Six on Saturday – 15/12/2018

SOS759After this there’s just two more sixes to go and we’re into a new year. It’s cold and there’s not a great deal happening in the garden, though I have camellias flowering, three sorts outside and four in pots. Some I have used before and don’t want to repeat for now. For two of them it’s their moment in the spotlight.

Not for the first time I have learned something when looking up background for an SoS post. What I learned this time came as a considerable disappointment, but that’s life.
Camellia grijsii is a species (most Camellias you see are hybrids) and has small, sweetly fragrant flowers in mid to late winter. Outdoors the scent will carry a good distance. Years ago I bought a plant of a variety of the species called ‘Zhenzhucha’ from a French nursery. I don’t remember whether I saw a description of it then, but cultivars of obscure species are rare, I probably just bought it. When it eventually flowered, it didn’t look any different from the species but I kept it and it’s in the garden. Today, finally, I looked it up in the Camellia Register and it turns out it should have miniature formal double flowers; what I have is just the regular species. I’m more disappointed to learn that it’s wrong than I was when I first saw it flower; then I just thought it was no improvement on the species, now I know that it’s not what it should be, which seems worse. Anyhow, this is Camellia grijsii, in a pot, in the conservatory, smelling lovely to me, offensively strong to Sue, like Philadelphus to Jane.

Cyclamen coum. This usually flowers well after Cyclamen hederifolium but this year it started very early and has carried on over a long period without ever being outstanding. It seems happy enough, those are seedlings at bottom right. I much prefer the fully hardy cyclamen species to the hybrids that seem to be all that most garden centres offer.

Viburnum tinus. This was a cutting from a plant in my parents garden in Surrey that I must have taken nearly thirty years ago. It was in their garden when they moved in, in 1956 and from its size and location had probably been there since around the time the house was built in 1900. It’s quite different from the forms you see in garden centres now, with big, roundish, bullate, lustrous leaves and strong upright open growth. I keep it more for nostalgia than any real merit it possesses. It’s flowering now, not much else is.

Camellia ‘Sweet Jane’. When people get jaded with ever bigger and gaudier flowers on hybrid plants they often turn back to the species for their simplicity and elegance. Hybrids between species or between hybrid and species can be real winners, combining the best qualities of both. ‘Sweet Jane’ is a cross between C. japonica ‘Edith Linton’ and C. transnokoensis, raised in Australia. I’ve found it to struggle in the ground but I know someone near here who has a good one in their garden. The flowers are about 6cm across. I keep taking its picture, here’s just two.

Pinus parviflora cv. There must have been a time when I knew what variety this is, but I seem to have lost it. There are hundreds, mostly with Japanese names, very few available here. The slow growing ones make very good pot plants, mainly because they are very tolerant of neglect. This one is a metre tall and at least twenty years old. It has been next door for a couple of years but I brought it back as the “For Sale” sign is now up.

Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Lilafee’. I was wandering around the garden with my camera, fairly desperate to find something to point it at, when I spotted this. The light is so dull in mid December it’s easy to miss something colourful, even when it’s making an effort. The photo looked pretty dull too so I did a bit of tweaking to “improve” the image. Is it all about accuracy or is it all about the picture? I’m sure I don’t know.

This morning it’s raining but as often happens, compared to most of the country it’s mild. I have thousands of Camellia photos to sort out, enough to keep me going for months even if I didn’t keep adding to them. Can only do it for so long before I start making mistakes. It’s an indoor gardening job of sorts though.
There’ll be lots of sixes to read, at least that’s today sorted. Check out The Propagator for the links.

23 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 15/12/2018

  1. Hi Jim. Is this the same grisge you sent me cuttings from? It bloomed single. Also sweet Jane does very well and is hardy here. Chip


    1. Did I send you Zhenzhucha or straight grijsii? Seemingly what I thought was Zhenzchucha is just grijsii but it may be a different clone from what I grow as grijsii. I will plant Sweet Jane in the garden in spring, I have a backup if it fails. I’m surprised it’s hardy with you.


  2. The French nursery, named in the #1, is it Sterviniou? They have a lot of camellias right now …
    The ‘Sweet Jane’ one is wonderful. Do the flowers remain a long time? Of course, I guess the rain must turn this beautiful white color …


    1. No, not Stervinou. (Now there’s a nursery I’d like to visit) It was , who also have a lot of Camellias, though they don’t have C. grijsii ‘Zhenzchucha’ in their list at the moment. I think Stervinou are in Brittany, I could get the ferry from Plymouth…..
      ‘Sweet Jane’ lasts very well but I have it indoors out of the rain. It’s not so much that white flowers damage more easily as that the damage shows up much more on a white flower.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The ‘Sweet Jane’ camellia is perfection, and I’m with you on those little cyclamen- much sweeter than the hybrid ones, with the self seeding an absolute bonus.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If I could have liked this post twice I would have! My knowledge of camellias is slowly building and each week I get a better picture of which sort of camellia I would like. Again I’m thinking of my north facing border so one day I will sit down and read all your camellia posts again and take some notes. Your japenese pine puts me back into thinking about pines again and the epimedium are glorious – tweaked or not. They have also been in my subconscious for the north facing border. I must get organised!


  5. Have you had any problem with Viburnham beetle? All the V.tinus round here have got it and they can look very shabby after the have been shot blasted, then infected with a virus. I cut them right down and the regrowth is strong, but it is an issue. They are a bit dull for much of the year.


  6. Fews, I well understand you disappointment regarding the species of Camellia. I now never buy anything unless it is inflower. I once nurtured a baby lime tree for three years only to discover it was a lemon tree. I was fuming. I still haven’t got a lime tree but intend to buy one in the spring. I also bought several daisy succulents (name escapes me). I made it clear to the garden centre they must be pink. She assured me they were. When they flowered every single one was white. I went back to the garden centre and complained and the woman just shrugged her shoulders.

    I love Camellias but never tried to grow them here. I wonder if they would survive?

    The cyclamen looks dainty and perfect pots?


    1. The difficulty for most garden retailers is that they buy in from wholesalers and have to take what they get on trust as regards identity. A nursery that grows its own plants has less excuse for getting it wrong but mistakes happen. I’ve been there, I know some of the problems.
      Camellias should grow with you. There’s a Portuguese Camellia Association with an office at the Botanic Garden of Porto. In general the winter flowering sasanqua forms are more heat tolerant.
      Cyclamen in pots can be tricky, you have to get the watering right. Easier in the ground. I doubt the species that are happy here would be happy with you but there are others that might suit your conditions better.


  7. Wow, I just realized I am missing your posts. I was not following. I used to grow camellias, and will be getting back to it. Camellia reticulata never was very popular here, but we grew it more because we were the only ones who would. Some of the specie camellias should be more popular than they are. We grew only a few.


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