This morning’s alarm clock was a massive clap of thunder at 5:30, followed by a burst of tropical strength rain. Looks like that’s going to be the pattern for the day, so not really gardening weather. Hopefully there’ll be lots of sixes so I can indulge in some armchair gardening.
The frost last week dramatically reduced the amount of flower in our garden. It’s had the effect of producing a much sharper seasonal change than I’ve become used to. What’s left is foliage, the evergreens and the deciduous things that die well. That’s reflected in my six this week, three good diers, two evergreens and a flower.
Molinia caerulea ‘Heidebraut’. A form of purple moor grass. It’s only now that it has gone straw coloured that it stands out at all well from its background of Muehlenbeckia astonii. Bodmin Moor, just up the road, is covered in purple moor grass and I’m not seeing a big difference between this one and a lot of the moorland ones. I’ve often bemoaned how few flowers there are on the moors, at least partly because of over-grazing, but purple moor grass isn’t a good thing either according to an article I read recently. Can’t remember why now. In the garden this one needs watering a lot, especially in a summer like this one.
Hak mac. That’s the Prop’s abbreviation for Hakonechloa macra. I’m a keen member of the Hak mac appreciation society, a hak mac fan boy in the modern vernacular. This one is Hak. mac. ‘Aureola’, which is the most widely grown form in my experience. And why not, it’s brightly coloured and makes a neat arching mound that dies well and stays bright well into winter. Then you clean it all away and start afresh next year. The leaves from my purple maple have turned red, dropped and are shrivelling and turning brown; an all too fleeting splash of colour.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Early Sensation’. This hydrangea has flowered but after weeks of drought it did so grudgingly and was passed over for inclusion as a Saturday item. It’s decided to make a bit of a belated effort and produced some quite nice autumn colour.
Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Elizabeth’. This got an outing in July 2017 but it’s still there so I’m doing it again. This is probably 8m or so tall now and I have been gradually raising its crown so it has probably now crossed the grey zone between shrubs and trees. It’s shed a lot of leaves this year and is looking sparse compared to years past. Hopefully it will recover next spring. Cold weather causes the pink colouring of the leaf margins to deepen.
Coprosma repens variety unknown. There are quite a few varieties of this about and I don’t remember what this is called. They’re border line hardy with us but seem to fare best if kept in pots and fed very sparingly so that they are really toughened up. This variety has really deepened in colour in the last few weeks and combined with the glossiness of the leaves is one of the best plants I have for colour right now.
Camellia ‘Winter’s Fire’. This is a young plant that is flowering in my tunnel now. I have no plans to plant it out at present. It’s one raised in America by Dr. William L. Ackerman, who was a research geneticist at the US National Arboretum. I just bought his book, it was available second hand on Amazon for £4.99. What I got was an apparently brand new book, signed by the author and with a jacket price of $39.95. It’s really interesting, really authoritative and refreshingly readable. He wanted to extend the area in which Camellias could be grown by breeding hardier varieties such as this one.
That’s yer lot. The Prop is back from his transatlantic jaunt I see, in time to play host to this weeks crop of SoS’ers from around the world. Here’s the link: ♠ ♣ ♠ ♣ ♠ ♣