Last week’s publicly aired contemplation has become this week’s action. I need to be careful what I commit to. There’s nothing more in the cross hairs just yet. (Almost audible sigh of relief from a couple of frequently maligned plants) The ground is now very wet which is becoming restricting; there are things I want to do and can’t. I shall have to settle for planning them some more; it can’t rain forever.
Pinus pumila ‘Säntis’. A week ago I was wondering about this pine. I’m not now; it’s gone. The difference between the time signatures of the before and after photos is 4 minutes and 58 seconds. I wish I could say I miss it but in truth I don’t. I have a bud laden Camellia to go in which will feature in a future post. It’s odd how even though it only blocked a part of the view, because it was bang in front of you, it was as far as you looked. Now it’s gone it’s much easier to look at the things that weren’t obscured before.
Schlumbergera truncata cv. I am indebted to Fred for getting me straight on the names of these cacti. I just looked them up on Wikipedia, which if nothing else served to remind me that access to detailed information about absolutely anything has never been so easy. I was fascinated to learn that the flower colour can vary depending on the temperature during bud formation and growth, with temperaures below 14°C producing pink tones in cultivars normally lacking it and deeper pinks, from more pigment, in pink and red varieties. Camellias behave somewhat similarly but in reverse, with higher temperatures leading to more red pigment.
This one combines red, cerise pink and orange tones on the petals with a magenta stigma, an outrageous combination that its overall diaphanous quality just about lets it get away with.
Dahlia winter protection. Having cut my frosted dahlias down, I have now heaped over them some well rotted leaf mould. I doubt it’s really necessary but better safe than sorry. I’ll pull it away around March but push it back over if we get frosty weather. I think the reason they were very slow to get going this spring was because the ground was very cold and mulch will stop it warming up. I may try pouring some warm water over them, see if that gets them moving quicker.
Berberis thunbergii ‘Bagatelle’. Now, you’re going to think this just too nerdy, but I keep a list of the things I put in these sixes, mainly because it’s a lot quicker to see if and when I’ve done something before. I find then that Berberis ‘Bagatelle’ was supposed to have been in the post for 21/10/2017 but when I look for it, turns out I put a “flowering now” montage in instead. Poor old Berberis, always the bridesmaid. ‘Bagatelle’ was an improvement on ‘Atropurpurea Nana’, though the difference is not great. It’s purple leaved and has grown to be about 1m wide and 40cm high in maybe 15 years. It berries reasonably well and this year is doing autumn colour too, in December.
Hak mac of the wk is Hakonechloa macra ‘Samurai’. It’s another with leaves striped creamy white but is probably the tallest and most upright form that I grow. May also be the fastest spreader, but not by much. It’ll still be standing when the camellia starts blooming in January or February, making a fine Japanese duet.
Taxus baccata ‘Standishii’. There was a time when I could have described myself as a conifer buff. I was working on a nursery that because of me listed Fitzroya, Diselma, Lagarostrobus, Athrotaxus, Podocarpus and much else. So it makes me a little sad that the number of conifers in my garden is slowly shrinking away to nothing. They are great plants and there seem to be few people now who can find a place for them in their hearts or their gardens, let alone both. I am reasonably confident that this yew will see me out, it’s hard to envisage any circumstance in which I’d get rid of it. A female form that was being sold by Standish & Co of Ascot before 1900, it produces some berries (the red aril is edible and not unpleasant but the seed within it is very poisonous) and I get one or two seedlings appearing each year, which may be green or yellow.
This is perhaps the best golden fastigiate conifer for UK gardens. Mine is over 25 years old and around 5m tall. I have looped wires around it to hold the branches in place after a few were left hanging askance after a storm some years back. It’s worth noting that it cannot really be pruned to make it narrower as all its stems are vertical. It’s pretty much a cylinder of vertical branches.
I changed my WordPress theme midweek and I’m still getting used to the differences. I hope everything works. Sometimes you need a yoof and the only yoof I ever get to talk computers with are the ones who phone to say there’s a problem with my broadband. They’re hard to have a good chat with I find.
The Propagator, who hosts this meme, and all his jolly followers, are a different kettle of fish altogether. Nothing we all like better than a chat over the fence with a coffee in hand. All the links are here.