Six on Saturday -7/3/2020

It’s not for improving, this weather. Looks like the week after next might be better. I’m clutching at straws.

Right, let’s get this one of my chest. On Monday I went to my local garden club and someone had brought along Daffodil ‘Rapture’ for the flower competition we have. Last year I planted five bulbs and they were rather good so this year I bought some more, without waiting to see if last year’s bulbs came back again. They are barely above the surface and not looking very happy. Of last years five bulbs only two are back up, blind and with a few streaky leaves. I looked up Daffodils and their ailments. Seems it could be stem eelworm or root lesion eelworm, basal rot, smoulder disease, Narcissus fire, Narcissus white mould or grey bulb rot. The streaking says virus to me, maybe narcissus degeneration virus, latent virus, mosaic virus, narcissus tip necrosis virus, narcissus yellow stripe virus, arabis mosaic virus or cucumber mosaic virus.
I read an article yesterday which said Cornwall produces about 95% of the daffodils sold worldwide, that’s as cut flower, and I can’t grow the sodding things!

Moving on swiftly to Muscari ‘Big Smile’. Grape Hyacinths grow like weeds in the main, though the slugs are overly fond of them. I have several and am always on the lookout for different ones.SOS1414

Primula ‘Wanda’. Sue brought Primula ‘Wanda’ from Scotland with here well over thirty years ago. A friend of ours has something similar which she calls ‘Wanda’ which I was incautious enough to admire, resulting in the inevitable donation to my garden. It’s different, but not by enough to be sure of unless side by side. I also now have a plant from the lovely Noelle and that is identical to our original one. Both are clearly members of the Primula x pruhoniciana tribe, hybrids between P. vulgaris and P. juliae. I see the RHS have ‘Wanda’ as P. x pruhonicensis, accompanied by a picture that looks nothing like it. There are dozens of named forms, going back over a hundred years.

Bergenia ciliata. I bought this from Rosie Hardy when she gave a talk to the Cornwall Garden Society last year. It’s sat there not doing much since then but has now started to flower. I don’t wish to sound ungrateful but I’m tentatively hoping for a little more than this.

(Number five was going to be Trachystemon orientale but I suddenly thought I might have done it recently. I had, just two weeks ago. I need another plant.) Right, I’m going with feeding pot plants. I pot stuff into multipurpose compost to which I add Osmocote controlled release granules that last 9 months. The following season the plants need potting on into fresh compost, planting out, or feeding. I still have the remains of some Osmocote Top Dressing for nursery stock, it’s very good but as far as I’m aware not available outside the nursery trade. Hakonechloa, Fuchsia and Eucomis for starters.

Number six was going to be Camellia ‘Annette Carol’ but I did that three weeks ago. This then is one that is still in a pot in my tunnel but really needs a spot in the garden. It’s not very hardy, which is less of a problem with every year that passes, but it will need a sheltered spot and I just haven’t found the place for it yet. It’s Camellia yuhsienensis. Another fragrant one. It got a fleeting mention a couple of weeks ago.

That’ll do. Wrap it up and get it posted. Check what’s come in already to The Propagators blog hub. Then go and sprinkle fertilizer like fairy dust around the potted plants, starting with the outdoor ones that will have had every atom of nutrition washed to the sea by the unending deluge.

25 thoughts on “Six on Saturday -7/3/2020

  1. Did I sense that you were frustrated about your daffs? Sure you would be. My Wandas are looking spectacularly good, but not posted this week. I think we must have just the right type of conditions for them, and they flower for months. I wonder whether Kind Hearts and Corydalis would swap one for one of his Corydalis Integra? If you don’t ask as they say. Thanks for reminding us all not to neglect out pots.


    1. Slugs have making a meal of all my primulas, except the doubles. That Corydalis is rather nice but I need to do a successful rescue of my basic Corydalis solida before I start on anything more fancy.


  2. That primula is a lovely colour, almost the same as my hyacinth. Is the daffodil a rare species? Just thinking that 5 bulbs aren’t a lot so probably expensive.


    1. The daffs aren’t rare at all, I bought five when Ron Scamp did a talk at our garden club and I wanted to try a few different ones. The other four varieties I bought five of as well haven’t fared any better.


  3. What a long list of problems that could be causing your daffodils to fail. You might never know the answer! All those Wanda’s – I sometimes wonder if it truly matters if we don’t know the name of a plant in the garden – but then I’m probably saying that because I’m trying to justify the fact that I very often forget to put a label with them. They are a pretty colour.

    Thanks for the tip on feeding potted plants. I suspect mine don’t get fed as much as they should, so perhaps Osmocote is the answer. The Camellia yuhsienensis is a beauty.


    1. Not knowing the causes of the problems we have in the garden is pretty much the norm, which is frustrating because you don’t know what to do differently. The names thing is complicated, as you say, it doesn’t matter if we don’t know the name of something if growing it ourselves is as far as it’s going to go. It becomes more important when you put a picture on a blog, because other people may want to know what it is so they can get one themselves. It’s important in that it allows you to find out more about the plant, how to propagate it perhaps, how long it lives, what conditions it needs. The other thing its important for is that it allows you to find out if it is common or exceedingly rare, which is important for conservation work. Many of the primula varieties will have become extinct because the last few people growing them were unaware that they had one of the last of its kind.


  4. Commiserations on your daffodils – how inconsiderate some plants can be. I’ll have to look out for a Bergenia ciliata, as you said if the flower stems lengthen a bit it will be quite beautiful. It’s a shame that the Osmocote top dressing isn’t available to home gardeners, it looks a really useful product.


    1. You can get the fertilizer on eBay (of course) and there’s a much cheaper Yara Mila product which I’ve not used which may be suitable too. The ordinary Osmocote pellets are fine too, just poke a hole and trickle some in. You need to find the dose rate for the tablets and use the same rrate with loose granules.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t go telling everyone it’s wet in the south west, they’ll all want to come here. I’d like to get to the bottom of the daffs disaster, I don’t like to be defeated. They seem fine in pots, even if left out AYR. Keep going for years.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve always assumed daffs were bomb proof! Long list of potential ailments there. I am bad about feeding pot plants, something that would donate season sounds like an excellent idea.


    1. I’d like to think that my daffs are being hit by only one thing on the list and that if it weren’t there they would be bomb proof. Perhaps I should send a sample to Wisley, get it diagnosed.


  6. Bergenia ciliata looks interesting, although I can see why you might expect more from it. To me, it just looks like a young plant that has not gotten started for the season. My Begenia crassifolia do quite well here, but some that I split last year are just getting started. Some bloomed with runty stems before the foliage developed. I am none too concerned about them yet.


  7. The weather of recent years seems to be causing a lot more problems with pests and diseases. I seem to have (well, not me personally,) whitefly on plants in a pot that has been stood outside all winter. I know it’s been mild but really!?? I see all of your Camellias and so want one. I’ve resisted so far as it would have to be in a pot and I’m trying, but failing, to reduce the number of pots. In this area the Camellias I see in the ground are mostly ‘Donation’.


    1. I’m sure your right about more pests and diseases, compounding the climate crisis in that it’s only plants that take CO2 out of the atmosphere and they’re struggling everywhere. Donation must account for half the camellias growing around here too; it is a good one mind.


  8. I love the camellia photos and this week’s is a stunner. Shame about the daffs, I hope you get to the bottom of it. I was feeling disappointed by the weather but when the sun does appear it does have some warmth. I’m clinging on to that!


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