Six on Saturday -22/12/2018

SOS782I 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.

26 thoughts on “Six on Saturday -22/12/2018

  1. Hi Jim. New neighbors … always a risk of conflict … I hope everything will be fine.
    18500 photos! … and only camellias …. what a job and courage ! I understand why you didn’t go out this week.
    About your bamboos, I did the same thing by removing the side shoots from the bottom : it gives a better view.


  2. The bamboo is magnificent, I do love the yellow ones. Your montage is lovely, each flower is precious at this time of year, it doesn’t matter if they are less than perfect. Loving the pale blue double primula. 🙂


    1. The primula was one of Barnhaven’s unnamed double blue seedlings. It’s very nice and the plants I bought last year have done pretty well, especially considering the hot summer. I might need to get more at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a lot of colour!! Have a good, quiet Christmas, Jim. Our day with Mr P probably won’t be quiet, but we are always very well looked after and entertained. Thank you for your helpful hints this year.


  4. Love the photo gallery Jim, nice to see some colour in the garden. I haven’t even looked at mine since returning from Shropshire last weekend. All so very wet and brown – though I have noticed the replacement “Tresco Purple” Osteospermum is valiantly flowering on.


    1. With the exception of Camellia ‘Show Girl’, all the flowers are tiny specks of colour against a brown background. In bluish winter light they’re easy to miss. It’s interesting how the straw colour of dead grasses stands out better than pink flowers, sunny or overcast.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful bamboo! I would not have thought of growing a specific variety of it just to use for stakes, and thank you for providing the name of what you have chosen to grow.
    I always learn something, from everyone’s postings on Saturday and every day. Today I learned (after looking it up) the difference between a montage and a collage. Yours is very cheering, and an awfully smart idea!


    1. I didn’t plant the bamboo for canes, probably didn’t cut any to use for the first 10 years. Probably would have chosen a different variety if I’d been planting primarily for canes, though I’m not sure what. Phyllostachys bissettii maybe. We just had a discussion about collage v montage and think we know, now I’ll get the dictionary.


  6. Great colourful gallery. I really like the bamboo. If I had a bigger garden I’d definitely get one. Free canes an added bonus.


  7. Evening Jim. Good to see some propagation go on, especially when the words ‘I don’t need another one…’ are uttered in the same breath! I recognise the symptoms only too well. I recently acquired a small division of a bamboo, hoping it will bulk out over the next year or three. It has knobbly stems, I can’t recall the variety, Tim sent it to me.


    1. That’ll be Chimonobambusa tumidissinoda, he says, as if he hadn’t just looked it up. I think we have to come clean and admit that when it comes to propagation, needing more plants is a pretty unconvincing excuse. It’s mainly the process of bringing some new thing into the world, knowing that if push comes to shove you can just put it on the compost heap, unlike children.


      1. Checking my careful records (ie trawling through other peoples blog posts from weeks ago) I can confirm the identity of the bamboo division: Phyllostachys Aurea


  8. Your bamboo looks splendid with its golden canes. I think that’s the one we discussed earlier in the year as I was thinking of putting it along one of our metal fences. I’ve decided not to do it now, but I must say I like the look of yours. Also the photo montage…you may have had to look closely for the flowers but they certainly are bright spots of colour.


    1. My bamboo started as a single clump and has spread to make a row. I bet if I’d put it on a boundary it would have grown at 90 degrees and been a nuisance to myself and the neighbour. I have chopped a few bits that got out of line, but not much.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I see your Camellias and I so want one/some. Trouble is it/they would have to be containerised. Do I really want more pots? The answer to that depends if it comes from the heart or the head.
    Thank you for the hints and help you’ve given me this year, very much appreciated. Enjoy your peaceful Christmas

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Bamboo is something that I SO do not miss. We got into growing it back in the mid 1990s, which I would not have minded, but we just were not set up for it. I mean, we grew rhododendrons and azaleas, with a few camellias back then. We did not have the infrastructure set up for bamboo. It was disastrous. It was SO disastrous that I would not want to grow it again, and would be hesitant to grow more than just small colonies of it in my own garden. Phyllostachys aurea was one of the most common sorts when I was a kid, but I do not see it any more. We did not grow it. I am not familiar with yours.


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