Six on Saturday 8th August

I’m popping in a little late this week with my Six because we were visiting the Confetti Fields in Pershore this morning. I think they’ll make up two of my six points today. I missed last Saturday because we were holidaying in Norfolk (and getting bitten by a dog on the beach, as it turns out, but I’m over my woe is me phase on that now!)

So, I’ll start with two Confetti Field points as I’ve primed you ready for them! It was a different experience there this year because corona virus scuppered their usual routine and they had to replant the field to bloom later in the year. This means the Delphiniums are shorter than usual (last year they were as tall as me!) but they were still super pretty, maybe not quite as impactful, but I still loved them.

Due to the later opening, they’ve also added a huge area of Sunflowers.

They were just delightful and they’re attracting millions of bees. It seemed like each Sunflower had at least one bee bumbling around in it. Perhaps you can get some perspective on the size of the flower heads from the bees in the first pic.

The buds were enormous! I’m very envious – my Sunflower Teddy Bear are starting to bloom, but my Autumn Beauties are still some way off. I don’t think we get enough sun in our garden.

Moving back to our garden now and I feel it’s been far too long since I’ve shared a photo of my Eupatorium – probably my favourite plant in the garden.

It hasn’t grown as tall as it did in its first two years of existence. I guess there’s time yet. It’s still gorgeous. I just love the contrast between the purple and dark green of the leaves. I should take some cuttings.

My next point is a comparison of two hanging baskets.

On the left are new Begonias that I ordered during lockdown and on the right are last years plants that somehow managed to survive the Winter. I can’t actually decide which looks better. Last years have certainly not grown as big as they did last year, and they took a long time to get going. The new ones have gone quite leggy but have produced beautiful blousy blooms.

I’m going to end with two veg points.

Tomato flowers. Finally! I sowed these late and feared I’d get no fruit, but it looks like they’re going to do me proud. I don’t like eating tomatoes but I do enjoy growing them.

And some runner beans to finish. This is my first year of growing them and I’m amazed at how quickly they go from tiny baby runner beans to proper full sized beans. They taste soooo much better than shop bought too.

So there you have it, my Six for this week. Don’t forget to check the Propagator for more links.

Six on Saturday 25th July

Can’t remember when I last did a Six, and next weekend we’ll be (hopefully) sunning ourselves on a Norfolk beach, in a socially distanced manner, of course, so I won’t be blogging.

I just managed to pop out in between rain showers to take some photos to share, and decided that this week I’ll focus, again, on emerging flowers and veg. I’ve split it equally down the middle and gone for three floral treats and three edible delights. I think I may well have shared some, if not all, of these before, earlier on in their journey, but I find it interesting to see the progress. Hope you do too.

First up is Sunflower Teddy Bear. I’ve got several of these that I grew from seed in the greenhouse. Planted out now, they’re only about a foot tall, and this one looks to be the closest to flowering. Quite excited about these because they’re not your stereotypical Sunflower bloom.

I seem to have found a much more suitable place for growing Sunflowers this year. Last year I grew a really tall variety only, and of the fourteen that I planted out, only two made it as far as flowering. The others all got knocked down – I think I inadvertently planted them in a fox/cat run route and the poor things got bashed and trampled on. This year I’ve planted them next to a trellis-like fence and with additional supports for the tall ones and so far (touch wood) they’ve all made it with just the odd slug nibble along the way.

Next is a Zinnia, also nurtured from seed in the greenhouse. I did think to myself when I got the greenhouse, being somewhat fickle of nature, I hope I stick at this now I’ve gone this far. So far so good – greenhouse is now an essential part of my life.

My only knowledge of Zinnias prior to this venture was from the song ‘There’s a sucker born ev’ry minute’ from the stage show Barnum.

If I import at monumental cost
A lady, fair, whose head was lost
While crossing railroad tracks to pick some zinnias
Who has no ears or eyes or nose
And wears pink tights instead of clothes
If that ain’t worth a buck my name ain’t Phineas.

Well I’ve lost my head to these before they’ve even bloomed. Isn’t that bud pretty with the promise of something so special to come some time soon?

My final emerging flower is a Nigella.

Definitely not far off a blooming delight, and again, what an attractive bud. There’s something of a prehistoric look about it. I almost expect those little green hints to be the claws of a tiny dinosaur just clawing it’s way out into the world (although hopefully not – not sure the garden’s big enough for dinosaurs!)

Moving on to the edibles and my first courgette is tantalisingly close to being ready. I’ll keep an eye on it so I don’t get a marrow! There are another couple well on their way too. If anyone has any good courgette recipes other than stir fry and ratatouille, please let me know.

Next is a new one for me. I’ve never grown runner beans before but I’ve had some success with my first attempt. There aren’t hundreds of beans growing, but I do have a few. I’m looking forward to these – homegrown always tastes so much better than shop bought.

Now I know I’ve definitely shared my pepper plant before, but there’s progress! The first two peppers at the bottom seem to have halted so maybe they’re not going to get any bigger, but I’m leaving them because I prefer them orange or red.

I was excited to see this morning that there are at least another three peppers growing on there now too. You can see one top right at the back, one top left and if you look carefully another just below that one at the back. There are still flowers too so I may get even more. I’ll keep everything crossed that they ripen soon so I can harvest.

Don’t forget to check out the Propagator for more Sixes.

Until next time TTFN 👋🏻.

Six on Saturday 11th July

Finally I was able to get out in the garden today. Not only has the weather been decidedly ungardening-inducing this week, but I’m also back at work (from the home office overlooking the garden) after several week’s of furlough so spare time has been less plentiful.

We made the most of my last week of furlough (choosing to see the whole thing as positive) and journeyed down the M5 for the first time in months to Webbs of Wychbold, garden centre extraordinaire! I’m not sure how I allowed this to happen, but I had a considerable sum in garden centre vouchers to spend left over from my last birthday and Christmas, and they were finally burning a hole in my pocket.

The first thing that went in my trolley was a blueberry bush (followed by some ericaceous compost) and today I potted it up.

There are a couple of fruits on it, but I don’t expect it to produce much more this year. At least, my first blueberry bush didn’t do anything for the first couple of years, but last year fruited well, and has a fair few fruits on it this year. I noticed the first one ripening today.

Speaking of Christmas (tenuous link, I know, but I did mention it a second ago!) I exploded a wild flower seed bomb, that was a Christmas present, a few weeks ago, and I didn’t think anything had grown from it but today I noticed this lovely blue flower.

No idea what it is, but it’s pretty, right?

The next bloom that stopped me in my tracks today was this Dianthus.

Otherwise known as a Carnation, as a general rule I’m not keen on them. I think they’re a bit old-lady like. This one came as part of a lucky dip box so I planted it anyway, and it may have changed my mind purely because of the richness of its colour. The photo doesn’t really do it justice. It looks like velvet in the flesh (so to speak) and when the sun shines on it, it’s the deepest of reds and makes me smile.

Moving on to things that are about bloom now, and first up is this Zinnia.

I grew these from seed in the greenhouse. I forget now where I got the seeds from. Possibly a freebie from Gardeners’ World. Anyway, they’re now planted out in my wheelbarrow with the apricot Begonias that I shared a couple of weeks ago, and today I noticed that they’re gearing up to bloom. Lovely! I’m not usually massively successful growing from seed so hopefully these will buck the trend. Expect a victorious point in a future Six if they do.

Next is Sunflower Teddy Bear.

Also grown from seed in the greenhouse (the seeds were a Christmas present), planted out a few weeks ago and looking like they’re doing well. This is a smaller Sunflower than your stereotypical Sunflower (of which I also have several growing) and should be a maximum of sixty centimetres. Mine are currently about a foot tall and I’m really excited about them flowering because, as the name suggests, they have a cuddly, fluffy flower that I think I’m going to adore!

Finally I’d like to share my Nigella which, again, I grew from seed in the greenhouse. The packet said to sow where they were to grow so they’re in a pot which I moved outside once they were growing well and I’d thinned them out.

They look a little Cosmos-like, don’t they? I noticed today on my peruse of the garden that these are also getting ready to flower.

According to the packet, these have a quite unusual blue flower so I’m waiting in high anticipation for these. Hopefully they’ll make a pretty display, and after they’re done, I’ll try to harvest the seeds to put in boiled rice (yum!)

Hope you’ve all been able to grab some outside time today if, like me, you’ve been rather rained off this week. Check out the Propagator for more Sixes that I’m sure will be full of colour and burgeoning veg beds.