The Tea Break Gardener

My Gardening Week – Six on Saturday 02.06.18

My Gardening Week – Six on Saturday 02.06.18

This week has been half term so I haven’t got as much gardening done as I’d have liked but I have been out with my camera capturing some early June delights.

Plenty of Opuntia

A few years ago I was given a lovely Prickly Pear or Opuntia which has been slowly growing in my sitting room.  I was really happy with the plant as it brings back happy memories of childhood holidays to Malta, where the Prickly Pear grows aplenty.

I used to enjoy watching from the rooftop each evening as an old lady walked slowly through the fields cutting off pads from the Prickly Pears with a large knife and slicing them up for an old white goat that followed dutifully behind her eating the pads spines and all.

I can’t recall her wearing gloves but I put on two pairs this week as I prepared to propagate my lovely houseplant.

Obligingly my Opuntia has grown two parallel pads, which looks a bit peculiar, but which provides me with a chance to propagate one.

I took a very sharp knife and cut the larger of the two from the parent plant at it’s base.  I’m now waiting a few days for the wound to dry out before I pot it up in some gritty compost.

Opuntia cutting

Opuntia cutting – waiting for the wound to dry before I pot it up.

Beautiful Iris

Iris x pacifica 'Broadleigh Rose'

Iris x pacifica ‘Broadleigh Rose’

It’s a great time of year for Irises and this week one in particular caught my eye.

Quite frequently I forget the name of a plant but rarely do I forget even planting it.  However, one plant in particular has been a mystery to me for a couple of seasons – it had dark green strappy leaves, not particularly tall, and in autumn it had a cluster of bright red seed pods.  This was evidence of a flower that I had obviously not seen putting on it’s show.

This week I saw this stunning Iris flower on the plant.  The same day I spotted the identical flower posted on twitter and the plant was thus identified as Iris x pacifica ‘Broadleigh Rose’.

The markings are so pretty, and up close look almost as if they are painted in watercolour.  I will definitely be splitting it this autumn as I would dearly like more of these in the garden.

It started out as a mystery imposter in the garden but is certain to become a beloved friend.


Clematis centre close-up

Clematis centre close-up – reminiscent of an alien creature?

This week the detail at the centre of this Clematis caught my eye.  Given that it’s part of such a beautiful flower it seems odd that the first thing it brought to mind was a space alien.

The fact that I’d just taken my children to see the Star Wars Solo movie may have had something to do with it.  The Millennium Falcon gets tangled in a huge space creature with many tentacles.

Better to revert to a zoomed out shot I think.

Clematis flower

Clematis – in full bloom

Rosa ‘Lady of Shallot’

Rosa 'Lady of Shallot'

Rosa ‘Lady of Shallot’

It’s going to be a great year for Roses and so far mine have been undamaged by marauding Muntjac Deer.  These usually treat my roses as a Michelin starred restaurant, picking off the buds for canapes.

Top rose for me this week is this stunning pink-blushed orange David Austin hybrid called ‘Lady of Shallot’.  It’s got a fabulous spicy scent and is a very strong grower.  By next week I should have a great display.  I just hope the deer stay away.


Saxifrage flower cluste

Saxifrage flower cluster – tiny but beautiful

Beautiful as big flowers such as roses and clematis are, it’s lovely to have plants in the garden that reward you for close inspection.

Those of you that have read previous Six on Saturday posts from me will know that I have a burgeoning passion for alpine plants.  I find them so delicate and varied.

This pretty saxifrage on no exception.  I just love the red spots on the petals – like it’s got a bad case of measles.  Each flower is only 8mm across – so tiny.

A few years ago one of my daughters made a small stage-set in a shoebox and used saxifrage flowers to make a tiny flower vase – I thought it was charming and I’ve looked at these flowers as doll’s house decoration ever since.

Cirsium rivulare atropurpureum


Cirsium – a valuable plant for summer colour

Last week I shared a view of my alliums, a collection which is enhanced by it’s proximity to the shocking pink of the Cirsium.  This week I’m sharing a close-up of the Cirsium.

If you like the colour pink, thistle-like flowers, plants that are easy and plants that are loved by bees – buy a Cirsium.  It’s a garden knock-out.

Bumble bee on a Cirsium flowe

Bumble bee on a Cirsium flower


Six on Saturday is a weekly meme – take a look at the comments at the base of host The Propagator to see more ‘sixes’ from other keen gardeners from all over the world.


  1. Paul Foreman June 2, 2018 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    Lovely photo’s especially the one of the Bee.

    • Katharine June 3, 2018 at 8:39 am - Reply

      Thanks Paul. Yes – if you want a bee shot the Cirsium is the place to hang out!

  2. Fred June 2, 2018 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    The close-up of the clematis is surprising … I have not watched the movie Solo (next week) but as soon as I saw the photo with “alien creature” I thought of VI Star Wars movie ( Return of the Jedi) where a big worm ate people.😂
    Oh .. I also liked the image of Cirsium. It’s eye-catching!
    Good luck with your opuntia cuttings. I forgot a pad cut in the greenhouse during the winter. It remained vertical in a container with 2mm of water and I could see roots a few weeks ago …. now in pot: everything is possible without doing anything!

    • Katharine June 3, 2018 at 8:37 am - Reply

      Yes Fred. Sometimes I wonder why we bother fussing over our plants. They can usually take care of themselves!

  3. @cavershamjj June 3, 2018 at 8:32 am - Reply

    Good luck with your prickly pear cutting! That rose is fabulous.

    • Katharine June 3, 2018 at 8:37 am - Reply

      Yes I love that rose. Lots of others are coming into flower now so I don’t know where to look – so much colour!

  4. Jo June 3, 2018 at 9:43 am - Reply

    It’s funny how the clematis brought to your mind an alien. There are flowers that also remind me of sea anemone (Wikipedia says the sea creatures are named for their resemblance to the flowers). Ah, the tangled web that is life 🙂

    • Katharine June 4, 2018 at 3:40 pm - Reply

      Lovely to hear from you Joan and yes the naming of plants and animals is so interesting. I think wildflower names are the best, especially those with medicinal connections.

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