Six on Saturday – 25/1/2020

Oh so gloomy out. It’s dry and not exceptionally cold, so usable weather for doing the things that need doing, but there’s not a lot of pleasure in it. I need to get out there, I have things needing doing.

Two years ago at this time we were down under in Australia. Their fruit growing is very localised and we were at the southern edge of pineapple country. We ate quite a lot of pineapples and would have eaten more had not mangoes also been in season. Every morning I sat on this bench and had mango for breakfast. Did I have cereal with it? I can’t remember. We cut the top off one pineapple and planted it just beside the bench, a bit too close as it turns out. I’m impressed that it grew, and even more impressed at how beautiful it is. Four year old granddaughter Elsie is a cracker too.

Meanwhile, back in perishing Blighty, there is less happening. I have to have at least one camellia each week or I’ll never get through them and today’s turn goes to Camellia japonica ‘Bob’s Tinsie’. This has just started flowering, it’s smothered in buds so may be back later in some form. The stamens turn into petals in double flowers, or in this case, petaloids. In the middle the stigma is normal, so the female bits are presumably fully functioning while the male bits are not there any more.

It’s easy to overlook things in the front garden; I tend to pass through without looking very hard. Spotted this new flower spike coming up on the Yucca gloriosa ‘Variegata’ yesterday though, which, given the time of year, doesn’t seem likely to end well. Who knows?

One of the advantages of working with a National Collection, while not being the holder, is that when things get too big in my garden, I can sometimes offload them. Camellia japonica ‘Odoratissima’ is nice enough in an unexceptional way, they have one already but needed a backup. Suited me, I’ve replaced it with C. ‘Sweet Jane’, which I’m hoping can be kept to the size I want more easily. Flower pictures will no doubt appear at some point. ‘Odoratissima’ is alleged to be slightly fragrant but I’ve never detected it.

The third, and last, of the Narcissus bulbocodium varieties I grew in pots this year. This is N. bulbocodium ‘White Petticoat’, a name which I have to admit, fooled me. It’s a very pale yellow. The flower is deformed, browsed on by something in the bud perhaps, but you get the idea.

A life horticultural. When opportunities present themselves I am often unable to resist, even when it’s something I have no space or use for. Thus Thursday saw me taking cuttings of a seedling Aucuba with heavily variegated leaves and very big fruits, my excuse being to get more than one plant of it into existence, the first step to making my fortune from it. Friday netted me seeds of Camellia ‘Gerude Preston’ (they’ll be good for rootstocks), cuttings of Rose ‘Betty Sherriff’, an absolute beast of a plant that will grow up large trees and drag them down, (it’s almost unobtainable and pretty awesome, perhaps I can give it away) and scions of an unknown apple that I gorged on the windfalls of in the autumn, (I will graft it onto my ‘Holstein Cox’, it’ll help pollination and it was a productive and healthy tree with excellent fruit, who cares what it’s called)

The last lot will take up some of the day. For now I need to get some bread on, get a coffee and check on the early posters on the SoS notice board. There’s a definite sense of having turned the corner and things getting better, which is nice even though we all know there will be stumbles along the way.

32 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 25/1/2020

  1. Who needs cereal when you can have fresh mango for breakfast. 🙂 Agreed, your little Elsie definitely is a cracker.

    Your Camellia japonica ‘Bob’s Tinsie’ is gorgeous. I’ve often thought about getting a red, perhaps one day I will. I have two Camellias – one that flowers prolifically each spring, and one that doesn’t flower at all. Gorgeous glossy green leaves, but no flowers.

    Thanks, I enjoyed reading your post.


      1. Very little sun, Jim, and I think that’s the problem. Initially, it was in a sheltered but sunny spot but trees and shrubs have enclosed it. It needs to be moved, but I’m not sure it would survive, and I think I might have a job on my hands persuading my husband to dig it up.


      2. It’s probably between 5 and 6 ft, I’ll have to go take a look. We’d probably be as well trying to move it (if I can persuade husband!), as it’s not achieving much at the moment anyway. Wish me luck 😁


      3. Thank you for the link to your Camellia website – it’s very detailed and so full of information. I’ve read your post, and I guess that the first job is to cut back the plant. If it’s dry on Wednesday I might be able to get started on it! Thanks for the advice.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope to have my first true pineapple in France next summer. Fingers crossed … For the moment it’s overwintered with its 6 cousins on “heating mat” (Victoria pineapple directly returned from Benin).
    I can’t wait to see the results of grafting tests …Keep us updated
    FYI my camellia sinenesis seedlings have started … I can’t wait too.


      1. Exactly! Everything at 23-24°. My biggest pineapple has divided ( 4 babies have grown near the mother plant) and I read it was the start of the following flower


      2. Ah, 23-24 bottom heat, I could do that. In fact I do, for seeds. The pineapple would need quite a high air temp as well? Though they used to grow them here in Pineapple pits, over a few feet of fresh manure. Bet they tasted good.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Such a difficult question as there are so many varieties and so few actually available. For spring flowering japonica types I might choose Leonora Novick, Twilight, Lovelight, Mary Costa, Onetia Holland, Seagull. Autumn flowerers I’d have Mine-no-yuki, Snow Flurry or Gay Sue. Scentuous and Cinnamon Cindy have small scented flowers in early spring but are a bit less hardy. Ginryu is lovely too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m still chuckling at your “usable weather” in the first paragraph. We haven’t had any usable weather in the last few weeks. Three days this week we walked in snow flurries. Being in North Carolina, we noted that nothing stayed on the ground.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very interesting to see that flower spike on the yucca in January – it must be much warmer than I thought in winter in the south west !
    One of our yuccas flowered spectacularly in late 2018 but that almost proved to be its swan song.
    It’s still very much alive, but I expect it’ll be at least five years before there’s any chance of it flowering again.


    1. Mine last flowered in autumn 2018 and I half expected the lead rosette to die and for shoots to come up round the side. I don’t think the main rosette grew again, but it didn’t die and the new shoots that came up were not far down the stem, still in the leafy bit. There were initially three shoots and it’s the biggest of them that has the flower spike, but now that I look more closely there are seven or eight young shoots. If they all flower in 2020 it will be a sight to behold.


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