Six on Saturday – 11/5/2019

On Wednesday we had a decent drop of rain, the first useful amount for a while, and when I pulled the curtains in the morning it was as if the windows had been cleaned for the first time in years. I stood there for a while, taking it in, and started noticing things. Come Saturday, said I, I shall do my six from here. Needless to say, now that Saturday is here, I’m backtracking like mad, but the first three qualify.

One.
In the top of my Holboellia was a smudge of purple. It wouldn’t be visible from the ground but it’s a clematis that was probably planted before the Holboellia and refuses to give in. It flowered last year for the first time in years and has managed to do so again. I don’t want to think that this is on a shoot that has pushed up about seven feet from deep gloom and through the tangle of Holboellia stems. I don’t seem to have a name for it but think it may be ‘The President’.

Two.
Libertia x butleri. Last week was the second anniversary of Six on Saturday and this was one of my first six on 6th May 2017. This is a hybrid between Libertia ixioides, which I still have though it’s not looking great, and Libertia chilensis, which pops up all over the place and occasionally is allowed to reach flowering size. This was a self sown seedling which must have looked distinct, I may have thought it looked like a hybrid, so I left it and am very glad I did. It is also self sowing and I will probably pot up a few plants to see what I get. (I’ve got a blue one flowering too, can’t remember what it’s called, grew if from seed half a lifetime ago. Might sneak a picture in at the bottom)

Three.
Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’. I don’t think this enjoyed last summer at all. When it leafed out this spring it was sparse and it hasn’t grown very strongly since. From the upstairs window I see that it has flowered and is carrying far more fruit than it ever has before. At some point I will grasp the nettle and prune it but looking in my books I find conflicting advice on both if and when. One says late summer/early autumn, the other just before it leafs out in spring. Knowing how Acers bleed in spring, I am inclined towards autumn. One says don’t need pruning, the other acknowledges that in a small garden you’re going to have to sooner or later.
SOS976

Four.
Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’. I reached a point last year where it seemed I was the only person left in the world who was not growing this, so I bought one just as the heat and dry started to bite. It wasn’t happy, but it survived and now it’s strutting its stuff in fine style and I fully understand the hullabaloo around it.
SOS981

Five.
Weigela ‘Kosteriana Variegata’. At least that’s what I think it is, though how different it is from W. florida ‘Variegata’ is not clear. Suffice it to say that it is solidly reliable and attractive in both flower and leaf. It gives very good service for low wages. It’s also growing across the path so a substantial hacking is not far off.
SOS977

Six.
Erodium manescavii. I collected seeds from this last year and have a tray of little plants that I need to pot up, prior to deciding what I do with them. It even managed one self sown seedling. Lovely ferny leaf, good vivid flowers for ages, what’s not to like?

A much less rarified set of plants than last week but that’s the sort of gardener I am. A smorgasbord gardener. I like most of them, love some of them, admire some that I don’t much like. I’m wracking my brains trying to think of a plant without merit and coming up with practically nothing, though there are plenty would be out of place in my garden. I’ll nominate Liverwort and couch grass.

On The Propagator’s blog you will find links to loads of sixers across the globe; we’re an eclectic bunch and each with a story to tell.

SOS982

28 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 11/5/2019

  1. As I said this morning to Granny, I’m surprised to see the weigela already in bloom … mine is slow for now.
    About the acer there are “2 schools”, you’re right. I prune mine rather before Christmas for the global shape but right now I allow myself to cut dead branches that have no leaves at all and it will aerate the center (+ mastic on wounds of course ..)

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  2. Being a rebel, I prune my Acer, only a mere ‘Garnet’, in winter usually on the day I “do” the grape vine, mainly because it’s then easier to identify the dull-coloured bits that won’t leaf in the spring. Used to do the same with my full-sized p. ‘At’. Again, being a rebel, I don’t have ‘Totally Tangerine’ so I must be the only one now. But I’m off to panic. I’m sure I’ve bought a Libertia but haven’t the foggiest idea where it is.

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    1. Hope you found your Libertia. My Acer kind of has a second tier of smaller branches making a crown within the crown, making that the obvious place to cut back too. It would mean reducing it by half, cutting branches an inch or more diameter. I think I may do it over two or three seasons, pruning in late summer.

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  3. I still don’t have Totally Tangerine but nearly bought one last week. Alas they only had big expensive plants so I’m holding out until I find a smaller and cheaper specimen. Only a matter of time though.

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  4. I haven’t seen your first two plants before. My Acer has given up the ghost this year – it seems that several of my trees/plants have run their course, I can’t think of another reason apart from the dry summer. Your Geum is more upright than mine and a finer stem.

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    1. I think last summer will have done serious damage to a lot of root systems, I haven’t forgotten the toll the ‘76 drought took on trees. I thought my Geum looked different to some of the pictures I’d seen of it, I wonder if there are people jumping on the bandwagon with inferior, seed raised forms?

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  5. I love the ‘Totally Tangerine’ geum. Last year I visited a garden with a whole load of alliums underplanted with this geum. The colour combination was spectacular. I will grow them next year. The only reason my geums are yellow is the seed packet was free!

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    1. There’s no doubt that mass plantings of strongly contrasting colours makes a huge statement but I make the excuse that it would mean growing a smaller range of plants. There’s no reason though for not doing small scale groupings in similar vein, like putting in a couple more geums and underplanting with Camassia say. I probably have several high impact plant combinations in the garden now that are failing because they’re 20 feet apart.

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  6. It won’t surprise you, Jim, when I admit that though I’ve lived w/a few acers, I’ve never seen one bloom. Yours makes me wanna run out & get one – an impulse I’ve been fighting all year. And that geum . . . you did good.

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    1. It’s not often that the Japanese maples do anything flower/seeds wise to be worth noticing. I’m not taking the sudden appearance of loads of seeds on mine as a good sign, quite the opposite, it’s what plants do before they die.

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    1. I saw a really good purple leaved, red flowered, compact growing Weigela in a garden yesterday. Plant breeders have done good things with the genus in recent years, it ticked every box. I like mine, it lights up a fairly shady spot. Is there a Totally Tangerine Club badge?

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    1. I resist things because it seem everyone is growing them, then get peeved because something else is underperforming and before you know it, there’s the popular one going great guns in its place. There’s a danger we’ll all end up growing Totally Tangerine, Salvia Amistad, Geranium Rozanne and precious little else. Last couple of times I’ve been near a garden centre Hydrangea Miss Saori has been hard to miss.

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      1. I had Rozanne several years ago, and rather like it, but I also like other geraniums. I too tend to veer away from the ‘current’ crazes…but going round the Malvern Show can saw that some of my old favourites were being given a brush down, centre stage, and all of a sudden they are up there again. I guess the trade needs to earn its pennies! Then there is TV and the magazines and garden designers…..

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      2. I’m woefully out of touch with garden and plant fashion. I picked up on Totally Tangerine from SoS last year; perhaps things like blogs are the medium for spreading trends these days and I’m not as out of touch as I think. I’m comfortable with really good plants becoming very popular, not so much with second rate “new!” varieties getting high level hype, not that they do in the retail emporia I frequent. It’s good to see older things, that have proved themselves and stood the test of time, getting their deserved moment in the spotlight.

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  7. A colourful six, Jim! I smiled at the thought of the clematis pushing it’s way up to find the light. I certainly has spirit and deserves to live 🙂 I love the vibrant red of the Acer… and it’s interesting to note how even in gardening books you receive conflicting advice.

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    1. It wasn’t just that it was conflicting advice, it was that I had two authoritative books, one on Acers, one on pruning, in both cases the sort of book you turn to for the last word when you read conflicting advice elsewhere. I’m not even sure why I looked in both, I would normally have accepted either as gospel. It just underlines the bankruptcy of the idea that there is one “right” way to do things in gardening.

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  8. I spotted Libertia on Twitter this week and made a note. Yours looks very big, is it? I have w.florida in its third year and just beginning to fill out in height and width. I hope it looks as good as yours next year. It’s in bud now but weeks away from flowering I think. John K and I are together in the no TT club but seeing it look so good and upright is tempting me, my geums are sprawlers…and not in flower yet. I think I have the slowest garden in the world.

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    1. Several species of Libertia are around. L. x butleri from my six is 3ft high & 5ft across. L. chilensis is taller but not so wide, with the flowers well above the foliage. L. ixioides & L. peregrinans are shorter, a foot or so, with the flowers below the tips of the leaves. L. peregrinans is a runner, L. ixioides stays as a single clump. My blue one is L. sessiliflora (sun. caerulescens) and that is small too.

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  9. I’m growing l. Chilensis from seed this year. I gather it is “enthusastic”. I’m also enjoying g. TT. It is a little ubiquitous but the 4 or 5 I have in my garden are growing great guns and will soon combine with alliums and salvia. Common as muck, maybe. I like it.

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    1. Splitting G. tt in the autumn sounds like a plan. L. chinensis can be an enthusiastic seeder about but I think I became disenchanted with it because it is a big chunky plant that flowers for a short season and apart from the architectural qualities of the leaves doesn’t contribute much for the rest of the year. For my money there are better architectural plants and better flowerers and having both in one plant is not greater than the sum of the parts in this instance.

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