Saturday, 21 July 2018


Caterpillar-eaten kale flowering away.

The serendipity of nature really tickles the beejayzus out of me.  It's an unseen collaborator, making quiet little gardening tweaks such as herb Robert around the peony, bindweed twining up the wrought iron gate, cosmos colluding with kale in an optical illusion.

This week, let's see what the Collaborator has done to my pots.

1.  A magic stick.

When we moved during the Beast from the East, some of our lifted plants came in plastic bags wrapped with sheep fleece.  As soon as possible, I rammed them into any available pot.

This included pots left by the previous tenants, who were specialist gardeners (har har har).  Our black grass went into one that had a three-tined dead stick in it.  Today, the black grasses are blooming in front of the bark-shedding dead stick.

In bloom.

The pot luck here isn't the black grass, but the thriving dead stick with its one summer's worth of growth.  Can anyone ID it for me?

It lives!

2.  Oh, Cory!

Earlier this year, I sowed some lambs lettuce in the pot with the fading erythronium.  An effort which produced a feckless feckall.

Late, great dogtooth lily.

With other more successful seedlings rampaging around the garden, I forgot the FF pot in its shady corner.  And then this appeared in it.

My buddy, Cory.

A lovely self-seeded corydalis, possibly from our last house where it grew like crazy.  My Unseen Collaborator, she knows what I like

3.  Another stowaway.

I rescued this teeeeny weeeeny fernee fella from the lawn & slapped it into what, at the time, was a plant-less pot.  Now the fern has company.

Am I pink knotweed?

Last year, my 92 year old neighbour gave me pink knotweed as thanks for always stopping to let her pet Mr BigNoseDog on our daily walks.  Mr BND'd knock me down for a pet from anyone, but I kept that to myself, & graciously accepted the cutting.

Not sure why it took so long to show itself this year.

And for those of you aghast that I grow knotweed, rest assured my garden has far, far worse things growing in it with my full consent.

4.  Like this thug.

Another pot luck caused by our move was thrusting goldenrod & queen of the prairie into the same pot so I could replicate how they looked last year:

Last year's golden queen.

This is what that pot looks like today.

Queen makes way for a thug.

The queen of the prairie survives behind the asters, but only foliage, no bloom.  There wasn't a whiff that those sneaky aster bastards were in the pot, yet now they've taken over.

There'll be a separation of powers in this pot come autumn.  Rest assured no thug shall perish in this coup.

5.  Comedy of errors.

I wanted verbena bonariensis for my last garden, but in some type of brain glitch, ordered common valerian instead.  The valerian didn't bloom its first year, so when we moved, I dug up its dead stick, & brought it along.

The foliage that came up wasn't valerian, but I let it grow, hoping for a pleasant surprise.

I got this ugly thang.

Ugly weed.

The tiny yellow flowerbuds never seemed to open, yet've already gone to seed.  Floaty, flying millions upon millions of ugly thang seed.

Ugly thang's back lit glam photo.

6.  A cosmos by any other foliage . . . 

My perennials've mostly been stalled or killed by drought.  The smattering of annuals that were meant to be colourful interludes, now have to carry the can.

All grown from seed, they're cheap & cheery low maintenance types which include, of course, bog standard cosmos in the white to red spectrum.

Dark pink cosmos.

I also bought a packet of dwarf cosmos in various colours, purportedly including a deep, deep purple.

Growing 2 types of cosmos, I kept both packets, referred to them several times during the seedling process, so I know for certain this wasn't my mistake, but an Unseen Collaborator intervention.

When the foliage matured a bit, the dwarfs looked more like marigold than cosmos.  The dwarf blooms opened this week & they're orange!  Every single one of them.  A fiery yellow orange!

Orange cosmos at bottom, usual suspect at top.

Searching 'orange cosmos' brought up photos of something with the same foliage as mine - cosmos sulphureus Cosmic Orange.  I don't know how those seeds wound up in that package, but they go well with the golden rod & the mint green raised beds.

My Unseen Collaborator certainly knows what she's up to.

Woodwardia beauty.

And that brings me to the end of my #SixonSaturday.

Thanks for dropping by.  I love feedback, but folk've had problems with the site letting them comment.  If you can't speak here but're on Twitter, I'm @lorahughes7.

Lets have a chat!

Oh, & don't forget, if you've got a garden, drop over to The Propagator & read his participant's guide.  You'll also find his Six, plus links in his comment section to other SoS gardeners from all over the world.

See ya next week!


  1. Love it. We can never do as well as "accidental " nature. She's got it all sussed out. Golden rod is a funny one. I really like it, but it can be hard to place. Leave it to someone else with a master plan? Is your dead stick a Fuchsia?

    1. Goldenrod grew in the meadows where I come from, so when I see it here, it's like spotting an old friend in a crowd. I don't see the crowd, but see the old friend. However, I did like it w/the queen of the prairie, another N American wildflower. As to the dead stick, if it's a fuschia, I'll be a happy haggy woman indeed. Not buds nor blooms, so probly won't know this year.

  2. I love your approach to saving little plants and going with the flow. That Queen of the Prairie is awesome by the way. Shame no flowers this year but maybe it'll be late to the party like that Dog's Tooth Violet. Must have had a hangover and needed a lie-in.

    1. The goldenrod pot has struggled all summer, so I don't expect the queen to bloom. When she's in the ground, she can get quite tall & then sways in the breeze. Definitely prairie royalty.

  3. Your mind saving the plants is great ... so, congratulations! The picture of last year with the goldenrod is gorgeous! The Goldenrod mix and Queen of the Prairie is very beautiful. It's a shame that you got more folliage this year ...

  4. Shame about the Queen of the Praire. She was lovely. Hope she comes back for you next year!

    1. I think she will cuz she's a tough one. Just need to get her out of that pot.

  5. The orange cosmos definitely looks like you meant it to be that colour! Many years ago, my Mum bought a pack of flower seeds that claimed to be yellow, and sowed them into her yellow flower patch in the garden.... of course none of those seeds grew into plants with yellow flowers and they clashed quite badly with the yellow flowers they were next to!

    1. I wonder how that happens. I'd think seed packaging would be automated, but maybe not. Anyway, you mum had an interesting garden for one year, I bet. If anyone outside the family commented, did she explain or pretend it was on purpose?

    2. She explained before anyone had a chance to say anything - they looked somewhat weird in with her daffodils & other yellow flowers!

  6. Oh your Queen of the Prairie is so pretty. I only have the common white meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria. I like yours better. And I love your post! So funny how nature gets the better of us :)

    1. Mine came w/a garden I once lived in, had spread throughout the bed, so I took some when I left. I totally love it. Wonderful stuff & I imagine it goes well w/loads of tall plants.

  7. This post was so fun to read, and I feel better about the abundance of various thangs growing in my garden. My first impression of the dead stick plant was buddleia, but its just a guess. I pulled out my buddleia one year, thinking it was dead! You have also given me a new appreciation for golden rod and queen of the prarie.

    1. I can see buddleia in the photo, but in person, the leaves don't have the right texture. The first time I saw golden rod in a border after moving to the UK, I was transfixed, tickled, transfixed, after seeing it for years in the field. Immediately got some for myself & have never gone back.

  8. I had a volunteer goldenrod last season. I dug it up before it set seed. I didn't like it....

  9. Great Six. Pots can give such great combinations. The Cosmos have been so good this year after a couple of indifferent years.

    1. My cosmos performance varies this year. plants planted side by side in the ground are growing/producing at very different rates. This is the summer for me where nothing is predictable.