Six on Saturday: 10-6-2017

One. A cone from my beautiful Pinus parviflora ‘San Bo’ that I cut down yesterday. A close up lens and photo stacking creates an opportunity to look closely at something I usually walk past with barely a glance.

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Pinus parviflora ‘San Bo’

 

Two. You can pretty much work out from this picture that you are facing north. Prevailing wind from the west, to the left of shot, blowing Astelia chathamica, Leptospermum rupestre and foxglove into a windswept, bad hair day composition.

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Leptospermum rupestre, Astelia chathamica, Digitalis purpurea.

 

Three. Just out of shot in the picture above is the plant below, which is Geranium ‘Nimbus’. There are so many blue to purple-blue geraniums, I like this because of its fine foliage as much as its flowers, which have never been prolific, if truth be told.

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Geranium ‘Nimbus’

 

Four. Also in the blue part of the spectrum in this garden, are hydrangeas. This one is Hydrangea serrate ‘Cap Suzin’, which is usually a clear blue but this year more mauve. The serrate varieties are generally a bit smaller and less coarse than macrophyllas, which suits me.

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Hydrangea serrata ‘Cap Suzin’

 

Five. Stipa gigantea is at its superb best when it’s catching late afternoon sun set against a dark, shady background. It’s morning and it’s raining and it still looks pretty good.

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Stipa gigantea

 

Six and last. This little bush, it’s about 75cm tall, is Ozothamnus hookeri. At least I’m pretty certain it is, meaning that almost all of what is sold as Ozothamnus hookeri is something else, probably a hybrid. This is in full flower, strongly honey scented.

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Ozothamnus hookeri

 

Check out other Saturday sixes from The Propagators blog.

End of month view – May 2017

Come in, please, I’d be delighted to show you round my garden. Can I suggest you put on over-trousers, there are places where the path gets narrow and it was drizzling earlier, everything’s a bit wet.
Let’s start round here, I’m afraid I didn’t get to my poppy in time to stake it. Seemed to go down overnight. My Camellia ‘Nightrider’ is leafing out as beautifully as ever. That’s coming over the path too, suppose I’ll have to trim it back before long.

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This bit beyond the trellis is pretty shady. The Weigela has done better this year than for a while. The bamboo is getting a bit unruly, I’ve already taken ten or more stems out where they were leaning across the path. I use on the allotment for my runners. That

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thing down to your left there, that’s Polygonatum mengzense tonkinensis HWJ573. Hinkley and Wynn-Jones, need I say more. OK, the flowers aren’t stunning, but it’s a very elegant little plant. That’s Impatiens omeiana behind it, but you knew that. That’ll flower much later, provided I keep it moist. The Polygonatum has bright red berries right along the stem, I got seed out a few weeks back and sowed them; nothing yet. That big clump over there is Blechnum chilense; it’s too happy, trying to take over the garden. I love the new fronds unfurling but I’m going to have to chop it back.

Pot-Camellias

That’s all my pot grown camellias to your left there. Why in pots? Well I wish I had room to put them in the ground but I don’t. Some of them are a bit tender too, they go in for winter. That Polygonatum over there, the one the cat is sniffing, is just your common or garden Solomon’s Seal. Usually gets trashed by sawflies, this year, nothing. I squashed a couple of adults and rubbed off a couple of batches of eggs, is all. Right, this way.

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I sorted out my polytunnel. That’s where all that junk on the path came from. Agapanthus, that one, enormous, biggest I’ve ever seen when it’s growing well. In the tunnel? mostly camellias, tomatoes too. The toms provide shade for the camellias. The plan is to go to a show next year and sell loads. Camellias, not tomatoes. That’s my home made family apple tree just there. I did six grafts back in January, three varieties, all took. They’ve made just as much growth as the established shoots. Even some apples on one of ’em, though I should really remove them. Come on, this way. There is a path under

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these neriness, be careful though, they’re awful slippy. Worse later when the leaves die down. This paved semi-circle was our top of the garden sitting area once. Look at it now.

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The glasshouse is half empty, you can actually walk to the other end. The other half’s obsession, cacti.

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Right, push past the Chionochloa and mind where you’re treading. The Dianthus are just the thing for breaking up the edge of the path. Paving slabs are very practical, but the less I see of them the happier I am. I’d normally have chopped the Fuchsias back but they didn’t stop flowering all winter and if I did it now the bumble bees would be well pissed off. I love the colour of that geranium. While you’re here, just cut through the border there and clamber up the bank. Look at that view down the back of the glasshouse. Not

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bad for a bit no-one sees. Yes, that is Fuchsia excorticate coming through the fence, well recognised. Actually, while we’re up here, I’ll do my every month shot from here. The Schefflera taiwaniana is getting bigger, I’m going to have to move my viewpoint slightly.

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Another few years and the Schefflera and Pittosporum will be fighting it out. Further round the path is blocked with fuchsias I’ve potted up into 7.5 litres. Oh, and pot grown spuds, and lettuce. Yes, Dahlias too. They should have been out by now, bit slow to get going.

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Oh gosh, look at the time, I can see you need to get going. I’ll just leave you with some pictures, you can browse them at you leisure.

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Thrown together as my contribution to the Patient Gardeners end of month meme. There’ll be links to many more I don’t doubt.

 

Not the Chelsea Flower Show

I’ve been to the CFS a couple of times, exhibited there just once. I enjoyed it, from both perspectives. The older I get though, the less it moves me. I’m happy pootling away in my own garden and on the allotment. I’m interested in what other people like me are up to, somehow Chelsea is at a remove from my concerns. I’m not sure why that is, perhaps something about it not being real, like a show put on for peoples entertainment and forgotten about as soon as the next one comes along. Makes me feel like an outsider looking in at something I don’t altogether understand, even though it was the industry I was in all my working life. In my garden I’m an insider looking out, immersed, cocooned, at home.

I ambled round this morning with my camera; there seemed to be a lot flowering, I was going to count how many. I lost myself and lost count.

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Six on Saturday – 20/5/2017

One. I was going to start with a picture of dead cabbages, the rootfly having munched their way through two rows. But it was raining and going up the allotment in the rain to take a picture of dead cabbages didn’t do it for me.

Two. Papaver bracteata. Every year this monster astonishes me anew. One day I will try and propagate it so I can give a few away. It sets no seed, so it would be root cuttings when it’s dormant. But when it’s dormant I forget all about it. With the petals out flat this flower is more than 9inches wide.

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Papaver bracteata

Three. Maianthemum bifolium. I suppose my garden is about evenly split between shade and sun and I try to take full advantage of the range of conditions that gives me. Maianthemum bifolium is a very understated plant that wouldn’t appeal to everyone but which I like just as much as the big brash poppy.

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Maianthemum bifolium

 

Four. Polygonatum x hybridum ‘Betburg’ is another woodlander, a variant of Solomon’s Seal which starts the season with strongly purple flushed leaves and stems, the leaves gradually turning green. I think I have seen it hold its leaf colour better than mine is, perhaps I have an inferior form. Polygonatums get sawflies, like my gooseberries, but whereas the gooseberries have been worse than they’ve ever been, the Polygonatums, which are usually shredded, are clear so far. Mind, I’ve squashed a couple of adults and rubbed off a couple of clutches of eggs.

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Polygonatum x hybridum ‘Betberg’

 

 

Five. There’s a fair amount of sanctimonious crap talked about what is and what isn’t a weed. Welsh Poppy is a weed. It’s a pretty weed and I don’t mind having a few of them around the garden but it seeds prodigiously (Can someone please tell me why slugs never, ever browse the seedlings) and comes up in the middle of almost everything where it is hardest to winkle out. I try to dead head every single one but I suspect I have fifty years supply of seed in the ground already. I read somewhere recently that they’ve now decided it’s much more closely related to true poppies than to the altogether better mannered Meconopsis.

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Meconopsis cambrica 

Six. A fern to finish. I grow lots of them. They’re all my favourites at one time or another. This is my favourite today. Athyrium otophorum ‘Okanum’.

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Athyrium otophorum ‘Okanum’

 

Posted as part of The Propagator’s six on Saturday meme. He doesn’t strike me as a man who likes to take his frustrations out on deceased individuals of the species Equus ferus caballus, so please join in, the more the merrier.

End of month view – April 2017

Butternut-Squash

These are butternut squash seedlings on my window ledge. It’s raining outside, which is a very good thing; steady, hour after hour. What happened to April showers?

April has seen masses of stuff coming into leaf and flowering like mad. It has also seen weeks of dry weather and the threat of frost on half a dozen or more nights. Much time has been expended on watering and moving tender plants in and out of greenhouses. I have runner beans germinating on the spare bedroom floor. Cucumber ‘Carmen’ are on the window ledge too, not far short of flowering.

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I suppose I should have seen the forecast and taken pictures yesterday, but I like the way that rain seems to intensify the colours, not that Camellia ‘Bob Hope’ needs it. The Hakonechloas are growing away well and the Acer has so far escaped the damage from cold wind it often suffers.

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Camellia ‘Bob Hope’ and Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’

 

The other Camellia that is always very late is ‘Nightrider’. It’s just beginning its flowering and will soon produce new growth of a similar colour to the blooms. It’s about six feet tall now and will need curtailing before much longer.

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Camellia ‘Nightrider’

Years ago I raised a couple of seedlings of what I believe was Rhododendron atlanticum, a deciduous azalea with superb scent. Neither seedling bears much resemblance to their parent but one is pretty good and has at least as strong a perfume. It’s a shame deciduous azaleas are so tricky to propagate, it’d be a nice thing to give away.

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Rhododendron (Azalea) seedling

Holboellia brachyandra doesn’t have quite as strong a perfume but it does carry a little further in my experience. There are times when its vigour gives me concerns, but there’s a fence to cover and trees to climb. It’s a Crûg Farm plant, which will surprise no-one familiar with their catalogue.

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Holboellia brachyandra

Maianthemum racemosum and its variety ‘Emily Moody’ are flowering now. Not a big difference between them, ‘Emily Moody’ came up a couple of weeks later but has now caught up; they’re both starting to flower. ‘Emily Moody’ has in previous years won hands down on scent, I haven’t checked this season yet.

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Maianthemum racemosum

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Maianthemum racemosum ‘Emily Moody’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bells; blue, pink, white and yellow, abound. I suspect that all our bluebells are hybrids between English and Spanish, some close to one species, some to the other. Yellow comes from Uvularia perfoliata. Disporum, Polygonatum and Convallaria will provide me with green and white bells shortly.

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Out from the shady areas Libertia x butleri is putting on the glitz this year. It was poor last year, great the year before that. This is a newly named hybrid between L. chilensis and L. ixioides which sowed itself. I grow both parent species and this spontaneous cross is apparently not uncommon.

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Libertia x butleri

A couple of other things warrant a mention. I grow a few Muscari but I think ‘Blue Spike’ might be the showiest and longest lasting. Camellia ‘Minato-no-akebono’ has finished flowering but is keeping things going with lovely new leaves.

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Muscari ‘Blue Spike’ and Camellia ‘Minato-no-akebono’

 

I have a few fruit trees in the garden, mostly apples. One tree of ‘Elstar’ produced small scabby fruit in its first couple of years and I am gradually turning it into a family tree by grafting other varieties onto it. This winter saw the addition of ‘Plympton Pippin’ and ‘Tregonna King’ two old west-country varieties, and ‘Meridian’, which is a modern one. They join ‘Holstein’ and ‘Red Windsor’ that were done a couple of years ago and are fruiting already. I also grafted ‘Holstein’ more conventionally onto MM106 to make a normal single variety tree.
Apropos nothing, my grandfather was a nurseryman in Plympton many years ago. There’s a housing estate there now; that’s progress.

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Apple ‘Holstein’ and new family members Plympton Pippin (flowering) and ‘Tregonna King’

And so to garden views. We have scaffolding up and it’s raining. The scaffolding rather spoils one of my usual views but on the other hand it provides a new viewpoint.

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The sooner this goes the better.

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View from the scaffold, seagull on the chimney perspective.

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Even higher, monopod held aloft, cable release. Drone view, without a drone.

Now it’s off to The Patient Gardener, host of the EOMV meme, to see her post and the links to everyone elses.

End of month view, March 2017

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There’s quite a bit flowering now, bulbs and bushes. I’m not sure how but we still have three magnolias, used to have five. The one behind the polytunnel is Vulcan and it’s slowly falling over. It might be possible to push it back up and prop it, I hope so. The plum tree on its right is flowering well this year. Need to prune that a bit in the next few weeks.

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Magnolia ‘Vulcan’

 

The weather has taken a turn for the worse again, it was quite good earlier, now the wind and rain are back. It’s that time of year. If I’d been more organised I’d have put an entry into the Cornwall Spring Show, it being just up the road from here. I just popped out and took pictures of my various camellias, I think I would have managed to enter a few classes. Too late now.

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Top row: Mystique, Tinker Bell, Minato-no-akebono, Bob Hope                                  Second row: Bob’s Tinsie, Annette Carol, Kokinran, Charles Colbert

Lots of things are pushing through the ground and confirming that they survived the winter. Some are not and the worrying begins. Ginger family things are always late, Roscoeas, Hedychium and Zingiber in my case. I’ve seen a rapid increase in slugs just in the past week or so, bane of my life. The torch and secateurs evening routine needs to get started.

Slugs are very selective, some very delicate looking plants are untouched. You’d think someone could work out what deters the little buggers and bottle it. Adiantum venustum is a very delicate looking but remarkably tough fern that is never eaten. The white flowers are of Pachyphragma macrophyllum, good in shade and seeds about somewhat.

Adiantum-Pachyphragma

Crûg Farm Nursery will be at Boconnoc for the Cornwall Spring Show, last year’s purchases included Chrysoplenium davidianum, which has grown remarkably well considering it looked like it was dying of drought most of last summer. I have a few blue wood anemones, labels long since vanished.

Chryso-anemone

I follow a few allotment blogs and I cannot understand how at this time of year people have loads of empty space for all their seedlings. Every bit of covered space I have is stuffed with overwintering fuchsias, sprouting dahlias, tender camellias and much else. There is never enough room for growing and spacing seedlings. So they get put outside wherever possible. This lot will have to go back in though, before the weather trashes them.

Seedlings

As ever, I am spurred into monthly action in order to be part of Patient Gardener Helens end of month meme. Check out hers and everyone else’s contributions at https://patientgardener.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/end-of-month-view-march-2017/

End of month view – February 2017

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I do like a different viewpoint. You get very familiar with your own garden and it can get difficult “to see oursels as ithers see us”. I know the top viewpoint very well, but the bottom one I find much more engaging as it’s unfamiliar. I find myself looking closely at it, noticing patterns and relationships I’d been unaware of. All of this may be lost on you, being unfamiliar with both views. I just suggest you try for yourself.

For me the mood that characterises this time of year is impatience. So much is beginning to move but is actually not much further on from a month ago and wont be much further on in a months time. Then summer comes and it’s all over too soon. There seems to have been a lot of dull, cold and wet weather in February and I haven’t spent a great deal of time in the garden. I suspect there was a time when I’d have put on a coat and hat and got on with it.

I do love my daily circumnavigation at this time of year; almost every day is rewarded with something new being spotted re-emerging or opening a bloom. I gave away a huge chunk of Trachystemon last year and it’s back twice the size this. Great in dry shade I’m told.

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Trachystemon orientalis

I keep reading blogs where people are talking about putting in more bulbs. The only daffs that succeed with us are in pots. Not a single one remains of all the hundreds that have gone into the ground over the years. I’m planting more cyclamen though, they seem to seed happily enough. Muscari do too, almost too much, I’m trying to get different sorts to extend the season. Erythroniums too, I think might be a winner, slugs permitting.

And my camellias are flowering, so I’m a happy bunny.

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Camellia ‘Adorable’ and a pot of daffodils.

Right, off now to check out other gardeners contributions to The Patient Gardeners end of month meme. Come along, it’s always fascinating.