Six on Saturday – 8/2/2020

I’m sure the last forecast I saw yesterday was giving a minimum of 5°C and a southerly breeze. I wasn’t expecting to find frost this morning. Nothing severe, fortunately.
Having had a fairly busy week, I didn’t do a thing about this six until this morning. Good thing it isn’t raining. So, six on Saturday, the real thing.

One.
The odds and ends of bulbs that I have grown in the glasshouse this year are mainly going over. They have been quite successful, though it would have been nice to have them somewhere I would see them more often. I now have to get enough growth for them to come back even better next year, and find somewhere suitable to put them for the summer. The small pics were taken during the week.

Two.
Outdoor bulbs. The picture in my head is of this bed and maybe other areas as well being covered at this time of year with a mixed carpet of snowdrops, crocus, muscari, narcissus and so on. Outside my head in the real world, I am realising that it takes literally thousands of bulbs to create the floral carpet affect, that most of them won’t come up again the following year, always assuming they survive rodent attacks and come up the first year, that when you get the bulbs in late summer the beds are dense with other stuff so you can’t plant them for months, in which time they dry out and shrivel, that it is impossible to plant anything without digging up bulbs.

Three.
Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’. An accumulation from several years, these have longevity, at least in pots. They got dumped up behind the tunnel last year and need getting out to where they can be seen. I’m never keen to hump heavy, mucky pots from one end of the garden to the other.
SOS1377

Four.
Magnolia ‘Vulcan’. Right at the left of the Tete a Tete picture is a stem of Magnolia. It fell over a few years ago, slowly, over a few seasons, until it was resting on the tunnel roof and plum tree. I cut it off and left the stump at around 3 feet. It started shooting and now, after two seasons growth, the tallest stem is around 5 feet. Last weekend I cut away the stump and shorter growths. Looks like it’s a survivor, which I’m very pleased about.

Five.
Muehlenbeckia astonii. Starting to leaf out, in its inimitable way.
SOS1382

Six.
Camellia of the week. C. ‘Annette Carol’. 
SOS1383

That’s your lot. A sunny day beckons and collecting horse manure might form part of it. For links to other gardeners who know how to have a good time you need to go here.

30 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 8/2/2020

  1. Fantastic that you saved your magnolia! Great news! What did crack me up, however, was the contrast between what you see in your head — ground blanketed by flowering bulbs — versus reality. I too have that problem. Love those tete-a-tetes — I’ve got 200 of them in the ground and look forward to seeing them soon!

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    1. So far the Magnolia is making a better recovery than I could have hoped for. Your comment reminded me to lug the big pots of them out the front where they can be seen, assuming they survive tomorrows’s storm.

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    1. That Camellia has long been one of my absolute favourites and it remains a mystery to me that it was only ever in commerce when I was growing it for the nursery back in the day. No other nursery ever took it on.

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  2. That magnolia is shaped like ‘Vulcan’, but did it emerge from above the graft union? The only magnolia in the landscapes here (after I used to grow them on the farm) grew from the understock of a magnolia that got busted off by a fallen tanoak and died. It is not like the original, but it is nice anyway. I think it is Magnolia lennei.Those white daffodils that you told me about earlier really are rad, and not just because I like white. I actually prefer daffodils to be yellow because it is what seems normal for them. These are not normal daffodils though.

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    1. It’s definitely possible that the magnolia shoot is from below the graft, there is no obvious graft line and the shoot I left looked the same as the growths higher up that I removed, which would definitely have been above the graft. Time will tell, I don’t know what Stepping Stones Nursery use for stocks, probably kobus.

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      1. Of course, it is possible that it was not grafted at all. If I remember correctly, none of the star magnolias were grafted. Nor were the common Magnolia lennei (although the cultivars of Magnolia lennei were). The ‘Vulcan’ magnolias that we grew were grafted, but I do not know what they were grafted onto, why they were grafted, or if it was necessary.

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      2. This one is definitely grafted. It was in the first shipment of plants that we had from Stepping Stones Nursery in New Zealand. Fortunately it was a small, trial run batch, as most of them ended up dead. You get in dormant bare root plants from their winter, coming in around July into our summer. They’ve had their roots cut back hard. We use a normal level of Osmocote which released too much nutrient too quickly because it was warm and the magnolia roots couldn’t grow into it. The next batch were more more successful. My plant was alive but not fit for sale. It took a while to get going. Might explain why it fell over too. I think they grafted everything, it would have given them a maiden tree in a single season, and some were 5 feet and had been shortened back. Vulcan acquired a reputation here of being a muddy colour compared to the fairly clear reddish purple it was in New Zealnd but I never heard how it did elsewhere.

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      3. Could the graft union have gotten buried in the process? It has been through a lot. We brought ours in from New Zealand too. (It was not my idea.) Not only did the arrive dormant in the middle of Californian summer, but they took their time being inspected in three different counties before getting here. Once we got them, we were not set up to tend to them properly. Then, they did not sell as popularly as they were supposed to. ‘Vulcan’ happened to be one of my lesser favorites, precisely because of that dingy brownish red color. It seemed to be rather unnatural.

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  3. I, too, share your dream of a border full of spring bulbs. I grow loads of them in pans every year then plant them out after flowering and that’s the last I see of a lot of them. C. tommasinianus is an exception. The Muehlenbeckia looks great covered in those tiny heart shaped leaves.

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  4. I spotted your white hoop daffodil. A lovely plant in a lovely combination. Like you I have a real world and an imaginary world. And the bulb picture perfectly sums it up. As you say – thousands needed and I never seem to be able to plant those I do buy without digging up something else. Maybe growing them in pots is the answer. Love the camellia – an absolute winner.

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    1. I think growing bulbs in pots solves one set of problems only to create another. I need to be marking where I need more bulbs now, while the existing ones are up. Say 300 crocus, in clumps of 25, so 12 split cane markers; it could work.

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  5. My reality is bulbs in pots, which I can then place strategically around the garden. It is going to be interesting to see what bulbs survived the summer to reappear in a few months time. I really like the N ‘tete a tete’ as it gives an almighty splash of colour. Glad you moved it to be seen, I also learned a lot from the discussion on Magnolias.

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    1. I’ve not been in Australia in bulb season so have no idea which will grow there. Places like Turkey and South Africa which have a lot of bulbs have comparable temperatures but their rainfall may not come in the warm season to the extent that it does in Queensland.

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  6. I think that bulb carpet idea vs annual disappointment is a common affliction. The daffs seem to be a reliable returner, but the rest, it’s a lottery. On top of that, something is knocking my crocuses over when they’re in flower. Grrr.

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    1. Daffs have never been reliable returners for us, perhaps we’re planting the wrong daffs, perhaps we’re giving them the wrong conditions. Crocus fare better, I’m conscious now is the time to plan and mark where next year’s need to go.

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    1. I wouldn’t have been heartbroken if the Magnolia had snuffed it, Vulcan never did perform as well here as in New Zealand where it was raised, there are better varieties around. I feel heavily invested in it though. Should flower in a year or two I hope.

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