Six on Saturday – A rather blustery week

It is certainly autumnal here. I’m looking out at blue sky just now, but we have had a full gamut of weather over the week, from stormy downpours with high winds to clear skies and cold nights. So clear that I’ve spent the last couple of evenings in the back garden checking the heavens for meteor showers (the Draconids – peak rate tonight) and planets (Jupiter is especially bright, even sitting just left of a nearly full moon). In between these calm intervals though, the winds have torn down our sunflowers, broken branches from many of the tall salvias and stripped any drought-dessicated leaves from the trees. Happily, that’s cleared the view for the remaining leaves, which are turning glorious shades of red and buttery yellows. Cherries and maples are already looking particularly bright and intense.

So, what’s surviving (or even thriving) in blustery October? I’ll show you a few in this Six on Saturday post, where I’m joining Jonathon and his merry crew for this fun, weekly gardening meme.

1) Aster Season

sos1 Aster novi-belgii

A common carder bumblebee enjoys this pretty little lilac aster novi-belgii.

This is one of the short, usually mildew-prone, novi-belgii asters. I’ve no idea what it is as I inherited it with the garden, but it is lovely and fresh looking. Its petals are white at the centre, but transition through lilac to purple at the tips. Better yet is the fact that I’ve never actually seen it suffer from mildew and that’s in spite of it being next to knautia and verbena now riddled with the complaint!

2) Anemone ‘Pamina’

sos3 anemone pamina

Anemone hupehensis var. japonica ‘Pamina’

Though she be but little, she is fierce!’. The ‘little’ is mostly due to the drought I suspect, but I can’t dispute how mighty the effect of those ruffled, semi-double, dusky pink flowers of this anemone on me is. I really love this anemone and only wish that its first year in the border had been more to its liking.

3) Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’

sos6 phyllis fancy

Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’ has furry, two-toned lilac/purple flowers supported in dark purple calyces on long graceful stems.

Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’ is a semi hardy, leucantha hybrid. It manages to get through most winters in outside beds here in Cambridgeshire, but I also take cuttings. The long wait for its flowers to open is mitigated by the beautiful shape of the arching, calyx-covered stems:

sos6b phyllis arch

Several of my potted cuttings of Phyllis were torn apart by the recent winds. I hope I’ve rescued most, but they might now spend the winter inside the glasshouse again.

4) Nicotiana ‘Hot Chocolate’

sos5 hot chocolate

Nicotiana ‘Hot Chocolate’

This nicotiana seeds itself around under our glasshouse tomatoes every year, so I always have a ready supply to lift and re-house in the driveway border outside. I like how it looks in combination with the amaranthus plants along the edge.

5) Amaranthus Opopeo and Hot Biscuits

sos2 amaranthus hot biscuit

Amaranthus ‘Hot Biscuits’ and ‘ Opopeo’

(Note to self: Next time don’t plant these so close to the edge … remember that they can get big!).

I’ve loved amaranthus ever since we spotted Amaranthus tricolor ‘Early Splendor’ growing a radiant 6ft tall in a wonderful potager/nursery in Brittany. So every year I try a different variety in the hopes of re-capturing their success. Mostly I then overlook the plants in from their seed trays, until they are desperate and stunted. This year’s new trial variety was called ‘Opopeo’, which was billed as having abundant, tall, deep burgundy flower spikes with attractive maroon foliage. I managed to pot on a few in time for them to grow better for me (hence the note), together with some left over ‘Hot Biscuit’ seed from several seasons past. Well, they’ve both enjoyed the weather this summer, so maybe it’s time to go back to re-try ‘Early Splendour’.

6) Chrysanthemum ‘Blenda Purple’

sos4 mums blenda purple

Chrysanthemum ‘Blenda Purple’

This Chrysanthemum ‘Blenda Purple’ is a cutting of a cutting (etc) taken from a plug plant from a Sarah Raven ‘Jewel’ collection some time ago. I am not usually a chrysanthemum person, but I find this one adorable!

That’s all for now folks! I have to say that it is so much more fun gardening or writing about the garden, than going to carpet showrooms to choose the next bathroom floor covering.

I do hope that you are enjoying your weekend!


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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25 Responses to Six on Saturday – A rather blustery week

  1. fredgardener says:

    I’ve seen salvia ‘phyllis fancy’ twice today! The first time was in a French gardening magazine which recommended it! Lovely nicotiana ‘hot chocolate’

    • Thanks Fred. There’s a salvia border in the garden where I volunteer and Phyllis stands tall at the back of it, along side S. concolor and S. ‘Amistad’, creating a wall of blue shades.

  2. Rosie Amber says:

    Those amaranthus are fun, they are new to me, but I’d give them a try, I shall add them to my wishlist.

    • You can have so much fun with them. I love the ones with the leaf colour transitions up the trunk, but it is hard to beat the heavily-laden, maroon grain plants like: ‘Red Army’, ‘Opopeo’ or ‘Foxtail’

  3. Cathy says:

    I am all but ready to give up on Phyllis, as she doesn’t make it through the winter outside here (even with mulching) and even potted up and brought inside takes so long to re-establish, then doesn’t start flowering till September. SAdly, I can’t imagine ever manageing to get a whole ‘clump’ of her… Having grown amaranthus for a few years I have come to the conclusion I prefer the more upright varieties and will look out for Opopeo next year to add yo my Hot Biscuits – they have always proved so easy to grow.

    • That’s a shame, but some of the salvias are definitely in a race every year to do anything before frosts hit 😢. Phyllis is much faster than straight S. leucantha though. Have you tried Amaranthus ‘Red Army’? I’ve found that a good, strong upright variety.

  4. shoreacres says:

    The Salvia’s my favorite, although that is a cute Chrysanthemum. For some reason, I always can catch the scent of those flowers when I read about them. When I was in school, my trick for learning to spell the name was to break it apart into Chrys-an-the-mum. I don’t know who Chrys was, but he always seemed to have his mum trailing after him!

    • Ha, I love the scent of most salvias, but can’t stand the smell of chrysanthemums. It’s one reason why I hardly ever grow them. Funnily enough your aide-memoire is helpful to me too, as it is the Chrys part I always muddle the letters for at first attempt … but now I’ll think of the name Chris

  5. janesmudgeegarden says:

    A lovely colourful six. It would be difficult to pick a favourite, but perhaps the chrysanthemum which is a beautiful colour.

  6. J. Wilder says:

    The amaranthus is a new on to me but I love the spikes of colour. Thanks for sharing

  7. Oh, Michaelmas daisies! They’re so beautiful and so welcome amongst the browns and oranges. Apart from the breakages, it does appear that many flowers are hanging on a bit longer than usual, but the lovely clear sky which, I was also enjoying last night, has brought a frost, so I wonder what will await us on the plot later today…

  8. Pauline says:

    Lots of lovely colour still in your garden, especially the salvia, aster and chrysanthemum. Still waiting for our first frost, still more plants to bring inside!

    • Yes, plenty of mauves and purple, which I love. Last night’s frost caught me by surprise. I have nothing brought under protection yet, so I’ve been busy today. Tonight should be OK, but Monday is back to possible frost temperatures.

  9. I was going to ask if you harvested the amaranth to cook with. Is it easy to harvest? Do you have to treat it in any way before use? I recall reading that quinoa is easy to grow, but you need to process it to remove some bitter compound.

  10. Eliza Waters says:

    A beautiful six, Allison… you always have such originals plantings. Love the nicotiana and the salvia, which always worth waiting for their fall show.

  11. Rowena says:

    I love the inspiration that comes from seeing plants from other gardeners and that nicotiana is going on my ‘to look for’ list.

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