Six on Saturday – 22/8/2020

Hmmm, I seem to be in the WordPress block editor, so the outcome, or output, is uncertain at best. I’ll give it a whirl before I throw my toys out of the pram.

The last couple of days, especially yesterday, have been windy, so both the garden and I are looking a bit battered. I finished the decking midweek amidst squally showers, (see previous blog) and I’m now turning my attention to other repairs around the same area, wonky steps, crumbling concrete; that sort of thing. Nothing like the contemplation of opening your garden to focus your mind on the faults, even if it’s not until next year.

For now though, six things in the garden that don’t involve timber, torx screws or concrete.

One.
Hedychium densiflorum ‘Assam Orange’. This was originally collected in 1938 by Frank Kingdon-Ward in Northeast India. It was grown under heated glass at Edinburgh Botanics until the early 1970’s when a selected clone was planted out at Wakehurst Place, where it thrived. I don’t remember when or where I bought my plant of it but it must have been fairly early in its commercial availability. It flowers reliably every year and often sets viable seed, which I have germinated and grown in the past. Just once, I sniffed at a flower and was astonished to find it quite strongly scented, which it had never been before and hasn’t been since. Must have been the right combination of heat and humidity. Irrelevantly, I just noticed in my book that H. densiflorum ‘Sorung’ was an Edward Needham collection, which has catapulted it to the top of my wanted list.

Two.
Sticking with orange, Helenium ‘Chipperfield Orange’. I was pleased to realise when I went to photograph this that Helenium ‘Feursiegel’ has also survived. ‘Chipperfield Orange’ is tall, nearly five feet, but manages to stand up without support most of the time. I have it right at the front of the border which isn’t sensible, I will try to remember to move it. It has new leafy shoots at the base of the flowering stems which are being hit by slugs; I need to resume my nightly patrols with this wetter weather.

SOS1658

Three.
An Aster, not that it’s called that any more. It’s label says Eurybia x herveyi ‘Twilight’. I picked this out at Bodmin nursery last year because it had good healthy foliage amongst the general late season mankiness. The flowers are much like a number of other asters and I was looking for things to flower quite late.SOS1659

Four.
Sedum telephium. I’d long been aware that we had a few native stonecrop type prostrate Sedums but it was only a few years back that I saw this growing in a hedgerow near here, in amongst woody plants and in full shade. I looked it up, thinking it must be a garden escape but it’s native. I’ve since seen lots of it along the Cornish lanes, usually at the bottom of the hedgerow at road level. It goes under the common name of Orpine. I tidied up a plant of it when I was doing a gardening job and brought bits home as cuttings. It is thriving, which is remarkable as no form of S. spectabile we’ve ever planted has lasted a year. It’s about two feet tall and inclined to flop. ‘Herbstfreude’ is a hybrid between the two and even that hasn’t survived. SOS1660

Five.
Colletia hystrix (syn. armata). A gardening friend has a big bush of this and it is becoming something of a nuisance, or menace, overhanging a much used pathway. I’ve walked into it a few times and wished I hadn’t. I said I’d try to propagate it to give her the option of replacing hers with a smaller plant or hard pruning without the risk of losing it altogether. The cuttings rooted, I have four or five plants growing away well. I read online that the spines are modified leaves which is wrong, there are a few tiny leaves around the flowers on this plant but they soon drop off. They’re flowering and with the greatest of care I sniffed what turned out to be a rather heavy scent. If I were trying to stop people taking a short cut it’d be a toss up between this and Poncirus.
SOS1661

Six.
A wildlife video from my allotment. Since our resident Pine Martins¹ are nocturnal and the beavers² move too fast to get a good shot, I’ll settle for some caterpillars. There are masses of these on the nettles I let run riot around my compost heap which is good because last year there were none. There was a Red Admiral flitting about so I thought they were his/her brood but it seems they are Peacock butterfly caterpillars. I don’t know where they’re planning on pupating for the winter but I’ll try not to disturb them.
¹ fat chance. ² fatter chance.

I just looked at a preview and it all seems to be OK. I also just looked at the block menu, gulp. So much to play with; so much to go wrong.
It’s bright and sunny outside, having been threateningly cloudy first thing; usually the other way round. I have much to do and must get on. There’ll be time later to check everyone else’s sixes, links as ever at The Propagator’s.

47 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 22/8/2020

  1. The Block Editor has been with me for a while and I have become used to it. There are one or two odd things but one becomes accustomed to these after a while.

    That Colletia is a curse, a dangerous plant! I have one but pruned so as to be above head height and less dangerous. Re the sedums, one doing very well and looking very well here is ‘Red Cauli’. I must take a photograph for next week..

    Best wishes with the continued work.

    Like

    1. Oops, I’m going senile. It’s Colletia hystrix, AKA C. armada, which I checked while doing the blog and got wrong anyway. I’ll change it. I think Jon has grown Heleniums from seed and gradually gravitated to named forms, could be wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The correct name is good to know but I didn’t know this plant though. Senile, you? Hard to believe because there are so many plant names to remember that everyone is mistaken. Fortunately we take photos and articles to remember them otherwise we would be lost

        Like

  2. Lovely oranges! I was almost tempted into buying a sedum at Lanhydrock and if they had the darker one which they grow in their garden then I would have done, but reading this I have to ask you why yours fail? Too wet? And while I am here maybe you can advise me as to when is a good time to divide a daylily. Mine is getting too big for the bed it is in and smothering other plants so I want to split it up, but should I wait until late autumn when the leaves have died down, or wait until spring before it starts to grow again? Thanks in advance! And well done with the block editor. I am still using the classic.

    Like

    1. I think the sedums have failed either because they weren’t getting enough sun or were too wet in winter. There aren’t many places that get all day sun and they’re in high demand. I’m no daylily expert but I’d go for autumn division given how often we seem to be getting hot dry spells in spring, which they hate.

      Like

  3. Colletia paradoxa will sure crop up in my nightmares, as I have something close to a ‘phobia’ about spines etc. Once seen I shall say snap if I see another one, but dare say I won’t remember the name so easily.

    Like

    1. The Hedychium has been untouched for 20 years or more. It’s one of a number that are reliably hardy in most of the UK, as exotic as they look. Not all of them will flower reliably outdoors though. I like ‘Chipperfield Orange’ for its somewhat more open flower clusters, it makes for a more natural effect.

      Like

  4. I could do with growing some more asters for later in the year. The only one I have is a tall leggy thing which flowers well at the back of the border but could do with a shorter. Nice colour shift from the yellow to orange along the Helenium.

    Like

    1. It was a toss up between two Heleniums in flower, the other one, ‘Feursiegel’, has an extraordinary mix of red and yellow, different in every bloom. I have Aster ‘Purple Dome’, which is a shorter one and a very good colour, flowers the end of September.

      Like

  5. I didn’t know you could get a helenium as tall as that. Maybe the garden centres tend to just sell lower growing plants. I’ll have to look out for one. The Hedychium looks great as well – wonderfully exotic.

    Like

    1. My Chipperfield Orange varies in height year to year but is always over 4 feet. As you suggest, tall varieties tend to be out of favour these days. I reckon Hedychiums are as exotic looking as you’ll get for a fully hardy plant in the UK, I love them.

      Like

  6. The garden looks a bit battered? I have not seen mine in days.It might be ash when I return. The whole region has been evacuated, so I do not know when I will get back.
    Anyway, your ‘Assam Orange’ hedychium is still rad, and better than any I had ever seen here. (Gingers are not as popular this far north as they are in Southern California.)
    Colletia hystrix looks like something I would not want to mess with.

    Like

    1. We’re not hearing good things about your neck of the woods, hope you have a home to go back to and that the fires didn’t get too close. By comparison, we have absolutely nothing to complain about and much to be grateful for. Is it perhaps too dry for the Hedychium with you, I believe they’re monsoon zone plants, so no shortage of water when in growth.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hedychiums definitely need water here. They do well in irrigated landscapes down south, but will not naturalize. The hardy ones can survive in riparian situations here, but their foliage looks tired by now if they are not irrigated. The limiting factor here is the frost. It does not get very cold, but it gets a bit too cool for tropical hedychiums.
        The advance of the fires decelerated as suddenly as it accelerated. They seem to have stopped right on the edges of a few towns, although there is significant damage in Boulder Creek. My home is about a mile and a half or two miles away from the fires. I was not very worried about it anyway. The neighboring homes are much more important, and more susceptible to damage.

        Like

      2. H. gardnerianum is on the list of the worlds worst invasive species so perhaps lack of water as a limiter is a good thing. Frost, or cold weather, stops the growth of many that will survive outdoors here but for the late flowerers it means they never flower.
        I’m very glad we don’t get forest fires, only heathland and moorland fires, generally well away from housing.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. We have a whole different set of invasive species here that tolerate chaparral conditions. They are not likely as invasive in many other ecosystems. Also, most weeds that infest irrigated landscapes are not considered to be invasive because they can not naturalize in the wild. Hedychium gardnerianum must naturalize in more ecosystems than most other invasive species, even though it would not do so here.
        Fire has always been a natural component of the ecology here. Now that it has been suppressed for more than a century, the forests are unnaturally combustible. Fire, which normally rejuvenates the forests, instead incinerates everything, and can even get hot enough to incinerate redwoods that have survived periodic fires for thousands of years. Such fires are also problematic for the many people who now live in the forests. Many of the homes in my regions used to be summer houses. There were not many of them scattered about, and if they burned, they were not considered to be much of a loss. There are many more of them now, and they are now homes.

        Like

      4. I would prefer to live within the Santa Clara Valley. Unfortunately, it is now some of the most expensive real estate in America, and is extremely crowded. There are more than a million people just in San Jose. Those of us who live in the Santa Cruz Mountains are aware of the risks. Fires were not so devastating when the region was sparsely populated.

        Like

      5. I’m always slightly surprised by the density of housing in Australia, given it’s so big, and San Jose looks similar or denser, again in a big country. I do like a little elbow room.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Adelaide supposedly has a climate that is very similar to that of San Jose. While studying it, I was amazed at how similar the climates of the two cities are, and what grows in Adelaide. Adelaide and San Jose even look similar! Like you say though, It is odd that there are a few very populous cities in Australia while there is so much empty space. It is sort of like that here, but not to the same extent, since most of California is now quite populous to some degree. Yet, some of the most sparsely populated area in America happens to be in northern Los Angeles County, less than a hundred miles from, Los Angeles, the second most populous city in America. Both Los Angeles and San Jose were tiny towns less than two centuries ago.

        Like

      7. We went to Adelaide a few years ago, drove in from the north, having driven down from Darwin. There’s a vast area of crop production north of the city, though I don’t know what they grow. The interior of Australia is a very hostile place.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. The Hedychium is really unusual, not plant I’ve seen before – is that also known as a ginger lily? Your Helenium ‘Chipperfield Orange’ is a beauty and so photogenic. I’ve made the same mistake with H. Moerheim Beauty – it’s at the front of the border too, though it’s not as tall as yours.

    Lovely photograph of the sedum.

    Like

    1. Heleniums are particularly photogenic, I have dozens of pictures of my ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’, but sadly all the plants are dead and gone. Hedychiums are ginger lilies, I’m a big fan. I have three and want more.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a funny colour is orange, the rusty oranges like Helenium are easily placed, clear strident oranges like Alstro ‘Indian Summer’ or Berberis ‘Orange King’ don’t really go with anything, even each other.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Lovely to see your caterpillars. I think you will find they pupate and hatch quite quickly, and hibernate as adults.

    Like

      1. Yes, that was what I thought as well, though you do still see them flying in October, fuelling up on the Sedum and Michaelmas daisies. Butterflies have given a lot of pleasure this year, though no luck hunting swallowtails in Norfolk last week alas. Fascinating tale of swallowtails on the South Coast. https://sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/news/swallowtail-diary?utm_source=Sussex+Wildlife+Trust+Newsletter&utm_campaign=7671b85df0-20_August2020&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9f7e3b5ad3-7671b85df0-292818813&mc_cid=7671b85df0&mc_eid=b7d677ca84

        Liked by 1 person

  9. You seem to manage fine with the block editor thing. I hate it, it takes me ages to write posts now. I love your 6. I grew some seeds from my Hedychium ‘Assam’ and they are a couple of years old now but no flowers. I just can’t grow heleniums which is frustrating as I love them.

    Like

    1. I was doing fine with Heleniums, then one year all the Sahin’s Early Flowerer popped its clogs and the others were in the root zone of a big conifer, now gone, through two dry summers, and really struggled. I’m hoping for better things now though I still don’t know why the Sahin’s died.

      Like

  10. the Six on Saturdays have got me interested in sedum, and I have a handful of different species. One of them flowered last year, but the flowers were not as beautiful as those on your Sedum. They are interesting plants. The Hedycheum is lovely. I started a small ‘ginger plant’ collection last year after a visit to the Ginger Factory in Yandina. All have died down over winter, so I’m looking forward to their re-appearance. Their flowers certainly liven up a shady spot. I enjoyed watching the short video on the caterpillars. I do hope they survive the winter.

    Like

    1. The succulents bed in Brisbane Botanic Garden has so many fabulous things in it but I don’t remember seeing any Sedums. It may be too hot for them there. When I’ve visited Australia I’ve always been fascinated by what grows where. Both in gardens and the wild you see sharp contrasts over quite short distances. It’s probably true here too but it takes an outsider to see it. I’ve been to the Ginger Factory a few times, those bamboos!, not to mention the Gingers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have to confess that its been about 4 years since I was last at the Brisbane Bot Gardens. I think a visit is in order!! There has been a surge in Sedum varieties recently, and lots of the nurseries and some of the large retail stores are selling the plants. Now that I am taking an interest in succulents, I have noted that I have at least 4 different species of Sedum, and no doubt the collection will grow. My Sedum seem to be doing alright here, but I have to protect them from too much rain, and in Summer I keep them out of the midday heat.
        It is amazing how the vegetation changes over short distances. I enjoy going on drives and noticing that. Now all I have to do is learn more about the native plants.
        Did you visit the Ginger Factory during the Ginger festival? They sell the most amazing variety of ginger plants with an incredible range of flower types. Hopefully some of the ones I purchased will flower this year.

        Like

      2. Now I’m curious to know which Sedums are becoming available down under, whether they are things we grow or forms we perhaps couldn’t grow outdoors. Protecting them from too much rain is a familiar issue, midday heat less so. We’ve never made it to Ginger festival, that sounds like my kind of gig, horticulturally and food-wise.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I bought one plant recently, but will have to go and look up its name. The festival is really popular, and the plants amazing. I bought one of the beehive gingers. It’s died right down now, so I’m looking forward to it flowering in summer!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I fear I am struggling with wordpress gremlins, I can’t seem to like some pages and I have to go to dashboard to use the reader for the sites I follow. But I was able to post! Very envious of your 5′ heleniums, the colour is great too. Amazing caterpillar video, I hope they make it through the winter. My compost heap is home to toads, which I disturb (gently) regularly, but they don’t seem to mind.

    Like

    1. Ah, WordPress. I just did a whole blog using the block editor without using the classic block. The 5′ Heleniums aren’t looking so clever after two days of gales, though even now only one stem has gone right over. The caterpillars hopefully will pupate, emerge and overwinter as adults, possibly in the nearest building which is my allotment shed. I don’t see many toads but get plenty of frogs and newts, even without a pond. I need something bigger to deal with my slugs, a cassowary maybe.

      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