Six on Saturday – 18/11/2017

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Once more I can avoid having to think too hard about items to include as there are odd little planty things going on that I can report on. We had just a suggestion of ground frost yesterday but I haven’t seen any damage, even Fuchsia boliviana is unscathed. This morning’s sunrise was lovely, it’s cold but only just frosty atop the car. The gulls are cacophonous; you’d think we were by the sea, not eight miles inland.

All the dahlias in the garden are staying where they are. I’ve cut them down and piled half rotted leaves over them. The seedling ones I had on my allotment have been lifted and are in a box covered with old potting compost. There are still lots of things in pots that need moving in.

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One.
Hedychium densiflorum ‘Assam Orange’ is something I featured when it was in flower, back in early September. It has produced fruits which are very slowly splitting open to reveal these vivid red berries within. In the past I have collected seed and grown new plants but I have no need of more. It comes more or less true from seed, which almost certainly means that much of what is sold as ‘Assam Orange’ is really just another seedling Hedychium densiflorum, quite possibly including mine. If anyone reading wants some seed, let me know.
Two.
Viburnum tinus. There are 34 forms of Viburnum tinus listed on the RHS website in what used to be the online version of Plantfinder. 15 have no suppliers listed, four more only one. The big ones are V. tinus, the species, and V. tinus ‘Eve Price’. ‘Gwenllian’, ‘French White’, ‘Purpureum’ and ‘Variegatum’ are widely available too. My plant is very different from all of these well known forms. For starters, the largest leaves are 11 cm long and 7cm wide, much bigger than the usual forms.

It was growing in my parents garden in Surrey when they moved in around 1956. The house had been built around 1900 and it is altogether possible it had been planted soon after. I’ve always assumed it was a form of the wild species that was available at the time. I just looked up Viburnum tinus in Bean* and it may be form hirtum, which the RHS says was last in Plantfinder in 2001.

Have I lost you yet? Suffice it to say that including it here was the spur to trying to find out more about it. It’s a handsome enough evergreen shrub though in truth it’s mostly nostalgia that motivates me to keep it. It’s a direct link back to the garden in which I became a gardener and a horticulturalist.

* Bean’s Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles is available online, updated to include New Trees. These books would cost you a small fortune to buy and they are available here for free.
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Three.
Fuchsia splendens ‘Karl Hartweg’, or is it? It could be splendens cordifolia. Or maybe it’s ‘Lechlade Marchioness’. I don’t know how this came to be planted in the garden. It’s not regarded as a hardy variety. Perhaps it was bedded out for summer then forgotten. Who knows? It gets killed to the ground every year by the slightest frost and has to start from below ground in the spring. This year it is now about five feet tall and flowering freely, though it didn’t really get started until September. It has flopped more than somewhat and should have been supported, but it is mid November and it looks fantastic.
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Four.
My polytunnel. In the top corner of my garden is a small polytunnel. I say small, by commercial standards it’s small; 10 x 20 feet. It has featured in these posts as background to a lot of pictures of Dahlias and Nerines. It’s full of camellias, mostly 9cm and 1litre.SOS126
When I finished employment 3 and a bit years ago I toyed with the idea of producing camellias for sale. I have since seen sense reconsidered but I still have a lot of stock. There’s another batch of cuttings on the mist bench now. There are days I’d give the whole lot away if I could find a taker. There are others when I have optimistic plans of what to do with them all. Some of them were flowering today so I took their pictures. The very least I can do with them is enjoy them and share them.
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(‘Winter’s Charm’, ‘Gay Sue’, ‘Bokuhan’, ‘Snowdrop’, ‘Minato no akebono’, ‘Sasanqua Variegata’, ‘Peter Betteley’, pitardii (supposedly but not), ‘Cotton Candy’)

Five.
The tricky little encliandra group of Fuchsias, that’s the ones with the tiny flowers, threw up another conundrum last year when we were given a few cuttings of what appeared to be a white flowered seedling growing just below its pink flowered parent. It turns out that they open white then gradually turn pink, in the way of Hydrangea paniculata. I moved the parent plant last week. Six feet tall with slender arching branches carrying minute leaves and tiny pale pink flowers; beautifully graceful but in the wrong place. I hope it survives and thrives in its new quarters. Pushed for a name, I’d plump for F. obconica but I’m far from certain.
This flower is just 12mm from the top of the tube to the tip of the stigma.
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Six.
Polystichum setiferum ‘Ray Smith’. I bought this at Binny Plants in Scotland years ago. It has long narrow fronds that come up at a steep angle and is almost evergreen. It also produces plantlets (gemmae, I’m informed) along the midrib (sorry, rachis) late in the year. In theory it should be a breeze to propagate but the plantlets are tiny going into the winter and by the end of the winter the fronds are dying off, taking the babies down with them. I have had some success with pegging whole fronds to the surface of compost in a tray but this year I have removed several and pushed them individually into a pot of compost which is now under the mist. My hope is that with a bit of bottom heat they’ll grow slowly over winter so I can pot them in spring.
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So another Saturday bites the dust. Five more till Christmas. Can I make 30 things happen in the garden between now and then? Might have to cheat.
Links to the rest of the six on Saturday participants will pop up through the day below Mr P’s own six at ThePropagator. Be sure to check them all out.

16 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 18/11/2017

  1. I’m coming to the conclusion that the eventual size of fuchsias is in inverse proportion to the size of the flowers. I have a few irrepressible plants with tiny flowers but all the big, blouse flowers are on plants barely a foot tall.

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  2. Your polytunnel must be a wonderful place at the moment, all those blooms – is it like walking into summer? I loved that collage of camellias – great to see how varied they can be, all in one place. Gorgeous white fuchsia. My favourite of your six, tho, has to be the viburnum that connects you to your parents’ home in Surrey. Can’t go wrong w/viburnum, but the story, that’s what did it for me. Loved your collection, this week.

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    1. Most of the camellias in my tunnel are spring flowerers, so only a very few are flowering now. They are varied though, even the winter ones. What the picture doesn’t show is that the one in the middle is particularly sweetly scented. I love stories behind plants too, where they’re from, how they got here, who bred what, how to grow them etc. There’s so much more to them than just how they look. Like people really.

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  3. Relieved to know only 5 more to go until Christmas! But it is surprising what is out there. I too like the white fuschia and one day I will get round to adding a camelia or two. I think they would suit the north side of my garden.

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    1. Start with small camellia plant. Grow on 3-4 years then start propagating. Three years to get saleable plant. Add another three if starting from a cutting. Total 7-10 years. Age now: 65. Plus I’d done 30 years nursery work, I know that growing the stuff is the easy bit, you then have to sell it. I’ve given a lot to the National Collection at Mount Edgcumbe, which I help maintain as a volunteer. I do my https://jimscamellias.com/ blog. It’s a better fit, I’m doing it for pleasure, not as a job. I’m with you on Fuchsias, though there are loads of species crosses that have much of the quality of the species.

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  4. Hi Jim, I think your Viburnum might be V. tinus macrophyllum. I’m not certain, but I think Bransford N may have started selling it wholesale. It appears to be for sale in France on many websites. I have it here in Callander, Scotland, where it is now blooming. I don’t know how to post an image here so I’ll send it to you by email. I’m wondering if your Fuchsia is x Neopolitan?
    I grow it and it starts out white then goes pink. If you take it inside where it is warm there is a good sweet fragrance. Great blog and so many interesting plants.

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    1. I’ll send you back a better picture of the foliage of my Viburnum. What I failed to mention on the blog that made be go for f. hirta is that stems, petioles and leaf margins are bristly. You may be right about Neopolitan for the fuchsia though Boullemier says it has unstable genetics leading to it having white, pink and red flowers all at the same time, which my one doesn’t have.

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