I have nothing further to say about last week. I’m moving on, as is my garden.
So, six things scraped together from the wreckage for my contribution to The Propagator’s Six on Saturday meme. The non-UK contributors are going to have to do the heavy lifting this week methinks.
I wonder how many weeks I can go on putting a Camellia in as one of my six. This is adorable… No this is Camellia ‘Adorable’. It was starting to open when the frost hit, which meant some damage to the edges of the emerging petals. What then happens is that it opens anyway, pushing the damaged petals round the back where you can’t see them. I wish they all did that.
And then I look at the picture and it hasn’t escaped damage and the colour is a bit off because it’s a dull day and …… oh well, it’s made an effort.
Crocuses. I’m sure we used to have blue, white and yellow; most of those left are white, and they’re popping up in other places too. There’s a patch of Crocus tomasinianus in the front garden that’s getting swamped by a spreading bush, I must move them. At this time of year there’s an awful lot of bare ground and I’m in the market for things to fill it.
These are Primula ‘Wanda’. The name gets bandied about a lot these days but this is the plant I remember from childhood when we had it along the edges of various flower beds. On Monday our local garden club speaker was Caroline Stone, who is the National Collection holder for double primroses. She lives quite near so if she can grow them, I don’t have many excuses. Like crocuses, they would help to fill some of the early season gaps, then benefit from the shade of other plants later in the summer. They’re less tolerant of drying out in summer than wild primroses and they need dividing at least every two years. Caroline mentioned Barnhaven Primroses, now in France, as a supplier. Resistance proved futile, an order has been placed.
On Tuesday morning I rounded up the pots of ‘Wanda’, cleaned them up and fed them. They will be planted out and looked after properly. Honest.
Honesty. Honestly. I bought seed of Lunaria ‘Corfu Blue’ from Special Plants a few years back and they have seeded themselves about, as they do. They’re like foxgloves in that they produce big rosettes of coarse leaves which can easily smother small plants. I saw one yesterday threatening (*) Wulfenia shwartzii. They are fabulous in spring and the dry seed heads stayed in a vase until we tired of the dust they were collecting.
((*) was the moment when I went out to pull it up and to check the name of the victim plant.)
A vegetable for a change. Onions. ‘Rumba’ sets, in cells. I used to plant onion sets direct on the plot. They were OK but the bloke on the next plot’s were better. What he did differently was to start them in cells then plant them out when they were five or six inches high and well rooted. They go out when conditions have improved, the bulbs aren’t hanging around drying out and shrivelling for so long. My onions were better than his for the last two seasons. Not that I’m competitive or anything.
Epimedium x perralchicum ‘Frohnleiten’. Not doing its thing yet, but needing to be cut back before its new shoots make doing so difficult. The cold wind really caught one end of this clump. I do try to grow some of the many new hybrids but they are slug fodder and struggle; this thing is hard as nails.
I’ve been at the Spring Flower Competitions at Rosemoor today. This is usually an event dominated by Rhododendrons, Camellias, Magnolias and Daffodils but after last week it was opened up to pretty much any surviving plant. If you think coming up with six things for a blog is a challenge, spare a thought for the people trying to keep a flower show on the road. I was judging camellias; some latitude was called for but on the whole they were astonishingly good in the circumstances. Rhododendrons and Magnolias were almost completely absent, Daffodils were excellent and there were some impressive displays of foliage.
This was the bloom we decided was the best of the Camellias.