Six on Saturday 31/3/2018

A week ago it seemed like the garden was poised for action, just waiting for the moment when winter shifted to spring. But someone hit the pause button and it all looks much the same. I found half a dozen things to mention, worthy or not.

Camellia of the week is one I raised from seed I collected from a plant in the National Collection of Camellias at Mount Edgcumbe. Its seed parent was a Camellia reticulata called ‘Mary Williams’, which is pretty much a wild form. Who the daddy was we will never know but my guess is that it was one of the many x williamsii forms in the park, perhaps ‘Donation’. I think what I’ll do with it is to grow it on for another year or so then give it back to the park. I call it ‘Serendipity’ but haven’t registered the name. It’s hard to gauge the size of blooms on screen, this is about 5 inches across, so quite big; it may be smaller when it’s growing in the ground.

Pterostylis curta. Australian hooded orchid. I was utterly convinced that this was a plant that had been given to me by an ex work colleague. When I went to check its label I didn’t really expect it to have one, or perhaps at best something faded to illegibility. Wrong; it seems it was a purchase from the excellent Tale Valley Nursery. In growth it gets watered copiously; once it dies down it goes for many months with none at all. Easy, except for the occasional slug chewing through a flower stem.

Tomatoes. These are ‘Sungold’. They are the only variety approved by TOH so it’s pointless me growing anything else. They were germinated on a south facing window ledge and have now been pricked off and put back in the same place.

Dahlias. I checked over the Dahlia tubers I had lifted, put into a crate and covered with old potting compost. (last years tomatoes) They seemed OK so I added a bit of compost, damped them down and put them under this bench with plastic round it to keep in the heat from the tube heater below. I’m not really wanting cuttings, just to get them going a bit quicker. Strangely, all the ones I lifted were my own seedlings, all the named ones having been left in the ground. I checked a couple of them yesterday and they seem OK, though obviously there is no growth yet.

Water tank. I don’t know how things work elsewhere but around here some people have their mains water metered and pay for what they use while others are on a standard charge. For plant watering I have a 1500 litre tank which collects rainwater from the house roof. I had a submersible pump in it, but it just failed. I’ve had it a few years but it’s done very little work, so has been poor value. Domestic rather than pro quality sadly. I’m currently using a small pump attached to a drill but am thinking about a small borehole pump to go in the tank. I need to talk to someone knowledgeable.

The little white flower. That’s what I wrote down when I was thinking of six things for this post. I keep going past it and not looking at the label. I bought it in flower about a year ago so it has passed the first test, it’s come up again. This morning I took its picture and read its label. Chionodoxa luciliae ‘Alba’, which I should have realised, given how many blue ones I have.

So that’s another Saturday six. There will be many more linked to host The Propagator’s piece for the week, more triumphs and tribulations from around the world. I’m just going to slip in a postscript to one of the sorry frost damaged entries I posted on 10th March, it’s looking better now. Camellia ‘Adorable’.

Camellia ‘Adorable’

21 thoughts on “Six on Saturday 31/3/2018

  1. Great camellias Jim! Like you said, it’s very quiet in the garden not a lot of anything has changed in the past week sadly, let’s hope for some sun soon to get things moving


      1. Are your tree magnolias in flower Jim? Ours around me are stil in tight bud, was looking at them today, can’t remeber seeing them this late up here before


      2. I haven’t been to Lanhydrock this year, where there are many, could nip in tomorrow and see what’s happening. My Vulcan is covered in big fat buds which I’m not expecting to open. It would normally be out by now. Ann is later and should be ok.


    1. Sorry, but look again. The single bloom is a seedling I raised, provisionally called ‘Serendipity’, the last is a variety called ‘Adorable’ which was raised by an Australian called Edgar Sebire. The one photo-bombing the picture of my water tank, number 5, is called ‘Mystique’. I have too many, even I get confused.

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  2. This reminds me that I must stop procrastinating and get on with obtaining a couple of sasanquas for the front garden. So far I’m zeroing in on Trehane Nursery in Dorset who seem to have a decent selection, perhaps too decent as choosing but two is difficult. I think my preference will be for white (or white tinged pink) and a paler pink, nothing too bright and blousy). Do you recommend anyone else? As our resident Camellia expert, I’d value your opinion. You have a very large butt (sorry couldn’t resist that) – I only have 500 litres in total though all my butts are raised about a foot and a half above ground (and the garden slopes down a bit from the house) which I’ve found delivers a decent hose pressure from the largest (400 litres) without a pump. Did your pump fail because of “submerged detrius”? If so, perhaps a “dirty water”, rather than a butt, pump might do for you.


    1. I don’t think the pump died from ingesting detritus though the roof tiles do shed a bit of gritty stuff that would make short work of bearings. It was well off the tank bottom and it’s output was always very clean.
      Looking at Trehane list I picked out Bonanza, Gay Sue, Navajo and Mine-no-yuki. Bonanza fails the bright and blousy test. Shame no one does Cotton Candy. Showgirl, which is a sasanqua x reticulata cross, is superb if big growing. Trehane don’t seem to have it. Tanya I have a good sized plant of on my allotment, good foliage, I haven’t found it free flowering but it would be better in a warmer place. You can have it if you’re down this way in the next month or so.


  3. Gorgeous camellia, with or without name. It seems contrary thinking about water when all it seems to do is rain (or snow) at the moment, but who knows what is around the corner. And, of course, bring on the dahlias, I can’t wait!

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  4. I may be falling for the charms of the camelia. Oh dear. I also have a 1500 litre tank, buried under the patio (it’s a low flat oblong shape). The pump went last year causing power cuts and the like. It’s surprisingly difficult to get a sparky round here so it has been out of commission since then. Shame .must get thst sorted before the summer….


  5. I’m one of your camellia fan flock & this week, you gave us 3. I’m swooning. Serendipity is so delicate & lovely. What a nice gesture, giving it back to the park. Ok, enough gushing. Let’s talk maters. What’s TOH?


    1. Sue, the other half, the better half, ‘er indoors. Damn this inadequate language for the lack of a sensible word for a long standing unmarried partner, especially in today’s fractious times.


      1. omg, when you translate, it makes so much sense. I Googled TOH & the first listings were social media slang so I skipped those w/o reading, slotted in the word ‘tomato’ in hopes I’d find whatever society . . . are you seeing my direction down the road to absolute idiocy? Well, I’m sure whatever term you use for Sue, her tomato judgement is to be trusted.


  6. I lifted my pot dahlias and found them waterlogged with some beginning to rot off. I lifted them because I decided I didn’t like the planting but I’ve decided to see if I can dry out the remaining tubers and replant. I love that hooded orchid, great photo.


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