I have to admit I’m not highly motivated to get out into the garden at the moment. My task for the week has been to sort out the 18,500 photos of Camellias I took in 2017. Done, phew. Now for 2016, not so many, just under 10,000.
It would not be true to say that nothing is happening out there. For a handful of things, mostly camellias, this is their moment. Then there are a few things still with an odd flower or two hanging on from the summer, mostly Fuchsias. Next are the ones that are getting ahead of themselves, like Primula and Hellebore. Lots of stuff, especially bulbs but also herbaceous plants, are pushing up. Fuchsias in the garden are making new growth which probably won’t survive.
Phyllostachys aureosulcata ‘Spectabilis’. Making another appearance not long after the last because I’ve been hacking at it. I have thinned it out, removing the oldest, the thinnest and any damaged canes. The canes need to be three years old or more to be much use and I probably cut 20 usable ones, up to 15ft long. They mostly get used for Dahlias and beans. I’ve also removed all the side shoots from the bottom 3ft, creating a view through the clump and showing off the yellow canes. I will probably have another bite at some point. After I looked at the picture I went out and spread the two bags of leaf mould that are hiding behind it. Should have retaken the picture.
Camellia sasanqua ‘Paradise Belinda’. I don’t know what to make of this variety. It was described to me by the seller as the best of the Paradise series for UK conditions and Jennifer Trehane is enthusiastic about it in her book, saying it has lots of 11cm flowers. I have one in a pot and one in the ground, both have been very slow to flower and the one bloom I have out is barely 5cm across.
Fuchsia excorticata/x colensoi. This is supposed to be Fuchsia excorticata, the tree fuchsia of New Zealand. I don’t think it is, I think it’s a form of the hybrid between F. excorticata and F. perscandens known as F. x colensoi. It’s an untidy, straggly bush that doesn’t look like it would make a tree and has too small a leaf for F. excorticata, too large for F. perscandens. It flowers in the middle of winter on bare stems, the flowers coming directly from even the older, thicker stems. They don’t exactly stand out, if you didn’t go looking you could miss them altogether.
I took these camellia cuttings on August 16, at which stage the flower buds would have just started to become distinguishable from the growth buds. Where it was clear I would have removed them but in this case I missed it. So I’m guilty of bad form in letting it flower on the prop bench. There are no roots out of the bottom on this variety, which is C. sasanqua ‘Cotton Candy’, though there are on some of the others in the tray, including one called ‘Pat Short’ which I’m very pleased about because I’m propagating it for the Mount Edgcumbe National collection and it was sent them by Pat Short, who is a very nice American lady. Actually, ‘Cotton Candy’ is also being propagated for Caroline Bell’s new National Collection of autumn/winter flowering camellias.
While I’m on the subject of propagation I finally got around to another long put off task and took a couple of cuttings of my Schefflera taiwaniana. The original plant was grown from seed scrounged from an original introduction plant and I know of one other from the same seed batch which is significantly different, possibly hybrid, so vegetative propagation would be the only way to produce an identical plant. I don’t need another plant of it but out of interest I want to know if it will grow from cuttings. They were treated with Clonex gel and stuck in Sylvagrow compost, then put under mist with 21°C bottom heat.
It being the shortest day I went round the garden and took a picture of everything with a flower on it. In most cases it was one or two blooms on a bedraggled plant, a very long way from a flower display and doing little to relieve the drabness, but take a picture of each and bring them all together it doesn’t look too shabby.
We have new neighbours on one side, the other side is still empty. Three teenage children with a taste for lying in late. That might prove incompatible with my shredding activities. I worry about their capacity for revenge if I wake them early. Mind, they moved in Tuesday and it hosed down all day and by Friday they’d put a sizable shed up in the garden. Guess he needed to keep out of the way of the indoor shenanigans.
We were going away for Christmas but it didn’t work out. It’ll be a quiet affair, as it usually is, which suits me fine. A few dry days would be welcome, I need to get some work done on the allotment.
Pop over to The Propagator for links to lots more Saturday sixes. Little windows on the world with all the grotty stuff filtered out. Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.