Six on Saturday – 1/12/2018

SOS740
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.

One.
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.

Two.
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.

Three.
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.
SOS735

Four.
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.


Five.
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.
SOS738

Six.
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.
SOS739

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.

33 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 1/12/2018

  1. Doubling up on my comments: Re Pinus Mugo, my north facing border has a east west slant so it does get a little sun but I will watch it closely this year to see how much the middle section gets. But now I have seen your Berberis thunbergii I am off on a different track. I need some autumn reds and oranges in the garden so I’ll have to see if a berberis could be fitted in. Swapping the pine for a camellia looks like being a good move. Happy gardening.

    Like

    1. I’m liking this careful consideration of the options. I love the way this meme gives you glimpses into other peoples gardens with all the ideas about plants, plant associations, design ideas and so on. My wanted list is massive and I’ve no room for the things I’ve already got. I’m waiting for a break in the drizzle to plant the Camellia.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My WordPress theme seems to have changed itself – it’s meant to be an improvement but it’s actually just more confusing. Brave decision to get rid of your Pinus but it has opened up views of more lovely conifers behind. Those cactus flowers are something else.

    Like

    1. The theme I had was redundant and limited. This one is just limited. It all just makes my head hurt. Getting rid of the pine has made a bigger difference than its actual size would have led me to expect, it was very close to the house. Ergo, the presence/absence/size/qualities of the plants in the foreground is disproportionately important. I’m learning.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Roy Lancaster has an article in The Garden this month singing the praises of conifers. Just the latest in a quarter century of trying to turn their fortunes around. I was involved in a conifer stand at Hampton Court years ago. Masses of superb specimens, much admired, zero effect. I can think of several reasons why this might be so, but who really knows?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A lot to say … 1st about WP update ; here also I got it and as Mrs Carrot said, it’s rather an improvement … Not easy to say if it’s better or not, but the layout is more beautiful.
    Then, about the plants, thanks for sharing the information on the temperature changing the color of Shlumbergera. I learnt something today. The pinus: I didn’t think that the greenhouse was so close … Indeed, without it, the view is also beautiful because there are pretty trees behind and also I think that all the plants of the gh had to enjoy the change: more light
    Finally the dahlias: I force them in sand towards February-March, but inside and they start better. Your solution with warm water could also be good.

    Like

    1. Last year I lifted some Dahlias and got them started in heat in spring. It was very obvious they were responding to the warmth.
      The thing I want to get to grips with on the blog is video, which the new theme supports. Perhaps one of my six each week could be a video clip. All the kids are doing it, how hard could it be?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it might be easy to take a video with your phone and add it to your media. The problem is storage that takes up space … I’m limited in WP (3 Gb)…I’m waiting for your next try

        Like

      2. Ah, but I bought a phone in June 2015 and could probably count the calls I’ve made on the fingers of one hand. Texts might just have made double figures. And you think it would be easy for me to do a video on it. Not to mention getting the video from the phone onto the blog. There are some big gaps in my tech savvyness.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well, I can’t help you from here, but I’m sure you’ll find someone who can. Or with your camera? because know that mine can record HD movies. In any case, I will see (one day) if you have succeeded!

        Like

  4. OK, I’m firmly in the “conifers are so yesterday” camp. Do Junipers count when they’re carefully trained droopy things over the pond? I must add some Haks to the garden next year (diverting somewhat from my fixation on Miscanthus). Hmmm? Less than five minutes? You used a chainsaw, didn’t you? And you have the roots to remove before your Camellia goes in? I envy you not that little job. I tried leaving dahlias in the ground and burying them under mulch a couple of years ago. Good luck with yours (though as you’re a bit more dah’n sarf than I ……).

    Like

    1. You’ll be pleased to hear I used my trusty Silky Zubat on the pine. The roots can stay where they are; the camellia has gone in between the two felled pines, hopefully the honey fungus will ignore it. Pinus parviflora would be my choice for a conifer to match the zeitgeist of today, pruned in the niwaki method of course.

      Like

  5. I’m another amazed by the difference made by taking the tree out. I really love that cactus bloom but most of all, Samurai has stolen my heart. I need that warrior in my garden.

    Like

  6. A lovely selection of autumn colours. 🙂 And i also thank Fred for identifying one of my cacti
    Schlumbergera truncata cv. I have three flowering at the moment and had no idea what they were called. You’ve now saved me some research! they are beautiful

    Like

      1. I am only just beginning my cacti and succulent journey. I have loads but I don’t know what they are called. I love reading gardening blogs and this week’s six I’ve had several ‘a HA!’ moments 🙂 I never realised moths pollinated the flowers as well as the bees.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. A bud laden camellia will be a perfect replacement for the pine. I have artropupurea nana in my garden and love it for its Autumn colour( which lasts well into Winter), and berries, though it can get quite big and is a beast to prune. The schlumbergera is quite special, and your photo shows its flower off to perfection.

    Like

    1. On the nursery, we used to get rootballed Berberis ‘Bagatelle’ in from Holland each year and they always had fabulous autumn colour. I imagine I fell for that though in my garden in the Cornish climate it almost never colours at all. Cacti are so photogenic, proper little divas.

      Like

  8. Sigh. Another hak mac for me to covet. Quick with the pruning saw there Jim, merciless. Quite right, there is no room in our lives (never mind our gardens) for plants we no longer love.

    Like

  9. So now I’m a nerd!
    I’ve only one variety of Hak mac but having seen yours over the last few weeks I need to rectify that. The sawfly have decimated my Berberis for a few years now so I reluctantly dug it out this year. I’ve missed the colour in that part of the border though.

    Like

    1. Oops, sorry. To see my Hak macs glowing in the dull grey drizzly light today was great, they’ll be he brightest thing in the garden for the next couple of months. I didn’t realise Berberis were attacked by sawfly, it’s not a problem I’ve had or even seen. Hope that’s not another new pest that’s coming my way.

      Like

  10. I think it is winter wet that kills dahlias, I cover mine with layers of newspaper under the mulch to keep them dry. It’s so liberating getting rid of a plant that isn’t pulling its weight. I have just got rid of a Viburnum tinus which offended me on a daily basis, three gone, only five more to go. I wish I had a chainsaw. That’s a pretty Christmas cactus.

    Like

    1. I’ve left most of my Dahlias in the ground for several years and have only lost one or two. My soil is fairly well drained but we have quite high rainfall. I lifted and replanted a few this spring that had been planted out from pots and had a substantial amount of peaty potting compost around the roots, highly water retentive, poorly aerated and very slow to warm up. They’d survived but just wouldn’t get going.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s