Six on Saturday – End of May Display


You know how it is when you’ve been away: Shove your mail out the way and dash out the door to check (and water) all your pots and plants! Feel a little bit sad about the things that have done their stuff in your absence, but grateful to catch sign of the display (e.g. our patio is covered in dropped, dried mauve wisteria flowers). Happy to be in time to catch today’s stars!

So here are some of mine, for this Six on Saturday on 28th May:

1) Lucky Dip Peony

It’s made several beautiful blooms in it’s second year, but I am not sure what kind of peony it is. An Itoh variety I guess, but not ‘Coral Charm’ (which I have elsewhere and is much more apricot/pink coloured). It is certainly lovely, so … let’s not get hung up on names!


2) Byzantine Gladioli

I love these small magenta gladioli. I have fond memories of them popping up every year beneath a fig tree in the avocado orchard, when we lived on La Palma. Now I find myself buying a few bulbs each year to plant in random places to enjoy their shock value: in the meadow patch, at the base of the deer fence round the vegetable garden, by the front gate post. They are a wonderful visual adrenaline shot.


3) Digiplexis ‘Illumination Flame’

This foxglove cross is proving to be fairly robust here in Cambridge, although it was overwintered in the greenhouse again. This year it is flowering earlier than in previous years and has consequently caught me by surprise. The main spike hit the end-wall glasshouse shelf while we were away last week, but it mostly seems to have straighten out again now.


4) A dark, delicious chocolate aquilegia

I have to pull and dispose of a lot of our aquilegias every year as we suffer from that nasty downy mildew disease that has swept around the UK. The plants that do well seem to pop up in odd places with good drainage, i.e. the gravel paths in the vegetable garden, driveway and the pebble garden. The prevalent colour of these survivors seems to be dark blue, but I have several really dark ones. This one is almost black.


5) The return of the pretty, frilly, coffee-coloured ranunculus

I was surprised to find that the Ranunculus ‘Picotee Café’ bulbs (bought from Farmer Gracy last year) have survived the winter despite sitting in our cold, wet clay soil and are now flowering for a second year. I’d have grown loads of them, years ago, had I known!


6) Iris ‘Benton Deidre’

Irises are so fleeting a pleasure. During our 10-day absence several Cedric Morris varieties have peaked and are now fading, so it was a relief to see at least Iris ‘Benton Deidre’ at full blast on our return.


And an extra photo …

A couple of readers were curious to see the nectaroscordum patch in flower (as a follow up to a previous photo of the flowers still hidden in papery wrappers). This photo is from yesterday. Sadly, it was a overcast at the time and the flowers are slightly passed their peak, but it still gives an impression of the current massed display in our front garden.


Have a great weekend, in, or out, of your gardens!

My thanks to Jon, The Propagator who hosts Six on Saturday, come rain or shine, run or garden. Click through to his blog to find loads more gardening Sixes to enjoy.


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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23 Responses to Six on Saturday – End of May Display

  1. Eliza Waters says:

    A fabulous six, Allison. Having seen your Nectaroscordum a couple years ago, I bought a bag and they have come back again strongly. Such a fun addition to the garden, so thanks for the inspiration.
    I feel the same way about leaving my garden in high season, almost impossible! Hope you had a nice trip.

    • Thanks Eliza! We had a wonderful break with many trips to beautiful gardens and scenery. I will try to post on them. Pleased to have added to your garden remotely 😉 Do you find that the honey lilies attract tons of long-tongued bees?

      • Eliza Waters says:

        I haven’t noticed bees so much as hummingbirds (which I know you don’t have, sadly). They can’t get enough of them, visiting many times an hour. I wonder if the nectar continues to flow?

  2. shoreacres says:

    I really like that peony! Sometimes I have trouble appreciating really fancied-up garden flowers, but that has a simplicity that I like. Actually, that gladiolus is nice, too. The big, blowsy glads always remind me of funeral home bouquets, but this smaller and simpler one is lovely.

    • 🙂 The hybrid peonies are a bit softer/looser I think, which suits my tastes. I feel the same way about Glads, but slowly there seem to be some creeping into my borders (so long as they are dark or purple).

  3. janesmudgeegarden says:

    A fabulous six. I would be very hard pressed to pick a favourite. I love irises, but perhaps that gorgeous ruffled Ranunculus is even lovelier. I grow Ranunculus here in clay soil and they return year after year.

    • Thank you Jane! I find myself describing whatever I am looking at currently as my favourite flower 🤣. Good to know about the ranunculus, as I will now try to avoid planting spring bulbs directly on top of them!

  4. Pauline says:

    What a wonderful selection! I never knew Ranunculus would grow in heavy clay, must give them a try here as they are so gorgeous.

  5. fredgardener says:

    So many stars this week! I find the ranunculus fabulous, the gladioli elegant, the chocolate aquilegia …tasty, and this last iris so pretty! Nice choice this week again.

  6. March Picker says:

    Your aquilegia is a beauty. I’m drawn to the dark flowers and have grown many black barlow which yours resembles a bit in color. I can see why you enjoy those gladioli. Wonderful color!

    • Thanks! I love A. Black Barlow, but am enjoying this serendipitous single example. Gladioli always look so very rigid and formal in catalogues, but G. byzaninus is a finer, freer thing all together … and a brilliant colour 😉

  7. Cathy says:

    The Digiplexis looks interesting, and such a pretty colour. Beautiful iris too. Love the view of the Nectaroscordum. Fantastic!

    • Thanks Cathy. I was glad to catch the end of the honey lilies and have been amazed at the numbers of (what I think are) Early bumblebees that are visiting them. Even more to enjoy of course 🙂 !

  8. susurrus says:

    A lovely six! You didn’t draw the short straw with your lucky dip peony – it’s gorgeous.

  9. pbmgarden says:

    You certainly picked some beauties to share. The peony is lovely in color and form. Digiplexis ‘Illumination Flame’ is really a nice unusual color, very interesting.

  10. Cathy says:

    Wow – your nectaroscordum patch is wonderful! Do they always flower as well for you? After reading your post I wanted to go out straight away and order that ranunculus and digiplexis – AND some more of those gladioli. For some reason I have had a few of the latter suddenly appearing in my borders this year, although it is years since I bought any and they had never done anything since – I would have had more but I had already pulled them out, assuming they were montbretia!

    • Yes, the honey lilies are spreading everywhere and now they have reached the driveway. They love it under the big field maple tree for some reason! Enjoy the glads. Is the monbretia lucifer? Off to the garden centre with you 😉

      • Cathy says:

        Well no, I just saw the leaves and assumed they were montbretia which I though I had got rid of ages ago – and now guess they were probably gladiolus too! I don’t think any of them had ever come up before…

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