Six on Saturday – 27/7/2019

There’s too much going on, I’ve taken photos of at least a dozen things and what makes the cut is pretty much random. I think maybe I’ll do another blog on fillers, the plants that get added as the season progresses to plug gaps. That way I can perhaps whittle this lot down to six.
For all the things performing well, overall the garden is beginning to look just a little tired, the months of dry weather taking its toll. I can see myself having to replace some things with plants better able to withstand warmer and dryer summers.

Let’s start with a crowd pleaser of a white daisy. Shasta daisy, Leucanthemum x superbum. The original hybrid combines four parent plants from three continents. There are loads of forms available now so I dare say it’s even more complicated. Most years this one flops badly but the dry weather has restricted its height this season and it’s standing up unaided.


Last week I included a picture of the group of potted plants at the front of the house. This is one of them, taken from above. It was only planted this spring so I’m very pleased at how well it’s done. It’s all Sempervivums but I don’t remember how many I started with. A couple flowered but I’ve removed the flower stems as it looks much better without them. It’s hard to judge the scale; the pot is 19ins across.


We don’t usually do displays of pots at the back of the house because it impedes the washing line but we have our local garden club paying us a visit in a weeks time so I rounded up various potted things all of which had a bit of red/purple about them.

Plectranthus argentatus on the left, P. ‘Nico’ on the right. Between them the ubiquitous Salvia ‘Amistad’, a couple of Eucomis, an Aeonium and the peerless Solanum quitoensis or Naranjilla, which is sporting its first open flower under that spiny leaf.

Roscoea x beesiana ‘Monique’Roscoea hybrids such as this, with a yellow flowered parent (cautleyoides) and a purple flowered parent (auriculata), might be expected to display an intermediate colour but what in fact happens is that the colour genes for each parent are expressed in a random cell by cell fashion across the flower. In the case of ‘Monique’, the cautleyoides gene isn’t expressed at all and what you get is some flecking of purple on a white ground.
Two years ago I collected seed from some of the five Roscoeas I have around the garden and raised 70 seedlings, 50 of which I planted out in someone else’s garden earlier this week. They are beginning to flower, predominantly brick red so far, with one fine purple. I’m trying to find a spot for the other 20 here.

When the new neighbours moved in they declared their intention to dig everything out of the front garden and grass it down for the children to play in. It hasn’t happened, but it made me decide that I did want this short standard Hydrangea paniculata after all. I’d left it because we had two already and didn’t really have room for it. I dug it when it was already in leaf; tried to take a ball of soil with it and watered it carefully until it settled in to its new home. Now look at it. I am so glad I took it.
It started out as a pathetic thing with just one stem about 3 feet high; the top few inches of which I chopped off, then pruned the resulting shoots back to a few inches each year since.

Fuchsia of the week. Fuchsia arborescens. It seems to me that Fuchsias that just a few years ago we were selling as strictly not hardy are now thriving as outdoor plants. We have F. colensoi rampaging across one area of the garden and F. boliviana in fine fettle in another. This year we planted out F. procumbens, which hasn’t survived a winter outdoors for us before, but which I suspect will be fine. F. arborescens, also a species, would be much easier if it could stay in the garden over winter, it gets too big to easily accommodate inside but needs a year or two to start flowering freely, so starting new plants each year doesn’t work. As you can see, our plant has more non-flowering shoots than flowering ones.

That’s my six used up. Of the things that I left out, the one I am feeling the greatest pressure to bring in at number seven is Cyclamen. I’ve had one or two flowers out for a couple of weeks now, ridiculously early, but it prompted me to go looking for seed pods today. August is the time to sow fresh cyclamen seed, it germinates much better when fresh and all the species ripen their seed at roughly the same time, notwithstanding the wide variation in flowering time. I found some capsules already spilling seed and many more not far behind. They will self sow but should be more reliable if I collect and sow them in trays. I’ve been collecting seed of various things around the garden; once I have something that I like and is doing well, it’s a great way to build up numbers, for myself and to give away. Not a few are much better if sown as soon as possible, so sending things to the Hardy Plant Society or whoever will likely end in disappointment for the recipients.
I collected seed of a Geranium I have under the name incanum a couple of weeks back and they’re popping up like cress, the first of this season’s harvest. I think it’s G. harveyii and I should have bought the Geranium book at Rosemoor when I was there last weekend. Back there again mid August for their flower show, I’ll get it then.

Loads more weekly garden snapshots can be found over at The Propagator’s blog.

30 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 27/7/2019

  1. Like me it’s the week of the hydrangea paniculata. Mine is much younger and I look forward to seeing it as yours. I love your solanum! As you only have one flower, is this autofertile like tomatoes, physalis …? Have you already had fruit in recent years? How do you overwinter it?


    1. I’ve only had it a couple of years and this is its first flower. It came through last winter in the greenhouse with just frost protection. I don’t know about it’s sex life, need to look it up.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The salad on our plates yesterday consisted of 11 home grown veg and some bought hard boiled eggs. My old man used to count off the home grown stuff like that, scary how like him I’m becoming in my old age.


  2. As a parent of three youngish children I think they get just as much pleasure from plants as grass – particularly the wildlife they attract – we have a hedgehog, frog and woodlice, worms and bees galore. If we want to play football we go to the local park. Hopefully your neighbours will rethink.


    1. They may do, there’s obviously no pressure on them to grass the front, they have grass at the back and plenty of play equipment but are rarely out there. I think the kids spend a lot of time with the grandparents because both parents work.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great six, F. arborescens is a favourite of mine and I grow it in a client’s garden. The roscoea is beautiful and I lust over your plectranthus, not really sure why I haven’t got any! Just looked up Geranium harveyi, very interesting. Might see you at Rosemoor in a couple of weeks?


    1. Very definitely planning to get to Rosemoor but Sue has something on the calendar all three days. If I had any I’d offer to bring up a small plant of the Plectranthus, do you have the means to strike cuttings? Does your client leave Fuchsia arborescens out in winter?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it has survived two winters outside. Its position is possibly too shady/dry for it to absolutely thrive but it does protect it and it has flowered well this year. Thanks, I wasn’t hinting, one will come my way soon enough I’m sure. I’ll let you know what day I’m going and if that co-incides then perhaps we could say hello, if not, there will be another time. 🙂


  4. The shastas were a great way to start your Six, not least because of the genealogy lesson – 3 continents! Wowser. Love that little fuschia photo bomb in the right photos as well. Your sempervivum bowl looks like a pizza from above. Amazing variety of colour there. Again, loved the genetics lessons w/the roscoea. Doesn’t hurt that they’re putting on a beautiful show as well. Boggles my mind that the colour is inherited cell by cell when they (& most flowers) look so symmetrical rather than random. Or am I misunderstanding your explanation? Quite like that fuscia, too.


    1. For a long time I puzzled over the genetics behind the irregularly bicoloured forms of many Camellias, then I came across an article in a back issue of the International Camellia Society’s journal from which I learned about “jumping genes”, more correctly known as transposable elements or transposons. Barbara McClintock discovered them, working on maize, which often has randomly multi-coloured seeds. As I understand it, bits of DNA move around the chromosome, switching certain characteristics on or off. I find all this genetics stuff fascinating; gene editing, epigenetics and so on. Too bad it looks like the human race will just be getting to understand how the universe and everything works in time to wipe itself out. Ever the optimist, me.


      1. Looked Barbara up & find she’s a Nobel prize winner. Hopefully I’ll understand this article on ‘jumping genes’ because it does fascinate me. Just don’t have much of a STEM receptive thinking process, unfortunately. Thanks for the tip.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The standard Hydrangea paniculata looks fantastic. I’m glad it was rescued. Does it need a lot of watering during dry weather?


    1. Somewhere between you asking the question and me answering it, the answer changed from no to yes. Up till now it had been doing OK on an occasional soaking but yesterday afternoon it was wilting. It’s recovered this morning. Considering it was a fair size when moved, and in leaf, it’s coped extremely well, very much better than the serrata varieties which have suffered badly.


  6. WOW, that fuchsia is . . . interesting. I mean, I would not have recognized it. I still don’t recognize it.
    Anyway, that is cool about your hydrangea. I had to do it with an already weakened star magnolia. It needed to be moved out of a construction site. The options were to leave it to get killed, or to let it die trying to recover from relocation in the middle of summer. Right after moving it, the weather turned hot. It somehow survived, and is much happier in the new location!
    You know, I see Shasta daisy out and about in mild climates. One place I have never seen it is in the Shasta region. Winter is too cold for it there.


  7. Such an informative six as always. Why don’t I have Plectranthus (apart from the basic fact of no room!)? I bought F. ‘Lechlade Gordan’ last year which flowered really late in the year. Looking at the flowers on yours I think they must be related. Interestingly, I took cuttings which have grown really well and are flowering now whereas the parent plant shows no signs of doing so yet.


    1. Lechlade Gorgon (who’s this Gordon fellow?) is a cross between arborescens and paniculata, I seem to remember it has slightly smaller individual flowers in a bigger panicle. We have another called Panache which is also similar. Plectranthus argentatus is a beauty for foliage but I must include P. zuluensis, which is beautiful for flower.


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