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Six-on-Saturday – Just Another Six

It’s easy to write when the rain is teeming down. The Irish phrase used for teeming rain is ag stealladh báistí, and it’s been stealladh-ing since Thursday. As a general rule and in the particular circumstances it’s easier to write inside. That said, it’s easier also to write in the height of summer, as there’s so much to delight in. I’ve left out many many garden things, simply because I’m confining myself to Just Six. Amid further raindrops, here’s number One…

1. Begonia Illumination

I do love Begonias despite all the work involved in loving them. This one is considerably better than most, quite simply because I bought it just last week. My loyalty card chopped the price in half to €10. It’s expensive for a begonia but otherwise I’d spend it on cycling accessories. It’s called Begonia Illumination and I’ll be doing my best to nurture it along. This will be a definite contender for Begonia Of The Year. I think I may not have my begonias in suitable soil as they are considerably smaller and with less blooms, as you’ll see clearly at number two further below.

Illumination

Now that I’ve reminded myself of cycling accessories, my list includes socks, mitts, new chain and Pegatin name stickers.

2. Central Patio Island

It’s a regular feature since last year. The Central Patio Island is central to the entire garden, and is continuously interesting. As with life, it remains continuously interesting because I change it around regularly. Marion smiles when I’d be contentedly sitting with coffee, only to up sticks and swap two plants around!

This month the Liatris Spicata is starting to flower and I’m loving the slow development of what will be beautiful red spikes on the Lobelia Cardinalis.

3. Agapanthus

I do not know the variety of this Agapanthus so I’m going to call it Agapanthus Shiner. My wife’s name was Shine before she agreed to take mine. I took some seed from a much larger Agapanthus last summer from the garden of my sister-in-law Joan. I set the seed but they failed to germinate. This one will remind me of the wonderful evening we had.

It is a 60cm ball of abundant blue, and there are several small clumps of red/orange Crocosomia (Cock’s Comb) surrounding it. The combination pleases me. Crocosomia used to be called montbretia.

Last year I left the Agapanthus spikes on the plant until late winter and used them to make a small skeleton bouquet which still enjoys pride of place on a bare trellis.

4. Dahlia Delight

The large dahlias are delightful! There are five scattered about, three in the ground and two in pots. Mam never lifted dahlias for overwintering. Her simple answer, she says, is to plant them deep enough. I’ve come to realise she’s right!

5. Mesembyanthemum

Known as Livingstone Daisy, memembyanthumemums provide a riot of short-lived colour. The flowers last only a few days, but by feeding it as regularly as myself, there are plenty replacement flowers. The spent ones need clipping (bit like myself i ndáiríre), a task Marion has agreed to do because it’s a plant that she wanted me to grow. It reminds her of her Shine days.

6. Protein & Iron

Agapanthus Shiner in background.

We opened our garden to the public last Saturday week, and in the process we helped raise €1659 for Samaritans Waterford & South East. Apart from funds collected, the day was a huge success. We both took an enormous amount of satisfaction from the event, and breathed an enormous sigh of relief when the last visitor departed. Several Guinness were consumed with gusto. Cycling was planned for the following day but it didn’t happen for me. Today, two weeks later, I’m still smiling inside. Guinness replenishes the parts that other beers can’t reach.

Help Needed

I’ve spent some quality rain-time planning for next year. The theme is Simplify Everything. I’ve selected just six vegetables, four annuals and six perennials from seed. A further four annual varieties will be bought as needed, and I’m leaving the door open to get additional perennials once I’ve moved beyond the 2021 and 2022 Bike Accessory Wish List. The perennials I’d like to grow from seed are all for Autumn. I chose them from an RHS article recommendation. All have been awarded AGM status. The trouble arose when I searched online for the seeds. They are nowhere to be got. So, my question of the week is: Does the industry not sell seed of AGM plants with the deliberate intention of forcing me to buy the plants instead? Is it to maintain the genetic superiority of the plants? If so, it’s not cricket, ye oul lousers! Here’s the list:

  • Agastache Blue Fortune
  • Aster x Fricarti Mönch
  • Sedum Red Cauli
  • Salvia Anistad
  • Chrysanthemum Mei-kyo
  • Ceragostima plumboginoides

Advice wanted from the horse’s mouth. Please, someone offer me a glimmer of light. This constant rain is beginning to get me down. That’s not actually true, but I’ll play the sympathy card to get the information I want.

Sin a bhfuil uaimse don seachtain seo. I’ll be back again next week with another Six-on-Saturday. Thank you for reading, and to Jon for getting us all together every week. I shall be spending some time hoovering inside (where else?) and reading other SOS updates when I can. Wherever you are, have a great week. Slán go fóill.

The Week That Was

Not garden-related, this is merely to keep a record of events for future reminiscing.

  • We had hoped to visit Kenmare for four days, but the weather forecast was horrific, so we took a rain-check.
  • A date night in Richmond House helped make up for the disappointment.
  • Bike: 112 with plenty climbing  and 50km, despite several missing accessories.
  • Last year I was nearing peak draw-by-numbers interest. Now I’m loving Canva.
  • Applying for a Driver Disability Permit is a pain in the bøłłix. Not for me, and I wasn’t doing the application but the process would put me off when my time comes.
  • I was reminded of What3Words during the week. Check out the Play Store/App Store. I dare you to see what happens when you put in “normality.schedule.continually”. They must know me very well, because these three little words are so closely related to my blog title: GrowWriteRepeat.

Pádraig.

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  1. Lovely dahlia! And well done on raising all that money with your open garden.

    1. Pádraig

      Thanks Barbara. Of the 10 dahlia grown from seed I’ll keep only four of them. On a positive note, four is good!

  2. Noelle M

    Yes I like your pots, and all that weight lifting gives you exercise your cycling cannot offer. Well done on the open day. I too cannot sit still in the garden, sometimes I make a big effort, just so that Mr S can actually talk to me sitting in the garden. I now ask for a glass of water rather than coffee, as that takes too long to drink!

    1. Pádraig

      Weight-lifting is a win-win situation, Noelle.
      Enjoy these remaining weeks of summer! Soon enough we’ll be sitting inside.

  3. fredgardener

    I do like your central patio island! Liatris is very floriferous here too and full of bees and butterflies.
    Another thing, I made your porridge bread: delicious ! My wife has liked it very much and it brought back memories of Ireland when she had been there.

    1. Pádraig

      I’m delighted that it is liked, Fred. Another task for your list! All three of us love it so much more than wheat bread, so I’ll meed to ramp up the baking schedule!

  4. Jim Stephens

    Here is a link to the RHS’s current AGM plant lists. https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/trials-awards/award-of-garden-merit/agm-lists
    Plenty of them can be grown from seed but all those on your list except Ceratostigma are vegetatively propagated clones with cultivar names, which would almost certainly not come true from seed even if the plant produced any, which they often don’t. Even selling seed of a clonal plant is highly suspect, the progeny, even if close to the original, are not the same, so shouldn’t be passed off as the selected clone. Organistions like the Hardy Plant Society will often have seed that has been collected from clonal plants, so for example, I grew Campanula ‘Elizabeth’ seeds from them, but none is like the true variety, though they are nice enough. Seed companies like Jelitto do a huge range and often have seed strains of things that are close to AGM varieties.

    1. Pádraig

      Thank you so much for your detailed comment update, Jim. Jellito will be my go-to place seeing as buying from UK is no longer possible.

  5. grannysgarden

    I’m afraid I missed the porridge bread recipe, it sounds good. Meanwhile, your garden is so colourful and that table and chairs set makes a lovely background for your plant photos. I’m cutting down next year, only growing things that work/survive. I noticed that a couple of years ago, we had copious amounts of Brussels so where have all these pests suddenly come from? Interesting Six-on-Saturday again.

    1. Pádraig

      Thank you, Granny. Here’s the recipe… Hope you give it a go.

  6. Megan Hall

    It’s funny to see you growing “mesems” or vygies, as they are often called here. They are such a South African standard. flowers. I’m hoping to go and see the spring flowers later this month.

    1. Pádraig

      My good wife likes them, Megan. They definitely need lots of sun, so don’t always do well in Irish summer.

  7. theshrubqueen

    Looking good, a chara. Liatris is native here and I have no luck with it. So far. The Begonia is worth it!

    1. Pádraig

      Considering it’s native, that would be unusual, Amelia? On a positive note you’ve added no luck so far! Green fingers crossed.

      1. theshrubqueen

        I think the seed may need to be planted in the fall, so I will try again.

  8. sidestreambob

    I’m a week late with this comment but I was once told that when dead heading dahlias you can tell the dead flowers from the buds as the dead heads are damp.
    I’ve no idea on the AGM question, but, for me, your theory has a likely feel to it.
    I think begonias do their job quite brilliantly.
    I’d preserve with the agapanthus seeds, some years they take, some years they don’t!
    Your garden is looking good – thanks – I’m re motivated.
    Clive

    1. Pádraig

      That’s a goot tip re: dahlias, Clive. Thank you. Yes, two Agapanthus seedlings that I thought were dead are not dead. I’ll nurture them over the winter.
      Have a great motivated week, a chara.

  9. Your garden is ablaze with colour! It looks amazing, especially the central patio section! All perfect for open days. What a lovely colour the Begonia is, and the Cardinal lobelia has great foliage colour. I read Jim’s response to you question- very interesting.

    1. Pádraig

      Thank you, a chara. I asked question in garden centre yesterday and got similar response Likely I’ll opt to buy seed of similar varieties. All will be good.

  10. Mominthegarden

    That central patio island is great! The different colors, textures and shapes are lovely to see. But I have to say that the agapanthus is the show stopper for me! Wow. I tried them in the garden, but with no luck (very, very small flowers). So I planted some in pots this year. I do have one very pretty flower, but there should be more.
    Well done with the fundraising efforts. Very impressive!

    1. Pádraig

      A friend reminds me it’s the flower of love! ❤️ News to me, but I do love it very much. The Cock’s Comb around the edges needs to be kept in check.
      I’ve mentioned on your post that we got to take the good with the not so good!
      Best wishes & very nice to “meet” you, Dana.

  11. Hello. I don’t think the lack of seeds for your AGM plants is any scheming plot – it is just that some of them are cultivars and do not come true from seed so the seeds are just not available. Some of the plants are available from ballyrobertgardens.com – in the north but do deliver here. And yes, Jelitto is a good plan – I have ordered their seeds.

    1. Pádraig

      Thank you, Geoff. I’m learning as I go! I’m delighted to have found your blog. Beir bua, a chara.

    2. Pádraig

      Order from Ballyrobert Gardens on its way to me. Thank you for the heads up.

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