Six on Saturday – 16/2/2019

Here’s a fine thing, six on Saturday and I had done nothing until this morning. Being in the luxurious state that is retirement, I usually have it all lined up by Friday night at the latest.
It was inevitable then that the weather would conspire to frustrate me, not that it’s raining or snowing, just foggy and very gloomy, meaning that some of my pictures are not what I would have liked.

Seed sowing. I’m still in the phase of sowing odds and ends that either need pre-treatment to break dormancy, need a long growing season or that might give me an early crop sown now. Mass sowings are still a little way off in this household, not least because I’d have nowhere to put seedlings until I can chuck a few things out of the glasshouse. So this morning I sowed Onions, variety ‘Armstrong’, which did well for me last year and has kept exceptionally well. The picture shows Lettuce ‘Oakleaf Navarra’ germinating from a sowing six days ago. I also noticed in the picture, rather than in the field as it were, that I have a seedling of Ruscus coming up.

I probably wouldn’t have got off my backside and gone had I not been asked along by some gardening friends, but I went to a talk by Rosie Hardy, put on by the Cornwall Garden Society, on early flowering perennials. I’ve joined the CGS at least three times and let it lapse after a year because I’ve been to nothing and it didn’t seem worth renewing my membership.
Anyhow, I went along, enjoyed the talk, chatted with old friends, had a coffee, tried in vain to avert my eyes from the sales table and came away with Ipheion ‘Rolf Fiedler’ and Bergenia ciliata. Got away lightly by any reasonable standard. I don’t know about resistance being futile, resistance is vital, even if only partially successful.

One thing I needed to photograph this morning was this Camellia. It’s one of three seedlings that I selected out of fifty or so that I’d raised from Camellia reticulata ‘Mary Williams’, a single flowered form that is supposed to be the best of the forms that Forrest introduced from Yunnan back in the whenever. Suffice it to say that it sets seed freely and while most are single dull pinks, the odd one seems to have had a liaison with a more exotic lover and turns out more interesting. This one carries my partner’s name, a working title as it hasn’t been registered, but it’s edging closer to warranting that recognition. This bloom is 12cm across and will probably get a little bigger. I’ve tweaked away at the colour in two versions of RAW processing software and I’m close. It’s difficult, a cropped picture on a computer screen is never going to look the same as a flower in the garden.

I planted some groups of Crocus tomasinianus in the autumn and am encouraged by how they’ve done. I like it so far but it’s bitty. What I really want is mass carpets of them, but I have no grass so they have to fit in with other garden plants that will fill the space for the rest of the year. I’m looking hard now to see where I have bare ground between other plants like Fuchsias and Dahlias that are currently below gound.

There was a bit of Twittering going on earlier in the week around the notion that joining in to a meme like this is hard if you’re a newbie gardener. As it happens, horticulture was the career I pursued and it’s hard not to pick up some knowledge along the way. I’m getting on a bit though and that knowledge is not going to be of use to me forever so I am almost desperate to pass it on to someone younger, especially if they’re keen to learn. Needing help myself this week, I turned to the RHS to identify a root pest I am considerably troubled by. Turns out it’s root mealy bug, a species of Rhizoecus. I’m now better informed, if not better armed, to deal with it. When I got in touch I was afraid it would either be something obvious that I should have know, or something new and nasty that they would send in Defra to destroy.
The insects are about 2mm long and the RHS complimented me on the clarity of the pictures, good for a non-professional. I’m still not sure it’s a compliment I really wanted.

Fuchsia juntacensis. ‘Nuff said.

Gone noon, I haven’t posted this and I haven’t looked at anyone else’s posts. It’s not even today any more in New Zealand. Links as ever to many sixes at The Propagator. (How many times have I written ‘Propagator’ and I still have to think how to spell it)

38 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 16/2/2019

    1. Ask me again in a couple of years. Rosie Hardy said they were, but she was selling them. It’s usually a matter of giving them the right conditions, humus rich semi-shade in this case, contrary to what most bulbs want.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. The camellia is a beauty, the fuchsia divine and the Ipheion ‘Rolf Fiedler’ gorgeous! I have the white ones in a pot and three are flowering. I think after this spring I shall plant all the bulbs in pots in the ground.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That beast of root mealy bug is only 2mm long?! The head appears to be as bald as Picard at the moment. The Camellia is stunning.


    1. We know we have it around so we turn out the pots at intervals. You see patches of mealiness. It’s a sap sucker so it doesn’t cause sudden collapse like weevil, the plants just gradually go peely wally.


    1. I’m sorry I missed out on the twitter chat. I’ve got so much from being part of this group. I can’t say I’m a newbie gardener but there is always so much to share and learn. Not to mention the great support. Beautiful fuschia and the ipheion too. I don’t have a single crocus in the garden and like you I’ve been thinking about where to put them. This morning I hit upon a plan. Now I just have to buy several hundred bulbs of a stunning variety. Is it too early to be thinking about bulbs for next spring!? Also with you on spelling – I have resorted to using ‘Mr P’ :). Good luck with the root mealy bug

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the crocuses really like the heat last summer, I want more but I’m slightly afraid it’ll be years before they’re as good again. I got two tomasinianus varieties from Parkers wholesale but they’re not listed at the moment, presumably because they’re not available.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You must be so excited about your upcoming camellia season. I know I’m excited about the beauties you’ll share! And pray tell, what is your partner’s name that you’ve attached to the beautiful new bloom?


  4. Jim, you won’t be surprised to learn… root mealy bug is/was also a pest in my garden. It attacked my strawberries. The only way I got rid of it was to dig up all the plants. Clean off all the earth from the roots, wash the roots with some special soap…and cut off most of the leaves. I emptied all the posts of the old compost, disinfected the pots, then replant in new compost. It worked for me but unfortunately i don’t know what the special soap was. It was blue and hard. I think it was like a disinfectant soap.

    I am also experimenting with
    have you tried it?


      1. Yep, excellent source! Interesting tip re removing plant from pot.

        We can buy hydrogen peroxide 10 or 3% volume from the supermarket. I found it among the plasters, wound disinfectant etc.


  5. My six was so late this week that I posted it on Sunday here. I thought that seeing so many Sixers are in the UK I would be excused. That Fuchsia is simply stunning as is the gorgeous Camellia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With antipodeans temporally to one side and Americans to the other, SoS seems to span 36 hours or more without anyone breaking the rules, which is great on a miserable grey rainy sunday morning. Now I get to read your six.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This camellia is such a beauty! Even if the color doesn’t do justice, it is gorgeous . The ipheon too, one more in my wish list.
    For the bug, I would have also said about mealy bug, but not as precisely as the RHS of course.


  7. Love that fuchsia! I’m like you. Who can go to a garden talk and come home empty handed? I think it’s impossible. I joined our garden club, well let me re-phrase that, I was selected to join the garden club. You have to be invited and if you do not attend all the meetings, you are politely asked to leave. I attended all the meetings, but I didn’t learn anything. Their big thing was to host the Garden Symposium, which cost a lot of money to go to and had speakers from all around the world, but nothing for our own gardens. I think I wasn’t experienced enough for that club so I dropped out. Maybe they all knew about our home gardens and wanted further enlightenment, I get that. I learn a lot from the SOS’ers.


    1. I think (and hope) that if someone told me I’d been deemed suitable to join that sort of club, gardening or otherwise, that I would politely decline. No, scratch the politely. I’m through with that sort of assumed superiority. I’m a chat over the garden fence sort of gardener. The nursery where I worked had a huge plant range and attracted all sorts of customers from complete novices to serious experts. I always tried to be work out where they were coming from and engage at an appropriate level without being condescending. It’s more of a challenge when you have a sizable audience of very mixed knowledge levels but the principle is the same. I also try never to lose sight of the fact that at the same time as being informative, you must also entertain, people do gardening for pleasure after all. Having a speaker who has been engaged to talk in depth about their field of expertise to an audience who don’t understand a word and probably wouldn’t be interested if they did is weird. I’m a member of the International Camellia Society and can go to their biennial congress to listen to specialists in Camellia related fields but gardening in general is such a massively wide field. You wouldn’t invite those sort of speakers to a garden club. I’m ranting aren’t I, I’ll stop.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jim, when I was new to the community I expressed an interest in gardening and was told there was a gardening club. The first meeting I went to I met a lot of people and thought this world be a good way to get to know my new community. (I also asked about a book club of which there were over 25 in a town of 10,000, but that is another story) So I expressed my interest in joining the garden club and was told I needed a sponsor. And fill out a form……hmmm. A woman, who was also retired military, sponsored me. Long story short, it was not for me. I asked to be released after one year. Can you imagine? Since then I have learned it is QUITE the THING to be part of this group, many never get excepted, who have requested to do so. I am more of an “over the fence gardener too.”


      2. If I recall anything of Transactional Analysis, “Mine’s bigger than yours” is one of the first social constructs children pick up on. Some people never grow out of it, merely refine it. I’d never be accepted, but then I wouldn’t get sponsored either.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. That is a pretty sweet Camellia reticulata. We started growing Camellia reticulata back in the 1990s, shortly after starting to grow Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua. They were never very popular here. Since I am not working with them for now, I do not know if the Camellia reticulata are still in production. The name of yours does not sound familiar, so I doubt we grew it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jim that is a lovely Six and a lovely set of comments. Sorry I’m only just getting around to reading, been a busy week. Your camelia is a beauty. We had Rosie Hardy as a speaker last year, she was very good and had excellent plants for sale. I think I got away without buying as I was running home. An unlucky escape.

    Liked by 1 person

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