Latest and greatest from my little corner of suburban Berkshire.  Six on Saturday. Six things going on in the garden, on a Saturday.  Join in!

1)  Dahlias. I am a recent convert to dahlias.  It is said there’s nothing so zealous as a convert and I do feel borderline obsessed by these plants at the mo.  I grew a bunch from seed last year, Bishop’s Children was the variety. These are bedding dahlias rather than the grand, fancy tall ones.  They grew pretty well, I had 10 or 12 plants in the garden the tubers of which I dug up and stored over the winter.  I also bought 4 new tubers this spring (‘Rebecca’s World’, ‘Black Jack’, ‘Caribbean Fantasy’, and ‘Manhattan Island’). I’ve brought all of those into growth and taken cuttings where I can. As a result I now have 18 dahlia plants of a decent size that I am busy hardening off, and a further 26 cuttings growing on in the greenhouse.  The hardening off bunch are beginning to show signs of flowering, which is encouraging.

I have picked up along the way that it is a good idea to pinch out the growing tip once 3 or 4 sets of leaves have developed, to encourage branching and ultimately more flowers.  Once hardened off I will plant them out, although I’m not convinced I have room for 40 plus of them.  I am particularly looking forward to the 4 new varieties – I have 3 of each now thanks to cuttings, I may take a few more using leaf cuttings.  Can’t help myself.

2) Impatiens omeiana.  I did not know that there were hardy busy lizzies. I spotted this one at a plant fair last weekend and was a little bit smitten by the foliage.  I like the shape and colouring of the leaves, but also the stems which are a striking red colour.

It doesn’t get very tall, but spreads over time.  It prefers the shade too, in fact it will get scorched in full sun and sulk. I have a spot in mind, under the canopy of the dogwood, in a north facing border.  Plenty shady enough there despite the dogwood being a little short of stems/leaves – I pruned it pretty hard. The impatiens looks best once it has spread a little, they look good en masse.

3) Border 2 – in the continuing saga of border reworking chez nous, last weekend I dug up a couple of very scruffy thickets of evergreen shrub.  These both fell into that most unloved of plant category, “municipal car park”.

I can only imagine I was seduced by some kind of special offer at the garden centre at some point in the past.  They were not good shrubs, were not adding any interest, never mind beauty to the garden, and as such do not feature in my grand plans.  A couple of hours work with a pruning saw and mattock and they are history.  I’ve weeded, dug over and mulched the resulting clear area, a good 3 sqm, and it is now ready for planting out.

4) Geum – these are rapidly becoming a favourite of mine.  Somewhat to my temporary regret, I divided my g. ‘Mrs J Bradshaw’ into the smallest possible plantlets.  I will ultimately get a bunch more plants as a result, but in the near term they are less impressive border performers than the original clumps might have been.  Still, they appear happy enough to flower.

I recently also aquired a decent sized Geum ‘Hannah’ which seems to be an orange flowered variety.  I’m not 100% convinced that the variety is correct, I can’t find any reference to it online.  Anyhow, I’ve potted it on and will plant out when it’s filled out that pot, shouldn’t be more than a couple of weeks at this time of year.

5) Lily – I’ve no clue what variety this little trio are, they were planted a few years back before I kept any kind of record.  They have cleary enjoyed the conditions this spring as they have put on some lush growth and several flower heads are in evidence. At the significant risk of putting the mockers on things, I have not seen any signs of the dreaded lily beetle – they are un-munched at this point, long may that continue.  If I remember rightly, the flowers are a peachy colour. We shall see, no doubt they will make a repeat appearance here in a few weeks time, judging by the buds, several to each plant.  I haven’t actually accommodated these plants in the new border design but I’ll work around them when it comes to planting out.  They are interesting enough to leave well alone.  I might dig up the bulbs/corms/whatevers later in the year and move them.

6) Linaria.  This is another plant with which I am unfamiliar, although I understand it’s quite common.  I picked up a couple at the plant fair. They are good little plants, well grown from the look of it. One would expect nothing less from fellow members of the Hardy Plant Society.  I was intrigued by the stucture and form of the plant which looks quite architectural, I think, reminiscent of rosemary and possibly even lavender.

I will have to wait for them to flower to confirm the variety, it’s hard for me to tell from the foliage alone.  I reckon it’s Linaria purpurea, we’ll see.

That’s my Six on Saturday for this week.  I’m enjoying choosing the six each week.  What six things might you post?  Could be anything going on in your garden, a good flower, a garden project, a disaster, wildlife, anything at all.  If you decide to participate, add a link to your post in the comments below, and maybe a link back to this blog in your post.

I’ll be back next week with another Six next Saturday.