At this time of year the “six things happening in the garden now” gets trickier. The things that are happening here are less obvious, less interesting and less attractive. It becomes the silk purse from sow’s ear challenge. Right, excuses made, what have we got.
Fuchsia ‘Cornish Pixie’. Well, allegedly that’s what it is. It’s one of the encliandra group of Fuchsias, with tiny flowers, but to my jaded eye, is identical to F. x bacillaris and F. microphylla which we also grow. We planted a row of them in the front garden as a low informal hedge between us and next door. Unlike the ones in the back garden, they were undamaged by the frost a couple of weeks back and are looking great.
Violas. We’ve found the winter flowering violas to be as good as anything for winter bedding so I picked up a few the other day and planted up a couple of pots. This one had begonias in it, which I have lifted and will keep as corms until spring. There were a few vine weevil grubs so I replaced the top few inches of compost in the pots with the stuff the tomatoes had been in.
Hak. mac. of the week. Well two in fact. The first Hakonechloa macra form I grew was one I bought from a little nursery in Devon. If it ever had a name I soon lost it. Somehow or other I settled on H. macra ‘Mediovariegata’ as being what it should be called. Many years later I obtained H. macra ‘Albostriata’ and have now been growing both in the same bed for several years. They are very, very, very similar, but I don’t think they are the same. The sort of differences that are visible when you grow them side by side but would really struggle to describe or quantify in words. Does it really matter? Well, one of the main reasons I grow them is for the colour they provide mid winter and ‘Mediovariegata’ has always been outstanding. I was away last year and missed them, the year before ‘Albostriata’ was still quite small. If there was a real difference you’d want to know which was the best one.
Skimmia japonica ‘Bowles Dwarf Female’. Skimmia’s seem rather dull and old fashioned to me but are still valuable for providing winter colour and scent. They merge into the background in the summer and come to the fore in autumn. This one, like most of the females, is not self fertile. We grow S. japonica ‘Rubella’, a male, but while it is a good flowerer, it is not a great pollinator. It (He?) seems to have done the biz this year to a degree. This is a painfully slow grower, it’s about a foot high and wide after probably at least ten years.
Amaryllis belladonna. I was really looking forward to these surpassing themselves this year. In a summer like we had, there were bound to be winners and losers; it seemed a dead cert this would be a winner. Wrong. Not a single bloom. My other clump, which flowers earlier, had just two. Too dry presumably, especially with the competition from Hedychium, Hypericum and assorted weeds that you can see in the photo.
Neighbours, families and health issues are an inescapable part of the fabric of life and you want them to tick away in the background, not take centre stage. Not this week. One of my neighbours, whose garden backs onto ours, wants to replace the boundary hedge with a fence. It’s an old field boundary. In Cornwall they build soil banks, sometimes stone faced, with a hedge of whatever turns up on top, and call the whole thing a hedge. This one has very little stone and a hedge of beech, hazel, sycamore, blackthorn, hawthorn, ivy and brambles. The neighbour has been nibbling away at their side so the plants are getting thin and the whole thing will eventually collapse. I’d rather not have to cut it and the time will come when I’m unable to, so I’m OK about it going. I am prepared to go halves on the cost, even though they are the ones who have turned it into a problem. I think she may have other ideas. I see trouble ahead.
The saddest thing about the last picture is that the orange pot contains a plant (Dacrydium cupressinum) that died last winter and is still hanging around. I’m hanging my head in shame. Leaf mould in the bags, to go over my dahlias in the ground.
Right, lets get this posted and think about lunch. There’ll be links to many more sixers from The Propagator’s post. Talking of whom, one of my six was to have been about composting… next week perhaps.