I’m hoping for enough of a break between weather events this morning to meet with a young couple who are going to take on half of one of my two allotments. I don’t really need two whole plots but one isn’t quite enough either. They’re new to veg growing and both work full time, so a half plot is as much as they want to take on. At the moment it’s hosing it down. A clearing shower perhaps.
Carnage in the conservatory. I spent a couple of hours yesterday wiping the leaves of my potted Camellia grijsii which was infested with scale. These are cottony, or brown scale. There were several on the underside of just about every leaf. They suck the sap and deposit sticky goo onto the leaves below, which then go black as it gets colonised by mould. When I’d finished that I turned to a poorly looking Camellia ‘Ariel’s Song’, which had aphids and tortrix moth. I squashed the aphids and pulled apart any webbed bits to find and kill the tortrix caterpillars. I suppose I should be grateful it didn’t have scale as well.
I didn’t want to make three items out of three pests, too depressing. I planted two flavours of Crocus tomasinianus a few months back and I’m pleased to see them all up and performing. ‘Barr’s Purple’ are flowering now, ‘Ruby Giant’ look to be a couple of weeks behind. Some sun, to open the flowers, would be appreciated. Parkers Wholesale was the supplier, should anyone be interested.
Every year I get a few snowdrops up and start despairing that there are so few left. Then more appear and I’m happy again. I have a few singles that come early, and lots of doubles which are a bit later. They seem to be popping up in a lot of different places this year, which I’m very happy about.
Yet another where I’m late to the party is hellebores. I have some seedling orientalis types and they don’t like our garden a lot. Still, I’m not going to complain too much about anything that flowers in February.
I was pretty surprised to see a flower out on one of my Epimediums. This is ‘Akebono’, which seems to be well ahead of any others that I have. It did spur me into cutting the old leaves off ‘Froehnleiten’, in the course of which I saw one or two shots starting to grow.
There are other things beginning to stir, which is cause for celebration in the sense that they’ve survived and have started to grow but cause for concern in that I’m never sure which will survive a bit of frost and which I need to be prepared to protect. The only way to find out is to leave them to take their chances but while some things will produce a new crop of shoots if the first lot are trashed, not everything does. I think I learned too late last year that Disporum cantoniense ‘Green Giant’ only does one flush but of course I didn’t make a written note so now I’m not sure. Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’ had its first flush killed but bounced back last year but even so I can’t think that it was the better for it.
I think between now and next weekend I shall sow some seeds. When Twitter gets to about 50:50 between the “I have just sown’s” and the “it’s too early to sow’s” is about right. Forget the phases of the moon, never mind the date or the weather, just aim to be Mr ‘In the Middle’, that’s me.
There’s a world of gardeners out there, all saving up six things to do on a Saturday so they can tell the world about it. Mr “Six is a Magic Number” Propagator is the host. Please join in, you can peer over my fence if I can peer over yours.