The output from my solar panels gives me a check on how much we’ve seen of the sun this month and it’s not a lot. It’s still already higher than for the whole of December last year though. The total for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week wouldn’t have brewed a cup of tea. In theory it improves from tomorrow. As befits an on the cusp date, I have gone for three more overlooked things and three harbingers of better things to come.
Eucryphia lucida ‘Gilt Edge’. My researches for this took me to the website of Trees and Shrubs online, a truly great trove of information. Eucryphia lucida is one of the two Tasmanian species, the other being milliganii, which I also have. It is the source of 70% of Tasmanian honey, so vital to their apicultural industry. Ken Gillanders, a Tasmanian nurseryman, engaged the services of beekeepers taking their hives out into the areas where Eucryphia grows, to look out for any interesting forms, like variegated leaves or pink flowers, which he then collected and introduced. According to Trees and Shrubs online, ‘Gilt Edge’ is distinguished from other variegated forms by having trifoliate leaves, which is at odds with the species and may be a mutation. Mine mostly has simple leaves but there are some trifoliate ones as well. My plant is now as tall as me but still hasn’t flowered.
Phormium tenax ‘Platt’s Black’. I dug out Phormium ‘Bronze Baby’ when its leaves were six feet high and the flower stems half as much again and resolved never to plant another Phormium. Sue turned up with this one day and I bit my tongue hard and it kicked around in its pot for a couple of years before I planted it. So far it has stayed small, about two feet, but I still don’t trust it. I don’t much like it either, dull thing.
Lophomyrtus bullata ‘Kathryn’. Or Myrtus if you prefer, there being nothing very significant to distinguish the two New Zealand species of Lophomyrtus. We planted this in the garden many years ago and it has survived but scarcely thrived. This plant is in a pot and is happier. It has occasionally produced typical myrtle flowers, small white pom-poms of stamens backed by white petals.
The items above I’ve had for years and never included, this one by contrast is a new addition for me this year. The Early Show at Rosemoor in March included a daffodil competition and I greatly admired pans of miniature daffodils and resolved to try to grow some myself. It’ll be a few years before this pot of Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Julia Jane’ fills out to be a show contender. I suppose I could have remortgaged the house and bought ten times as many bulbs. If they’re gonna make a habit of flowering in December they’re not going to be much good for a March show.
Camellia ‘Quintessence’. The Camellia species lutchuensis is a parent in a number of varieties that I grow and what it brings with it is fragrance. ‘Quintessence’ doesn’t seem to me to be quite hardy enough to thrive outdoors so I’ve kept it in a pot and it has grown slowly and with a low spreading habit. Like my other lutchuensis hybrids it flowers very early, though it would be later if growing outdoors. It was raised in New Zealand.
Clematis new growth. I am always slightly wrongfooted by how early Clematis start to make new growth. They are going to get cut down in February and that will remove all the buds that have started into growth so the plant has to start again from dormant buds. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the growth get badly frosted so I’m left wondering what would happen if they were pruned in November so that the new shoots when they come could grow unimpeded. If left unpruned the shoots growing now would be the ones that would flower, and probably earlier than if it got cut back in February. I’d be interested to hear any views on the subject.
Goody, more rain. Another Met Office warning today and tomorrow. More armchair gardening, mostly in the form of blog reading. Links as ever at The Propagator. Have a good Christmas everyone.