Six on Saturday -27/4/2019

I’m off to another show at RHS Rosemoor today, the RCM Group Main Rhododendron and SW Branch Competitions. As usual, my main focus is the Camellias, which a month or so ago seemed likely to be all over by now. However, when I did my volunteer day at Mt Edgcumbe on Tuesday I was pleasantly surprised to find masses of bloom still going strong in their Camellia collection. The weather, yet again, is trying to spoil things, but we’ve had a benign week and I don’t doubt that all the competitors will have collected their precious blooms well in advance of storm Hannah’s arrival.

I hate getting really windy weather at this time of year, all the trees are just leafing out and will be looking a little forlorn by Sunday. I hope that’s the worst of it.

One.
Polygonatum hybridum ‘Betburg’. I moved this a year ago and it’s much happier in its new location. For some reason it put up a new shoot a few weeks back which has now turned green and has now produced a number of new shoots, taller, darker and with flowers.

Two.
Years ago I was given a plant of what I came to think of as Rhododendron atlanticum. It set seed and I managed to grow two seedlings, both of which are in my garden and flowering now. This is much the better of the two and though I don’t think it is done any favours by the honesty behind it, I’ve left it but made a note to arrange a better background in future. It is beautifully fragrant.

Three.
Holboellia brachyandra HWJ1023. I featured this about a fortnight later than this last year. Apart from that, nothing is different; here is what I said about it then.
“Another Crûg plant, collected by Wynn-Jones and Dan Hinkley on Fan-si-pan, North Vietnam’s highest mountain. Mine doesn’t resemble the description in Hinkley’s book and I think is probably seed raised from fruit on their first generation plants. Mine doesn’t set seed, not having another plant to pollinate it. It is monoecious, with separate male and female flowers on the same plant. The females are slightly larger, with sepals (it being sepals not petals that are its ornamental feature) up to 2.5cm long, barely a third the size that Hinkley claims. They are very pale lilac in colour, the males a little darker and more bell shaped. There is quite a strong perfume, pleasant to my nostrils but please don’t ask me to be your guide when it comes to scent. Of Cantaloupe melon, according to one writer; I wouldn’t know, I don’t do melons.
There are very few evergreen climbers; if you want one, this has to be one to consider.”

It’s a fabulous thing and I’ve seen pictures of other plants of the same species that are different enough to make me wonder about buying another so that I’d stand a chance of getting seed. But then, what would I do with loads of seedlings of it?

Four.
Camassia quamash. I included Camassia leichtlinii last week and it is still flowering. This is a smaller species, about 30cm tall, and it flowers a fortnight later with darker blue flowers than my form of C. leichtlinii. On the whole I would say it’s a much better plant and I planted a pot of it elsewhere last year which I haven’t noticed flowering this year. I should probably get some more bulbs of it in the autumn.
SOS950

Five.
Schefflera taiwaniana. I reported on taking a couple of cuttings of my Schefflera in December (here) and I’m very pleased to find that both have rooted well. I potted them up today into 1L pots.
SOS951

Six.
Athyrium nipponicum ‘Burgundy Glow’. Ferns are wonderful plants and I love them but there’s no denying the fact that a lot of them are very similar to our native male fern. I think that if you want to reduce the risk of becoming bored with them it is important to seek out as wide a range of forms and colours as possible rather than getting a bunch of similar ones and trying to convince yourself that the differences between them are greater than they are. Not all forms of the Japanese painted fern have the robust constitution that ‘Burgundy Glow’ possesses so it is a good choice. I have it in dryish shade where it is liable to go summer dormant in a year like last year. It is wholly deciduous, coming up afresh in spring.

 

Right. I have to rush. Not looking forward to the drive up to Rosemoor, it’ll be wild up on the moors. From inside, looking out, it’s a beautiful day. I’ll be back later to read all the other sixes, links as ever from The Propagator’s comments section.

37 thoughts on “Six on Saturday -27/4/2019

  1. The Burgundy Glow fern is rather nice. I wonder if I could sneak one into the garden without my wife noticing? Hmm…

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  2. Jim, I LOVE Polygonatum hybridum ‘Betburg’. I had no idea there were Solomon’s Seals with bronze stems and foliage. Has to go on my list!

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  3. Me too I presented my camassia leichtlinii (late one week compared to yours) but I discover another variety thanks to your post with C Quamash. In fact smaller, thinner, maybe more foliage too? I bought only 5 bulbs but I will add more in autumn

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  4. Good morning, Jim. Is your polygonatum related to the Solomon’s Seal ?( I don’t know the proper name for it.) Meanwhile, I am not a fan of ferns as such, but that one you have featured is beautiful! Lovely Six.

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    1. Yes, the polygonatums collectively are known as Solomon’s Seals, which I’m guessing has something to do with biblical Solomon and nothing to do with marine mammals. For now I can live without knowing. I’m going to do a blog on ferns and change your mind about them.

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  5. Our camassia are blooming at the same time, yet when I got mine, the info said they’d bloom in June. Yours look like they’ve not had dogs marauding through them, lucky ducks. Your holboellia is simply wow. I’ve stopped putting new things on my plant list, but that . . . also very much in love w/your rhodo & that is has a strong scent is just another plus. Drive safely & enjoy your trip!

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  6. When I try to Like your blog it does nothing and that happens with several blogs unfortunately. I will do what I can to sort out why this is. It just goes to a blank white screen and then nothing. Does this happen for other people do you know??

    Best wishes, Julie Quinn

    >

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    1. Holboellia should be better known, there are so few evergreen climbers and it’s a classy plant. I had a good day at Rosemoor, excellent show, talked to lots of interesting people, I could name drop but won’t. Showed Ben a bit of the garden he didn’t know existed, which I wouldn’t have thought possible.

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  7. Your Athyrium nipponicum ‘Burgundy Glow’ is a beauty, I have just bought three of these type of ferns and will be putting them in pots in the north-facing courtyard where I hope they will be happy along with the Fuchsias. I like ferns and they are usually easy to look after. Have fun at Rosemoor. I wish I lived closer to that garden, it is lovely.

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    1. From the bottom end of Cornwall to the top end of Devon is a very long way. I think the other similar fern to Burgundy Glow that I have is Ursula Red, which looks almost the same but has never really got going, whereas BG would verge on thuggish in ideal conditions. Dryness keeps mine in check.

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  8. Oh what a choice lot of beauties this week…totally agree with you regarding ferns. My Burgundy Glow is unfurling, so beautiful to watch daily at this time of the year. Holboellia brachyandra HWJ1023 is a wow plant…and SOS of the week for me!

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    1. I’ve already committed to a blog on ferns in another reply, there never seems to be a time they’re all at their best, but now-ish is as good a time as any. The Holboellia is a terrific plant and deserves to be much more widely grown.

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  9. That holboellia is lush and gorgeous! I attended a great lecture and slide show by D. Hinkley and have been meaning to get out to his garden nearby. Must do! Your fragrant rhododendron sounds nice.

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    1. Dan Hinkley did a lecture to the Cornwall Garden Society some years ago, which was great, and I have his two books (there may be more) but I’d really love to see his garden. You operate on a different scale from us, how near is nearby?

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  10. I’ve already looked up the Holbolellia and I want one! It’s just the ‘grows up to 5 metres high’ bit that worries me. How quickly has yours grown?
    I’ve just split an Athyrium nipponicum pictum and moved half to what I hope is a better site. I didn’t realise they went summer dormant until last year.

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    1. I think last year is the first that my Athyrium has gone dormant. Hard choices were made about what I was going to water and what not. It lost out. The Holboellia has been a bit erratic in growth; it doesn’t like cold winds, which can scorch a foot or so off new growth overnight (I don’t want to look at it tomorrow, after today’s blow) I doubt mine has grown as much as 5m and it’s been in six or seven years. On the other hand, if it all comes right, it can make 5-6 foot shoots in a season. It has been cut a bit.

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  11. Great post, Jim. I planted Holboellia latifolia chartacea (from Crug Farn) recently in a client’s garden. I am excited to see how it is doing as I only go once a month. If you were only going to plant one Camellia, and that one mainly for foliage, in a heavy clay woodland edge garden, what would it be?

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    1. I have to say that my Holboellia looks more like Crug’s picture of H. latiolia chartacea, the pale form, than it does their pic of H. brachyandra. If they’re growing them from seed and they’re able to cross pollinate you have to wonder about the validity of the collection number two or three generations down the line. The camellia question is as much about what is available as what will grow in those conditions. I can’t say that I know of any that are more suited to a heavy clay than others, it’s not something we get much in Cornwall – it’s all what is locally known as shillet, not an especially scientific term. So long as it isn’t waterlogged, isn’t alkaline and gets some organic matter dug in it should be OK. When you say woodland margin it depends a bit on which way the margin faces. Some of the sasanquas have quite nicely coloured young growth but would be better if the margin faced south and they got some direct sun. ‘Fragrant Pink’ has prettily coloured reddish new growth, small leaves and small fragrant flowers and will be happy in shade if not too dense. ‘Laura Schafer’ is a good upright white japonica with beautiful dark and very glossy foliage, but I doubt you’ll find it for sale. ‘Spring Festival’ is upright, small leaved, colourful in new growth and a prolific flowerer. Lastly, C. x williamsii ‘Les Jury’ has good dark red new growth. I’d plant the lutchuensis hybrid ‘Koto-no-kaori’ if forced to choose one for myself here but I don’t know how hardy it would be up country and I don’t know if it’s available anywhere. Pictures of all on jimscamellias.com.

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    1. Just in the middle of a post about ferns. Need to take a couple more pictures tomorrow. I’m surprised you can’t get ferns, you see a lot even in hot places like around Brisbane. Are there many wild ones about?

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  12. I’ll put a vote in for your Holboellia too! It looks wonderful. I suspect an evergreen climber just wouldn’t be up to the winds here, although if it is pretty vigorous, maybe it would grow back any damage fairly quickly.
    I’m growing camassia for the first time this year and they are going up like rockets! No open flowers yet, and so far the dogs haven’t trampled them either!

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