Six on Saturday – 20/4/2019

Oh my, what perfect gardening weather, I’m knackered. Finding six things wasn’t a problem though, it’s all happening.

With a strong sense of not having a clue what I was doing, I pruned my ‘Victoria’ plum tree. Shortened all of last year’s shoots to a couple of sideshoots and thinned it out some. There are some serious signs of bacterial canker in it so I don’t know how much longer it will last. (For anyone interested, I used my new ARS 180ZF-2.0-3 telescopic pruner which I bought from the excellent Sorbus International.)

When Ron Scamp came to our garden club back along, I bought a number of bulbs from him, the last of which is now flowering. This is the poeticus hybrid ‘St Petroc’, and very beautiful it is too. The big question, as ever, is will it come back next year? If it does, more will be purchased, several more.

Disporum sessile var. macrophyllum BSWJ4316. The bells are 3cm long on a plant 50 cm tall. It has been in for a few years and had remained as a tight clump until now. Last year seems to have suited it and I have shoots coming up 60cm away from the main clump; it’s on the march. Dan Hinckley says it comes from the summer warm and humid parts of east Asia and is a weaver rather than ground cover in his Pacific North West garden. A classic woodland plant.

In terms of refinement Lunaria and Disporum are at opposite ends of the gardening spectrum. Just off the A38 at Doublebois (pronounced Double-boys) the road goes over the railway and along the edge of the road a couple of years back was a wonderful display of this very fine purple-red form of Honesty. It’s all gone now, but I did manage to collect a bit of seed when it was in its pomp and now have my own clump.
I’ve shown this before, back when there was less happening and it had opened a couple of blooms. Magnolia ‘Ann’. It has grown determinedly sideways and has had numerous bits snipped off as they’ve crowded other things. Nothing has come off the top, which is flat. It’ll do a better job of obscuring the midden out front of the greenhouse when it’s in leaf.

Camassia leichtlinii. We had a sizeable clump in one flower bed and every year they came up, flowered for a week then flopped on top of everything else. Last year I dug them all up and replanted them along the bank at the back of the garden. And did a poor job of getting them all, since there are almost as many still left as there were before. The ones I did succeed in moving have done very well too and can flop down the railway sleeper wall while the Fuchsias grow up around them.

And that’s your lot for another week. For links to all the other sixers go to The Propagators entry where you will find them all in the comments. For me it will have to wait, it’s car boot season again and another attempt to flog off some of the ridiculous amount of plant surplus that we seem unable not to grow. Then back to produce more so we have to do another one. It’s madness. I should be forced to live in a tower block for a year to cure me of it.

33 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 20/4/2019

    1. The joys of a 10 second timer on the camera. Hit shutter, dash across garden, pick up pruner and try to look casual. I really hope St Petroc likes it here and decides to stay. (St Petroc just got autocorrected to Petrochemical!!!)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I just looked up Polygonatum, which is in Asparagaceae, and Disporum, which is in Colchicaceae. I find that surprising, I’d have bet on them being in the same family. You won’t be surprised that I have a few Solomon’s Seals as well.

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  1. I may not have as good a memory these days…and have to write names down, I was jolted by the name Ron Scamp, as only last week his name was given to be by an RHS daffodil show judge, who said he had the best quality bulbs. Love that honesty…honestly the juxtaposition of that purple and the glaucous blue green lead is excellent. It was worth saving the seed. Have a good week gardening.

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  2. Do Camassia make a habit of drooping then? I quite fancy a few, but not if they flop. Love ‘St Petroc’, that’s a very bonny flower. The only narcissus I have left in flower is Narcissus ‘Segovia’ – a pretty little thing with white petals and a small flat lemon cup. Scented too.


    1. I find the flowers of Camassia mainly stand up, but the leaves go every which way after the flowers finish their all too short performance. Segovia sounds nice, it’s in Ron’s catalogue along with loads of other very desirable miniatures. There were lots in one of the Rosemoor shows earlier, it was a mistake to look at them. Resistance is futile.

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  3. Beautiful poeticus and interesting to read about the camassias which are on my order list. I was looking at my plum yesterday and wondering if it was too early to prune it. Sounds like another one for the to do list!


  4. I am fan training a victoria plum, it is finally putting on some decent healthy looking growth. I even had some blossom (3 or 4!) So I may even get some fruit! Hope yours lasts a wee bit longer…


    1. I’m in an agony of indecision over whether to prune out the infected branches, which would leave several largish wounds just below the main crown, or just let things take their course. At least there’s nothing else it’s going to spread to.


  5. This is cheating, of course. You are supposed to offer some plants that others can add to their lust lists but not a whole flippin’ catalogue. At least I’ve been innoculated against that one (his displays at RHS shows are always drool-inducing). On the other hand, I’ve not been innoculated against Bleddyn and Sue!


    1. The only vaccine developed so far against Bleddyn & Sue is a fairly ineffective one from HSBC. I had you in mind when I mentioned my telescopic pruner, first seen in Niwaki catalogue though Sorbus beat them on price.


      1. I don’t like the types that have the rope inside the pole. Devil of a job to replace the rope. Prefer the type with the loose rope which also affords the benefit of greater leverage.


  6. EGAD! This is the one time of year that plums should NOT be pruned! The best time is in winter, while they are completely bare and dormant. Once their buds begin to swell, they are more vascularly active than they will be at any other time of year, so they really dislike disruption. If you prune it as it is blooming, or just after bloom, much of the developing fruit can be knocked off. If it can not be pruned in winter, the next best time to prune is after the fruit is harvested. That is when growth slows down. Pruning immediately after harvest is ‘summer pruning’ which stimulates development of an abundance of small sideshoots, which can be very productive the following year. If you prune late, such as in autumn, sideshoots will not elongate, which is how I prefer to prune. Of course, as a native of the Santa Clara Valley (where we are very familiar with fruits and nuts) (no, that is not a pun), I still prefer to prune in the middle of winter.


    1. This is interesting because there seems to be a significant difference between good practice where you are and where I am. I will happily admit to knowing very little about pruning plums, so when I planted the tree about five years ago I looked on the Royal Horticultural Society’s website for pruning advice. The month April was the only thing I remembered so come mid April I thought I’d better do something. Now you’re telling me I couldn’t have got it more wrong so I figured it was time to look it up again. I was nearly right; the RHS says avoid pruning plums in winter because of the increased risk of silver leaf disease, prune in April for young trees and July for established ones. It was a young tree when I first looked it up, which is why April was etched into my memory, but now it’s older I should have left it until the third week of July, which would presumably square with your advice about pruning just after picking the fruit. I’m not overly concerned about knocking off the fruit, it looks to have set way too much so I will have to thin shortly in any case.

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      1. Well, that makes much more sense. Fruit is not the concern in the first year. Even though the labels of some fruit trees plainly say that they will fruit in their first year, and technically, they ‘could’, they really shouldn’t. Fruit production is just to much stress for a new tree that should be concentrating on dispersing roots. I prefer to knock off any fruit that happens to develop. If it grows well, I do not mind if a tree fruits the second year. I have never heard of the disease, so would not have had any reason to time pruning around it. As I mentioned earlier, pruning after harvest is what we know as summer pruning. It is not how I like to do it, but it is quite appropriate, and can actually make trees more productive within less space. It became something of a fad here a few years back because modern homes have less space for gardening than the older homes that they replace.

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