Six on Saturday – 19/9/2020

The weather looks set to assert itself next week, bringing an end to the pretence that summer is lingering on. The first seed catalogue arrived thursday too. I’m OK with it, even if I do have at least two Dahlias that have only begun to flower this week. My thoughts are turning to next season and in particular to the big jobs that need to be completed during the next few months.

I thought rather than focussing on individual plants this week I would pull back with my camera and look at six wider views.

One.
The front garden doesn’t get much coverage on saturday sixes but is looking pretty good still. I think it was last sunday that I noticed a flower spike emerging on the Yucca, quickly followed by two more. They’ve shot up at two inches a day or more. Also last weekend, inpreparation for moving my tunnel, I turfed out the three pots of Alstroemeria ‘Indian Summer’ that I’d split a big pot into back in mid summer. I plunged them, in their pots, as a group. I may move them under cover for the worst of the winter.

Two.
The refurbished glasshouse. At the end of last week’s thrilling installment the floor was finished but there was just one bench, a couple of plants and some onions. More staging came on tuesday and I went shopping for plastic trays on wednesday. The formal handover was at close of play thursday and Sue got busy moving Fuchsias in.
It’s amazing how much usable space we’ve gained in that there are three usable levels. The main staging is great for anything that wants full light, the lower level is light enough for my propagator, though I may get a supplementary light for a winter boost, and it will be fine for overwintering dormant fuchsias and shade lovers. Then under that is enough space for bags of compost and pots. There’s even a shelf on one side, making four levels. Previously there were plants at floor level and space above.


Three.
This may be the last picture I show of the tunnel still full of plants. The tomatoes are on their last legs and when the temperature drops next week they will have to go. Most of the plants on the left hand side are Camellias I’ve been looking after for the National Collection and I will be taking them back to plant them over the next week or three. That just leaves some small camellias and a few odds and sods which will get squeezed in somewhere else.
It’s been where it is since I bought it in September 2014, in the weeks following the unexpected termination of my employment. It seems half a lifetime ago.

Four.
A viewpoint. When I finished the decking, I put the bench with its back to the house. I’d moved the water tap, boxed in the drain, removed any need to get to that part of the house wall. For now we can sit down facing the garden and have a beer in late afternoon sunshine and for as long as we have sunshine I’m committed to doing just that.
The viewpoint is low but it’s a nicely enclosed space. I stood on the bench for the second shot so you can see a bit more, then took the third from upstairs so you can see the whole kit and caboodle.
When I got the Kings seeds catalogue I noted that of the red onion ‘Magnate’, which is what those on the decking are, they say “producing quality bulbs up to 130g”. I weighed one of the largest of mine, 550g.

We’ve managed to keep the decking pretty much clear so far, or at least to remove the inevitable clutter quickly after doing jobs like building glasshouse staging. The pot stands have worked well at letting the deck below dry out quickly, we will probably get a few more. The onions are now in the glasshouse but there are loads more still up the plot.

Five.
Another viewpoint. This small area is looking rather colourful at present. It shows our near total disregard for colour schemes or obvious design and I’m broadly very happy with it. The scarlet Dahlia will get replaced with something marginally more muted next year but I have nothing lined up yet.
Not for the first time, it’s only now when I’m looking at the photo that I notice that the greyish leaved plant at centre right is flowering. Another gem from Off the Edge, thanks Gill but I confess I’ve forgotten its name. It’ll come to me.
I reckon that to keep a garden flowery without going the summer bedding route, you need about 50% long season flowerers like Plectranthus, Dahlias, Fuchsias, Erodium, Salvias, Indigofera pendula; and 50% seasonal, like the Solidago, Aster, Sedum, Geraniums and Hydrangea in this view. A bit of coloured foliage helps too.

Six.
A third view. Evening sun catching late summer exuberance. It doesn’t matter that the path is all but blocked, it’ll all get cut back soon enough. The view from the same place at the same time next year will be different, the pot will have a different occupant, the Helenium will have been moved back from the path and shorter ones planted in front. And that’s just a couple of the intended changes, there are usually more unintended ones. It’s good to have a record, it will never be the same again.

The comments, with links, are coming in on The Propagator’s post, there was a time I was an early riser but hey, what’s the rush? I was going to fetch in the rest of my onions but they can lie in the sun for another couple of days. The rain that was forecast yesterday for here seems to have drifted south. I’ll go and potter. Have a good week.

39 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 19/9/2020

  1. You’ve had a few major project this summer – patio and glasshouse – and both have been resounding successes. Great work! The garden is looking fabulous at present, so well for so late in the year while we are beginning to rake and collect leaves, believe it or not! Yuccas have sent up spikes here also and a few flowers should open in this coming week.

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    1. Still the biggest project to go, moving the tunnel. The leaves on our one tree, the oak, come down over a longish period. Autumn flowers are good in that they stave off winter, then if I can get an early start next year it’s a bit shorter again.

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  2. The garden definitely looks in fine shape for the Open Garden Days next year. I reckon a few people will want to hire you to turn their greenhouses around. Happy Gardening.

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  3. Lovely garden views, funnily enough I did the same this week, though my views are a lot smaller than yours! As a matter of interest where did you buy your staging from? I bought some wooden staging for my conservatory but it’s not very robust and yours looks a great deal stronger. Though I am going to risk leaving most of my pelargoniums outdoors this year, underneath the potting bench for some shelter, they got badly hit by whitefly last winter indoors.

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  4. Looking very much in control of things. Has left me feeling slightly guilty. Your plant is Colquhounia coccinea and my plant, that I shuffled in the spring, has not flowered! You must be whispering the right words to it. 🙂 Off to check if there is any sign of a bud …….

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    1. I need to go label Colquhounia before I forget. I intend leaving it out for the winter but I’ll see if I can get a couple of cuttings going. Will it survive do you think, it’s in a sunnyish spot and well drained.

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  5. The fuchsias soon filled the greenhouse. As many people comment, the long shots are always good to see. The decking looks very smart. Just for interest, the Cornish Pixie seems to have plenty of little flowers for a while, then it rests, then plenty more appear, then it rests again. It has plenty of flowers at the moment.

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    1. It’ll be interesting to see how far into the winter it goes with its flowers. More often than not they go right through here and cutting them back is a wrench. If we don’t, they run out of steam by late spring.

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  6. Yucca gloriosa ‘Variegata’? We used to cook Yucca floral shoots like VERY big asparagus when we were in college. The native Yucca whippplei (or Hesperoyucca whipplei now) produces the biggest bloom! It does not taste very good, and of course deprives the Yucca of spectacular bloom.

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    1. I seem to remember experimenting with several wild fungi when in college. Could easily have ended badly. There’d need to be a lot of flower spikes on my Yucca before I consider eating one, but it would make a good six on saturday item. At what size did you eat them?

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      1. They were very short. They might have been a foot tall, and we took the top half. The lowest scales were sharp from the beginning, but the floral scales were mostly pliable. Once cooked,the outside needed to be peeled off. I would do it again with other species that produce smaller floral spikes, but only if there were enough to spare. The bloom is too pretty to eat.

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  7. I find I have a similar idea to you, Jim, about garden design – a disregard for it, or colour schemes, though I do look at gardens with colour schemes and think that’s what I should be doing. I like your number five photo which illustrates an ‘all in together’ approach that works beautifully.

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    1. It interests me to try to create communities of plants that grow happily together, the more complex the better. Most design seems to involve simplification, sometimes to an extreme degree. Nature does it effortlessly and it’s frustratingly difficult to reproduce that look.

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    1. Even on a small scale, there are different microclimates all round the garden, the shade of a bush, morning sun in one place, afternoon sun elsewhere. I try to exploit each one to the full to get as much variety as I can.

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  8. It was lovey to see the different views of the garden. Your greenhouse is looking really good, and you must be pleased with all the extra space that you have created in it. I particularly like the view for point number 5, the small area. It looks very pleasing indeed, and I must say that my whole garden is created on the “total disregard for colour scheme and obvious design”, as you so cleverly put it! I tend to like the more random and natural look of a garden. I’m also very envious of those tall fuchsias you have. They are stunning. I battle to grow even the smaller ones here, but I persevere!

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  9. impressive hunnions there. never mind 130g, mine were more like 13g. hopeless. i pickled the lot, which reminds me, i should be able to sample them soon. despite this years disappointments, i shall be going back for more, i’m expecting autumn planting sets to arrive shortly. this time i will be scrupulous about planting distances. i might even water them from time to time, i’ve heard the helps with the growing part.

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    1. Until at least July I was looking at other plot-holders onions, all from sets, all twice the size of mine. Then theirs started to slow and go yellow and mine were lush and leafy and still swelling. Then I was praying for good weather to ripen and dry them. I don’t have my shed roof to dry them on any more. They’re a mixed blessing, big onions. We use then a quarter at a time. Seed raised shallots next year, see how they go.

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  10. Your Fuchsia display looks wonderful. Your already beautiful garden is having quite a facelift. I was talking to a Fuchsia grower last week about the problem I’m having with gall mite and he told me that some people have had success against it by using a biological control for red spider mite. Have you heard of this?

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    1. Biological control does get a mention on the RHS page for gall mite. My reaction was that the predatory mite wouldn’t be able to get at it because it was within the fuchsia tissue and that seems to be the case. They’re saying cut off the infected shoots and the predator will stop reinfection. My experience is that if you cut off the infected shoots then check carefully every two or three days for new outbreaks, you can get on top of it. In the winter I will cut them down, shred the shoots and put them up my allotment where there are no fuchsias to infect.

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  11. It is all looking so fabulous. Really great and another good year for you and onions. Mine were pitiful again and I did try so hard to be better at watering. I’m feeling a great kinship with the Prop re onions. 🙂 Next year, next year….

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  12. I find I’m a wee bit envious of your greenhouse – the staging looks fabulous and so well organised. My greenhouse is almost empty right now, but only because I’ve taken the tomatoes out – and I didn’t do any cuttings this year.

    I’ve made a note of your comment about keeping a garden flowery without summer bedding. That’s something I’d love to achieve. Thanks for this great post.

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