Goodness me, December! Spring seems closer already. I have been busy ordering seeds from the Hardy Plant Society seed distribution scheme. Like the proverbial kid in a sweet shop, it’s quite a job to choose from the well over 2000 seed varieties available. Like a good boy, I have selected seeds from plants which have piqued my interest over 2017 – there’s a lot!  With both mine and Mrs P’s allowance plus a lucky dip I should have 50 ish little packets of seeds to sow. Now I just have to wait until the end of January for the seeds to arrive.  Taps feet impatiently….

Anyhow, time for Six on Saturday. Six things, in the garden, on a Saturday. Could be anything – a plant, a flower, a job to do, a project, a plan, a success or indeed a failure. Anything!  Join in…

Regular readers may recall that Mrs P and I spent last weekend in Birmingham, and a lovely time was had too. We had a slap-up balti, some truly splendid cocktails, did a canal tour, took in the ballet, a museum, but the very first place we went was the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Like many British gardens at this time of year much of the garden is “resting” but there was enough to keep us (well, mainly me) interested for a couple of hours, so my Six this week comes from our visit to the Gardens.

1 – Euphorbia milii, ‘Crown of thorns’. Looks a lot like a cactus, a common schoolboy error. It is in fact a spurge, and pretty vicious looking with it. If the thorns weren’t enough to put you off, it’s also toxic. Nice!  Native to Madagascar,  it’s slow growing and semi-succulent. It was kicking its heels in the Arid hot-house.

2 – Winter sunshine. Well, it’s a thing, and it was in this garden. Specifically, seen through some frondy grass. It didn’t occur to me at the time to look at the label so of the variety I am ignorant, as in so many other things. Stipa something-or-other I expect.

3 – Ricinus communis, caster-oil plant. I was taken in by the strange flowers, and by the shape of the leaves.  I hadn’t realised that if you so much as look at this plant the wrong way, it’ll poison you.  It has a doppelganger in Fatsia Japonica to which it has a passing resemblance – occasionally one is mis-sold as the other.  The ricinus is the source of ricin (clue’s in the name), a highly toxic substance. I mainly thought it was pretty.

4. Heliconia rostrata, hanging lobster claw, or false bird of paradise.  What a strange looking thing. I initially thought it was a decoration or a toy that had been hung in the tropical house, but no, it’s alive!  A native of Central and South America.  Apparently it is pollinated by hummingbirds.

5. Acer thingummyjig. We made a bee-line for the Acer garden thinking we might just catch the tail end of the autumnal leafy show. Sadly it was almost all bare branches. This one had a few leaves left, hanging on grimly but fighting a losing battle.

6. Xantosoma sagittifolium, tannia. Bits of this are edible, allegedly. I just liked the leaves which were quite large and a pleasing colour.

That’s my Six for this week, what are yours?  Join in!  Very straightforward, just write your post, leave a comment in this post with a link to yours so everyone can see it, and maybe a link back to this blog in yours.  Please see the participant guide for more details.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, don’t forget to check back in as links will be added over the next 48 hours.

I shall be back with another Six next Saturday.

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