Six on Saturday – 25/7/2020

I seem to be accumulating drafts of blogs that never make it to being published. Nothing like a deadline to concentrate the mind. The weather is very much in blog finishing mode, endless drizzle. It always amazes me how much drizzle it takes to fill my water tanks; everything seems to be soaking wet but in reality there hasn’t been much rain at all. The garden is looking a bit bedraggled, some things have flopped and likely won’t come back up again. Plenty happening though, here are six snapshots.

One.
Begonia row. One day I’ll read the rules to find out if I should be doing one picture per item or one item per picture. We have a row of Begonias in the corner of the conservatory that gets the sun last. I keep thinking about propagating them and trying them outdoors but nothing’s happened yet. There isn’t much about Begonias that I don’t like. They are ‘Glowing Embers’, some red thing, ‘Connie Boswell’ and ‘Ebony & Orange’.
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Two.
Salvia corrugata. I planted this out last year and left it in the ground, hoping and expecting that it would survive the winter. It didn’t. Fortunately I had taken cuttings early in the year (which I haven’t done this year, reminder to self) so I had this one locked and loaded. Fabulous colour.
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Three.
Fuchsia ‘Quasar’. I’m not mad about these huge flowered fuchsias but have to admit to this being pretty hard to ignore. Besides, it’s basically the same colour as ‘Delta’s Sarah’ which I like very much so it makes no sense to switch from love to hate just over size. You’ll not be surprised that it’s an American variety. We planted it in the garden a few years back and it survived quite well, rather against expectations. The trouble is it has a weeping habit so the flowers just dragged in the dirt. It’s back in a pot where it belongs. The right hand flower is six inches from sepal tip to sepal tip.
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Four.
I may have mentioned that I was given a new propagator for my birthday. I set it up and have been monitoring the conditions within. I’ve just put in a single tray of camellia cuttings, plus a tray of Hortag which I’m keeping wet. The biggest issue so far is that if it gets direct sun on it, the temperature goes through the roof very quickly. I’ve moved it onto the bottom shelf of the staging and put more shading on the glasshouse roof. I’m looking to even out both temperature and humidity and it’s interesting how closely the two figures mirror each other. Getting there.
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Five.
There are certain things I find myself saying every year like it seems awful early for Cyclamen to be starting to flower. I don’t record the day of the first bloom of anything, perhaps I should, but there’s quite enough to be depressed about already without adding to it. I have a few primroses out too, which is definitely not right.
SOS1618

Six.
Dahlia patch. I have Dahlias in four places in the garden, this being the biggest concentration. There are eight in this bed and they nearly all got away well in the spring with very little slug damage. Now they’re getting into their stride flower wise. One at the back is still only six inches tall, having been browsed unremittingly by the slimy ones. It is the closest to a clump of Agapanthus where the slugs hide by day. They head for the nearest Dahlia and don’t move on until they’ve demolished it completely, which in this case they haven’t quite managed. It is at least providing a diversion for the rest of them. Everywhere else in the garden they’ve been chomped without remorse.
SOS1619

I did a bit more cheating and put five of my seedling dahlias in the featured image. They’re doing really well up on my allotment, almost untroubled by slugs. There are a couple of really good ones amongst them, so I may be able to sort out my colour coordination shortcomings with some of my own plants. The bigger problem up there is voles. There are holes everywhere. I chopped the blighted tops of a row of potatoes yesterday, vole holes all down the row. I haven’t looked to see what’s left below ground. Two steps forward, one back, this gardening malarkey.

We’re all in the same boat, drawing attention towards the successes and away from the failures. I see the Prop’s comments are already at 22, that’s 13 sets of six plus The Prop’s own. It won’t be quite 84 reasons to be cheerful but it won’t be far short either. Enough to dispel a fair bit of gloom.

39 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 25/7/2020

  1. Don’t worry too much about the rules – The Propagator is a generous man! The more the merrier – I love the begonias and the salvia, but I need plants which are TOUGH! Lovely colours in your garden

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    1. It seems to me that I need to have tough plants, but that mainly translates to things that have some slug resistance. I dare say some of your toughies wouldn’t last long in soggy Cornwall.

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    1. I would have been less surprised by hybrid primulas flowering, but these are wild ones and usually our native plants are slower to be fooled by the vagaries of our climate. The only hybrid flowering is ‘Wanda’.

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  2. We do begin to repeat ourselves as the years roll on – your comment on the cyclamen rings big bells here. “Oh, the season is moving on”, I hear myself say again and hear the echo of past years. That salvia is an outstanding colour; truly beautiful.

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  3. Isn’t it strange to see the primroses bloom. I have too have several out. Does one remove the blooms? I grew that Salvia and it survived two seasons but then died…and as it only comes into flower late in the year, I’m moving on. Pleased to see you playing with your birthday present.

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    1. I looked up Salvia corrugata before I put it in, and all the plants in cultivation come from six seeds that germinated from a 1988 plant collecting trip to South America. Having overwintered a good sized plant under cover last winter, it started flowering early July and hopefully will keep going until autumn. I won’t be removing blooms from my primulas, they’ll be fine.

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      1. Thanks for your advice re the primulas. You will deserve that wonderful blue on your Salvia, with all the work you’v put in. Quite a coup. I’ve neither brawn to move things or anywhere space under cover, I’ll just have to admire yours.

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  4. Lovely colours, as always, but that Salvia beats the lot. I ordered 5 dahlias which were planted into the soil many weeks ago. They are all growing but very, very slowly. I will see how they progress. Many plants which were disappointing last year are much healthier this season, the gladioli in particular, so, if I look after them, maybe the dahlias will do better next year.

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    1. It seems to me that if Dahlias get browsed badly by slugs early in the season, they struggle to get going even when the damage stops. Perhaps they’ve missed the climate/day length cues for vegetative growth. I can accept that some plants will grow better some years than others but I wish it were easier to understand why. Very often there seems no rhyme nor reason for it. I want to go and shout at them. Would a garden full of reliable, every year performers get boring?

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  5. Your new propagator is in your greenhouse but how is that monitored to get this nice graphic? Just a thermometer / probe or is it something specific sold with the propagator?
    I have the same problem with seedlings or cuttings in my greenhouse and had to put up curtains to block the sun’s rays.

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      1. They do a separate gadget to enable monitoring via the internet. As a data logger it stores the data until you get back and download it via bluetooth. I’m not sure I want to know how good the weather is at home when I’m on an expensive rain drenched holiday. I looked at the Netatmo site but it’s in French. I need to access it via Google translate. It looks similar.

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  6. Such pretty colors in the dahlia patch! I “break the rules” often! My #1 might have three photos, but they are all the same item, so isn’t that still just one?

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    1. There’s a nursery in Penzance that holds the National Collection of Dahlias, so they have 4 or 5 acres of dahlias planted out and you can go and wander round for free. It’s just a flat field with the plants in straight rows so the fact that every visitor is smiling, talking to strangers and generally planning to spend more than they can afford on more plants than they could ever find room for must be mostly down to the effect of mass cheerful colour. Three photos of one item is specifically allowed in the participants guide but sneaking in a seventh item under the guise of a heading was pushing it a bit. I did do a six with seven items in it on one occasion, repeating one number. No-one noticed, not even me. I spotted it many months later.

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  7. The red cyclamen I bought last September and planted in pots with my Skimmia have only just stopped flowering! Great value for a fiver. I wonder if they’ll return or whether they are now exhausted. Those begonia are lovely, I quite fancied the ‘Glowing Embers’ for my zinc container but in the end went with some nasturtium seeds and Californian poppies which are just about to flower.

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    1. My track record of keeping cyclamen, of any kind, going in pots, is dire. In theory they go dormant in summer and need keeping almost dry until they start into growth again. They don’t even get that much care in the garden and seem to survive. Somebody put Begonia ‘Glowing Embers’ in a pot outdoors in a six last year, it looked fabulous.

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  8. I lost my S. corrugata this winter, but the one in a client’s garden (one of my cuttings) didn’t turn a hair. Now I have some cuttings of my cutting coming along nicely. One very good reason to share the love! Loving the begonias.

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  9. i read “monitoring the temperature and humidity” thinking yeah ok, who doesn’t. but you are ACTUALLY monitoring the temperature and humidity which is very cool. love a gadget. i also love those begonia and your blousy fuchsia.

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    1. The data from the logger has already been an education. I knew that for a given amount of water in the air, raising the temperature would reduce relative humidity but hadn’t realised how closely the two were related and how little difference a closed environment seems to make. I’d assumed the RH inside a closed case would be very high all the time but it’s not. It may be more so if full of plants. I’d like, before I remove it, to monitor the mist bench environment for a while, to give myself a basis for comparison. The sensor is OK in high humidity but wouldn’t like to be sprayed directly though, so a bit tricky. Having data about the inside of the propagator makes you interested in how that compares with outside, after all that’s the whole point of spending loads of money to manipulate the environment, but Sue would probably kill me if I bought another sensor.

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  10. I have an unnamed Begonia that looks very like your ‘Connie Boswell’ growing indoors. It was getting too big so I decided to split it. It wouldn’t so I chopped it! It seems to have survived but now I have two plants. Your Dahlias look very healthy. Mine were doing well but the recent damp weather has brought so many slugs out of hiding that the plants don’t stand a chance, despite evening slug hunts.

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