Six on Saturday: Best Exotic

After Christmas, I commissioned The Golfer to build the framework of a bug hotel, which has duly been completed and erected. Everything has been recycled (no, I tell a lie – the slate roof was made from a roofing tile from our local reclamation yard but we were given it for nothing) – timber from pallets from a neighbour, slices of silver birch from the trees we had cut down last year, bamboo from spare canes, beech nuts fallen from the overhanging beech and assorted pieces of bark and spent plant stems. There are still a few gaps to fill, but I wanted a photograph before it got too dark! We are both very pleased with it.

Also giving pleasure this week is the first bloom on Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’; last year there may have been as many as 3 or 4 blooms and although it’s still a very long way from the showstopping fragrant shrub it should eventually become, even a solitary bloom is a perfumed delight.

Also likely to be a perfumed delight in due course are some more hyacinths in the Coop; bought as the ‘beetroot’ coloured variety ‘Woodstock’, these are clearly pink, and having just had a refund for a wrongly labelled shrub I bought nearly 4 years ago I will have no qualms contacting the seller about this mislabelling too.

It was a nice surprise today to notice that redoubtable performer Arabis ‘Old Gold’ is in full flower again. It is rarely out of flower but must have felt it deserved a break over Christmas and the New Year:

I have also been aware on my rambles that I have some welcome self-seeders – orlaya and nigella. Others have mentioned self-seeding nigella before, but it is the first time it has done so here and I hope it continues. Orlaya can be a bit reluctant to germinate, so any self-seeders are particularly welcome!

The majority of my witch hazels are in full bloom now and a joy to behold, perhaps deserving of a post of their own, so I shall finish my contribution to Jim’s Six on Saturday meme by sharing witch hazel Hamamelis ‘Diane’, looking glorious:

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41 Responses to Six on Saturday: Best Exotic

  1. Noelle says:

    With your Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ in flower, I expect you will be drawn to the garden to catch the scent. I am really tempted to find a place first and then set off to find one.

  2. Heyjude says:

    Your garden must smell divine! And well done on the hotel, it looks amazing.

    • Cathy says:

      A bit of warmth triggers any fragrance more, which we haven’t had for a few days – but there have been bees around, which islovely to see and hear! I sketched a rough design for the bug house and the Golfer did a rough mock-up so I could decide if I was happy with the proportions (he doesn’t do aesthetics!), and I am really pleased with the final result

  3. Rosie Amber says:

    Fantastic bug house – very 5*!

  4. Love the bug hotel! And your Hyacinths are really coming along. 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Beth. I have just put a third pot of hyacinths back under the bed because I wasn’t convinced they were quite at the right stage to be brought into the light

  5. Anna says:

    The Golfer has produced a veritable work of art 👏🏻 I will have to show it to himself and keep my fingers crossed. Nigella always used to self – seed at the allotment along with cerinthe, cornflowers and one or two other annuals but I’m still living in hope of coming across a self- seeded orlaya.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, I can always rely on the Golfer to produce the goods, although it did take a bit of chivvying to prise him away from his chair/book/puzzles this time! 😁 Hope it proves to have the desired effect on Greg…😉 Still only a single orlaya though, but very welcome – but I do have several cerinthe too which I forgot about on Saturday but are also a first!

  6. I have to agree with Anna, a work of art. What sorts of bugs will live in the house?

    • My question as well!

    • Cathy says:

      It will be an open house, Amelia, and I won’t turn anyone away! Seriously, whatever it attracts – solitary bees, butterflies (the vertical slots are for butterflies), ladybirds and any other insects – it will be interesting to see what uses it, if anything of course! the framework for our mason bee nesting tubes are nearby, so they may like this alternative, and there are always lots of leafcutter bees around (in season, that is)

  7. Kris P says:

    Well done with the bug house!

  8. Pauline says:

    Your witch hazel is delightful and I can just imagine the perfume from your daphne. The buds on mine are just starting to open, maybe it will be photographed by next weekend. The bug hotel looks very tempting for any wee beastie!

    • Cathy says:

      It really puzzles me that most of the witch hazels are better than in previous years, despite the drought! I hope lots of wee beasties are attracted to the bug hotel!

  9. tonytomeo says:

    Nigella self sows almost as easily as cosmos does here. I am impressed, since most annuals that self sow want to be watered after the rain stops for the year. Nigella might succumb to warm and dry summer weather, but typically after blooming and tossing seed for the following year.

    • Cathy says:

      Perhaps it was the dry summer that encouraged self-seeding here?

      • tonytomeo says:

        I doubt that they prefer drier weather. However, it could accelerate their bloom and seeding cycle. I really do not know. Cosmos tosses seed regardless of how much water it gets. It seems to dominate drier situations only because other annuals do not perform as well. It performs better with a bit more moisture. I suspect that NIgella does the same.

  10. fredgardener says:

    I also love the bug hotel! ..and as for the daphne, it will also soon be the first bloom for mine soon. I’m just waiting for the flowers to open but I’ll be sure to post about it.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Fred. I wasn’t sure if this daphne was overrated until I had my (very small) specimen – but the fragrance of even the few flowers it had last year was arresting – hope yours blooms soon too

  11. Il love the bug box, well done on creating it! The Daphne and witch hazel are really pretty.

  12. hb says:

    If the Golfer golfs as well as he builds bug hotels, he must be a happy man. Well done.

    Witch hazel–lovely!

    • Cathy says:

      The bug hotel was indeed a successful project, thank you. The Golfer has good days and less good days with his gold, but over winter is just pleased he can get a game in as the weather can sometimes put paid to it for weeks (rain or frost). I love the colour and form of witch hazel blooms, regardless of whether any fragrance is detectable

  13. All those flowers! Not easy this time of year. In my experience the Nigella will keep coming back and always in the same patch.

  14. Cathy says:

    The Daphne flower is really pretty and your insect hotel is very impressive. Hope you get lots of guests this year! I have Nigella seedlings again this year too, but it varies from year to year and sometimes I have to scatter more seed. Love the Witch Hazel. What a show! My ‘Diane’ is in bud, but it will be a while yet I think as it is getting colder again now.

    • Cathy says:

      I have autumn sown nigella to be planted out later, to add to the self sown – a number of which were in the path! The blooms on my Diane seem fuller and more vibrant than before, but it just seemed to take a bit of sunshine and relatively mildness for them to suddenly burst into bloom. Like you, we are in for a few days of cold weather, with temps down to zero by mid afternoon toay

  15. Between the Daphne and the Hamamelis it must smell heavenly in your garden.

  16. Your bug house is charming. I hope you get lots of beneficials wintering over. I miss our Daphnes. I had two once upon a time. One died without so much as a how do you do, but the other lived on. I’m familiar with that intoxicating smell. Thank you for the tour.

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you – hope your daphne will flower soon. I also have a teeny Daphne mezereum which I nearly lost as I forgot to water it during the heat we had this summer but I think it has survived and I am watching out for signs of blooms…

  17. Looking fab as always Cathy, the bug hotel is a triumph! I find nigella so prolific in its self-seeding that I have to thin it, and I no longer bother to sow any intentionally! My daphne of that variety was raised from a tiny cutting “borrowed” from a park (I know, appalling of me! In my defence… no, really, there is no defence…) After 5-6 years it is now a good-sized bush – this year I am determined to bring some indoors to enjoy the scent!

    • Cathy says:

      Isn’t it curious about the variability of the nigella self-seeding? But also curious about the daphne, because when I first started looking for one I was told they were unlikely to be available as they all had to grafted and the UK expert in this had died (or something like that) – and when we saw it flowering at Anglesey Abbey there were ‘fence off’ and there were notices advising people not to bother trying to take cuttings as they would be unsuccessful. Very puzzling, as I have just asked Google and there is plenty of advice on how to do it… (not advice on sneaky cuttings though!!). Well done on your propagation though – a good size bush in 5-6 years can’t be bad 👍

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