Six on Saturday – 15/8/2020

If this weather had wanted to do one redeeming thing it could actually have given us some rain, which both garden and allotment need quite badly. All the heavy stuff has contrived to miss us or to fizzle out just short of us. I’m a weather radar junkie, there has been massive rainfall all around us, but not on us.

I’ve been replacing wooden decking at the back of the house; it’s been there for 15 years and has rotted in several places to the point it’s getting hazardous. It was laid over plain industrial quality paving slabs which are themselves laid on soil with no foundation. I toyed with the idea of brick paving or stone but it would have had to be excavated out and foundations laid, drains and manholes moved, so I wussed out. One of the few advantages of a plain modern house is that you’re not locked into using expensive materials to match an old property.

It was to be item number one, but progress has been slower than I’d hoped; isn’t it always?, so even though it’s the thing happening here on this particular saturday, I’m going to leave it out.

One.
Nerine masoniorum. I bought this from Tale Valley several years ago and it has ticked over, producing just a few blooms each year and looking scruffy or dead the rest of the year. I repotted it and that’s helped, it’s still only in a 1 litre pot, but is looking very pretty right now. It needs a plain dark background which it certainly doesn’t have in the greenhouse, so I stood it in the garden for the shoot. It’s about nine inches tall.

Two.
Dahlia ‘Karma Choc’. The most meaningful engagement I have with this plant is when I’m trying to take pictures of it. As a flower it contributes nothing to the general colourfulness of the garden, though individually it is striking and dramatic and it makes everything else look brighter. In a wider shot you can gauge whether the exposure was right by looking at everything else, close up it lacks context and confuses the light meter and the viewer.

Roscoea seedlings. I have four Roscoeas in the garden that I have bought and a nagging feeling that there should be another somewhere. I paid £10 for one of Keith Wiley’s hybrids from Wildside and spotted a mixed batch on Tale Valley Nursery’s stand at Rosemoor a few years back which I think wer a fiver, which struck me as very good value so I picked a good colour and brought it home. It produces seed which I have sown, and this clump here is mostly twenty or so seedlings, planted from 9cm pots right into a large clump of Anemone nemorosa ‘Robinsoniana’. It seems to have worked, the anemone died away before the Roscoeas started to come up and the Roscoeas will be long gone before the anemone reappears. The parent plant is in part shade, sun in the morning; these get shade most of the time. The parent is close to my big yew, so suffers from dryness, but it flowers well. These seedling plants appear happier but are not so free flowering so far. In the front middle of the clump is ‘Red Gurkha’, a form of Roscoea purpurea with no blue pigment in its flowers at all. I don’t have a clue what my parent plant was raised from and I don’t know if my seedlings are the result of crosses with my other Roscoeas or varied because their own parent is a mongrel. Suffice it to say that I think they are probably all Roscoea purpurea forms, there are some really good colours amongst them and they are easy to grow in humous rich soil that doesn’t get too dry.
SOS1647
SOS1648

Four.
Across the path from the Roscoeas was a pot containing Codonopsis clematidea. It had finished flowering and died back, maybe partly because it was too dry, though they much prefer dry to wet. It was a tall pot, the better to keep it well drained in winter, with a narrow base, and it was tucked into the edge of my bamboo clump, from where it chose to launch itself onto the paving slab path. It didn’t end well. I have retrieved the pot shards and glued them back together again. I’ll make sure it’s on firmer and more level ground next time.
SOS1649

Five.
Ipomaea lobata, or Mina lobata as I usually call it, has appealed to me as a way of getting a second wave of interest from things that flower early then do nothing for the rest of the year. I’ve had a couple of seasons of planting small plants near to the things I want them to grow up only to see them struggle to compete with a large and well established plant. This year I potted up three 9cm pots into 7.5L pots, got them growing strongly and up to three feet tall before positioning the pot beside them plant I wanted to use for support. Not perfect, but much better, is my verdict. Here growing up Leptospermum rupestre and Trachelospermum asiaticum.


Six.
Hedychium densiflorum ‘Stephen’. Not the name it was obtained as but I’m fairly sure it’s what it is, or it may be a seedling from it. This is struggling in the root zone of my plum tree, probably to the detriment of both plum and ginger lily. I always maintain that I love Hedychiums but you wouldn’t know from looking at how badly I treat them. After many years I have finally got ‘Tara’ sorted out, pictures of that at a later date, but I need to find somewhere better for ‘Stephen’. ‘Stephen’ was collected in 1966 by Tony Schilling from the Dudh Kosi Valley in Eastern Nepal and named after his son. ‘Tara’ was named after his daughter. It is fully hardy.
SOS1652
Right, time to get this posted and resume my building works. I’m hoping for a dry day, get it wrapped up. Is it coffee time yet? You know where to go for the rest of today’s news, over at The Propagator’s place. I may see you there later.

36 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 15/8/2020

  1. Oh, goodness, Jim, there is so much to say about this post – I can pass the ipomea but everything else is treasure to me. How, I’d love to visit Keith Wiley’s Wildside again! We were there when it was a young project and loved it – it was mad but fabulous at the same time.
    I can’t get over your having nerines in flower – not a peep here! I hadn’t realised Tony Schilling’s connection with Hedychiums ‘Stephen’ and ‘Tara’. There is a beautiful Rhododendron arboreum named for him and there are a few plants growing nearby in Mount Congreve Gardens.

    Codonopsis clematidea has long left me – the drier summers put an end to it and it was the best of the codonopsis here, the one that lasted longest in the garden.
    ‘Karma Choc’ is fabulous!

    A great selection this week! Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mad but fabulous describes Wildside perfectly. I haven’t even looked to see if he’s open at all this year, we went last year and were blown away by it. He lost his wife in October, must surely be finding it a struggle.
      The nerines are in a pot in the greenhouse; my bowdenii’s outside don’t have buds yet, not that I’ve looked lately.
      When I think of Tony Schilling I always remember him being on the telly just after the 1987 storm trashed Wakehurst. His take on it, choking back tears, was that he had been gifted a planting opportunity that he’d had no right to expect in his lifetime. I don’t get there often, it’s too far away, but when last I went it was very apparent he’d seized that opportunity.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think, hope I’m not mistaken, that the garden at wildside was featured on Gardeners’ world this week. It was a film from last year. It did look fabulous.

        Like

  2. In this hot weather, I am drawn to admire your ‘tropical’ looking plants. I can just imagine the Roscoea with the Ginger lilys and other big leaved things. Bring on a cooling lemonade…..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You do have a lovely display of Nerine. I bought some bulbs online last year, but I’m still waiting for them to flower…. and hopefully they will next year. I am not familiar with Roscoea at all so found your number 3 an interesting read. they do have lovely flowers. The Mina Lobata does look very pretty when you see it from a distance, and see it intertwined amongst other shrubs. It makes a lovely display. Pretty Hedychium!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nerines have something of a reputation for being slow to establish. I know almost nothing about that little species; it’s always been kept under cover and frost free, if it bulks up enough, or better still sets seed, I might try it outside. This being by far the best it’s ever been I’ve never looked to see if I can buy bulbs.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ll try again! My first comment seems to have disappeared. Never mind, I was noticing that ,again, you have found 6 plants that I don’t have in my garden – well I have a couple of dahlias and a larger Nerine but different varieties. I see what you mean about the colour of the dahlia….dramatic but not a colourful addition.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 30daysofwildparenting has given me an idea for getting greater impact from the dark Dahlia, I just need to put a reminder somewhere I’ll find it next spring. Something pale and contrasting behind it.

      Like

    1. The pot had broken into a manageable number of pieces so I thought I’d give it a try. Probably pushing my luck to put the repaired version into next week’s six, I should give it a few months to stay in one piece.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Roscoea is pretty cool. I am not at all familiar with it. I dig the colors. Well, I like the dahlia too, at least in your garden. (It might be too dark or my garden, or with too much white.) Gingers are something I want to get more of. I have not grown them in many years.There are not as many here as there are in Southern California.

    Like

    1. I’d love to have more Hedychiums, they’re as exotic looking as any fully hardy plant we can grow here. Mostly they get big and mostly they have a short flowering season, so not ideal plants for a small garden.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The more resilient sorts that we grow here are nice, but not quite the same that do well farther south. We grew them as much for their fragrance as for their visual appeal.

        Like

      2. I have a big clump of H. densiflorum ‘Assam Orange’ which is described in my gingers book as moderately fragrant. In 20 years it has had fragrance on only one occasion that I’ve noticed, and it was quite strongly fragrant. It was a warm, humid evening. I’d never noticed anything before, I’ve not detected any since, and I make a point of checking every year. Actually it opened today for the first time this year and I haven’t checked, I’ll do so now……nothing. I’d love to know what it took to get scent that one time.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Warmth and humidity. To me, some of the tropical sorts down south always seem to be fragrant; but I am told that they can be more fragrant if the weather is right for them. Humidity is very rare down south, and in most of California, although it is unusually humid presently.

        Like

  6. Have you tried using a reflector when photographing a plant as dark as Karma Choc? The reflector, which needs only be a sheet of white card, will bounce some more light back into the shadows of the flower. I bracket all my exposures, usually taking one at the meter’s exposure then ½ stop over, 1 stop over and the same again but underexposing.

    Good idea to use your Mina lobata (easier name to get the tongue round!) in that way. It looks great growing over the other plants, and as for interest, it certainly catches the attention.

    Like

    1. I will try taking the Dahlia with a reflector. I bought one for photographing Camellias, which have a similar flower structure to Dahlias and the detail of the flower centre gets lost. I rarely used it because I needed another pair of hands, it being impossible to use a tripod for the camera most of the time as the flowers are too high or moving about too much. I used to bracket shots but I found I could get the exposure right most times by judging how much exposure compensation to apply so now I don’t bother, just adjust it in the RAW editor if I need to. The sad truth is I’ve become a lazy photographer and I always mean to do better but when it comes to it, I don’t. The care you take with your pictures shines through, I must take inspiration from them and mend my ways.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it can be a real fiddly thing trying to deal with the reflector and hand-hold the camera while thinking about exposure, focus, composition and framing. 😁 I sometimes tape the top of the reflector to a garden cane and stick the cane into the ground but you need a supply of canes of different sizes for different heights of plants. Everything depends on how much time you have to take the shots. Mostly, just like you, I find it simpler to sit in front of the computer at night and adjust the shadows and blacks – though I do always bracket.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. mina lobata is a very occasional star in my garden. most years i can’t grow the buggers. either they don’t germinate, or they grow weakly, or fail to thrive on planting out. mostly the first, to be honest. when successful it’s a fab plant. your ginger is a joy, i hope mine grow on a bit more, they are still small, from seed last year. i’ve planted them out now so i hope they kick on a bit.

    Like

    1. Your Mina last year was pretty amazing. What gardens we’d all have if everything performed at the level of the best year, every year. I’m tempted to get more gingers every time I see them, which is every time I go to Treseders. Actually, I should go now, they’re probably flowering.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s