Six on Saturday – 29/8/2020

Almost the end of August, the year seems to have slipped through my fingers. I finally got around to dragging the roll of polythene out of the attic and measuring it; nowhere near big enough to re-sheet my tunnel. Yesterday I ordered a new sheet, and hot spot tape. I may have passed the point of no return as regards moving the tunnel from the garden up to the allotment.

We haven’t reached a consensus as to what happens to the space it currently occupies. When Sue made a takeover bid for my propagation greenhouse I thought she’d abandoned thoughts of yet another greenhouse to replace the tunnel. Turns out she wants both, a new one to give her extra space for cacti and succulents and the (ex) prop house probably mainly for fuchsias.

I need to move the tunnel by the end of September I think, before the weather goes totally down the pan. It’s a very windy allotment, I need to leave myself in with a chance of getting it sheeted. That will mean cutting short the tomato crop but they have usually lost most of their flavour by then. There’s also the small matter of what I do with all the plants that are in it. So my item number one is a job to do, or it may be a big enough job to describe as a project.

Move the tunnel, planning stage. I think I have completed the contemplation stage, it’s looking like it’s going to happen this year. We’re signed up for garden opening next year, it has to go. A poly-tunnel can be very useful but it’s never going to be pretty and It’s too big to easily screen off, which would cut out light in any case. I really meant to move it a year ago but it didn’t happen. It’s 10ft x 15ft; 150 square feet to play with, plus the bit behind it which is currently a dumping ground.

The tunnel is at the opposite end of the garden from the house so nearly every view has one or other as the backdrop. Neither is especially pretty but there’s not a lot can be done for the house.
I’m nurturing Camellias for the National Collection and growing tomatoes. That’s about it.

Hesperantha sp. I’ve had Cyrtanthus ‘Pink Diamond’ since about 2006, starting with a single bulb which has grown to a sizeable clump in a large pot. Last year I noticed a slender spike of something else amongst the Cyrtanthus and when it flowered it was evidently Hesperantha. It’s up and flowering again this year, very slender with quite small flowers, usually only one open at a time, closes up when it’s dull, pink with purplish undertones. Barely worth growing but too intriguing to get rid of. Was it there all along? Small, not flowering perhaps. Maybe there was a seed with the original bulb and it germinated and grew somewhere along the way. I can think of no possible way it’s got in there while I’ve had it. The best match I’ve found online is Hesperantha huttonii, but in truth I have no idea.

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’. Upright, sturdy grass with narrow leaves edged white and with a white midrib, viewed from above but green below. This has grown taller than me, around 6 feet, which I wasn’t expecting and so far, there is no sign of it producing flowers yet.

I had this in my sights for such a long time before I got around to buying one, having seen and admired it on many occasions. It is one of the best varieties of one of the best grasses, an opinion reinforced in the two seasons I’ve had it. Should have got it years earlier.

Helenium autumnale ‘Feursiegel’. I thought I’d lost this but it’s hanging on in there. Shorter than last week’s ‘Chipperfield Orange’ and planted directly behind it. As you can see, the petal markings are variable, which adds a bit of variety.

Camellia sinensis var. sinensis. Which you may well recognize as being the tea plant. This is one of the plants I’m looking after and growing on for the National Collection of Camellias at Mt. Edgcumbe. It’s not really big enough to be planted out safely in the park yet and they are so desperately short staffed I took some of the choicer varieties they had languishing in their small nursery home last year.

I don’t have a plant of my own of this, and given it’s barely hardy, don’t want one, though it’s usually another tea variety that I have that is the earliest bloomer each Camellia season. This has beaten it this year. The flowers are only about an inch wide when fully open.

Echeveria setosa. For a couple of years you have a single small rosette in a pot. Then the next time you look it’s in a big pan and 15 inches across. I think the bristles must eventually drop off the older leaves, the small rosettes seemed to have far more. I’m beginning to see why Sue wants another glasshouse or two.

I think I’m getting the hang of the block editor, not that I’ve explored the possibilities much. So far it’s been very straightforward. I need to look at the results on various devices, it’s all very well it looking good to me, I don’t have to read it on a phone.
I want to try to get a few more wider views into my sixes, the tunnel was this week’s pretext. I do like to see wider shots of peoples gardens and others have said the same. There always seem to be more individual plants, this week you didn’t get Begonia luxurians in flower or my other yellow crocosmia.
I’ve also spent some of this weeks rainy weather trying to get my categories and tags into better shape. I have a long way to go and would welcome any feedback but there may be things I’ve mentioned that someone would like to find again.
The forecast for the weekend looks to be a bit dryer, which is welcome, with next week a mixed bag. I’m not keen on it becoming September, that’s beginning to sound like autumn, even here.

The Propagator, our meme host, is off on his hols but is still hosting all the links to other sixes. They’re piling in I see, so many early birds.

33 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 29/8/2020

    1. I need to rescue the Hesperantha from the pot of Cyrtanthus, without killing it. I’m not sure about the tunnel space, might just block it out with massed dahlias for a year and defer a decision.


    1. Heleniums are great and for a long time I thought they were trouble free, but the last few years have made me rethink a bit. If the conditions suit, they are easy, if not, they don’t put up much of a fight it seems.

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    1. The space could be keenly fought over. Sue wants another glasshouse and a seating area and somewhere to stand plants in pots for the summer. There’s a short and very scrappy bit of hedge, on top of a soil bank, runs alongside of it, probably needs to be sorted at the same time, so quite a big project.


    1. It’s Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea ‘Transparent’, which was in a six a few weeks back. Now that the flowers have developed a bit more it’s become a bit more visible, and taller too. When I first planted it I wished I’d bought three, it was so insubstantial, now I’m glad I didn’t, the lines of the stems would have been crossing every which way.


    1. We were at Rosemoor today, looking at all the Heleniums in their hot garden. They were going over a bit but there are one or two that are very nice with contrasting colours in the flowers close up, but get back a bit and it all merges into something a bit dull. Not a problem if you’re mainly viewing it close up.


  1. What a lovely view of your garden. Your borders are a delight.

    That’s a lot of tunnel to have to move and re-sheet. All I can do is wish you good luck, I hope you can do it with no casualties to yourself or the tunnel.

    Take a look at Hesperantha coccinea ‘Sunrise’ on Sarah Raven’s site – yours is very similar in colour and it’s described as a ‘clear pink’. On the other hand, you could be right with Hesperantha huttonii. Whatever it is – it’s beautiful – I hope you can successfully separate it from the others.


    1. All my instincts with the Hesperantha are saying it’s a species, it’s simply not what anyone would select out as the best of a batch and give a cultivar name. That said, I think a clump of it could be very effective. I will check carefully to see if it produces seed, that might be an easier way to bulk it up.
      One day I will try to articulate my approach to flower borders, starting with explaining to myself. I’m a little afraid of reducing it to a formula and losing the element of spontaneity and randomness that I really value.


  2. Are tea camellia flowers useful for anything? My Pa worked with someone years ago who brought tea from Hong Kong. Some was flavored with various flowers, such as hibiscus. I believe that one was flavored with some fort of chrysanthemum, but that could have been chamomile. It also seemed to me that some was flavored with camellia blossoms. To me it seemed odd that anyone would add camellia to a beverage. Of course, I had no idea what tea was.


    1. Not that I know of. The only flavouring of tea that I am familiar with is Earl Grey tea, flavoured with oil of bergamot. I’ll take mine straight thanks. I’d have expected anything that was used to flavour tea to have a distinctive smell and taste of its own and while I suspect Camellia sinensis may have a slight scent it’s hard to imagine it adding anything to the flavour of the tea. Then again, what we drink in the UK is black tea, fermented in the production process so stronger tasting than the green tea many other folk prefer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do not understand the allure of green tea. It tastes like burned popcorn. Bergamot is a strong flavor, and, although I rather like it in tea, I sort of wonder how and why someone thought it would be a good idea to flavor tea with it. There are plenty of other flavors available. I never grew bergamot, but another citrus grower in Fremont now grows it. I have seen it in nurseries, and sort of wondered what anyone would do with it.


      2. Well I just learned something new. Bergamot is what we call Monarda, I think you may call it beebalm. Never having heard of Bergamot Orange, I’d always assumed that bergamot flavour came from a species of Monarda or something close. Now I know better. My education continues.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That seemed like a strange name to me. I never met a beebalm that was as pungent as the bergamot orange. I would be more likely to grow the beebalm though. Bergamot orange is rather useless for anything more than tea, and it is not even pretty.

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  3. Very exciting to hear you are going to do an open garden. That’s a project but you have so much variety to show. Wonderful tomatoes, lovely heleniums and congrats with block editor. It’s good to be able to vary the layout. One day I will explore the options more fully….one day.


    1. I’m excited and apprehensive in equal measure about opening the garden. Variety is what this garden is about, lots to see at almost any time of year. I was quite pleased with how my first proper foray into the block editor, it’s a bit of a case of forgetting the old editor ever existed and work out how to do what you want with this one.

      Liked by 1 person

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