Six on Saturday – 17/10/2020

There will be only one thing happening in my garden this saturday and it involves stone. Lots of stone. You won’t get to see it in Saturday fsixes, it’s such fun I’ll do a post about it separately.
I got the sheet onto my polytunnel on thursday, so that’s now ready to get tested by next week’s forecast storms and tempests. Bring it on, I’m not even slightly concerned; it’ll be fine. I meant to say we got the sheet on, as I enlisted some help from neighbouring plotholders and couldn’t have done it without them. It’s rough around the edges but it doesn’t need to look good on the allotment. All that’s in it so far is what was growing in the ground, basically a couple of dahlias and a few terrible cabbages.

One.
The very nearly finished tunnel. I need to cobble together some doors and tidy up the excess plastic.

Two.
Last week I was lamenting the imminent demise of my Schefflera, this week it’s our one and only Acer. Like the Schefflera, nostalgia is involved. This is the only plant in the garden that predates Sue and me. 32 years ago it was a couple of feet high. It has suffered badly from drought in the last few years and I suspect it’s damaged root system is now fighting off either honey fungus or Phytopthora. I cut out a couple of branches that died earlier this year but some parts of it lost their leaves weeks before the rest so I would be surprised if more than half of it came into leaf in the spring. Do I cut it back and try to save it or cut my losses and celebrate a planting opportunity?

Three.
Heuchera ‘Forever Red’. Way back I tried to grow Heucheras and they quickly succumbed to vine weevil. I was deterred from trying again for a long time. This year when nurseries reopened and I rushed out to my favourite one I saw this and succumbed to temptation. If it comes through the winter well I shall certainly be getting more.

Four.
Fuchsia ‘Cotta Bright Star’. We have this and we have ‘Cotta Christmas Tree’ and for the last several years I seem to have done a good job of keeping ‘Christmas Tree’ going, ie taking cuttings and always having two or three healthy plants, while struggling with this one. Mostly they all seemed to be the same, I think I was propagating from a ‘Tree’ labelled ‘Star’, to the point where I thought I’d lost it; the plant that is. On thursday I noticed this thing flowering, checked the label, ‘Cotta Bright Star’. Searched high and low for ‘Christmas Tree’, couldn’t find any. Then yesterday when I was watering the greenhouse, I found one.

Five.
Apple ‘Tregonna King’. I have grafted two old west country apples onto my family apple, originally ‘Elstar’. This is one and the other is ‘Plympton Pippin’. It is listed in the National Fruit Collection database but with no description or pictures. In ‘A Cornish Pomona’ it is described as green, turning yellow, multipurpose; which doesn’t square with what I have. In fact the one ‘Tregonna King’ fruit looks exactly the same as the three or four ‘Plympton Pippin’ fruits. That isn’t in the NFC database at all. Neither is it listed on OrangePippin. I must go up to Cotehele and have a look in their mother orchard, it’s probably there. I wish they’d document it online. It’s a late variety, a cooker, hanging on through wind and rain, and very large.

Six.
The supporting cast. I was wandering round with my camera and realised that it’s the things that are spectacular for a short period that always get priority in my sixes. The backing band are always there but get overlooked, they will still be flowering next week and the week after. They are useful to fall back on when there’s nothing else. Then the year has passed and in spite of having been the hardest workers in the garden, they’ve not been featured once. Here’s to the Salvias, Osteospermums, Geraniums, Penstemons, Fuchsias and the rest. Most of them are still flowering, less profusely, but enough to make the garden brighter.

There’s a flat ceiling of grey cloud overhead this morning and it’s dull. I’ve one more tonne bag of stone to barrow to the top of the garden, then I get started on what looks like the toughest jigsaw puzzle ever, turning it into a wall. I’ll be taking breaks and checking in to the six on saturday links on Jon’s blog. Looking at the rainfall radar, there’s a bit of light rain about, hope it misses me. It’ll be a long enough day without it.

29 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 17/10/2020

  1. I also added heucheras (‘Black Pearl’ – Carnival Peach Parfait ’- Forever Purple’) in the garden but I don’t have the same variety as yours which is very pretty too. Very appreciable for having beautiful colours in winter
    Beautiful set of some remaining flowers in the #6

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  2. Hmm, your “awful cabbages” look very similar to my dreadful broccoli. The tunnel is most impressive , not a crease in sight. I like the supporting cast at the end, we do tend to take some of the regulars for granted.

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  3. Rocks? What can you be doing with rocks? Please tell me you’re building a rock garden! I don’t know what to advise on the tree. I’d probably wait and see next spring if it was me.

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    1. I’m building a dry stone wall, or rather the Cornish version with soil in it that they call a hedge. Tiz coming on lovely and will be done dreckly. I may do just that with the tree, the trouble being that I know it won’t look good and spring is not a good time for remedial pruning of Acers, so I’d be stuck until summer. I should have been more decisive this summer, but that’s with the benefit of hindsight.

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  4. Heuchera ‘Forever Red’ is just lovely. I tend to forget my heuchera since I moved it, so I’ll have to pay it a visit today and get a picture. What a nice looking apple. I am a complete failure with fruit trees.

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  5. That Heuchera is lovely. I might need to add a few more to my collection, they do so much better than hostas. Good luck with the wall building. My neighbour has been having a lot of work done on their house and now the garden wall is being rebuilt. Taking much longer than 2 days!

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    1. I’m feeling pretty chuffed to have got as far as I have and for it to be looking reasonably presentable. The real test is whether it stays up. Extreme 3D jigsaw puzzling; fortunately I’m quite good at jigsaws.

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  6. I like the new (to me) profile picture, Jim! I can see why you will delve more into heucheras. The vibrant FR is a beauty. I’ve had great luck with new varieties in our damp shady areas, although they’re not known to be fussy. Don’t harm yourself with all the stone!

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    1. I’m slightly taken aback with how many people are saying positive things about Heucheras, I’ve had a bit of a blind spot it seems. Another half day should see off the stone, if it takes longer the stone will see off me.

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    1. It was about time I retired that hat, actually, that reminds me, Smith & Jones, whose hat it was/is, used to sell windbreak materials, I need to find some. My mind’s wandering, I’m tired.

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  7. The tunnel is looking good. You must be pleased that the moving and re-assembling is now over. What a pity about the Acer! I have a small collection of Heuchera now, but the overwintered ones do not look too happy. Still, there is a chance that they will recover once it warms up! And what a lovely supporting cast you have in your garden! Good luck with constructing that wall, and I’m looking forward to seeing the post on it being created!

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    1. I am glad to have finally moved the tunnel, and pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t as much of an ordeal as I’d been expecting. Trouble is it’s set off a raft of other jobs and my energy levels are beginning to dip.

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  8. Sad to hear about your Acer, but you’re the expert, and whatever you decide to do will be right. I love heucheras and have a few, they don’t look great here in winter, but always manage to pick up at the first sign of spring. Your ‘Forever Red’ is a beauty.

    Good luck with the tunnel when the weather changes – and also all that stone! I think we can all look forward to seeing a great looking wall in due course.

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    1. The wall should be finished tomorrow so you may not have long to wait. The Acer is finely balanced between attempting to save it or scrapping it. We had an Acer hersii which suffered badly in an exceptionally dry spring and never really recovered. It languished for years and eventually I cut it down. I’ve missed the boat for heavy pruning this year really, which means waiting until next summer.

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