It is going to be brass monkeys! We are expecting a cold east wind and the Siberian weather to go with it. Lows of -5°c will be the least of it. Properly parky. For those bemused by the brass monkeys expression, perhaps those of you across yonder pond, the full phrase is “cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey”. This sounds rude, and I always thought it was. In fact it’s an old Royal Navy expression. The “balls” in question are cannon-balls, the brass triangle on which they were stacked was the “monkey”. If it was cold enough, the brass contracted, causing the cannonballs to topple off. Hence, cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. You’re welcome. Anyhow, time for Six on Saturday – six things, in the garden, on a Saturday. Simples. Could be anything – a seedling, a job completed, a plan, a flower (lucky you), a vital piece of equipment, anything at all. Join in!

Here are my Six…

1. Anemanthele lessoniana, or Pheasant’s tail grass. I’ve got several of these dotted about, they self seed prolifically. They are easy to spot though, and can be pulled up easily if unwanted. This one is growing in a patio container. It was made by me adding said self-sown seedlings to the pot every time I found one. It quite quickly formed a decent size clump. It kind of glows with the light behind it.


2. Raspberry. This is encouraging. Last year’s raspberries were disappointing. I planted new canes in a new location but then made the rookie error of mulching with spent mushroom compost – turns out the raspberries don’t like it limey. I got very little useful growth last year and only one or two fruit off 12 canes. A month or two back I dug all the canes up, dug a big hole and replaced the soil with my garden compost, then replanted the canes. The fact that there is new growth is, I hope, a positive sign of fruit to come.


3. Periwinkle. This might as well be a weed as far as I’m concerned. Sure, the flowers are nice enough, but good grief does it spread. Each spring I do battle with it, knocking it back some, but frankly it is winning the war of attrition.


4. Cuttings, R. ‘Golden Ladder’. I took these rose cuttings in mid-November. There are five stems, three of which have new growth. No sign of roots at the bottom of the pot, but perhaps a 60% success rate, not bad for hardwood cuttings. With a bit of luck I will have three new climbing rose plants. Then I’ll just need to find a place to plant them.


5. Hollyhock seedlings, ‘Creme de cassis’. In the past I have been dismissive of hollyhocks as great big hairy-leaved weeds. Harsh! I have come to appreciate their height and flower power and am growing two or three different varieties from seed. I did a batch in September but those have suffered over the winter, possibly beyond saving. This is a fresh batch which seem to be doing nicely.


6. Pulmonaria, or lungwort. I forget the variety, but I have it for the leaf colour, which is a very bright silver when in its pomp. The flowers are so-so. It is just emerging from its winter rest. In a couple of months it will be fabulous, darling.


Those are my Six, what are yours? Join in! Just write your post, add a comment here with a link to your post, and maybe add a link back to this blog in yours. For more details, please see the brief participant’s guide.

Have a great weekend, don’t forget to check back in over the next day or two as more links are added.

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