Six on Saturday: Que sera sera

One of the lessons I have learnt from the head gardener at Charleston, Fiona Dennis, is that in a drought it is wise to cut back, weed and generally tidy up so that precious water and nutrients are conserved for the plants you want to cherish.

So today, that is precisely what I have been doing in our herbaceous border, which had become overgrown and weedy. Spending a few hours in the garden has been a much needed tonic after hosting a ‘pamper party’ and sleepover for 8 girls to celebrate my eldest daughter’s tenth birthday next week.

Last weekend I hosted a sleepover for 6 little girls for my middle daughter’s 8th birthday and so was unable to join in with the Gareth Southgate of the garden bloggers’ world, The Propagator, and his winning meme Six on Saturday. All in all July has been a pretty exhausting month so far and I am looking forward now to spending the first week of the school summer holidays doing not much at all.

Here then are my six for this week.

  1. Unidentified weed

IMG_0547.JPGI have spent much of today pulling this weed out of herbaceous border where it had taken over. In this dry weather this is a very satisfying job as the weed and its white roots come out very easily with just a tug. Do any of you SOS-ers know what it’s called? If so I would be very grateful for an ident as I am sure it will be back.

2. Orange crocosmia

IMG_0552Again, I am not sure of the variety – it is much more orange than my neighbour’s ‘Lucifer’, but it is proving a jolly addition to the garden in these straitened times, although there is so much of it that I pulled out several clumps today and could do with losing a bit more.

3. More orange… and a bit of purple

IMG_0553Orange and purple are the predominant colours in our herbaceous border at the moment. Here is the Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’ I featured a couple of week’s ago in front of my new David Austin ‘Lady of Shalott’ rose with a pot of lavender.

IMG_0556More purples are provided by the Buddleia in the background and by Nepeta and Verbena, although they don’t really show up in this shot after I cut them back.

4. Tesco’s clematis

IMG_0551.jpgA paler purple comes from my new £5 Tesco’s clematis. It’s called ‘Hagley Hybrid’ and won a gold medal at Gardener’s World Live 2018. I planted it today filling the hole with some of my next featured item…

5. Wilgrow’s horse manure compost


Every year these guys turn up on my doorstep and at my mum’s nearby and sell us some of their good sh*t. This is actually a bag left over from last year and I just got it out to use in planting some thirsty potted plants that really needed to go in today when the doorbell rang and who should it be but Wilgrow back on their annual rounds. I ordered another ten bags as I reckon the garden is going to need a really good feed this autumn to make up for the current drought.

6. Should it stay or should it go?

IMG_0545.JPGTo the front garden for the last in my six this week to my Phlomis russelliana which is looking rather shabby and sorry for itself and only flowered for about a week this year. The beds underneath it are looking awful at the moment and I am wondering whether to take it out this autumn, dig over and mulch the beds and do something exciting with this part of the front garden. What would others advise?

Hope you are enjoying your garden wherever you are in the world and not fretting too much about watering if you are in the current heatwave zone. I have chilled out about the whole affair and decided que sera sera.

And of course don’t forget to check out The Propagator and his band of merry women and men!


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Writer and garden blogger.


  1. Your beautiful wildflower is Enchanter’s Nightshade, Circaea lutetiana. My wildflowers book says of it: “a carpeter, sometimes unwelcome in gardens”. Bit judgemental for a wildflower book, accurate in my case, as in yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is exactly what I have been doing today- cutting back straggly stems and finding surprisingly tall weeds! Phlomis is very good for bees isn’t it? But a bit ugly after flowering… plant something equally bee-friendly??

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I asked about the very same weed last week, got my answer which I was happy to share, but Jim beat me to the punch. I agree, his wildflower book is a bit rude about it. The point about weeding is interesting. It’s important for bug travel to not have huge bare spaces, but in this drought, drastic measures, I guess. Learned a lot from your post this week! (What’d you decide about the phlomis?)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your Helenium is soooo pretty. I must stop reading all these garden posts as I get plant envy and a list that keeps growing and growing. Like the weeds.
    Have a good relaxing week, sounds as though you deserve/need it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I don’t really know what you can do with your Phlomis but maybe add horse manure? If it’s a shrub too poor and frail, add manure and compost will give it a boost? About pruning, I read that it didn’t need it but maybe it would clear up the area and would be good… Otherwise, very beautiful Helenium: I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. If you did not plant the crocosmia, it might have seeded from the ‘Lucifer’ crocosmia. It reverts when it seeds, like nasturtiums. The problem is that the reverted crocosmia can be very invasive.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Pulling it up like you do is probably advisable. I pulled up most of mine, but I keep a single contained clump. Unfortunately, there is a huge colony of work that naturalized long before my time.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I think if it was my phlomis, I would trim it right back (with my hedge clippers) to a small round bun shape, give it a feed and wait to see what it does. I like the helenium (was it on your post I first learnt about it I wonder?) because of its beautiful loopy centre. It’s a bit like echinacea, but much nicer.

    Liked by 1 person

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