Six on Saturday – Flower spikes and Hoverflies

We’ve had a stressful week with a poorly dog and daily visits to the vet (arthritis and pancreatitis apparently). Hopefully Sadie is in the recovery phase now, but I will be glad when I stop having to visit that front car park/waiting space with its social-distance markings, odd grey ‘sitting blocks’ and sad, sad pet owners. I mean that literally, as I have witnessed a lot of heart break there over the last five days. There is little privacy for consultations. If you get called down the side driveway it is rarely good news. So our own garden has been a place of refuge, for the shortest of walks and lounging with the dog. It’s been too hot to garden anyway and the flowers are doing their stuff all on their own.

Here are six things for ‘Six on Saturday‘ that I’ve been admiring on my frequent meanders. Many thanks to Jonathon, The Propagator, for hosting this weekly meme.

1 ) Verbena ‘Bampton’

I took a single cutting from the one at work last year, so I am pleased to see that it is doing well. As an insurance policy though, I also ordered 6 plug plants (yes, another Lockdown purchase). They are all coming into flower now and I can’t say enough how much I love the atmosphere they create. The plants (like verbena bonariensis) all have a stiff, open structure, except that these have dark (almost black) foliage and stems, but still ending in pretty pale purple flowers. As they sway in the breeze, they are like airy candelabras tipped with sparkling fairy lights:

sosverbena

Verbena officinalis ‘Bampton’

2 ) Olives

There’s been a sudden explosion in the number of hoverflies around this week don’t you think? Better than last week’s flea beetle invasion though (though they are still around, annoyingly stripping brassicas and ruining rose photos). Our olive trees have just burst into flower and the hoverflies are round them in clouds. Hard to photograph though, so I tried a shot against the sky. You can see several hovering, but there are plenty on the flowers too.

sosolive

Hoverflies enjoying our olive tree flowers

3 ) Digiplexis ‘Illumination Flame’

I am enjoying a third year of flowers from my Digiplexis ‘Illumination Flame’. This is a half-hardy cross between a foxglove and isoplexis canariensis. It has never looked a tremendously strong plant and I am not sure how long-lived they are, but they are showy and completely wonderful in flower.

sosisoplexus

Digiplexis ‘Illumination Flame’

4 ) The dragons are back

Sitting by the edge of the pond, with dog, has meant that I have had plenty of time to watch the antics of dragonflies and damselflies racing across the water. They like their lookout perches, so I’ve pushed a few hazel sticks into a planter next to the pool to maximise our chance encounters and photo opportunities.

sosdrag

Male Broad-bodied Chaser

This photo is of a male broad-bodied chaser, with a powder-blue body, yellow spots along the sides and a dark thorax. Easy to spot! Up until now I’ve been seeing golden females. Although there are other medium-sized dragonflies that it can be confused with, this type is distinguished by their chocolate brown eyes. Aaahhh, bless!

5 ) Cherry Sage

OK, so I’ve lost the label for this sage, but I believe it to be Salvia greggii ‘Cherry Red’. It seems to flower nearly all year long and is generous with it. I forgot to trim it in the spring and it has grown right across the path. With all these flowers, I won’t be cutting it any time soon. We will just have to step over it for a while.

sossalvia

Salvia greggii ‘Cherry Red’

6 ) Crop of the week – Blackcurrants

I’ve been putting up blackbirds whenever I open the gate to the vegetable patch for a few days now and it took me a while to put two and two together. There are two young blackcurrant bushes at the back there … and the birds have been feasting. Well, I’ve caught on and have the remaining currants to use. As yesterday popped up on Twitter as #nationalsconeday or #nationalcreamteaday or some such hashtag, I decided to make ‘summer berry scones’ from a National Trust (Ickworth) recipe using the currants. (They burst and ooze nicely as they bake.) Now we’ve run out of jam, so guess what’s next!

sosblackc

Blackcurrant scones

Those are my Six. Don’t forget to visit The Propagator’s blog for other selections.

Until next time!

 

About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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23 Responses to Six on Saturday – Flower spikes and Hoverflies

  1. Jim Stephens says:

    I was given ‘Bampton’ a year or so as a thank you for something. It produced one self sown seedling last year which I potted and gave away earlier this week and I see a few more have come up this year. It’s a fine plant and one that will do the rounds off the back of cuttings and seedlings with little help from garden centres. Cherry Red salvia sounds like one to look out for too.

  2. Cherry red salvia is rather jolly and I really like the pretty verbena. Great idea to use the currants in a scone. May give it a go

  3. fredgardener says:

    Yes ! Today I’ve noticed that my olive tree is in bloom too. I managed to take 2 or 3 close-up photos which I will post tomorrow on Twitter.
    Very nice photo of dragonfly and this blackcurrant scone looks really TASTY !

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    Yummy looking scones! All six are lovely, but what a stand-out Salvia and I like the airiness of the Verbena.

  5. Cathy says:

    Love this post! The Verbena looks gorgeous and has reminded me I would like more in my garden. Must check bow hardy this one is. And the scones are great inspiration as my blackcurrants should be ripe any day now. The red ones were mostly eaten by the birds so I must be alert! 😃

    • That verbena is great. I am having fun planting out V. bonariensis, V. ‘Santos Purple’ and those V. ‘Bampton’ plugs. I should have airy purple clouds at three levels! Have fun with your currants (my red ones always disappear before I get there too).

  6. I love that cherry sage – must look out for some.

  7. March Picker says:

    Such a pretty first photo! A friend gave me a large clump of digiplexis which is just forming flower stalks. I hope it’s as desirable as yours!

  8. cavershamjj says:

    i like to leave my salvias growing and sprawling too as the foliage smells so fantastic when you brush past. i approve.

  9. Pazlo says:

    A lovely post, so June.
    Best wishes to Sadie for a speedy recovery.

    Paz

  10. shoreacres says:

    I hope Sadie’s doing well. We have a pet clinic nearby that’s been rather creative when it comes to coping with ill pets, but creativity doesn’t make things any easier. I’ve been sitting here pondering currants. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten them. I don’t even know if they grow here. More research is required!

    • Oh wow! Well I hope that you do get to track some currants down to try. I like red best, but blackcurrants are the most intense, while white are fun in creative desserts. Maybe they can be found in the frozen grocery counter?

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