Six on Saturday – 26/1/2019

Yesterday the temperature was well up in double figures and there is no doubt the pace of things in the garden is picking up. I went out expecting very little to have changed from last week and found twice as many items as I needed. I’m not complaining, winter is plenty long enough and I’m always desperate for spring to get going. It’s always a protracted business with setbacks along the way; patience is called for.

It takes a certain sort of person to favour Muehlenbeckia astonii over an Iris reticulata that is flowering for the first time in many, many years. I am that sort of person. I thought it was hanging on to a few leaves from last year but no, it thinks spring is here and is breaking bud. The biggest of the new leaves are about 4mm across so I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was greening up and since I pretty much grow it for the bare stems you could say that it’s coming to the end of its season of interest.

The various succulents that I included last week were well received. I take that as encouragement and you probably shouldn’t encourage me. This is Agave montana, collected at altitude in Mexico by Nick Macer and bought from his nursery, Pan Global Plants, several years ago. It was overwintered under cover for a couple of years but has been outdoors all year for the past six or seven. It has weeds and I’m really not keen on weeding it. The other thing is Aloe aristata, which also lives outdoors.

Chrysoplenium macrophyllum. In summer this is buried beneath Astilbe and Impatiens in what passes for a bog garden (filled in pond). It’s surviving rather than thriving and even in flower is interesting in an very understated way. I should pot a bit up and look after it, see what’s it’s made of.

Arum italicum ‘Pictum’ or as it seems to be now, Arum italicum subsp. italicum ‘Marmoratum’. I don’t have this, it’s growing in a friend’s garden and was looking superb yesterday when I called for a coffee. She gave me seed in the autumn which is sown but not doing anything yet. The pot of seed made a less interesting picture.

A few years back I was going round Tregrehan with a bunch of other people and admired a six foot bush of Sarcococca wallichiana loaded with high gloss, pitch black fruits. With permission, I picked a few and managed to raise a few plants. This is the first to flower and as you can see, it was so well worth the wait. The flowers are scented, but not as strongly as the usual species you see. I need to see if I took a picture of the fruits.

I have crocuses.

The End.
For yet another week. The six flowery things at the top were decoys, the six that might have been. Some are slated to appear in a later episode, some not.
Check out The Propagator’s six for links to many more sixes. Full of spring is coming optimism no doubt.

25 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 26/1/2019

  1. Ha, ha about not weeding your Agave. I found myself wafting a feather duster in the crevices of one I grow for a client last Spring, but it still got me! You love a long term project, don’t you? Sarcococca from seed!


    1. Your comment on the Sarcococca drove me out to check the label for the sowing date, which was 9/12/16, a year less than I thought and not too bad, they’re about a foot high. Narrows my search for photos too, assuming I took any.


  2. That agave is wonderful, I don’t blame you about avoiding weeding, I have been that cowboy! The sarcococca is very nice too. I planted some chrysoplenium in one of my client’s gardens, now I can’t wait to get back there to see how it is doing.


  3. This week my favorites are the Muehlenbeckia and your neighbors, “pictum”! I want to more about your decoys too, especially the blue one! I have to keep my plant encyclopedia near, so I can look all the names, as I only know plants as a non-gardener, such as rose, daffodil, peony. Ha Ha!


    1. The blue one is a double primrose, featured last spring I’m always wary of common names for uncommon plants, they’re often no better known than the botanical name and as you say, you can always look things up. Wiggy-wig bush or shrubby tororaro for the Muehlenbeckia would not mean much to most people and you can never be sure whether they get applied to one thing or several.


    1. The usual wild one is Arum maculatum, Lords and Ladies, aka Cuckoo Pint. Its leaves are all green. Arum italicum is also a rare native, with paler veins and a yellow spadix. Non-native garden forms have become naturalised too, with creamy veins. I imagine there are various intermediates too.

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    1. I have to confess I’ve been putting off tackling it. It has that beastly purple leaves Oxalis in it, which will have a deep tap root that I’d like to get out, I could end up knocking the plant out of the pot, weeding it from below, then re-potting it. Probably need a blood transfusion afterwards.


  4. I planted the Arum several years ago as I love the leaves. It slowly spread and then suddenly seemed to be everywhere. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it all but am fairly ruthless with it each year and remove the spathes as soon as they appear.


  5. It’s true; there are several plants I have heard called “wiggy-wig bush” in my lifetime. I want the real one, now that I’ve seen your pictures.


      1. Now that I know of it, I can be looking for it. Who knows, maybe they have it in the botanical gardens in NYC or Washington, DC.


  6. What a stunner you started with – Muehlenbeckia astonii!! Your collector trait triumphs again. Maybe once I get some iris reticulatas in I can move on to the more amazing plants! Thanks for broadening the horizons again.

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