Six on Saturday – 23/2/2019

The weather is behaving like April and my head is still in January. I hadn’t cranked up my slug vigilance, which cost me a pot of lettuce seedlings this week, and I’m struggling to remember to keep checking what needs watering. Yesterday evening saw the first torchlight slug patrol of the year; the other side sustained multiple casualties.

Being a pessimist it seems likely that it will either go cold again and clobber everything that got out of bed too early or we’re going to have a very long dry summer. The mid winter period when finding things to include on a Saturday was a challenge, seems to have been exceptionally short. There are oddities though, like Muscaria, the leaves of which seemed to be coming up unusually early in the autumn but still no sign of flowers. I’ve seen them on other peoples posts, even in other peoples gardens but nothing here. Perhaps the slugs had them too.

One.
Trachystemon orientale is always very early into leaf and flower and since the old leaves are still around, albeit ragged, it’s effectively evergreen. It’s quite coarse and not massively ornamental but the big leaves don’t get eaten much and it does well in difficult conditions like dry shade.SOS872

Two.
Borage will be in the same family as Trachystemon (Boraginaceae) and has similar qualities. This one is, I think, a form of Symphytum ibericum, but I’d be very happy to be put right if it’s not. I have it as a ground smothering carpet under shrubs and apart from spreading a bit too quickly, it is effective enough.
SOS873

Three.
The later of my two new sorts of Crocus tomasinianus is ‘Ruby Giant’, which, it turns out, is the same as the bulk of what I already had but didn’t know the name of. It’s a cracker to be sure but the person who called it ‘Ruby Giant’ needs to see an ophthalmologist.
SOS874

Four.
It is full on Camellia season already. I have three Camellia shows coming up, the last of which is at the end of April. They’ll all be over at this rate. Hard to believe that the early show at Rosemoor last year was just days after the icy blast and people were struggling to find anything to put in it. This one is ‘Annette Carol’, a hybrid raised in Australia which seems very happy here. I cut it back quite hard a couple of seasons back, it’s now back to a full flower display again.
SOS875

Five.
I may have used Primroses before, they started flowering very early this season, but I am happy to include them again, now that they’re really getting going. They have to be one of our finest and most garden worthy natives.
SOS876

Six.
Chrysolplenium davidianum. It just wasn’t practical to water everything last summer; we’re on a meter and once my rainwater tank had run dry I became selective. The Chrysoplenium fell victim sadly. This week I was given some back by a fellow gardener to whom I’d given a good sized bit a year earlier and who had planted it somewhere wetter. Insurance is not what you have in mind when you give things away but it’s a handy spin-off.
SOS877

The picture also shows two Cyclamen coum plants that looked up at me like wide eyed kittens on my first garden centre trip of the year. I was there to buy compost, nothing more. Felt obliged to buy a few seed potatoes too, overturning an earlier decision not to. What is it with gardeners and will power?
There will no doubt be an abundance of temptations in all the other sixes, hosted by Mr Prop himself. I haven’t looked and I’m weakening, paper and pen to hand.

 

35 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 23/2/2019

  1. I think it was the same person who named my recent clematis plant “red” who described your Ruby Giant crocuses. My plant is definitely purple too. I have only one primrose but it’s looking good.

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  2. Willpower? Not sure I understand what you mean 🙂 The camellia is beautiful, lots of blooms here seem to have been damaged by the wind, nice to see an unblemished flower. Last year I gave away some Heychium greenii, mine didn’t make it through. Ho Hum!

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    1. Willpower when you’re a retailer is a profoundly irritating character flaw that some customers have and which needs breaking down by any means available. When you’re a customer it’s absence becomes the character flaw.

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  3. I really admire all the primroses that show up in English garden blogs in early spring. One of these days I’ll break down and order a bunch (which will probably shrivel and die by mid July here).

    Cowslips look fantastic too, at least in photos. Do people cultivate Primula veris much, or just Primula vulgaris?

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    1. Primula vulgaris is completely indifferent to pH and grows anywhere with a little moisture. P. veris doesn’t like acid conditions so no one grows it where I am, though they may do elsewhere. P. elatior is even fussier about the conditions it grows in. I think both are cultivated, but unless the conditions are spot on, P. vulgaris is much the most likely to persist.

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  4. Your Camellia is beautiful! So many blooming already. I do hope we don’t hit a cold spell. Now the sun has decided to return I am loathe to see it disappear again (even though today was very misty). And the primrose is gorgeous too. I must buy some of those to stuff into my Cornish hedge! Do you ever use the Nematodes against slugs? I am wondering whether to try them this year as I lose a lot of plants to them.

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    1. I haven’t used slug nematodes, I’ve never looked into it but have assumed it would be prohibitively expensive to treat the whole garden. Had nematodes suggested as a treatment for scale insect on camellias yesterday, which I’d never heard of, so I have homework to do.

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  5. You are so right to sound the slug alarm! I found several in my greenhouse yesterday as I was sowing tomato seeds. I need to carry out a thorough check. Primroses and hollyhocks are all getting nibbled in the garden. Another stunning camelia and ‘Ruby Giant’ has a good strong colour – it goes onto the short list.

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    1. Slugs love plants with low spreading leaves like primula, it’s where they hide by day. In Dahlia season I find if I check their obvious hiding places frequently I can keep the numbers down. What you don’t want is hedge bottoms and dry stone walls near to vulnerable plants, too much uncheckable cover.

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  6. Love the crocus picture, I aspire to such blanket coverage. Slugs. Grrr, finding a few in my greenhouse too. I plant to clear it out and clean it this afternoon, I’ll keep an eye out for them…

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