Six on Saturday – 16/5/2020

I’m running late again, in that I am doing this on Saturday, when it’s supposed to be done, rather than on Friday. There’s a reason, involving cars and batteries, but let’s not go there.

The garden is dry but we have water. The nights have been cold all week but just above freezing. The world around here is getting a little busier but with very little sense of it returning to normal. I think what we used to think of as normal can be consigned to the history books. A new one will take a while to get established. I can’t help wondering what effect the noticeably cleaner air is having on the climate, less of a blanket on clear nights, fiercer sun by day?

Enough philosophy, give me some plants.

One.
Pelargonium ‘Pink Capricorn’. This is remarkable for the fact that it was left out all winter and is now flowering again. There is no way it would have survived even five years ago. I took a picture with my new iPhone just after 8pm yesterday and another with my “proper” camera this morning. The phone makes it look better , the camera is probably more accurate. Henceforth I get to choose.

Two.
Cucumber ‘Carmen’. Cucumbers made it as the first thing to be harvested from this years vegetable sowings, closely followed by lettuce and radish. Tomatoes are staring to flower in the tunnel. We’re nearly five months into the year; it makes you realise how big a challenge complete self sufficiency would be. Good thing we have Morrisons.
SOS1532

Three.
Euphorbia mellifera. Every two or three years I chop this down fairly brutally. It had finished flowering and the seeds were forming. I have a single backup seedling in case I kill it, but that hasn’t happened yet and I’ve been doing this for at least 25 years. All the flowered shoots, which were a metre or so tall, were cut to a few cms. The shoots I’ve left were the ones that had grown up underneath the main canopy; they are somewhat spindly but will keep it ticking over for now. I expect a mass of new shoots to start up in a few weeks and when they do I will cut the current crop off as well.
SOS1533

Four.
Iris Pacific Hybrid. That’s a cop out. I should go a’googling and remind myself about west coast irises but I want a coffee and time moves on and I never really wanted this iris anyway but it had an especially fine Hesperantha growing in with it, back when it was still Schizostylis so I bought it. It’s flowering quite well this year, though perhaps not quite up to last year, but after an average of two blooms a year for the last twenty I’m not complaining.

Five.
Leptospermum rupestre. I’m sure that a well grown specimen of this prostrate or weeping form of tea tree would be an impressive sight. I don’t have a well grown specimen. My attempt to get some height on it so it could weep impressively didn’t quite come off in that the weeping bits were supposed to cover up the trunk, and didn’t. Sue would have it gone yesterday, I kind of like its refusal to play by the rules. It’s  a Tasmanian endemic so this one’s for you Prue!

Six.
And this one is for Thistles and Kiwis. Arthropodium cirratum ‘Matapouri Bay’. I grew these from Hardy Plant seed last year. Seems longer ago than that, but sown 1/4/2019 and now in flower. I have them growing in a pot though I think they would probably be hardy enough to survive the cold planted in the garden. What I don’t think they would survive is the slugs. I mean, don’t you have slugs in New Zealand?SOS1539

I need to get out there and start on todays list. Tie sweet peas, plant beans, turn compost heap, find time to follow the sixes……………………..

 

39 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 16/5/2020

  1. I’ve got Pink Capricorn, it is a great plant. I got mine from Beth Smith at Foamlea, do you know her? Wonderful garden. Very impressed by your cucumber! Was that a little bit Carry On? Didn’t mean to be. Love that arthropodium, one to try in the future perhaps.

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    1. Just looked up Foamlea, one to try to get to when things improve. I’d not heard of it or of Beth Smith. I think it was Coleton Fishacre had a big drift of Arthropodium, lovely plant.

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      1. Coleton Fishacre has some great planting. We had to cancel our visit to that part of the world this Easter, but when I go again I hope to see the Arthropodium. I’d not come across it before but it’s a good looking plant.

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  2. I also grow an euphorbia mellifera from seeds and it’s still in pot for now. Seeing yours I wonder how I am going to do next … A single plant, grown as tree or shrub would be preferable with control of spreading….
    Your cucumber potted is very beautiful and healthy. Do you still grow them in pots? Has it been grafted?

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    1. Our Euphorbia mellifera is very wide, ends up blocking the path, and it’s not my favourite for brushing past. The cucumbers were from seed, don’t think I’ve come across grafted ones, is that for better disease resistance? and what are they grafted onto?

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      1. Here in France they sell grafted cucumbers (like grafted aubergines or tomatoes ): plants are healthier , bigger and give fruit earlier. I don’t know onto which plant they’re are grafted…? Probably a same family plant.

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      2. I finally planted mine this afternoon. 4 leaves, not grafted but I couldn’t leave them in a pot indefinitely. I have soil in my greenhouse in the middle (2 cucumbers in the Gh, 2 outside which I will plant next weekend because the nice weather is on the way!)

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    1. I haven’t put my phone camera through its paces properly yet. I don’t think I’ve anything in strong red to try it on, but when the Dahlias start to flower I’ll see how it copes. Even my Canon struggles with them.

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  3. I saw Capricorn growing at Rosemoor last year right in front past the entrance…but would you believe, there was none in the shop. Beth Evans generously gave me a small rooted cutting when we visited her at her superb garden Foamlea..and guess, I took two cuttings from that too. You have given me the idea to leave it outside during the winter, with a watch out for the weather of course.

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    1. The phone has novelty value for me at the moment but I have a lot of money tied up in the camera and assorted lenses, I can’t see myself stopping using it most of the time.

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  4. Nice cucumbers! I am going to miss my lemon cucumbers this year. I am not growing any, or any squash or related plants, to try to get rid of squash bugs. They overtook things last year. Maybe they will go elsewhere when they awaken and stay away!

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    1. As far as I’m aware squash bugs are not on the list of things I have to contend with in the UK. Someone will introduce it at some point probably, our phytosanitary provisions haven’t done a good job of keeping out nasties in recent times. Shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted seems to be pretty much official policy.

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  5. So to re-cap. Your cukes are one seed to a pot, with two or three pots grouped together and then grown up a wig wam inside a greenhouse? You can see we all want our own cukes in May too. Do you start them off in small pots and then move them on? Thanks in advance 🙂

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    1. Sown 22 Feb, one seed to a 9cm pot. Kept in south facing window until up and well rooted. Potted on into 3 litre pots and kept by the window until at least a foot tall then moved out to the greenhouse, potted into 10 litre pots and put in a row on the greenhouse floor with twine going up to the roof. They don’t like cold so I kept them indoors until it warmed up a bit, and they need maximum light indoors or will get very leggy.

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  6. Are Pacific Coast hybrid iris all that interesting? I think that, as the name implies, they are hybrids of various species that live here and a bit farther inland up North. Like so many contemporary plants, not much about them is documented. They really are pretty and interesting, and more colorful than their ancestors. There are several in the landscapes here. There are only about three species of iris that are actually native in this region. One looks like grass, with bloom that is barely visible. Another looks like bigger grass, with delightful white bloom with thin standards and falls. The other is one of the ancestors to the Pacific Coast hybrids, and is my favorite of the three, even though it is not white. There is only one colony that I am aware of here, but we really are on the margin of the native range anyway. Where many colonies live over large areas, the blue color is variable, ranging from Navy blue to very pale blue. Flowers are rather diminutive, and even lower than those of the Pacific Coast hybrids. It grows wild on San Bruno Mountain south of San Francisco, and all over Montara. We know it as San Francisco iris (which is not to be confused with ‘San Francisco’ bearded iris).

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    1. I don’t know about them not being well documented. I stumbled across the website of the Pacific Coast Native Iris Society https://www.pacificcoastiris.org/index.html and had information overload in seconds. Not that I’m any the wiser about the thing I have. There was a nursery over here, Broadleigh Bulbs, that was breeding them. They’re all listed but not illustrated on the pacific coast iris website, registered in 1973, 1993 or 2006. I looked at their current catalogue and they don’t do so many now but they flower at the right time for Chelsea Flower show so they had lots on their show displays there for several years. Looking through the Cultivar database on the SPCNI website there are very many extraordinary colours and forms that to my knowledge never made it over here. Since my plant, after many years of producing a couple of blooms a year, has this year and last surpassed itself, I wouldn’t mind trying a couple more.

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      1. If it were not illegal to do so, I could send you bits of the few hybrids in the landscapes here. The native is not so easy to send, and rots rather easily . . . and to those who did not grow up with it (and think it is the most excellent of the bunch), it is not as pretty. They hybrids take a while to recover, so do not bloom in their first year, and my not bloom in their second year. If I look at them like someone who is not a native Californian, the colors are quite rad. This is the native: https://tonytomeo.com/2018/05/12/san-francisco-iris-ii-the-expected-sequel/

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      2. Well, the straight species is not one you should be concerned about. I just happen to like it because I grew up with it. The hybrids are both prettier and easier to grow within a cultivated garden.

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  7. Well I think your iris is lovely, if a little messy. I left several of my scented leaved pelargoniums outside all winter and they did better than the ones in the conservatory which were plagued by white fly! I might risk leaving all of them out this coming winter and let them take their chances. Maybe shove them under the glass topped patio table to shelter them from the worst of the rain.

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    1. I think we could risk more pelargoniums outside over winter if they were in tall pots and left against the front wall of the house so somewhat under the eaves. The odd ones that get left out by accident usually survive, if not in good condition.

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      1. Better drainage. Potting compost will support several inches of water against the force of gravity, especially if it’s fine and well packed, which in winter means those several inches remain pretty much saturated at the bottom of the pot. The taller the pot, the greater the depth of unsaturated compost above the wet zone.

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  8. your cucumbers look splendid. i don’t like them so i don’t grow them. perhaps i should. nah.

    btw, it’s never too late to plant a rose. i just put one in the ground last evening.

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    1. Why would you grow cucumbers if you don’t like them? Nah indeed. We have a rose, Hanky Panky, it’s hideous. It’s too late to plant another, I have too many other things needing the space; it was to have been a climber and there are three sorts of Ipomaea waiting to join the Bomarea I planted a couple of days ago.

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