Six on Saturday -30/3/2019

Immediately following last week’s post I got stuck in and did quite a lot of planting out, of things I’d bought or grown last year but kept under cover for the winter. It seems too long ago to include them in this weeks six and besides, there are too many things flowering and clamouring for attention. Here’s six of them.

One.
Pleione. I bought this last year at a HPS sale, though it barely qualifies as a hardy plant. ‘Tongariro’ comes into the name somewhere, the grex name possibly. Someone had a big pan of it in the Alpines show at Rosemoor last weekend, quite a sight. As orchids go, the Pleiones are supposed to be quite easy to grow but I’ve killed one or two in my time.
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Two.
Tulips. I’m ashamed to say I can’t remember the name of the red and yellow variety. (‘Synaeda King’, I just looked) I had it last year and it did well so I bought more. Last years bulbs are in another pot and are pathetic. The pale one is T. clusiana ‘Cynthia’ I think, which were last years bulbs squeezed from two pots into one., which may be why they’ve got drawn and have flopped.
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Three.
Muscari ‘Big Smile’. I bought this from the plant centre at Rosemoor, rather than from one of the small independent nurseries attending the show. I bought stuff from them too, I wasn’t totally traitorous. It looks to be a really good form.
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Four.
Erythroniums. I’ve had mixed results with Erythroniums. ‘Pagoda’ is unstoppable; I planted bulbs of two forms of E. dens-canis last autumn, one lot were disappointing, the others did absolutely nothing. Perhaps our cats aren’t as effective as we think. The pink ones are a dens-canis form we bought as growing plants from local nursery Illand as ‘Illand Pink’. They’re doing well. I don’t remember where E. ‘Susannah’ came from. It has a price of £10 on the label so I’m profoundly glad it’s still alive, even maybe starting to increase. It’s probably still too small to tell Sue how much it cost.


Five.
Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Elizabeth’. This is now around five meters tall and is smothered in scented flowers from top to bottom. Superb plant.
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Six.
Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’. By far the most popular male clone of Skimmia and it’s easy to see why. The male inflorescences are much showier than the females, though obviously it’s the females that have berries. Even in bud they’re quite ornamental. ‘Rubella’ is not especially good as a pollinator, but our two females seem to get adequately serviced. There were several bees working them in the sun today.

Spring has been kind and generous this year, especially compared to last year. All the spring flowering plants, bulbs and shrubs in my garden mainly, seem to have benefitted from last year’s hot summer and performed very well. Several of the bulbs seem to be increasing well, which with the exception of bluebells, is very welcome. I might be getting the measure of integrating the early and late things so that I’m not constantly digging up bulbs when I’m planting things like Dahlias.
I keep getting ideas from other sixers, no doubt my wanted list will be added to again this week. The Propagator’s six is where all the threads meet, the weekly forming of the circle; all are welcome.

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39 thoughts on “Six on Saturday -30/3/2019

  1. What a splendid collection of species tulips you have, Jim. I planted my first last year and they were delightful, and I’m hoping they will multiply as they are reputed to do. Interesting that your Pleione should be called ‘Tongariro’ – that’s the name of a volcano in New Zealand!

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  2. Lovely six! I am such a massive fan of erythroniums, I know Pagoda but the pink one is new to me. The pleione are amazing, do you grow bletilla? I have had the joy of working around a flowering pittosporum this week, delicious!

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  3. Lovely, your garden is further on than mine, I am still waiting for erythroniums and most of the tulips. And my bletillas still have tight buds. I love the dark blue Muscari ‘Big Smile’, that is one to look out for.

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    1. I can’t see buds on my Bletillas though they’re about three inches tall. I don’t think my Erythronium dens-canis are going to last long, ‘Pagoda’ are just starting and usually keep going a bit better.

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  4. Pleione are very interesting Jim! and so beautiful .. I tried once unsuccessfully bletilla alba ( potted). I should probably try these, maybe they’ll do better here: also potted?
    Erytronium Pagoda is stunning ! I love it already

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  5. Lovely colours. My Pittosporum is suffering from its usual Spring Drop. I am looking forward to checking it’s perfume soon. I didn’t realise it had a perfume until after the flowers had finished and it was mentioned on Six-on-Saturday!

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    1. Buy potted and in growth if possible, or get bulbs as early as poss that have not been dry too long. My dens-canis are back for a second season, a little better than last year, so I’m hopeful. I collected and sowed seed last year, in a pot, and they’ve germinated well this spring. I think I’ll plant out the whole potful at some point, and repeat every year. Pagoda is strong and bulks up quite quickly, seems good in sun or shade.

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  6. I’ve never managed to keep Erythroniums from one year to the next so have kept one in a pot this year. The leaves look healthy and I think there’s a couple of buds emerging. Not sure a pot is a long time solution though?

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    1. They’re not above ground for very long so are at risk of disturbance when dormant or of having thuggy things like foxgloves or aquilegia grow on top of them. I’m still learning what conditions suit them best.

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  7. Erythroniums are on my list for the autumn, by when I’ll have expanded the shady area here. Are those Muscari a spreading (aka invasive) type or are they well-behaved?

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    1. Ask me about the Muscari in a couple of years time, I’ve only had it a week. It has a relatively broad glaucous leaf, so is presumably not just another form of the usual invasive thing. It’s a much clearer blue than the usual one, accentuated by a white edge to the flower, so I’d be happy to have it spread a bit.

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  8. Wow! £10 Erythroniums. You’re flash. I would like to try Pagoda in a new area of the churchyard next year. I have a very poor track record of keeping any Erythronium alive, which just makes you want another go.

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    1. Sometimes you wince, shut your eyes and shell out a lot for something and in hindsight it was money very well spent. Mostly they die. Makes you want to try again or give up and try something else. Mostly, when things fail, you don’t really know why, so you don’t know what to do differently.

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    1. I have two Pleiones and they’ve both survived over a year. I’ve had them before and they’ve died. If I cracked growing them there are hundreds, if not thousands to be had, all waiting out there to tempt me.

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  9. I don’t have much luck with tulips. I’ve tried them again this year, in pots. One dwarf variety have been less than impressive. The others have yet to show any signs of buds. Those Erythroniums are very elegant. My mum has a skimmia. Lovely fragrance.

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    1. I’ve only had a good second season with T. clusiana. The rest seem mostly to have obsolescence bred in, which seems OK with something that is supposed to be an annual and slightly wrong with things that aren’t. Skimmia is a very good plant, it gives a lot.

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  10. My pleione flowered last year but not this. Annoying. There was a lovely pan of yellow ones at the World of Alpines show at RHS Wisley yesterday which looked very cheerful indeed. At the bottom of your post you have some wood anemones – are they the robinsonia ones? They look slightly bluish.

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  11. Another fabulous collection of plants. Thanks for all the advice and comments on the erythroniums. They’ve been on my wish list for a long time. Now I’m onto the north facing border I might get round to them. The muscari is wonderferful and also the pittosporum with the dark flower but top fave this week must be the pleione.

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  12. Pittosporum tennuifolium ‘Elizabeth’ is fragrant? I just think of it as a hedge that does no more than provide a green fence. It and other cultivars are very popular here because they need only a bit of water once established. I would think that they would dislike the climate there. I am not very familiar with ‘Elizabeth’.

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    1. ‘Elizabeth’ was a clone that when it first appeared was being marketed as a particularly cold hardy selection, and so it has proved in the UK. I imagine that if clipped as a hedge you wouldn’t get much flower but the scent on mine is pleasant enough and quite strong.

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      1. I do not consider tolerance to frost in regard to pittosporum. It is not n issue here. The various specie happen to be very popular here because they do so well on the coast as well as in the inner chaparral climates. I have seen the common Pittosporum tenuifolium bloom on the coast, but never noticed the fragrance, perhaps because the weather had always been cool and damp when I notice them. (I noticed them only a few times.) Pittosporum undulatum used to be very fragrant in the Los Angeles region, but has been dying out for the past many years. It is something I remember very distinctly in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles.

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      2. Liners New Zealand, from whom we got it, offered a good range of native and non-native plants which I imagine they’d tailored to their various markets. Trouble was, once they became established overseas it made sense to propagate locally because it was cheaper and you didn’t have to deal with plants that were six months out of sync.

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      3. Goodness! That is a whole different topic. We used to bring in magnolias, Japanese maples and a few other crops in from New Zealand, because, even with the cost of shipping, it was less expensive to do so than grow them here. It was certainly not my idea. they came in completely dormant in the middle of summer, and were delayed while getting inspected in the three counties they came through to get here! It was SO not worth the bother. I would not mind doing it for a few plants for my own home garden, but not for entire crops!

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