Six on Saturday – 10/11/2018

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: ♠ ♣ ♠ ♣ ♠ ♣

21 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 10/11/2018

  1. Morning Jim, some lovely colour in your garden now. That hydrangea is particularly good. The autumn colours seem especially good this year. I wonder if that is to do with the hot summer. It’s a beautiful morning here so I shall be out in the garden as soon as #3 child’s footie is finished. Sooner the better, they are 4-0 down….


    1. Ah, the alleged joys of parenting. I stuck with plants myself. Colour is good this year, beech and field maple the standouts around here. I didn’t expect it from the hydrangea, I have a couple of other H. paniculata forms and they didn’t colour. Love a plant that gives good value.

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  2. I think we have the same pouring day Jim…( and all weekend) Wind, rain and nothing to do in the garden other than being in the greenhouse..
    Lovely Pittosporum and a question about the Coprosma repens, : shouldn’t it be crawling ?. How tall is it?


    1. The wild Coprosma repens gets 4-6m tall and is used for coastal hedging in New Zealand. Very few things rival it for withstanding extreme coastal conditions. There is a prostrate form but really the botanical name is misleading. All the cultivars I’ve seen are fairly upright but much slower growing than the species. 1-2m is the given height for most of the ones in my New Zealand plant book.

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  3. Absolutely beautiful colours in your garden. I really must get round to planting some good autumn colour shrubs. I headed straight for flowers in the new garden and just spend the autumn in a state of permanent envy. One day…..


  4. I haven’t checked the foliage of our hydrangea for a while. It didn’t flower but the leaves had tinges of red a few weeks ago. Yours is a lovely colour.


    1. I could easily have missed the colour on the hydrangea, it doesn’t stand out from a distance and I wouldn’t have expected it to colour like that. It’ll be interesting to see how long it holds its leaves now.


    1. Evergreens can be very unchanging so the pink colour in winter sets ‘Elizabeth’ apart. The Camellia is only in the tunnel because it’s still in a quite small pot. Ackerman says it’s hardy to -20C and flowers November to January so I’d rather like to find a spot in the garden for it.

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  5. I’m a big fan of coprosma, this one is a beauty. Not a great year for hydrangeas, I suppose, this one is looking great now though. The great thing about gardening is that there is (usually) always next year. Lovely colourful six.


  6. I have seen a few Coprosma this year and they do look rather lovely. I might be tempted into buying one next year for the courtyard. And you were not wrong about the tropical rain! Managed to find its way into my conservatory which is quite depressing given that was the reason for the new roof 😦


    1. I’m a bit miffed I’ve lost the name for that Coprosma. Oddly, the one in the ground, a different variety, was badly hit by the beast but the potted one didn’t turn a hair even though it was outdoors all winter. They are grown with normal feed levels by nurseries which makes for soft growth that is very frost susceptible. It takes a season or two with little or no feed to get them to man up for winter in the great outdoors.

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      1. I have to confess that I always forget to feed plants apart from tomatoes and chilli peppers! I’m running out of space to plant anything new (other than the bed which I will redesign in spring) so most new shrubs will go into pots.

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      2. You may have given the reason why I lost my Coprosma a couple of years ago – it sounds like I was too kind. Maybe I’ll try again.
        Autumn colour has been hit and miss here in N. Somerset. A lot of the trees have dropped before they had time to colour.

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  7. Wonderful colours, all. That coprosmo is new to me. When you wrote about its size, I thought – I’m safe. I can’t buy one of those until I have my forever garden. Then you let the cat out of the bag & say it grows well in a pot. Poo . . . I do so love that colour, which is saying something because all of your garden is beautiful. Or at least the 3 good diers, 2 evergreen & 1 flower that you showed us.


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