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.