Six on Saturday – W19/2021 – Colour in May

The seasons are melding into each other, the days are mellow, the leaves are colouring and falling, and the nights are cool! We’re on the way to winter!

It has been yet another busy gardening week, with the focus on the vegetable garden and restoring the Banksia arch. We bought 30 bags of mushroom compost which will be used to enrich the soil in the vegetable garden. After a busy week it will be good to unwind, and what better way to do so than to take a look to see what all the other Six on Saturday bloggers are doing, via the comments section of the ‘The Propagator’s’ blog. It is really worth a visit!

In first place is the dainty pink flowers of the tall (2.5 to 3m tall) tree dahlia, Dahlia excelsia, are finally on show! I love their colour and simplicity, and the bees definitely love visiting the flowers!

2. Another favourite of mine that is in its third year of growth is the Dombeya. It has become a little leggy, but it is covered with buds at the tips of its branches. The flowers are just beginning to open, and the bees are now scurrying between the pink dahlia and the white Dombeya! The leaves of the Dombeya are covered in very fine hairs. The other morning the condensation on the leaves gave the appearance of a frosty layer – see featured photo for the week.

3. This was a surprise! Initially I thought it was a yellow flowering Salvia, so I was very surprised when I saw tiny pink buds appear at the ends of the very lanky stems. The open flowers form a dense cluster along the end of the stems. This is Salvia iodantha, flowering for the first time, and was grown from one of many cuttings given to me by a lovely local lady who had the most amazing garden.

The marigolds, Tagetes sp. in the vegetable garden are looking spectacular at the moment, but Mr S needed the space for winter crops. Not sure if the large plants would survive transplanting, he dug them up and I cut them back quite severely and repotted them into ceramic pots. They drooped a little initially but since then have started looking good again. They certainly provide a lovely splash of bold colour in the garden.

There is another flush of flowers on the Golden Lyre Grevillea, Grevillea formosa x G. ‘Honey Gem’ ‘Golden Lyre’, while the seeds from the previous flowers are still forming. The yellow stigma and style are still prominent at the tip of each seed.

For my final Six of today, I have to show you the little bagworm that has been steadily moving around my Polyanthus rose. The worm lives inside this protective casing made of twigs bound together with silk threads, and carries its protection with it when it moves around. It definitely can’t be easy moving amongst the thorns with this heavy protection! The photo was taken after the heavy rain and the casing looks decidedly wet.

That is all from me for this week, and I will be keen to see what is happening in other gardens, especially those in the Northern Hemisphere where it is spring!


  1. That first dahlia is so soft and pretty! We have a tree here with flowers not unlike the grevillea- a golden orange colour. It’s a wonderful sight in full bloom 🙂 🙂

  2. A really lovely selection this week. I like both the colour and the way the flowers are clustered along the stem of the Salvia iodantha. Am keen on Salvias, I wonder if that one is available round here, will keep my eye out for it. A nice surprise for you in any case! Very cheerful Tagetes too.

    • I’m fond of Salvia too. They seem quite happy to grow here, and are no fuss plants. The bees and birds love them too! There is such a lovely range of colours available too. Hope you find a S. Iodantha. They are quite leggy though, and have very long stems.

  3. So much to enjoy in your post this week! I love the tree dahlia,the dombeya which I had never heard of before has a charming flower as does the Grevillea. Best of all though, the Salvia iodantha which is so interesting, I must keep a lookout for one of those. I did a post about bagworms a couple of years ago: they are quite strange creatures.

    • Ther is lots of ‘buzzing’ in the garden thanks to theatre dahlia and the Dombeya; the bees love them both! There is also a lovely pink Dombeya, but it seems to flower later than the white variant. I would love to read more about bagworms, and will try to find that post of yours! I agree that they are strange creatures! Do you get a lot of bagworms where you are?

      • Not so many in the garden, but a couple of years ago, a power pole in the town was hung with them like Christmas decorations. They stayed there for many months, and then disappeared.

  4. You have some lovely plants, but that bagworm is weird. I had to look it up and see that they can cause damage so I hope you don’t have too many in your garden. The Grevillea is very pretty.

    • Luckily this is only the second one I have spotted in the garden, so it is more of a novelty ….. the novelty will wear off pretty quickly if I spot anymore!

  5. We’re not in the subtropics, but I think share quite a lot of plants. I remember dahlia excelsias from my childhood — they were huge! Thanks for giving them a name, I hadn’t known what they were.

    • I saw my first D. exclsia in Magoebaskloof around 40 years ago, and fell in love with it, but unfortunately never had the opportunity to grow them until I was given a piece of a tuber by a local lady. I’m really thrilled that it is growing so well. Although we are in the subtropics, being elevated has its advantages as it’s a lot cooler than on the coastal plain, and we can grow a slightly wider range of plants!

  6. I love those really tall Dahlias but they mainly flower very late or not at all here. I have seedlings of Dahlia campanulata which I’m trying this year, hope I get to post pictures of it in flower eventually. Lovely Grevillea too, I saw a big plant of ‘Golden Lyre’ in Brisbane Botanics a few years back and haven’t forgotten it.

    • I actually thought that my tree dahlia was not going to flower this year. I was thrilled when I saw the buds appear. I planted a small piece of tuber of a white flowering bone, but it seems reluctant to grow where I put it. I have dug it up and put it in a pot, and if it shoots in spring I will plant it in a sunnier location. I will look up D. Campanulata. The ‘Golden Lyre’ is particularly beautiful, and its had about 3 to 4 flushes of flowers through summer. I’m thrilled I bought it!

  7. What a strange bag worm it is! The foliage of the grevillia is so delicate and the flowers like filaments. I was able the locate one magenta-red flowering grevillia on a visit to a Portland nursery and snapped it up. It has been flowering away for at least a month now. I am delighted by the hairy dombeya leaves.

    • The bag worms are unusual, and I have read that they can do quite a lot of damage to plants when they occur in large numbers. I’m glad you managed to get a Grevillea plant. They are very rewarding and flower a few times during spring/summer.

  8. Such a fabulous range of plants you’ve shared with us. Plus the bagworm – I’ve learned so much this week!

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