Photo editing programs allow you to manipulate colours within photos, toning down everything except red perhaps. That’s exactly what todays weather is doing, everything is dull except for the reds, which seem stronger than ever.
Every component of my water harvesting system is getting a thorough testing and while I’ve made a few small alterations it’s working as it should. That’s good, I don’t want to find a leak and have to empty it when it’s too late to fill up again. But, enough already, I’ve forgotten what the sun looks like.
Fuchsia cv. This was given us as a seedling by a gardening friend who doesn’t know the identity of the parent plant. It seems a real possibility that it is ‘White Clove’. The encliandra section of the Fuchsia genus is a small group of species with tiny flowers. There is a group of hybrids between F. microphylla and F. thymifolia known as F. x bacillaris. ‘White Clove’ is one such and is described as being fast growing with particularly small flowers and leaves, which fits. Both the descriptions and most photos I’ve seen have pink flowers and both the parent plant and its various progeny seem to be white at times, pink at others. The flowers are 1cm long from the base of the tube to the tip of the pistil. It’s a gracefull, feathery bush with upright arching stems that get to around four feet in a season, given adequate moisture. Ours needs moving, it’s on a dry bank and hates it.
Dahlia ‘Penlea’. This is now the best of my various Dahlias, meaning it has withstood the foul weather of the last few weeks better than most. It’s one of my oldest Dahlias and I have always rated it highly. I was sorting out seed I had collected from it yesterday and will sow them in the spring. I’ve decided to dump most of my allotment Dahlias, saving perhaps the best half dozen, and grow a new lot. Seeing what you get from a batch of seed is the best part of it and if I keep on raising new ones I may eventually get something really good. I know I’m supposed to feel guilty for growing double flowered forms but even this one eventually produces a centre. I have just one word for that particular bunch of critics, dandelions.
Cyclamen seed raising. I’m going to do a blog about this but having featured my cyclamen seed raising success last week I found myself noticing this week that I had collected almost all the seed I’d sown from vigorous, floriferous but not especially interesting forms. I need to tag the best coloured forms and those with outstanding foliage for next year. By the time the seed is ripe I forget which are which.
Camellia sinensis ‘Beni-bana-cha’. Of the Camellias I grow (several) this is always the first to flower. This is a tea plant, it is used to make red tea, the whole plant being infused with red pigment. I was looking up how to prepare green tea from red tea, if you get my meaning. Eminently do-able but the plant is so slow and so small the question is do I want to sacrifice all of a years growth to make one cup of tea, which will probably be disgusting. It sort of has a scent; heavy, oily, with spicy overtones.
Skimmia japonica ‘Bowles Dwarf Female’. Ordinarily I would have wanted to save this until deeper into the winter but it really stood out in the gloom yesterday so I’m putting it in. This is by far the best berry crop it’s had, having been in this spot for at least five years. It doesn’t look like it’s going to produce a lot of flowers so maybe it’s a biennial bearer, like apples often are. Fuchsia magellanica ‘Aurea’ at bottom right, excellent plant too, and the small blue flowers are Omphalodes nitida which has been flowering since spring but never enough to include it in its own right.
Persicaria runcinata ‘Needham’s Form’. I visited the National Collection of Persicaria once. There are people out there who love them to bits. For me even the best of them always strike me as the sort of plants that are taking up space where I could grow something better. Somehow I have picked up a vibe that P. runcinata is a cut above most of the rest and any mention of Edward Needham is enough to get my attention. In short, this should be a superb plant. I’m not sure that it is but it’s pretty enough, even this late in the year. It’s in shade between Paesia, Brunnera and Hakonechloa, with Cyclamen repandum coming up later, the makings of a nice little plant community.
So that’s my best shot at looking on the bright side. There’s nothing to be gained from going round the garden at this time of year despairing about all the destruction, decay and death. I try to find positives and enjoy them, while taking note of the rest as jobs to be done a bit later on; dreckly, as they say in Cornwall.