Six on Saturday – 2/12/2017

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m having to pretend it’s winter down here in rainy Cornwall, but while there has been frost on the car a couple of times, we’ve had nothing to do any damage. There are odds and ends of flowers everywhere, but mostly bedraggled and looking sorry for themselves. So rather than focus on summer’s leftovers, I’ve tried to move onto winter’s main dishes.

Schefflera taiwaniana is a classy plant that I obtained originally as a bunch of fallen fruits while being shown round what had been Edward Needham’s garden near Truro some years ago. I held them up to the present owner and got a wordless nod. I know of one other seedling from the same batch, quite a bit different in appearance, so maybe they’d picked up pollen from one of the several other Scheffleras present.

Mine is now between 8 and 9 feet tall and I had been saving it for inclusion here when flowers were in short supply to be very surprised when I looked at it closely to see it is flowering. That’s flowering!! Woo! Woo! I look forward to finding out if it can produce viable seed without a mate. The other option is to try and take cuttings from the small shoots low down on the stem; haven’t a clue whether that would work.

Phyllostachys aureosulcata ‘Spectabilis’. Not a name that exactly trips off the tongue but a wonderful plant for all that. Our garden is just a little too windy for this tall bamboo and we lose a few stems every year. It’s around 16ft tall and has spread over twenty years to cover maybe 10ft x 4ft of ground. A few wayward shoots have been removed. I remove side shoots from the bottom 3ft to show off the stems and harvest some of the oldest canes each year to use them as bean sticks. Excellent stem colour, evergreen and won’t get taller than it now is; what more do you want from a plant?

Starlings. I was going to put in common oak; we have one growing at one corner of the garden, another overhanging the opposite corner. I went out to take the picture and realised that I actually like the constant chatter of the starlings that are usually in them rather more than the trees themselves. Starlings it is then. I was even going to put an audio file on here but WordPress wouldn’t play without pay.
We get them in dozens. Place I used to work, south of London, had a roost at back of the head gardeners house of around 2 million. Commuted into London in the morning, back home in the evening. Just like the people. Loud. Very loud.

The light. Very low in the sky as the sun is now, its light reaches places it never normally does. A leaf here, a flower there, picked out fleetingly by a warm toned spotlight. I’m almost unable to pass a window without looking out on something else that requires me to grab the camera and go capture it.


Pinus koraiensis ‘Silver Ray’. When I got this, it was on the strength of a picture in a conifer book of an unusually narrow columnar pine with lovely bluish foliage. I now realise that the plant in the picture had been pruned to get the shape. You don’t immediately think that a pine would be trimmed to shape so you assume that’s how it grows. The realisation came too late for me to try for the same effect, you can keep them narrow if you start early but you can’t make a wide one narrow. I also hadn’t foreseen how much next door’s Crataegus would spread, so it has become one sided and leaning as well as too wide. One day it’ll have to go but that day hasn’t arrived yet.

Camellia x hiemalis ‘Bonanza’. I’m testing my limits again, flanking the featured Camellia with a couple of others, because I can and because they’re all flowering in my tunnel. ‘Bonanza’ first flowered in 1959 and was a chance seedling of C. sasanqua ‘Crimson Tide’ in America. I think it’s a fairly recent arrival on our shores. Compared to many autumn flowering Camellias it has a short but spectacular flowering season, this year for the month of November, tailing off into December. The blooms are relatively large, about 6-7cm across, scented and as vivid a colour as you could wish for. It seems to want to be spreading rather than upright, but could be trained.

And so begins the weekend. Get my post sorted, then make the first of several visits to the links on The Propagator’s blog over the next couple of days to catch up with all the other contributors to the meme. I don’t know about anybody else, but the deeper into winter we go, the more interested I am to see what other posters have come up with. It’s making me look harder and think more about my own patch too. All good.

16 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 2/12/2017

  1. Starlings have a wonderful (& yes, noisy) song. I love them in the garden. Beautiful photo of the bamboo stems. The collage is equally lovely – reminds me how important light & shadow are in the garden, not just for growing, but to fully appreciate what’s there. Really enjoyable six!


    1. Thank you. I have tried to comment on your blogs a few times but without success. I’ll try again. We have nocturnal activity too, cats, including our own too. Don’t think we get foxes and much as I love them, I’m nimby’ish.


      1. Yes, fox are the naughty chillen of the garden. As to comments on my blog, others have said the same. Not sure what’s up w/it. May have to get my son to check things out for me, as I’m of the pre-internet generation.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You can’t use the “sign in as wordpress”option because it doesn’t get the url right. WP urls have secure https but the sign in gizmo on the Google blogs just puts http and you can’t amend that part of the string.


  2. Great Six there Jim. Cold here today but not frosty. It was warmer in New York than it was at home this week. My garden is mostly asleep now, not much going on but always six things to find.


  3. What I like about your posts over time is the glimpse they give into your climate, Here, despite the lateness of frosts and all that, I suspect that a Schefflera would not do well, as much as I’d like it to as once the frosts hit, they are sustained. I don’t welcome starlings as they’re really thuggish. The pattern is always the same – a scout appears and eats its fill. Not long after the flock arrive, fight every other bird out of the garden and clear all the bird food away within minutes.

    Google/Blogger/Blogspot is a real pain when it comes to commenting. But whether you like it or not, its tentacles have invaded your life (especially if you have an Android smartphone). I don’t use Google as a search engine but do have a Google account in which I’ve taken the time to set all the privacy settings possible. It’s relatively easy to force Google to forget a lot about you and to control what it collects in the future. If you don’t have a Google account, you can’t do that and it knows even more about you without you knowing!


    1. We’ve had a run of several winters without even a moderately severe frost, maybe if and when we get another, it could do a lot of damage. The Schefflera has made a second flush of growth in late summer the last two years which has been damaged by wind or slight frost. Not much more than some distorted leaves though.
      I have a Google account. I started blogging on BlogSpot, then moved soon after. Can’t even remember why. Should definitely check all my account settings.


  4. Love the bamboo. I bought one many years ago at a Bristol Botanic Garden open day. It was a clumped and grew to about five feet high. It sat there for about ten years slowly clumping up and looking stunning. Then one year it made a break for freedom, it came up in the hedge, through the compost bin and was rapidly heading towards next door. I’ve been too scared to plant one in the border since. I tried Phyllostachys nigra in a large pot but it didn’t like it


    1. Once had a customer who asked us to come and take away Phyllostachys vivax ‘Aureocaulis’ because it had spread 20ft in one season. You can get rattled when a plant does that to you. Mine, touch wood, is quite well behaved.


  5. How lovely to the sunshine in your photos and to learn so much about your plants. Great knowledge. I too can’t comment on lora’s blog. I try to avoid too many accounts, so I’ve replied to her through my comment box. I hope that’s a work round!


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