Six on Saturday 2020 19-09

Garden Woes

We’ve just had a new fence built on one side of the garden, and it’s shared with a neighbour. We didn’t get much notice about the start date, so it was a bit of a rush to get trellis off and untangle multiple climbers. A few had to be cut back and dug up. It was a muddy boots job – this area is part of the already muddy and almost-empty border that’s due for replanting. The new fence is up but it has been problematic and not what I was expecting. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I can’t do anything about it, and I’ve moved on, I’m now trying to think of ‘the 10 best ways to camouflage a garden fence’.

New trellis will have to be put up, though I’m wondering if the rambling rose and two remaining clematis will be able to survive their current predicament. I’ve loosely tied them together and have them hanging on the fence…poor things, they currently have nowhere else to go.

But here’s my contribution to Six on Saturday.

Rosa Gertrude Jekyll

Between wet and windy days this week we’ve had some lovely warm days. On Tuesday we could be found on the beach walking with chasing our grandson who was determined to get to the sea with his lovely white Adidas trainers still attached to his feet. How can a newly-turned two-year-old run so much faster than his grandparents! (No replies please, I already know the answer.)

The warm weather also treated us to a surprise visit from Gertrude, who has a new wardrobe of fresh leaves, plenty of buds and just a little bit of black spot. Her visit is appreciated and she’s welcome to stay for as long as she wishes.

The Plant Nursery

On Monday morning, I drove to a (fairly) nearby nursery, and with the help of a very friendly member of staff, I found all the plants on my list. The list wasn’t complete, I had forgotten a couple of things, so I’m going to have to make a return trip. I’m not complaining. Not at all.

I came home with Rhododendron ‘Black Magic’; a good size in a 15 litre pot. Black Magic is a dark red and I’m hoping it’s not too vivid.  Images online vary so much that I opted to be guided by descriptions rather than photographs.

I’m becoming a Fuchsia convert (especially after seeing my sister’s lovely specimens) but for the moment, I bought only one, the deciduous Fuchsia Genii, particularly because of its light golden leaves (but I like the flowers too). Phlox paniculata ‘David’, Artemisia ‘Limelight’ and three yellow Lupins, all in 2 litre pots, also found their way into the cart along with some bags of compost.

Rhododendron ‘Black Magic’ – Skimmia berries in the background

Always dependable for fabulous berries, this cotoneaster gets chopped back regularly, and it defies me just as regularly. There’s no stopping it; it is determined to grow larger than I want it, but to be truthful, at this time of the year when there’s that painful transition between summer and autumn those tiny green leaves and bright red berries are welcome.


This is the first year in many that I haven’t taken cuttings and I’m beginning to regret it. Previously I took a few hydrangea cuttings after watching  TV gardener and presenter Carol Klein demonstrating the techniques on Gardeners’ World. She made it look so easy, and it was. The two plants below were photographed in September last year, the one on the left is H. ‘Black Steel Zebra’ and the one on the right is a no-name pink variety.

Below is the pink hydrangea, photographed this week, in my large patio planter – it’s been flowering all summer and showing no signs yet of slowing down. There’s definitely good sense in taking cuttings.

Pink to Blue Hydrangea

This is the mother plant of the one above, and I’ve had it for a good number of years – but this year it hasn’t flowered terribly well, and the blooms have been smaller than usual. It’s now turning blue, but I’d like to keep the flowers pink. I understand that it’s to do with the pH level of the soil but I guess I’ll have to do a bit of research to find out how to revert the blooms back to pink.


Syringa ‘Belle de Nancy’ was on pre-order a few months ago for delivery around the end of August. The tree was sent out but didn’t arrive. The carrier finally admitted that it was lost. I couldn’t help but ask myself ‘how can you lose a live plant that’s over 2m in height?’

A second tree was sent out, and it arrived just after I came home from my trip to the plant nursery. Good timing. I’m hoping to get it into the ground today. 😊

Current Covid-19 news is quite worrying and I hope that you are all well. Stay safe everyone and follow good government advice. Happy gardening!


Make sure you check out all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world. Details below.

To join with other garden enthusiasts from around the world, just take six photographs and post them to Twitter and/or your blog each Saturday. You can get all the details from The Propagator who kindly set it all up.

All photographs copyright of Catherine Wood unless otherwise stated.

34 thoughts on “Six on Saturday 2020 19-09

  1. Sorry to hear about the fence. Our garden has two old fences that I’m convinced are going to blow down and I always dread the idea of tackling all the climbers when it finally happens. Lovely selection of hydrangeas (and those taken as cuttings look very well). I acquired Belle de Nancy late last year. It is lovely. It is baffling how a courier can lose a 2m plant!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fences blowing down is a regular happening in this area. Our back fence is facing the fields, and it’s propped up along its full length. I think the planting stabilises it too.

      I’ve always remembered that you posted details of ‘Belle de Nancy’ and thought if ever I bought one, it would be Belle. It went into the ground today, I hope it gets through the winter in its new home!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s odd how we can take a dislike to some plants. I would love all the plants you list above but for the lilac. I have an absolute abhorrence for lilacs. It is without justification and reason; just a dislike – “I do not like thee, Dr. Fell. The reason why I cannot tell; but this I know and know full well; I do not like the Dr. Fell.” – sentiments along those lines.
    That rose, on the other hand, is perfectly adorable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s surprising how many plants I’ve always disliked too – but only to find, many years later when I come across a different variety – I fall for it. There’s hope for you yet, Paddy! If this one blooms as well as I hope it will, I’ll treat you to many photographs! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL I’m inclined to get set in my prejudices! I’m the same with Schizostylis – I absolutely hate them but mainly because they very quickly become weedy here.


  3. Superb rose!
    Regarding hydrangeas, I also have one that has both colours on the same plant, it’s weird. It starts in pink tones and ends in blues. I have the impression that it also depends on the rain which can be more or less acid …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This one has been in the garden for years and always been pink but blue is wrong for this border, so it will have to be brought under control. I’m just not sure how I’m going to do that but it’s only getting one warning – return to pink or you’re gone. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m envious of your plant nursery trip. What fun!! It is extremely rare I exit a nursery without purchasing a plant. Even on holiday overseas. I do plant those purchases for my hosts though! Lovey hydrangeas. I have managed to propagate them quite successfully from cuttings. The problem comes in finding a spot in the garden where they would like to grow. Not much success on that front, but I persevere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can understand how difficult it would be to grow hydrangeas in your climate, definitely happier in cooler and wetter countries.
      Gertrude flowers like mad for quite a long time and then stops. She starts to looks quite tatty and then smartens up again and produces more flowers. She’s a little star.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I hit the wrong reply box with the above comment. Sorry, I do things like that on a regular basis! That’s just me. 😁
        I always end up in a garden centre when I’m abroad too – usually with one of my daughters, who has something or other to take back to the garden. It’s great to see plants in new places – some are just the same, others wildly different.


  5. Gertrude is looking good! I like blue hydrangeas and mine turned pink. I’m not keen on cotoneaster having once spend a fortnight (on and off) digging some out, but your lovely picture makes me see it in a new light.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The warm weather this week (I’m talking 20C – that’s warm up here) has given the roses a new lease of life – but it’s brought the aphids back again – in their millions (exaggeration). I’ll have to go out and squish more of them tomorrow.
      I would hate to have to dig up cotoneaster – but that’s a job my husband would get! Ours needs cutting back often, I think I have it back under control and it takes off again.


  6. My Gertrude also gave me an unexpected second flowering recently. A lovely rose, but she doesn’t last long here. I’m wondering whether cotoneaster would survive in a pot. It would look rather nice in my courtyard adding some well needed colour. And once again I have not taken cuttings from my hydrangea and it is probably too late now, though I have been taking cuttings from other plants. I just leave them outdoors to get established. Or not!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you could grow cotoneaster for a period of time in a pot Jude, but once they get started, they do become very vigorous. The little leaves are also beautiful in late autumn as they turn rich shades of red, orange & yellow.

      Those hydrangea cuttings above were probably taken in early summer. I have a couple of new varieties in the garden, ‘Limelight’ and ‘Lanarth White’, but I haven’t taken cuttings from them. A must for next year – I’ve never been successful propagating plants later in the year.


  7. I like cotoneaster for its ability to provide colour when so many other things have gone to ground, so to speak. Hydrangeas are odd in their colour choice: pink and blue ones changing and yet white always staying the same. I’ve learnt not to grow them here as the weather is far too hot in the summer and they require enormous amounts of water. Your Gertrude is simply exquisite.


    1. You’re right Jane, cotoneaster has a great range of leaf colour during late autumn, and well into winter. The berries are so vivid and I love when snow falls and that glossy red peeks through.
      I’m sure you can do without the trouble of giving hydrangeas multiple litres/gallons of water throughout the day, you’ve obviously learned to plant according to conditions – I’m a bit of a failure in that area! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The hydrangeas are lovely – both blue and pink. I must try taking some more cuttings. I’ve grown some that way in the past but although they are now growing away well I’m still waiting for them to flower.
    The photo of the cotoneaster berries is lovely. I need to find a good location for one in the garden. We have one here which a previous owner planted on the edge of a retaining wall. All it does is grow out horizontally and block the path. I hate having to chop it back and loose the berries.
    I was sorry to hear about the fence. I hope it mellows into the garden soon.
    And finally, the story of your grandchild brought back happy memories of a just turned three year old, running as fast as he could straight into the sea up to his knees. I didn’t see that one coming!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I should have taken cuttings of two newer hydrangeas, ‘Lanarth White’ and paniculata ‘Limelight’. That task will now have to wait until next year.
      I have a cotoneaster like yours, Cotoneaster horizontalis and it grows along and over the top of a low wall. The path runs alongside this wall, and the plant has to be chopped back regularly throughout the year. I have another though that has found its way upwards at the side of our house. It’s been chopped so many times that it has started to take on the appearance of a small tree and I quite like it.
      Aren’t grandchildren wonderful for providing happy memories, even if they’re doing the strange and unexpected! 😁


  9. you have reminded me to take cuttings of a fancy new hydrangea I bought. Perhaps i’ll wait till the spring. good luck with covering your new fenceline! i expect your clematis and roses would respond well to a good prune at the start of next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paint has been in short supply here since lockdown and it looks as though I might have to wait till spring to get the fence & trellis painted. Temperatures will soon be dropping too much for outside painting even if it comes back into stock. So that will definitely mean cutting everything back. Hope you’re right that they’ll respond well. 😁
      Looking forward to seeing your fancy new hydrangea and its offspring at some point in the future.


  10. Oh I hope that you can camouflage the fence in a satisfactory manner Catherine. It sounds as if your trip to the nursery was highly productive. ‘Gertrude’ is a most wonderful rose and her scent is intoxicating 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think paint, trellis and strong planting will all help, Anna. I’ve added a small table & chair in front of one area that particularly annoys me, and it helps take the eye away from the clumsiness of this construction. I’m not going to be annoyed about it any more, I think we all have more to be concerned about these days with the current Covid situation. Enjoy the rest of the week – hope your flowers continue to bloom beautifully! 😊


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