There have been times when finding six things was a challenge; this week twenty six would be inadequate. What to put in, what to leave out; that is the question.
Astelia chathamica. Aka Astelia ‘Silver Spear’. This is a large plant in a prominent position that has come through at least fifteen winters without turning a hair. Not this time. The damage has only become apparent over the last month, but large chunks have been slowly turning yellowy and collapsing. A few days ago I saw new shoots coming up amongst the ruins, so I cut away all the dead shoots and I’m hoping for a slow but complete recovery. I might end up cutting down the rest of it so that it’s all at the same stage of growth; I think it might look better. Someone is bound to ask why there is a rhubarb pot there.
One of the spin offs of SoS is that because you’ve chosen to go public with something, it seems wise to appear to know what you’re talking about. Occasionally a book will be referred to for the first time in years, more often it’s the Google/Wikipedia double act. I have a couple of low growing and spreading Campanulas. I had a couple of names rattling around in my head but were they the right ones and which was which. I now know that one is the Serbian Bellflower, Campanula poscharskyana, a rampant spreader by runners and seed. It has never flowered as well as this year. The other is the Dalmation bellflower, from the Dalmatian Mountains in Croatia. It is a deeper blue, flowers a week or two earlier, is much less aggressive but still manages to grow out of hairline cracks in a seemingly solid brick wall. There are Dalmatian Islands too. I just didn’t know, I thought it was just dogs.
Geranium ‘Nimbus’. As featured in the post by the host with the most just last week, this was looking so good I thought I’d turf out some lesser item and stick it in instead. I was just looking it up in Bob Brown’s Encyclopaedia and he gives it 7.5, which is good for a Geranium and mentions that the leaves are gold when young. I can’t say I’ve noticed that. It doesn’t carry on flowering like some do, but is lovely none the less.
The humble Fuchsia is by no means in the doldrums to the extent that conifers are, but the specialist growers seem to be a dwindling group, making it difficult to get hold of anything other than the same couple of dozen stocked by every garden centre. We have around 90 varieties and struggle to keep them all going. This one is ‘Black Prince’, which is probably widely available. It deserves to be, it’s a cracker. It’s hardy for us.
Talking of good doers, what about Sweet Williams. I’ve rediscovered them after a gap of at least fifty years and I love them. They’re happy in poor soil and part shade, have an infinite variety of white, pink and red colouring, last for ages, are good for cutting and should have scent though mine don’t have much.
Lathyrus grandiflorus. Number six is where the final decisions are made about what is not going in. Ironic then that Daphne, Philadelphus and Trachelospermum, all beautifully fragrant, get muscled aside by a scentless sweet pea. Not that anyone calls it sweet, it’s the two-flowered everlasting pea. This was given me at least three years ago and has finally got itself established and flowered. Like much else it struggles to get past the stage where the slugs keep pace with new growth. It also spreads by suckers; I have yet to find out how quickly.
Hypericum calycinum didn’t make it in. Or Iris ensata, Dianthus deltoides and Erodium. Stipa gigantea sneaked in unannounced. Another time maybe. Perhaps I should have included my watering can, we’ve covered some miles together this week. One day I’ll do six vegetables.
I’ve had a quick look at host The Propagator’s six for this week and they are mighty fine. And the links to other sixes are pouring in. Another weekend of virtual garden visiting. Good thing I can do it in the evenings, daytime is for watering.