Six on Saturday – 22/9/2018


I just looked out the window and noticed how autumnal next door’s plum leaved thorn is looking; that seemed to happen overnight. It’s raining and it’s due to last all day.

The poor old garden has been given a right thrashing this week and there’s more to come. I don’t like wind. Even taking pictures is tricky, with plants whipping about and the sun in and out and showers waiting for me to venture out. We’ve had much needed prolonged heavy rain though, not that I’ve checked to see how far down it went. I’ve half heartedly started making a bit of room for the annual quart into a pint pot business of getting things under cover for winter. It’ll take a credible threat of frost to really get some action going, same as every year.

For now, there’s plenty flowering, if a little brown round the edges, and stuff happening in various ways. Here are six of them.

Haemanthus albiflos is my favourite plant name. There was one on offer at the HPS sale back in May, which I bought. It had the name ‘Mrs Burree’ on it, which may be a cultivar or it may be the name of the person who donated it to the sale. Could even be both. I took its picture using focus stacking but couldn’t resist one of it in context. It’s pretty much what I look out on when I’m washing up.

Out the front. Our next door neighbour went into a home a few months back and sadly died on Monday. I’ve been doing his garden for years and out the front treated his and ours pretty much as one space. We don’t know what will happen now, presumably the house gets sold and we get new neighbours. There are some nice plants on his side, like Mahonia eurybracteata subsp. ganpinensis ‘Soft Caress’, which is just about to start flowering. When I looked it up, I found it has its own website. I guess if someone moves in who doesn’t want the plants, we can dig and move them at this time of year. His is/was left of the boundary line in this upstairs view, it’s actually at least double the size of our side, the picture is misleading.

I included my Bomarea edulis a couple of weeks ago and nice as it is, it had been gnawing at me that the one I really wanted was Bomarea multiflora. There’s a nursery half an hour away that I’d been meaning to visit and I looked at his plant list online. There it was. This was Tuesday evening. I looked at his opening times; shut on Wednesdays. Ridiculous. First thing Thursday I got to wander round for half an hour with not another soul about. Picked out a few things and gave the large cow bell on his shop counter a good swing. Treseder’s at Lockengate, a nursery name with a very fine pedigree. Have a look at his list, it’s pretty impressive. He’s feeling his way into mail order too. I came away with Bomarea, Fuchsia ‘Eruption’, Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ and a couple of Cyclamen hederifolium. Picked up a couple of cheap Campanulas at another nursery on the way home. The cyclamen at the front were some Sue got a few days back. Good thing there’s a plant sale at Rosemoor on Sunday.

Apples. ‘Holstein’ and ‘Red Windsor’ to be specific. ‘Holstein’ is what I grafted onto my unhappy ‘Elstar’ some years back. ‘Holstein’ is a German variety, thought to have ‘Cox’ ancestry; beautiful apple, very scab resistant, which matters in Cornwall. I was afraid the wind would blow them all off and nearly picked them before it came. Hardly any have fallen, from either tree. ‘Red Windsor’ is on M9, which may not really be vigorous enough for Cornwall, it’s fruiting almost too well, or to put it another way, I didn’t thin it enough, but it’s not making much new growth. In spite of, or because of, the dry summer, my apples are way better than last year, twice as many and twice the size.

Hardy Begonias. People have been growing various forms of Begonia grandis outdoors for a long time. It gets up about 18 inches and flowers quite late in the year. There are pink and white flowered forms. In autumn it produces little bulbils, effectively the axillary buds detach themselves and fall to the ground and in spring when it comes up again, it is surrounded by small plants that have grown from the bulbils. Last year I bought Begonia ‘Garden Angel Blush’ and planted out one of my two plants of Begonia sikkimensis. Both survived the winter, though they were painfully slow to get going this year. I think they’re only really hardy if they are kept frost free under a sufficient layer of leafmould or suchlike; I’ll give them a good blanket this year. The Begonia sikkimensis in a pot shows its potential. I planted out Begonia luxurians this year too. It was very pot-bound but it’s done all right. I’ll cover that and see if it comes through.

Dahlia of the week is ‘Orange Cushion’, the parent of most of my allotment seedlings that I might have occasionally mentioned. I dead head regularly but tagged a few to leave for seed. They’re nearly ready, see if we get a couple of dry days next week. They’ll get sown next spring.

That’s it again. I was going to do Impatiens omeiana, I’m not sure which of the above six I missed on the first count. It’ll be better next week.

A rainy day is the perfect excuse to make a coffee and settle in to reading all the six on Saturday posts from all over. It’s like having your garden open each week and getting mostly the same people visiting and you don’t have to worry about the weather or baking cakes or parking or people nicking cuttings. Plus you can go visit lots of other gardens at the same time as your own is open. It’s like magic.

The gateway for all this fun is The Propagator, the host with the most.


36 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 22/9/2018

  1. Claim squatters’ rights on the front garden. Nobble the estate agent to let you know when there are viewings so you can, co-incidentally, be out tending it when the prospective buyers arrive. Most reasonable people would be happy to have a fine front patch lovingly tended for them!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you prefer quiet, friendly neighbors who love plants? or indifferent people who don’t like growing plants and gardening but who give you some of their beauties ? Not an easy choice…
    ( PS : the flower of Haemanthus albiflos is lovely ! is it still blooming for a long time or just a day? …)


      1. Some years back our neighbours the other side were bikers, used to haul big three wheeled thing out on a weekend, sit there revving it. Soon after they moved away she stabbed him with scissors and killed him. We’ve done noisy thanks.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I think I’d be thrilled to have someone tend to the garden at first, while I am moving into my new home. Having someone who knows the plants would be great! But perhaps make it clear that it will only be while they are settling in. Then you can decide where the friendship leads.


  4. Jim, your posts are always an education for me! Thanks for that. I grow the Orange Cushion as well (although names these days are unreliable I think) and hadn’t thought of starting seeds. Love its vibrancy.


  5. How kind you are to do your neighbour’s front garden as well as your own, and it does really look just like one well-designed garden. I hope you get nice neighbours (I’d be really pleased to move into a house with a front garden like that) and that they’re gardeners too. Hardly anyone around me is interested in gardening which is such a shame. Like March Picker, I’m always educated by your posts (thanks to Mr Google too as I have to research the Botanical names) and I also love the Haemanthus albiflos.


    1. Not many gardeners around me either. So many old folks who are unable to do much themselves and can only afford to get their grass cut fortnightly and nothing else. That’ll be me one day, a thought that chills me to the bone.


  6. Always a joy to read yr posts. The photo of the haemanthus albiflos is stunning. I think my gardening knowledge is increasing but my spelling is struggling! The dahlia is gorgeous too, just when I was thinking off going’s off them. My crop of apples was half the size of last year’s and did t look half as beautiful as yours – the colour of the Holstein is wonderful. Wishing you well with the neighbours.


    1. I think I gave the apple trees 2 or 3 good soakings during the hot spell, about 3 weeks apart. I figured they’d really need it when the fruits were swelling. Seems to have worked. I’m planning on grafting a bit of Holstein onto a friend’s tree this winter and she’s giving me a scion of Lane’s Prince Albert to go on mine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You were right to give them a soak. I did soak a newly transplanted one but the rest were left to their own devices. So are you grafting on to a tree to create a duo or cutting down one stem to graft on the new one – I can see a blog post coming for this one!


      2. I’ve mentioned apple grafting a few times but have never done a blog just on it. It’ll be January or February I do it, I’ll take pictures and write about it. If you select fruit as a category on my blog you’ll find my earlier references. My tree now has five varieties grafted on, plus there’s still a bit of the original tree.


    1. My friends in Liskeard had a Cautleya dug up and removed by a garden visitor just a few weeks ago. They must have come armed with a trowel. Reminds me, I need to go sort out those seeds I “obtained” today at ********

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Always a pleasure to visit your garden and see what unusual plants you have for us. I would be tempted to remove a few of the ‘best’ plants from that garden before it goes up for sale. After all you probably planted them. Or at least take cuttings. I’d love to inherit a garden like that, but I can see why you wouldn’t want to be expected to maintain it for free. Hope you get a good, friendly garden loving neighbour. And on the subject of apples, what is scab? And why is Cornwall prone to it?


    1. You’re quite right that I planted them. I have removed a few things that would not be easy to get again, probably need to take another look. Scab is a fungal disease that causes brown scabby lesions on the fruit, cracks too of its bad. Causes leaf fall too. High rainfall/damp atmosphere in Cornwall makes it more of a problem.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great Six as always Jim. I bought and planted Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’ last autumn. Two lots of snow and a drought have severely tested it! It hasn’t grown much but is starting to flower so hopefully next year…..
    I’ve been trying to grow B. luxurians but it kept being eaten then was attacked by a plague of black fly. I cut it back hard in August hoping it would reshoot but no joy. I’ll keep the pot until spring just in case. I hadn’t thought about leaving it outside over winter.


    1. The ‘Soft Caress’ here was pathetic in its first year but is making a nice bushy plant now. It’s the first year I’ve planted Begonia luxurians out, it seems to like being in the ground. It’s very easy from cuttings so we have a few spares, hence I’ll see how it fares outside over winter. I’ll mulch it heavily with leaf mould, as I will my other Begonias. Bought another one today, B. ‘Tie Dye’. That’ll go out after the winter.


  9. Between yourself & Sue, a really lovely haul of new plants, there. Very sorry to hear about your neighbour. Someone you feel kindly enough toward that you do their garden, it must be a loss, then followed, as you suggest, by the probable sale of the house. And the discussions in your comment section this week, as enlightening as the blog itself. Never had anyone steal from my garden, that I know of, but my new neighbours have started giving me veg orders, to include pointing to what produce they want & specifying on what day it should arrive at theirs. I ignore them, of course. The language barrier, you know. Anyway, great Six, as always.


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