Six on Saturday – Rhubarb and Sweet Cicely


It is Six-on-Saturday time and the weather is perfect for it: Photos in the sun and then blogging when the heavens open. As the season progresses the variety of Sixes is getting more and more diverse and interesting, so head over to The Propagator’s blog to see today’s selection.

Here are my six:

1) Plot to pot

Like many people, I would guess, I am pulling rhubarb. I like to eat it stewed or braised, rather than cooked as a crumble (because all that delicious juice just seems to make the crumble soggy and solid). Rhubarb is also great baked until chewy and then added as the fruit component of a scone mix (a National Trust twist I believe). Now my Dad could eat rhubarb without added sugar, but that seems like teeth grinding torture to me, so to keep the amount of sugar down I’ve been trying the trick of adding sweet cicely  (Myrrhis odorata) to the pot. The light aniseed taste of the herb seems to mellow the sharpness of the rhubarb and adds another layer to the overall flavour, so it is a win-win result.


Dessert sorted – Rhubarb and Sweet Cicely

2) Honey lilies

The honey lilies (Nectaroscordum Siculum) in the dry, shady front garden have started to break out of their tissue wrappers. Currently there are only a few with hanging bells, but as the next couple of weeks unfurl they are going to look a picture. There is something so nice about their soft colours. Then there is the amazing strength in their crazy twisting pedicels: First off they explode all over the place, next they elegantly arch down, then finally, as they set seed, they point rigidly upright.


Sicilian honey garlic lily, Nectaroscordum Siculum just burst from it’s papery spathe

3) About a one in five survival rate

Our wisteria (W. floribunda ‘Violacea plena’) was hit by a series of frosts again this year. 😦 .  It had the effect of suspending the development of roughly 80% of the racemes. Luckily, the freeze happened sufficiently early that the new leaves were untouched and are now making a great back drop to the beautiful, surviving flowers. With all the black rain clouds around the colours are looking very dramatic in any stray sunshine.


Wisteria once again pretty wrecked by frosts this year.

4) Carnation ‘Mrs Sinkins’

Everytime I go into the greenhouse recently I am overwhelmed by the glorious scent of Carnation ‘Mrs Sinkins’. I was really pleased to be given some rooted cuttings by a friend, after enthusiastically admiring them in her garden. (The best gardeners are always generous I find!). The flowers are pretty fantastic too, looking like an explosions of white egrets. Now I just have to get them out of the greenhouse and into the borders before they become too unwieldy.


Carnation ‘Mrs Sinkins’

5) Rehmannia

Rehmannia elata are like foxgloves on steroids. In fact they are also called Chinese foxgloves. Rehmannia flower for months and are perennial, but are not terribly hardy. Mine have survived in an unheated greenhouse for the last four years though. They have survived very intermittent watering too and I read that they are even good in dry shade, so I might try some in the front garden.



6) Veronica gentianoides

Do you see that beautiful blue pollen? Hard to resist such a pretty little plant. So I bought a large pot of Veronica in a clearance sale last autumn with a view to splitting it into many new plants in spring. That was the plan, but then I forgot about it and bought two more (smaller) plants a month ago when the new perennials came into the garden centres. Oops! And now I have an abundance of Veronica. Good thing they are lovely!


Veronica gentianoides

I’ll finish this post by sharing an extra picture. This is Sadie after this morning’s dog walk in torrential rain. She managed to get covered in oil-seed rape petals and with the excessive wet, they are fairly stuck to her coat. Makes a change from washing mud off I suppose … there may be a confetti effect on the carpet over the next day or two!


Sadie, covered in bright yellow oil-seed rape petals, looks like she has been to an Indian wedding

Hope you are enjoying your gardens this weekend!

About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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22 Responses to Six on Saturday – Rhubarb and Sweet Cicely

  1. susurrus says:

    Sadie made me laugh – she looks great, though I can imagine you might not want to pick up all those petals.

  2. Lora Hughes says:

    All of your Six are so interesting & beautiful, too. I could lose myself in a spending spree. The carnation & lily are both new to me & I hope to remember to add them to my collection next year. Oh, Sadie. You do get into some interesting places.

  3. Great 6. Sadie at an Indian wedding made me smile. Dogs are such great fun

  4. fredgardener says:

    I love rhubarb too and I will soon pick the first stems (tomorrow) Crumble, jam … My brother-in-law also has rhubarb wine recipe: it’s a little sparkling and sweet : yummy !

    • Enjoy! Jam … good idea, but plain or with ginger or orange? Home-made wine is too much hassle for me I am afraid. Quite prepared to drink other people’s though!

      • fredgardener says:

        He gives me 2-3 bottles a year. It’s enough. I don’t drink a lot of alcohol.
        For jam I tried a lot of things. Plain rhubarb of course or just with vanilla. I also tried a lot of mix : with ginger, or orange, banana, pomelos, strawberries, raspberries … everything works! The rhubarb / banana and raspberry / rhubarb are my favorite.

  5. Eliza Waters says:

    A big thumb’s up to all of the above – even the petalled dog~ 😉
    btw, have you ever tried turning a sprinkling hose on the frosted wisteria, before the sun hits it? If the frost isn’t too severe, it can save it by thawing it slowly.

    • I haven’t tried that, but it sounds like fun. I think that I have heard of the technique in relation to saving fruit blossom. I am probably not thinking strategically at that time in the morning though!

  6. Lisa says:

    My father loved rhubarb pie with very little sugar, I prefer it sweeter. Not with anything else, just rhubarb pie. Nothing to spoil it, like in restaurants where they always add strawberries!
    One of my dogs comes in the house with things stuck on him. Once it was a green bean hanging from his ear!

  7. Christina says:

    Very interesting selection this week.

  8. I am so jealous of your rhubarb. I’ve been trying to grow some for years and nada. I am not sure if the challenge or the taste that has kept me going… but I do love a nice rhubarb crumble.

    The Chinese foxgloves are very unusual.

    • Ah Piglet, there’s nothing better than succeeding against the odds. However rhubarb does need it to get really cold to trigger spring growth. How low do temperatures where you live in Portugal?

  9. cavershamjj says:

    Bad luck with your wisteria, annoying. I noticed someone in out neighbourhood fleeced their entire wisteria to protect. It did look pretty ugly then but now it is fabulous!

  10. pbmgarden says:

    The blue pollen is a gorgeous detail.

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