Six on Saturday – 3/10/2020

In like a lamb and out like a lion describes this week. I need better weather, I have things to get on with. Rainy days are good for blogging and bad for things to blog about.
Bulbs have been to the fore this week in that Tony Tomeo sent me lots of Amaryllis seed, thank you Tony, plus I received both my bulb orders and have planted around half of them so far. Not a single bulb in my six though.

One.
Having reported last week on the beginnings of dismantling my tunnel I can report that by the end of saturday it was down completely and by the end of sunday it was back up again on my allotment, barring the doors and re-sheeting. I bought timber for the door frames and cut it to size on thursday and will assemble it when the weather improves. Then I need a warm calm day to get the sheet on. Looking at the forecast there’s not much prospect of that in the next fortnight, which is annoying as I need the space to put plants in for winter protection.

Two.
Fuchsia ‘Olga Storey’. We grow lots of Fuchsias, both in pots and in the ground. Without a doubt this is one of the best of them. We have a plant in full sun out the front, lots of flower but a bit of bleaching of the leaves due to getting too dry, another in a big pot behind the house, getting a few hours of sun in the afternoon and good for both flowers and foliage, and a third that gets almost no sun, very good for foliage, not many flowers. It seems fairly impervious to both rust and capsid, big problems elsewhere. Whether you can get hold of it from anywhere is another matter entirely.

Three.
Fuchsia ‘Lady Bacon’. ‘Lady Bacon’ is a form of Fuchsia magellanica with white sepals. This seems to be a recurring mutation in Fuchsias with red tube and sepals and purple corolla. ‘Logan Woods’ is very similar and we recently bought a variety called ‘Arauco’ which is the same at half the size. ‘Lady Bacon’ will make a large shrub and develop attractive peeling bark.

Four.
Sue splashed out on a Vitpod propagator for my birthday, mostly so she could take over my propagation greenhouse. In the summer it was getting enough light on the lower shelf of one of the benches and I was intending moving it to the top when winter came and light levels dropped. Trouble is, even quite short spells of direct sun cause the temperature to soar but covering it would mean too little light much of the time. In the end I left it where it was and fitted a couple of grow lights above it. They’re on a timer and are supplementing daylight rather than extending it, so they burn 72 watts during the day when it mostly comes from our solar panels. The lights also put out a little warmth so the heated base will be on a bit less. It might still need some fine tuning but seems OK at the moment.

Five.
Impatiens omeiana ‘Ice Storm’. One of a few forms of I. omeiana that I have. This one is in a large pot but it’s a large plant and there always seems to come a time when I take my eye off the ball for a day or two and find it hanging limp down the sides of the pot. It sort of recovers but I really need to rig up an automatic watering system for it and its mates, they are definitely worth it.

Impatiens omeiana ‘Ice Storm’

Six.
The tunnel space project. Where once there was a tunnel there is now an unholy mess. The tunnel was 10′ x 15′, the area still covered by Mypex, including the row of plants up its left hand edge. On its own that would be a decent planting space but there is much more. To the left is a soil bank between us and our neighbours, topped with a length of hedge and a shorter run of fence. I want to replace it all with a fence, which will gain us about three feet where the hedge is. I’ve spoken to the landlord of the next door house, he’s happy with that.
The pile of plastic is the tunnel sheet, the old doors and numerous bags of sand from my defunct propagation unit. Just behind it is a Magnolia and on the bank behind that, a Camellia. The dahlia patch has performed badly this year and is in the mix too. The paved path in the foreground has Nerines down both sides which have mostly been terrible this year so they’re included. Even the plum tree at the back may find it’s not as indispensible as it thinks it is, it’s not in the best of health.
Sue wants another glasshouse and an area to stand plants out on in summer.
Lots of people have whole gardens that are not this big. Is a small strangled arrghhh permitted? Maybe it’ll look less daunting on a sunny day. Did I mention that we’re signed up to NGS to open the garden next summer?

And that folks, is where I am this saturday. The first thing I need is an scale drawing of the whole area, which will be easier now the tunnel’s gone. It would help if it stopped raining too. It gives me an excuse to stay in and check in on other peoples saturday sixes, via Jon’s comment section as ever. Have a good week.

47 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 3/10/2020

  1. Perfect use of your before and after slider, you must have been using a good tripod, only the shadows (and of course the tunnel) show the passing of time.

    You’ll have to stop showing Fuchsias, I’m so falling for them! I had a look at the site you recommended last week, but I think I’ll have to wait until next year now before they’re all back in stock. F. ‘Lady Bacon’ is so elegant and I’ve also made note of ‘Olga Storey’ though, from your comment, I expect it’s probably a hard-to-find variety. Still, I will have plenty of choices!

    I see you still have so much work ahead of you, but I have no doubt that you’ll be fully on track to open for the NGS next year. 😊

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  2. Looking at that last photo I think your dahlias and nerine look fine! Nice to have a space to redesign, though I don’t envy you all the work in removing shrubs etc.

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  3. All I can say is wow! Your allotment is huge, your fuchsia collection is amazing, and you have a lot of work to do before the open garden next year! Looking forward to seeing the results of your backyard makeover!

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    1. I’m not sure which bit of the allotment picture you’re taking to be mine. The plots are 10 x 20 metres and though I do have two, I sublet nearly half of the one with the tunnel to someone else. I’ll blog about the makeover, I’m hoping to get suggestions about what to do with it.

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      1. Then it’s my turn to say Wow!. People here still talk about standard allotments having an area of 10 rods, a rod being the length of a mediaeval ox goad, and 10 rods being 10 square rods. A perch or pole is the same length. 10 rods is about 250 square metres, so my plot at 200 square metres is only 8 rods, poles or perches. 5 rods has become the norm in some places. Mind, if I lived in a city I’d be glad to have 10 x 10 feet.

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    1. It takes a while to get the measure of new gadgets. I put a few hydrangea cuttings in it, they rooted very quickly and they’re showing no inclination to go dormant, so they’re going to have a short winter and get off to a flyer next spring, I hope.

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      1. I have a friend who has all the facilities for propagation, including absolutely loads of space and he loves the bottom heat propagator. He also uses one which sprays water mist at the base of the cuttings – no compost at all – and it works very well.

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      2. I’ve known two people who made their living from propagating and who used nothing more sophisticated than low milky polythene tunnels without bottom heat. One grew camellias in trays of compost, the other rooted a range of shrubs directly in his very sandy soil. Lovely business model, almost zero costs.

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  4. I now have a few more fuchsias to hunt for, but it seems that I shall have to wait for the spring. Both Olga Storey and Aruco look fab. Are there any growers which do mail order in the West Country that you would recommend?

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    1. I don’t know of any Fuchsia growers down this way and the only place I ever bought Fuchsias from by mail was Gower Fuchsias, who shut years ago. The RHS only list their own gardens as suppliers of ‘Olga Storey’. I think ‘Arauco’ is quite new and most likely being fed into garden centres from Dutch wholesalers. I have been known to take the odd cutting myself but I wouldn’t go as far as to recommend me.

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  5. I’ll try again. WordPress are annoying me telling me my password is wrong then when I try to log in, won’t let me use the one I want to. Never mind. I like the sliding pictures, very effective. Lovely fuchsias. My “hedge” one and the Cornish Pixie are my whole collection but are doing very well.

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    1. I’m asking for trouble to say it, but WordPress and me are getting along quite well at the moment. I still haven’t done a post on my other blog with the block editor, that might not work so well as it’s an obsolete theme that I’m still using.

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  6. Call me crazy, but I think it looks lovely just as it is! Well, once the plastic area is dealt with, it will look lovely! I like the “messy” garden look! Oh, not saying it’s “messy,” but wild and natural!

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    1. I’m certainly not going to call you crazy because I love a natural look and absolutely detest over manicured gardens, ‘poison neat’ as one of my gardening friends calls them. The problem in this area of the garden is that it’s too fertile to grow wildflowers and would quickly get choked with coarse weeds. I’m going to be leaving wild and natural for the wilder and more natural countryside about and go for a natural feel with garden plants.

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  7. Jim, you’re an inspiration! The amount of effort you’ve put into your garden lately shows. Your fuchsias are always jaw-droopingly beautiful. How did you manage that awesome before and after slider?

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  8. You are welcome for the seed. I am pleased that they went to a good home rather than merely tossed randomly on the roadside. Should I send a few more? There were some at the gate outside that were not quite ready earlier. Also, there are a few bulbs that produce rather fat seeds. I do not know why, or if there is anything genetically different about them. I do not remember any flowers that looked any different from the others. If you have no use for more seed, I might put these remainders in a flat rather than toss them out randomly, and then plug the seedlings into landscapes somewhere later. If I can keep them in a flat long enough, I can plug them next year before the rain. However, they start growing prior to the rain! Oh well, I can figure it out.

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    1. No more please! I’m snowed under as it is. I read somewhere to sow them individually in 8cm pots but fortunately I’d already put them quite close together in 3 litre pots, they’re on my window ledge now, I figured the glasshouse was too big a shock after coming from California. I gave some away but still have some left, a couple of which are starting to shoot already.

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      1. Individually, they would take up TOO much space! I suspect that many will not germinate anyway. I do not know what to believe about them. I have read and have been told that they do not like to be transplanted, and that their fleshy roots do not like to be disturbed. However, many of those that get in my way get tossed onto the surface of the soil higher up an embankment, and then grow and bloom as if nothing ever happened. As seed, they will not be shocked about the situation they germinate into. They do not know where they came from. They are remarkably resilient, and do well in harsh climates. Those that I grew when I was a kid came from Oklahoma.

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  9. I expect you’re brimming with ideas for that space, but it sounds like you had better get some plants in the ground quickly, before there’s another greenhouse there instead.
    The impatiens looks very good, a pretty pale shade of yellow and an interesting trumpet shape.

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    1. I guess I get a bit of an input on a glasshouse, in that it’ll be me paying for it and erecting it. Almost sounds like I have the last word but I wont kid myself. I haven’t yet managed to get the Impatiens through to flowering without it getting too dry at least once, I think it could be truly magnificent.

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  10. Your nerines are a whole lot better than my no shows. How frustrating to be at the start of such a great project and then have the weekend that we’ve just had – assuming you also rcd shed loads of rain for the last three days. And btw, I enjoy the fuchsia displays. Wishing you fine weather soon!

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    1. Yep, we had shed loads of rain and yes, it was frustrating. But I did manage to get out and measure the area up carefully and draw a plan, and I’ve been planning how I’m going to construct the fence, so not a total washout.

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  11. space! the final frontier. what a luxury to have some more. i can only dream of getting rid of the large trampoline and the nearby hedge, which would provide a new shady planting area. i have not planted a single bulb yet. the borders are too full still. i have grown alliums in pots then transplanted them in the spring, but i’m not convinced they do as well. i need to clear the patio planters as i have winter bedding to put in – at least some of the tulips will go in under those. lots to do….

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    1. I’ve made a rod for my own back by telling the world about the new space, it’s hard enough meeting my expectations, and Sue’s, and any garden visitors we might get next year. I think some of my bulbs suffered last year from hanging around and shrivelling, Erythronium and Ipheion particularly, so I’m determined to get mine in soon if at all possible. I don’t have too many, that helps.

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  12. Your tunnel space project is HUGE! But what a challenge! I’m sure that it will look amazing when you have completed it! It is going to be lovely to see how you develop the area.
    The Vitapod propagator looks interesting, and what a bonus to have that in your greenhouse.

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      1. Eek! The cost of some building materials is exorbitant! Luckily your project will last for many years to come, and that will balance out the initial cost over the years. I’m looking forward to seeing the work in progress!

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