Six on Saturday, 05/09/2020

It was not an especially good week for gardening. I seem to have been occupied with other things, some garden-related but I feel I have done little hands-on gardening this week. Nonetheless, the grass was cut and edged and I made good inroads into tidying up the vegetable patch in preparation for winter. The damsons which grow on the boundary ditch were gathered and made into jam and Damson gin and the playhouse (that, the youngest, child is now approaching his 28th birthday!) was painted BLACK!!! It must be kept in good condition for the grandchildren who like to play there when visiting and worth the bother for the gems, the precious moments, that arise there – my grandson telling me to sit down to watch television with him – that’s us looking at the two windows – and he telling me that it was great that we had two televisions sets as we could look at two different programmes! I was looking at the trees and he was looking at the sky. Such simple fun!

The highlight of the week was away from home, a short trip to Inistioge in Co. Kilkenny, to visit a riverside meadow where the Meadow Saffron, Colchicum autumnale, were in full flower. It is really marvellous to visit a site such as this and see a plant growing in huge numbers, in its natural environment, just perfect simple beauty. This has been an especially good year for the colchicums and I have never seen them in such great numbers. Individually, they are very beautiful flowers – we grow some in the garden – but there is no doubt but that large drifts do make a fabulous impact.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow:

The colchicum season is also getting under way in the garden and the first of the Colchicum autumnale – the same plant as is growing in the wild in the photographs above – is just beginning to come into flower at the moment. C. ‘Benton End’ and ‘Nancy Lindsay’ continue to carry the show until joined by others as the season progresses. These have become favourites of mine in the last few years. We have grown some for years but added a good number of different cultivars in recent years and they add both variety and a longer season so we enjoy them all the more.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow:

On the home front, it is the display from the cyclamen which is the highlight at the moment. These are Cyclamen hederifolium which have built up in numbers over the years through self-seeding. The final photograph is of Cyclamen purpurascens and, though it is still only a small clump, it is treasured. The original corm was given to me by a gardener at Villa Balbianello on Lake, on Lake Como, when we were visiting. Of course, I later realised that they were probably regarded as weeds in the garden as we saw afterwards that they were growing everywhere in the woodland around the villa garden. Nonetheless, they have a good background story, a good souvenir of our holidays and they are proving to be an excellent garden plant.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow:

Sedums are also looking great at the moment and they are a wonderful plant for a huge range of pollinators such that one will rarely look at a flower without seeing a bee, butterfly of some other insect enjoying the fare on offer. Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is an old and reliable cultivar; ‘Matrona’ is similarly a very good garden plant with the addition of darker foliage and while the foliage of the variegated forms is attractive we have always found them weaker growers. ‘Red Cauli’ has been the garden wonder here over the last number of years after being given a small plant by a friend, Mary has propagated it continuously and has now built up quite an amount of it. Although cuttings can be taken at any time during the growing season, it is Mary’s practice to give all sedums the “Chelsea Chop” – a cut back in mid May – and she used the pieces cut off as cuttings which she simply pushed into the soil where they root without fail.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow:

Not all looks well in the garden and the vegetable garden has become a raggedy patch of late. I thought that somehow the runner beans and French beans had survived the recent storms but as the days pass it became obvious that the foliage had been shredded in the winds as it soon turned brown and dropped off. The runner bean plants had broken about a metre above ground level and there was no hope of them producing further so I put them on the compost heap during the week. The french bean plants are still producing, remarkably so, given their condition and I will continue to pick and enjoy them for another while at least. Lettuce plants simply rotted from the amount of rain while purple sprouting broccoli had bolted so left them for the enjoyment of the Common White butterflies who laid their eggs on them and whose caterpillars devoured the foliage when they emerged.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow:

Finally, the chestnuts have begun falling from the old chestnut tree in “The Lane” and the make a pretty picture and bring back childhood days of collecting and hardening – baking in the oven! – and games of conkers, sore fingers and lots of fun and laughter.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow:

To read more Six on Saturday blogs go to The Propagator’s entry for today: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2020/09/05/six-on-saturday-05-09-2020/  ,scroll down to the comments and you will find other bloggers have posted links to their Saturday entry there. Lots to read!

27 thoughts on “Six on Saturday, 05/09/2020

    1. Yes, ‘Red Cauli’ is a topper. We saw it some years back in The Garden House in Devon but it was years later before we were given a piece. Of course, it is the simplest of plants to propagate.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m afraid I have never understood the attraction of gin BUT Damson gin is delicious! The trouble is you don’t realise how alcoholic it is. 🤔🤭 Your slide shows are such a good idea and lovely to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I avoided gin for years and years – whiskey always suited me more – but a gift a few years back lead me to enjoy it very much and it has become a regular tipple.

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  2. Just back from Inistioge and may have found your colchicums but could not find a way into the field! So unless I found a different patch you must be more athletic than me! But always good to have an excuse to go to this lovely village. And, as consolation, popped into Beechdale on the way home and bought some colchicums!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah – we did find it then. We parked in the village and walked over the bridge and that seemed the likely place and we did find it! But as there was a very well maintained fence and the gate was firmly closed I did not think I should go in! At least I know that I did find the place! And thank you for the info – it was a nice walk anyway.

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  3. You’ve got all the photos just perfect. Enjoyable to watch. Really liked the piece about your grandson 😀 Damson jam just reminds me of my dad making it most years he was ace at jam making. Never had the gin made from damsons though.

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  4. Damsons are my favourite fruit in September. So perfect when they are ripe that I eat them all and none left for jam or gin! I thought they only grew on big tall trees though. Love all your photos and I have always loved sedums.

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    1. The few damson trees here are tall things alright but very flexible so can be pulled over for picking – and the picker is always entitled to first share!

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  5. I thoroughly enjoyed your SoS this week, with the information and photos of the meadow saffron. The photos of the cyclamen and sedum are lovely viewed as a slideshow. Your vegetable garden looks very productive. Does the scarecrow work? We had one last year, and the birds just perched on its outstretched arms; they must have thought it was a special landing platform for viewing the produce!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The scarecrow is absolutely useless. I have to protect against pigeons – which come because I put out food for pheasants so it is my own fault. The trousers fell off the scarecrow a while back and we have left him in that state because of our grandson who when he first saw this, at two years of age, barked a stern warning, “pull up your pants!”

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