The Return of Six on a Saturday 8.6.19


  1. Look at it. Nice flower, eh? But that is only a small part of the story. Pelargonium Ardens is a temperamental, flouncy, spoilt and capricious little so and so. I have waited years (5) to get to this stage. Repotting, moving, watering, feeding, protecting. I was on the point of giving up. Then, on Wednesday, this single flower. It is not worth the effort. Yet. But it is the hope that kills you, right?


2. Another underwhelming flower. Yellow rattle, Rhinanthus minor. Hundreds of them growing in the churchyard meadow that we sowed in January. I was a bit sceptical about their chances, but fair play to them, they are doing their job of sucking the life out of some of the lush grass we have there. I will be collecting seed and spreading it around for next year.


3. Candelabra primula, grown from HPS seed last year. Now happily ensconced in a small bog garden in Epping. That is the thing about the HPS seed scheme, you can give all sorts of things a go and then try to find somewhere to put them. You also feel different about plants raised from seed versus ones you bought. This is too garish for my tastes, but the clients seem to like them!

4. Papavar somniferum, the opium poppy. Such a great plant. I have learnt to be strict with them though. There are two forms grown in the churchyard, Alba and Lauren’s Grape. Luckily, the white one opens first and is pollinated before the plum so cross fertilisation is avoided . This means it is easy to rogue out the few that come through as a muddy purple. I do weed quite a lot out and once I have collected seed will pull out the rest. It is nice to have standing seedheads, but I have got too many other plants jostling to go in the spaces.

5. Chelsea Fringe walk. We had a great Chelsea Fringe event two weekends ago. There were over 50 on the two walks including the main man of the Fringe, Tim Richardson (pictured listening to Stavros hold court). The newly fenced wildlife pond was a big hit and is starting to fill out a bit. We made enough money from plant sales to buy a new wheelbarrow for the churchyards too. Worth the effort.

6. Salvia Caradonna. It is everywhere this week. These are two gardens I planted over the last two years and I noticed just how versatile and companionable this plant is. Complimentary, contrasting, whatever you need, it has got it. All you want is a hot, free draining, sunny spot and it is happy to get on with it, coming  back reliably.

21 thoughts on “The Return of Six on a Saturday 8.6.19

  1. There are too many Pelargoniums that are easy to grow to bother with those that are not. I do not mean to say that it is not a delightful color. I just do not believe in putting too much effort into a Pelargonium.
    Many salvias are popular here just because they suit the climate and soils so well. Many are native.
    What is a fringe walk?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tony, I agree with you, but sometimes we have blind spots caused by stupid idealised pictures of plants and Ardens is one of mine! The Chelsea Fringe is an alternative gardening festival running alongside the Chelsea flower show ( a famous RHS show) which aims to showcase a range of horticultural activities which are perhaps more “real” than the main one.

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      1. Oh, I now how that goes. I insist on growing single white Brugmansia even though I know it is not the prettiest. (I am not sure what cultivar it is.) I just really like the single white flowers. ‘Charles Grimaldi’ grows like a weed, and is very fragrant, but I am not so keen on the color.


  2. I think pelly Ardens was worth the effort! But then again I got to enjoy it instantly. It looks fantastic. I have some caradonnas in the garden but I think they are being crowded out by other things. I need to liberate them to enjoy them properly. Nice grass in the background. Glad your fringe walk went well and so nice that the plants sales are a success and buy good things!

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  3. I know what you mean. You spend ages nurturing and pampering certain plants and when they finally do their thing you think ‘is that it?!’ That flower on the Pelargonium Ardens is lovely though.

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  4. I have also struggled with Ardens, it gave up on me rather than the other way round, but it was a close call who would be first. Great poppies! Is that Cephalaria gigantea in the picture? Love the idea of the fringe, one day I might get up there to visit it. One day 🙂

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  5. Totally agree re growing from seed, deeply satisfying. I have a lot of Lauren’s grape seedlings this year, hoping for a good colour. I dug up my candelabra primula, it was too dry for them, and tbh they were a rather anonymous colour.

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  6. That pond is fantastic – can see why it was such a hit. The white poppy is so beautiful. I go back & forth on poppies because they’re so short lived, but I do love how delicate they are & all the wonderful colours they come in. I suppose you can’t have delicate & long lasting in the same flower, at least not outside. I’d been thinking of getting some Big Muttha Scabiosa for my current garden, but thought I’d wait to see how the place pans out this year. They take up such a big area but the blooms, I really really love. You’re photos aren’t helping me resist very well. Maybe there’s a place in the front garden . . . o, & glad to see you back!


    1. Thanks, Lora. I think Poppies of all types ( perhaps excepting Meconopsis!) are easy and you can just pull out the ones that are excessive. I am learning to be more hard hearted in my old age. The Cephalaria is a handsome plant and doesn’t take up as much ground space as you might think. Lots of the action is on long thin flower stalks!

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  7. I had to google P Ardens and none of the websites that came up were Australian, so I guess it’s not easy to come by in these parts. I can absolutely understand why you’d be in its thrall though. I’m a bit like that with my single peony which is yet to flower after several years. Salvia caradonna is another plant I’d like to get my hands on, but I’ll have to find one online. It’s a gorgeous colour.


    1. You want my advice? Choose one plant that you can’t grow or isn’t suitable for your soil/climate/garden and keep it as your challenge . More than that, is making life hard for yourself!


  8. I have planted a Salvia caradonna this year, though I might need to do a bit of clearing around it. It is already flowering though and is such a lovely colour. Off to look up the Ardens now. I am a bit of a pellie fan 🙂


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