Six on Saturday | October Edition

I missed out on a Six last week as the builders had taken over the garden and I also had my monthly nature round-up to write about.  I have eventually managed to get into the garden and check on any damage and hopefully next week I can set about planting all the hundreds of bulbs I appear to have ordered. Soon I will do a six on bulbs. Though you might have to imagine the actual flowers.

  1. Eryngium alpinum ‘Blue Star’ is an herbaceous perennial, to around 70cm in height, with silver-blue, cone-shaped flower umbels above whorls of spiny, basal bracts, supported by strong, grey-blue stems. I bought three of these this spring to plant in one of the raised beds (the White bed) to contrast with the white flowers. Two of them have flowered for months but the third one has only just developed buds! I shall watch and see how this does as we go into autumn. They don’t take up much room (so far) so I might transfer them to the ‘Bee and Butterfly Bed’ in the spring.
  2. Nasturtium ‘Black Velvet’ (Tropaeolum minus) – This almost-black nasturtium, (though in this photo it does appear very red) is the only one to flower despite planting half a dozen seeds. The rest may of course be hidden beneath the self-seeding orange ones. Nasturtiums are good companion plants  as they will attract white fly away from tomatoes and cucumbers.  A more compact specimen than the orange ones which smother everything,  it makes a good ground cover or container plant.
  3. Asters novi-belgii.  Or Michaelmas Daisies if you prefer. I bought these three from the glorious Picton Gardens in Worcestershire and if you have a chance to visit them you are in for a real treat. Since 2014 they have lived in a large container, but really need to come out as they have run out of space. Goodness knows how I will remove them though and it is a gorgeous glazed pot that I do not want to have to break open. Suggestions are welcome. I bought ‘Jenny’ with reddish-purple, semi-double flower heads which isn’t open yet, ‘Little Man in Blue’ which is an intermediate variety and covered in smallish lilac-blue daisies and ‘Trudi Ann’ another dwarf variety in purple. The bees and hoverflies love them as they seek out late season pollen and nectar.
  4. Pansies ‘Matrix™ Mixed’. Just ordinary pansies which cost a mere £2.99 for 36 plugs with an order for a Narcissus collection. I thought that was very reasonable until I they arrived. I have never seen such tiny plants in my entire life. Well, I have, but as seedlings! Anyway I found an old larger plug tray and transplanted them and put them under a slatted garden chair in the garden to get on with it. I now have 36 healthy looking plugs merrily flowering away. These are intended for the top of my bulb containers so soon they will be planted on.
  5. Campanula portenschlagiana . A flower I did not expect to see again this year as it flowers throughout spring and early summer. When the hot weather arrived the entire plant seemed to shrivel up and die. It grows in my stone wall so has very little soil. I was very surprised to see the leaves return after the rains in August, and then last week I noticed that it was flowering again.
  6. Osteospermum ‘Tresco Purple’. I lost my large plant in the snow. It is supposedly hardy, but obviously not THAT hardy. I also lost my Gazania and Arctotis plants. All which did well in the stone wall with little soil. I bought three small plants of various Osteospermum  including Tresco Purple. This has performed the best, maybe I planted it in the sunnier position. ‘Cannington Roy’  has white daisy like flowers, each one looking as if they have had a light dusting of purple only  produced one flower. ‘Lady Leitrim’  which is also white with pale pink tips hasn’t really done very much so far. I have just received three more small plants from a different nursery also with ‘Tresco Purple’ a white one ‘Snow Pixie’ and a pink one Osteospermum jucundum var. compactum at half the price and they have been potted on. Although also supposedly hardy, these will come inside for the winter months and be planted out in the garden next spring. And on my next visit to the garden centre I shall be buying some winter fleece so I am ready!

The header photo is of my Corkscrew Hazel which I like better in winter when its bare branches look nice and twisty. I find the summer leaves look rather diseased, all curled up, but this year I seem to have the most catkins that I have seen in autumn. I don’t think they get any more impressive than this. And I hope the Prop forgives me for giving him one extra.

See here for the participant’s guide.

Six on Saturday


  1. March Picker says:

    Jude, so much beauty and color there! Fun that one of your eryngiums held off on blooming until now providing an extended show. Mine are now dried up and clipped.

    1. Heyjude says:

      It is still green! I wonder if it will actually turn blue.

  2. I love Michaelmas daisies and have several plants in the border of my rose garden. They are in shades of pink and purple and make a very pretty show.

    1. Heyjude says:

      They are lovely at this time of year and naturally I love them because they are a) daisies and b) blue 🙂

      1. Mine flowered through winter and now a second flowering is coming, ready for summer.

        1. Heyjude says:

          That’s good value!

  3. Mola says:

    Jude, here is an idea for you for removing those Michaelmas daisies from the glazed pot without having to break it open. I learned this technique by happy accident and although it may be a time-consuming – and dirty – job, I think that with patience you can probably do this with your pot. Basically, just turn the pot on its side, run water into it until all the soil is washed out and the plant’s bare roots are left inside the pot. Then pry or cut out those roots from the pot. Because asters have such brittle stems, branches will likely be breaking off during the process. Save them, along with the root sections you cut away, if you’d like to try to propagate new plants from root and stem cuttings. Although usually asters are propagated from softwood cuttings, why not at least try rooting what would otherwise be thrown away (or, you could wait until spring to do this, when they WILL be softwood cuttings!)

    The plant might come out looking pretty sad and torn up, but it should recover.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you for that advice Mola. I shall give it a try after the plants have finished flowering this year. I’ll let you know what happens!

      1. Mola says:

        Meantime, maybe someone else will offer a better idea. But I’ve had this washout accidentally happen when a pot was misplaced under a rainy roof ledge and don’t see any reason why a deliberate re-enactment wouldn’t also work.

  4. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Have the builders done something in your garden for you?

    1. Heyjude says:

      We have had the conservatory roof replaced so all their tools and ladders etc have been in the garden for the last couple of weeks. Should be finished by Tuesday though. Just the plastering of the internal roof to finish off and a bit of woodwork repairs externally. Then it all needs painting! But that might have to wait a while.

      1. Lucid Gypsy says:

        Hopefully it will be warmer for you this winter 🙂

        1. Heyjude says:

          Probably not much warmer as there is no heating in there, but hopefully drier! And if we can use it more in the spring / summer that will be good.

  5. janesmudgeegarden says:

    I too, love the eryngium but have been very slow to get them to establish in my garden. I was pleased to see a couple of tiny self seeded plants the other day, so perhaps things are looking up. I’m with you on the Corkscrew Hazel leaves- decidedly odd- but you also have some bright and happy blooms in your six.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Jane.

  6. Lovely photos with such pretty spring like colors. They made me happy.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Good. Job done then 🙂

  7. Tina Schell says:

    I think I see more flowers on your blog than I do in nature Jude! Lucky you 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      I do like plants. Have to stay away from nurseries and garden centres as I can never leave empty handed!

  8. bushboy says:

    More fabulous flowers to make me jealous

    1. Heyjude says:

      I’m sure you have many fabulous flowers of your own there Brian.

      1. bushboy says:

        Mine is quite sparce and I can’t have a proliferation of colour. I have too many native animals who eat yummy flowers even one’s that you wouldn’t think was tasty

  9. Joanne Sisco says:

    oooo – I LOVE the blue thingie!! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it here. I would remember that one for its unusual colour!

    … and I think we’ve had this conversation before about the Campanula. It looks suspiciously like a plant I’ve been religiously pulling out from along my fence line for years. I thought it was a weed. It certainly is tenacious and seeing it growing in your stone wall, I’m now resigning myself to the fact that I have no hope of winning. It does look pretty when it flowers though, so perhaps I should focus on that 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      The blue thingie is a lovely blue. I thought the plant you were talking about was the geranium – Herb Robert possibly – which self-seeds horribly. A pinkish flower. Campanula is OK to leave.

      1. Joanne Sisco says:

        I went online and took a closer look at the leaves and flowers. Nope on both counts.
        I saw other photos of the campanula though. What a lovely little flower!

        1. Heyjude says:

          You will have to take a photo of your thug (flowers and leaves) and email it to me.

        2. Joanne Sisco says:

          I can do that. There is also an app I have on my phone called iNaturalist that a FB friend recommended. It’s amazing for identifying plants from a photo taken of the leaves / flowers. I’m embarrassed to say I never thought of using it on this ‘weed’.

        3. Heyjude says:

          Ooh, let me know if you discover the name.

        4. Joanne Sisco says:

          I went out yesterday looking for it, but as I could have predicted, I couldn’t find any! I’ll likely have to wait now until spring again.

        5. Heyjude says:

          I shall remind you. If I remember…

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