Several on Sunday

I was going to do a Six on Saturday yesterday as I haven’t posted in a while, but then I realised I had more than six points to make so I’m doing several on Sunday instead!

I took the day off work on Friday to make a lovely long bank holiday weekend. it feels like ages since I had longer than a weekend off. I guess it was the jubilee weekend which wasn’t actually that long ago but I was ready for a break.

Hubby doesn’t work on Fridays so we had the day together, but we hadn’t made any plans in advance not knowing what the weather would be doing. It was gloriously sunny so we decided last minute to go to Twycross Zoo. Last time we went was just as lockdown restrictions were being eased and they were only allowed something like 30% capacity so there were no queues and we were free to spend as much time looking at the animals as we liked. Not this time though. It was absolutely heaving full of kids but I guess that’s what you get for going to a zoo in school holidays. I did get to test out the camera on my new phone though and got a few really good snaps.

As ever, I found myself in a quandary between being fascinated by the animals, and wishing they weren’t in captivity. I console myself with the knowledge of the conservation work that zoos are able to do because of the entry fees but really I know that if I wasn’t for mankind much of conservation wouldn’t even be necessary. However, we are where we are and that’s a whole other discussion.

Yesterday morning I went for a walk in Kingsbury Water Park with my sister-in-law and I’m really pleased with this photo of a duck. Hubby says the photos with this new camera are better than actually looking at the subject in real life!

On we go to some floral delights, and this time I’ve decided to show some zoomed in contrasts, largely due to the fact that the new camera is sooo good at close up shots.

First is my nigrescens in the hanging basket. I think I shared the flowers that it had for the first time a few weeks ago, and speculated that maybe that meant I’d get berries this year. As you can see, I have! Very exciting.

Next some violas that I planted ages ago. They were in flower when I planted them, then they were just a mass of leaves, and now they’re flowering again. Double whammy! Also, they’ve seeded in the gravel around them. I guess that makes it a triple whammy! I’ve never had that happen with bedding plants before.

My wheelbarrow has really done itself proud. I bemoaned the fact that my apricot mix pack of begonias was actually just red earlier in the year. The red was (and is) beautiful, but I’m really happy that I’ve now got some of the apricot tones that I wanted too.

My poor cordyline that got flattened by the snow at the beginning of the year is starting to recover. Hopefully by the end of the summer, the bent offerings at the bottom will have died off to be replaced by more upstanding fronds at the top.

I have a mix of feelings when the sedums start to turn pink. On the one hand, the pink is prettier than the green that they’ve sported all through the summer, but the pink tinge heralds the end of the lazy, hazy days of summer and the slow descent towards the cold and dark. Still, we’re not there yet so I’ll just try to enjoy what’s left of summer and the late summer blooms.

Here you can spy a closely shorn hubby hard at work being photobombed by the thing whose name I can never remember! Just googled – leycesteria formosa. I can’t remember if I planted this or if it just turned up, but it’s gone crazy!

Finally we have a pond! In typical quirky style, it has a heron and, perhaps even more bizarrely, a wildly out of scale triceratops! It’s not finished, there will be more plants added around it and, I’m sure, more random animals but for now it has a coprosma and I couldn’t resist showing you a close up of its beautiful leaves.

I think that’s all for now. We’re off to a garden centre once our Tesco delivery has arrived. No doubt we’ll come back with more garden paraphernalia that I’ll be able to share at a later date. Enjoy the rest of the bank holiday weekend for UK folks, and the regular weekend for everyone else.

Six on Saturday 16th July

Has anyone seen Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix? It starts in the summer holidays with Harry sat on a swing in suburban Little Whinging, Surrey with normal summer activities going on around him in the park, and a radio somewhere is discussing it being the hottest day of the year. Well it feels like that today! I’m sat on my egg chair in the garden and I can hear normal family life going on in one neighbour’s garden – the kids on the trampoline, the dog wanting to jump over and kill me and the parents discussing what to have for dinner. On the other side our solitary neighbour is whistling to the birds, and someone somewhere is playing summer tunes. Back to Little Whinging, and soon Harry’s cousin Dudley turns up and starts taunting him, but then the sky turns black and the calm is shattered as the pair are forced to run for their lives when the dementors of Azkaban swoop in. It seems to me that the forecasted heatwave for the next three days is the real life version of the dementors waiting to swoop in and end the current summer happiness on my street!

Anyway, at least it’s only three days till normal British summertime is resumed, and in the meantime, here’s some pictures of pretty garden regalia to occupy our time until the heatwave sucks all the joy out of us.

First up, here’s one of the few inhabitants of the garden that might actually thrive in the heat, my olive tree. It’s covered in flowers, but I’m not holding my breath because although it’s had flowers before, it’s never produced any fruit.

My hebe Purple Pixie is flowering nicely. It looks bluey-purple in the photo but is a deeper purple in reality. This was my first ever hebe which I rescued from the sale table at Notcutts several years ago. It’s doing well even though I’ve moved it a couple of times and it’s in complete shade.

I’m glad I nipped out on my lunch break earlier in the week and took photos of my pink damask flowers which emerged all of a sudden, because, as I’ve lamented before, they’re beautiful but barely last more than a couple of days. They’ve pretty much done their thing already for this year. The remaining ones are certainly not going to survive 40° on Monday.

I found half a packet of nigella seeds in the greenhouse earlier in the year and decided to sow them without really expecting much success, but now I have a pot of them! This was the first one that opened. I really love their layered petals and the delicate blue hue.

This gerbera has unexpectedly survived two winters. I didn’t even notice a bud this year but one day this week I went outside and found this flower. Lovely surprise!

Finally another discovery this week. I pulled out some dreaded herb Robert that had managed to find its way into my hanging basket that houses my nigrescens and found that said nigrescens is flowering. This is the first time it’s done that, so now I have high hopes that I may get some berries on it in the autumn. How exciting!

So there we are for another week. I’m off to think happy thoughts to summon my patronus (which, by the way, I’m pretty sure would be a cat, but I can’t be sure because I didn’t get my Hogwarts letter) to banish the heatwave and save my pots from death by dementor’s kiss! For anyone who doesn’t obsess about Harry Potter like me, apologies because that will make zero sense to you, but hopefully you’ll have enjoyed the flowers. Why not pop over to the Propagator to check out some more?

Six on Saturday 9th July

I haven’t done a Six for a few weeks. Not sure why! I don’t think I’ve been particularly busy, I’ve probably just been faffing and procrastinating and ran out of time! That sounds like me! I’m making the effort today because there is so much to document at this time of year. I’ve been out in the garden today weeding and pruning and generally trying to make it look a bit tidier, but it really is too hot out there to do anything much. I did manage to finally plant out my grown-from-seed cosmos and some erysimums that I salvaged from the sale table a few weeks ago, but I drew the line at planting out the magnolia and the buddleja that are patiently waiting in their pots because it’s too hot to be digging!

I’ll start with a couple of pink offerings. First a hardy geranium. These grow really well in our garden and it really is pretty impossible to kill them! They’re self-seeding all over the place, but I’m letting them because they’re kind of nice, they fill spaces well and, as you see, they’re good for pollinators.

Next is a first. I couldn’t get a decent photo of it, but this is a flower on my leptospurmum. I’ve had this for a good four or five years and I had no idea (or I’d forgotten) that it was supposed to have flowers. It’s never had one before and when I saw this one, I was so surprised that I went to check it hadn’t just fallen on it from another plant, but no, it’s definitely attached!

Moving on to orange now with a close up of a giant begonia. This is in our wheelbarrow planter and it’s supposed to be apricot! I’d be quite concerned if I had an apricot this colour, but I’m quite pleased to have this growing. The plants came from QVC and are supposed to be an apricot mix – so far they’re mostly this colour with one yellow one.

This one, I know is generally considered a weed, but my mum potter it up for me from her garden last year because she likes them, and I have to agree. They add a lovely splash of colour to the front border and they look particularly cheerful in the sunshine.

Speaking of looking lovely in the sunshine, these pansies are positively glowing! I planted up several pots with pansies and violas a few weeks ago, but they haven’t done very well on the whole. This pot is one of the few successes and I can see it from my home office and it cheers my heart all week.

I’ll finish with another success. In fact, it’s a bit too successful and it’s difficult to move along the path past it, but I don’t care because it looks beautiful and is good for the butterflies. It’s such a vibrant purple colour. When I finally plant out the second buddleja that I have waiting, I’ll make sure I put it somewhere with plenty of space!

There’s my Six for this week. I hope everyone’s enjoying the good weather and that some gardening is being done in between sunbathing and ice cream eating! Don’t forget to check out the Propagator for other Sixes.