Six on Saturday – 11/7/2020

There’s a mini-digger parked up on next doors drive, shortly to go into action to remove most of the soil from their front garden, to be replaced by gravel so they can park their vehicles. I’m finding it hard to see it as progress but maybe I’m just a grumpy old codger.

Hey ho, where was I. Oh, plants, those green things with coloured bits on them. You want six of them? Happy to oblige.

One.
Verbena officinalis var. grandiflora ‘Bampton’. You can barely see the flowers on this, they’re so small, so what is straight Verbena officinalis like? I think I’d have to say this is more about the foliage than the flowers. Purple, with something of the airiness of V. bonariensis but much smaller. It’s seeding around a bit, and comes true. It was given to me, thank you C. I have given one small plant to someone else. And so it goes on.
SOS1597

Two.
Another gift. To them that have shall be given, plants in my case. This is Crocosmia ‘Paul’s Best Yellow’. It was raised by plant breeder Ken Ridgely, about whom I know nothing other than that he raised this and the red variety ‘Hellfire’, not that I have that yet but it’s a better red than ‘Lucifer’ and stands up according to someone I know.
SOS1598

Three.
One of my recent shopping sprees netted me Alstroemeria ‘Summer Break’, budded but not in flower. It is now and I haven’t changed my mind, it’s a keeper. It’s going to replace my hideously clashing ‘Indian Summer’ amongst the pink stuff out the back. I’m growing it on a bit before putting it into its intended big pot.
SOS1599

Four.
Tagetes ‘Cinnabar’. This came up on one of The Propagator’s sixes a couple of seasons back. I got seed in 2019 from HPS and grew it last year, collected lots of seed and am growing it this year and will collect more seed in due course. It’s tall and pretty fabulous. I’ll be putting seed of it onto my seed list, which might conceivably have passed you by, so I’ll give it a plug.
SOS1600

Five.
Geranium ‘Nimbus’. I was going to put in a double Geranium pratense variety but didn’t get much of a photo and don’t know its name; and I considered G. oxonianum, which though it’s basically a weed, is pretty and looks nice under my bamboo where nothing else will grow. I settled on this though, because it’s doing very well this year and is one of my favourite Geraniums. Plain soft blue flowers and finely cut leaves, ambles about over and through other plants. It sets viable seed, I’ve raised plants from it, but they don’t have such fine foliage and they’ve not flowered yet. It hasn’t produced any self sown seedlings yet as far as I know.
SOS1601

Six.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Izu-no-hana’. That translates as flower of Izu, this having been found growing in the wild on the Izu peninsular in Japan. It’s quite a strong grower and would make a bush at least 5 feet high and wide in good conditions. Mine struggles a bit because it’s in the root zone of a large Acer and gets too dry, but this year it’s done well. I prefer these more subtle, understated forms to the mophead types but they’re all excellent garden plants. It has both pink and blue flowers, and a lot in between.

The digger driver is greasing up his machine. I’m bracing myself to guard our boundary and permit no encroachment. There’s electricity, water, gas and telephone under their front garden, it’ll be a miracle if he doesn’t hit at least one of them. It would be nice to be able to get in the car and go out somewhere, come back when it’s all over, but I dare not.

I’ll come and have a look at other peoples sixes as a refuge, an escape to a preferable reality. Links in the usual place, Mr Propagator‘s.

 

56 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 11/7/2020

  1. I hope the day passes without damage or further upset. We grew that ‘Bampton’ but have now managed to weed it out as it became too much of a good thing.

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    1. It just saddens me that a large front garden is to be covered with gravel to park cars when it wasn’t really necessary at all. They just didn’t want to maintain it as a garden. I will heed your implied warning re ‘Bampton’ and act decisively if required. I don’t need another thug.

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    1. It’s hard to manage without a car in rural areas, even so, they didn’t need to do what they’ve done. Like many purple leaved plants, the Verbena sails close to being dull, but OK if used to provide contrast.

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  2. Great photos Jim! The Crocosmia is a show stopper, isn’t it? I’ll have to look for it over here. Tagetes are so wonderful, and, surprisingly, their seed will survive our winters outside. I have several that pop up each year from the previous year flowers. Slower to bloom than the ones I start from seeds indoors, of course, but I’m looking forward to seeing what colour emerges…

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    1. There were references to the raiser of the Crocosmia on American websites, so he may be a plant breeder over there. It’s a surprise when seeds turn out much hardier than their parent plant but seems not uncommon; I have self sown Dahlias and Impatiens from very tender plants.

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  3. Seems to be the way of things, turning front gardens into parking. On the plus side plants will seed away like mad in gravel. I’d go sprinkle a few prolific self seeders when they’re not looking. I always tell myself I have enough Crocosmia, I don’t need any more. But then I see a variety I’ve not seen before and think one more wouldn’t hurt. I’ve made a note of ‘Paul’s Best Yellow’ and hopefully I’ll never spot one on sale.

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    1. I’ve been warned about Verbena ‘Bampton’ self seeding prolifically, perhaps I could plant some along the dividing line. It occurs to me that Crocosmias may be available as corms, I need to see if Trecanna have ‘Hellfire’. I should have bought it when Mark Wash spoke to our garden club last year.

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  4. Make my order 2,3,4 and 5, but this is not a Chinese Restaurant, and since I am on a plant diet, I shall look admire, and add to my list for when I have a space.

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  5. Not the ideal way to spend the day. It’s sad to see land turned into parking. I assume there were no plants you could liberate from their fate? I really like the verbena. I haven’t noticed it before.

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  6. I don’t know why people would want to look out their window at a car rather than a garden, but then I don’t drive so that might have something to do with it. That’s a lovely and choice selection of plants again this week. I’ve not come across Geranium ‘Nimbus’ before but I do love the pate blue ones.

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    1. ‘Nimbus’ has an ethereal quality about it that none of the pinks have, let alone the magentas. Not even a lot of the blues, too much heavy foliage perhaps. I think part of the reason people want to look out at a car rather than a garden is because they don’t want to do any gardening. They both work and they have two young kids, I suppose you have to have a little sympathy.

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      1. I love the way you put things. You were not taking photos as discreetly as you might. That hit my funny bone. I hope the “improvements” next door won’t be as awful as they could be.

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    1. Crocosmia have too short a flowering season if you’re pushed for space, spectacular as they can be when happy. They’re hard to resist in flower, then you get 50 weeks to regret not going for something else. I love Alstroemeria, sadly, so do the slugs. I’ve had much more success in pots than the ground.

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  7. I understand why that digger makes you nervous! Hope all goes smoothly. Your post boasts such great color today, Jim. Makes me wonder why I haven’t grown alstroemeria… yet.

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    1. I’m edging my way into growing more Alstroemerias and fewer Dahlias, on the basis that getting them into flower before July seems more likely and in some areas I have a colour gap. They haven’t done well in the ground here though, better by far in pots.

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  8. I rather like G. oxonianum. It does spread all over but the variety I have has lovely veined flowers. Pretty hydrangea with the star like flowers. I prefer the more delicate forms but my garden came with two massive pink mopheads that are clearly very happy in their positions so I’ve allowed them to stay so far.

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    1. The flowers on my G. oxonianum are lovely up close but, perhaps because they are all self sown seedlings, they have a smattering of flowers at any one time but rarely much of a show and they grow so fast I’ve frequently found them smothering better plants. I haven’t got rid of them altogether but they are on a very short leash. I’ve seen your hydrangea pics, very showy. The more delicate forms are fussier about the conditions they require so if you replaced yours and the replacements weren’t happy you’d be pretty upset about it. Better the devil you know, quite often.

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  9. ‘Paul’s Best Yellow’ crocosmia is pretty rad. It is richer yellow than I expected though, almost like a slender freesia. Is ‘Lucifer’ red? That was how I remember it. However, the common orange is also commonly known as ‘Lucifer’.

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    1. Lucifer is red; has it become so ubiquitous that people are calling all crocosmias ‘Lucifer’, as in ‘lucifers are widely naturalised in the hedgerows round here.’ Interesting idea. Funnily enough, we saw some Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, as in the tall red one, naturalised in a hedgerow earlier today.

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  10. The yellow Crocosmia is quite a beauty, though I am not really into summer yellow flowers but this would be a lovely contrast to all my purples and blues. I thought I had removed my Lucifer and a bog standard orange last year (replanted some corms elsewhere) but you’ve guessed, a few remained! I’ll allow them to finish flowering then get digging again. A shame about the car park. I have a gravel parking area over the septic tank and soakaway, but no garden was removed, on the contrary I am trying to create a bit of a garden along the edge. Too many weeds grow in the gravel, especially grasses, but I am trying to see the beauty in Yorkshire Fog!

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    1. We had ‘Lucifer’ and it seeded all over. It flowered for a week, mainly flat on the ground. Perhaps the seedlings were inferior to the original, but just not worth having. I’m still trying to get rid of it many years later. I’m guessing my neighbours think that once they’ve gravelled the garden they can sit back and do nothing to it forever. Good luck with the Yorkshire Fog beauty quest, I could supply you with an endless supply of contestants.

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  11. I can understand your displeasure with your neighbour’s decision. I feel I have failed miserably with three of my four children, who have all gone down/are going down the ‘no plant, lawn or flower’ garden (mostly).

    Perhaps they look at mine and think ‘horrors – what a jungle’. But I know my grandchildren love the garden, and I hope that the time they spend in mine will be something they remember when they grow up and have a home of their own. Hope the digger hasn’t caused any underground problems!

    Love your Tagetes ‘Cinnabar’ – I have grown Tagetes linnaeus this year and it’s providing a welcome splash of colour in a few areas, though it’s a bit different from yours.

    I’ve made a note of Geranium ‘Nimbus’ (which looks lovely) as I’m planning to revamp a couple of borders this autumn and I think this, or similar, might find a place in it.

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    1. They’re a strange lot, young people. I try my best to understand them but they may as well be from a different planet. I will look up Tagetes linnaeus, the name promises much. I’m glad you’re taken with ‘Nimbus’; as good as it is, it would be a shame to see ‘Rozanne’ pushing every other blue into obscurity.

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    1. In my trying to be clever effort to pick the best plant of each of the two varieties I bought, not the one with flowers out, I seem to have ended up with two that are very similar, one tall, one short.

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  12. hi Jim – is it the front garden where you helped with the gardening? a double blow if so. each to their own, i guess. you’ve reminded me to get an SAE to you pronto, not least because i lost or accidentally binned my considerable supply of cinnabar seeds (ironically, after giving away my even more considerable excess) so didn’t have any to sow this year.

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    1. Catherine says she is growing Tagetes linnaeus which looks pretty similar to Cinnabar. Sarah Raven has it. Google T. linnaeus and ‘Burning Embers’ is another that comes up, as a variety of T. linnaeus. Similar again. You’re the only person who’s shown any interest in seeds so far, perhaps it’s still to early for people to be thinking about next year, enough to cope with getting through this one. That is/was the garden I used to maintain for Des. It’ll mellow over time and with weeds growing in it.

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  13. Oh dear! I do hope all went well with the digger, and that nothing of yours was damaged. The new Alstroemeria is beautiful. No wonder you could not resist it! The Crocosmia is lovely…..I’ve only really know the original orange ones, of which I have just added in small clumps to the garden. The Geranium flower is a beautiful colour.

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    1. No digger damage, phew! Starting to look at how we can soften the harshness of it all. The ordinary orange crocosmia is extensively naturalised here in places it shouldn’t be. It’s a weed in the garden, I pull it out.

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      1. Glad there was no damage! The crocosmia seems to be considered invasive here as well. I have been looking for other varieties online, but haven’t come across any yet. I guess it’s best if I replace them with some other perennial or bulb….

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    1. That is a short question with a very long answer which could involve a blog. The RHS has an online Plantfinder https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants where you can search for suppliers. Pan Global Plants have some good ones. I used to work on a very good nursery, it’s not so good since I left but it’s where mine came from.

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