Six on Saturday – All Lives Matter

Thinking cap on to look for an angle… Now where did I put that cap? If I could just find my glasses, I’d see it clearly.

I spent some time wandering in the garden, seeking an angle for another article. I try to write other than descriptive, and if I’m able to link my garden, my head and something going on in the world then maith-go-leor, (also known as fine-and-dandy or Bob’s-your-uncle) .
Each of my six plants this week is dedicated to a very special person. I have a very poor memory for plant names, especially the variety of a known plant, so I name some plants after people. For example, Penstemon Propagator would definitely remind me of Jon, the originator of this Six on Saturday idea. My family would say thay my poor memory extends beyond plant names, to things like misplacing my phone right beside me, constantly looking for my glasses (right beside me/out of eyesight) and missing appointments unless I send myself two phone reminders, on my misplaced right-beside-me phone.

Here’s my Six on Saturday:

1. The Sorbus Rafina is dedicated to the young Iranian 14-year-old recently beheaded by her father. The girl ran away from home with her boyfriend, but was returned by police officials, despite she warning them her life was in danger. Her death is recorded as an honour killing. The legal punishment is very light. Not a good country to be a young girl in love with the wrong person. I will care for this tree in her honour.

2. Fuchsia George Floyd was being choked to death by bindweed. I needed to take away all the ground cover plants beneath it and eradicate the evil that was killing it. It’s a work in progress.

3. Heuchera Mike reminds me of a gentle, chatty garden-centre owner who passed away in 2018. I have several of his plants in my garden. A very keen eye may notice that it is a petal-trapper. Last weekend was very windy and the roses lost many a bloom, only to find a cozy nesting place beneath.

4. Geranium Maureen. My mother-in-law loved geraniums. At her graveside, the funeral director placed one of her plants in this pot. At present, all my geranium plants are too big for this pot, so it remains symbolically empty. It is moved around the garden regularly.

5. Grassius Leeds United. I just love grasses. They are wild and hardy, carefree and free-flowing. My brother died at the age of 28. He died on the football field, playing the sport he loved. He was a mighty Leeds United fan. I am a Crystal Palace supporter so we had deep philosophical differences, yet he was Best Man at my wedding! Gary was best man to many many people. While I have this plant, his memory is ever-present in my back garden. Cherish the love you have; cherish the life you live.

6. Hebe M&M. This one is different in two ways. Primarily, it reminds me of two people, Martin & Miriam. They are very good friends of ours and, of course, very much alive! We gave them a Thuja shortly after they married and they called it the Pat-and-Mar tree. This hebe is my way of having them here with us, and is especially important to us right now. I bought them at Lidl during the height of lockdown in early April. This hebe is also different from the above five because I can remember it’s name very clearly. It’s called Hebe Rhubarb & Custard. How could I forget a name like that? But while it lives with us, I shall always call it M&M.

That’s my six this week. There are many things I forget, such as appointments and where my phone is. But I do not forget people. Rafina, George, Mike, Maureen, Gary, Martin & Miriam are remembered in my garden.

I joined this Six on Saturday last week, having read all about it here . New garden writers might like the idea. Old writers like myself too! Certainly, I received a very warm welcome and I want to express my thanks to everyone who read my article, commented here or on Twitter, encouraged me beforehand or just sent me a welcome message. It gave me the encouragement to continue. Thank you very much.
I am now following lots of similar Six on Saturday gardeners and virtually meeting some really nice people.

Finally, I’ve offered myself a suggestion which is undoubtedly sensible. I am a native speaker of the Irish language, sadly in severe decline (the language, that is, not me!). In an attempt to spread awareness, I’d like to use a simple Irish phrase in my articles ó am go h-am. Linguists will likely guess the meaning from the context, or may use An Foclóir for assistance. Others might like to use Mrs. Google, or perhaps not. As my life-motto would remind me: No worries, mate.

So onwards to next week… Thinking cap on to look for an angle… Now where did I put that cap? If I could just find my glasses, I’d see it clearly.

“I am intrigued by writers who garden and gardeners who write. The pen and the trowel are not interchangeable, but seem often linked.” ― Marta McDowell

Pádraig, 13th June, 2020.

Hebe ‘Rhubarb & Custard’

The logical deduction is that I can now buy more plants and still save money.

Hebe ‘Rhubarb and Custard’ is a compact, bushy, evergreen shrub with small, glossy, oval, pink-flushed, dark green leaves with irregular cream to pale yellow margins. Leaf tips and margins turn deep reddish-pink in cold weather. Compact, dense, racemes of violet flowers bloom in late spring and early summer.

Take cuttings in August, as follows: Remove sideshoots of the current season’s growth from the main plant using sharp secateurs. Trim them to 10-15cm lengths, cutting just below a node. Removing the lowest leaves and soft tip, then make a shallow cut, 1-2cm long, on one side of the stem base. Dip the cutting base in fresh rooting hormone powder, ensuring that the cut is well covered. Tap off excess, and then insert the cutting in a pot of standard cutting compost and put in a cold frame. Water in well. Ensure that the compost remains moist, but not wet, until the cuttings are well rooted. During the winter check and remove any fallen leaves and dead cuttings, watering only if the compost feels dry. Harden off the cuttings gradually the next spring before potting them up individually.

This plant had been on my wish-list since last year. I held off because it was priced at €12.99 or thereabouts in several garden centres. Finally, I bought three of them in April at €5.99 each. The logical deduction is that I can now buy more plants and still save money. Also, if I were to grow a few dozen cuttings I’d make my fortune before turning seventy.

Information above about this plant is copyright Shoot Gardening, my virtual online gardening. All my garden plants are stored there, and they tell me when to do what.

Hebe Rhubarb & Custard

Hebe rhubarb and custard will be a good addition to the garden. I really like the bright colour of this plant. I noticed it today when I visited The Arboretum. However, I did not purchase as I prefer to shop local. I will make enquiries this week. It will be good in a patio container and will grow to 60cm. Flowers arrive later in the year, but anything that is evergreen and variegated is a winner in my book.