As the seasonal sine wave heads downwards I find myself taking pleasure out of ever smaller things in the garden. It doesn’t seem forced, just natural. A smattering of flowers on the Daphne, a few late patches of blue from the Corydalis, the first bud opening on a camellia. The few things that are still really strutting their stuff, Nerines, Begonias, some Fuchsias; can almost seem too much, it’s as if my brain is expecting less. A garden full of summer colour at this time of year would seem wrong.
A camera is a consummate liar. A close up shot of a single winter bloom is as colourful as a park bedding scheme in summer or a field of tulips in spring. If the day was gloomy a quick tweak restores the colour to how we want it to appear. I’ve a mixed bunch this week, all dressed up to dispel the grey skies and rain.
Impatiens arguta. I liberated a few seed pods from a well known garden a couple of years ago. At least I think it was two years ago, I seem to have no record and cannot find a label with a date on it. I would have taken them in autumn, almost certainly sowed them straight away and pricked them off in spring, grew them on for a year then planted five in a large pot this spring. They’ve been pleasantly leafy all summer but have only been flowering freely for the last couple of weeks. I’ve photographed them before but there’s always been something brighter or more interesting so it’s not made the cut until now. I’ve collected a small amount of seed which I will sow today, then if I lose it this winter or it proves short lived, I won’t have to steal any more. Impatiens have the sort of seed pods that make a mess in your pocket.
Fuchsia gall mite. Nothing remotely pretty about this. I included gall mite in a six in August 2017 and noted at that time that I’d had it two years before that. On both occasions I cut out and disposed of the infected shoots, the plant survived and regrew clean and it was two years before it reappeared. This time it’s a bit more serious. I spotted it on one plant, dealt with that and started looking elsewhere. I found quite a lot more on three nearby plants. I picked off all the visibly infected shoots and binned them. Then I cut two plants to the ground and the third back to bare stems, shredded the prunings and put them on my allotment compost heap a mile away and nowhere near any fuchsias. It’ll be daily patrols for a couple of weeks, then I might start to relax a bit. We have around a hundred Fuchsia varieties, I don’t care to find out the hard way which are resistant but it will probably come to that eventually.
Fuchsia regia serrae. Most of the Fuchsias you see are hybrids and for the majority the number of species involved in their parentage is quite small. The species themselves can be very distinctive and often have a refined quality that the hybrids lack. This one is a refined thug. It is semi-climbing, with something to go up it could reach 20 feet, without anything to climb it will spread horizontally. Keeping it pruned back will mean it flowers very late. It has elegant dark green shiny leaves and typical fuchsia flowers with intense red corolla and purple tube. It’s in the same section of the genus (quelusia) as F. magellanica, meaning it’s very unlikely to be resistant to gall mite, unlike some of the species from different sections.
Plectranthus zuluensis. This is another plant that has been flowering since early summer and even though it’s not as good now as it has been, it’s finally looking better than most of the rest. If I could only have one Plectranthus it would be this one. (Or argentatus….. oh, don’t make me choose between them!) Our original plant is a metre high and 1.5m wide, in a large pot. It will have to take its chances outside this winter and will probably die but we have young ones and they grow fast. When I looked at the first photo I saw that I have fruits on the Hedychium behind.
Begonia pots. I do like a bit of strong bright colour and if there are two things that are exceedingly good at providing it, it’s Dahlias and Begonias. We have a pot of Begonias out the front and another out the back. They deliver.
Orange Habanero. My chillies are not enjoying life in the glasshouse, too cold and damp for them. I’ve brought a couple indoors to see if I can get enough ripened up to make a batch of sauce. These are hotter’n hell. What was I thinking?
It’s ‘Super Saturday’ apparently. Yeah right!. I’m going up my allotment, away from TV, radio and internet. I want to get some strawberries planted.
I’m set on having a blinkered day, allotment, rugby, Strictly and SoS, the latter as ever hosted by The Propagator. I envy people who can ignore the news and live contentedly in their own little bubble; envy tinged with contempt.