Six on Saturday – 12/10/2019

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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.

One.
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.

Two.
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.

Three.
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.

Four.
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.
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Five.
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.
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Six.
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.
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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.

 

31 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 12/10/2019

  1. Are you going to start a new blog on cyclamen or will it new posts…looking forward to that? Thought of you, this week, when I put in a further two cyclamen, Jim. I love the little pink persicaria flowers, they bring this little grouping together late in the season. Its leaf shape is very appealing too…will look out for this one.

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  2. I am admiring of your Benibana-cha! Its other merit must be that glossy scarlet crimson new growth which makes for an interesting foliage plant? I saw it in France looking like that.

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    1. I wish I was confident enough of its hardiness to plant it in the ground, it hasn’t really thrived in a pot so I’ve never seen it at its best. Mind, I potted it on last year and that has helped mightily.

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  3. Lovely Six! Your fuchsia flowers are even smaller than those red ones you gave me – you will see it featured in my Six-on-Saturday. I am going to plant my two camellias in the ground to see whether they fare better than in the pots. I must admit, I am not that keen on container gardening and probably don’t look after my pots well enough.

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    1. Your Fuchsia is looking very good isn’t it. Camellias in pots are tricky, their roots are vulnerable to freezing, which is fatal, and because they are quite slow growing they run out of nutrients before they need potting on and feeding them is a bit tricky too.

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  4. I’ve always wanted to grow a camellia sinensis from seeds but I’ve failed so far … The camellias japonica succeed here, so why not camellia sinensis!?
    I will try again … As I already said( maybe) my sister-in-law lives in Reunion and she is my seed supplier. I hope to get more soon …
    Your skimmia is a success and the cyclamen colour too…

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    1. Camellia sinensis has a huge natural range and has been cultivated for many centuries so there are a lot of different forms. I’ve only encountered three, my ‘Beni-bana-cha’ and a very similar small leaves but all green variety, and C. sinensis var. assamica which has much larger and thinner leaves. None is really solidly hardy even in Cornwall, with the green small leaved being the hardiest and assamica the least. Considering where tea is grown in the world, most of the other forms are likely to be even less hardy. Having said which, if you can get really fresh seed it should germinate readily enough. Reunion is tropical so it is unlikely the forms they grow there would be hardy.

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      1. When I’ve sown Camellia seed, usually in October or November, they’ve germinated in the spring or sometimes mid winter. Ackerman says cool temperate varieties need a moist cool period to germinate and to grow on properly but I’ve never done more than keep them in an unheated glasshouse. Hartmann & Kester say that if the seed coat dries and hardens, to treat them with boiling water and leave them to stand for 24 hours. Ackerman mentions scarifying with a file or knife but says if the membrane below the seed coat is damaged, the seed will likely get fungus infection. He also puts seeds that have had a cold treatment in the fridge onto a heater to get them to germinate. Possibly tropical species need relatively high temperatures to germinate and are at risk of rotting if too cold.

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      2. You give excellent advice, thank you! It is true that I made each time a scarification with a small file and a soaking in hot water 24h. I may have damaged the small membrane … With all your tips I hope to succeed next time

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  5. I’m liking the Beni-bana-cha with its sweet flowers very much and of course the rain only adds to the attraction. Don’t understand why you should feel guilty about growing double flowered forms of dahlia though!

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    1. Single flowers are supposedly better for bees, though someone forgot to tell the bees that are all over my mainly semi-double dahlias. The Compositae family is tricky, all the individual flowers are single, even if not differentiated into disk and ray florets. In most double flowers it’s the stamens that turn into extra petals, so no pollen. Dandelions are supposed to be great for insects, but they’re double aren’t they?

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  6. That little white fuchsia flower is striking. Quite like it & the shape of the shrub as well. The camellia is really gorgeous in that photo. An image search implies that it’s a rather small flower, as camellias go – what size is it? Even if the flowers are small, your description of the scent makes it even more attractive. Thanks for giving us dandelion as a get out of guilt free card. I shall use it often.

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    1. I actually went out in the rain and near dark on Friday evening to measure the size of the camellia flower because it seemed like something I should mention. Then I left it out anyway. 3cm across when almost open flat.

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  7. I’m sorry to have missed your six. I am very behind schedule.
    Your camellia is pretty sweet. The camellias we grew were just ornamental cultivars. We had two tea camellias in the arboretum, but did not grow them commercially.

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