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)