Six on Saturday: 31 October 2020

I’m back for another six! Thoroughly enjoyed my first foray last week into the gardening blogging sensation that is Six on Saturday, hosted by the Propagator. Thinking about what to feature here and running out to take photos when the light is good between English classes is either i) a sign of an obsession gone too far or ii) a very welcome distraction from Covid gloom, impending lockdown and the cancellation of most of my extracurricular activities. Gardening, what would we do without you?

1 Cotinus coggygria. This week the star turn has to go to my Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’, which is bringing zing to the garden with her terracotta tones. If I was a genious garden designer, I would have deliberately chosen this super plant to reflect the old brick with its blotches of purple and warm earthy colours on my house wall, but really this is a happy coincidence.

2 Strawberry. The runner up for autumn colour is this astonishing strawberry, which seems to think it is a Japanese Acer or something. It’s the only one of my strawberries that is having an autumnal fling, the others are all a pedestrian but sensible dark green.

A strawberry with personality

3 Hollyhock. Onto something with more subtlety. This paper-thin, almost translucent flower had flopped onto my gravel front path after a wet night. A gift from the skies, this plant first turned up last year in my veg patch, and I moved it to the front path, which has a cottage garden vibe. Of course the expensive dark flowered hollyhocks that I bought from a garden fair a year and a half ago were a dismal failure, and just produced lots of growth but no flowers (I assume because my clay soil is too fertile for them), so I am grateful for the effortless flowers on this one.


4 Shield bugs. I was removing some black-spot ridden leaves from a climbing rose and disturbed a group of shield bugs huddling together for warmth and shelter. When I first saw these heraldic beasties after moving to this house and garden about three and a half years ago, I didn’t know if they were friend or foe. Turns out they are totally harmless, and feed off the debris we get from the overhanging lime trees. I find their war-markings absolutely amazing, surely somebody painted them on?

5 Champagne feeder. Upcycling time! I got my hubby to create a roof made from the lid of a champagne box for this planter-turned-bird feeder. I hope that this works for the little birds that can fit through the metal squares. The aim is to keep the parakeets off (we have a colony that visits from time to time, they totally hog the feeders).

The new bird feeder

6 Planning a new border. When we moved in here, the garden was all laid to lawn with some occasional shrubs and just one east-facing border adjoining the side of the house. I haven’t stopped lifting turf since then, albeit in small bite-size sections. The latest move is to dig up this west-facing section, that gets a good amount of afternoon sun. I want to get Tulip ‘Barcelona’ (fuschia/purple blooms) and Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ planted in here soon, and build it up from there. I aim to focus on purple, magenta, silver and pops of warm orange – purple Salvias, warm-toned Day Lilies, silvery Helichrysum, magenta Nicotiana…some ideas. Let’s see if I have the self-discipline to stick to a colour theme!

Border in the making

So there are my six, I hope we get some good weather for getting out into the garden, this morning already looks promising with a clear pale blue sky here in Brussels. A walk in the woods is next. Check out The Propagator’s SOS page for more inspiration. Enjoy your day everyone and see you for another Six on Saturday next week.

16 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 31 October 2020

    1. I have become quite fond of the shield bugs, they love to bask in the sun when it comes out (like me). They do look a bit like your milkweed bugs. I will see if I can get some good photos on a sunny day.

  1. The cotinus leaves are wonderfully colourful…it’s such a lovely plant. I’m fascinated by the huge brick wall in your garden. It seems very old and makes me think of the book, ‘The Secret Garden’.

    1. Thanks, the Cotinus really is a super plant. The brick wall is old, house dates back to around 1910 so I think the wall is a similar age. You’re not the first to say it’s like The Secret Garden, we are so lucky to have it.

  2. Wow to the shield bugs! I’ve not seen them before either. Lovely photos and wishing you well with the new border – that is always an exciting project. So much promise for next year. I have Barcelona here planted with Shirley and Violet Beauty. It’s a good mix of tulips. Very envious of your blue skies 🙂

  3. I wonder if the Hollyhocks you bought and were a failure were in their first year? They’re biennials – so have lots of leaves the first year then send up the flower stalk the second. I have a heavy clay soil as well and I can’t stop them from self-seeding all over the place! Love those strawberry leaves!

  4. My cotinus is like yours with its beautiful red or orange leaves. I also love the scent when you break a stem or crumple a leaf. Pretty red leaves of the strawberries. Mine are green .. or dried though

  5. Your new border sounds fabulous, and I love the colors you’ve chosen for it. I’ll look forward to updates. Like others, I marvel at the pattern on those shiedbugs — haven’t seen any of those here. Also, visiting parakeets would be lovely to witness. Snap a photo?

    1. Thanks, I will try very hard to be disciplined with the new border, I tend to forget my colour scheme when I see a pretty plant 😆. The parakeets are striking but very noisy!

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