Six on Saturday – Eyelashes, poppies and buttercups


Thank goodness for gardening! Don’t mind me, but it’s been an awful week and I’ve never been so grateful to be able thrash weeds at my parents house, tend the burgeoning borders at Wimpole (National Trust) and plant out the last few vegetables (beans, tomatoes and squash) in the our patch at home. As so many of us know, gardening is great therapy on so many levels.

It’s time for Six on Saturday, which is another kind of balm to a growing tribe of gardening ‘Sixer’s lead by The Propagator. Join in with a post of six gardening things if you can (guidelines here) and you’ll see what I mean.

Here are my six:

1 Rose ‘Jacqueline du Pré

‘Jacqueline du Pré is a wonderful, long-flowering bush rose. It’s the first rose to flower in our garden and I adore its simple flowers with those long fancy red stamen. They remind me of the eyelashes of the 60s fashion model Twiggy.


2 Ranunculus

Many years ago I came across these glamorous buttercups growing in the gardens of the Alhambra, in Grenada. The flowers stood out like colourful jewels against the formal hedging and dark green cypress trees. The image has stuck in my head, but I’ve never grown them for our garden before. Last autumn though I was taken by the photo of Ranunculus ‘Picotee Café’ on the Farmer Gracy website, so I bought some and the picture below shows my favourite colour so far:


3 Phacelia

Phacelia tanacetifolia is a green manure that I like to throw around the bare patches of the garden as a quick filler. It is an amazing magnet for pollinators. It’s an annual flower that has lacy foliage and flowers that are a lovely soft blue. The flowers gradually open along curved cymes, giving the plant its common name: fiddleneck.


4 Anchusa azurea ‘Dropmore’

While I obviously know that I planted this anchusa at the back of the border years ago, it still manages to surprise me each June when it throws up 5ft tall stems covered in the bluest flowers. It’s a member of the borage family and you can eat its flowers in just the same way. Imagine how pretty a summer salad would look scattered in gentian-blue flowers, along with orange nasturiums and purple violas!


5 Giant Scabious

Cephalaria gigantea (giant scabious) is putting on a fantastic airy show just now, with its tall wands of primrose-yellow flowers nodding at the tips. The whole plant is never seems to be still. The stems are either waving in the breeze or nodding under the weight of the many bumblebees that visit the flowers. It’s a great back of border perennial. However, it’s also a prolific self seeder here, which might be a nice problem to have, except that the plants rapidly develop into massive clumps, with hefty roots. Be ready to dig deep!


6 Mixed poppies in the rain

There’s nothing more cheering than poppies at this time of year … even covered in rain. It’s a bit unsettling to hear sudden vibrations from deep inside the folded flowers though. The bees somehow manage to squeeze in regardless and then the whole bloom resonates.


That’s it for another week.

Have a good gardening weekend!

About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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32 Responses to Six on Saturday – Eyelashes, poppies and buttercups

  1. pbmgarden says:

    Sorry you’ve had a bad week. Hope things improve for you. Beautiful selection.

  2. fredgardener says:

    Hope you’ll get better soon and that next week will be better…
    Until then, the Ranunculus is superb! I also do liked the Phacelia carpet

    • Thanks Fred. I was in a road accident, but apart from my car there was no damage/injury to anyone. I am feeling much more myself now and the necessary paper work is in progress. Yes, I will be growing ranunculus again, although they have flopped badly after the heavy rain we’ve had.

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    Sorry to read your week was challenging, but yes, thankfully, our gardens heal most ills. A lovely six this week, the poppies are a standout, and I can just imagine the whining the bees do when trapped within. Gosh, they are crazy about poppies!!

    • Poppies are the best definitely. I can’t imagine a summer without them. I am feeling much more normal now, thanks, after being shaken up by a road accident last week. No injuries to anyone fortunately (which is what matters), but my car wasn’t so lucky.

  4. Cathy says:

    Sorry to read that it has not been a good week for you, Allison, and I hope your equilibrium can be restored soon. Thanks for sharing your six – I have grown anchusa from seed this year and am amazed that it is in bud in its first year. I am not sure whether to plant them out or let them grow bigger first, although they have already filled their pots with roots

    • Thanks Cathy. I am feeling miles better now and can get on with things. (I had a road accident on the M25 with a haulage lorry pulling out into the side of me, no injuries – to anyone fortunately, but definitely considerable shock.) Anchusa is tough, but slugs do like the leaves. The roots are pretty massive, I’d certainly plant out if you can.

  5. Chloris says:

    I hope your garden therapy worked, there is nothing like it. I love your six. I specially like the ranunculus, I never seem to have much success with it.

    • Yes thanks Liz, gardening, and a bit of time has restored me. (I was in shock after a motorway accident. Luckily no injuries to either party, but my car is another matter and is taking time to sort.) The ranunculus was a successful experiment and the colour variations in Picotee Cafe have been most pleasing (everything from rusty yellows to those magenta tones)!

      • Chloris says:

        Oh no how awful. A similar thing happened to me a few years ago and now I have totally lost my confidence in motorway driving. It really shakes you up. I tried some picotee ranunculus and I only got one bloom.

      • What a shame! All except one have flowered for me, but I was quite late in starting them, so maybe different conditions helped them gather their strength to flower.

  6. I’ve tried and failed with every one of your six plants! I’m envious but accepting finally that I can’t grow everything!

    • Isn’t that the way? It took me years before I got the hang of growing eryngiums (it’s still hit and miss) and I’ve still not mastered Bells of Ireland! It’s worth trying things again every so often as each season is different.

  7. shoreacres says:

    Even absent physical injuries, an experience like that can resonate for a while. I had my own experience in 1983 or so, but all it takes is a mention of an incident like yours to bring it all back. Of course I still drive, and did from the earliest post-accident days, but I remember every detail of what happened. Oddly enough, what saved me from possible death or serious injury was hearing my dad telling me to “steer into the skid.” All those days of him teaching me to drive on ice paid off, in an unexpected way!

    We have a particularly lovely Phacelia that’s native: P. congesta. Its common name is blue curls; I think you can see why.

    • Funnily enough, what struck me when swung round the lorry driver’s cab, watching the lorry approach, was that I only managed to think ‘Oh no!’. No life flashes or anything profound. I am a bit disappointed in myself! Glad your Dad taught you so well!
      Ha, I clicked through your link to P congesta expecting to see a tangled mess, but was surprised by such neat, orderly curls. It’s beautiful!

  8. Paddy Tobin says:

    ‘Jacqueline du Pré‘ is simply divine!
    Awful weeks come and go!
    Next week better!

  9. I have Ranunculus envy. None of mine planted the past few years have come up. Phacelia is proving popular – it’s lovely. I hope things improve for you.

    • Your Ranunculus story is very common I think. I now remember that I had tried them a while ago, with zero results. This time I grew them in pots until they were growing strongly with plenty of leaf, before putting them in the garden.
      Phacelia definitely deserves its coverage!
      Things are back to normal this week, thanks.

  10. There’s that Phacelia! Such a great plant (and useful too). The Anchusa looks great – I grew it a couple of years ago, but it was under a bird feeder and was trampled to death by pigeons. Poor thing! At least yours is doing well.

    • Phacelia has a pretty full score card! I can just imagine your scene with pigeons stomping about on top up that anchusa. 😦 They probably looked like they were doing deliberately too 😉

  11. Cathy says:

    I really love all six! I have already looked at the link to the ranunculus and will now look into anchusa… I had no idea it gets so tall and it really is a stunning blue. I can see what you mean about the Twiggy eylashes. Beautiful. 😃

    • Anchusa can get a bit floppy in wet weather, since it’s tall and loaded with flowers 🙂 I’ve been admiring some lovely upright echium ‘Blue Bedder’ for a similar effect, but it isn’t as clear blue sadly.

  12. So sorry to hear about your traumatic experience Allison but wholeheartedly agree about gardening being our salvation. I love all 6 this week, that Ranunculus, wow…I was put off them as I found some a bit garish but this one is special. Yesterday I was pulling Phacelia out of the veg patch, feeling guilty for taking it from the bees but it was sprawling over everything: didn’t know it was called fiddleneck but that is the perfect name for it!

    • Lol, I’ve been enjoying some of the bright burnt oranges ranunculus too … just as long as they don’t look too yellow. Thx for your concern. I am feeling relatively OK behind the wheel again now, although I find myself watching for lorries fairly avidly! I’ll probably be pulling phacelia myself sometime next week so I can finish planting out late summer displays

  13. Megan Hall says:

    These are all lovely! What a beautiful garden.

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