The Tea Break Gardener

My Gardening Week – Six on Saturday 13.10.18

My Gardening Week – Six on Saturday 13.10.18

2018-10-13T08:04:39+00:00October 13th, 2018|My Gardening Week - Six pictures on a Saturday|14 Comments

The garden is showing so much colour at the moment – showcased beautifully in the glorious sunshine this week and then clinging on for dear life in the high winds.  This week I share some pretty flowers, am proud mum to baby Echeveria and set a mystery shrub identification challenge.

Who’s up for an ID quiz?

Autumnal leaves of blueberry plant

What’s this mystery shrub with awesome autumnal colour?

Recently Matthew Biggs came to speak at my local horticultural society.  Someone brought in a cutting from a shrub to ask for an identification.  Whilst he was very good natured about it, everyone could tell he wasn’t very happy.  There is an assumption that gardeners in the media know everything.  He rightly pointed out that without distinctive clues such as flowers or unique leaf shapes, identification can be a tricky problem.  Context and shrub shape are also important clues.

For a bit of fun though I thought I’d challenge my readers to identify this shrub.  Its colouring right now is phenomenal – the deepest reds and burgundies with flashes of golden yellow.

The answer is at the end of this article but I’m hoping my other seasonal beauties will delay you scrolling through to get the answer…

Delosperma ‘Ruby’

Delosperma 'Ruby'

Isn’t she gorgeous? It’s hard to tell the scale from this photograph but this is a 9cm clay pot so this little alpine is truly a miniature beauty.  Each flower is tiny – only 1cm in diameter but they have marvellous frayed edges, like the paper toppers my mother used to put on racks of lamb in the 70s.   I think what I like best is the bright eyed yellow centre contrasted with the shocking pink outer petals.

Delosperma ruby

Everyone has room for one of these – on a table or even a windowsill.  I’m told they don’t like winter wet though so I will be finding a sheltered spot for it over the winter – probably at the back of an open cold frame or on my old bird table.  Whilst they are sun lovers, they don’t mind cold apparently – just damp.

Late to the party but belle of the ball

Cosmos dazzler


I can hardly believe that I sowed these Cosmos back in April (in the greenhouse) and they’ve only just opened.  All my other cosmos have been flowering for weeks and one, a variety called ‘Daydream’ has been in flower since early July.

Cosmos dazzler in mixed border


This one is a variety called ‘Dazzler’ and the seeds came free in my Gardeners’ World magazine.  Despite their tardiness, I’m very happy to see these flowers as they are brightening this corner magnificently and providing nectar for many many bees.


Mandevilla flower

This is a plant that I’m growing in my greenhouse.  They come in a variety of shades but I like fondant pink so couldn’t resist this one when I saw it at the Hampton Court Flower Show back in July.Mandevilla in greenhouse

This is a climber, suitable for a greenhouse, conservatory or as a houseplant in a bright position.  It has been very happy in my greenhouse.  I’m growing it in a pot and it’s already scrambling up wires in this little corner.  Its leaves are fresh green, a bit that those of a Camellia, are very glossy and so far pest free.

#Proud Mum

Echeveria offsets

Still in the greenhouse, I spotted this week that my Echeveria is becoming a parent.  Four little babies have developed at the back of the pot.  Soon I shall be separating them and potting them up.  I don’t know how long it will take for them to grow as big as my original plant, which is 35cm in diameter.  I also don’t know when they’ll flower but I look forward to that day.

Echeveria offsets

I have previously shared the flower of this plant with you.  It’s a multi-headed flower on a robust stem, smothered with dainty apricot and pink fluted trumpet flowers.  Mine has had 5 long-lasting stems already this summer.

For those of you who missed it back in the summer, here’s a close up of the flower.

Echeveria flowers

I can’t wait to pot up the babies and nurture them to adulthood.

Bulb planting in grass

Narcissus bulbs to plant in grass

Last week I shared pictures of the pots I’d planted up with spring flowers. One of the bulbs I planted in a pan was  Narcissus bulbicodium, otherwise known as the Hoop Petticoat daffodil.

Whilst I wanted to grow some in a pot, I mainly wanted to try getting them to naturalise in grass at the edge of a lawn.

This week, I managed to get them in the ground.  My method for doing this was of my own devising and suits my no frills, time-pressured approach to gardening.  I use a sharp spade rocked back and forth to make tiny trenches into which the small bulbs can be pushed.  I took little over an hour to plant three hundred bulbs.  I’m hoping it will work but only time will tell.  If you want to know more about these lovely little flowers and how I planted them click here.


Blueberry bush in autumnHere’s a final picture clue to the mystery shrub I showed you at the beginning.  It’s not an ornamental shrub and is growing in my veg and fruit patch alongside my collapsing rhubarb.

Any ideas? Well, it’s a blueberry bush and what it lacked in quantity of summer fruits – I only got a couple of handfuls from it – it certainly makes up for in autumnal colours.  It makes me think it would be great in any mixed border although the birds may well get all the berries if unprotected.


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. @cavershamjj October 13, 2018 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Good tip with the bulb planting. I have snowdrops to plant in the lawn. Maybe the fork would work for those.

  2. Fred October 13, 2018 at 9:49 am - Reply

    The bulbs in the lawn are a solution when we have no bed to plant them. I did it last year but my problem was (and will be) when I mow the lawn at the season … I have to go around and use scissors to cut the grass … Congratulations for your babies. .. I hope and I’m sure they are calm ….😂😉

    • Katharine October 13, 2018 at 7:51 pm - Reply

      Oh Fred – I do admire your gardening energy. I’m picturing you on hands and knees with the scissors. My bulb areas do look messy whilst I wait to mow but I just love the flowers so much I put up with it. I potted the babies up today – I hope they’ll like their nursery in the greenhouse.

  3. Jude October 13, 2018 at 11:00 am - Reply

    A lovely six. I guessed at the shrub being a Nandina domestica which also has lovely colouring at this time of the year. Something that produces fruit is even more handy. I like your Mandevilla but suspect it needs a heated greenhouse / conservatory which mine is not. It looks very pretty.

    • Katharine October 13, 2018 at 7:48 pm - Reply

      Yes the Mandevilla is in a small section of my greenhouse that I will heat. It’s stunning. I saw one on holiday in Spain once and it was on a restaurant windowsill tumbling out of a large basin. It look fabulous.

  4. Jane October 13, 2018 at 11:04 am - Reply

    I was completely wrong with my ID of your mystery plant, so will keep my suggestion to myself. You’re right about those gloriously coloured leaves. All those daffodils in the lawn are going to look spectacular. I planted Hoop Petticoat daffodils (only 5 though) and not one of them flowered. Bit disappointing really.

    • Katharine October 13, 2018 at 7:47 pm - Reply

      Don’t worry, I’d have been wrong about the shrub too if it wasn’t me that planted it! I’m sad about your Hoop Petticoats. I’m hoping mine come up. I’ll be sure to post when they do!

  5. John K October 13, 2018 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    Too late for you but I also use the “mini-trench” approach when planting a lot of small bulbs/corms in the lawn (in my case mainly crocus) but I shove the spade in a bit deep and then sprinkle some compost along the bottom of the slit before popping the bulbs in. This ensures that their bases rest on “soil” rather than having an air gap underneath.I then fill the slit with a mix of sieved topsoil and sand rather than pushing the slit closed again.. So I kill two birds with one spade and help with a bit of lawn drainage too.

    • Katharine October 13, 2018 at 7:45 pm - Reply

      Yes, that sounds like a good approach, although it would have taken longer. I was careful to poke them right down to get the basal plate in touch with the soil so fingers crossed. Good idea about the sand and topsoil for extra drainage.

  6. Mala S. Burt October 13, 2018 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Three hundred small bulbs in an hour is impressive. I have some grape hyacinth that have naturalized in my lawn but mowing is always an issue.

    • Katharine October 13, 2018 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      You’re right about the mowing. So far I’ve stuck to planting bulbs at the edges of the lawn so I can mow round these bits. It is messy but I love to see the flowers. Your naturalised muscari area sounds wonderful.

  7. Ciar October 14, 2018 at 6:22 am - Reply

    What a beautiful flower on your echeveria – mine has never managed that.
    Will be interesting to see how your bulbs fare – sure they will be fine.

  8. Chloris October 14, 2018 at 10:36 am - Reply

    Lovely flower on your Mandevilla. I’m still waiting for mine to bloom.
    Succulents are addictive aren’t they? I started off not liking them and now I can’t get enough of them.
    Now you’ve very efficiently finished planting your bulbs perhaps you could come and start on mine.

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