Six on Saturday – 25/5/2019

It’s that time of year when the chaos seems to build week on week. Everything is growing like mad which means seeds are sown, pricked off, potted up, potted on; pot plants get potted on, cuttings potted up, glasshouses emptied out, more plants bought, potted. It’s not like there was any spare space to start with so the paths fill up, the patio fills up.

Then it all seems to melt away again. Things get planted, old plants chucked out, potted display areas sorted out. The allotment fills up, the flower beds lose the gaps and a poor imitation of sanity returns.

I think this week was that turning point. I’d like to see it as a metaphor for the state of the nation but I’m not that much of an idiot.

Glasshouse. I turf out the two benches from this greenhouse around now to make room for cucumbers and chillies. The benches were full with young plants that are now on the floor. There is now room for cucumbers and chillies. There will be, dreckly. I did a before and after picture, it’s very much a case of spot what’s moved rather than spot what’s missing. Better though, innit?

The side passage, aka the place with no name. In 2000 years time all the interesting archaeological finds will be in this midden area; that’s assuming there’s anyone left to look. The two glasshouse benches are along the fence with 12ft boards atop them, creating a small area of the vanishingly rare habitat known as SPACE. As you know, this has the gravity of a neutron star so it fills up in less than a nanosecond. The timber will be used to create more space and just the fact that it will not be where it is now will create yet more space. Under the bench there is now STORAGE space, which is every bit as useful as real SPACE and also has neutron star gravity.

Aphideus colemanii. Well it might be, the name’s not important. I potted on a plant of Primula sieboldii. Under its leaves it was infested with aphids. Time was I’d have sprayed them with chemical but things have moved on. Besides, close inspection reveals bloated, bronze coloured aphids, dead aphids, some with small round holes in their backs. The aphids have been parasitized and all I have to do is wait a few days for the entire population to collapse.

Blackcurrant cuttings. Plants at last. I was impressed last summer by how sweet Blackcurrant ‘Titania’ was compared to ‘Ben Connan’ and ‘Big Ben’ which I also grow. It may just have been that they were the last ones I picked but since I only have one bush of it I thought I’d propagate it. I put 12 cuttings about 9 inches long into two 1L deep pots and put them in the greenhouse. Yesterday I planted them out on my allotment, slightly nervous about planting more or less bare root plants in full leaf into very dry ground. I’m hoping for a few cloudy days (I know, be careful what you wish for) to get them established. I’ve planted them beside one of my rows of Dahlias with the intention of moving the dahlias next year.

More candelabra primulas. Last week it was P. japonica ‘Apple Blossom’, which is still going well; this week a couple more, P. beesiana and P. prolifera. I’m particularly pleased about P. prolifera as I picked a seed pod or two from plants growing in the park where I volunteer a day a week and theirs have vanished this year. I may be able to reintroduce it.

Disporum viridescens. This is the epitome of what in a former life we would have called a Ben plant. I sometimes wonder whether when E.H. Wilson or Reginald Farrer or George Forrest were collecting in Asia a hundred years ago they saw masses of these sorts of plants and passed them by as not being garden worthy. Perhaps they did collect them and they were grown by a handful of gardeners or fewer. As a genre they seem to feature large in the collections of modern plant collectors like the Wynn-Jones and Dan Hinckley.
Anyhow, it’s a modest but charming plant that gets around 18 inches tall and spreads at a manageable rate. The flowers are white with petals 2cm long. (Apologies for mixing measuring units) I have it in light shade and mediocre soil.

Right, I have timber to shift and a wealth of avoidance strategies in place to delay doing so. I think I’ll go prick off some Mellitis and I have a nice terracotta pot that I’ve just seen the perfect spot for, now what can I put in it?
The whole gamut of gallivanting gardeners that is the six on Saturday crowd are accessed via the portal of the comments section of Mr Prop’s blog. Join in and shrink the world.



28 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 25/5/2019

  1. You’re right, charming Disporum viridescens! I didn’t know.
    As for the aphids, you have good eyes to see the holes on their backs … You must have confidence and come back often to check (or spray soapy water, what I’m doing right now)


    1. I never remember to check what’s in the picture that shouldn’t be. At least you didn’t berate me for the bag of Somerset sedge peat compost in the foreground. Not my purchase. “It was cheap” sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A Ben plant is generally a very good plant, love the disporum. Glad to see nature sorting things out, just goes to show that as usual we are pretty superfluous. Hard to beat a candelabra primula, yours are lustworthy.


    1. Where nature is concerned we’re worse than superfluous, we’re a serious impediment. How arrogant we are to think that in a few decades we can better with our potions what nature has been working on for 3 billion years.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Blimey, you’ve been busy – lots of extra space. I’m thinking I need more more candelabra primulas after reading this.


  4. Love the candelabra primulas – mine all seem to have turned out to be the same ones, the ‘apple blossom’ or similar. And that is a very attractive hosta photobombing one of the shots – what is its name?


  5. I’m a little confused – I expected you to’ve reached the point where you’d be done shifting Pot A to Pot B’s place so Pot B could go outside ( in Pot C’s place). At least it looks tidy, even if there’s more to do. Not chaos at all. What will you make w/all the black currants that’re in your future? I’m getting hungry just imagining.


  6. Another “like” for your primulas! I wonder what effect the political happenings this week will have too. I dread to think. Someone who can produce “space” from nowhere could surely sort out the country??! 😀🤔


  7. Space, the final frontier..I thought I’d found some, perching a tray of plants on top of the compost heap. Turns out that region of space was unstable, the whole lot fell into the (empty) compost heap. I might have let out an anguished yelp of Anglo Saxon. No lasting damage, but I was forced to pot on a tray of seedlings which took a header in their plunge through the worm hole.


    1. I’ve spent two days solid moving things around, constructing benches and sorting out heaps of pots and the like; another day coming up tomorrow, all to gain myself maybe 8 or 10 square meters of usable space, if that. Worm holes in the compost heap, astrophysical discovery of the decade.


  8. Just made some lemon and lime cordial Jim…delicious. And I used an old glass bottle! I usually make lemonade, but just wanted something I could dilute and not have to wash out the processor each time! Will post my recipe sometime soon.


  9. Aphid Armageddon…love that. My garden is full of aphids at the moment and I’ve bought ladybird larvae again. I hope they will much through lots.
    I’m very envious of your greenhouse. Mine is cold with broken windows. Totally in the wrong place so I only grow easy things like cosmos, zinnia and tomatoes. I think I may get a new one once the money tree is in leaf again……


    1. I’m constantly amazed by how many glasshouses there are around with nothing in them but a few empty pots and a rusty mower. Even an unheated greenhouse can be a great asset, I can’t imagine gardening without ours. I am a secret admirer of very small things you hardly ever see like Aphideus. I have seen them clear up a highly pesticide resistant infestation of Melon/Cotton aphid in a huge polytunnel in less than a week, just from natural populations, not even introduced as a biological control. People don’t realise that “safe” insecticides like soft soap kill natural predators and their numbers usually take much longer to build up again than the pest.


    1. You have no idea how many years I have been putting off the current round of space creation (aka tidying up). I’d always assumed a God would just waft her hand and all would be in its place. If only.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You sure got some foreign species there, . . . and right in the middle, . . . an agave! What is the allure of those things? We have a few in tubs here because we don’t know where to put them. They are difficult to work with, and need to be put out of the way.
    What is the season for pansies there? (I know it outside of your six, but I noticed them at the top.) Ours are all gone now, and won’t be back until autumn.


    1. I suppose the allure of Agaves, aside from them being very handsome plants, is that they are at the boundary of what we are able to grow outdoors in the mildest parts of the UK. I ain’t gonna argue with them being difficult to work with. Pansies here are available to buy from early autumn, but don’t do a right lot until spring, then they go on until June unless it gets very hot. I only grow them in pots, I haven’t found they do very well in the ground here. We draw a distinction between pansies and violas, it being violas I grow. Proper Pansies come in summer and winter flowering mixes and generally have larger flowers but I don’t know how different they really are.

      Liked by 1 person

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