this week?